Wednesday, September 01, 2010

A Bleak Day For Political Blogging

Guido Fawkes is, and remains, a friend. But I am afraid his blogging over the Hague/Myers issue has not shown the political blogosphere at its finest. His defence is that all he was doing was questioning whether taxpayer should be funding the salary of someone who might be having a relationship with his boss, and as evidence he alleged that they had once shared a hotel room. As if that were evidence of anything...

So on the flimsiest of evidence a young man loses his job and the Foreign Secretary and his wife are forced to issue the most personal of statements, detailing miscarriages and a declaration on the state of their marriage.

What have we come to?

For the record, here is William Hague's statement...

“I feel it is necessary to issue this personal statement in response to press
and internet speculation over the last ten days. Earlier this year a Sunday
newspaper began questioning whether my marriage to Ffion was in trouble, and
last week another media outlet asked whether there was a statement about our
supposed separation. This seemed to be linked to equally untrue speculation
surrounding the appointment of Christopher Myers as a Special Adviser.
Christopher Myers has demonstrated commitment and political talent over the last
eighteen months. He is easily qualified for the job he holds. Any suggestion
that his appointment was due to an improper relationship between us is utterly
false, as is any suggestion that I have ever been involved in a relationship
with any man.

This speculation seems to stem from the fact that whilst campaigning before the election we occasionally shared twin hotel rooms. Neither of us would have done so if we had thought that it in any way meant or implied something else. In hindsight I should have given greater consideration to what might have been made of that, but this is in itself no justification for allegations of this kind, which are untrue and deeply distressing to me, to Ffion and to Christopher.

He has now told me that, as a result of the pressure on his family from the untrue and malicious allegations made about him, he does not wish to continue in his position. It is a pity that a talented individual should feel that he needs to leave his job in this way. Ffion and I believe that everyone has a right to a private life.

However, we now feel it necessary to give some background to our marriage because we have had enough of this continued and hurtful speculation about us. I have made no secret of the fact that Ffion and I would love to start a family. For many years this has been our goal. Sadly this has proved more difficult for us than for most couples. We have encountered many difficulties and suffered multiple miscarriages, and indeed are still grieving for the loss of a pregnancy this summer. We are aware that the stress of infertility can often strain a marriage, but in our case, thankfully, it has only brought us closer together.

It has been an immensely traumatic and painful experience but our marriage is
strong and we will face whatever the future brings together. Several years ago
one Sunday paper reported that Ffion was three months pregnant, without ever
checking the story with us. This made even more difficult the fact that we had
only just experienced another disappointment. We have never made this
information public because of the distress it would cause to our families and
would not do so now were it not for the untrue rumours circulating which
repeatedly call our marriage into question. We wish everyone to know that we are
very happily married.

It is very regrettable to have to make this personal statement, but we have often said to each other ‘if only they knew the truth…’ Well, this is the straightforward truth. I will not be making any further comment on these matters.”
This statement leaves no wriggle room. Look at the last sentence. Hague is not gay. Get it? Some of us never thought he was.

There are several consequences to this. The main one is that Christopher Myers has lost his job. The poor guy clearly felt unable to cope with the media maelstrom and decided to quit both for his own sanity and the sake of the Foreign Secretary's career. It's never good when an adviser becomes the story. I hope he recovers from this ghastly experience quickly and finds a good job soon.

The other main consequence is for those of us who have at least in part made our names through blogging. I remember my part in the John Prescott scandal and after that I decided that was not something I was comfortable in repeating. Since then I have tried (but admittedly not always succeeded) not to descend into the gutter. Would I have defended a Labour politican against such an onslaught? For those who doubt it, they forget (probably conveniently) that I spoke out against the bloggers who accused Gordon Brown of having mental problems. I freely admit that I don't get it right all the time, but when I get it wrong big time I try to hold my hands up and apologise. I hope that happens in this case. The fact that Guido Fawkes has printed the Hague statement with no added comment indicates a growing realisation (I hope) that he called this one wrong.

I am afraid that all of us who blog have been sullied by this experience, even though only one blog was making the insinuations. I said on Radio 4's PM that there was part of me tonight that is ashamed to call myself a political blogger this evening, and I meant it. That may sound a bit holier than thou, but it is how I feel.

I hope Mr Fawkes can look himself in the mirror tonight. Because I sure as hell couldn't.

114 comments:

chris said...

Amen.

David said...

"Hague is not gay. Get it? Some of us never thought he was."

And some of us would never care if he were.

Joe Public said...

Remind me which of Myers' superior qualifications and proven experience enabled him to beat other candidates for the job.

Witterings From Witney said...

Iain,

Guido went off on a 'tangent' and actually attacked the wrong target. In that respect his judgment was at fault.

What is more important is why and how someone who, on the face of it, did not have the qualifications for the job to which he had been appointed.

It is this aspect that Hague has to explain - and so so in some detail.

The Purpleline said...

Iain- I do believe you are being very selective here. When you think about political blogging any negative comment that you make against an opposition MP could be considered as having a personal affect on them or their family.

1) It was strange that a Taxi driver became a SPAD

In actual fact Hague should have taken a leaf out of your book and conducted a proper procedure for the position he wanted to fill.

I suspect teh dark arts of the secret service and FCO were behiond this and leaking tittla tattle because a lot of noses would have been put out of joint with this appointment.

Therefore, Guido has done us a favour. Remember we pay for these people. Hard earned Tax.

2)It is strange to employ a friend over somebody else

3) I dare say Myers resigned because he would have been under the microscope for his performance as a spad.

killemallletgodsortemout said...

Well said, Iain. Guido is a twat in this instance.

Very touching statement from Hague.

Truth is, Myers was one-too-many advisors and had to go.

Red Rag said...

As I have said to you on more than one occasion, when you and your ilk hang around sewer dwellers, eventually you will fall foul of them.

No sympathy.The same people being attacked by them now were not complaining about it when he was doing the Tories dirty work on other parties.

In fact, any squealing and complaining about this so called expose, is more than a touch ironic.

P. Stable said...

Both the Times and the Telegraph carried the rumours today, but a fiver says that in Thursday's editions it'll be all about how the evil blogosphere is to blame.

And the Mail will say it's all Facebook's fault.

Paddy Briggs said...

