Collins told his followers on Friday, his Twitter feed now no longer allying him to the Times, “Thank you to everyone who has said kind things about the writing I did for The Times and will now do elsewhere. I've always wanted to be thought too left wing but never thought I would achieve it”. So why did he leave? Did he jump, or was he pushed?
The Great Guido could have kept schtum, but the know-all tendency in Staines and his lamentably untalented gofers could not be suppressed: the Media Guido feed announced pretentiously “Times source says the reality is with Corbyn gone and majority Conservative government in power for four more years, his Blairite insights, however elegantly expressed, are surplus to requirements”. The response was not long in coming.
A Tweeter known simply as Ant quoted a Collins Tweet from May 24 which said simply “I have disliked Prime Ministers before. There have been some I have not thought to be very good. But never before has there been a Prime Minister for whom I have no respect at all”, adding “The party demands absolute loyalty at all times”. There was more.
Another enterprising social media voice known simply as Low Key Mash went further: “In a classic case of ‘no one tells us what to write’ Phillip Collins was sacked by the Times for refusing to take down this tweet, new deputy editor Tony Gallagher who is close friends with Boris Johnson told him to take it down or he's gone”. And yet more.
Issue 1527 of Private Eye magazine, published last month, reminded readers “as reported in the last Eye, Collins is currently working out his notice after being sacked by editor John Witherow for being insufficiently boosterish about the Woosterish Boris Johnson”. So the real reason for Collins’ departure was known halfway through July. But the pretentious creeps at the Fawkes blog couldn’t let it lie. So they did. Badly.
As Paulie Doyle noted last Friday, “surreal seeing British journalists talk without a hint of irony about how foreign democracies are being eroded because newspapers won't criticise the government”. The article quoted, by Hannah Lucinda Smith, had asserted “We must save free press before it’s too late”, going on to warn “In Turkey, 70 per cent of the national newspapers now carry solely pro-Government news content, even though almost all are privately owned”. The paper she was writing for? The Murdoch Times.
Yet here in the UK, the situation is, if anything, even worse. Especially when the Government has an obedient New Media operation prepared to lie for its supper.
The Great Guido’s independence was for a time, but not for all time. Another fine mess.
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