How are the mighty fallen: once, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog stood ever ready to call out bad behaviour among politicians and the press, but have now been reduced to taking dictation from the establishment, their true masters. This has been demonstrated by their crude and amateurish gaslighting of former Daily Mail political editor, and later SpAd, James Chapman.
Behold the arbiter of taste and decency
Chapman has recently caused significant discomfort to The Great Guido (among others), and word has clearly gone out to administer a suitable punishment beating: somewhere, a Mr Bridger figure has got the word out to Camp Freddie for Chapman to be given A Good Going Over. If only it had been done by someone who knew what they were doing.
The post, “Concerns Raised About Chappers … BREXDOWN” (Geddit?!?!?), suggests genuine insider knowledge. But here a problem enters: what the Fawkes massive now says about Chapman, and what it said at the time, are not remotely comparable. Worse, none of the Fawkes principals have put their names to the hatchet job - not Staines, nor teaboy Alex Wickham, nor sandwich monitor Ross Kempsell.
It is authored by “order-order”, which suggests it was either given to the current intern, or nobody wanted to be associated with it. Which of those is true I will leave to others to figure out. But let’s start at the beginning, as it’s a very good place to start.
“It is not hard to understand why Chapman is anguished. He was being eased out of the Daily Mail pol-ed role when he took up Osborne’s offer to spin for him … He haughtily told everyone on the way out of Northcliffe House that he would be in No. 10 in due course, lording it over them when Osborne ascended to the premiership” claims the post.
And here is what The Great Guido said at the time: “With Mail Political Editor James Chapman off to spin for Osborne and not expected to write another word in the paper, the race to succeed him in one of the best jobs in political journalism is well under way”. Not a peep about being “eased out”. Not so much as a murmur about “lording it”.
It gets worse: the hit piece claims “For some time after Osborne’s sacking he was in limbo, eventually taking the role with David Davis at DExEU for which he was so unsuited”. And at the time Chapman went to work for Davis? “Osborne’s former aide and Project Fear spinmeister James Chapman is to be David Davis’ SpAd at the new Brexit department … It will certainly surprise many Leavers that a prominent Remainer will be taking such a key role”. No talk of his being “so unsuited”, or of him “eventually” taking up the role.
The best the Fawkes rabble could manage was, when Chapman left Davis’ service at the General Election, to muse “Was always a bit of an odd move for Chappers to go from Project Fear to the Brexit department. Good luck in the undisclosed new job (expect inevitable rumours that the former Mail pol ed could reunite with his old boss George Osborne at the Standard)”. The “inevitable rumours” were wrong, too.
But we do get confirmation that The Great Guido has been obsessively pursuing Chapman via his social media presence: “On Facebook and Instagram there have been grim late night posts - subsequently deleted”. Nothing better to do at night? Get a life.
And then comes the ultimate hypocrisy: “Chapman was escorted out of parliament a few weeks ago after a particularly drunken episode”. Oh, just f*** right off. What colour is the pot, kettle? The Fawkes blog, run by someone with a string of alcohol related convictions, including two for drink driving, whose favourite lunchtime tipple as disclosed to Esquire magazine is a bottle of Chablis - a whole one - and who was caught on video being ejected from the IoD for drunkenness (see it HERE) calling “drunk” on someone else?
Then it’s on to the clumsy English - perhaps it really was the intern writing the post - as we are told “He has also to some extent gone public himself with his hundreds of round-the-clock tweets”. An open Twitter feed is publicly viewable? Wow! Who knew?
Have another go. “His tweets suggest that in his mind he thinks he is Britain’s answer to Macron leading his own party”. The Fawkes rabble are now psychoanalysts. Or something. And so we come to those “friends” who are “concerned”.
“Some former colleagues are going public, most are keeping their counsel private”. Keeping their counsel private? Whatever. Moving on from the shonky English and typically empty suggestion that the silent majority somehow agrees with The Great Guido, perhaps we can see who these caring and concerned friends are?
And there it falls apart in short order. Isabel Oakeshott? You’re having a laugh. Nadine Dorries? No, stop it, it’s hurting. Iain Martin? Mr Picture of Tolerance? The one who called Labour Party supporters “Socialist Worker middle class twats”?
This is so obviously a hit job done to order, right down to the “we’re really worried about him, honest” drivel - the Fawkes rabble have about as much collective empathy as a flying brick - and the sign-off “It’s sad to watch”. James Chapman is exercising the freedom of speech that The Great Guido usually rushes to defend. Why so reluctant to defend that freedom now, apart from the need to keep in with the press and political establishment?
Ah well. There is one snippet from the Fawkes post on Chapman going to work for Davis that I held back. A snippet that reveals rather a lot in just seven words.
And it is this: “Chappers hasn’t been replying to Guido’s texts”. Staines and his rabble aren’t important enough for the real movers and shakers to bother with.
But they are useful for taking dictation. Another fine mess, once again.