Flushed with the success of his part in the referendum victory for the Outers, or so he has no doubt persuaded himself, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines has decided that the Guido Fawkes blog will stick its bugle into the Tory leadership contest too. And it is no surprise at all to see The Great Guido throwing his not inconsiderable bulk behind the challenge of Andrea Leadsom, the most uncompromisingly right-wing option.
The lengths to which Staines and his rabble are prepared to go in order to spin for the Leadsom candidacy have been all too clear: after trowelling on the fact that Theresa May had backed the Remain campaign, the Fawkes blog then tried to smear her over her record on immigration - after the Leave campaign spent most of its time ranting that being in the EU meant a lack of control over, er, immigration.
But it has been the pro-Leadsom spin that has been so craven, typified by the talking up of her appearance at the Treasury Select Committee back in 2012, commenting “She may well have given her CV a bit of a gloss. But no one can deny she knows her stuff”. Knowing more than Staines and his pals about the banking system might impress the Fawkes blog’s readers, but is hardly a Prime Ministerial endorsement.
Still, it was clear where the Fawkes rabble stood on the Tory leadership, and so when the Murdoch Times splashed on its Leadsom interview yesterday, it should have surprised no-one that spin turned to blind panic as their preferred candidate showed a woeful lack of savvy as she told Rachel Sylvester “but I have CHILDREN”. What to do?
Staines was so desperate that he had to accuse someone else of dirty tricks, which is rather like a Mafiosi whining that the bloke he just emptied his gun into made a mess bleeding on the carpet. “Note @andrealeadsom never uttered the words in the headline. Slanted deliberately. Going to be a long campaign”. A big boy did a nasty headline and ran away. And what colour is the pot, O Fawkes kettle?
The Twitter whinging had, however, only just begun, and was soon followed by “Audio shows Rachel Sylvester brought up the subject of motherhood and asked the question about her being a mum”. It was Ms Leadsom that brought her opponent into it, thanks. But Staines was nothing if not persistent: “#ToryLeadership - where being a proud parent has been twisted into a negative. Long campaign ahead of us”.
Someone twisted something? How dare they, that’s the Fawkes rabble’s job! Wouldn’t the readers look somewhere else? Immigration, perhaps? “May was supposed to deliver immigration ‘down to the tens of thousands’. Based on past experience, will she deliver the #Brexit she opposed?” And make excuses about the interview transcript. “Is there a reason why - in these circumstances - we can't have the full transcript / recording?”
It wasn’t Ms Leadsom’s fault! It was “naive rather than nasty”! Rachel Sylvester was contradicting her own story! Well, she was apparently contradicting it, providing you believed the Fawkes blog, so perhaps she wasn’t at all. But Staines wanted his readers to know that “The only way to establish whether or not Andrea Leadsom has been stitched up is to release the full recording - something The Times is refusing to do”.
Why is Staines spinning so shamelessly for Ms Leadsom? Ah well. Stay tuned.