Recently David Aaronovich declared that the battle for truth is timeless.
In London’s Pudding Lane stands “THE MONUMENT” designed by Sir
Christopher Wren,..
Until 1830 it was engraved with the lie that the Great Fire of 1666, originating
there and devastating  the City had been started by Papists. 
That MONUMENTAL  LIAR is not without rivals In London.
In 1887 THE TIMES published a series, “Parnellism and Crime” in an attempt
to destroy the Irish Nationalist Party and its leader, Charles Stewart Parnell.
Forty years earlier the failure of the potato crop, in Ireland, a fertile country exporting
under military escort, sufficient healthy food  sufficient to sustain its population, was
a source of exultation for the paper which thanked  Almighty God for the prospect
of the extermination of the Irish people.
Parnell was also leader of The Land League which organised non-violent resistance
to evictions, one of the greatest causes of death in the 1840s.
THE TIMES was the champion of the all-powerful landlords.
The series Parnellism and Crime was based on documents,purporting to be in Parnell’s own
 hand, and climaxing in a letter advocating assassination.
 Parnell denounced it as a “villainous and barefaced forgery.”
A Parliamentary Enquiry was established and THE TIMES had to reveal where they got the
documents. Their source was Richard Pigott, an Irish journalist. He was proved a forger and
fled to Spain to avoid arrest, and shot himself in a Madrid Hotel when detectives called.
Parnell sued THE TIMES for libel. The paper settled out of court paying him about 4 times the
generous sum they’d paid Pigott and paid more than that in legal costs.
The paper was almost wiped out by the disgrace and Parnell was feted in the British Parliament
and at home in Ireland and wherever the Irish had settled.
But in the 1940s, more than 50 years after the revelation of the paper’s disgrace it sought to
defend its behaviour.
In May 1981 more than 300 years after the erection of the Monument in Pudding Lane
THE TIMES  was again competing with Wren, Richard Pigott and  Titus Oates for Primacy
amongst Monumental Liars. As a result  I myself played a modest part in the battle for truth which,
42 years later, I still fitfully wage……………………..
Watch this space!
Comments are closed.