Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Angela Rayner, The Basic Distraction Technique & On And On And Ariston

Matthew Steeples suggests faux outrage over ‘The Mail on Sunday’s’ Angela Rayner ‘Sharon Stone moment’ article is simply another use of the ‘distraction technique’ by rotten-to-his-core Boris Johnson

The Mail on Sunday’s article about Angela Rayner allegedly pulling Sharon Stone-esque Basic Instinct moves to distract Boris Johnson was certainly distasteful. It was clearly a little bit April Fools’ Day-esque and smutty in tone, but equally the faux outrage is indicative of nothing but the use of the ‘distraction technique’ by a Prime Minister currently in an ever-expanding, volcano-like hole.



Whilst further angering ‘woke warriors’ everywhere this morning with their “No, Mister Speaker!” front page and “Sarah Vine’s Verdict” – which admittedly (probably given how truly ghastly she is) only made it to page 17 – this morning, the Mail’s “respectful reply” in “the name of a free press” to a summons of The Mail on Sunday’s editor to “appear” before the Commons Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP, was, in my view, perfectly reasonable.


Firstly, unless he is the one telling porky pies, as yet unnamed Conservative Party sources including Conservative Members of Parliament did give The Mail on Sunday’s political editor Glen Owen the now ever-so controversial Basic Instinct story that has come to dominate the media narrative.



Secondly – at a time when the plague of ‘PartyGate’ rumbles on (‘And On And On And Ariston’) – for Boris Johnson this little episode is actually helpful. It gives him a chance to show his authority and the chance to distract from the true issues at hand. In commenting that he would shower “the terrors of the earth” if identified on the Tory that was behind the “sexist, misogynist tripe,” it is clear that the buffoon-like puppet controlled by the woman formerly known as Carrie Symonds is yet again simply playing to the gallery.


Thirdly, is this story really that outrageous given that Ms Rayner herself brought up the comparison previously in January in a podcast with comedian Matt Forde? At the time, she “joked about a ‘mortifying’ Internet meme which compared her to Sharon Stone,” according to the Independent’s Adam Forrest this morning.


May we once again today remind readers of how the late Lord McAlpine defined the ‘distraction technique’ (in a business context, admittedly) in his 1999 book The New Machiavelli: The Art of Politics in Business:


“Another option is for the businessperson to learn the art of dealing with the media, using all the tricks that go with that trade – such as the false defeat: when a person seems to lose, in order to gain public sympathy, or the false triumph: where a person seems to win in order to appear strong – thus giving credibility to any number of dubious propositions that person may wish to make in the future. Neither of these ploys are examples of the use of true facts, rather of false facts given to the media to chew on, much as a dog chews on a bone.”


“Another useful ploy is the false accusation. First, create a situation where you are wrongly accused. Then, at a convenient moment, arrange for the false accusation to be shown to be false beyond all doubt. Those who have made accusations against both the company and its management become discredited. Further accusations will then be treated with great suspicion. Always remember that people’s memories are very frail, remembering only both the high spots and the lows of a person’s career, and then seldom remembering accurately. People believe in the facts that it suits them to believe.”


Described by Margaret Thatcher at the time of publication as a “shrewd commentary,” this is a book Boris Johnson clearly has consulted and is very much guided by. Angela Rayner might do well to take a gander now also and, if she has any sense, she’ll chuck it right back at the rotten-to-his-core ‘leader’ and the ragbag of rubbish that surround him.


Glen Owen
Responding to this storm-in-a-teacup, ‘The Critic’ commented: “Owen is today the most evil man at Westminster, and possibly in Britain, because of a story he wrote about Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader. Because of that article, he’s facing demands from MPs to be stripped of his parliamentary pass. Given that this access to parliament and politicians is a prerequisite of his work, that amounts to a threat to his job. What did Owen do that was so wicked? What did he say about Rayner that might merit his dismissal? Nothing. And by that, I don’t mean ‘none of the things Owen said justify this.’ I mean that he himself said nothing about Angela Rayner. He reported someone else saying something about her. That distinction, between saying something and reporting someone else saying it, is the absolute essence of journalism, not to mention critical thinking. If journalists can’t report people saying things without being held responsible for those things, journalism is impossible. And without journalism, democracy is impossible. This isn’t complicated and it shouldn’t be controversial, but a remarkable number of people seem to think that Glen Owen [pictured above left with Angela Rayner, centre, and Boris Johnson, right] is somehow responsible for the words spoken to him by another person. Words that he then reported. For that fundamental act of journalism – reporting the newsworthy words of a politician – Owen’s name is mud at Westminster, where senior MPs are demanding his Lobby pass be withdrawn; his Editor has been summoned to a meeting with the Speaker. This is lunacy, dangerous lunacy.”
Lord McAlpine The New Machiavelli
Sir Keir Starmer and the Labour Party would do well to take a read of the late Alistair McAlpine’s 1999 book ‘The New Machiavelli: The Art of Politics in Business.’
House of Commons
Was this the image that inspired the article? However ridiculous the story is, its narrative has most definitely helped the most rotten Prime Minister in history distract from his many other woes – be they ‘PartyGate,’ the cost of living crisis and a Conservative MP allegedly caught watching porn in the House of Commons chamber itself.
Matthew Steeples
Matthew Steeples
A graduate of the London School of Economics, Matthew Steeples is a writer and marketing consultant. He conceived The Steeple Times as a media arena to fill the void between the Mail Online, The Huffington Post and such organs as the New York Social Diary in 2012.


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