Iain

It's a staggeringly ill-written statement. Over defensive, over emotional, grammatically bereft and downright hissy. It raises more questions than it answers and tells us more than we need to know. And yet it fails completely to say what the hell was going on.

OldSlaughter said...

Yeah, but Brown was clearly a mentalist.

golden_balls said...

He has denied it so either he's a liar or its Guido and others making mischief.

I think i would have had more respect for Hague and had more sympathy if he hadn't made snide comments at PMQ about Mandelson and his bf.

If you can't take it don't give it out.

PoliticalHack said...

But is Guido a political blogger or just a conduit for sewage and poison? There's a difference between those who believe in politics and have a point of view on policy and delivery and those whose interests seem to extend no further than regurgitating snide gossip from the tearooms. None of us are perfect - and you are right to point out that you've made errors in the past - but Guido made his name from spreading half truths, playing to the bigotry of his fanboys and relying on his complex hosting arrangements to defend himself. While I sympathise with the Hagues and Chris Myers and condemn Guido's sub-schoolboy taunting, I can't help but feel that the Tories are now getting some of the medicine that some of them enjoyed watching being dealt out to Labour pre-election.

RantinRab said...

I haven't been sullied.

mtrcricket said...

I don't give a damn about anybodies sexualities, only their ability to do their jobs.
Guido's blogging on this issue is totally misguided and disgraceful.
The Hagues are put in an impossible position. "Have you stopped beating your wife" in spades.
Guido should be sent to Coventry for a year.

northernheckler said...

Well I for one welcome your comments in this post.

It's common to score points against rival parties, politicians and bloggers, but I can't for the life of me see why Hague & Myers are being hounded like this.

I had a sudden flurry of traffic today on a mild mickey take of William Hague I published in February - If people think they'll find any dirt on Billy the Pop there they'll be disappointed.

Sara Scarlett said...

Are you serious?

How can you look yourself in the mirror, Dale? You were pretty silent when he was doing the same to Labour.

A bleak day for a group of parvenus who are mostly unemployed losers, who sit around in their pajamas all day? Sure, sure - this one's bleaker than usual...

northernheckler said...

Well I for one welcome your comments in this post.

It's common to score points against rival parties, politicians and bloggers, but I can't for the life of me see why Hague & Myers are being hounded like this.

I had a sudden flurry of traffic today on a mild mickey take of William Hague I published in February - If people think they'll find any dirt on Billy the Pop there they'll be disappointed

Tom Greeves said...

His name isn't Guido Fawkes it is Paul Staines, and it is about time people stopped being so thoroughly indulgent of him.

Why is he a friend? He does a superb impression of a boorish oaf.

andywd82 said...

1: chill out. No one is judging blogging in general, or you in particular.

2: GF was right to call out why a 25 year old with no qualifications was chosen as a special advisor to the foreign secretary, when so many more qualified people would have given their right arm for the job.

3. WH can cry in his beer, the public life is the life he chose, and he will be called out on any action that doesn't look whiter than white. If it is actually white, he can explain it. Those who don't like it this way should get out of politics.

4. Shame on you for arguing Brown's mental issues were not to be discussed. He was mental. Tony Blair has told us as much now. And people like you allowed him to inflict his lunacy on us for too long. Even TB conceded he was only useful in the tent, p*ssing out. He could have told us that before he flushed the country down the drain.

5: WH threw the miscarriage stuff in for free. It was not needed, nor is his revealing it Guido Fawkes fault.

6: "The poor guy clearly felt unable to cope with the media maelstrom and decided to quit both for his own sanity and the sake of the Foreign Secretary's career" This is complete heresay. You don't know why he quit. He, i assume, thinks his bread is buttered elsewhere. He may yet do very well. The alegations may have been true... who knows....

marcuscleaver said...

You sanctimonious ****, you're only commenting on this story for your own publicity. That's why it begins by advertising your TV appearance.

It's a shame your own blog lacks any independent investigative skills so that you have to rely on commenting on others work.

James said...

You've done it again.

As with the David Laws affair, you have allowed the fact that you are gay to have clouded your judgement.

William Hague has employed Christopher Myers as a 'special advisor' with public money. As such he is accountable to the people.

If Hague has allowed a non-professional relationship with Myers to influence his judgement then it is a form of misuse of public office,,,,,,,a form of nepotism.

You would not accept that David Laws had erred significantly in taking public money to reimburse his lover in the form of rent - stating that he wished the relationship to remain confidential. If he harboured such concerns then he should not have applied for the money - it is the job of officials to look into how public money is spent.

Similarly William Hague's actions have to be able to bear official scrutiny.

For the second time you have given the impression that you are not impartial when the conduct of political figures who are also gay comes into question.

Scary Biscuits said...

"Is it because I is black?" comes to mind.

Dale, it's irrelevant whether Hague and his advisor went brown or whether Prescott went pink. What both have done is to abuse their positions of trust. The case against Hague is that he has recruited somebody generally thought to be unsuitable and unqualified for a job paid for by taxpayers. Hague's failure to refute this charge has done him no favours.

Johnny Norfolk said...

I think you have to also question Hagues judgement, its not the first time he has put his foot in it. In his position if something like this starts to surface he should have made his ststement at once. He is in politics and if he does not like it he should get out. He has only himself to blame.

trevorsden said...

A friend? The man is a turd.

londonmuslim said...

perhaps this Myers bloke can get a job as your Executive assistant to get him off the dole if you feel he has suffered such an injustice at the hands of Guido

GM said...

You are right on this. But it is worth bearing in mind that Guido was not the only one making the insinuation - he was simply the most forthright and open. The Mail and Telegraph coverage of this has been equally tawdry. Perhaps bloggers are not so different from the dead tree press they despise after all.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

"I said on Radio 4's PM"
Gays must put up a united front, of course. It's very convenient to pop into confirmed batchelor, Eddie Mair's peak time show to give the BBC's totally unbiased view.

Yet another reason to dump the Corporation - they can no longer be depended upon for balance or truth.

Did they ask Guido on?

dazmando said...

I had a drink with Guido at Lib Dem coference. Hes a very enjoyable guy, but this kind of think makes me sick infact
This makes me want to leave politics well done Iain

trevorsden said...

May I also add that Stains seems to have built up (sorry, fabricated) a whole case based on two men behaving like Morecambe and Wise

http://trevorsden.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/eharlot/

So we are left to ponder the backwards track our smutty morals have taken in the last 30 years. There's progressive for you.

