The perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog have a problem: they want to carry on heaping abuse on the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr, but have no comeback on her two stories from last weekend, one on the continuing avoidance of her questions by Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, and the second on how Parliament has seized a cache of highly sensitive Facebook internal documents.
So amid the sobs and blubs has come the Third Guido Way - sulk and say it’s not fair that Ms Cadwalladr is actually better at this journalism lark than they are ever going to be. Their prime target is DCMS chairman Damian Collins, as they sniff “Damian’s Dodgy Data Discovery”, with the sub-heading “How Did Damian Know?”
As so often, though, when The Great Guido does not know what happened, the invention is all too easy to spot. “Carole Cadwalladr has exclusively revealed that self-promoting DCMS Committee Chairman Damian Collins made the extraordinary move to seize documents from the founder of a small US software company called ‘Six4Three’ over the weekend - in time for Carole’s deadline” they claim. And there is more.
“The founder Ted Kramer, who is currently suing Facebook in a messy lawsuit in California, just happened to be in the UK on a ‘business trip’. The DCMS Committee apparently magically knew about this brief trip, the hotel the founder was staying at, and that he had the documents with him”. Yes? Yes yes? Yes yes yes?
“This remarkably detailed information led to Collins initiating a parliamentary procedure to seize the documents, complete with the theatrical sending of a serjeant at arms to the founder’s hotel with a ‘final warning’ and an escort to parliament. It all seems a little choreographed”. So now begins the reaching. And it’s a big reach.
“It appears to Guido that this entire theatrical codswallop [key Cadwalladr abuse term? Check!] story is a stitch up. The ‘Six4Three’ founder seems to have flown to the UK specifically to have the documents seized - which Facebook wants to keep confidential”. That instance of “seems” is doing an awful lot of work all on its own.
And it gets worse, with “If” taking over the workload. “If Guido was the sort of journalist who made unsubstantiated speculative allegations that later had to be corrected he’d wonder, without any firm evidential basis, if Damian is part of a charade to get these documents out in the open and Carole Cadwalldr knows this because she has been in touch with Ted Kramer, the owner of Six4Three”. “Correction” snark? Check!
This is the kind of speculation that not even the likes of (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch would indulge in. It is, whisper it quietly, real tinfoil hat stuff. “Guido” is not even a journalist, and making unsubstantiated allegations is part of the Fawkes rabble’s modus operandi - for instance, er, see their unsubstantiated allegations about Damian Collins and Ms Cadwalladr. It is the stuff of the more lurid conspiracy theories.
What has happened is that the Observer, and Ms Cadwalladr in particular, have scored an important exclusive of the kind The Great Guido can only dream of. But instead of admitting it, the gang of willy-waving no-marks are making excuses. Another fine mess.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at