Chris Huhne has fallen into the Twitter direct message trap. I’ve done it myself.* When you think you’re privately messaging someone then — horror! — it is broadcast to the world. In
his case "From someone else fine but I do not want my fingerprints on the story C’" He deleted the tweet but — sorry, Chris! — that doesn’t work on Twitter either because you
can be retweeted.
What’s he up to? As a former Sunday newspaper journalist I have a fair idea. It’s Friday night, 6pm — witching hour for MPs briefing a Sunday hack, with the intention of damaging a colleague
or the government. "From someone else, fine" might well indicate asking the journalist to suggest the leak or quote came from someone else — so he could then deny all knowledge. Of
course, it all may be innocent — he could be referring to newly-washed linen, or freshly-baked cup cakes. Possible, but a bit unlikely.
With the Leveson inquiry is underway, and British press freedom facing its greatest-ever threat, it’s worth remembering Tweets like Huhne. And that our political class so often initiates the
skulduggery they affect to deplore. Damian McBride at least had the nous to do his briefing over a drink in a quiet bar. Anyway, I can’t wait to see what anonymous Cabinet members have to say in
this Sunday’s press.
* In my case, I replied by text to a Twitter DM telling my friend that I couldn’t wait to come home "and see my two gorgeous boys" — i.e. my sons. I didn’t then realise that
replying to Twitter on text sent it out on my general Twitter feed. It led to all types of rude comments.