Getting paid for that appearance, then?
It should surprise no-one that the culprit is none other than the Super Soaraway Currant Bun’s non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn, who has seen events unfold in a fashion which he, and more importantly Creepy Uncle Rupe, must have found deeply distressing. As this particular campaign has developed not necessarily to his side’s advantage, the level of rank dishonesty has been cranked up.
Before PMQs kicked off, Newton Dunn was merely selective, as he advertised yet another lame story. “EXCL: BBC paid greedy MPs more than £200k of taxpayers’ cash over last 5 years to come on TV”. Yeah, right. How much did they pay you and your fellow hacks? How much to other people who already had a well-remunerated job? How much did ITV and Sky pay out? What if he’s got a pointed stick?
Whatever. That, however, was nothing compared to the ramping up of Newton Dunn’s tendency to invention as PMQs got under way and the realisation sank in that going after tax avoiders - especially after the deeply subversive Guardian had run the HSBC story all week - would help Labour and damage the Tories. “Ed Miliband’s hands visibly shaking with excitement as he clutched papers during PMQs tax dodge attack” he span.
Ho yus. It could also have been anger. But there was a line to take - that Ed was rubbish and Young Dave was jolly wonderful. By yesterday morning, it wasn’t working at all well for the Sun, and so Newton Dunn asserted “For avoidance of doubt, Ed Miliband must today repeat phrases ‘tax avoidance activities of Lord Fink’ and ‘dodgy donor’. Or he’s bottled it”. So there’s someone else who didn’t read Hansard, then.
Not that he knew the detail and just hopes the readers won’t rumble him, you understand. Then came the blatant invention. “What Ed Miliband knows: it takes a year minimum to get a libel suit to court. Time enough to retract post [General Election] with very little cost”. Newton Dunn is not only judging others by the Sun’s own low standards, but trying once again to push the line that Miliband had defamed Fink.
The fight to establish his own facts was then fought to the bitter end: “So Ed Miliband only half bottles it. Repeats ‘tax avoidance activities’ line about Fink, but withdraws any suggestion he is a ‘dodgy donor’”. Miliband withdrew nothing, as he hadn’t called Fink “dodgy” in the first place. So he bottled nothing. And note that Fink’s admission he did avoid tax gets left out, which no doubt will be explained as accidental.