So what’s going on here, then?

This entry was posted on
Friday, January 25th, 2008
2:23 pm and is filed
under The Political Weblog Movement.

A message finds its way to the Telegraph that bigs-up Paul Staines’ role in Hain’s downfall…. and at the end of that email is a bog-standard disclaimer you would normally expect when receiving an email from a representative of the Conservative party:

This email and any attachments to it (the “Email”) are intended for a specific recipient(s) and its contents may be confidential, privileged and/or otherwise protected by law. If you are not the intended recipient or have received this Email in error, please notify the sender immediately by telephone or email, and delete it from your records. You must not disclose, distribute, copy or otherwise use this Email. Please note that email is not a secure form of communication and that the Conservative Party (“the Party”) is not responsible for loss arising from viruses contained in this Email nor any loss arising from its receipt or use. Any opinion expressed in this Email is not necessarily that of the Party and may be personal to the sender.

Join the Party and help us to win –

Promoted by Alan Mabbutt on behalf of the Conservative Party, both at 30 Millbank, London, SW1P 4DP

But was it directly from ‘Guido’? It’s hard to tell by contents alone, as Paul Staines tends to speak of himself his carefree take-’em-all-down character in third-person.

It’s also likely that someone representing the Conservative Party saw it as a victory for their side and forwarded the contents of this post (which is – apart from the signature – the contents of that email word-for-word) and/or a press release.

The Telegraph simply telling us who was in the ‘From’ field would be of enormous help. How about it, fellas?

(As for Paul, he’ll probably want to come up with a better response to the issue than “You nicked my picture!” pretty sharpish or people might think he has something to hide. And yes, in case you’re wondering, I caught the footage of Paul’s bold gun-shy return to Newsnight last night.)

UPDATE – Kevin Maguire @ the Mirror (who also makes a promise of what I think could be the first MSM blogroll-drop) says; “I bet the fat lad’s face is as crimson as those out-sized red trousers he sometimes knocks about in, his laughable eagerness to modestly claim Peter Hain’s scalp backfiring wonderfully. A mutual acquaintance says the boy’s “livid”, complaining the Cons stitched him up. Tee-hee.”

UPDATE (3:20pm) – Also needs to be noted via the Telegraph comments; “What is surprising is that Guido hasn’t referred to this at all on his blog, and no comments have appeared in any of the relevant threads. Guido does have comment moderation on at the moment, mind you. Apart from his monosyllabic non-denial above, he’s been remarkably silent, and he’s normally fairly swift in rebuttals. One wonders whether he is considering his position or genuinely trying to work out how this situation has arisen.”

UPDATE (3:30pm) – The good folks at the Telegraph have answered my question in response to an email I sent them. The header shows the email coming from an address that Guido has used as a ‘contact me’ address on his website, but the label on this address is ‘On Behalf Of Guy Fawkes’. OK, that’s their side of the story filled out to sensible requirements… where’s Paul’s?

UPDATE – OK, here’s Justin… where’s Paul? Still no word of this on his blog… even under comments.

UPDATE (6:15pm) – Paul Staines has, finally (and rather oddly) released a press release to the general public, but ‘hidden’ the text in a graphic and placed an embargo on it. You can read it here.

UPDATE (6:45pm) – Turns out that Paul has called the Telegraph, who have posted the following update (ignoring his odd call for a pseudo-embargo); His story: he “hacked” the Conservative Party press office’s email distribution list in order to email lobby journalists. Nothing more sinister than that, Paul says, sending the email below to demonstrate how the trick works. Paul insists that he’s enjoyed the recent and widespread comment on his antics tremendously (see Kevin, Sam, Bloggerheads et al) , but then asks ever so sweetly if we would please “close the story down for now.” Well Paul, just to prove that the vast, moribund mainstream media conspiracy can be magnanimous sometimes, we’ll leave it there, “for now.” And don’t worry, that comment about your BNP membership card is strictly between you, me and the tape recorder.

UPDATE (7:00pm) – I’ve checked the method for myself, and it works. The (failed) embargo is probably designed to allow the Tories a chance to plug the hole before everybody else starts playing with it.

About Tim Ireland

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