Sunday, November 25, 2007

Mail on Sunday: Never Let the Story Facts Stand In The Way of a Good Headline

The Mail on Sunday headline "How big Labour backer is a jobbing builder who knows NOTHING about his £200,000 donation" does not out itself as a falsehood until the seventh and eighth paragraphs from the end of a turgid 50-para spread:

Last night – eight hours after initially saying he did not know about the donations – Mr Ruddick gave a different version of events. He said that he and Mrs Kidd had, in fact, made the most recent payments to the Labour Party.

Mr Ruddick said: "I made donations to Labour on that day which totalled £80,000. Janet also made the same size donations on the same day. These are the first payments either I or Janet have ever given to Labour."

A series of administrative errors then for all those other contributions listed in Ray Ruddick and Janet Kidd's name then? A bit of reverse identity theft? The fair-minded Mail crew suggest not that Mr Ruddick is an amnesiac and secret millionaire. Oh no. Instead they suggest that donations may in fact be from a Mr David Abrahams, a one-time PPC.

They also say Abrahams (circled) was in the "front row" at the Blair finale event pictured above.

It is the Mail on Sunday after all. So there's no relying on any aspect of the story. Clearly, the Labour Party being a stickler for the rules, the MoS will no doubt be apologising next week.

So long as there is no Lord Jobbing Builder or Baroness Loyal Secretary we shall be content.

UPDATE: BBC Radio Five Live (audio) have Abrahams claiming that he made gifts to the two donors. They then chose to donate amounts on to the Labour Party, completely of their own volition, using their own cheques. The Five link looks like it will change as the news changes so here's another BBC page, with a short video interview to boot.

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