Snipe - The Scoop

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Why was Gilligan's Alan Sugar story bumped off?

Photo by Prj45
As Dave Hill reports elsewhere, Andrew Gilligan's Alan Sugar story never really took off in the way he might have expected. So what happened?

Well apparently a broadcaster had intended to follow-up on the story but pulled out at the last minute after:

a) Sugar denied talking to Clark
b) Sugar denied talking to Gilligan
c) Sugar said the story was "complete bollocks"

Since then, the only other non-DMGT related newspaper to cover it is the Sun who have seemingly based their (limited) coverage entirely on the Gilligan story.


In fact I can now confirm that even the Evening Standard pulled back from the story in later editions after they received complaints about it's accuracy.

Because while the first edition of the paper had the story on the front page, subsequent editions knocked Gilligan's story back onto the inside pages.

And while the first edition of the paper claims that Labour's London Director spoke to Sugar about a mayoral bid, later editions had no mention of Ken Clark within the story:

EDITION ONE

"SIR Alan Sugar has been approached to be Labour's candidate for London Mayor in an attempt to stop Ken Livingstone standing again.

"The multi-millionaire star of reality TV show The Apprentice is being lined up by senior party figures as a credible runner against Boris Johnson.

"The Standard has learned that Ken Clark, Labour's London director, has telephoned Sir Alan for what Labour sources said was an "exploratory conversation" about him standing."

EDITION TWO

"SIR ALAN SUGAR has been approached to be Labour's candidate for London Mayor in an attempt to stop Ken Livingstone standing again.

"Senior party figures are lining up the multi-millionaire star of reality TV show The Apprentice as a credible runner against Boris Johnson.

"The Standard has learned the suggestion was raised with Sir Alan in a discussion with him recently."

Now obviously there's a big difference between a suggestion being raised by Labour's London director and that suggestion being raised by any old no mark 'recently'. 

The former would be a big story worthy of national attention, while the latter would be a kite-flying exercise by a man with a well known hatred of Ken Livingstone.

Authoritative Source?

Now for all I know, Gilligan's story might be completely true and well-sourced with fully recorded testimony and twenty-four carat evidence.

But when his integrity has been called into question so many times before, is it really a surprise that hardly anybody is willing to take him at his word?



-Update- The following was also changed in the 2nd edition:


EDITION ONE

"In a move seen as a calculated attempt to raise Sir Alan's profile in the run-up to the selection of Labour's mayoral candidate, he spoke via video link at a major fundraising rally for the London party at Canary Wharf last night."

"The businessman was cheered by the audience of about 200 Labour donors and key figures including the Prime Minister and former Downing Street spin-doctor Alastair Campbell."

EDITION TWO

"In a move seen as a calculated attempt to raise Sir Alan's profile in the run-up to the selection of Labour's mayoral candidate, a video of him speaking was shown at a fund raising rally for the London party in Canary Wharf last night.

"The businessman was cheered by the audience of about 200 Labour donors and key figures including the Prime Minister and former Downing Street spin-doctor Alastair Campbell."

So why does this matter?

Well it turns out that Sir Alan never addressed a cheering rally via video link as was first suggested by Gilligan.  

There was a short film shown about Labour in London, which included a clip of Sugar being pleasant about Gordon Brown, but so what? That's hardly news.

12 comments:

Tom said...

Remind me of the previous Gilligoonery that got pulled in later editions? I'm sure there was one a few months back?

AdamB said...

There was the apology mentioned by John Ross in that Cif thread. Also there was (I'm told) a correction over his take on the Duvall-Johnson-Green story. Not sure if that's what you're referring to.

Rog T said...

Vote for your favourite hypocrite at the Barnet Eye

Vote for the No 1 Hypocrite here

(sorry Gilligan isn't in there but maybe next year)

Harold said...

'the Evening Standard pulled back from the story in later editions after they received complaints about it's accuracy'
Are you seriously suggested that if there are complaints about accuracy, they will pull back? Had that been the case they would have had to cease publication for at least 6 months last year. Would it have more to do with the fact that Sugar has more legal means at his disposal than the average Gilligan target?
Or is it that Sugar had a quiet word with the Evening Boris owners, pointing out that Londoners respect him more than Gilligan? .

prj45 said...

Tom: "Remind me of the previous Gilligoonery that got pulled in later editions? I'm sure there was one a few months back?"

Wasn't the whole dodgy dossier story the same situation, Gilligan makes unattributable claims that are later retracted?

AdamB said...

I think this may be a similar situation. He *knows* the story is true (and there's almost certainly some truth in it) but he just can't prove it. Luckily his old friend the unnamed source is there to help him out.

sunny said...

Heh, no surprise at all!

AdamB said...

I've added an update about another change that was made in the second edition.

gavin said...

The timing of this fits quite nicely with the fact that The Apprentice is about to start on BBC

Anonymous said...

Shoddy - It seems that when one of AG's favourite hate figures is the target (in this case Ken) then he just can't resist 'pushing the envelope' Not the first, second, or tenth time he's done it.

Investigative journalist of the year! God save us!!

infinitylies said...

I think Gilli could get a job writing for theonion.com, once Lebedev boots him out.

Is there a Gilliganwatch.co.uk? there should be methinks

Tim said...

Clearly Sugar wasn't in a mood to be trifled with, and most of us know why.

See what Andrew is missing when he only visits blogs long enough to read about himself (and leave anonymous comments about himself)?