In these times of shrinking incomes and straitened budgets, one group of media wannabes gives every sign of not letting up on the strong stuff: step forward the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, who have revealed once again the identity of their true masters in a piece of spin and invention attacking the modus operandi of Mil The Younger.
“Miliband Vows ‘Big Fight’ Against Fleet Street” proclaims the headline. So the Labour leader is going into battle against the Fourth Estate? The Fawkes folks certainly want their readers to think so: “Miliband talked about his plan to declare war on Fleet Street at a private dinner for Labour donors”. There is even a recording, taken from a dinner for party donors. But read the transcript carefully.
This is what Miliband said: “Look, this fight is going to be such a big fight that we’ve got to be willing to call these people out. We’ve got to be willing to call these people out. The days when the newspapers and the news media could attack us without response are over. Because actually they are less powerful than people ever thought and they are less powerful now than they were. And it is incredibly important that we fight back against them”.
Now consider the recent attack on Miliband’s late father Ralph by the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre and his attack doggies at the Daily Mail: just who started that one? It certainly wasn’t the Labour leader. Dacre ordered the hatchet job. He was the one declaring war. Miliband merely stood his ground and fought back.
And that is all that the quoted extract from his speech means: after all the assaults on previous party leaders, with those on Pa Broon still readily memorable, Miliband has decided that he is not just going to sit there while the mud is slung. The Fourth Estate, and particularly that larger part of it that is routinely hostile to Labour, will just have to get used to this new and clearly radical idea.
Meanwhile, in framing the Miliband speech the way they have, the Fawkes rabble has once again shown who is really in charge of their editorial line, and it ain’t Staines. The Great Guido, in claiming that it is Labour wanting to go on the attack, is merely projecting the desire of his press pals to play the victim as cover when they decide, with the certainty of night following day, to kick Miliband.
The Fawkes blog has already sold out to Richard “Dirty” Desmond, the Barclay Brothers and Rupert Murdoch. Their holy grail, acceptance by Dacre and a welcoming through the doors of Northcliffe House, will surely follow, provided they do his bidding on the Labour leadership, and equally importantly, press regulation.
After all, it’s a guaranteed way of keeping the booze flowing. Another fine mess.