As the Mail on Sunday defiantly publishes even more of Kim Darroch’s cables to the Foreign Secretary - the one who last week threw him under the bus and then dissembled when put on the spot by Andrew Neil - the paper is defending itself by telling the world it is “Fighting for Free Speech”. This is hypocrisy of the finest kind: the MoS wasn’t so keen on free speech when it spiked the John Whittingdale revelations.
What the MoS should have said was that it was fighting for the right to generate More And Bigger Sales Figures For The Benefit Of Itself Personally Now. This would be achieved by having the ability to keep on publishing probably stolen information, the use of which could be in contravention of the Official Secrets Act 1989. The thought enters that the MoS couldn’t give a stuff about the free speech of Kim Darroch, needed to do his job.
As so often with the press, it is not just about what the MoS has published, but what it has not, not least the fact that, as the Murdoch Sunday Times has pointed out, the reason that the Brexit Party is cheering on the leaking is because its leaders are in this one up to their necks, not least Richard “Smiler” Tice, whose relationship with mercenary hack Isabel Oakeshott, the conduit for the leaks, has just been made very public indeed.
We are now being told that there is nothing to see here, as Tice and Ms Oakeshott have been seeing one another for a year now and everyone in Westminster knows about it. Except that the press held the story back, even after the increasingly alt-right Spectator magazine’s summer party earlier this month, where Tice and Ms Oakeshott were snapped together - and Tice’s facial expression was a dead giveaway.
Not even putting his right arm around Julia Hartley Dooda would be enough to stop the stroking of chins and slow nodding of heads. Worse, as the ST has told, “Tice did not deny that Oakeshott had discussed details of the cables with him before publication”. Tice was there with the spin from the get-go. So was Brexit Party Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage. So were all the hard Brexit headbangers.
This less than full disclosure has put another very large nail in the coffin of public trust, with Fionna O’Leary’s response typical: “According to here friends they have been attending events together as a couple quite openly for quite some time. But super sleuths in the Times have just found out. Uh huh. When the Mirror did”. Tim Shipman retorted “It wasn’t much relevant before this week”. A word in your shell-like, Shippers: Fuck off.
As Damon Evans has pointed out, “Who Isabel Oakeshott is in a relationship with is her business … Who Richard Tice is in a relationship with is his business … But when Oakeshott, who is publishing leaked documents, and Tice, Brexit Party chairman, are in a relationship, it is very much *our* business”. Got it in one.
And one Tweeter could not resist the obvious comparison: “Gove and Vine compete with McVey and Davies to be the most unappealing couple in British politics … Oakeshott and Tice: Hold our beer”. It’s not about FREEZE PEACH. It’s about our free and fearless press cynically selecting what information to tell its readers in order to flog more papers.
While that press keeps the seedy secrets of its pals safe. Pass the sick bucket.
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