The Labour smear machine is up to its old tricks again. They are trying to persuade the Sunday lobby that the Mail on Sunday’s story last week was a put up job by the Tories and by Michael Ashcroft in particular. They will stop at nothing to divert attention away from their own incompetence and alleged corruption. But it won’t work. Everyone in the Sunday lobby knows that Jonathan Oliver’s story was a good bit of old fashioned journalistic research. The Labour donors were published the previous Tuesday; he noticed some odd names in the list and went to work. It’s what he does – and does so well.
The upshot has been that many of the other Sunday political journos have been hauled over the coals by their editors for failing to get a story that was staring them in the face. In particular, the Sunday Times political team got a withering dressing down from the powers that be at Wapping. “This is our kind of story, and you should have got it”, they were told. It was the Sunday Times, readers will recall, who broke the Cash for Honours story.
So if you see a story in any of the Sundays alleging the Tories put the Mail on Sunday up to it, you will know the truth. This is a line being peddled by Labour spin merchants. And shame on any Sunday journalist who falls for this trick. It’s a diversionary tactic and they know it.