While the right-leaning part of the Fourth Estate and its hangers-on try desperately to perpetuate the myth that the rotten lefties are spreading lots of Fake News and resorting to setting their own trousers alight just to score a few more clicks, it is becoming clear that this is a mere cover for Tories and their apologists to propagate some serious water muddying with a little very obvious Fake News of their own.
The Fake News takes a number of forms: one is the baseless smear, and here we encounter a Zelo Street favourite, the loathsome Toby Young, taking time off between acts of obsequious grovelling before the press barons for his next paycheque to tell anyone not yet asleep “Mustafa Almansur, the organiser of the Grenfell Tower protest movement, was once arrested on suspicion of terrorism”. And, so what?
Almansur has every reason to be involved in protest following the Grenfell Tower fire - he lost a friend in the blaze. Moreover, as Tobes well knows, being arrested on suspicion of an offence is not indication of guilt, and certainly was not in this case. Mustafa Almansur was later released without charge. But this is merely an hors d’oeuvres to prepare us for a far more substantial main course of Fake News deployment.
Malcolm Knight - a little too over-confident
This brings us to Malcolm Knight, who admits to being a “former merchant banker”. He clearly believes he has found the magic bullet that will sink Jeremy Corbyn as he Tweets “On June 7, 2005, @jeremycorbyn voted to exempt tower blocks built before 2007 from requiring sprinklers. His 9/11”. This sounds as if the Labour leader is bang to rights. But he is not: this is yet more Fake News peddled by the partisan and over-eager.
One Tweeter tried to let Knight down gently: “Section 6.1 (a) states that the Order does not apply in relation to domestic premises … Explanatory memorandum also makes it very clear that the draft Order only relates to non-domestic premises”. The Great Man was terribly offended: “This is the legislation on which current fire regulations are based. Stop trying to deflect”. But the response pointed out that he was wrong: “I'm not deflecting. I'm simply explaining to you what the document you linked to relates to. Read it”.
It got worse: the legislation being referred to is what is called a Statutory Instrument, and these are not generally voted on. And one of the Statutory Instruments that did not get voted on as it made its way through the Commons was this one.
Could it get worse for Malcolm Knight? It most certainly could: specifying a date for that vote has turned out to be the cruellest hostage to fortune, as this can be tested against any MP’s voting record - they are all available online. So we can see exactly what Jeremy Corbyn voted on during the day Knight has specified.
So here’s Jezza’s voting record for that week back in 2005, where we can see that on the 7th of June, he voted on … nothing. There were no votes on that day.
Smearing the Grenfell Tower protesters is bad enough. Smearing the Labour leader by lying is the lowest of the low. Malcolm Knight has found his own level rather rapidly.