Blimey! If we ever doubted the veracity of the two statements in my headline, we have only to take a quick run through the media today. Even the various pictures of Nigel Evans MP that are selected by the different thundering organs of Canary Wharf tell a story.
Nigel Evans MP has been arrested and accused of various sexual offences concerning âvulnerable victimsâ. Not one paper describes him as âcreepyâ, nor goes on to interview a talking head discussing the ârumours which have circulated for yearsâ. Instead a raft of the great and the good have been interviewed at length to tell us what a charming, delightful, âgood, decent manâ he is. Iâm sure he his.
The Sunday Times went with a âstudioâ portrait of a youthful and blushing Nigel, holding his copy of the Green Book with the portcullis prominently displayed to emphasise his establishment position. They still managed a sly âDeputy Speaker in rape arrestâ to tickle the fancy of the conspiriloons breathlessly waiting for news of arrests in the âTop Tory Paedophile ringâ that they lust after, before going onto to point out that this is an allegation of Gay rape.
The Sunday Times failed to mention that Evans was interviewed by the then Chief Opposition Whip, Patrick McLoughlin, now Transport Secretary, over claims of âinappropriate sexual behaviourâ in 2009, coincidentally the starting date of the offences of which he is now accused. Allegations which were dealt with without being referred to Police. Why ever would that be? The Sunday Times has been a forerunner in the âhe could have been stopped earlierâ articles regarding Savile. Ah, but Nigel Evans is alive and well! Fully entitled to a decent hearing to clear his name of heinous allegations. This is no time for âpremature adjudicationâ, says the legal department. Possibly why the âcommentsâ are permanently closed.
The Sun claims âan exclusiveâ â despite the Mirror having broken the story, and the Police confining themselves to a discrete âA 55-year-old man from Pendleton in Lancashire, arrested on suspicion of rape and sexual assault has today, May 4, 2013, been released on police bail until June 19, 2013.â
They go for the full house: Tory+Deputy Speaker+Gay+Rape. Helpfully adding a picture of Nigel with David Cameron to emphasise his connections, though in Savileâs case, they were only too keen to show pictures of Savile with Margaret Thatcher or the Pope in order to emphasise how âprotectedâ he had been. No such suggestion in Nigel Evansâ case â they have given him column space to point out that his accusers âknow each otherââ¦
Mr Evans said: âYesterday, I was interviewed by the police concerning two complaints, one of which dates back four years, made by two people who are well known to each other and until yesterday, I regarded as friends. âThe complaints are completely false and I cannot understand why they have been made, especially as I have continued to socialise with one as recently as last week.
The Sun also hedges its bet by including pictures of Our Nige with Ed Miliband, and two scantily clad young ladies (not all in the same picture regrettablyâ¦!).
The Mirror, which originally broke this story, must take the prize for the most bizarre sideways wipe at poor Nige, with their headline of âRape accused Tory uses make-up to disguise forehead bruise as he faces cameras to deny claimsâ â accompanied by a close up shot of said bruise, but no explanation, even speculative, in the accompanying article. I guess you donât need to lead with the âGay rapeâ line when youâve pointed out that Nigel is using make-up? Was he beaten up by the Police? Spent the night banging his head on the head board? We need to know!
They do give space to fellow MP Mark Pritchard.
Mark Pritchard, Conservative MP for The Wrekin, Shropshire, said: âNigel Evans is a very popular MP and has established himself as a first-rate Deputy Speaker. âThese are shocking allegations â but they are allegations and not proven. Time will tell if they stand up to proper legal scrutiny.â
The Telegraph use exactly the same photo as the Mirror, credited to Reuters, but without the bizarre âmake-upâ claim â but then are the only paper to dig into their memory bank and reveal that Nigel was questioned by Parliamentary staff in 2009 over âinappropriate sexual behaviourâ, which was apparently, a misunderstanding and was never referred to Police. They also helpfully hint that Nigel had been threatened with blackmail in the past over his sexuality. Comments are not open, any more than they were in the Mirror. Are they not interested in what their readers think of this latest development in the war against âinappropriate sexual behaviourâ? Seems not.
Nigel Evans feet had not âtouched the groundâ after his arrest before there were calls for him to stand down as Deputy Speaker â presumably the sight of him in the Speakerâs chair would have potentially traumatised other vulnerable victims, had they been one of the handful of people that actually watch Prime Ministerâs Question Time. Not that âfeet not touching the groundâ has been a handicap to sitting in the Speakerâs Chair in recent timesâ¦
Brian Binley, Tory MP for Northampton South and a friend of Evans, said: âI was just deeply disturbed and shocked.
âIâve known him ever since Iâve been in parliament and I came in in 2005. I consider him to be a very good friend. I know him to be caring, compassionate and in no way would he inflict himself violently on any other personâ.
Not a single word of empathy with the alleged âvulnerable victimsââ¦no in-depth articles regarding the difficulties of âcoming forwardâ or âbeing believedâ, not one.
Nor is anybody âgiving a victims a voiceâ via publishing an âanonymisedâ account from a brave âvictimâ who has come forward to spell out the details of the allegations against Mr Evans.
Nobody has even mentioned Savile, or âSavile Policeâ not even in an html link. I checked!
Indeed, although Mr Evans has been bailed until the 19th June, âhe hopes that these matters will have been cleared up long before thenâ. He has not been charged with any offence as yet.
A quite remarkable show of unified and dignified responsible reportage.
What could be the reason for the main stream media coming over all coy between the last celebrity arrest and the arrest of Nigel Evans MP?