The perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog entertained their readers earlier this week with a superb example of “look over there” deflection titled “Guido’s Guide To News, Fake And Otherwise”. This was a brass neck display par excellence, and what it was most likely intended to deflect from did not become clear at the time - because it was published elsewhere.
Someone with some explaining to do ...
As I noted yesterday, the Sun’s alleged “Westminster Correspondent”, the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole, had been indulging in implicit promotion of UKIP by knocking Labour’s candidate in the Stoke on Trent Central by-election, Gareth Snell. There could only be one beneficiary from this tactic, the Kippers’ new leader, “Bad Bootle Meff” Paul Nuttall. The clue to who would benefit was in the Muslim bashing.
... and his self-promoting pal
From the start, Master Cole’s article was misleading: “TEXTS have warned Muslim voters they will be condemned to hell if they do not vote Labour in the Stoke Central by-election”. Only one text was ponied up. Then came the admission: “Ahead of next week’s crunch by-election, the anonymous messages were sent around the seat that has a seven percent Muslim population”. One message, actually. And it was anonymous.
Then comes the switch: another message, merely calling UKIP a racist party - which they arguably are - signed by someone who has been photographed with both Snell, and party leader Jeremy Corbyn. Thus the guilt-by-association twice removed - the anonymous message is dishonestly linked to someone who was snapped with the candidate.
It got worse: suspicion fell on the anonymous message yesterday afternoon, with rumours flying that it had been sent by a UKIP supporter. And worse still: look at the sign-off, which says “May ALLAH TALLAH grant us all Hidayet, Ameen”. That’s been written by someone who seems not to know one end of Islam from the other.
“Allah Subhanahu wa ta’alla”, often abbreviated to “Allah SWT” is the usual form, and a typical use would be “May Allah SWT bless us all”. Where the word “Hidayet”, which looks like Turkish, came from is mystifying. Master Cole could, and should, have run that past someone familiar with Islam - but perhaps he doesn’t know anyone who is.
And what makes this whole exercise smell yet more ripe - along with leading us back to the Fawkes rabble - is the intervention of their newly anointed teaboy Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham. After Cole had Tweeted out his Sun article with “So... Muslim Labour voters in Stoke are warned they will go to hell if they don't vote @gareth_snell... Grim”, Wickham was close behind with “LibDems say the 'vote Snell or go to hell' texts in Stoke look like Lutfur Rahman levels of spiritual influence”. But then he was rumbled.
The Tweeter otherwise known as SLATUKIP, without tagging Wickham, claimed “We're hearing it's someone in UKIP who sent the anon texts”. Note use of the term “anon”. Then Wickham had his Oh-What-A-Giveaway moment, replying with one of the guilt-by-association photos and a text which was NOT the anonymous one.
This told us two things: One, the intention of using the anonymous text was to smear Gareth Snell via Navid Hussain - the other man in the photo. But Hussain had nothing to do with the anonymous text. And Two, that by drawing attention to himself, Wickham signalled his likely involvement with the anti-Labour smear.
Right now, my Occam’s Razor is pointing at Alex Wickham knowing the identity of the author of that dodgy anonymous text, and that Master Cole’s supposed “exclusive” was not a solo effort. This confected scandal has been jumped up to help UKIP. But I have bad news for the confectioners: your Zinoviev Letter variation has been busted a week early.
All of which means the rest of the press, and those who took the anonymous text message as other than a UKIP-assisting hoax, have been suckered - especially the Lib Dems, who have made a complaint about it. Their grievance should have been addressed to the local Kippers and their pals at the Fawkes blog and the Murdoch press.
The Great Guido was right to warn about Fake News. What could also have been warned about was the likelihood of one of his rabble helping to generate it. Another fine mess.