As the fog of battle has cleared this morning, we can see who has won and who has lost in the game of brinkmanship precipitated by Young Dave’s realisation that he was going to lose this evening’s Commons vote, and possibly lose it heavily. We can also marvel at the ability of his supporters to spin the result as some kind of great victory, rather than the reality of humiliating climbdown.
As I noted in an earlier update, the concept of statutory underpinning has been “entrenched” by a form of words that enables Cameron to say he has not given ground, and preserved press freedom (and exactly how a law guaranteeing press freedom takes it away, as some are pretending, is a strange concept). There is no press veto on appointments. Corrections can, effectively, be imposed.
The sensible view – for once – has come from Tory MP Michael Fabricant, who is seeking to frame the outcome as one where no-one can claim victory, and thus there would be no need for spin or invention. He’s in a very small minority.
Former MP Louise Mensch, sadly – I have a lot of time for Ms M, but she’s nowhere near reality this morning – has engaged spin cycle, proclaiming a victory for Cameron and his chosen negotiator Oliver Letwin. The facts suggest otherwise.
And Rob Wilson, supposedly Tory MP for Reading East, has gone completely gaga with “victory to the Prime Minister ... Once again PM at his best when he is boldest”. What a useless crawler.
Even Tom Newton Dunn, political editor of the Super Soaraway Currant Bun, is happily telling himself “Sounds like no press law”. Sounds very much like there is, Tom, and you can’t play “la la la I can’t hear you” for ever.
For once, the voice of reality is the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines at the Guido Fawkes blog, who recognises statutory underpinning when he sees it. And he has seen it in the agreement reached last night.
Underscoring the Fawkes reality is the odious flannelled fool Henry Cole, spelling it out with: “If these concessions were made by Letwin in Ed’s office at 2am as reported, that in itself looks terribly humiliating for DC”. Got it in one.
Somewhere out there, the ghost of Bjørge Lillelien can be heard, mocking the PM: “Rupert Murdoch, Barclay Brothers, Lord Rothermere, Paul Dacre, David Cameron. Can you hear me David Cameron? Your boys took a hell of a beating”.