Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Gobby Saved by Twitter, Serjeant at Arms Humiliated

Good news for the BBC’s Paul Lambert following the ridiculous decision by the Serjeant at Arms to ban him after he filmed her embarrassing failure to prevent the breach of security during the testimony of the Murdochs. Gobby’s pass has been restored after Louise Mensch raised a point of order regarding the banning of the BBC’s Gobby and a Twitter campaign to #SaveGobby took off. Why on earth was he banned in the first place? This is a public building, paid for at great expense by the public. You would have thought after the battle for opening up MPs’ expenses they would have learnt. Parliamentarians are our servants, they work for us and the Serjent at Arms would do well to remember who is the boss…

Gobby Out of the Lobby

Paul Waugh has the full story, but it seems the BBC’s roving fixer Paul Lambert, affectionately named Gobby for his polite and considerate questioning style, has had his parliamentary pass removed after he chased the Murdoch pie tosser through the estate, filming him in cuffs.

As if the Commons authorities and security didn’t humiliate themselves enough in front of the world’s media, now they are trying to pass the buck. Instead of kicking out hacks for broadcasting their embarrassing failings, perhaps the men in tights should be pointing fingers at their own ranks. Maybe they didn’t want Gobby shouting “Are you going to resign Serjeant at Arms…?” 

Why Piers Morgan Should Testify

When his inquiry gets going in the next month, Lord Justice Leveson will have the power to call witnesses and question them under oath. Guido expects him to interview current and former tabloid figures. Those who have been at the heart of the Sun,  News of the World and the Mirror, or all of them. People like Piers Morgan.

Though Louise Mensch gave Morgan a slight get out clause last night by misquoting his book, the allegations she levelled at him are still valid. He did write about the theory and he has been accused by former colleagues of putting it into practice to break the Sven and Ulrika story. While Morgan can bluster from the comfort of CNN, will he be so gobby in front of a judge? There is only one way to find out.

His expertise in the field is rivalled by very few, so his evidence to Leveson is key. Lets just take a few things he has said in the past. In 2003 Morgan told the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee:

“I think, the working practices of a daily tabloid newspaper, of actually what goes on, you need to understand… in my view, there is very little difference now between the way the tabloids operate and the broadsheet newspapers.”

And what tactics were used in those operations?

In the same year that phone-hacking was rife on Fleet Street Morgan said:

“I have never known standards to be higher than they are today, particularly in relation to how we deal with ordinary people. I have never known it better.”

Perhaps he could expand on that a little, given what we now know?

He conceded “the problem is that if we slip up it becomes huge news.” He found that one out the hard way a couple of years later… 

Two Questions That Won’t Go Away

While Dave clearly came out of the blocks hard and seems to have shifted up are gear, the albatross is still there. While he cleared up some of the mess in the House, there are still chinks in his armour that won’t go away. The hysteria will die down as Westminster picks up the bucket and spade, but there were two key points that Cameron was clearly avoiding.

  • Is “no inappropriate conversations” about the BSkyB deal the same thing as “no conversations”? Obviously not by the way he dodged the question half a dozen times.
  • Secondly, and perhaps more damaging, is the fact that Dave said very clearly that he received no specific warnings about Coulson while he was working at No. 10. Enter stage left Tom Watson who was able to immediately cite a letter he sent in 2010. He received no reply.

Later on in the debate Cameron stated that he sees all letters that are sent to him by MPs. Except this one it seems. The Prime Minister told Miliband to stop “stop hunting feeble conspiracy theories”, yet he hardly shut them down today…

UPDATE: This evening Downing Street have released a letter which was sent in reply to Tom Watson on October 20,2010.

Buckingham Palace Is Not On Dave’s Side, This Time

The story goes that when a young Oxford graduate, with all the right connections, applied for a job at the Conservative Party Research Department in the early nineties, a mysterious phone-call was received that was traced back to Buckingham Palace:

‘I understand you are to see David Cameron, I’ve tried everything I can to dissuade him from wasting his time on politics but I have failed. I am ringing to tell you that you are about to meet a truly remarkable young man.”

