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Thursday 4 February 2016

Second Labour Veteran Smear Busted

Even after Zelo Street rumbled him yesterday, Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham, newly anointed teaboy to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines at the Guido Fawkes blog, went ahead with his hatchet job on the Twitter presence of World War 2 veteran and campaigner Harry Leslie Smith, the title of the post, “Publisher Refuses To Deny Tweeting As Labour War Hero” signalling a singularly lame slice of concern trolling.
Harry Leslie Smith - still a hero

Mr Smith’s name is attributed to a Twitter account which posts a large amount of bizarre, sometimes downright offensive material” tells Wickham, trying and failing to pass off opinion as fact, before the concern trolling begins. “Over the last few weeks, many Labour supporters and tweeters have questioned whether Mr Smith is responsible for the posts, or if his account is - rather distastefully - controlled by someone else using his name”.

Look over there! That is “distasteful”, but what is being done by the Fawkes rabble is done out of genuine concern. Honestly. But on ploughs the teaboy: “Those who have met Mr Smith say it is impossible he controls the account”. One person who claims to have met HLS is cited, but no effort has been made to confirm the claim. And it gets worse.
Alex Wickham - still a sleazebag

Multiple sources in the Labour Party and elsewhere tell Guido that in fact several people have access”. No citation, and nor will there be. “Sources with intimate knowledge of the account claim Mr Smith’s son is responsible for some of the tweets, as well as an agent and someone working with his publisher, Icon Books”. No citation. “Labour sources distance the party from the account, insisting it is nothing to do with them”. It was never claimed to be a Labour Party account, so this is irrelevant.

Then comes Wickham’s spin on his email to Icon Books, thus confirming that Zelo Street was correct yesterday: “To try to get to the bottom of this rather odd tale, Guido contacted Icon Books to politely ask if anyone from the company had access to the account. Given the opportunity to deny this well-established rumour, Icon Books failed to get back to us. Instead, they rather strangely decided to leak Guido’s email online”.
No Alex, I’m not playing your nasty little game. This is a fishing expedition: make a suitably provocative claim and use the response to help figure out how I got the text of that email. But back to the concern trolling: “It would be pretty grim if someone has been exploiting this 92 year-old war hero by tweeting under his name”. Yeah, it’s genuine concern, and not the start of an attempt to discredit HLS brick by brick.

First they come for the Twitter feed - he can’t be writing that, can he - then come the newspaper articles - he can’t be writing those, can he - and soon it’s on to the books. There is nothing “polite” about this. In any case, HLS has given his own response to the claims made by the Fawkes rabble and their fellow travellers.

Responding to a request from my good friend Peter Jukes, HLS told “I put on my own trousers, cook my own tea, drive my own car, do my own taxes and also my own Tweets … I really wish I had assistants but I am just not that big of a fish to warrant them. In truth I am just an ordinary pensioner who was blessed with good genes a good head and desire to speak my mind. Cheers, Harry”.

As I said yesterday, this smear is well and truly busted. The end.


Anonymous said...


You have done us all a great service in pointing out this attack on HLS, and I would like to thank you.

However, keep your eyes peeled for other examples of this behaviour as the Conservatives and their lackies need as many dead cats as they can find in the coming months, as the economy and Brexit threaten to expose their deceit, incompetence and ideology.

Keep up the good work!

Nick Jackson said...

So can we basically say anything about anyone so long as it is attributed to anonymous sources close to xxxxxx.

I could suggest that sources close to a right wing blogger intimated he has an unhealthy interested in pre-pubescent girls for instance?

Anonymous said...

“It would be pretty grim if someone has been exploiting this 92 year-old war hero by tweeting under his name”.


But it would be a great deal worse than "pretty grim" if some tory gimp like Wickham attacked Harry Smith using lies and cowardly innuendo. Much worse.

Not that Wickham and their paymasters the loony Bullingdon gang would understand that.

http://www.thesocialshuttle.com/ said...

"It would be pretty grim if someone has been exploiting this 92 year-old war hero". Yes it would be and that's just what Guido Fawkes is doing.

rob said...

"“It would be pretty grim if someone has been exploiting this 92 year-old war hero by tweeting under his name”

Has anyone checked the output of the Guido work(hah!)force to see whether they have been exploiting under age school kids using the Guido brand? it would indeed be pretty grim if it could be proved that their output (hah!) was all the work of grown ups.

Andy McDonald said...

Interesting logic from the Fawkes mob. War hero = good. Pensioner = good. War hero pensioner = very good. And yes, all of those tags carry a certain emotional charge. But whatever the case, if you heard someone described as such you'd think "This person is worthy of respect, they should be listened to".

And then, horror of horrors, it turns out that the person is that most terrible of things - a bit of a lefty. 'This cannot be!' you cry, and look for possible ways to deal with this terrible news - that someone you ought to admire is One Of Them.

So, what to do? Do you listen to them, possibly consider their life experiences and how they differ from yours, and how they've shaped their current mindset? Possibly even engage with them in discussion? Or do you go "Nah, look at him. Old fart probably can't even operate his remote. Some kid's doing them for him."?

Congratulations if you chose option B. Now delete your soul.

Amanda Kendal said...

I interviewed Harry at some length in the autumn (result here: https://www.unison.org.uk/news/article/2015/12/a-history-mans-challenge-for-the-future/) and one of the things that often strikes me about his tweets is that I can 'hear' him saying them. Which would be pretty clever if loads of people were writing them on his behalf.

Quite apart from that, there's steel and grit in Harry, and I wouldn't fancy the lying little teaboy's chances if he actually met the man he's attempting to smear.