"Wrong? Me?" Yes, wrong, and yes, you
Here is what The Great Man said in response to my assertion that Watson had been vindicated by the news that the CPS had only passed Watson’s letter to the Police after they had interviewed Brittan, whom they already had under investigation: “Afraid not. The contents of Watson's letter to the DPP… were published by Exaro as early as May 17th”. This is not the same as making representations to the Police. But do go on.
“I've just shown you that the contents of the Watson letter were published in May 14 before Brittan interview … If you look at the Exaro releases for 17th and 20th May it should be clear that Met would have known … So how about clambering off your high horse and acknowledging your error?” That, folks, is the case for the defence. And I have to tell the court that it makes for a truly lamentable defence indeed.
The reason Aaronovitch is effectively bust is the same as that which did for his fellow Murdoch pundit, (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch, after the Tory Party conference. She asserted that delegates had been subjected to hate speech and some frankly disgusting threats and actions. So when GMP Chief Constable Peter Fahy asserted that no formal complaints had been received, she was incandescent with rage.
There were photos of ministers arguing with Police officers! What more evidence did Fahy need? It had been widely reported, publicised, disseminated. It was all over social media. And all of this was singularly, totally and utterly irrelevant. Publicising a matter is not, repeat not, repeat NOT something on which the Police are able to act. What did Ms Mensch think they did, trawl Twitter and haul suspects off the streets as a result?
The Police cannot, and will not, act on the basis of social media, press releases, and other media claims of whatever nature. They act when representations, in the form of reports or complaints, are made to them, either directly or via organisations such as the CPS. This latter is the course that the Watson letter took. If David Aaronovitch is suggesting otherwise, he is either ignorant or wilful. Neither is desirable for a reputable journalist.
Aaronovitch was told yesterday that Police cannot act on a press release. This does not appear to have sunk in. The impression is given that he is experiencing difficulty realising that he has got this one wrong, yet cannot bring himself to come clean and admit it. And I have one final message for Aaronovitch: I’m not here to wipe his arse for him, but to hand it to him on a plate. You’re welcome, taker of the Murdoch shilling.