…or will it just open up more questions?
I don’t know whether Paul Staines (Guido) planned it like this but launching his story bang in the middle of a long bank holiday weekend has certainly helped it dominate now three full new cycles. During normal periods when the world is at work other stories are likely to emerge and it can be harder for something like “Smeargate” to maintain the traction.
Well the latest development is from Number 10 and involves Gordon Brown sending a public letter to Cabinet Secretary, Gus O’Donnell, saying he’s ready to take “whatever action is required” to prevent a repeat of the row.
In it he also makes it known that those being targeted by the smears have been sent private letters.
For now at least many, as we saw on the last thread, seem to be picking at each phrase and sentence in the letter to see if they can read more into what’s written than might at first appear.
Those who were about in the early 70s and remember Watergate will recall that it wasn’t the core issue that in the end brought Nixon down but his actions and those of his close team in the attempt to dampen things down. I think we are a long way from making comparisons with the original “-gate” but these things can throw governments off course
The brutal lesson from the early 1970s is that right at the start you need to be totally open about what’s happened and not to try to diminish events through spin. I’m not sure that that has fully sunk in at Number 10.
One problem Brown’s got this Easter Monday is that normally his right hand man, Damien McBride, would have taken charge of the drafting and the strategy. McBride is out of the way and you wonder whether the letter would have come out in this form if he’d been at the PM’s side?
..and I thought it was going to be a quiet long weekend on PB!!