Asa Bennett, who is described as a Telegraph “assistant comment editor”, has penned the original, which is headlined “Andy Burnham says he's not part of the 'metropolitan elite'. So what about this picture then? As nominations for the Labour leadership open, the shadow health secretary is keeping quiet about his history as a New Labour princeling”. And what about this picture? Ah well. That is where Bennett goes wrong.
“For many years Burnham the centre-forward showed attributes of leadership while appearing, for all the world, to be standing around doing nothing … His plan was to wait by the goal, let the rest of us do all the hard work and then appear from nowhere, stab the ball into the net and take all the glory. It could be a metaphor”. One can almost hear the puerile sniggering emanating from Buckingham Palace Road.
Now the Sun has picked up on this apparent quote, and run with it. But, as Captain Blackadder might have observed, there was only one thing wrong with this idea - it was bollocks. We know this as Collins, who might be expected to know what was actually said, has passed severely adverse comment on the Tel’s hatchet job. “I'm always amazed how some papers pack in so many inaccuracies to a simple non-story” he Tweeted.
And, as the man said, there’s more: “genuinely amazed at how skilful it is. Dates all wrong, people identified who are not there, names written wrong. Useless … The implication throughout is that, at the time, everyone was in a job they held years later. Deliberately misleading”. So another low-grade hatchet job collapses when its star witness disowns it.