Guido Fawkes: Westminster’s biggest Bullshit Artist


2:27 pm - February 17th 2013

by Sunny Hundal    


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Yesterday the Guardian ran quite a fawning profile of right-wing blogger Guido Fawkes (more affectionately referred to by his real name P. Staines).

The piece states:

This week, at prime minister’s questions, Ed Miliband used the column as ammunition: “Doesn’t it speak of how out of touch [the prime minister] is, Mr Speaker,” he hooted, “that last week he attended the Conservative ball and auctioned a painting of himself for £100,000 and then declared without a hint of irony the Tories are no longer the party of privilege!” The hall jeered and howled. Cameron’s reply, it quickly became clear, contained a leak obtained by the Guido Fawkes website: “He [ie Ed Miliband] is making a major speech on the economy on Thursday. It won’t have any policies in it!”

Staines regularly does this – take credit for stories that aren’t his. The 100k story that Staines took credit for was actually brokenby the Daily Mail a week earlier. It was also in the Daily Mirror before he ran it. (several different lobby journalists privately sent me that link, presumably because they’re also annoyed by his practice).

The story was, of course, also wrong on there being no major announcement at Ed’s speech on Thursday, but the journalist omits this fact.

I find it genuinely perplexing to see journalists at a newspaper I love allow Staines to once again get away with his anti-establishment schtick, given he’s always been so desperate to accepted as part of the crowd (he’s known for begging for invites to Downing Street receptions; he writes political gossip for the Sun FFS).

In fact the Guardian ran a similar profile / interview on Staines with the same anti-establishment angle two years ago. At least that time the Damian McBride scalp merited a profile. Why now, and why not ask some vaguely difficult questions?

He wasn’t asked about this love for murderer and dictator General Pinochet. Nor his disablist tweets.

He wasn’t asked about the several times he’s called for pizza to be sent to IDF soldiers when they’re raining bombs on Palestinians.

He’s not asked why he caims to be to be a libertarian given how frequently he sends out libel letters or calls for hanging to be reinstated.


[No doubt some people will accuse me of being jealous for writing this, but that misses the point. I'm questioning why both were so uncritical. I've not done enough to merit a profile; the Guardian hasn't even interviewed Owen Jones yet despite his achievements over the past year.]

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Good one Sunny.

I pointed out the hypocrisy and fraud in Staines’ behaviour, towards the Guardian and in talking up his blog:

http://zelo.tv/Vqidb2

What was priceless last week was the spin – such as trying to suggest that the Standard would have accepted Ed Balls’ Op-Ed piece (which mentioned the 10p tax rate and mansion tax) as late as Thursday lunchtime.

No way. That had already been written by the time Cameron got up to speak at PMQs. You only have to look at Miliband’s expression.

Don’t feed the trolls Sunny – I know it’s tempting

I’m fairly sure that the Guardian are now chasing Daily Mail online hit numbers by pitching to more American stories and more ‘right wing’ stories. What was the IDS love-in all about?

Regarding Staines, the anti-establishment schtick grates because it’s so selective. Reading his blog (for the frothing of the commentators), it’s fairly obvious he’s much more anti some parts of the establishment than others.

Yesterday the Guardian ran quite a fawning profile of right-wing blogger Guido Fawkes (more affectionately referred to by his real name P. Staines).

Very childish.

When you are attacking someone’s character best not start your comment sounding like a school kid.

I think your last sentence is the most relevant here. I couldn’t figure out for ages what the ‘point’ of Staines’s site was until it dawned on me that he’s a useful unregulated mouth piece to get scurrilous or down right false stories out into the ether. As you pointed out, these stories are then picked up by the lazy mainstream journos without any further checking as it fits the narrative so must be true!

He also provides a site for the UK right-wing nut jobs that the likes of Drudge, Breibart.com & WND provide in the US so they can discuss how all these leftie liberals are destroying .

It all helps towards the construction of that right-wing bubble ;)

You raise an interesting question: why did the Guardian publish an uncritical interview with Guido Fawkes ?

GF is certainly, whatever your views on him, a significant presence on the blogosphere but he’s hardly a new or a particularly timely story. So why now ?

Any thoughts ?

He did rather well pursuing Huhne.

Someone you rather stood up for Mr Hundal?

Oh dear.

