Conspiracy theorists used to come only from the left in politics. These days they come from the right. The Sunday Telegraph claimed recently that the arrest of terrorist suspects, which had dominated the news the previous week, was designed merely to get immigration out of the headlines. The evidence for this was the latest drivel to come from the failed spin-doctor Martin Sixsmith. Apparently, he has written a novel (imaginatively titled Spin) that "blasts the bonnet off" new Labour. In it, he reveals how Labour uses "news sponges" to suck media attention away from difficult stories. Wow. What a genius this Sixsmith is. Remember when he worked for the government and had an embarrassing story? He just got some nutters to fly planes into the World Trade Center. That did the trick.
The right is so upset the immigration row was a one-week wonder, that now it's looking for the reasons why the papers have stopped whipping up race hate. Did you know that on the day of Tony Blair's "immigration summit" the television news did not lead with his bungling explanations but with the discovery of osmium tetroxide, a chemical thought to be in the hands of terrorists? I can just see it now: David Hill, Blair's director of communications, gets on the phone to the head of the Met. "Hi, Tone's in a bit of trouble. Can you arrest a few terrorists or find some lethal chemicals?" "No probs, Dave, son, leave it with me."
The Telegraph thinks the hunting bill is the next news sponge. Yes, the government is banning hunting to stop us talking about immigration - and there are fairies at the bottom of my garden.