(c) Doc Hackenbush 2014
Still, if you don’t succeed at first, well, suck some more seed, eh? If it wasn’t a rotten lefty, it must have been someone the Tories and their press pals can crap all over from a great height, so the hunt was on to get smearing. And so it came to pass that the Wikipedia editor was a bloke called Richard Symonds. Who he? Well, Symonds has supported the Lib Dems in the past, and was once a party member, although he isn’t now.
But what the hell, that’s enough to paint this as an organised Lib Dem dirty trick. You think I jest? Check out how the slavishly Tory Telegraph span it: “Wikipedia admin who accused Grant Shapps of editing pages of Tory rivals is Lib Dem activist”. Symonds is not an activist, but that is how the Tel, and the Tories, can spin it as a smear campaign by another party, rather than someone doing his job. And there was more.
Enter the Tel’s not at all celebrated blues artiste Whingeing Dan Hodges to spin away: “Imagine if Times or Telegraph had run Shapps-like piece about shad cab member, and it transpired it had been briefed by a Tory activist”. Shite fact checking, but he’s a real journalist, folks, don’t forget. Mark Wallace, now at ConHome, was more creative: “So Labour Press office are managing ‘spontaneous’ #milifandom and that Wikipedia editor is a Lib Dem activist”. See, it was Labour’s fault, after all!
And then there was the inevitable two-foot e-lunge from (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch, who immediately knew more than everyone else put together (again). “I thought Clegg joke was funny; now it's same old LD smear machine stuff” was her opening gambit, followed by “Investigative journalism >>> twitter troll mobs and LibDem sockpuppets”.
There was no sock-puppeting going on, and the Lib Dems were not involved, but hey ho. “LibDem sock puppet ‘chase me ladies I'm the cavalry’ ‘not at work’ at wikimedia today ‘off sick’ #LibDemLies” she trilled. He’s not working for the Lib Dems, he’s not a sock-puppet, and so what if he ain’t at work? But she was off on one: “Wikimedia LibDem troll bans account without evidence, bends rules, leaks to Guardian. Sockpuppet? He sure was”.
There was no trolling, no sock-puppeting, no lack of evidence, no leak, and no Lib Dems, but otherwise she was more or less right. Try again. “Surprise surprise. LibDem smear campaign on Shapps”. Sadly wrong again, unfortunately. Louise Mensch loves to portray herself as someone exposing those who are habitually economical with the actualité, but does not see that this reputation is not enhanced by her constant, er, whoppers.