The vitriolic response to today’s bonfire of Guido’s vanities was not entirely unexpected.
There are two reasons why today’s series of Slog articles about Paul Staines appeared. First and foremost, to put all the available facts about this bloke in one place – where they can be archived for historians to consider – and contemporaries to note. And second, to gauge the response to those pieces.
As to the first point, everything I’ve written has been written before….but in dozens of different places. So to those who want to criticise this auditing of facts – facts that have a direct bearing on the right of ‘Guido Fawkes’ to judge a corrupt system – I ask “What is your problem?”
The second point I have found on the one hand predictable, and on the other hand fascinating. The predictably blind defence of Guido is understandable, because he blazed a trail for others – and was early not just to spot that our legislators are corrupt, but also do something about it.
But as I expected, the defenders didn’t wait for the denouement at the end – about how Staines is trying to set fire to what exists, but while happily living off it (and colluding with some of its senior luminaries) as he extends his media empire. They merely read the earlier pieces….and got all haughty about them. What, pray, is the difference between that kind of behaviour, and the Guardian’s unwavering support for a political corpse called The Labour Party?
The other response truly is fascinating: hits for the site more than doubled. Doesn’t this demonstrate better than any other thing what is wrong with the whole measure of blogsite quality? That a critique of one blogger can have the blogosphere turning in on itself in a frenzy of self-absorbed yah-boo-sucks?
Paul Staines told the Guardian last November, “My reputation is my property”. All I’ve done is give folks the floor plans. If anyone can find anything in all that which is either invented or irrelevant, I’d like to hear about it. In the meantime, to those who see today’s special series as vindictive, I make this simple point: The Slog is trying to help create a better culture in the UK. It has no other political, social or economic agenda beyond that as a goal.
I doubt if Paul Staines is going to help achieve that goal. I think driving pissed out of your mind through a major city and then showing no contrition about doing so supports my argument. I think Guido hawking grubby emails around Fleet Street for money also supports it. I think him starting media companies with Labour candidates and then selling adspace to the very Parties he claims to hate piles yet more support into the argument.
For those who think calling Michael White as a witness ‘scraping the barrel’, I can only repeat that I disagree with many of the man’s political views (and only last week railed against my comment thread under a Guardian article being censored) but White is an experienced journalist with a long and distinguished career of getting his facts in a row before making wild accusations. He may not put notches on his bedpost, but he does at least put a perspective on often complex issues.
False Gods are bad news. None of us is God. There is no point in replacing one set of self-protecting hypocrites with another lot; we do not one day want to meet the new boss and find it’s the same as the old boss.