James Forsyth

Whelan’s disgusting attempt to justify the smears

Whelan's disgusting attempt to justify the smears
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Charlie Whelan’s column in his local paper is an attempt to divert attention from the actual scandals. He wants us to think that the Tories also indulge in dirty tricks and that the big issue is email hacking. But one line in it is disgraceful and as disgusting as McBride’s original emails:

“the gossip contained in them was well known to every Westminster hack.”

Judging from the various conversations I’ve had with fellow hacks in the last fortnight, I’d say this is simply not accurate. These were not rumours that were doing the rounds, although there is now a rumour that these smears had their origin in stories that a journalist had tried and failed to stand up.

The most awful thing about smears is that they work. You place an idea in the public’s mind and folk start to think ‘no smoke without fire’ and all that. Whelan’s column, far from being an expression of contrition, is actually an attempt to give these smears some standing.

Hat-tip: ConservativeHome

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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