Friday, July 1, 2011

Ireland Joins France In Cutting VAT

Tomorrow VAT in Ireland will be slashed to 9% on discretionary spending and the tourist industry. When they did this for restaurants and hotels in France at the beginning of 2009, it’s reckoned that around 29,500 jobs were created in the entertainment industry. The British Beer & Pub Association are putting the pressure on for a similar move to take place in the UK:

“Cutting VAT could create thousands of jobs in British pubs, bars and restaurants, boosting tax revenues, and helping out consumers. It’s time for the UK to catch up. With this sensible, job-creating move, Ireland is just the latest in a long line of EU countries to cut VAT on food in the hospitality sector, with the UK looking increasingly like the ‘odd one out'”

Guido won’t say this very often, but, Balls is right on this one, a nice summer VAT cut would do wonders for consumer spending, confidence and growth.

When Hari Met Reality: 
The First Time Hari Got Sacked for Making Things Up

Johann Hari has made a living out adding a little first person je ne sais quoi to his articles, also known as bullshit. Day after day new evidence emerges of his Matilda-ish tendency towards fakery and deception, and it appears to be a trick that he picked up early in his career. In October 1999 he was sacked as News Editor of Cambridge University’s Varsity student newspaper. He told friends at the time it was because the editor was “jealous of my intellect”. Another pure fabrication.

Hari was sacked after his sexed up copy, printed in the October 29, 1999 edition, included the made up fact that 1,500 students had taken part in a protest against tuition fees. It turned out to be a ridiculous exaggeration and when the editor discovered that the figure was way out, it was the final straw amidst a growing suspicion that Hari had an unfortunate tendency make up things to spice up his copy.

At least his then editor had some spine…

The Orwell Prize Council revealed yesterday that:

“Prior to presenting the award, as part of our due diligence, one of the judges contacted Simon Kelner, editor of The Independent, who expressed his full confidence in the Hari articles”

Other former winners have confirmed to Guido that this was a one off and did not happen regarding their submissions, as far as Guido is aware no other editors have been contacted in this way to vouch for their hacks. What was suspicious about Hari’s work? His reputation for embellishment was known well enough in newsrooms to make the judges nervous.

The Orwell Prize Council pointedly claimed this week that they had, since awarding Hari the Orwell Prize in 2008, tightened up the rules regarding attribution of quotes. Did they have anyone in mind when they made that rule change?

On discovering yesterday that Hari entered work this year for the 2011 Orwell Prize, Guido asked the director of the prize to list the articles Hari had entered, he declined. They are it seems to go down the Orwellian memory hole. Jenni Russell won the prize this year, Hari’s continuing claim to be a former prize winner tarnishes the name of the prize. Guido knows for a fact that other prize winners feel genuine anger that Hari is among their prestigious number.

Hari defended himself in his mea culpa article using his own unique definition of plagiarism. To the charge of plagiarism we can add passing off, fraud, deception, profiting from the work of others and lying. He should be asked by the Orwell Prize Council to return the £3,000 prize money and to refrain from describing himself as a former Orwell Prize winner. As for Hari, he should note what happened to Matilda:

Matilda told such Dreadful Lies,
It made one Gasp and Stretch one’s Eyes;
Her Aunt, who, from her Earliest Youth,
Had kept a Strict Regard for Truth,
Attempted to Believe Matilda:
The effort very nearly killed her,

For every time she shouted ‘Fire!’
They only answered ‘Little Liar!’
And therefore when her Aunt returned,
Matilda, and the House, were Burned.

Chris Blackhurst was announced as the new editor of The Indy today…

+ + + Hanningfield Gets Nine Months + + +

The defence claimed that Hanningfield has been suicidal.

They argued it would be inappropriate, wrong, “unjust and cruel”,  to send him down.

The judge did not agree.

Ashcroft Shuffles Pack: Loss Making PoliticsHome Sold for £0.00
++ Merges With Loss Making Political Publisher Dods’ ePolitix ++

Dods plc, publishers of ePolitix.com and the House Magazine, announced this morning that it had acquired the business and assets of PoliticsHome.com, the political news aggregation website now run by Paul Waugh. The sellers were Political Investments Limited and Politics Home Limited, companies which Ashcroft controls. The price paid was zilch.

