[Update at end of post]
Today is not going especially well for the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his tame gofer Henry Cole, the Laurel and Hardy of the blogosphere, at the Guido Fawkes blog. These supposedly expert pundits are having difficulty figuring out who leads the MEPs of their favoured party in the European Parliament, and Zelo Street has forced them into editing their latest offering on Phonehackgate.
Getting something right? Now that's a good idea!
The opening shot of the Fawkes blog was to claim inside knowledge of who would replace the frankly batshit Roger Helmer, who is in the process of resigning as an MEP. Helmer, whose attitude to law and order is thankfully not shared by the Police, is said by the less than dynamic duo to be part of a group headed by “Martin Callaghan”. Martin Callanan, meanwhile, was unavailable for comment.
Dirty Harry infiltrates Brussels Tories shock
And then it was on to the Leveson Inquiry, where Daily Mirror editor Richard Wallace was being given a light to medium grilling. Staines and Cole have asserted that Wallace is a “Perjurer”, that he was “up to his neck in phone hacking” (no evidence cited, and none will be), and that he would have personally approved “hundreds” of Steve Whittamore’s invoices (ditto).
First version: "which was phone hacked"
So far, so predictable, but then Guardian man Dan Sabbagh Tweeted that he understood the Sven’n’Ulrika-ka-ka-ka story (Wallace was then showbiz editor at the Mirror, the appalling Piers “Morgan” Moron being in charge) had come via Screws hacks letting slip about their scoop to a Mirror man in the pub. I Tweeted the link to the relevant Zelo Street post to Sabbagh, who retweeted it (much appreciated).
Revised version, with pic and added "undoubtedly"
Thus the Fawkes blog had to respond, while not acknowledging the existence, and certainly not the influence, of Zelo Street. So an edit was made of the post on Wallace’s Leveson appearance, adding the payoff line “Even those who quibble about the provenance of the story merely quibble about from whom it was hacked”. This is, regretfully, mainly crap.
How the Mirror got the story, unlike most of what is published in the Fawkes blog, has several sources to back it up, as I’ve previously shown. After the Screws was scooped, Private Eye ran a feature in issue 1053. This was mostly corroborated by the Guardian, more recently by Noel Young in The Drum and in an Independent diary piece by Matthew Bell.
The Screws had hacked both Sven and Ulrika’s voicemail. This may well have been relayed to the Mirror man in the pub, but as one of the Screws hacks was the unfortunate Sean Hoare, it is now one man’s word against another’s. The only way the Mirror, and Wallace, could be caught is through proving he knew the original had come via hacking. What the Mirror ran came from Melanie Cantor.
And so the Fawkes blog chalks up another heroic failure. Another fine mess.
[UPDATE 17 January: the Fawkes blog's post on Roger Helmer has now changed the reference calling the Tory MEP leader "Martin Callaghan" to the correct "Martin Callanan". Good to see Staines and Cole looking in on Zelo Street for their corrections. But, as can be seen above, I took a screenshot]