« Home | A journey into his own eternal self-righteousness. » | The Labour leadership and the dead hand of the Bla... » | Great headline, crap article... » | Bring forth the guillotine. » | Quotes of the year. » | The sad, fascinating, prurient death of a "spy". » | Nick Clegg and a budget he can't be proud of. » | Did al-Qaeda kill spook in suitcase? » | State collusion, cover-ups, Claudy and Lockerbie. » | The egregious Dr Fox and the K factor. » 

Thursday, September 02, 2010 

It began with a photograph.

It all began with a photo. They could be father and son, although whether a grown up son and father could look so comfortable and at ease with each other as William Hague and Christopher Myers do in the moment they were snapped walking together in August of last year is far more difficult to quantify. Equally, if it's possible to both look like a complete tit and also almost vaguely cool at the same time, then Hague, complete with baseball cap, an echo of his notorious previous attempts to get down with the kids whilst Conservative leader, manages it. To hazard a complete guess, it's possible they were in fact joking about how Hague is casually dressed up, and the full series of shots shows us Hague removing the cap and then the sunglasses.

How the photographs came to be taken in the first place is a currently unexplained conundrum. It's credited to Xposurephotos, a paparazzi agency which doesn't list the following of then shadow cabinet ministers as among its priorities, although it also accepts submissions from the public. Whether it was just a citizen photographer who sighted Hague and Myers, or an actual paparazzo, that still doesn't answer whether the Mail on Sunday came across the photo of the insouciant pair first and the story of Myers' hiring as Hague's special advisor second. Perhaps they knew about the photographs at the time and were waiting, almost exactly a year as it happened, for a suitable occasion to use them. It certainly wouldn't have been anywhere near as good a story without it; the old cliché that a picture paints a thousands words couldn't be much more applicable.

We also don't know whether at the time the papers knew for a fact that Hague had, during the election campaign, shared a twin-bedded hotel room with Myers and were routing around for enough suitable justification to go with it. In any event, as Sunder Katwala and Stephen Tall note, the papers and Guido either worked off or with each other, until the cryptic Telegraph article on Saturday about the cabinet minister threatening legal action over accusations concerning his personal life, which seemed to see them back off. Then Guido went with the sharing hotel room story on Tuesday, complete with utterly crass cartoon, which first the FCO and then Hague himself yesterday felt had to be responded to.

This isn't then, as some have been claiming, an especially bleak day for blogging. It rather shows how incestuous the "mainstream" and supposedly ardently against-MSM likes of Guido have instead become. The story went from the innocuous and the implied in the Mail on Sunday to the none too subtle reference to Peter Mandelson in Guido's first post. It's also an example of how the legitimate covers the supposedly off limits: the questions about how qualified Myers was for the role of special advisor to Hague were perfectly fair and in the public interest, yet even then Guido was clearly grasping at the gay angle, asking first and foremost whether Hague had been on any international trips with Myers involving overnight stays. The claims that it was never about sexuality, or rather now that the issue is Hague's judgement, not that Westminster's guttersnipes were whispering about him shagging a 25-year-old man while his wife wasn't around are absurd and specious in the extreme.

Guido in any event isn't showing even the slightest remorse for Hague making yesterday's humiliating and embarrassing statement, and why should he? He can instead shift all of the blame onto Hague himself for being silly enough to share a room with an attractive young man supposedly unqualified for the job he was doing, especially when fellow Tory stuffed shirts are saying much the same thing. You can understand why Hague felt he had to respond to the rumours, yet to do so in a way in which Laurie Penny rightly suggests was demeaning to his wife and indeed to their failure to have children was completely unnecessary. Everything about it sits painfully, written as it almost is in a Lord Gnome-type pronouncement style; it also has more than a whiff of the Piers Merchant protesting too much bouquet wafting from it. This is doubly unfortunate when absolutely everyone, except Guido it seems accepts that Hague just liked the kid and got on well with him. Hague should have just let Guido get on with what he does and let the story die down, as it would have; that would have been the best course of action. He was however fully within his rights to respond. The real judgement call should perhaps of been how far the response itself went.

We shouldn't, as Mr Eugenides wisely advises, get too sanctimonious about the whole thing, and I was also one of those who back in the day noted John Prescott's alleged affair with Rosie Winterton, never proved and also still never disproved, as it I can now say it rightly should have stayed. Worth concluding on however is Guido's tweeted tribute to a tabloid editor:

We solve all the blog's ethical dilemmas by asking ourselves "what would Kelvin MacKenzie have done?"

When it came to accusations made that Elton John had used rent boys, MacKenzie believed them. When John sued, MacKenzie went one step further and published a story claiming that John had had his guard dogs' vocal cords cut, something so eminently disprovable that John must have immediately started estimating how big the payout would be. The stories in their totality turned out to be worth £1,000,000. The difference is that Guido prides himself on being above such recourse to legal action, even if Hague wanted to consider all his options. MacKenzie at least believed in the concept of "publish and be damned".

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Share |

Good stuff again. Thanks.

However, rigorous intuition suggests something's missing - an invisible elephant in the room you might say. Why now? Maybe the real story here is about the consequences of upsetting powerful interests - a sharp warning you might say: He criticized Israel and he ordered an inquiry into torture; both whilst in a position which we-the-sheeple, in our infinite gullibility, believe (and must continue to believe) has authority over the SIS’s. Maverick independence of that sort simply will not be tolerated in anyone fronting one of the key departments of State.

Nobody is likely to go there of course – least of all Guido Fawkes, the guy sporting the mantle of that archetypal victim of SIS dirty tricks but likewise totally oblivious to them.

Like others before him - Paddy Pantsdown springs readily to mind - Hague has no doubt got the message loud and clear.

Post a Comment


  • This is septicisle


    blogspot stats

     Subscribe in a reader


Powered by Blogger
and Blogger Templates