Edited transcript of telephone conversation between JW – Jim Waterson (Buzzfeed News, now at The Guardian) and PC – Paul Cardin, proprietor of the Wirral In It Together WordPress Blog
Date of conversation 6th January 2017
Date of transcription 30th May 2018
Note: Jim Waterson sections of dialogue have been redacted completely in accordance with this tweet, dated 14th February 2018
Our own explanatory notes appear [in italics]
PC Hello, Jim?
PC Hi, Paul Cardin, I’ve just got a message from you on Twitter.
PC I’m fine, are you okay?
PC I’m sure it will get busier.
PC Yes. It’s very [inaudible 00:55] sort of trivial on the surface, isn’t it?
PC Okay. It’s not a prob…
PC Why what, sorry?
PC Okay. Well, it was used…it was sort of weaponised – if that’s the right word – against the local Constituency Labour Party. I’m not a member of that Labour Party, but I do know the people in it. I’ve known them for years and I know them to be honest people, and the #Brickgate thing was picked up and used. Angela Eagle never got in there and tried to deny any of that reportage that was coming out, which she could have done. I think she just let it run, which I think was a mistaken thing to do and I think when you couple it with the fact that the alleged homophobic slurs at the Annual General Meeting of 24th June  were never reported to the police. You know, it’s criminal behaviour potentially and that was never reported, and I think it suited Labour locally and centrally not to do that. They preferred to sort of put…let it be feasted on by, you know, the media who were not sympathetic to Corbyn at all, and when you package that all in with the fact that she’d just declared that she was going to run for the leadership, then I think that sort of gave her a springboard. And I think it was a false…
PC A springboard, you know, to…
PC …to get her campaign running, you know, with the help of her campaign PR person – what’s his name – Immy – Imran…
PC Imran Ahmed, yeah…
PC …who I’ve tweeted to…you know, I’ve contacted him on Twitter and he’s sort of denied everything, you know. But he was reported in The Guardian as being the person who was the origin of the brick story, the idea of a brick going through a window. And I think most people have sort of accepted now that it was a shared stairwell window. It wasn’t her constituency office window. ’Cause if you look at all the reporting on 12th July , the next day, it sort of ran along the lines of it was her constituency office window, which it wasn’t. And even if you go to Google and put in “Eagle Brick”, and go to Google Images, it’ll give you images of this stairwell window as being in actual fact her constituency office window. So even Google is being influenced by the – I mean, I don’t really want to call it ‘Fake News’ – but inaccurate reporting.
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PC No, it’s not a shared office window. It’s a shared stairwell window.
PC Well, had any…
PC I don’t…I’m really not sure because there was so many of you doing it that, I mean, there’s more than a dozen large circulation newspapers out there and they were all sort of collectively, as one, running with this story that had been sort of given to them on site by the local PCC [Police and Crime Commissioner], Jane Kennedy, who is a long-term friend, you know, going back decades of Angela Eagle. She was installed by basically a Neil Kinnock / Roy Hattersley star chamber, you know, that got rid of…well, in the Angela case it was somebody called Lol Duffy, who’d, the election before, he’d really turned around Wallasey which was a staunch Tory seat. He’d turned it around to the brink of becoming a Labour one and then the next election [May 1992] he was standing again but he got dumped by Kinnock and Hattersley and Angela Eagle was installed, you know, from…
PC Yeah. She…well, I’m not sure…she did and then a couple of councillors went on telly as well here in Wallasey. Oh, I live here, by the way. It’s about a mile away from where I live, you know.
PC Yeah. She had about five microphones under her nose and she sort of said, “Ooh, I didn’t expect all you people,” you know, sort of thing. The interview’s there on Twitter if you want to have a look for it. And it’s just highly unusual that a Crime Commissioner would turn up for a broken window, you know. I think they were running with this thing and trying to manipulate [with it 06:13]. And as for yourselves, I don’t know whether you just went with what you were being told and then, off we go, this will be good, it will get some sales going, you know, I don’t know whether that was your – not you personally – but your colleagues’ sort of attitude about that.
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PC They could have walked…I think they were attending on site, could have walked around the corner and saw on another side of the building Angela Eagle’s genuine constituency office window with the Labour stickers on it. Peter Hitchens ran with that story ages ago [Mail on Sunday 24th July 2016], back in August I think, last year.
PC He was.
