As Zelo Street regulars will know all too well, the propensity to talk well, but lie badly, exhibited by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog knows no bounds. And usually, their shamelessness means that those whoppers remain online, even when debunked. But one recent howler was so bad that The Great Guido decided to quietly delete it. Sadly for them, the internet never forgets.
New Fawkes gofer Hugh Bennett decided yesterday to put the boot in to Labour and the Lib Dems over their education policy, combining the usual party political knockabout with a little Brexit backing. Under the heading “Labour And Lib Dem Policy Banned By EU Directive”, he makes a most interesting claim about VAT on private education.
“Labour and Lib Dem parties will only be able to enact their policy of slapping VAT on independent schools if the UK leaves the EU. Article 132 of EU Directive 2006/112/EC compels member states to exempt a number of areas from Value Added Tax being levied on them, including ‘the provision of children’s or young people’s education, school or university education’. Controlling your own tax policy or being a member of the EU, you can’t have both”. But Bennett had got it wrong, as Richard Asquith pointed out.
“You have this wrong [Guido Fawkes] on [Labour] and [Lib Dems] being prevented by EU on levying VAT on private education Art 133 of EU VAT Directive gives states scope to levy VAT. Greece case proved this. [George Peretz QC] may have some comment”. Peretz did indeed have some comment, and that comment was severely adverse.
“This is wrong and should be retracted. [Guido Fawkes] has failed to quote the full provision. ‘Governed by public law’ (and the following words) rather matter” he noted. The all-important line was “Governed by public law”, which was missing, and so the Fawkes contention - selectively edited, as so often - was bust.
But Peretz did not get his feedback from the Fawkes massive, and so he concluded “Regrettably, no retraction by [Guido Fawkes]. We can draw our own conclusions as to the worth of his site”. Then the post and its covering Tweet were quietly pulled.
Peretz concluded “It is good that [Guido Fawkes] and [Hugh Bennett] have deleted this tweet and the page on their site. But much less good that they have not tweeted that the original was incorrect but have just quietly deleted it … An untruth gets around the world before the truth has got its boots on: but here the truth isn’t even being given its boots. And there’s no shame in getting things wrong: but there is shame in refusing to front up properly when you make a mistake”. But that’s not the point with the Fawkes rabble.
The Guido Fawkes blog is not about truth, or facts, or getting its claims right. It is a borderline Fake News operation, a propaganda site, pushing storylines for its pals in the press to pick up and run with, providing they gain traction.
Except this “story” was a lie too far. By their deeds shall ye know them.
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