Tom Watson, the Minister for Mudslinging, is blogging again.
On reflection, this week wasn’t the most relaxing of family breaks to Cornwall. And for those that revel in these things, I can say with some certainty, that at times, it was the most miserable I have ever been.
Still, I did read another book. Perhaps I might add Echoes of an Autobiography by Naguib Mahfouz to the list of 25 others, that have interested more book readers than I anticipated last week. (Is it only a week since I published the list? Seems like an epoch.)
The book gave moments of fragmentary pleasure during a dreadful week. As Mahfouz wrote “there whispered in my ear a voice at dawn: ‘Congraulations to you – the time for making your farewells has been decreed.’ Deeply affected I closed my eyes and saw my funeral moving along, with myself at its head carrying a large glass filled with the nectar of life”
Yes Tom, the time for making your farewells has been decreed. Large glasses have been raised by Blairites…
UPDATE : Tom Watson not be attending the government’s big Digital Britain Summit today, he lies his excuse is that despite being the “Digital Engagement Minister” he only got his invite on Wednesday. You can’t hide for ever Tom.
You have to laugh at Charlie Whelan – the poisonous mudslinger bleating that he is the victim of “Tory dirty tricks“. It wasn’t Tories who were planning dirty tricks was it? It was Charlie and his mudslinging pals.
You have been caught doing what you have always done.
Hat-tip: Strathspey and Badenoch Herald
He says he “takes full responsibility”. Still no sign of a letter of apology to Iain Dale or Guido yet…
Guido has written a recap of recent events for the Speccie. The piece explains how Guido rolled the barrels of digital dynamite towards Westminster last week. The editor, Matthew d’ Ancona, liked the piece enough to put it on the front page with a portrait that captures Guido’s dashing good looks quite well. Strangely he said some of the text submitted would not get past the lawyers.
Can’t see why saying that the Telegraph journalist Chris Hope is a slippery bastard who broke his word to Guido and revealed that Guido was his source, could be in any way libellous. It is absolutely true.
Never mind that the Telegraph signed a non-disclosure agreement (which it breached spectacularly) and tipped off Downing Street as to what was coming. They did everything they could to spoil the story. Did Guido forget to mention the worst thing about Chris Hope? He always seems to go missing when it is his round…
The Smeargate story still has legs, though it has moved from the front-pages to the comment pages. John Lloyd in the FT makes the point that the all party shift towards non-ideological, centrist politics means the personal becomes more political - “That view is a rational one, in a politico-media space as tuned to scandal and personality as the British one now is.”
THE stink of a cover-up hangs over Downing Street.
Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell rules out an inquiry into whether minister Tom Watson knew about the “Smeargate” emails. He says he is happy to accept the minister’s denials, and the case is closed. That might be good enough for Sir Gus. It isn’t for The Sun. How can we know the full facts without an investigation, which means examining ALL emails involved?
The Sun is gunning hard on this issue saying “Watson, McBride and Draper are the true face of today’s Labour Party: A party that has lost all decency, all sense of honour, all connection with the people it was elected to serve.” Guido has a theory that Watson has swallowed Gordon Brown’s moral compass.
The Times say Whelan has to go. Well maybe he would go if we could find him. He has gone into hiding. Another public interest service from Guido.
Guido was too late to get the “Save Draper” campaign going. People don’t realise what a disaster this is – what will Guido do for comedy material?
Labour’s general-secretary Ray Collins has thrown him overboard already. In an NEC announcement leaked to Iain Dale, rather than LabourList, the entertainment provided by Derek was brought to an end.
Ray Collins, General Secretary of the Labour Party,
“As you will recall from November’s NEC Away Day, last year Derek Draper volunteered one day a week of his time to Labour HQ on an unpaid basis. He subsequently left Victoria Street to set up the Labourlist blog. Since then he has offered advice and opinion on an adhoc basis which ended in March of this year and will not be sought in the future.
“I receive advice and opinion from many Labour Party supporters in my work as General Secretary but I decide what advice I take or seek and act in a manner appropriate with my values and those of the Party which certainly does not include smears or personal attacks. I want to reiterate that Derek Draper does not hold a position or role with the Labour Party and this will remain the case.
“To make clear Labourlist is an independent left-of-centre website and blog. The Labour Party did not fund its activities. What the Party has supported is an effort to promote left-of-centre bloggers more generally by bringing interested supporters together at a series of events.
