Feared. But only by rickety furniture
That opposition was The Great Guido himself - whether their latest own goal was scored by replacement teaboy Tom Harwood or apprentice sandwich monitor Christian Calgie is immaterial - rushing to publish another alleged “Exclusive”, only to end up covered in rather more than confusion. The subject was Parliamentary leaks.
Under the heading “Leaked: Chief Whip Writes To PPS’s [sic] Warning Them Not To Leak”, readers were told “Lots of Tory PPSs are fuming at this letter from Mark Spencer which they think is insulting. Basically the Chief is reminding them that they are on the lowest rung and are expected to shut up and do as they are told. They were also reminded not to leak”. Spencer’s letter was then reproduced in full. But here a problem entered.
Spencer was concerned about leaks. What might that have meant? What would the intelligent response been? What would Nietzsche have done? Sadly, the Fawkes rabble is not of that calibre, and just went for the clicks. What happened next?
Simples. Northampton South MP Andrew Lewer, a PPS at the Home Office, was sacked from his role serving Policing minister Kit Malthouse. The Guardian told “it is understood that the letter, from the chief whip, Mark Spencer, was worded slightly differently for each recipient so officials would be able to tell which version had reached the media”.
And his explanation? “Lewer, PPS to the policing minister Kit Malthouse, denied he had leaked the letter when confronted by Conservative whips, but suggested it could have come from a member of his staff … He told the Politico website: ‘In nearly 20 years of elected office I have never leaked to the press.’” A big boy did it and ran away.
Should The Great Guido have been forewarned? “It is not clear which parts of the letter were varied in order to catch the leaker, but the entire text was published as part of the Guido Fawkes story … Ministers could not claim not to have been warned of the possibility of such a method being used to identify possible leakers. Last month, No 10 briefed that it could use a ‘canary trap’ strategy in an attempt to identify the source of leaks”.
The Guardian added “That ploy was viewed by some Westminster observers as unlikely to succeed given it had been announced to the press”. So the Fawkes brains trust had been told what tactics would be use to catch leakers, but they still published Spencer’s letter in full, no redaction, no cuts. And their stupidity got a PPS sacked.
Not since Vicky Pryce worked with mercenary hack Isabel Oakeshott has there been such a grievous misplacing of trust in political hackery. But the latest Fawkes own goal will have one beneficial effect: far fewer people will leak information - to them.
I said the Fawkes massive did not deal in real journalism. They have now, most helpfully, proved me right, but not even acknowledged their guilt. Another fine mess, once more.
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