The rest they say his history…

Fast forward twenty years and someone in the Palace has dipped in a less welcome oar into Cameron’s darkest hour. Though denied officially by both the Royal household and Downing Street, Palace sources are letting it be known that they were “gobsmacked” when Coulson was taken into the Tory fold and ultimately into government. Not least because it was Prince William’s phone messages that triggered this entire mess. There would be a certain, though still highly unlikely, irony if the someone in the Palace was to both make and break Dave…

BSkyB and News Corp Shares Up on Testimony

Yesterday’s hysteria in Westminster was heavily discounted in the City and on Wall Street. As we go to pixel BSkyB shares are up well over 3% since yesterday’s open and News Corp’s shares bounced 4.51% yesterday on the back of the Murdoch testimonies.

Punters also slashed the odds of James Murdoch being forced to resign as News International CEO from odds on favourite to go, to a little less than evens. James Murdoch actually performed solidly yesterday, demonstrating a clear grasp of the issues. The way some people have been talking you would think they were on the verge of being burnt at the stake.

There will no doubt be more thrills and spills to come, wiser heads around Miliband might question the wisdom of becoming the anti-Murdoch party. When the dust settles, Labour may regret lashing itself to a cause of little interest to anyone outside the Westminster bubble and in the process making a mortal long-term enemy of James Murdoch. Guido has heard it remarked that it is actually right-wingers who should be wary of the media business being dominated by the next generation of Murdochs. James, Lachlan and Elisabeth are not conservatives like Rupert, they are actually centrist liberals with greenish tendencies who are embarrassed by the excesses of Fox News. Elisabeth was a big fundraiser for Obama. Imagine both the BBC and Murdoch empires preaching from the same hymn sheet.

Red Ed Dived Into Bed

With rumours flying of a massive “data dump” from CCHQ and No. 10 later today, in regard to all of Dave’s meetings with media types since he became leader, Ed Miliband has rushed out his schmoozing list so far. You can read the whole thing here, but it did tickle Guido that having patted the Mirror on the head as soon as he had won, Ed’s diary was dominated with creeping up to the Times, News of the World and the Sun. In fact he’s had so many discussions with the News International stable, that anyone would think that he really, really wanted them to like him. When was Baldwin first suggested?

UPDATE: 11 out of 32 meetings admitted to were with Murdoch’s employees, however Ed has conveniently forgotten to list all his meetings during the leadership race. This was the actual period when he was sucking up the most.

Quote of the Day

Tom Watson after Wendi Murdoch’s right-handed slap of attacker:

“Your wife has a very good left hook.”

Quote of the Day

Jeremy Hunt to Evan Davis this morning:

“Thank you for getting my name right, which doesn’t always happen on the Today programme.”

Rohan’s Raise Riles Rivals

While yesterday’s twelve hour naval gaze dominated Westminster, Downing Street thought it would be a good idea to sneak out the Special Advisers pay list. Due to the government pay freeze announced when the Coalition was formed, not much has changed from last year. Except for one lucky boy…

Eyebrows have been raised across Whitehall that Rohan Silva, über-Hiltonite and No. 10’s blue-sky thinker, got a nine grand bump, when all the other SpAds were politely informed by letter that there would be no pay-rise this year.

“It can’t be performance related” said a colleague…


Seen Elsewhere

Denis MacShane’s Ex is Now Hacked Off Spokesman | Speccie
How the Carswell Story Unfolded | Sky News
How to Defect | Telegraph
Carswell Defection Will Dismay Thoughtful Tories | ConservativeHome
Carswell: Darling of the Tories, Labour and Now UKIP | Speccie
Where is the Love? | Tom Watson
Tory Eurosceptics Weakened | Speccie
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


VOTER-RECALL
Get the book Find out more about PLMR


Douglas Carswell’s side-kick Dan Hannan MEP pours water on the obvious question:

“I won’t be joining UKIP, though I wish Douglas Carswell all the best. He has been a superb MP, and it’s honourable to stand for re-election.”



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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