Left Outside

The Financial Times was once a paper of record – Elizabeth Rigby and Helen Warrell seem unhappy with that

So we have a profile of Theresa May, Home Secretary…

Theresa May is the head girl of David Cameron’s coalition. Famed for never putting a kitten-heeled foot wrong, the home secretary barely batted an eyelid this week when Ken Clarke rounded on her for claiming an illegal immigrant had avoided deportation because of his pet cat Maya.

It was a cat fight that the liberal justice secretary was doomed to lose, against a woman who has always done her homework and has the prime minister’s full backing to bear down on migrant numbers. Within hours, Downing Street had rallied to her defence, delighted at her crowd-pleasing attack on perceived abuses of the Human Rights Act. Mr Clarke had the backing of the Lord Chief Justice’s office, but he was still told to pipe down [my emphasis].

This spat is not interesting because two politicians had a difference of opinion, as is presented here by Elizabeth Rigby and Helen Warrell. This spat is interesting because one politician told the truth and one politicians made things up (or copied things made up by others) and the politician that made things up (or copied things made up by others) won the power struggle.

Ken Clarke was right to criticise Theresa May because she said something that was demonstrably untrue. It was, in fact, demonstrated to be untrue by her own department. The cat was “immaterial” to the reasons a certain Bolivian student was given leave to remain rather than reported.

Rigby and Warrell do not see fit to include this detail in their hagiography of Mrs May. They actually make light of the situation by closing with a pun that this is “just the sort of cat fight the party needs to keep the grassroots content.”

Real journalists would have pointed out that if the grassroots need falsehoods to keep the content then something is amiss at the Tory party conference. But it seems the Financial Times has decided it doesn’t need to employ real journalists anymore.

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