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Friday 15 May 2015

Chuka - Press Still A Disgrace

Every pundit with an opinion on the matter - so rather a lot of people, then - has expressed surprise at the decision by Chuka Umunna to withdraw his bid for the Labour leadership. Equally, it seems every political editor has denied that they have any dirt on the MP for Streatham. But somewhere among those who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet, someone had Something For The Weekend.
That Umunna was a front-runner in the leadership race was one of those rare occasions where this blog, and the Super Soaraway Currant Bun, were in agreement. For the press, what that guaranteed was not merely attention, but intrusion: anything that could possibly be dirt or leverage would be sought, and duly splashed. As news of Umunna’s decision has circulated, so has that of the intrusion.

Last Sunday, when Umunna appeared on The Andy Marr Show (tm), we got our first sight of his partner, like him a lawyer. And that was the signal the press had been looking for: there had already been sniping - the nudge-nudgery from the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog was typical - but now, in Alice Sullivan, there was a real and appealing target.
The targeting of Ms Sullivan and her family was lent an added piquancy by Umunna being, like his hero Barack Obama, son of an African father. Black bloke with white partner? The potential for a little carefully coded racism was enormous. After all, the press had mainly got away with pushing Mil The Younger’s “otherness”, which was code for Jewish. They would have a field day with Umunna and Ms Sullivan.
You think I jest? It has been revealed by Channel 4’s Michael Crick, himself no stranger to pursuing public figures, that some of the press pack had been doorstepping Ms Sullivan’s family, including not just her parents, but also her grandmother, who is 102 years old. Have a think about that. What possible public interest is there in the Fourth Estate’s attack dogs going off in pursuit of a 102 year old? That would be Zero.
Even if no story had been unearthed by press pursuit of Ms Sullivan’s family, there was clear intention to use her as the means of attacking Umunna, as Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham, newly anointed teaboy to the Fawkes blog, let slip earlier as he told “Understand sympathy for Chuka. But worth remembering he did parade around his previously secret girlfriend before Ed's body was even cold” (she was not a secret, but hey ho).

And in case anyone wonders what the press may have dreamt up, they should look at how the Mail On Sunday went for Umunna the year after he became an MP. “Riddle of 'British Obama' family's £1m home: Tax haven funded purchase of London house … A Labour frontbencher who has led the attacks on ‘tax avoiders’ in the City is at the centre of controversy after it was revealed his £1 million family home was funded from a tax haven”.

It wasn’t even his house. Getting at Labour politicians by putting the frighteners on their family members - they sank that low once, and were ready to do it again. It’s disgusting, but par for the course for our free and fearless press. Pass the sick bucket.


Peter Cummings said...

How ever do you justify to yourself the door-stepping of a centenarian unconnected to anything.

By personifying Lunchtime O'Booze, I suppose.

How else would you sleep at night, other than with a drained bottle.

Ceiliog said...

Alex Prickman seems to be big-upping the Knickered Nazis blog view. Hardly surprising.