Less than a day after the story of Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, and its suppression by at least four newspapers, had been brought to a wider audience by Private Eye magazine and BBC Newsnight, the “Conspiracy Theory” meme that had apparently been agreed in advance was falling apart. The falling apart came from those who had started it all, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog.
Behold another unsavoury sleazebag
“Watson Fingerprints All Over Whittingdale Story” rants the headline, as Wickham revisits the absurd and paranoid notion already pitched by Murdoch pundit David Aaronovitch - and already debunked. The Whittingdale story has had no input whatever from Labour’s deputy leader. None. Zero Zilch. Nil. Nada. Zip. Bugger all. So did the Fawkes teaboy think twice and retract? You jest. He just dug himself in a little deeper.
“For the last two years Natalie Rowe, the prostitute who made the infamous coke and bondage allegations about George Osborne” he tells, not letting readers know that these were not mere allegations - Osborne was a client of hers. But do go on. “Her allegations, including the pictures she tweeted of Whitto and his former partner, eventually found their way onto the eccentric Byline website”. Anything factual is “eccentric” to Wickham.
The Byline pieces by Nick Mutch and James Cusick are not Ms Rowe’s allegations. Wickham must think everyone else cobbles up whoppers the same way he does. But then he gets to the point: “Yet well before the revelations broke, Rowe had a long phone call with Tom Watson where they discussed ‘in detail’ her story about Whittingdale”. Tom Watson still had absolutely nothing to do with the Byline pieces.
Would Sir like to double down and make a total Grade A tosser of himself? He certainly would: “Natalie was frustrated with Watson’s apparent failure to get the story going. Conveniently, it eventually ended up on Byline, whose writers Watson is very friendly with”. Hey, Tom Watson once met Peter Jukes by Canada Water Tube! Wow! How sinister is that? Er, it’s not sinister at all. Peter once met Wickham’s former colleague Harry Cole.
So is Master Cole in on the conspiracy? But Wickham has one last throw of the dice: “Ironic that Watson, a man who previously had a keen interest in keeping his personal life out of the press, was so interested in the private relationships of a political enemy”. He has still not contributed in any shape or form to the Byline pieces.
All those useful idiots who so eagerly cited Wickham’s wibblings as authoritative earlier today should hang their heads in shame. Here is the one shouting “Conspiracy Theory” the loudest, while all he’s doing is to … peddle baseless conspiracy theories. He isn’t known as “Billy Liar” for nothing. Another fine mess, once again.
[UPDATE 1735 hours: not only has Tom Watson had no input or even influence on the Byline Media pieces on Whittingdale, it now transpires that he actually helped the Tory MP's cause by advising a paper not to publish the story.
Robert Peston has told on his Facebook page that Watson told The Sunday People "he did not see there was a public-interest reason to run the story on Mr Whittingdale's affair, since he was a single man, this was his private life, and the People had no evidence that Mr Whittingdale had paid for sex ... So a prominent MP who presumably would feel that embarrassing Mr Whittingdale was in his party's interest cautioned against publication".
That means Alex Wickham's ridiculous conspiracy theory is well and truly busted]