Bring me sanity if not sunshine.

Cogito Dexter said...

I stopped reading Guido after his seriously bad judgement in publishing the "cartoon" poking fun at MP David Ruffley's apparent suicide attempt and then going on to defend it as though it was worthwhile political 'comment'.

I'd recommend all others to do the same.

Lauchlan McLean said...

As in most instances you are speaking from the heart,stating your
true feelings about the antics of a friend who has stepped over the line.Whether Paul is man enough to admit it we will wait to see.

Old Holborn said...

Did you ever manage to get that bloke who had the temerity to demonstrate outside Parliament sacked?

http://iaindale.blogspot.com/2010/05/shouldnt-you-be-at-work-mike.html

Irina from Dublin said...

Guido is/was just a stooge for the CIA/Mossad to get back at the UK/Hague for the Lockerbie bomber release and his response.

Friends in high places etc.

apricotfox said...

Agree. Not a good day at all.

Torontory said...

No further comment is necessary. A first rate post

Guido said...

I am rather saddened by your pomposity over this, Iain. The story isn't about you and Guido having a spat. It concerns patronage and corruption. Hague's statement contains one important statement:

"Christopher Myers has demonstrated commitment and political talent over the last
eighteen months. He is easily qualified for the job he holds."

Is this statement true? Was he better qualified than anyone else? What are the talents that Hague considered vital to aid the Foreign Secretary?

The rest of his statement about his relationship with Ffion, while sad, is irrelevant to this case and might be considered a calculated attempt to gain sympathy while not truly answering the real question.

As a country, we have just endured a long political scandal concerning the trustworthiness of our parliament. You and Guido both contributed to helping reveal what our politicians were up to. If ever there was a time for our leaders not only to behave with propriety, but to be seem to behave with propriety, this is it. It is disappointing to watch you climb on a moral high horse and go in the wrong direction.

BTW if I were to apply for the job you are offering, my accompanying essay would be considerably shorter than 250 words. Instead, I would quote the words whispered to the Roman emperors: "Memento mori" - Remember you are mortal.

Jimmy said...

"I hope he recovers from this ghastly experience quickly and finds a good job soon."

I wish him luck. He'll probabably have Guido stalking him for the next year boasting about his "scalp" if past behaviour's any guide. Let's face it if he hasn't grown out of this adolescent prurience at this stage he's hardly likely to any time soon. Still, I'd like to thank him for knocking the Blair book off the lead story.

Norfolk Blogger said...

I don't have him on my blogroll but if I did, I'd remove it.

Unsworth said...

I'm surprised - for a whole bunch of reasons.

It's quite surprising that Hague has seen fit to issue this lengthy and detailed statement. The resignation of Myers without comment would have been more than adequate fire-fighting.

It's also surprising that Hague, with his wealth of political experience, did not recognise how these actions might be construed. I'd add that as the senior he had a duty of care towards the junior party.

It's suprising that so many seem unable to recognise what the Internet and blogging actually are - and how they have changed politics so substantially.

It's particularly surprising that you, Iain, believe that all are 'sullied'. Surely only those who have taken particular positions are 'sullied'? I don't believe you should be ashamed to call yourself a political blogger because of the actions of another - who may not exhibit your fastidiousness or scruples.

No doubt Hague and several others will ensure that Myers is looked after. I do hope so, as he seems to be out of his depth.

As to Guido, well it's his face and his conscience. We all make errors of judgement, some small, some not so small. Is that surprising?

Hamish said...

One of the saddest things about this, Iain, is that Guido's latest post on the subject has attracted more than 500 comments.
A quick look shows a few reasonable voices, and a few shafts of genuine humour. But the great majority of comments are viciously abusive.
Homophobic, misogynist, often both at the same time. Invariably illiterate.
It could be argued I suppose that internet blogs serve a useful purpose in channeling that kind of anger, which might otherwise be expressed in physical violence.
Nonetheless I agree with you that this is a bleak day for political blogging.

Yet another scribe said...

Feel sorry for the Hagues due to this haranguing, particularly given their failed attempts at starting a family.

That said, Ian, get over yourself.

His story hasn't really come out, but as just about everyone on both sides of the spectrum have said, a 25 year old 2:2 history graduate would be a poor political appointment in any instance, nevermind an exceptional third spad for the foreign office. Is this young man so exceptionally brilliant that the policy analysts, ex diplomats and other incredibly qualified candidates were seen as less than him?

More importantly, and this has been said before in response to you, this hand wringing shame-on-you-guido approach you have taken with Guido simply doesn't wash given your almost infantile glee when he tears into people you are not so ideologically attuned with.

In summary

1 The spad should never had been hired, and his supposedly ruined career was astoundingly poor judgment by hague

2 Guido went over the top, didn't keep his mouth shut and showed a complete lack of professionalism. He has done it before, he will do it again, and you are a hypocrite for being so damn sanctimonious this particular time.

3 In politics your personal life can always be disclosed. It very often shouldn't, but you must be prepared for it. This case was awful and I have a lot of sympathy for him, but it is a complete given that if you, as a politician, engage in activities that could be seen as fishy, you must be prepared for all sorts of private details to come out, however unfair it may be.

Span Ows said...

I agree...it sems when there is no news thick people just invent it...I am not suggesting Guido is thick (I suspect he has two or three minions posting on the blog) this of course applies to most of the media who seem unable to use their own brains and seem intent on reporting what they think their masters or the public want to hear.

The Hagues have told us something of the utmost privacy, something they didn't want to tell anyone, for that all those involed must accept that they are cunts, no more no less.

Henry_Tree said...

There's something not quite right about all of this. If the young man has resigned so quickly as a result of pressure from untrue and malicious allegations it suggests he has not the temperament to handle such a job and should never have been employed in the first place.
"Commitment and political talent" over 18 months is hardly a proper qualification for a F.O. special adviser, especially when the rewards are so huge.
No, Ian, I'd normally agree with you on a subject like this but in this case there is something wrong. I doubt we have heard the last of it.

Valleys Mam said...

well said
But the comments were also disgraceful,why some people are so venomous and use such bad language I don't know.May be GF needs to get moderation on his blog too

tychy said...

come on man, lighten up. the whole thing seems like just a bit of fun. hague could have laughed it off.

tory boys never grow up said...

