Today, the Telegraph plumbs new depths in its vendetta against the FCO over Popegate.
Yesterday, after quoting an anonymous threat from the Vatican to cancel the Papal visit, it was forced to admit that official sources had dismissed the memo as having “absolutely” no impact on the Pope’s plans.
Instead of backing off (having made the most of what was, even without the garnish, a good story), the paper has now doubled down in a truly despicable article that:
- Outs the author of the memo, 23 year-old Steven Mulvain, as gay, based on his Facebook status. (I wonder how the paper got that information? Surely, Mulvain didn’t have a completely open profile.)
- Names Mulvain’s boss – Anjoum Noorani – printing his photo to ensure that readers are in no doubt that Noorani is (gasp) a member of an ethnic minority.
- Hassles Noorani’s mother (!) in Windsor, as if she is in any way relevant to the story.
Of course, the paper doesn’t come straight out and allege that the whole affair is a gay/Muslim plot, though that is clearly the implication. Instead, it complains that the FCO failed to put a Catholic in charge of the visit, rustling up another anonymous quote from the Vatican:
The most striking thing about the Foreign Office team has been how ineffectual they are. They have been disengaged and, frankly, clueless.
I have never had the impression that any members of the team were informed or even sensitive to the Catholic Church or Catholicism generally.
Update: Damian Thompson throws some more paraffin on the fire:
The Catholic Church in this country is (a) not wildly enthusiastic about Benedict XVI, and (b) paralysed by political correctness. The four-strong FO team was led by a member of an ethnic minority and included a gay man. There’s nothing wrong with that: they could have done a fantastic job, particularly if the team had included a practising Catholic (perhaps from an ethnic community – they’re the ones who go to Mass these days). But they didn’t.
And there’s no evidence that any danger signals were spotted by Eccleston Square, which has delegated the papal visit organisation to the Left-wing Mgr Andrew Summersgill, a Magic Circle hardliner some of whose colleagues are heavily into rainbow coalition-style politicking. (If Summersgill had been told that the FO team included an Asian and a gay guy, I can imagine him asking why the transgendered community had been left out.)