Thursday, November 08, 2007
East End balls.
We need a new phrase to describe the subterfuge by which a reporter has drinks with a source, is fed some bollocks, prints it, discovers its bollocks, and then - with the magic of words - shows that he was right all along. In such a category, after all, does this story fall. Those of you who are following the Respect saga a little too closely for your own good will know that the East London Advertiser recently ran a story claiming that four Respect councillors who had resigned the whip were in coalition talks with the Liberal Democrats. The liberals are a sad bunch of sacks at the best of times, but they've got a nasty reputation in Tower Hamlets. This week's Advertiser prints Oliur Rahman's rebuttal, which kills the story: "We've had discussions with Lib Dems and Labour about how to work together effectively in the council," said Cllr Rahman. "But we are not going into coalition with any party." However, the reporter's spin, which is absolutely false, is that Rahman's denial amounts to an admission that there were coalition talks under way. Councillors from different parties meet for talks all the time, and we have had this before when New Labour tried to attack Respect last year, by claiming that we were in cahoots with the Tories. The truth was that we had met with the Tories, but also with every other represented party, including the Labour Party! It comes with the territory. So why are some people pretending that this 'story' is anything other than crud? Everyone in Tower Hamlets politics knows who Ted Jeory, the esteemed Advertiser reporter, has drinks with, and they both work for a well-known local MP. Let's get this straight: we are not going into a coalition with the bloody liberals. There were never any coalition talks. The people who are putting this story out have not a shred of evidence, and they are using the Advertiser as a mouthpiece for one side of a political dispute.