Pardon the Schadenfreude but some of us have been critical of Guido's methods for rather a long time. I'm afraid you have helped create and nourish the Beast and now he has turned on your own side.

Unless the blogosphere learns to regulate itself then the end result will be that someone else will take on that role. Can anyone think of some suitable punishment that doesn't inflate Guido's ego even more than his Michellin man physique?

Sparrow said...

I also await a statement from Mr S.

tapestry said...

Staines is well-named.

johnleon30 said...

OOOOHHH the remorse, you will be telling us you have found religion next; get a life Iain, politics is dirty, no one who enters it is virginal and after rising? to high office should have learned how to cover their backside, pun intended. I think it is the majority of the last administration's polititians who should be not wanting to look at themselves in the mirror, not a blogger who points out how corrupt the British Political establishment has become, or is that reality a truth too far?

Charles Crawford said...

As a so-called 'political blogger' of admittedly modest proportions (and indeed an ex-FCO person) I do not see why you say that "all of us who blog have been sullied by this experience".

I stand, unsullied.

My own view:

'Not a bleak day for anything.

Just the unruly and sometimes downright unpleasant din of our hard-won freedom to lambast our leaders, hard at work.'

See more here: http://charlescrawford.biz/blog/unwholesome-events-at-the-fco

Guido said...

Thank you for being prepared to post my comments even when critical of you. Just realised that my Google id of Guido might be seen to be Paul Staines or copying him. It isn't - this has been my nickname for all my life.

Osama the Nazarene said...

I hope Mr Myers can soon find a position for which he is eminently qualified, namely that of chauffeur.

As for Guido, I don't think he has anything to worry about when looking in the mirror. Well maybe his girth if he glances down.

norman said...

I guess Guido is looking for another 'McBride type scoop'. He says 'As a country, we have just endured a long political scandal concerning the trustworthiness of our parliament', I thought that he gave an impression of being S.Irishman? His blogs these days are pretty pathetic, very personal at times and for £30,000 per year at 25 is cheap when compared to what they pay for a graduate with a history degree in an investment bank. I am a happily married straight person with a family and at times in the past my company had asked me to share a hotel room with another colleague because of budget constraints. I think Guido should do a proper 9:00-5:00 job in the real world as his blog is getting ridiculous.

Mark said...

I don't care about his sexuality. I *do* care that created a post, paid for from the public purse, for someone completely unqualified, for reasons best known to himself.

Cicero said...

Not all relationships survive the loss of a pregnancy. It is something intensely personal, and it changes you (both) in unexpected ways.

I understand the great sadness that the Hagues have been living with, and I wish them both the very best. I also wish Mr. Hague's assistant all the best in his new career.

I would like to wish Paul Staines all the best in his new career, but I fear he may still be around for another few months.

Danny Law said...

Well Iain, I can’t agree with you over your comments concerning Guido.
Guido has worked hard to uncover what might have been a very tawdry situation. The allegation that a senior government minister was employing his ‘boyfriend’ and using tax payer’s money to do it. You suggest that Hague’s statement makes it clear that he is not gay. That may (or may not be) be the case. Words are cheap. But it’s not unknown for a government minister to hide being gay, is it? I believe Crispin Blunt lied to his wife, his children and his electorate for 20 years before ‘coming out’ at last weekend. So let’s not get too self righteous about ‘outing’ government ministers being a bad thing.
I also don’t really feel that is was your place to speak on behalf of all bloggers on the BBC. Let Guido and other bloggers speak for themselves.
Another thing I glean from your blog Iain is that you are a kind person with great integrity, but you are ‘…of the establishment, you like the establishment and want to be part of the establishment.’ Guido, on the other hand, is a maverick. He is by nature, anti establishment. I suspect like a lot of us he has a built in mistrust for the great and the good that want to run our lives. I don’t think I am the only one who believes there are all sorts of corruption and sleazy scandals going on in government that we, the proles that pay for it all, are not allowed to know about. But that are common knowledge amongst the ‘in crowd’. Including journalists as well as politicians. So personally I applaud people like Guido who lifts up stones and says what’s under here. You may have faith in these people Iain. And that’s to your credit. But a lot of us only think the worst. And experience tends to show we are right.
Personally I think Guido should be proud he brought this matter to a head. If you don’t approve of that – well that’s your right. But Guido has nothing to apologise for.

Judy said...

How naive does Hague think the public are? Does he really think the fact that going on about the fact that he's married and been unsuccessful in having a child demonstrates anything at all about whether he might have given Myers a job as a SpAd with no significant qualifications or experience and, as an extremely wealthy man, shared a bedroom with him on various trips?

He wouldn't be the first politician to attempt to use the fact of his marriage as "proof" that he isn't gay.

But the more significant thing is the shared overnight rooms- a weird thing for such a wealthy man to do, and the fact of giving this man a very prestigious well paid taxpayer funded job over the claims of better qualified candidates.

Myers' resignation does look as if it is intended to forestall scrutiny of the procedures through which he was appointed. Why didn't Hague give us chapter and verse on his statement about Myers being very well qualified instead of making irrelevant and diversionary comments about the miscarriages?

This is not gutter stuff, any more than the outcry over the Laws scandal of giving taxpayers' money to rent a flat owned by his lover.

Mostly Ordinary said...

He can look into the mirror because he's making money out of it.

No real chance of suing + Internet gossip = easy buck

Intentionally Blank said...

Spot on, Iain.

Fawkes, normally amusing and astute, has behaved like an absolute tw*t by concocting this story. I cannot help but feel that he has become as cynical and shabby as those he attempts to 'expose'.

He talks frequently about vested interests and the closeness of he Lobby to politicians but in his own way, he coexists just as cosily with the Westminster Village; without political scandal, he has no income. In this case, it appears that in his desperation to break a story and pursue readership, he has taken leave of his senses.

On the specifics of the case, I have run businesses where, on occasion I have taken a chance on hiring an individual just because the chemistry is right. In fact, chemistry and capability are far more important in every hiring decision I have ever made than whether or not an individual is technically qualified. What a deficient and ineffective government we would have if Ministers were forced to hire based on qualifications alone. The UK would operate like a third rate, Labour council.

Would Richard Branson, Simon Fuller, Paul Smith or Jamie Oliver pass Guido's 'qualification' test? Probably not. Yet they are all rather more successful than he is.

