Absolute bollocks - this will never see a court. But the rationale behind this shoddy peice of spin is most illuminating.
Knob of butter - 15p
RAW has seen Paul Rowen's redacted Parliamentary expenses forms (and a few Westminster shocking documents that haven't public seen light of day yet). Quite simply the ruddy bloater is damaged goods. If anything, the Rochdale Observer let him off quite lightly.
Paul Rowen (plus his "Agent" and spin doctor Dave Hennighan) have bitten off far more than they can chew taking if they are to take the Rochdale Observer to court. And that takes some doing, after being caught stuffing themselves on 40p bananas. Or was that some mystery intern?
Paul Rowen seems to have a short memory. He says in his 25 years as a councillor and MP (2 of those years as both- with double bubble allowances and expenses to boot) he suggests he had never had to resort to any form of legal threats with the Rochdale Obscurer.
The leaky vessel which is Guardian Media Group's regional titles has many, former or current, pissed-off hacks ready to come clean about the antics of the Rochdale Lib Dems. Some conversations have included the words "corrupt" and "sex offenders" within the sentence structures.
For years, Cyril Smith has bullied and threatened the local rag with his dodgy letters and angry phone calls. Dave Hennigan has bombarded the switchboard with chaff, lame excuses and promises of exclusives. But now, the wheels are falling off the Dream Team Brains Trust that is Rochdale Lib Dems.
It wasn't that long ago that a red-faced Paul Rowen and hursuite Alan Taylor turned up at the Ob heavy handed for a meeting during the old Editor Clare Mooney's tenure. Even though the blinds were turned down on the office partition, all and sundry at the Drake Street Ob office heard some of the threats being levelled at the weary boss lady and her deputies. Hennighan was cock-a-hoop after that meeting and bragged that the local newspaper was eating out of his hand. The weak, bland and perhaps Lib Dem biased reportage of Ms Mooney's regime could be seen as testament to past Lib Dem threats and influence being effective.
So why the legal threat from Paul Rowen now?
Firstly it is a standard diversionary and damage limitation tactic after a bad news day. Suggest the facts are actually lies and throw in the magic, but meaningless, phrase "launch of legal proceedings". Hey presto, sometimes things disappear in a puff of smoke.
It has worked for Cyril for decades. Ever read about Cambridge House and the allegations of serious sexual abuse in the Rochdale Observer?
Secondly and most importantly, this is a test of the GMG's metal. The Rochdale Observer has a new editor. Given the impending reorganisation of the regional titles to Manchester, are GMG going to back new Ob editor Gerry Sammon against dodgy legal threats from a man who claimed for a 15p knob of butter? Or will they leave the new boy out to dry with a small some being donated to Springhill Hospice- Rochdale Rotary and Freemason's popular local charity recipient?
The Fees Office will give Mr Rowen short shrift about funding such desperate legal threats. Given what many know about several prominent members of Rochdale Lib Dem members, is Paul Rowen really ready to waste one of his last Get Out Of Jail Cards?