For the increasingly wayward Mail on Sunday, and all those labouring under the less than benign leadership of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre within the walls of the Northcliffe House bunker, the Silver Bears moment arrived this weekend: the smoking gun that proved Labour leader Keir Starmer broke the Covid rules - or so they claim.
Except that, as in the film, someone is seeing what they want to see: the MoS has obtained a document headed “LOTO (leader of the opposition) VISITS & EVENTS … Visit Programme - Hull (Yorkshire & Humber)”. Part of the document has not been reproduced (why? We’re not told), but we can see that the visit ends in Durham.
What the MoS wants us to see in this document is that it contains “2040 - 2200 … Dinner in Miners’ Hall with Mary Foy … YS to arrange takeaway from Spice Lounge”. But, so what? So what it shows is that the curry was PRE-PLANNED! Does that mean the law was broken? No. But it allows industrial scale front page gaslighting from the MoS.
And so it came to pass. “The Exclusive Convulsing Westminster … KEIR STARMER’S BEERGATE STORY BLOWN APART BY LEAKED MEMO … Confidential file from inside Labour HQ reveals full hypocrisy of leader’s endless calls for PM to resign”. It does? “KEIR Starmer has been plunged into a full-scale leadership crisis after the Mail on Sunday obtained a secret Labour Party document which appears to shatter his version of events”.
Ah, it merely “appears to shatter”. In other words, the MoS is admitting that it has seen what it wants to see. Whether or not there was a schedule for Starmer’s visit, if this was a campaign event, no laws were broken. The desperation behind the story was underscored by the Mail’s not even slightly celebrated blues artiste Whinging Dan Hodges.
“Can we just nail this. However the ‘dinner’ is defined, it wasn't a work event. And the reason we know it wasn't a work event was because Starmer told us. He said the work stopped, they had dinner, then the work commenced again”. Christ on a bike, that’s lamer than a lame class from the Faculty of Lame at the University of Lame in Lame City.
Former prosecutor Nazir Afzal put it directly. “Contrary to what some may think, this simply proves it was a socially distanced work programme with food at the end factored in … No ‘party’ … No breach of regulations in force at the time … It’s no ‘smoking gun,’ it’s evidence supporting the defence case!!” Meanwhile, the current issue of Private Eye magazine (#1572, Page 8) details all FIFTEEN Downing Street lockdown parties.
The Eye is at pains to stress that one event comparable to Starmer’s campaign meal was not deemed to have broken the law, and no fines would therefore be levied. But for the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press, the red mist has descended, they have decreed that there must be equivalence between Starmer and No 10, and so they have had a Silver Bears moment. They wanted to see lawbreaking, so it must have happened.
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