Saturday, 6 June 2009

Telegraph shows its true colours - and they are yellow

The Telegraph has shown, once again, it's claims to have been doing an important public service by publishing the details of MP's expenses were, bluntly, bollocks.

It has been using the episode to further its own agendum, by focusing attention on details relating to Labour, and particularly Gordon Brown, while deflecting attention from David 'Wisteria' Cameron.

Latest installment:

Mr Brown, who "flipped" the designation of his second home before moving into Downing Street, submitted an estimated electricity bill for his home in Fife which partly covered a period when his London flat was his designated second home.

He also claimed for council tax and service charge bills for his London flat which included periods when his second home was in Scotland. (1)

Sotto voce, it admits that the amounts involved are trivial, just £512.

But it isn't until after it has stated several times that Brown had over-charged, and detailed how this will "will further weaken his position" and described it as a "a humiliating blow for the Prime Minister" - all hyperbole, and opinion rather than reportage - and applied the odious and charged label of 'flipper' to him, that the Telegraph actually axplains what happened:

One bill was for £382.39 and covered the period from July 3 2006 to September 28 2006, a period of 88 days.

Mr Brown had only switched his designated second home from London to Scotland on September 18, meaning the first 77 days of the bill related to a period when his London flat was his designated second home.

If the bill is divided into equal amounts for each day, Mr Brown had claimed for £334.59 of electricity when Fife was not his designated second home.

This is pathetic yellow journalism.

Of course Brown changed his nominated second home, because he had been claiming, legitimately, for his flat in London. Once he moved into Downing Street on becoming leader, he discontinued the claim for the London flat, and transfered it to the Glenrothes house. This was perfectly legitimate and straightforward. But the opportunity to apply the label of 'flipper' - associating Brown with the likes of Margaret Moran - is too good for the Telegraph to miss.

And think about the timing. Why now? Why is this story coming out now, immediately after the elections. It seems pretty likely they've been sitting on this, waiting to deliver it at the time when it will cause most adamage, politicallly. Which shows what a load of sh*t their claims about doing a public service were, if they were honest about that they'd have given us the story at once. Instead, their playing (clumsy) politics with it. So how can we trust them to be unbiased about Cameron's expenses?

As for the alleged over-claims ... bollocks, frankly. He submitted a couple of bills that charged for periods that included days when the property in question was not his allocated second home. Pathetic. It would hardly mention a paragraph. Instead it gets a whole story, surprisingly appearing just after the councl elections and the reshuffle and the resignations.

Disinterested journalism by the Telegraph? Steaming, moist bullshit, it is.

Astonishingly, it took four journalists to produce this piece of crap.
1 - "MPs' expenses: Gordon Brown billed taxpayer for two second homes," by Gordon Rayner, Holly Watt, Robert Winnett and Christopher Hope, published in The Telegraph, 5th of June, 2009. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/5456789/mps-expenses-Gordon-Brown-billed-taxpayer-for-two-second-homes.html)

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