Friday, September 4, 2009

Give Us a Job Ed

The low circulation New Statesman continues to fascinate Guido, a co-conspirator has sent in an example of a lavish bit of sycophancy which really deserves a bigger audience.

ns_logoYou may remember that James Macintyre was not so long ago bitterly disappointed at failing to become Ed Miliband’s SpAd after Derek Draper advised Ed against hiring him.  This week Macintyre was embedded on a junket to Bangladesh and India with Ed Miliband and Dougie Alexander to see poverty first-hand and get a few photo-ops with the ministers.  Looks like Macintyre is re-applying for the SpAd job with the man he describes optimistically as “a leader-in-waiting”:

ed+dougieIt is amazing to think that if the conventional wisdom is right, and Labour loses, these talented ministers, with so much to offer, will suddenly be out of a job. I can’t remember who their Tory opposite numbers are, but it is fair to say that certain parties I have spoken to, from NGO workers to diplomats to foreign politicians, are keeping their fingers crossed that the consensus will be proved wrong.

Can you hear that sucking up sound?  You would think that the ‘political correspondent’ of a magazine with pretensions to being a serious journal would know his subject. It falls to Guido, again, to help out the Statesman’s political team: Andrew Mitchell and Greg Clark are their opposite numbers…

+++ Ian Clements to be Charged with Fraud +++

Friday Caption Contest (Backhander Edition)

Channel 4 Snooze

cathycorporatepic_biggerThe race for exclusives and scoops is of more interest to hacks and bloggers than it is to the readers and viewers.  News distributors take great pride in being first with the scoop.  Guido is no different in this respect from Channel 4 News, and boasting emails like this from newsrooms are not uncommon:

from: Laurent, Fiona <[]@itn.co.uk>
date: Thu, Sep 3, 2009 at 7:12 PM~
subject: C4 NEWS EXCLSV: DEFENCE AIDE RESIGNS – ERIC JOYCE’S LETTER TO BROWN
Embargoed until 19.30 hrs on 3rd September 2009
*LEAD STORY* LEAD STORY* LEAD STORY
CREDIT CHANNEL 4 NEWS WITH ALL MATERIAL USED  CHANNEL 4 NEWS EXCLUSIVE:
PARLIAMENTARY AIDE TO THE DEFENCE SECRETARY RESIGNS

Sure enough the lead story on C4 News at 7pm had been Eric Joyce resigning. Was it really an exclusive? Co-conspirators will note that at 6.27pm Guido reported a rumour that a PPS was resigning, just after that Guido publicly tweeted @EricJoyce to badger him to answer the phone – he hadn’t been answering his mobile for hours – (the Twitterati picked up the hint).  At 6.46pm Guido named Eric Joyce after a co-conspirator emailed some corroborative information on the back of the 6.27 pm teaser.

Cathy Newman confirmed the story and lead with the contents of the resignation letter at 7.01 on C4 News, she apparently had got the story the night before. Guido heard the story late yesterday afternoon, as Cathy tweeted after her broadcast So hard to keep a secret in Westminster. Somehow the mod got wind of our Eric Joyce scoop mid afternoon. Hmm.”

Eric Joyce Newswire Timeline

Cathy undoubtedly had the resignation letter first, nevertheless the first news source to put Joyce’s resignation into the public domain was this blog, as PoliticsHome’s “as it happens” newswire confirms. You snooze, you lose…

UPDATE : Remember Dizzy’s story which became a “C4 News Exclusive” the next day?

BP Admits Straw Was Lobbied by Allen Over Deal for Megrahi

small_three-libyan-logosThe Times this morning has followed up on Guido’s story about the involvement of Sir Mark Allen, the ex-MI6 point man for Libya turned BP fixer in the release of al Megrahi.

The Times confirms that

Jack Straw was personally lobbied by BP over Britain’s prisoner transfer agreement with Libya just before he abandoned efforts to exclude the Lockerbie bomber from the deal… the Justice Secretary took two telephone calls from Sir Mark Allen, a former M16 agent, who was by then working for BP as a consultant, on October 15 and November 9, 2007.

Depite BP flatly denying last week that it had lobbied for the release of Megrahi The Times reports that a spokesman now says:

“BP did bring to the attention of the Government in late 2007 our concerns about the slow progress in concluding a PTA with Libya. Like many others we were aware that delay might have negative consequences for UK commercial interests including ratification of BP’s exploration agreement.”

What was it Mandelson said when the government was first accused of making a Prisoners-for-Oil deal? “It’s not only completely wrong to make such a suggestion it’s also quite offensive” – looks like we were not wrong, but it was morally offensive…


Seen Elsewhere

Twitter Should Not Ban Racist Words | Alex Wickham
Guardian Staff’s Elite Schooling | Chris McGovern
Term-Time Holidays Were State Encouraged | Liberal England
What Did Britain Really Look Like in 1930s? | CapX
Who Is Steering Labour’s Strategy? | Ballot Box
Greens are UKIP for Young People | Telegraph
Short-Termism of CCHQ | ConHome
May Aide: CCHQ Are Being Misleading | Telegraph
Tories Planning For Second Election | Guardian
We Are Losing Cyber War | Fraser Nelson
Osborne Aide Lands Pay Rise | Mirror


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The Economist asks Tony Blair about Wendi Deng:

“Mr Blair roundly denies any impropriety. Asked whether he was (at least) careless about his reputation, he says calmly that it is “not something I will ever talk about—I haven’t and I won’t”, and then bangs his coffee cup so loudly into its saucer that it spills and everyone in the room jumps. But did he find himself in a tangle over his friendship with Ms Deng? A large, dark pool of sweat has suddenly appeared under his armpit, spreading across an expensive blue shirt. Even Mr Blair’s close friends acknowledge that the saga damaged him—not least financially, since Mr Murdoch stopped contributing to Mr Blair’s faith foundation and cut him off from other friendly donors in America.”


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