If the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog thought that they had heard the last of poacher-turned-gamekeeper James Chapman after their most inadvisable - and potentially illegal - smearing of him yesterday, they have another think coming. And this time, the blowback touches that most sensitive part of The Great Guido’s psyche: the phoney façade of reputable journalism that isn’t.
Behold the righteous face of The Great Guido
While Staines and his pals, as is customary for lazy hired hands, take the weekend off, their collective credibility is visibly receding as Chapman tells the world what many of us outside the Westminster bubble knew all along. Staines may once have been an outsider, but has now left the field, relinquishing that role to Private Eye magazine, which he and his fawning acolytes claimed to have seen off, another of their pants-on-fire moments.
That the Fawkes folks had become part of the press and politics establishment has been known for some time: Staines took the Murdoch shilling by accepting a column in the Sun on Sunday, and if word is passed to him from the twinkle-toed yet domestically combative Rebekah Brooks to do as he is told, then he does just that - no questions asked.
It is also well-known that the Fawkes rabble shill for the Tory Party: approaching June’s General Election, it was difficult to distinguish between the talking points coming out of CCHQ, and those emanating from The Great Guido. Staines and his gang are always willing to beat up on campaigning group Hacked Off, ever ready to kick new media entrants and brand them “Fake News” while excusing their own, and the press’, lies.
But when the same line comes from a former insider, especially one who knows where the bodies are buried, it is all the more damning. And after Chapman paused to give Julia Hartley Dooda the hard word - “Julia Hartley Brewer has just asked me if I would like to go on her "show". GBH! I'd rather stick pins in my eyes” - he took aim at Staines.
“The @conservatives relationship with the disgusting @GuidoFawkes is another reason why they are not fit for office … I think Westminster has had quite enough of @GuidoFawkes pathetic little games. Time for Paul to crawl back under his rock” he Tweeted, following up with “@GuidoFawkes is not journalism - as indeed those who have worked for him like @MrHarryCole are not journalists”. He shoots. He scores.
It has long been one of those things Master Cole would rather nobody mention - that he is not a real journalist, merely someone who pretends to be one. Being just another of those clever people who talk loudly in restaurants does not a journalist make.
What was that about embarrassing photos? Paul Staines, Master Harry Cole and the loathsome Toby Young
Nor is Staines a real journalist, and nor are his newly anointed teaboy Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham or his apprentice sandwich monitor, oops, sorry, “senior reporter” Ross Kempsell. They are phonies, the lot of them. And Staines is so sensitive to Chapman’s response that he is already obsessing about him, as witness “Go to bed James, get off @twitter for your family's sake. You need some sleep, you have been tweeting around the clock”. Staines is picking over Champan’s Twitter stats for ammunition.
If one former hack is prepared to spill the beans on the reality of The Great Guido, Staines knows more may follow. It is a prospect he dreads. Another fine mess, once again.