The continuing problems caused by flooding in the Thames Valley have given the Fourth Estate much cheap copy. They have also given those less charitably inclined towards others an opportunity to try and shape the narrative to suit their own prejudices. And when the Environment Agency (EA) pulled its staff out of the riverside village of Wraysbury, someone was ready with his smear.
I know all about Unions, cos I'm on telly!
Yes, always available to fire up the spin machine was the odious flannelled fool Henry Cole, tame gofer to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines at the Guido Fawkes blog. And, as so often, he was not about to wait for inconvenient facts before playing judge, jury and executioner, especially when there was a Trades Union in his crosshairs – in this case the GMB.
The EA staff had withdrawn from Wraysbury after becoming the subject of hostile comment and abuse from the locals. The GMB had then passed adverse comment on Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, who had previously been less than charitable about the EA. Master Cole was in no doubt that the GMB was at fault, because it is a Trades Union.
Why should this be? Ah well. Cole has met Trade Unionists on occasion. Their opinions are, on the whole, diametrically opposed to his. He considers his own opinions to be unimpeachably sound, and so it must follow that anyone opposing them is wrong. He knows sweet jack about what Trades Unions do, but that does not stop him concluding that, whatever it is, it is wrong and bad.
Or maybe not
For most people, this would be called ignorance, but for Master Cole, it merely makes him even more highly qualified to shoot his mouth off. So it was over the EA and Wraysbury: “Trust the GMB to play politics. Withdrawing EA staff because people are pissed [off] about floods. Try to blame Pickles” he ranted. From this, it is clear that he is asserting that the GMB withdrew the staff.
But only the ignorant and stupid would assume that a Trades Union is part of an organisation’s chain of command. The withdrawal was made by the EA, and it was done on the advice of the Police. This was reported by the “serious” press. It was reported by Sky News (“first for breaking wind”). It was even reported by the Daily Mail. So there is no excuse for getting it wrong.
So there can be only one reason for Cole’s attack, and that is to smear the GMB. And remember, this is someone who, by participating in the Trade Union Reform Campaign (TURC), is deliberately giving the impression that he is knowledgeable on the subject of Trades Unions. He is not. Master Cole’s authority is built solely on ignorance, paranoia, and the speed of his North and South.
How’s that 4% trust rating working out, then? Another fine mess, once again.