On the matter of bed sharing - at every conference, seminar, junket and corporate event I have ever been to, there have been same sex colleagues sharing rooms. It's cheaper and it's a bit of fun. On no occasion did I find myself in one of Fawkes' homoerotic fantasies.

Sorry this comment is long - but this really pissed me off. Hague knocks spots off most other Ministers and Shadow Ministers. The UK government would be weakened without him and Guido knows this as well as anyone.

Stephen said...

I can't see Hague now without thinking of Liberace.

trevorsden said...

Apologists for Guido are really showing the true colours of their bigotry. So too is the little smut himself in his drivel of an excuse. Friend? - you can bet he pulls faces behind your back.

Purpleline in particular seems well on the other side of the looking glass. Needless to say Mr Briggs also demonstrated his tenuous link with normal society. Which part of miscarriage does he not understand.
Goldenballs - Mandelson HAS a boyfriend! Hague was effectively accused of cheating on his wife - just a few weeks after she has had a miscarriage.

Gutless Guido quotes qualifications. Garbage. Since when did Spads need 'qualifications'?
Apart from being an ex-alcoholic ex-pornographer, just what 'qualifications' did Alistair Campbell have to be appointed the de facto head of the civil service?
Spads are selected (not interviewed and cross checked) because of their bosses trust them, because of their ability to work with their boss.
(nay and thrice nay no missus titter ye not! Yes oooh!)

Straws ... grasping. Guido is just laying down a smokescreen to hide either his ignorance his stupidity his opportunism or his sheer nasy homophobicness.
Suddenly dredging up some toss about a graduate not being suitable is very thin stuff and a total change of tack.
I suggest some people just go back to Guido's dung heap where they are not out of place. (Span Owls makes a good point)

I agree with Cogito Dexter - I did not realise there was this tawdry cartoon. Why Mr Shitty Guido if its all, about accountability did you bring up all the gay smears. I have said it before and I will probably say it again - if I had to make a living the way you make yours (see the comment from Hamish) I would shoot myself.

A shit with no shame.

Caron said...

Iain, come on. You devote a huge amount of time and energy every year to promoting the best of the political blogosphere through your awards. You know that it's not just about Guido. There are hundreds of us out here. Yes, he's a prat and he got it wrong, but he's only one blogger, who is hopefully now going to be in terminal freefall.

There's a lot of decent debate and good writing out there in the political blogosphere and you know it.

Honestly, just because Jackie Collins brings out a new novel, you don't say "oh, it's a bad day for books". I mean, ok, it's not going to be Pride and Prejudice, or War and Peace, but at least we have those masterpieces.

Good quality dark chocolate isn't demeaned by the presence in the world of the appalling and bland Hershey's Kisses.

One horrific mistake by a blogger doesn't and shouldn't taint all of us.

Sancho said...

You're missing the point here. You haven't addressed the argument some of us are making about Hague's judgement. Hiding behind his personal family tragedy is no excuse for hiring a Spad just coz they got on in a Platonic friendship. Hague says he was suited for the job and you are saddened at his loss of employment.

But do you really, really think that a 25 year old has the life experience, the international experience to be an advisor to the Foreign Secretary?

Well done Guido for getting rid of him. Can we have someone with a bit of grey hair now?

jane_nrj said...

Bloody hell I actually agree with la Bercow!!

Rebel Saint said...

The whole idea that the "best person for a job" is simply the person who holds a relevant qualification is nonsense. In fact, a qualification is almost the least important bit. Was Myers loyal, trustworthy, teachable, with integrity, a good team player, hard working? Did he command the respect of his employer & colleagues etc etc.

There have been occasions I have not selected the "best qualified" person for a job simply because I don't think they will have the temperament or character to enhance the overall team.

But because such great judges as Paul Staines think the person was not suitable then that's all that matters.

I too stopped reading Staine's blog after his disgraceful, puerile defence of his inclusion of a cartoon about the attempted suicide of some MP. He makes the NOTW look high-brow.

The Grim Reaper said...

"For those who doubt it, they forget (probably conveniently) that I spoke out against the bloggers who accused Gordon Brown of having mental problems."

That'll be myself on Twitter earlier, then.

"I freely admit that I don't get it right all the time, but when I get it wrong big time I try to hold my hands up and apologise. I hope that happens in this case... I said on Radio 4's PM that there was part of me tonight that is ashamed to call myself a political blogger this evening, and I meant it."

I get the feeling that won't last too long.

So what retribution will there be against Guido? Are you going to do a Draper and remove him from your blogroll, whilst publishing pieces called "Guido has been proven to be wrong. He must now apologise" and the delightful "Guido Fawkes should be ashamed of himself"? There hasn't been a good blog war for quite some time.

Ed said...

I dunno. At least Guido never discovered the identity of a demonstrator at a peaceful protest and tried to get him sacked from his job...

Oh wait...

So which side are you on, Iain? Is it only right if it is you doing it? Or is it only wrong if it's against Tories?

Led said...

"Any suggestion
that his appointment was due to an improper relationship between us is utterly false, as is any suggestion that I have ever been involved in a relationship with any man."

Reading between the lines of what wasn't said, he hasn't denied thinking about it.

With the relative inexperience of the lad in question, I do tend to get the impression this was one of those "diversity" recruitings that has gone spectacularly wrong.

The Yorkshire Terrorist said...

"I hope he recovers from this ghastly experience quickly and finds a good job soon."

I don't think this would have been a story at all if he'd had a good job, or any job at all, before being drafted in to advise the incumbent of one of the most powerful jobs in Britain, possibly even on the world stage as well.

William Hague could be a regular round Max Moseley's gaff for all I care, so long as he does his job properly - this includes surrounding himself with the best advisors.

Quite frankly this statement raises more questions than it answers. A first year comms student would know that either a statement on the relevant experience and merits of Myers, or a resignation with a short 'I became the story' statement would have adequately fought the fire (which wasn't that strong in the scale of things - Staines is nowhere near as influential as he thinks he is).

loveandgarbage said...

"I am afraid that all of us who blog have been sullied by this experience,"

And those of us who don't use gossip in our blogs? Are we sullied too? And if so why?

I don't like this kind of blogging. I don't have Guido on my RSS feed. I don't like it when people use rumours against political opponents. I didn't like it when you used gossip against political opponents.

I do not feel sullied by this. But I feel saddened that the privacy of a family's grief is brought into the public domain through the unholy collaboration of right wing newspapers and a right wing blogger.