PC And I do respect him for that, I mean, I don’t respect him for his sort of political views, I don’t know what yours are but…yeah.
PC Well, there’s no [inaudible 07:20] I did put a complaint into IPSO and they were exposed, to me, in my eyes, they never sort of accepted that there was any inaccuracy in the newspapers. Your average man in the street would say there was inaccuracy, it wasn’t her office window. When I’ve seen…it was a lump of masonry, I mean, I don’t suppose that matters, but it was a lump of masonry, not a brick. Yeah, you were told it was a brick and you ran with that. But, I mean, if you’re going to be specific, a lump of masonry is like a piece from a brick wall, you know, it could be a brick and the mortar around it. I think it was likely to have been that. The police have dumped the evidence now, so we’ll never know. But…
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PC Well, yeah, not that’s going to make any difference really. Except that it sort of…I think it shows that the media are willing to take what they’re told and run with it without the evidence, you know. And let’s run with this brick because it sounds good in a headline, you know, doesn’t it, you know, it sounds…there’s a pub about 25 metres away that’s notorious [The Royal Oak]…from the building, you know, and there’s a footpath that runs alongside where the window is where you can…if you’re on the footpath you can touch that window. You know, we’ve got Labour HQ – the NEC – putting out a report and backing all this stuff up, saying that the window was inaccessible. It’s not inaccessible. Anybody could have just walked past from that…it’s a notorious place, drunk, whatever and thrown a brick through that window, and I asked the Chinese – not Chinese – the Indian restaurant on the opposite corner if he’d ever had his windows put through. He said he had on more than one occasion. You know, it’s typical sort of…taxi rank there, you know, kebab place, all this sort of stuff, queuing for taxis, getting…you know, full of beer and getting…you know, so none of that came out in the news stories, you know, if we’d had full context, that would have come out, you know.
PC Full context, full surrounding context with the CCTV positions, all that sort of stuff. I’ve put a Moment up on Twitter which is – I don’t know why it’s called ‘Moment’, it’s full of stuff – but all about this and if you get the time – you probably wouldn’t have the time – but everything’s there I think.
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PC Well, it’s a shared building, you know, nobody else in the off…nobody else sort of said that they felt intimidated in that building, you know. But obviously, Angela Eagle did, and she ran with it and it just doesn’t stand up to me, I’m afraid.
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PC Well, I’ve got a lot of experience of doing that. Made sort of 450 requests, something like that in the past.
PC But one of them was a big round robin on compromise agreements that was 345. So that’s the big one. That’s what bumps my figures up, you know.
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PC Yes, I think they have, yeah.
PC Yeah, definitely, I mean, I wouldn’t accuse the police of dishonesty at all. You know, I think they’re doing their job and they’re probably frustrated by the fact that they had to sit on the information that they had because they had to investigate it and they couldn’t release that information because they didn’t want to damage the investigation while it was going on, you know. I made the mistake of placing an FOI request while that investigation was going on…
JW […xxxxxxxxxx… 11:49].
PC [Voices overlap 11:49] answer the questions, apart from the fact that they’d attended. There’s an absurdity really inside the FOI Act which states that the minute you make that request, take all the surrounding circumstances and it’s frozen in time. So if you go to tribunal in the end, they’re still not going to come out with the information ’cause it’s just treated as though the investigation is still going on. So I placed another request in early December after it had finished. That was what gave me the sort of breakthrough on the information. They were then allowed to release it. But they were probably pleased to be able to release it as well.
PC Yeah, they’ve got…
PC Yeah, they’ve got rid of that now. I mean, it’s probably what they do anyway with…
PC …unless they have a storeroom full of bricks somewhere if they kept…or…you know.
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PC Oh, no. We wouldn’t have had a…I don’t think we’d have got off the ground at all without the FOI Act and without social media. You know, I mean, how long have you been in the media yourself?
JW xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 13:21]…
PC Yeah. But [voices overlap 13:21] ten years ago, it was a lot more difficult. And I can remember sort of 20 years ago when we were just fed what we were given, and we accepted it and we could complain to the Press Complaints Commission then, sort of regulator, but never really got anywhere. I think we’re making progress as citizens, you know.
