Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Is this a Liberal smear?

Over at Section 15, Mark discusses the question of whether Grewal's allegation that this is liberal smear has much validity.

To Mark's points on this, I think that one really must insist that the fact that these people wrote cheques to support Grewal's forthcoming election campaign clearly rules out the suggestion that they were out to get him. One doesn't write a cheque as part of a smear campaign. (If this were standard procedure, we'd all want to be smeared, no?) It does, I think, say something about the solidarity in the Indian community that Indian Liberals (as we know one of these contributors was) are keen to support community candidates in any party.

The other reason to reject the idea that this is a Liberal party smear is that it would probably not be in their interest. Grewal's political career is over when the next election comes, of that there can be no reasonable doubt. For the Liberals, who have a reasonable chance at picking up both the Grewals' seats, the worst thing that can happen is that the Grewals are so damaged that the Conservatives actually drop them.

So, why did this story become news? Is it because the Liberals engineered it? That is doubtful. It is likelier because a reporter was doing his job. Reporters, remember, want stories that they think the public will have interest in; many of them would write it about their own mother if made a headline. Any story about Grewal doing anything even a little suspicious will create enough interest for a headline, and he therefore gets more stories than others doing the same thing. Is it fair? Probably not. But once someone's made themself an object of public interest--in Grewal's case by questionable behaviour in regards to the tapes over the last two months--it is hardly surprising.