An increasingly common occurrence of late has been a series of attempts by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog to smear left-leaning politicians and commentators, only to see the authors of those efforts fall flat on their excessively remunerated faces. The latest example is an amateurish and dishonest attack on Laura Smith MP, who represents Crewe and Nantwich, by teaboy Tom Harwood.
Laura Smith MP
Under the untrue headline “Anti Private School Labour MP Founded Private School Tutoring Company”, we read the sub-heading “Anti-Private School MP’s Company Privately Tutored Private School Entrance Exams”, for which The Great Guido is, to no surprise at all, unable to pony up any evidence in support.
Still, onwards and, er, onwards, eh? What else does the Fawkes massive have to offer on this subject? “Laura Smith … has this week publicly backed a Labour campaign to abolish private schools”. Yes? Yes yes? Yes yes yes? “But in 2013 Smith founded a private tutoring company which helped students get in to private schools”. That’s not quite true, is it? Four of the students who used the company’s services got in to independent schools.
Guess who wrote the hatchet job?
Worse is the suggestion that Ms Smith has somehow disassociated herself from One to One Tutoring, the tuition service the Fawkes rabble is attempting to highlight: “Mysteriously this boast last month disappeared from the company’s Facebook page, and has been quietly deleted from Smith’s Wikipedia article. It’s almost as if she doesn’t want to be seen as a massive hypocrite”. Let’s check out that claim, shall we?
For starters, the Wikipedia deletion by which the Fawkes mob set such great store said “She founded a tutoring business, called One-to-One Learning UK, based in Nantwich, where she worked with hundreds of schoolchildren in the local area, including pupils studying to pass Independent school entrance exams and the 11+”. “Including pupils studying to pass Independent school entrance exams” is not the same as “Private School Tutoring Company”. That’s why that headline wasn’t true.
Also, the Wikipedia deletion appears to have been done by someone from outside the UK. So Ms Smith didn’t do it. Worse for The Great Guido, one look at the One to One Tutoring website reveals “The business was set up in September 2013 by Laura Smith: 'whilst on maternity leave and applying for jobs I had the idea to start my own tuition business that focused on children's confidence and building their self-esteem and enjoyment of a subject’”. Not doing much disassociating there, is she?
Worst of all for this lamentable hatchet job, the One to One Tutoring website does not mention “Private School” or “Independent School” once. Nor does it mention “Entrance Exams”. But it does mention that the service has over 100 tutors across South Cheshire.
If Ms Smith had been a Tory, the Fawkes rabble would have been congratulating her on her entrepreneurial spirit (Labour supporters would perhaps have concentrated on what appears to be a business modelled on the Co-Operative movement). Instead, because she’s one of those Rotten Lefties™ who backs Jezza, it’s dishonesty and smears.
This isn’t journalism. It’s just abuse. And it’s about time real journalists called it out.
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