Sometimes the opposition runs to your rescue. Today the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog have come galloping, in the wake of yesterday’s demonstration that NewsGuard has sprayed its credibility up the wall in awarding the site a slate of green ticks. Any thought that the Zelo Street analysis was amiss has been dispelled after yet another Fawkes Fake News post, this time on Ireland and Brexit.
Feared. But only by rickety furniture
Our alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has had a phone conversation with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. BBC Economics Editor Faisal Islam has reported “Sounds like a rather interesting call between PM Johnson and the Taoiseach ... the latter ‘emphasised’ backstop ‘necessary as a consequence of decisions taken in the UK and by the UK government’, [according] to Irish readout”. There was more.
Fawkes Hugh on the EU ... hasn't got a Scooby Doo
“And said Varadkar 'restated the need for both governments to be fully committed to the Good Friday Agreement, the protection of the Peace Process and restoration of institutions’ and ‘recalled the Agreement requires [sovereign] Govt to exercise power with rigorous impartiality’ … Varadkar invited Johnson to Dublin ‘to share further their respective analyses’”. The official Irish version added some detail to that.
On the backstop, it told “Alternative arrangements could replace the backstop in the future, as envisaged in the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration on the future relationship, but thus far satisfactory options have yet to be identified and demonstrated”. That communiqué also pointed out Varadkar “Noting that the Brexit negotiations take place between the UK and the EU”. So no chance of picking off member states one by one.
Faisal Islam and the official Irish Government version mostly agree on the substance and detail of the phone call. Now let’s see what The Great Guido made of it.
Authored by Hugh Bennett, the patently untrue headline proclaims “Boris Lays Down Backstop Law To Varadkar”. with the citation-free text telling “Boris has finally had his much-anticipated first phone call with Leo Varadkar, it wasn’t just for a catch-up about the cricket. Boris repeated his core position that the UK will be leaving on October 31 ‘no matter what’, and the UK will be quite happy to negotiate a deal with the EU but the backstop must be abolished. Boris also reiterated that the UK will never put physical checks or infrastructure on the border”. That’s 100% pure invention.
The Fawkes goons also fail EU Negotiation 101 as they proffer “Irish public opinion is already beginning to turn against Varadkar’s aggressive approach”, citing, er, themselves as a source. It’s not about “Varadkar’s approach”. The EU is doing the negotiating.
NewsGuard having second thoughts yet?
So the payoff line “Varadkar increasingly needs a way down off the ledge constructed by Robbins, Barnier and Coveney” is spurious. Also, it manages to miss the fundamental weakness of their hero’s position - the Withdrawal Agreement was signed by Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May. Our Government agreed to it. It’s not for the EU to junk something our side signed off on. The Fawkes rabble haven’t got a Scooby Doo.
Last week, one of Bennett’s efforts was quietly pulled after he failed to get his facts right before sounding off. That lack of knowledge hasn’t changed any. This is yet another slice of Fawkes Fake News. Another fine mess, once again.
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