Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Tom Watson - New Smear Busted

While the right-leaning part of the Fourth Estate has been working itself into a terrible fright at the thought of Jeremy Corbyn doing well in the Labour leadership election, the contest for the deputy leadership has, as a consequence, attracted less attention. But now that the assembled hacks and pundits see that West Bromwich East MP Tom Watson is way out in front on Constituency Labour Party (CLP) nominations, that’s all changed.
Tom Watson MP

The right-wing press detests Watson with a vengeance: he has been in the vanguard of attacks on the use by several titles of the so-called “Dark Arts”, and has been a relentless critic of the Murdoch empire, famously - and rightly - comparing it to a Mafia organisation during his interrogation of Murdoch Junior at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport select committee. The press doesn’t want him in a position of power.

So today has brought the smears and nudge-nudgery, typified by the Sun’s Craig Woodhouse, telling that with Watson as deputy, “Red Len” would be running the Labour Party, and it would be like “Handing [the] keys to [the] Unions”, because Watson is a member of Unite. The Sun always reaches for the Union smear when it has nothing to offer in the way of a coherent argument, which is all too often.

But the real pearler has come from James Kirkup at the Telegraph, who must be truly desperate to allow his name to appear on the by-line of a crude, lame and seriously dishonest attack typical of the move downmarket by this former paper of record. At the outset, Kirkup claims “A lethally efficient political operator, Mr Watson works tirelessly behind the scenes to bring the Labour movement under his control”.

He then compares the MP to Stalin - subtle this attack is not - before the first crass whopper is pulled: “From the opposition benches after 2010, he organised the campaign that closed the News of the World”. There was no campaign to close the Screws. The decision was taken by the Murdochs in an attempt to keep their bid for the 61% of Sky that they did not own in play. Kirkup should hang his head in shame.

But then, he’s too busy to go head-hanging, as there is another smear to deploy, on Watson’s part in airing allegations about former PM Ted Heath. The Kirkup version tells of “Mr Heath, one of several senior Conservatives whose conduct Mr Watson has questioned as part of his campaign over child abuse”. Baloney. All Watson did was to respond to questions by saying he’d passed information to the Police at the time. Nothing more.

That cuts no ice with the Tel man: “I’m not questioning his motives here. I’m saying nothing at all about his motives [YES YOU ARE]. But it is a fact that Mr Watson is a Labour politician whose actions have contributed to public suspicions (thus far unproven) that senior Conservatives committed or condoned child abuse. Whatever his motives, one consequence of his actions is political benefit to the Labour Party”.

Readers are then asked to feel sympathy for Creepy Uncle Rupe, because the rotten lefty was nasty about him. And then we get the “thug” smear - straight out of the Fox News playbook - in all but name: “Some of his Labour colleagues are frightened of him - literally frightened”. Where does James Kirkup see his next role? Conservative Home? Breitbart? The Fawkes blog? This is beyond parody - and beneath any credible journalist.


Andrew Barker said...

On the day that the report of the Leveson Inquiry was published, Tom Watson was scheduled to speak at an event for students of Journalism at the University of Huddersfield.

I was fully expecting him to cancel his appearance as I knew he would be in great demand by the media. I was extremely surprised and pleased to see that he didn't cancel his appearance and attended as scheduled.

At the end of the event I asked him why he still appeared. He told me that it was not in his nature to cancel events that he had already committed to. Instead, he had told all media that he would not be available that day.

What I see from this is a person of total integrity, not the individual as portrayed by some areas of the press.

Andy McDonald said...

It should be taken as read that any journalist who says or writes "I'm not accusing X of anything..." or "While I hold no torch for Y...", one should assume that yes they bloody are.

Carl Eve said...

I recall the campaign against NoTW was launched by bloggers and concerned members of general public - but it was aimed at their advertisers. Effectively - if you advertise with the Screws, we will boycott you. A slew of big companies very quickly withdrew their advertising. This co-incided, it later transpired during court hearings, that the Sun on Sunday plans were being put in place as it was recognised inside News UK that the Screws was a toxic paper and needed to be closed and replaced. For anyone to claim an MP campaigned to close it, they need their head examining...

rob said...

"But it is a fact that Mr Watson is a Labour politician whose actions have contributed to public suspicions (thus far unproven) that senior Conservatives committed or condoned child abuse. "

So he was not responsible for the suspicions cast in a similar manner to Labour politicians? This not a party political matter at all - Zac Goldsmith, a Tory MP, has also been involved and was shown in the film shown on Australian TV @60mins. Possible criminal actions are being investigated and politicians from ALL the major parties are or have been potentially involved. Witness the action against Lord Janner and the apparent concerted action (behind the scenes deals being done?) to have the case dismissed because of the defendents apparent dementia. Anyone who is interested in the real atate of these matters should be reading ExaroNews who are way ahead of the rest of the media who are dead scared to touch it.

I believe Tom Watson is one of our better politicians who is more in touch with the general public than most - he should be applauded not denigrated for his courageous work in this field given he was going to upset a lot of vested interests.

Mr Voxpopper said...

I thought this geezer was the twin of Simon Danczuk. They both like to salivate over tracking down dead 'paedos' in high places, invariably without much in the way of real evidence, it seems to me.

rob said...

@ Mr Voxpopper

"invariably without much in the way of real evidence"

And you have real evidence for your "seeming"? You sound like a Guido Fawkes wannabee or Rebekah Vindictive Brooks fan, but then again I have no evidence of that either.