PoliticsHome has annual revenues of approximately £100,000 a year and lost £500,000 last year.  Rolled up losses on the balance sheet amount to some £700,000. Waugh’s former home, The Evening Standard, reports that the deal could be worth £2 million. In theory true, but in reality that is if, and only if, certain optimistic synergistic revenue goals are met. It should be remembered that loss making Dods plc is itself also 23% owned by Ashcroft. This is basically an all-paper transaction with Ashcroft shuffling loss making assets around. No money is actually changing hands…

ConservativeHome is not in this deal, its losses are subsidised directly by Ashcroft through Political Investments Limited.  Over on the left-hand side of the blogosphere the unions now fund LabourList, LeftFootForward and PoliticalScrapbook directly, which is why they read like press releases from the TUC. Keen analysts of the online political sphere will note that there is now only one politics-only website pure play that makes money as a commercial proposition. Profits which make us proudly independent…

UPDATE: A bean-counting co-conspirator points out that from a “tax management” point of view it is pretty savvy. The rolled up losses of the acquisition can be offset to reduce the tax on overall business. Now you know why he is billionaire…

Friday Caption Contest (On the Picket Line Edition)

Usual rules apply – most thumbs up wins. PRs get in touch if you have a prize to give away…

Guardian Hack Kia Abdullah Laughs At Death of Gap Year Kids

The news broke overnight that three students were killed on their gap year adventure to Thailand. Bruno Melling-Firth, Conrad Quashie and Max Boomgaarden-Cook, all 19, died when their bus travelling to Chiang Mai collided with another bus. A tragedy and a nightmare scenario for the parents of thousands of students travelling around the world every year. There have been outpourings of sympathy from across the media today, with one exception – one Guardian class crusader:

The three boys were all state-educated at The Charter School in South London.

UPDATE:

So heartfelt.

Kelner Up and Out at Indy

Simon Kelner has been promoted out of editing the Indy. He will take the title of Editor-in-Chief, but have no day-to-day control over the paper. Chris Blackhurst, currently the business editor of the Standard, will take over after thirteen years of Kelner.

Given the appointment was made by Evgeny Lebedev, the Indy and Standard’s Russian billionaire owner’s son, isn’t it time for the Indy to scrap the “Free from Proprietorial Influence” nonsense from their front-page?

LibDems Obliterated in Inverclyde By-Election
Lose Deposit With Just 2% of the Vote

The SNP failed to pull off another Glasgow style by-election coup, although they did manage to slash Labour’s majority from 14,416 to 5,578. The Tories came in third, however with real story of the night was the LibDems shocking 2%, managing to poll just 627 votes.

The low turnout cannot be blamed given they had 5,007 in May 2010 it was 45%, healthy for a by-election. The Scottish LibDems are smarting this morning and not doing very much to hide their contempt for Clegg. Remember when the LibDems by-election machine was feared across the land? Cowley Street can’t be a fun place to be this morning…

Quote of the Day

T E Utley quoted by Peter Oborne…

“Roughly speaking, social democracy may be defined as an arrangement under which we all largely cease to be responsible for our own behaviour and in return become responsible for everyone else’s.”


Seen Elsewhere

‘Queers for Palestine’ | Milo Yiannopoulos
Tories Attack Labour on Tax | Mark Wallace
UKIP No Flash In Pan | Matthew Goodwin
12 Signs It’s Time to Get Out of Gaza | Slate
Mars Lawyers Slam Plain Packaging | CityAM
HealthCare.gov Construction Cost $840 Million | Wall Street Journal
Why Do Feminists Oppose Stay-at-Home Mothers? | Laura Perrins
Chris Cook’s “Excellent Journalism” | Iain Dale
The Deficit Hasn’t Gone Away | Tim Montgomerie
Doctors Against Burnham | Mail
Privatisation is Good for the NHS | John McTernan


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Knifed former civil service chief Bob Kerslake on his recent troubles:

“Many thks for kind wishes following back opn. Incision measured 16cm. A pretty big knife in the back! Photos on request.”



TJ says:

And i’ve noticed that 100% of Guido Fawkes staff are men. Looks like Guido has a woman problem. Or is it an hypocrisy problem?


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