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PC I think there’s a lot of people out there who want to know the truth, you know, whatever that is, you know, I don’t like using that word because people criticise you for it and call you a ‘conspiracy theorist’ and all sorts of stuff, but if you type the two words, ‘Eagle’ and ‘brick’ into Google – it’s the two sort of key ones – my blog comes top of sort of ten million results [no longer the case]. Above all the newspapers and everything and I think that’s because people are looking for other sources of information, you know. They know that I live here, and I’ve made enquiries, so they tend to be coming to what I’m writing rather than what others have been told, you know, is another version of the truth, whatever. I’ve had a lot of support from people locally, you know. Definitely.
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PC Okay, yeah. They’ve only corrected one ar…they’ve corrected two articles so far in The Guardian. And it’s this aspect of the window, whether it was her office window or whether it was a shared stairwell window. They’ve corrected two articles, but they haven’t retracted any of the original articles that were wrong, you know, and I think Rowena Mason did one that was a bit sort of off…very keen to get the message across that it was Angela Eagle’s constituency office window, you know. And you almost had the impression reading it that she was sat there, and it came flying through [inaudible 15:47]…
PC You almost got the impression from reading it that Angela Eagle was sat there in the office and the brick came through the window, which would just be obviously wrong, but she was trying to sort of flavour it with inaccurate information, you know. There’s been a lot of opinion and smear and it’s difficult to cut through that for the average reader, I think.
PC Which paper do you work for Jim?
PC Oh, right, yeah, okay.
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PC I’m not sure because these phone calls that she was getting, I’m not going to deny that she got phone calls but they’re talking about hundreds I think, and they’re sort of implying that it must be local people. I doubt that very much. But this is now – how many – six months ago, seven months ago now. Last July and in the lead up to July she did get, apparently, she did get abusive phone calls before, well before the #Brickgate thing. But it hasn’t gone through those internal channels that it should have done. It’s been [inaudible 17:56] out to the media, you know. She’s calling her 17 witnesses ‘whistleblowers’, which is outrageous really because I’ve been a whistleblower myself. Whistleblowers tend to appear on their own or in small sort of clusters of two or three possibly, but never 17 whistleblowers all at once. It doesn’t happen, with all the same story, you know, it just makes you think that people are possibly colluding. I’m not going to say they are, but it’s possible that that’s going on, and there was a determined effort in suspending the CLP to prevent a vote of no confidence which is actually underway now at Clacton…[voices overlap 18:41]…
PC I mean…
PC No, I haven’t, never. The last time I voted Labour was in 1992. I’m largely…
PC I either don’t vote…is that relevant to this, do you think, who I vote for?
PC [Inaudible 19:07], I don’t, I mean, I didn’t vote in the referendum – the EU referendum – I passed on that one. I didn’t vote last time in the 2015 general election. I voted – I think it was – I voted Lib Dem once and then regretted doing that. Like a lot of people did I think. But because it sort of changed…
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PC Charles Kennedy…
PC Yeah, I mean, it all changes, doesn’t it? Under Charles Kennedy, they looked like the most sort of socialist option at the time, you know, this is the days of Tony Blair now in 2004 or whatever, ’05, whatever it was. And I voted for Charles Kennedy and then ten years la…you know, by 2010 I’m thinking why the hell did I do that, you know? So I’m not sure how relevant that is, who I vote for. You know.
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PC No, I’m not. I’m not a member. I may have tweeted things in the past that make me look like I’m supporting – I don’t know – like TUSC, people like that. Trade U…you know. Trade Union Socialist Coalition. But I don’t support them. I’m not a member of them, you know. Yeah.
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PC Alec McFadden, yeah.
PC I know who he is, and he lives not very far away from me. I don’t have much contact with him or any contact with him to be honest, no.
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PC I think it is damaging Angela Eagle’s chances in the future. I think it is, yeah. Yeah, it’s also the [voices overlap 21:24]…
PC Well, not just that, it’s the other ones as well, you know. The booking into a hotel in Luton they claimed was some sort of intimidation going on, and then there’s about four other things that I just can’t call to mind at the moment, but…actually that [inaudible 21:45]. And it’s all sort of coming together and making her look – what’s the word – unreliable I think, you know, not dishonest but people are, you know, asking questions.
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PC I’m just about to take the girls out swimming. I’ve got two young girls, take them out swimming, so we’ll be back about 6:00 or something.
PC Cheers Jim. Appreciate that.
PC Thanks a lot. Thank you. Bye.
Note: Jim had expressed an interest in the story, its symbolic value and how it typified the behaviour of some politicians.
He said he might write up an article for Buzzfeed, but in the end this didn’t materialise.