Richard said...

I have never left a message on one of these sites before but felt compelled to due to the unfair attack on the Hagues.

I used to live next door to the Hagues london residence in a private and secure apartment block. Unlike certain other residents (an eclectic bunch that included Ambassaders, popstars and the odd russian hooker) the Hagues were the embodyment of civility.

There was an apartment that house a group of twentysomething openly gay men. While hetro myself, I became friends with them and can tell you that they had no contact at all with William. My girlfriend (now wife) used to joke about them being a 'gay honeytrap' as they were all very fit, tanned and used to oil each other on their patio while they sun bathed. If William were that way inclined I am pretty certain that they would have 'met' when Ffion wasn't around.

I am afraid the only gossip I can report is that I DID once catch him checking out one of the Russian girls in the left when she bent over to pickup a shopping bag she had dropped...

...so maybe William isnt quite so perfect afterall!

(ps In fairness to William, she did have fantastic shopping bags)

jailhouselawyer said...

For the record, I ran with the story 24 hours before Guido.

Today, I ran with this:

"Ministerial Code

3.2 With the exception of the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers may each appoint up to two special advisers (paid or unpaid). The Prime Minister may also authorise the appointment of one or two special advisers by Ministers who regularly attend Cabinet. All appointments, including exceptions to this rule, require the prior written approval of the Prime Minister, and no committments to make such appointments should be entered into in the absence of such approval. All special advisers will be appointed under terms and conditions set out in the Model Contract for Special Advisers and the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers".

If you don't get it, then I will explain. Either William Hague breached the Ministerial Code, or David Cameron did by authorising Chris Myers appointment. Somebody had to go, last in first out.

Will Hague survive the fall out? I doubt it.

Larry Teabag said...

What, you've just suddenly realised now that Guido is a vicious, slandering bastard? How many years ago was it that he baselessly accused another MP of being someone "most mothers would feel uneasy seeing near a playground"?

The guy's an attention-craving liar, and nothing more, and you and he have been scratching each others' backs for far too long for this recent attack of conscience to be remotely convincing.

Face it, Guido's always has the ethics and integrity of a rabid rottweiler, but before now you found him useful to have on-side. The only change is that he's now attacking your mates, so suddenly you come over all disapproving. Colour me unconvinced.

Lord Blagger said...

My view, so what.

If you set yourself up to dictate to other people what to do, and to extract money to spend on other people and particular yourself with threats (after all that's taxation) then it doesn't matter.

Until we get a direct say in an issue, then targeting the people who are the cause of the malaise in the UK is fair game.

Don't forget that between the three parties they have put, you, I and the rest of society in hock to the tune of 5,000,0000,0000,0000 pounds and rising. 5 trillion if you don't like the noughts.

Now, how is the average taxpayer on 24K a year going to pay a penny of that?

Matt said...

Anyone can make a mistake. It takes a special kind of person to admit to it.

"Paging Mr Fawkes! Paging Mr Fawkes! Your public apology is expected! Come on out!"

Craig Ranapia said...

The only possible response left to me is to delete Guido Fawkes from my RSS reader. Not going to reward this turd with traffic any more.

NO2NWO said...

Guido was not the only blogger to insinuate William Hague is gay, nor is he the first; I published a post with reference to my source many months ago.

I like William Hague and wish him and his family well, but it seems he is not being entirely honest.

http://enddemocraticdeficit.blogspot.com/2010/04/brown-mandelson-had-sexual-encounter.html

You seem to me to be completely out of touch on this one Iain, especially trying to bash Fawkes for recent posts... think we all understand your (apparent) low E.Q. is behind it. Get a grip man.

Delphius1 said...

Iain,

I fail to understand why you defend William Hauge so slavishly.

The facts (and lets stick to the facts) are that he employed someone as a "special advisor" on rather dubious grounds, with no aparrent previous experience, nor any other significant experience other than being WH's driver.

Their relationship isn't the nub of the problem: they could have been best mates, drinking buddies or gay lovers. What is the problem is employing an aparrent unqualified person on a taxpayer-paid salary, especially under the present economic climate when it should attract intense scrutiny.

If the guy isn't qualified he shouldn't be in the job. End of. The fact he resigned indicates to me that his appointment couldn't be justified in any significant way.

It also calls into question William Hauge's judgement in appointing Christopher Myers in the first place.

Craig Ranapia said...

Still, I had to giggle at Guido tweeting earlier today that he couldn't possible be homophobic because he "spent a decade off my tits in gay clubs"... Well, smell you, Miss Thing! Using Guido logic, I think we can now assume he's a flaming queen who's sending out a cry for help -- or at least a pity-shag.

Les Abbey said...

It's a shame that for those of us not part of the gay community it seems that in politics that community will support its members whether right or wrong. This is the second time in the coalition's short history that you have done it. No wonder that some think there is a gay mafia operating. To think we used to worry about the Freemasons. This is worse.

NowInMelb said...

This non-story has now made the home page of the Melbourne Age website! Can someone please explain to me why the allegedly Conservative Daily Mail has given this story so much prominence? Is it a desire to pander to the typical Mail reader's prejudices or do they have it in for William Hague for reasons I cannot fathom?

Paul said...

I fear that some people are rather missing the point on this one. Guido was quite right to question whether it was appropriate for Hague to have appointed an additional SpAd or, indeed, whether Myers was qualified for the position. Where Guido has got it dead wrong, however, is in going further and resorting to homophobic, schoolboy innuendo to suggest (without actually having the guts to say so explicitly) that Hague is gay and was having a sexual relationship with Myers. Given that Guido produced not one scrap of evidence for his suggestion in that regard, one can assume that he had no such evidence. Questioning Myers' appointment isn't the issue, but the unsubstantiated mud-slinging that Guido used was completely inappropriate and, frankly, disgusting.

I hope Guido's satisfied with himself this morning. Job well done, you arse.

anne riddle said...

It seems sad that this story, which started as innuendo on Guido's blog has gained momentum and is splashed across the National Press. Is it in the national psyche to pick on a decent man and bring him down? William Hague is one of the best we have, and I feel great sympathy for him and his wife when they have lost a baby.

Unsworth said...

And, as if by magic, the inevitable calls from some quarters for 'regulation' of blogs, blogging, bloggers, the internet, and all human life. Indeed, some of the more rabid regulation and control freaks have surfaced here.

