For several years now, writer and campaigner Owen Jones has had a number of persistent critics sniping at him, usually for the heinous crime of being more successful than them. And one of the most persistent, with the least intellectual substance to back it up, has been the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole, formerly tame gofer to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines at the Guido Fawkes blog, whose attacks have bordered on the obsessive.
Hence the torrent of sniping and bitter Tweets, with “no one is obsessed with attacking you @OwenJones84. nice deflection though. You cant expect to pump out your crap and not get called out” … “Sadly I forgot about BBC interview booked ages ago. Panic not, get to remind @owenjones84 about reality tomorrow morn instead” and “‘@OwenJones84: genuinely wondering if I even enjoy writing. It’s actually pretty tedious.’ Perhaps it's just your writing” being all too typical. And then came the Famous Last Words.
In April this year, Master Cole thought he was being terribly clever when he said of Jones “Endless tedious contradictory columns.. and bitter sniping at working hacks. The man couldn't break a window let alone a story. And the realisation that the Corbyn team will never, ever forgive him seems to be eating him up”. The Corbyn claim was, and is, a malicious pack of lies. And now the story-breaking jibe lies in tatters.
That is because today’s Guardian front page lead, “Revealed: Philip Green paid seven-figure sums to silence abuse claims … Exclusive: Insider tells of culture of silence at top of company over tycoon’s behaviour towards women” has two names on the by-line, one of which is … Owen Jones. And it really is an exclusive.
Green’s less than totally professional behaviour includes, as Jones tells, “[he] allegedly routinely came into meetings to ask women if they were ‘naughty girls’ needing ‘their bottoms slapped’; commented on a woman's weight saying she ‘must be a lesbian because no man would marry her’ and asked an Asian woman if she was ‘eating too many samosas’”. Rather a lot of isms in that. And there was more.
“When one woman asked Philip Green to use her actual name in a meeting rather than ‘sweetheart’ and ‘darling’, he told her to ‘shut the fuck up’. But there was a widespread culture of silence at his Arcadia group which left women feeling unable to speak out. Please read and share”. Maybe rather a lot of readers will be doing just that.
And Jones did not forget to give a shout out to his source: “Thank you so much to the hugely courageous Arcadia insider who contacted me to reveal utterly horrendous allegations”. Did Master Cole ever do that? I must have blinked and missed it.
Moreover, what kind of stories has Cole put on the front page? As if you need to ask: his first Sun front page story, “COURT JEZTER”, claiming that Labour would forfeit its “Short money” allowance unless Jeremy Corbyn became a Privy Counsellor, was a pack of lies. There was no public interest defence, either. So what has he said this morning?
Nothing. Not a word. Zip. Zilch. Bugger all. Master Cole is not even capable of being magnanimous in defeat. Instead of even grudging acceptance that he was totally wrong to claim Jones “couldn’t break a window let alone a story”, there is sullen silence. So that’s another example of why he will never be a real journalist, then.
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