Remarkable and oh so telling tweet yesterday afternoon by Conor Pope, deputy editor of Progressonline:
That the Guardian bothered to correct an inaccuracy that has been blithely repeated ad nauseam by every mainstream media outlet is remarkable. Independent commentators have pointed out that the window was in a communal stairwell of the Wallasey building in which Ms Eagle’s constituency office is situated, not in her actual office.
The correction does not overclaim and should be uncontentious, you’d think. In fact, it underclaims – as an FOI response obtained from Merseyside police by the excellent ‘Wirral in it‘ blog has made clear, there is not even any solid evidence of the existence of the brick. Lots of things can break a window – elbows, fists, a snooker ball in a sock.
And even if there was a brick, there is absolutely no evidence that it was ‘thrown’ by a Labour member, let alone a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn.
So why is it ‘depressing’? Well, it’s very inconvenient to a certain story put about by Ms Eagle’s supporters that, handily, led to the suspension of Wallasey CLP (constituency Labour party) just before it was due to table a motion of no-confidence in Ms Eagle and, as the later NEC investigation revealed that local councillors feared, to initiate moves to deselect them as well.
So it’s certainly inconvenient and, I guess, could be considered depressing if you really really really want it to be true.
A number of people, this author included, challenged Mr Pope’s statement and its reasoning. Sadly, his and his supporters’ response was entirely predictable. You can find the tweets easily enough on his Twitter timeline, but here’s a summary:
Oh, you Wallasey ‘truthers’ would say that!
It’s just a fact, Conor – the window wasn’t in her office. Why is it depressing?
How noble of you to deny abuse of a woman MP! (gender is always useful to throw in)
What does gender have to do with the location of a window, Conor?
Well, one man was convicted of making death threats!
Yes, we know. He was from Scotland and not even a Labour member.
Well, she received hundreds – no, thousands! – of abusive calls!
So we’ve heard. Were any of them from Labour members, especially Labour members in Wallasey?
They were abusive calls! And there were so many her staff had to stop answering the phones!
Er, Conor, any evidence? Any at all..?
If you think this is exaggerated or inaccurate, just take a look at the originals. The above version is toned down and less painful, if anything.
A Labour insider told this blog,
My instinct is that one of her staffers broke the window. The boarding up with the EU placard looked staged. It’s not the first time such a tactic has been used.
Certainly, a quick Google search will quickly reveal that other MPs have ‘suffered vandalism’ at very convenient moments for their election campaigns.
However, as there is no evidence in any of these cases – including that of Ms Eagle – that it was self-inflicted, this blog will not jump to that conclusion. And this writer will certainly not be ‘depressed’ about any evidence that suggests the opposite.
But, apparently, it’s different if you’re Progressonline. Which speaks volumes.
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