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Emma Dent Coad.

What the blazes is wrong with these people?

Today the BBC, The Independent, the Evening Standard, iNews, and no doubt others all got on the Guido Fawkes fake news bandwagon to pillory a totally innocent Labour MP on a trumped-up charge of racism.

What’s strangest about this case is the fact that they would know better, if they had bothered to read the article used by the Guido Fawkes “reporter” as a source.

An unnamed BBC reporter writes: “In the piece Ms Dent Coad claimed Mr [Shaun] Bailey, who was a parliamentary candidate for Hammersmith, had “stigmatised” the area he was born in by referring to it as a “ghetto”.

“”Who can say where this man will ever fit in, however hard he tries? One day he is the ‘token ghetto boy’ standing behind D Cameron, the next ‘looking interested’ beside G Osborne. Ever felt used?”, she wrote.

“After the blog post was highlighted, Mr Bailey said he had never been “labelled a ‘token ghetto boy'” before and was “shocked and saddened” by the article.

“He said Ms Dent Coad’s “use of language should not be acceptable for an elected politician… and she should be ashamed”.”

… Except of course it wasn’t Ms Dent Coad’s use of language that was under scrutiny – ever example they mentioned is of her quoting somebody else.

In her article, to which the BBC piece seems to link, but actually links back to itself – curious, that, she quotes Mr Bailey himself as saying he was  “spoilt rotten” and “gobby and dangerous” during a radio interview.

He is the one who describes himself as living in a “ghetto”. Is he going to apologise for any offence caused to residents?

Mr Bailey’s claim that he had never been labelled a “token ghetto boy” is odd, as the article is seven years old – and Ms Dent Coad was quoting people she described as “his former neighbours” – they weren’t her words.

It is therefore a sign of huge magnanimity that she has offered an apology “If [Mr Bailey] is offended – especially considering that this man has jumped onto the “racism” bandwagon that Guido Fawkes launched.

According to the Independent, Mr Bailey said he was “shocked and saddened by the hate-filled, racist article” and called on Ms Dent Coad to apologise for her comments to the wider black community. Why should she? None of her comments were racist – in fact, she was calling out Mr Bailey for his cynical manipulation of racial stereotypes to serve a political purpose. In doing so, she did not actually stoop to racism herself. Read her article and see.

The Evening Standard wrongly stated: “Emma Dent Coad labelled Shaun Bailey a “token ghetto boy” in the 2010 blog post which was highlighted yesterday by political website Guido Fawkes.” Obviously she did not – she was quoting his neighbours. Perhaps the Stannit would like to track down the person responsible for this seven-year-old comment and extract an apology from them? No? Is that because the person she was quoting is “Afro-Caribbean” and that would ruin the narrative?

You had to go to iNews for that particular snippet of information, making it a more balanced read than the others, at least. But that’s not saying much.

According to Zelo Street blogger Tim Fenton, the Guido article was written by someone called Alex Wickham, who – it seems – has a track record of dishonesty. If he was working for a reputable news organisation, it is an offence for which he should be drummed out.

And what is the real reason behind this attack on an upstanding member of the Kensington and Chelsea community, whose constituents should be proud to have her representing them?

Could it be that she has launched a report on the appalling inequalities in the London borough?

On her Twitter feed, she wrote: “The inside story of the most unequal borough in Britain: overcrowding, malnutrition and 20-year life expectancy gaps. Today I launched crucial report on housing and inequality in Kensington & Chelsea after Grenfell.”

You can read the report here. This Writer urges you to take the time to do so.

It might clarify why the BBC, the Standard, the Independent and even iNews have all tried to dirty the name of a fine member of Parliament.


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