Wednesday, January 26, 2011

BBC’s Pesto Spinning for News International

The BBC’s Robert Peston is, as ever, pleased with himself. He will be pleased that his News International source gave him the inside story on Ian Edmonson going. He tweets about breaking the news :

Guido merely notes that Pesto is mates with his Muswell Hill neighbour Will Lewis. Will, the former Telegraph editor, who is the newly appointed group manager in Wapping. Watch Pesto’s line on developments from Wapping. Don’t be surprised if he undermines Rebekah Brooks and bolsters the prospects of Will Lewis. No one really thinks Will Lewis is content to remain general manager under Rebekah…

Murdoch Mopping Up Mess

There is no denying that Sky News is gleefully giving Andy Gray a savage kicking far beyond his crime and unpopularity in the empire. Is it a coincidence that Rupert Murdoch is in town and Gray had commenced legal action against the News of the World? Being hung out to dry is an understatement.

It’s no coincidence either that Ian Edmondson was sacked earlier today, Rupert has cancelled his appearances in Davos and is in town to clear the decks. Given the sensitivity of BSkyB’s relationship with Downing Street right now it will be interesting to see if Murdoch gets his meeting in No. 10 with the Prime Minister, as he usually does when he visits the UK. Murdoch isn’t sitting twiddling his thumbs waiting for an invitation though. This morning Guido understands he was at the Times’ editorial meeting and some are wondering if it might not suit Murdoch to have The Times rather than the Guardian blow the lid off the whole Screws scandal with an expose. It would certainly be a controlled explosion and allow them to turn on their rivals at the Mirror Group and Associated Newspapers…

Adams Takes the Queen’s Shilling

He was happy to take the expenses, but now someone’s taking the mick. They say all political careers end in failure, but this has to be a new low:

There is some debate about whether Adams applied or had the constitutional position forced upon him. Hardly the point though when the crown is on the press release

Parliament’s Red Peril

Early Day Motions are a good way of gauging some of the more extreme elements of the Commons. Every so often one comes up that shows members true colours. Take for example EDM 1334:

“That this House notes the Morning Star is a national daily newspaper available in shops across the UK; further notes that it is the only socialist daily newspaper in the English language worldwide; further notes that the Morning Star and its management have strong links with the trade union movement; welcomes the different light it shines on news and current affairs from that of other daily newspapers; expresses concern that the Morning Star is rarely ever shown on or reported by the BBC on television and radio; and calls on the Director General of the BBC to ensure that the Morning Star is featured regularly and as a matter of course in broadcast newspaper reviews in the interests of fair and balanced reporting.”

It was put forward by none other than Harman’s PPS Ian Lavery, of cover up fame, and keep an eye on the rest of his looney supporters:

Labour Party
Campbell, Ronnie. Caton, Martin. Corbyn, Jeremy. Cryer, John. Francis, Hywel. Hepburn, Stephen. Hopkins, Kelvin. Lavery, Ian. McDonnell, John. Mearns, Ian. Morris, Grahame. Nandy, Lisa. Owen, Albert. Riordan, Linda. Sharma, Virendra. Skinner, Dennis.

Liberal Democrats
George, Andrew.

Plaid Cymru
Edwards, Jonathan. Llwyd, Elfyn.

Scottish National Party
MacNeil, Angus.

A useful starting list, come the revolution.

Celebrity PMQs Watch

Last week Meryl Streep caused a flutter amongst hacks as she was spotted watching PMQs as a guest of Number 10 in order for her to research her upcoming role as Maggie. This week’s sighting isn’t quite in the same league but is still exciting both male and female researchers. Step forward Buffy and Little Britain star Anthony Head...

What was that about the Commons being “the arena that sets the heart beating a little faster”?

UPDATE : Am told the other celebrity in the gallery today is Sheikh Hassina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh.

PMQs Live: “Negative Growth” Edition

Lovers Lobbying Loophole


Guido has been trying to get to the bottom of yesterday’s story about the Liberal Democrat MP who is letting her lobbyist husband roam free around parliament. Lorely Burt denied that her husband Richard, of BTP Advisers, had a researchers pass, despite him being on her list of staff, and said he did not have to declare his dodgy international lobbying interests to Parliament as he was on a spouse pass. BTP Advisers is so dodgy that it is not even a member of any of the supposedly self-regulating lobbyist trade bodies.

However Guido understands he also had a taxpayer funded “@parliament.uk” email address and wonders why witnesses have seen him coming in and out of the estate entertaining various guests.  He was told by the pass office however that this was all fine and dandy as there are no rules regulating spouses, even when they are clearly subverting democracy with their unhindered access. Guido smells a scandal, which other couples are exploiting this loophole?

N.B. Tip to Richard Burt, for someone with “extensive media skills” you should know that avoiding Guido’s calls won’t make him go away.

Quote of the Day

Alan Johnson told the Hull Daily Mail

“I don’t think that I could have coped properly… If you are trying to deal with your job as an MP, deal with your job as a frontbench spokesman in the shadow cabinet and shadow chancellor and at the same time you have got lots of problems to sort out at home, you can’t do all three.”

Miliband’s New Model “Army”

David Miliband never went too far away. While squeezing in a couple of other jobs he has managed to find time to return to the pretentious pet project that was meant to sweep him to victory in the Labour leadership contest – the Movement for Change. There is something remarkably sinister about this “community organiser” training machine.

The flawed project is inspired by Obama’s permanent campaign model and Ed is attempting to get a piece of the action. Every little helps and with £250,000 from Lord Sainsbury, specifically earmarked as “not a donation for Ed”, the pipe dream of 10,000 young loyal activists could give David an alternative power base within Labour, were things to start going wrong again with his little brother.

The “army” rhetoric deployed for what is essentially just a recruiting tool to the Labour party has a distinctly un-British feel to it and cannot fail to evoke compaisons to the last time a prominent Fabian started using such language. Quick march…


Seen Elsewhere

Tory MP Tells Leftie Jon Snow to Retire | Guardian
Russell Brand’s New Book “Sub-Undergraduate Dross” | Telegraph
Tory MP Barrister Represents Monaco Billionaire | Scrapbook
MOBO Singers Slam UKIP | ITV
Could UKIP Keep Britain in the EU? | Iain Martin
Why Piketty is Wrong | ConHome
Guido Whips Politicians Into Shape | Guardian
Milburn Levelling Down | Kathy Gyngell
Crosby and Carswell Make Friends at Guido’s Dinner | Mail
Mrs Danczuk Beats Mensch to Win Guido | Telegaph
PM Congratulates Blogger Who Destroyed Minister | Mail


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Rob Colvile reviews Russell Brand’s new book:

“Oddly, the person I feel sorriest for isn’t Brand himself – although he certainly comes across as a rather pitiable figure, projecting his own brokenness on to the world around him – but Johann Hari. Drummed out of Fleet Street for plagiarism, the former Independent columnist has washed up as “my mate Johann, who’s been doing research for this book”. For a genuinely talented polemicist, it would have been a humbling experience to have to treat this sub-undergraduate dross as the scintillating wisdom of a philosopher-king.”



Mycroft says:

Have you read the last bit of Animal Farm?

You know where the animals are looking through the Farmhouse window?

My TV screen was that window at lunch-time today.

Be careful, the sudden self-congratulatory tone, the slightly pudgy outline of indulgence and you become exactly what you should despise.

The jolly face of the Quisling Cameron poses for your camera has mesmerised and deceived you, you who were once not so deceived.

You were no firebrand, you were a damp squib in my opinion, sorry.

You need a damned good kick up the ahse!


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