Thursday, June 04, 2009

Iain Dale Is Up Himself: But, LOL Fingered James Purnell

Iain Dale is up himself in a big way. That's why we love him. That's why Hazel Blears has co-opted Iain to her little conspiracy. And, indeed, that's why he has been so keen to be co-opted by his little chipmunk. Even co-opted up silly side tracks.

And, that's why he writes the headline:

Evening Standard: Dale Was Right About Reid and Brown

When in fact they only said:

A No 10 source confirmed that Mr Reid and Mr Brown had met but said it was “rubbish” to say that they had discussed the leadership. Mr Reid dismissed reports of the alleged conversation as “inaccurate”.

Plus some further self-justificatory tail/tale chasing. Like my deceased cat Wiley in the bath used to do. Didn't get her anywhere. But no declaration of "Iain Woz Right". This is still not a stood up story Iain.

Here's my open letter to you:

Dear Iain

After your Tom Watson MP smears, judged to be defamatory and subject of substantial damages, we have to wonder about anything, particularly unattributed briefings, that you report.

Post McBride, yourself and Guido were all over the lobby, berating them for not outing the inaccurate spinners they live off. But you're in the same loop.

There may be something to it or not. It may be half right. And half wrong. Or some other proportions. And then there is the question of the story's news value. Reid = not a Brown supporter! Shock horror.

I don't understand why Reid would be asked to take this particular job, again. He's leaving at the General Election. There isn't anything much in it for him at this point in his career. Just grief. Perhaps that's the rather significant part of the story that ain't necessarily so?

Reid's not a Brown fan, is well known. And he's a very skilled political operator. Very good attention to detail I've noticed. In personal encounters with him. But it's hard-to-impossible to conceive of a pitch to John Reid to get him back into cabinet at this point. Or of a circumstance in which Gordon Brown, not necessarily a Reid fan, would attempt such a thing.

The story - let's suppose it's from Hazel Blears for example - is not stood up. It may well be imperfectly sourced from someone with an axe to grind, like Hazel, inaccurately and/or imprecisely told by Iain I'd guess, and a still uncorroborated half story when push comes to shove.

If the LES has THREE sources as Iain suggests, being his - via him - and two others, I'm worried. John Reid and Gordon Brown were at the meeting. Others? Not a lot I'd have thought. Anyone at all? Wouldn't be wise. Perhaps, people are getting tired just now. The summer recess is here, very soon. But, we can be sure ... Gordon hasn't been blagging anything like this about would be my guess.

So, John Reid is the only obvious primary source. Whoever he's shared with are secondary sources. Perhaps you could get a couple at a stroke via a three-way conversation. And whoever they've shared with. Way down the chinese whispers on this. But that's still just one source really. Sorry.

Mischief is afoot. Your source Iain cannot help but being part of that. And you certainly ain't going to be calling a halt to this mischief.

It's not like your mate Derek Conway having it away with a million, or Nadine Dorries being an idiot, this is Hazel and her crew doing student's union politics writ big.

BY THE WAY: I fingered Purnell as a flight risk a while ago (36 hours ago) when asked about potential resignations from Flint and Burnham. I think Flint probably will go, though Crick (tonight on Newsnight) has her down for a big promotion. I hope Burnham won't, he's proper Labour, but he might, Hazel did. But I volunteered Mr Purnell (above from Beau Bo D'Or) as more likely to walk.

Purnell's a bit to a lot vulnerable I think on trousergate. Others may try to convince me otherwise over the next 48 hours. I'll probably wait for that to play out. But an early election footing would suit him from that POV I'd say.

All the best

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