It's a simple question - who is best suited to carry out all this regulation, and why?

Dick the Prick said...

Iain - kept out of this for a bit, but who cares? This is a media naval gazing bit of flammery.

I know you chaps have jobs to do, wages to earn, polemics to find - but this just feels like a late night Channel 4 sitcom. Utterly irrelevant.

RonLiddle said...

Substitute 'alleged gay lover' for 'friend' or 'brother in law' and it's on a par with ministers employing members of their family.

Tony Blair yesterday suggested that the Freedom of Information Act made it difficult to have frank conversations, which are necessary within government.

Equally, it's very difficult to find people who you trust implicitly; whom are willing to work long hours for low pay and very unlikely to leak details out to newspapers or political rivals.

I'm not sure that Special Advisor comes with an explicit job description; it's up to the employer to do that. I've no doubt that this job would be where Mr Myers cut his cloth, and that he wouldn't be there for very long.

And if you're looking for the 'most' qualified, what would that be? Let me guess, another Oxbridge graduate with a first in histopoliteconomics, from the leafy suburbs, a well off middle/upper class family who probably goes riding with other front benchers. That's probably what 'most qualified' means.

Lets hope these are not the same people that moan we're run by the elite...

Cogito Dexter said...

I worked for CCO for a short period in the early 90s. During conference season it was very much the done thing for staffers to be expected to share rooms in order to keep costs down (although I point blank refused to do so, for reasons of personal space and modesty, having never at my then tender age shared a room let alone a bed with anyone at all). Seem to me like this culture has stretched out into a time when anyone sharing a room with anyone else is therefore demonstrably bonking them senseless.

I don't see why any of this should be a big thing, except in some twisted bloggers' minds. It's a sad reflection on current society that people seem now to be brought up on a diet of salaciousness, tittle-tattle and vicious gossip and they assume whatever they damn well please without any evidence whatsoever.

Truth and honour seem to have gone out of the window. Very sad...

RonLiddle said...

@Paul

Remember, Labour were shouting from the rooftops about how much SpAd's were costing, providing a breakdown. They were the ones that complained about how much extra Hague was costing the taxpayer; so he decided to go with the cut-price option, god forbid...

Newmania said...

I don`t think I would share a room with a young openly gay man or indeed any young man in my employment. I gather it was not an isolated incident. I mean how would you suggest such an arrangement , what on earth would be the reason?
Having done a quick show of hands in the office the decision is he is probably gay or bi-sexual. If that is the case this statement is a ticking bomb , it will come out and the fact his wife has mix-carried doe not prove he is having sex with her. It is likely they are doing IVF cycles and sex is not required.


Obviously I do not care if he is gay bi or whatever but that is not the only issue . You gave your full support to Derek Conway I recall ? So what you think is not always right and politicians have to expect this sort of thing

Bryan.Rose said...

It's a non story. Just people who like to cause trouble.

Little Black Sambo said...

One of the saddest things about this is that Guido's latest post has attracted more than 500 comments.
Guido's posts on any subject attract hundreds of comments, which is why they are too much bother to read.

Goodwin said...

You describe Myers as an adviser. What precisely was he qualified (at the tax payers expense) to advise on? Irrespective of the gay accusations, this whole thing stank and Hague is guilty of at least very poor judgement in employing his friend. Both we and the FCO deserve better.

Mad King Soup said...

This is only a story if a) he is gay and b) his wife didn't know. And it must be both. Otherwise it's all a waste of people's time reading about it.

Craig Ranapia said...

Les Abbey:

What are you drivelling on about? So, the Coalition/gay mafia "made" Crispin Blunt separate from his wife? (Something I don't actually think is any of my effing business, regardless of the circumstances, as there's no suggestion it involved impropriety or poor performance of his duties as a Minister.)

And you're presuming anyone who finds Guido's conduct -- and his strained and unconvincing justifications -- distasteful must themselves be queer? I'm actually cheered by the straight folks who put the lie to your claim.

Indy said...

The comments about Christopher Myers being a “taxi driver” remind me of the comments that were made about Stewart Stevenson when he stood for the Scottish Parliament – he’s now Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change in the Scottish Government.

When Stewart Stevenson was selected to fight the Banff & Buchan seat (after Alex Salmond stood down as an MSP) all the papers were running stories about Alex Salmond making sure his “driver” got the seat – because Stewart had acted as Alex’s driver during election campaigns. The impression was given that Stewart had no kind of professional background at all other than being Alex’s driver – when he was actually the former Director of Technology Innovation with the Bank of Scotland.

It’s maybe just a lack of understanding about how politics works – the fact that someone drives a candidate around doesn’t mean that they do nothing else. People take on all kinds of roles in campaigns. It’s all voluntary.

With regards to him being appointed as a special adviser (and the qualifications required) I thought the whole point about special advisers is that they are political appointees. They are not like regular civil servants.

“Special advisers are employed to help Ministers on matters where the work of Government and the work of the Government Party overlap and where it would be inappropriate for permanent civil servants to become involved. They are an additional resource for the Minister providing assistance from a standpoint that is more politically committed and politically aware than would be available to a Minister from the permanent Civil Service.”

There aren’t really any qualifications in political nous. People have it or they don’t and it’s really up to ministers to decide who they want to employ.

If people are against the idea of ministers having special advisers altogether that is a separate argument.

As for the idea of shared rooms being a weird thing to do. I have shared rooms with numerous people during by-elections, conferences etc. It's really not that weird. (It may of course be weird to be a political activist in the first place!)

ditherer said...

Staines adopted a snide, cowardly line of attack that he knew would give him some more publicity oxygen along with delighting the keyboard warriors frequenting his comments cesspit.

The order-order site is, as Staines proudly (!) proclaims, a representation of digital publishing in the style of Kelvin Mackenzie. On that basis you really couldn't expect for anything more intelligent or insightful than a series of innuendos questioning someone sexuality.

That Staines now chooses to not discuss the deliberate inferences he made is just a continuation of his modus operandi, and doubtless he will maintain that stance. That is his choice, but to not admit to his debasing of a legitimate question about the hiring of an apparently unqualified person for a role in Hague's team says a lot about him personally. Not that Staines will care of course as his only concern is to have a blog that generates lots of traffic and media exposure, but it will be interesting to see whether he continues to enjoy a decent supply of stories about Westminster in the near future.

