Young Dave got a nasty surprise at PMQs yesterday as Mil The Younger quoted the words of one of the Tories’ own ministers, Lord Freud, to him, suggesting that disabled people might like to work for as little as £2 an hour. Cameron had not been briefed; Labour’s press team waited until after the session had started to distribute details of the relevant conversation from the Tory Party conference.
Fart in lift inquiry encounters head wind
Dave disowned Lord Freud, who later apologised. But the mere fact that Miliband had served him a Gotcha sent some of the Blue Team’s fans off in search of justification, even if it needed a significant slice of dishonesty to stand it up. And when we’re talking spin and dishonesty, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog are never far away.
What The Great Guido is defending ((c) Steve Bell 2014)
So, along with his newly anointed teaboy Alex Wickham, Staines has set out to assert that Labour backed what Freud had outlined in his conversation with a Tory Councillor. This has been spun extensively in three posts (see HERE, HERE and HERE). But, as Captain Blackadder might have observed, there was only one thing wrong with this idea: it was bollocks.
The Guardian article, and later DTI Information Note, in which The Great Guido has placed such great store, suggest no such thing. They deal with the idea of “Therapeutic Work”. The clue is in the name: this is work that some disabled people are able to do as part of their therapy, their treatment. As the Information Note – as quoted by Staines – shows, this is a typically voluntary activity.
Tasks might include “packing and assembly” – for instance, putting together orders for items like books, and packaging them for posting. None of this is given consideration by the Fawkes rabble, whose only purpose is to spin their discovery against Labour. “Mencap called for disabled to be exempt from minimum wage” claims Staines. That is not true, is it, O Great Guido?
But it is Wickham who maximises the whopper count: “Labour attack on Freud unravelling tonight (not true). Mencap supported same proposal in 2000 (not true). Labour themselves proposed more draconian policy in ’03 (not true) ... under Labour, Mencap backed his idea” (not true), and, lie of the week, “In 2003 the Labour Government supported paying mentally disabled £4 a day to man assembly lines”.
Hello Billy Liar
In the hands of someone who lies as often as he draws breath, a voluntary activity that forms part of someone’s treatment is transformed so that they’re on the track at the Vauxhall factory. That is how dishonest the Fawkes rabble is prepared to get in order to spin Cameron’s discomfort over the Freud revelation.
Spin it, misinterpret it, mislead readers, and if all else fails, just lie to them. “Reputable freelance journalist” my arse. Another fine mess, once again.