11 April 2009

Catechism of Cliché: Easter Edition

The bunny has finally flopped unceremoniously out of the burrow. Easter cancelled due to a bout of political myxomatosis.

As anyone even vaguely curious will be aware, a small stooshie continues to froth in what has been dubbed - with predictable and vivacious originality - Damiangate. Or, in the alternative, Smeargate. Oh dear.

The section of his resignation letter posted on the Spectator blog by Fraser Nelson made me think of the much neglected, but rather amusing case of Quinn v. Lees. But lets start at the beginning, by quoting the querulous "McPoison's" final words...
“I am shocked and appalled that, however they were obtained, these emails have been put into the public domain by Paul Staines. When Derek Draper originally suggested using a website to compete with the kind of material seen regularly on the Guido Fawkes blog, he asked me in a personal capacity to write up some of the stories doing the rounds in Westminster. Derek and I decided in the end that this website was the wrong thing to do, and that Derek should not take his online efforts down to the level of Guido Fawkes and his Tory backers. I have already apologised for the inappropriate and juvenile content of my emails, and the offence they have caused, but I did not want these stories in the public domain - it is because Paul Staines has put them there, and I am sickened that he has done so. However, we all know that when a backroom adviser becomes the story, their position becomes untenable, so I have willingly offered my resignation. It has been an absolute privilege to work for Gordon Brown and the Labour Government in the Treasury and in Downing Street, they will always have my full support, and I regret any embarrassment I have caused them.”
The "couple of mates, having a laugh" line really is too precious, which brings us back to Quinn v. Lees (1994).

The facts of the case hardly commend themselves to the funny bone prima facie. A group of three young boys were toddling about, being irritating as only the young can be. Taking against this group of springy youths, an animal lover instructed his dog - I forget what flavour of pooch it was offhand - to "fetch" the pre-pubescents.

When up before the Sheriff, charged with assaulting the group, the man claimed that he had been joking all the while - the waggish wit - and he was therefore not guilty of offending against the irritating lads. There is nothing like turning Queen's Evidence against your own pets. As the appeal court sharply enquired of the wretched Keith Joseph Quinn - how was this fall-mutt, with its penchant for the savour of children, to know he was joking when he quipped "fetch"?

Tragically, his appeal was dismissed. I trust Mr McBride's plaintive mewings in the wake of his recent maulings will fall on similar deaf and unsympathetic ears. Crying "it was a joke" is invariably the last lie of desperate men and women.


  1. Hi Lallands,

    Surely ultimately these types of websites simply alienate the support of those they are trying to attract. I stopped reading "Guido" a long time ago as anybody exuding the amount of vitriol he does is simply not to be trusted on any matter. Similarly, Gordon Brown and the Scottish Labour Party.


  2. Absolutely, but I suspect only up to a point. And as I mentioned at the time - perhaps elsewhere - I think emphasising the chubby face behind Guido's mask wasn't and isn't a terribly wise strategy for Mr Staines to follow if he wishes to maintain the occult allure of the mysterious.

    After all, "support" for Guido probably amounts to hits rather than votes - as well as perhaps being egotistically tickled to find himself plastered across the internet and the press. I wonder when it will go to his head.