Quote of the Day

Nick Denton says

“One law of media competition applies as strongly to web properties as it did to their predecessors: scoops drive audience growth.”

Do They Know They're Born?

This has to be a pretty compelling argument for students paying their way. Guido presents to you the best and brightest of Northumbria University:

Comparing the privileged life of an undergraduate to kids starving in Africa, who have to worry about their next meal rather than their media studies assignment. Nice.

Where's Billy?™ : Rifkind Revisited

Hillary Clinton said in her presser yesterday that “a counterpart” told her “well, don’t worry about it, you should hear what we say about you…” An interesting line, clearly from a native English speaker in its idiomatic use of “well” and “don’t worry about it”, which is bordering on slang. No one with English as a second language, however fluent, would ever come up with a line like that. Add a barbed sense of humour and the fingers are pointing at William Hague.

Talking of Hague, Guido isn’t the only one to have noticed that in the past few days former Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind has been put on Sky News, BBC News, BBC Radio 2, 4, 5 and Channel Four speaking about Wikileaks and other foreign policy issues. It’s almost as if the current Foreign Secretary has been sidelined and a new spokesman found. Guido can’t think why Hague might not want to hit the airwaves to discuss why the Americans were featuring his personal life in their intelligence dossiers. Rifkind seems well on top of the brief still and would be high up the list of likely candidates for the job, were a vacancy to arise…

UPDATE: Paul Waugh questions why Hague isn’t representing the UK on the international stage in Kazakhstan tomorrow.

Another One Bites the Dust

As the news emerges that The Telegraph is set to join the FT, News of the World and The Times behind the paywall, Guido is intrigued to why such a decision was made when all the evidence shows it’s not a winner. The Times has lost 95% of their online traffic, but the bad news doesn’t stop there. Since they introduced their pay-wall in June their paper sales have headed south as well:

Introducing a pay-wall was supposed to increase revenue by forcing people to buy the paper or subscribe online. Instead the decline of newspaper sales is unmitigated. There will be glum faces over in Victoria as it dawns on the hacks that soon nobody will be reading their work…

End of the Line for Ruffley's Staff

The parliamentary rumour mill was running away yesterday that it was all change at David Ruffley’s office. Apparently the two staffers who were in to cover Ruffley’s recent absence did not have their contracts renewed. The timetable for replacements has been delayed.

Maybe they needed some more training…


On the day we  learn Jacqui Smith, who was so good with her sums in the past, is off to accounting firm KPMG, Guido thought he would check out how Geoff Hoon’s project that “bluntly, makes money” was coming along…

It seems the former Defence Secretary is so desperate for clients, for a little “Hoon-work”, that he’s openly publishing his mobile number. From a gate-keepered senior cabinet minister, who most would have to go through six people to talk to on a good day, to being open to all sorts of random calls. Oh how the mighty fall…

Obviously Guido couldn’t resist…

GF: Are you going to join the APPC?
GH: Err…I must be a bit slow this morning.
GF: The Association of Professional Political Consultants…
GH: <silence>
GF:  …The register of lobbyists to declare their clients etc?
GH: To be honest I haven’t actually heard of it. I’m not really a lobbyist… When people have asked me to lobby the government I’ve told them to go elsewhere.
GF: Will you be publishing your clients list on your website?
GH: No, can’t really see a case in which that would happen. Maybe one day.
GF: Do you have a Former Member’s Pass to the Parliamentary Estate?
GH: Err yes, yes I do.
GF: Have you used it yet?
GH: To be honest, not yet.

Sure it will come in useful one day, oh and not a lobbyist? TaylorHoon state:

“Our aim is to provide business with market intelligence on ways to gain competitive advantage. To do this we are able to offer a distinctive combination of advice, skills and experience from the highest levels of business and politics.”

Sounds like lobbying to Guido…

Quote of the Day

Greg Hands asked the Deputy Leader of the House yesterday:

“My Honorable Friend has spoken of the success this year of the orientation programme for new members. But existing members should not be overlooked. I note that one member has spoken only once since the Election; hasn’t asked a single question; and has made only 5 of the possible 131 votes. Would the Deputy Leader of the House agree to approach the Member for Kirckaldy and Cowdenbeath, if he can find him, and see if some orientation might help?”

"Make It Up" Macintyre Tweets Another "Exclusive"

James Macintyre no longer has a column in the New Statesman in which to share his insights. He now has only his Twitter to pass on wisdom. Yesterday he had a ground breaking “Twitter Exclusive” revealing that Gordon’s new book makes no mention of Tony Blair.

For Macintyre it is an exclusive from “a top Whitehall source”, for the rest of us it is a month old story we read everywhere. Wonder how his book is coming along?

Iceland Shows the Way Forward for Ireland:Decouple, Default, Devalue and Develop

Iceland’s President, Olafur R. Grimsson, told Bloomberg TV on Friday that his country is better off than Ireland because they allowed the banks to fail two years ago and devalued the krona:

“The difference is that in Iceland we allowed the banks to fail.



De Piero's DCMS Ding-Dong

It was an unusually catty Department of Culture Media and Sport Questions in the House yesterday afternoon. It wasn’t just that an embarrassed looking Ivan Lewis showed up but, his fellow Shadow Minister Gloria de Piero was particularly feisty.

Given the brief closeness she once had with Ed Vaizey, who she now shadows, it must be tough coming to blows all the time…[…]


Tatler's Intriguing Top Tory Totty

It is seemingly slim pickings for a single girl in Westminster. Tatler’s annual list of London’s most Eligible Bachelors 2010 is out. In the top ten we have one Christopher Myers, presumably going for the lifetime achievement award, and our miniature Member from Penrith, Rory “definitely not a spook” Stewart.[…]


How Liam Byrne Could Help the "Squeezed Middle"

Liam Byrne says that the “squeezed middle” are those on between £16,000 to £50,000 and Labour’s task in reviewing policy is to help them. Guido is glad to hear it. Presumably he would therefore support those struggling on middle incomes being taken out of the higher-rate tax bracket, which kicks in at a ridiculously low £37,401?[…]


Quote of the Day

A Labour hack tweets

“Phoned Lib Dem Head Office and asked for copy of manifesto. They said they’d sold out. I said “I know, but can I have a manifesto?””[…]


Boris Faces Mistress Scandal Probe

The ongoing mystery surrounding Boris’s mistress, her then boyfriend’s £80,000 donation and her subsequent landing of a job as an Olympic fundraiser just got a little more serious for the wayward Mayor.

Boris is now facing an official investigation regarding Helen Macintyre, the mother of his love child and the latest “love of his life”, and why exactly she got her job. […]


Quote of the Day

John Kampfner says

“Newspapers that have no compunction about invasions of privacy or about shrill comment devote precious little time or energy to challenging authority through rigorous investigative journalism. Most political “scoops” are merely stories planted by politicians on pliant lobby hacks.[…]


It Was Ivan

Further to Guido’s speculation as to who is the “hound-dog” minister that the American diplomats referred to, an authoritative source gets in touch. Apparently it wasn’t Prezza who the American’s found handy, but none other than Ivan Sex Text Pest Lewis.[…]


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Quote of the Day

Philip Hammond at Treasury questions:

“I’m sorry to be boring.”

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