Revelations exposing the personal exchanges between those on the left have been celebrated among their opponents in the past, with those doing the exposing lauded for their efforts. The cat-calls and derision have rung out long and loud, the swaggering and sneering continuing for years afterwards. How things change when realisation hits home that the boot is now firmly on the other foot.
Banksy isn't shouting too loudly ...
Yesterday afternoon it became known that the so-called “Man who bankrolled Brexit” Arron Banks had experienced a problem with the security of his Twitter direct messages. Like they had been accessed by someone else. Banksy had reported the matter to Police. He put out a statement via Leave EU. Then came the first wave of panic.
... he has a chap to do that sort of thing for him
Banks’ slippery sidekick Andy Wigmore whined “So [Twitter] [Twitter Support] it’s been 12 hours trying to stop [Arron Banks’] hacked account and you’ve done nothing. Clearly you are content with allowing hacked material on your platform to be distributed?” He tagged lawyers Kingsley, Napley, which suggests Banks put another shilling in his legal meter.
Why was Wiggy having a wig-out? We soon found out, as the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr told “Right. I've just been sent the first set of direct messages from the file. They're pretty explosive. What are the ethics/legals on this, world?” Oh dear, Banksy!
Wiggy moved from whining to tantrum as he again berated Twitter, with Ms Cadwalladr reminding him “Thoughts & prayers, Andy. I had the same problem when *someone* posted a video showing me being violently beaten up. Twitter didn't respond then either”. Who might that have been, Wiggy? But he was too busy panicking.
After Bruce Daisley of Twitter mused “Trying to get my head round someone upset about their private details being revealed spending the day handing my private phone number around”, there was another Wiggy wig-out. “Perhaps if you did your job properly they wouldn’t have to [Bruce Daisley] or is criminal hacking ok”. Proper stampy tantrum.
And he wasn’t finished. “To anyone who has downloaded [Arron Banks] hacked twitter account [Carole Cadwalladr] - under the Computer Missuse [sic] Act we can and will come after you legally”. She hit back “Don't worry, Andy. Surely [Guido Fawkes] is all over this”.
But, as James Doleman pointed out - Ms Cadwalladr has denied downloading anything - “You may recall the MPs expenses scandal, procuring that information was a breach of the Computer misuse act, the Telegraph publishing it wasn’t”. Quite.
And, talking of The Great Guido brings us to the second phase of the panic. A number of names whose owners may find revelations from the Banks’ DM embarrassing have been pitched. They included LBC host Iain Dale and TalkRADIO host Julia Hartley Dooda, both of whom have wisely kept schtum. Not so the Mail on Sunday’s not even slightly celebrated blues artiste Whinging Dan Hodges, who suddenly came over all defensive.
Desperate Dan’s deflection contained several points, all of them more or less pointless. “OK, it's been fun. But on TeaGate: a) I was placed on AB's table for the [Elizabeth’s Legacy of Hope] charity dinner … b) We bid £1K in his name for him to have tea with Priti [Patel] … c) She didn't get the money (the charity did) … d) No idea if they had tea … e) It's a great charity. Donate”. Someone is protesting too much. And he was not alone.
The perpetually thirsty Paul Staines devoted an entire post at the Guido Fawkes blog to damage limitation. Headed “Those Banks Twitter Direct Message Leaks”, Staines blusters “For the record, and sorry to disappoint Carole and the rest of the conspiracy theorists, the leak of the direct messages which reveals Guido’s editor arranging to pay £10,000 in cash to Arron Banks (N.B. Carole pay to, not get paid by) was hardly secret”.
But then comes the dead giveaway as Staines goes all threatening: “The situation for other publications currently going through hacked DMs - of which their journalists were neither the sender or the recipient - is more complicated. There is no public interest defence for the hacking. There is no evidence of crimes - apart from the act of hacking. There is a lot of stuff that is embarrassing for politicians and journalists”. Yeah, right.
James Doleman’s observation (above) refers. Methinks The Great Guido also protests too much. Meanwhile, the Tweeter known as Captain Haddock gave us a preview of the inevitable double standards: “Coming soon from Isabel Oakeshott and Brendan O'Neill: why it was ok to publish the Darroch leaks but it isn't ok to publish the Arron Banks leaks”.
The panic continues. There will be more to savour. Sit back and get the popcorn in.
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