The contempt in which this blog holds the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog is well known. There is good reason for this stance: Staines himself is an unprincipled liar, a lush, a chancer, a hypocrite, a bigot and a fraud. His backstory includes pandering to, and encouraging, totalitarian régimes and mass murderers. He is in no position to call out others for their unprincipled dishonesty.
If you wouldn't do business with him ...
His unappealing array of side-kicks is likewise lacking in such trivial things as moral fibre: whether one considers his former deputy, the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole, whose unique blend of cluelessness, arrogance and serial dishonesty was honed while still at University, or the present incumbent, teaboy Alex Wickham, always full value for his nickname of “Billy Liar”, the impression of villainy is inescapable.
... or wouldn't touch him with a barge pole ...
Staines’ rank hypocrisy is legend, typified by his cavalier attitude to legal threats while at the same time ever ready to threaten others. He tried it on with Zelo Street: I stood my ground and Staines was bust. His side-kick Cole also threatened me; he too was faced down and got nowhere. Yet I am reliably informed that Paul Staines, earlier this month, threatened legal action over the revisiting of a verifiably true story about him.
... or trust him any further than you could chuck him ...
The Great Guido is not someone who should be taken seriously, far less entertained at the same table as the media establishment. But the media establishment is indeed entertaining Staines and his pals at the top table. Those doing the entertaining include broadcasters (plural). Those broadcasters include the BBC. We know this as a result of two high profile moments during the past week.
... and you certainly wouldn't trust him ...
One, the Corporation’s flagship Daily Politics entertained Sophie Evans, the young woman involved in accusations against now-suspended Sheffield Hallam MP Jared O’Mara. Her testimony was allowed to pass unchallenged. But as this blog has pointed out, she is an unreliable witness. Why that should be is not known; nor should any of this detract from the gravity of the accusations facing O’Mara. But she should not be taken on trust.
Why that happened is down to the Fawkes blog pushing her claims. The Beeb ought to know that Staines and his pals are a bunch of liars operating a borderline Fake News operation and act accordingly. They have not. And another example came yesterday.
The claim was made during The Andy Marr Show (tm) that shadow chancellor John McDonnell had joked about “lynching” Tory MP Esther McVey. He had not; McDonnell had been talking about what others had suggested. He was quick enough to get that message to the BBC and for his response to be relayed to viewers before the end of the show. The claim can be traced back to the Fawkes blog.
This matters: the Fawkes version of events rarely conforms with reality, as Wickham let slip yesterday. Berating Diane Abbott and Shami Chakrabarti over their claims that they did not know about the accusations against O’Mara until last week, he claimed “Guido first published the O’Mara sexism stories in June, the other allegations were put to Labour last month”. What they published in June was merely Ms Evans’ allegations.
But while this partial retelling of the story would be sneered at by that media establishment had it come from The Canary or Skwawkbox, it is lapped up by them when it emanates from The Great Guido. So no-one should be surprised when the Fawkes blog attacks Shami Chakrabarti for saying she does not take allegations from the Fawkes rabble seriously, supposedly respected journalists join in that attack.
... then how on earth do you explain this?
You think I jest? There was Tim Shipman, political editor of the Murdoch Sunday Times, to assist the Fawkes massive in its efforts to put the boot in: “Apparently Shami Chakrabarti isn’t interested in any allegations that appear on @GuidoFawkes” he sneered.
The Fawkes rabble are not credible. Yet they have been allowed to break bread with the media establishment. This has to do with many factors: the right-leaning nature of most of that establishment, especially the print side, Staines’ opportunism, the utility of a deniable source, and the relative cheapness of using the Fawkes blog as shock troops in an age when budgets are being slashed - as is head count.
Press players other than the Murdoch titles go along with this: the herd instinct, the tendency to defer to the Murdoch mafiosi out of fear if nothing else, the iron code of press Omertà, all play a part in this. Also, it makes for an easier life.
Laura Pidcock MP
What results from this is the kind of content the Fawkes blog has just published about Labour MP Laura Pidcock, smearing her because of who she “shared a platform with”, the same tactic used by them and others to attack Sadiq Khan during his campaign to become Mayor of London. What is rather more sinister about this apparently routine slice of amateur guilt-by-association nastiness is what lies behind it.
My information is that Ross Kempsell of the Fawkes blog has been indulging in behaviour that could be construed as threatening over the attacks on Ms Pidcock. My contact said of Kempsell’s approach “He’s got info about a young MP they’ve been maligning for weeks about the MP sharing a platform with someone shady. She wasn’t aware of his identity at the time”. It is most revealing that the Fawkes post does not include the MP’s comments.
What they have not told is that Ms Pidcock’s presence was a work engagement for Show Racism The Red Card. Also, she had no prior knowledge of the Imam. And moreover, public sector organisations including the Police were involved. None of that gets into the Fawkes attack. That would muddy the waters, even invalidate the hit job.
I was also informed that “The person [Kempsell has] contacted is an aide and very new to the job, as is the MP … they’ve been under a sustained attack from a lot of outlets”. My information is that this approach was of the “we’re going to get her” kind. Ms Pidcock has been a target for every right-leaning media outlet for some weeks now. She does not conform to their view of what a female MP should be like. Hence the attacks.
After the claims that as many as 36 Tories could be for the high jump, it is all too predictable that the Fawkes blog would try and take out as many Labour members as it could, just to damage The Red Team in case a snap election comes along. But what has been described to me is totally out of order.
Solving this problem is down to the media establishment that let The Great Guido in the door. The remedy is straightforward: if you find you are overrun with vermin, you don’t suggest playing trick or treat with it. You call in pest control.