Neil “Wolfman” Wallis has been busy showing his support for the efforts of Rupe’s downmarket troops at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun, as they attempt yet another crude smear by association on the Leveson Inquiry and anyone associated with it. “Excellent expose in [The Sun] re insidious and secret ‘Common Purpose’ links between phone hack cops, Hacked Off & Leveson lieutenants” he boasted.
At the time, the article in question was behind a paywall, but, as is customary nowadays, it was soon lifted by the Mail, and so anyone could see what the Murdoch press was getting at (see how that works, Rupe?). And what they were getting at was mainly the recycling of a hatchet job that had originated back at the Mail more than 18 months ago – as Wallis should know.
Still, on he went, telling anyone who would listen “Hacking cops, Hacked Off, Leveson links ... Police spend £500k of your cash on shadowy left-wing training group”. And who was this “shadowy left-wing training group”? Yes, it was Common Purpose, which is not a political organisation, but one offering training courses. And some of its alumni do networking – just like, say, any University.
“Police forces hand £470,000 to group dubbed the 'left-wing Freemasons' for training courses” thundered the headline, making sure that “pay” was replaced by “hand”, because this sounds more like some kind of bung, something clandestine, and possibly illegal. The “left-wing Freemasons” quote comes from Philip Davies, who, by the greatest of coincidences, is a go-to rent-a-quote.
So there is very little of actual substance in the story, and even John McTernan was not even slightly impressed by Wallis’ schtick, as his real-world experience of Common Purpose did not tally with the Sun’s pretence. And this grotesque re-imagining of Common Purpose is not new, having been the centrepiece of a well-known attack piece in the Mail on the eve of the Leveson Report’s publication.
“Leveson Inquiry has momentous implications for free speech. But Mail dossier raises disturbing questions about the influence of ‘people who know best’” reads the Mail’s headline today, having had “a quasi-Masonic nexus” edited out along the way. It was a hatchet job on David Bell, an assessor to the Leveson Inquiry.
Bell was also a trustee of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which had made a bad mistake over Alistair McAlpine. So in piled the Mail to smear Leveson by association and dump all over Bell – an act which was designed to frighten anyone thinking of supporting Leveson from doing so. Now the Sun has given the Mail original a newish twist by telling the world that the Police buy training courses.
That’s such a lame smear that not even Wallis’ advocacy will make it fly.