Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Guy News: Huhne Ducks Resignation Questions, Speeds Off

Guido thought he would pop along with a Guy News camera to record a rare appearance by Chris Huhne in public. The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change was speaking to the FT’s Global Greeny Types Conference in the City. After seeing the cameraman and sitting in the car for a few minutes mulling it over, he finally made a run for it:

He marched off eventually to the hotel’s restaurant in the opposite direction to the conference – can’t think why. It has to be said that his estranged wife Vicky Pryce is much better at dealing with the questions. Not sure “I don’t know what you’re talking about” will cut the mustard with Essex Police…

Orwell Would Be Turning In His Grave
Hari Should Be Stripped of His Prize


Guido has just got off the phone with the Media Standards Trust, a charity “that fosters high standards in news on behalf of the public”. As sponsors of the Orwell Prize they funded the award to Johann Hari of the prestigous prize in 2008. Orwell is the giant of British political writing, the inventor of the Ministry of Truth and creator of Winston Smith who had the job of “rectifying” the past. Johann Hari has done far too much “rectifying” of quotes and facts to have the honour of holding a prize named after Orwell.

The Media Standards Trust tell Guido that procedure has to be followed, that the governance process for the Orwell Prize council involves worthies and due process has to be seen to be done. It is farcical for a charity that aims to foster the highest standards of political journalism, in the name and tradition of Orwell, to have as a recipient of their highest award a journalist who fakes interviews.  George Orwell once wrote “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” Johann has been caught deceiving, it is time for them to act…

UPDATE: Guido just spoke on the phone with Hari (like a real journalist, not one who just pretends to interview the sources of his quotes) to ask him “Will you be giving back the Orwell Prize?”. He hesitated for a moment before saying “I have an article in the Independent tomorrow… thank you.” He then put the phone down…

True Quote of the Day

Former Observer Political Editor Gaby Hinsliff tweets:

“i’m rarely shocked by stuff journalists do, but tbh this J Hari thing does it for me. quotes are sacrosanct. end of…

…tho can’t help thinking how much easier my job wd’ve been had i been doing, um ‘intellectual portraits’ rather than actually interviewing”

Cut and Paste Hari

Bleeding-heart socialist Johann Hari has been caught red-handed as a bleedin’ cheat. He has been called out for stealing quotes from a book and pretending he had been told them face to face, adding descriptions of the scene like “with a shake of the head” and “then he says, in a quieter voice”. Brian Whelan the UK Editor of Yahoo! has demolished Hari:

“The quote is sewn together with a string of other ideas Levy may or may not have shared with Hari but at no point does Hari indicate the quotes are taken from elsewhere… While Hari has questions to answer over the quotes he claims were given directly to him he also seems to be freely creating mash-up quotes out of disparate statements levy has made over the years. Not the practice of an award winning hack… If the Indy really did send him to Scotland for these quotes I think Hari’s editor needs to sit him down for a chat.”

Hari has responded saying that he was merely accurately quoting the works of the writer he has interviewing, but his argument falls apart when you look at the other sources of some of the quotes –  interviews with other hacks, that are not referenced or acknowledged. Sod the Orwell Prize, Hari can add The Stephen Glass Award 2011 to his already cluttered mantelpiece.

UPDATE: Guido sat down for a quiet chat with Johann this morning. He said pensively “I have become the Nadine Dorries of the commentariat, though it is 70% made-up with me.”

UPDATE II: This from August 2010 is worth re-reading: Johann Hari is a liar

One Good Reason For Lords Reform

Not normally one for Hansard trawling, Guido had to chuckle at Conor Burns’ argument for reforming the House of Lords. Closely allied to Maggie, he is almost her unofficial PPS, Conor saw a good opportunity to shaft an old foe:

Thomas Docherty (Dunfermline and West Fife, Labour)
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman is not aware that his noble Friend Lord Heseltine has not even made his maiden speech in the House of Lords. “Part-time” would not be a good adjective to describe him. Can the hon. Gentleman think of one?

Conor Burns (Bournemouth West, Conservative)
I can think of many, and it is not often that I am accused of being on the same side as Lord Heseltine. I remember telling Lady Thatcher a couple of years ago that he had not made his maiden speech, having been in the Lords for nine years at the time. Her reply was, “Well, look on the bright side, at least we haven’t had to listen to it.” Lord Heseltine is a very good example of my point—he says that he took his membership of the other place because he wanted the honour, but he did not want to participate. He has participated in fewer than 20 Divisions in the 10 years that he has been a Member of the other place. That was why I found it absolutely disgraceful that he came in the other night to vote against the referendum lock in the European Union Bill, which is going through the other place. Such examples show that the other place needs some reform.

A compelling case…

Inflation Outlook: Lindsay Lohan on Monetary Policy


Monetary policy arguments can sometimes seem other-worldly, the modern equivalent of the medieval intellectual battle over how many angels can dance on the head of a pinhead? Guido (neo-Hayekian) has been rowing with Will Straw (neo-Keynesian) for years – our latest skirmish is here. It is a difficult subject to popularise in an accessible way. Straw often cites David Blanchflower, formerly of the MPC and a favourite of Gordon Brown, to back his case. Blanchflower it was who predicted a year ago that if Chancellor Osborne didn’t undertake a £90 billion stimulus package, unemployment would hit 4 million. Osborne ignored him and unemployment is down as we undergo an expansionary fiscal contraction.

In turn Guido cites the noted American actress and legendary redhead bad-girl Lindsay Lohan. She has a manifestly clearer grasp of the inflationary dangers of quantitative easing than David Blanchflower:

Lohan’s analysis is right…

Hat-tip: Fraser Nelson

The Strike Leaders’ Gold Tinted Shades

Tory backbencher Dominic Raab has come out fighting in the Telegraph against the taxpayer funding of union staff. The “why should we pay for their strike action” camp is growing.

With convenient timing the Taxpayers’ Alliance have released their annual union fat-cats rich list. Thirty-seven trade union leaders take home more than £100,000. This adds up to over £4.6 million, up 5.4% in a year. And look how well our strike leaders are doing:

With remuneration like that, no wonder they are blind to the chaos that a one day strike will cause families up and down the country, who can only dream of that sort of money…


Seen Elsewhere

Thacker Played Down Scandal | Times
How Clegg Lost the Women of Britain | Sophy Ridge
Multiculturalism: At What Price? | Allison Pearson
Labour Failed Those Victims | Labour Uncut
We Cannot Ignore the Race Issue Here | Dan Hodges
74 MPs Who Back Stop Mills Motion | Speccie
Milibande | Ian Birrell
The True Meaning of Political Correctness Gone Mad | Speccie
Nigel, Nigel, Nigel! | Bloomberg
Bercow Blinks | Guardian
Speaker on the Ropes | Indy


VOTER-RECALL
hot-button new-advert


Shaun Wright’s understatement about the Rotherham child abuse scandal…

“..I could have taken more action and probably dealt with this issue better.”



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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