That Umunna was a front-runner in the leadership race was one of those rare occasions where this blog, and the Super Soaraway Currant Bun, were in agreement. For the press, what that guaranteed was not merely attention, but intrusion: anything that could possibly be dirt or leverage would be sought, and duly splashed. As news of Umunna’s decision has circulated, so has that of the intrusion.
The targeting of Ms Sullivan and her family was lent an added piquancy by Umunna being, like his hero Barack Obama, son of an African father. Black bloke with white partner? The potential for a little carefully coded racism was enormous. After all, the press had mainly got away with pushing Mil The Younger’s “otherness”, which was code for Jewish. They would have a field day with Umunna and Ms Sullivan.
You think I jest? It has been revealed by Channel 4’s Michael Crick, himself no stranger to pursuing public figures, that some of the press pack had been doorstepping Ms Sullivan’s family, including not just her parents, but also her grandmother, who is 102 years old. Have a think about that. What possible public interest is there in the Fourth Estate’s attack dogs going off in pursuit of a 102 year old? That would be Zero.
Even if no story had been unearthed by press pursuit of Ms Sullivan’s family, there was clear intention to use her as the means of attacking Umunna, as Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham, newly anointed teaboy to the Fawkes blog, let slip earlier as he told “Understand sympathy for Chuka. But worth remembering he did parade around his previously secret girlfriend before Ed's body was even cold” (she was not a secret, but hey ho).