“I absolutely support the Prime Minister’s view that scurrilous rumour, gossip and personal attacks have no place in politics and no place in the Labour Party.”
Psychologies magazine, where Derek Draper had a regular column, announced today that:
“Derek’s position is being investigated independently by the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists to reveal if he really is guilty of the allegations made about him, what the background and details of the story are, and how all of this affects his standing as a therapist.”
Guido doesn’t have any psychotherapy qualifications, so this is not a professional judgement. In Guido’s opinion a man who thinks smearing an innocent woman over mental health issues is “absolutely brilliant” is not fit to deal with vulnerable people. The BACP has been dragging its feet over concerns that Draper lied about his qualifications. It is a fact that Draper was expelled from his course at the Wright Institute (in Berkeley, not at Berkeley).
His desk is already on Ebay…
Guido’s eyes welled up when he read Alice Miles piece in The Times this morning. For five years this blog has squarely blamed Lobby journalists for failing the people. The Fourth Estate may not have a formal constitutional role, but the role is real.
Journalists are to there to “speak truth unto power”. Not trade favours for tittle tattle, not report spin as truth. From the start of this era of spin the Lobby pack have been willing accomplices. It is actually hard to name journalists who can hold their heads high. Peter Oborne – seen as an eccentric maverick, Martin Bright – hounded out of a job by Brown’s henchmen, Fraser Nelson – frozen out by Downing Street despite being Britain’s most widely read political columnist. Who else stood up to McPoison and revealed his text message terrorism?
Cowardice and cronyism runs right through the Lobby. Fearful of being taken off the teat of pre-packaged stories served to them. That is not journalism, that is copy-taking. The many stories filed this week which reveal just how horrible Brown’s cabal have been are of mere historical interest. They would have been brave if they had been written before McPoison was toppled. You all knew and said nothing. You knew and went along with it. Your revelatory articles are merely confessions of previous personal cowardice.
It is not as if it was a secret, as an outsider Guido went on Newsnight and laid out his manifesto, telling the Lobby to get some backbone and stand up to the spin machine. That j’accuse was met with a ferocious counter-attack from the doyen of the Lobby system, Sir Michael White, Nick Robinson cried foul, Paxman sneered. The issue was glossed over. The Lobby felt relief. The little boy who had pointed at the naked Lobby was rebuffed. Who has ended up looking the biggest fools? As you write your reviews of the years of terror and spin, do you not feel just the slightest tinge of guilt at your complicity? Guido, considered too far below the salt, remembered that speaking truth in a time of deceit was a revolutionary act, and the Lobby journalists now sleep safe in their beds tonight, because a rough blogger was prepared to do violence on Damian McBride.
You knew and did nothing, you failed your readers, you failed the truth. Hang your heads in shame.
No severance pay-off. Quite right. James Purnell’s announcement that unemployed alcoholics will be refused benefits must be a double blow. However the government says unemployed alcoholics who seek treatment will be able to claim benefits. McBride should seek help from Draper, he is a sort of psycho-therapist…
It is still there. Another post on the same day (now deleted) accused Guido of being “a silly little public-school toff who ran drugs parties and made a bob or two in the City” – never mind the fact that Tony McNulty went to the same grammar school as Guido. “So Guido Fawkes claims that David Cameron attended raves, presumably the illegal sort. Well [he] should know. Isn’t it fitting that the disgusting site he runs is probably named after the pinnacle of his life’s achievement: The Sunrise rave (second Guy Fawkes edition) on the 4th November 1989.!”
Note that there is an almost puritanical streak in the attack; Guido did drugs and partied in his twenties, the parties were probably illegal. Well it is hardly a secret that Guido has libertine as well as libertarian tendencies. That is a feature, not a bug. Cameron is the same age and probably equally as louche is the tenuous smear by association.
The day they launched their smear counter-attack incidentally was Guido’s fortieth birthday. It was very irritating.
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A ‘senior Conservative party official’ passes judgement on Theresa May:
“She is boring. A technocrat. She is Philip Hammond with a fanny. Not interesting, but rendered interesting by circumstance. And that circumstance is that she is a woman. And in an age when the Prime Minister gets it in the neck for refusing to wear a fucking T-shirt that says he is a feminist, that is a rocket boost right underneath you.”