Gallimaufry said...

What qualifications does Sally Bercow have for reviewing the newspapers on Sky other than being married to the Squeaker? Is being a failed council election candidate really sufficient?

Tonbridge blogger said...

Iain stop having a wobble just because you've become more mainstream. Guido's blog is exactly what a blog should be. Entertaining and contraversial. Otherwise we may as well just read the Telegraph online or the BBC. Your's and his blogs add balance to the otherwise, largely, blandly reported news and allow people to speak their minds even if some of those opinions are childish and ill though out....

Tonbridge blogger said...

Iain stop having a wobble just because you've become more mainstream. Guido's blog is exactly what a blog should be. Entertaining and contraversial. Otherwise we may as well just read the Telegraph online or the BBC. Your's and his blogs add balance to the otherwise, largely, blandly reported news and allow people to speak their minds even if some of those opinions are childish and ill though out....

................................. said...

Did Guido say Hague was gay?

Matthew Cain said...

Two questions, honestly meant:

a. Do you in any way profit from Guido Fawkes publishing unsunstantiated smears? Ie. does his visitors numbers and associated ad revenue help your revenue?

b. You (rightly) pointed out that you thought the accusations of mental illness of the former PM were unacceptable. So why do you provide a space in the comments for people to repeat the groundless slurs?

Straggly Dan said...

I too have finished referring to G Fawkes' blog partly for this article and partly because of the stream of puerile comments which attach to his pronouncements.

Alasdair said...

Well said Iain. Paul Staines is a homophobic c**t, who's only interested in destroying the careers of good politicians and will make up any lie he likes in order to do so. No person who cares about politics should read him.

Iain Dale said...

Matthew

a. No. I don't see how his visitor numbers could affect me in any way. You will note that I didn't link to his articles.

b. Because I don't control the minds of people who leave comments. Are you suggesting that I should censor every view I disagree with? First of all, there is such thing as a basic freedom of thought and speech and you and I may find such things offensive, but as far as I know, the right to offend has not yet been abolished. I read all sorts of things every day that people say about me. Doesn't mean I think they should be banned from doing so.

Charles Crawford said...

Well OK, but if you defend the right to offend (as you of course should) then why complain that Guido has overstepped some ill-defined mark?

The more so since you (again rightly, it being your site and your choice) allow your site to carry much disobliging or offensive material in the comments.

Still don't see why you think that all political bloggers have been 'sullied' by this somewhat sordid business! It's just Free Speech in action, as part of a wider fact that the human condition seems to make provision for a generous dollop of irresponsibility now and again.

ditherer said...

@ Charles Crawford - Just as 'freedom of speech' is a basic allowance for an individual to express their opinion it is also a basic right for others to disagree and give their opinion on a comment made. It works in two directions, not one.

T.F. said...

I formerly was a regular reader of Guido Fawkes' blog, but due to this incident (and the general bizarre nature of his brain and spelling!), I have decided to replace him with Iain Dale in my bookmarks toolbar, and have sworn to myself never again to boost his weekly-published viewing figures by one hit. I look forward to future enjoyment!

Prestwick said...

@jailhouselawyer and actually @Guido as well:

Okay so if Hague had broken the ministerial code on hiring why was it neccessary to link it too all this "OMFG HE MIGHT BE GAY TOO!" nonsense?!

You do realise that your original message (that he broke the rules) has been completely lost now in all this drama about William Hague's sexuality? Nobody is asking talking about Myers they're all talking about whether Hague is gay or not.

Simply put: you've cocked it up big time.

Where the hell did you two learn how to bring politicians to account anyway, 4Chan?!

davidmorris said...

Guido is giving bloggers a bad name. He failed to do any decent research and was totally sensationalist. His numerous readers deserve something that's of a better quality.

His use of the 'gay angle' (a phrase borrowed from a post on Liberal Ddemocrat Voice) totally dominated his posts and buried the legitimate question about employability criteria that he was also asking.

It's ended up causing a lot of stress and prematurely ending a young person's political career.

I've done a blog entry about this whole issue, which can be found here:

http://www.lifedownloaded.com/blog/hague-rumours-and-the-media-reaction/

Feel free to comment.

Les Abbey said...

Craig Ranapia

David Laws actually, not Crispin Blunt. Does it make a bit more sense now?

Jess The Dog said...

This is a storm in a tea cup.

One of the legacies of the last wretched government is a stain of sleaze permeating everywhere, like the aftermath of a flood. The assumption that 'there is no smoke without fire' is - on balance - reasonable. And most Westminster gossip turns out to have a kernel of truth (at the very least).

So, fair enough for Guido to go with this.

Having said that, I feel a great deal of sympathy for the Hagues for their family situation. So there comes a time when something should be dropped and perhaps that should have been earlier in this case.

Whether Hague is gay or not (and this is probably closed down) is of no real relevance to anyone. The only significance is in terms of any ongoing deceit. It isn't acceptable for anyone in high office to lie, even over personal circumstances. Small lies told by New Labour motivated by expediency turned into the lies that took this country into war, which is the gravest breach of trust in living memory.

If Hague wants (or has) to share a twin room with a colleague, then who cares. Happens all the time, in business, in personal life, in the armed forces. Doesn't mean it's like going up Brokeback Mountain ;-).

I feel a small amount of sympathy for the special adviser. Not much though. He's in a political role and these things happen. He'll bounce back. If it was a civil servant, then that would be more serious. But it isn't.

So, silly season story over. Although Hague does dress very well and appears to be in good shape for a middle aged man....hmmmm ;-)

Craig Ranapia said...

@Les Abbey: Even less -- you've not only trotted out a false equivalence, but I still struggle to see any gay mafia that exists outside your imagination.

Durotrigan said...

My heart sank when I heard this unpleasant story. William Hague has now felt compelled to publicly reveal the sad reality of his wife’s multiple miscarriages, a personal matter to which the public should not have been privy. Hopefully, his statement will put an end to any further insidious speculation about his personal integrity, fidelity and sexuality. It is also a shame that Christopher Myers has suffered a setback in his career over this matter, but if the man should prove to be of worth and talent, then he will undoubtedly put this incident behind him.

Unsworth said...

@ Craig Ranapia

"but I still struggle to see any gay mafia"

OK then, how about gay raffia?

Plenty of that about.