Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Wednesday 13 April 2016

Whittingdale - It’s A Conspiracy

The saga of Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, and his more than year-long relationship with a known prostitute, finally burst out into the mainstream yesterday as first Private Eye magazine devoted a full page feature to the affair, and then BBC Newsnight majored on the story. That much was news; what was yet more interesting was how the press’ obedient poodles lined up to scream “non-story” and “conspiracy theory”.
After John Sweeney’s report, there was a discussion between Roy Greenslade, former tabloid editor, and Brian Cathcart, formerly a board member of campaigning group Hacked Off. Greenslade, sadly, resorted to the all-too-common tactic of taking the dead cat that is the accusation of “Conspiracy Theory” and chucking it on the table. And it is telling that this line had not only already been established, but its supporters were ready and waiting.
Is the teaboy having an original thought here?

You think I jest? How often are the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog waiting to post an item after 2300 hours? Yet there was newly anointed teaboy Alex Wickham with his characteristic mix of spin, whataboutery and dishonesty, getting the press establishment line on air almost as soon as the Newsnight discussion had ended. It was a Hacked Off conspiracy theory!
Sadly, no he isn't

Except it wasn’t: Hacked Off are not involved in the story. Cathcart was asked to comment on that story; he was not, and is not, a participant. Wickham talks of “Roy Greenslade, a man unlikely to be part of a right-wing media plot to protect a Tory Cabinet minister”, but as he knows full well, nothing “right-wing” has been so much as suggested - remember, one of the groups that spiked the Whittingdale story runs the left-leaning Mirror!
Another obedient press poodle ...

The Fawkes folks describe “Hacked Off’s wild claims that the press covered up”, but Hacked Off have made no such claim. Wickham concludes “Whitto will be embarrassed by the revelations but he was a single man in a consensual relationship who has done nothing wrong”. Chris Bryant was a single man - that didn’t stop the Fawkes rabble. That The Great Guido was there waiting to rebut and spin is all you need to know.
... and another ...

Moreover, the “Conspiracy Theory” line was not only trotted out obligingly by, among others, Stephen “Vicky” Pollard and Phil Hendren aka Dizzy Thinks, it was, tellingly, used by the loathsome Toby Young three days ago when trying to rubbish Peter Jukes, and before Wickham could get his rebuttal online, it was obediently trotted out by David Jack, another pillar of the press establishment.
... and yet another

As Brian Cathcart also said, the phone hacking scandal was treated the same way - there were yells of “non story” and “conspiracy theory”. There were claims that it was a bunch of rotten lefties trying to get someone on the right. It was framed as right versus left, rather than actually addressing the issues. All of that proved to be wrong. Now, the same people who got it wrong then are coming out with the same excuses.

The lack of self awareness is staggering. But they just don’t get it. And I have news for all those obedient press poodles: there is more to come on this story. And you’re not going to stop it. You’re welcome.


rob said...

Don't Mensch'n Whitters! Sorry get carried away with drawing the Aaronovitch conspiracy lines.

Anonymous said...

Surely I am not the only one to note how neocon ranters can always find "a left wing conspiracy"......but never a right wing conspiracy.

I must say what fun it is watching neocon lickspittles disappear up their own arses trying to "explain" offshore rip offs and their own craven censorship. That's apart from overt racism against refugees and Muslims. To say nothing of their cowardly refusal to defend the victims of far right government attacks on our most vulnerable citizens.

Could one of them inquire if the Bullingdon pig's head boy's mother was singing the national anthem when she gave him gifts of hundreds of thousands of pounds, which of course had nothing whatever to do with off shore funds laundered through Panama?......No, I won't hold my breath either.

Bob said...

Whittingdale states: 'At no time did she give me any indication of her real occupation and I only discovered this when I was made aware that someone was trying to sell a story about me to tabloid newspapers. As soon as I discovered, I ended the relationship.'
James Cusick on Byline: “A senior Labour MP confirmed that he had seen Whittingdale with a prostitute at the House of Commons, although was unaware if it was Ms. King. When pressed on how he was aware of this, he told Byline that she was giving out business cards to other MPs”.
So Whittingdale didn't notice that she was handing out business cards advertising her profession, whoever she was.

rob said...

@ Bob

"So Whittingdale didn't notice that she was handing out business cards advertising her profession, whoever she was."

It might be interesting to know who actually made use of those business cards?
Or not if you are happen to be mates or a useful contact with/for the tabloids?

what a surprise! said...

Hmmmm. Think of a big business man or shall we say Mogul? who is connected to the sex industry and then a story of an MP in a relationship with a sex worker.

Could people be forgiven for thinking there are connection, anywhere, EVER????

Anonymous said...

A whore handing out "business" cards in Parliament?

Sounds like normal tory activities to me......I bet the cards even stressed "family values."

Rivo said...

There are many strands to this story, and it is worth considering them individually. There has been a notable tendency in those who for whatever reason oppose the publication of this story to deliberately muddle and tangle these strands so as to make the actions of Whittingdale and the press seem reasonable. I have even noticed people who would normally be on the media's case over this matter lining up to defend them on Twitter.

The prurience/non-story defence: Whittingdale is single, blah blah, who he sees is unimportant blah blah. On its own, this is true; but such respect for other people's private lives has not stopped the press in the past. The story is not actually about who Whittingdale is seeing, its about why the tabloids for whom this kind of story is their bread and butter were so keen not to publish.

Whittingdale's "admission": Whittingdale has come forth and admitted to having a "relationship" with this woman, painting it as an everydale boy-meets-girl tale of dating. all the while apparently being blissfully unaware of her vocation despite it apparently being open knowledge among his Westminster colleagues, who upon discovering her means of employment ended the relationship immediately. If he was, as he claims, seeing her in a social capacity rather than her professional one it seems a little odd to me that he would so cleanly be able to end the relationship upon discovering the truth as he apparently did. All in all, his portrayal of events paints him as either hopelessly naive or a lying shit. Either way it diminishes his fitness for his role in Government.

I have also noticed a glaring omission in those lining up to belittle this story; not one of them has remarked upon the fact the lady in question was, at the same time as being in a relationship with Whittingdale, and through him given access to several high-profile events, an associate of organised criminals.

Facing both ways said...

Neil Wallis was on R5Live this morning covering all the bases; he was single, unknown, no public interest, spiked by legal, no spiked because of lessons learned and press have changed, no BBC conspiracy!

Gilbert Keith Chesterton said...

Dizzy "Thinks", that's a good one, comedy gold!

I had no idea that bellend was still going, apparently still hasn't got any sense since I last heard from him in 2010.

Anonymous said...

Lots of married press staff and other professionals who have strayed or know colleagues who have and perhaps know they wouldn't like the exposure or partners finding out?

That's probably a good reason for them not to run it or critique it.

I'd put money on it.

On this Occassion they were both free agents.

pete c said...

Regardless of where the 'story' goes, some sweet collateral damage will ensue.

Several thousand Radio Times readers responded through that mag to the debate on the future of the BBC.

Extremely miffed to have discovered their responses were not even opened or acknowledged, let alone looked at, by Whittingdale and his staff. Own goal.

Now that his 'local problem' has figured on the BBC and Yahoo home-pages, and yesterday in the Evening Standard, that's a lot of folk sharing with their mates just how big a toad he really is. Good.