Huhne deserved everything he got from Staines, as did McBride. But Staines has been behind the pace, or nowhere at all, on the genuine establishment scandals of our time – Hillsborough, phone hacking, our debased diet – and by trumpeting his stock market bets, he positively encourages the speculative casino capitalism that has been the greatest scandal of all.
But that, unfortunately, is exactly why he is important to read. He never embarrasses the truly powerful because he speaks for them. Yes, the comments section is incurably filthy-minded and his persistent smearing of Gordon Brown as mentally ill is a disgusting insult to those who genuinely suffer such diseases (I noticed no mention of a medical qualification in the Guardian profile). But if you want to know what the moneyed interests of this country are thinking, you have to read Guido.

He did rather well pursuing Huhne.

Clearly the Huhne scandal was the Watergate of our time. I mean, he is really shaking up the establishment with that…

What really fascinates me is what has come out about Vicky Price, the ex-wife of Christopher Huhne, previously a contender for the leadership of the LibDems in Parliament. She has been described as one of the most intelligent women in Britain and was at one time chief economic adviser in the DTI on appointment during the time of the New Labour government when Patricia Hewitt was the DTI minister.

After ditching husband Huhne for reasons in the public domain relating to a speeding ticket, Vicky Price is reported in the media “to be in a relationship” with Denis MacShane, who recently resigned as an MP as the result of investigations into his claims for Parliamentary expenses.

Be that as it may, both Christopher Huhne and Denis MacShane were early and high-profile advocates of Britain joining the Eurozone.

What conclusions are we to draw from all that about our governing classes?

The comments were far from favourable to Staines. Perhaps the objective was to give commenters an opportunity to make their views known!

The difference between the Guide Fawkes website and this one is that GF will take a very critical look at politicians of all parties, yet LC will *never* attack Labour.

Think what you will of GF, but it doesn’t come across as nakedly party political as LC.

What has Owen achieved?

All it seems is that he is good at criticising everyone else and says he speaks for the vast majority of Britons. And fawning lefty journos and similarly minded bloggers have hyped him up. Exactly like Mehdi and a few others….

Paul Staines runs a successful publishing business, employs people and generates wealth and also tries to keep people honest. His claim to fame is better than Owen or similar lefty bloggers and I live in Haringey lefty councillors with homes in Hampstead…

Clearly the Huhne scandal was the Watergate of our time. I mean, he is really shaking up the establishment with that…

Blimey. If you don’t think that the jailing of a Cabinet Minister, and a resignation from the Privy Council (one of only 4 since the war) is shaking up the establishment, your benchmarks are pretty high.

“After ditching husband Huhne for reasons in the public domain relating to a speeding ticket,” –

Bob – Didn’t Huhne dump Pryce after the Mail revealed his affair…

And both the Economist and FT (none of them left wing) actively campaigned for the UK to join the Euro. So, the conspiracy doesn’t exist.

And now the Guardian has a fawning interview with the Spectator’s Fraser Nelson.

It really isn’t Sunny’s week !

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2013/feb/17/fraser-nelson-spectator-rod-liddle

10. Bob B

” What conclusions are we to draw from all that about our governing classes? ”

I think the conclusion we should draw is Vicky Price appears to be attracted to dodgy MPs.

@14 – well, quite. Surely it’s the job of every serious political reporter to end the careers of cabinet ministers rather than, you know, report on some lass from HMV who uses Twitter – polemic stuff indeed! I think Sunny may need to go and sit in a dark room for a bit.

Huhne was busted because his ex rated him out to a reporter. Remind me why this is Guido’s scoop?

I note the use of the word ‘disablist’ without the slightest hint of irony.

17 Richard W: “I think the conclusion we should draw is Vicky Price appears to be attracted to dodgy MPs.”

Not just dodgy MPs but MPs who would have had Britain join the Eurozone. This tract, with Huhne as co-author, tends to get overlooked nowadays:

Why Britain should join the Euro
http://cep.lse.ac.uk/layard/RL334D.pdf

Vicky Price was appointed chief economic adviser in the DTI when the Euro enthusiast Patricia Hewitt was DTI minister. I recall reading her many speeches posted on the internet saying why we had to join until Gordon Brown announced in June 2003 that it wasn’t in Britain’s interests to join. Who was drafting and monitoring the texts of those speeches?

@Bob B

Actually Vicky Pryce wasn’t a fan of the Euro.

Huhne claimed that all their marital arguments were over the Euro. He was keen, she wasn’t.

“He wasn’t asked about the several times he’s called for pizza to be sent to IDF soldiers when they’re raining bombs on Palestinians. ”

Yohoho! (Goofy-like call)

Isn’t the U.K. raining bombs on Afganstinians, Iraqistinians, Libyasteinians and other stinians in the Middle East on a regular basis?

Why only the Pale-stinians are entitled to condolences and empathy? Huh?


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