Labour General Secretary Iain McNicol reappeared this morning at Labour’s Victoria Street HQ, much to the surprise of staff. Guido hears there has been plenty of whispering about why he had to cut his holiday short. Staff are dreading that in true David Brent fashion he will be coming around with his holiday snaps this week: “And if the cringe sheet returns on Friday we will get a what I did on my hols article.” Guido hopes Iain got his post card?
Guido hears that tonight’s local election Tory Party Election Broadcast will have a direct pop at Pilgrims: specifically Ed Miliband’s council who pay some £186,877 for seven full-time taxpayer-funded trade union officials. Guido knows that Frankie Maude has had a tough couple of weeks, but he’d like to gently remind him about that promised consultation that has yet to materialise…
Ken’s Campaign Manager Patrick Heneghan was overheard in HQ late last week lamenting “Ken’s own goals” that will be “difficult to come back from”. Heneghan was only brought in after his predecessor Hilary Perrin declared that Ken“cannot win” last October. He is said to have privately come to the same conclusion.
Sources report that despite a shrinking band of loyalists littering Tube stations this morning, the pressure in Red Ken’s camp is clearly getting to his staff. A member of the London Regional Team whispers that “Patrick was pushing for London MPs to do media this weekend to defend Ken on his tax problem but no one was willing to do it.” Walls have ears…
The “own goals” are hurting – tonight’s Standard reports:
“…polling – which took place over three days last week – also shows a dramatic slide in Mr Livingstone’s support after his argument with his Tory rival over tax in a radio station lift. Londoners interviewed before “liftgate” last Tuesday morning were split 50/50 between the two candidates. But those surveyed afterwards divided 60/40 in favour of Mr Johnson. Almost half of those polled, 48%, also said they are “less likely” to trust Mr Livingstone following claims he avoided tax by using a company for payment…”
No wonder morale is said to be “very low”.
Guido also understands that pleas have been made to Labour leader Ed Miliband to energetically intervene, however he’s already gone into damage limitation mode and is starting to try and put distance between himself and the prospect of defeat in London. It has fallen on deaf ears and there’s a running joke in Ken’s camp that there is a pro-Boris Labour HQ faction who want to hurt Ed…
Given that their “bring a reader to work day” AKA “The Open Weekend” lost them £150,000, you would think the Guardian would take a time out from daft money-wasting ideas, but no. Having exhausted the free interns/slave labour market, GMG are moving to a new model where they will charge young wannabe hacks £9,000 to work there:
“The newspaper group, which made losses before tax of £33m last year, is understood to be set to launch a course offering training in digital journalism at a cost of £9,000 a head from September 2012.”
Guido is sure this will be just as successful as their mooted Guardian Hotel…
“You’ve got to remember that this was agreed a national security council where sitting round the table was Chris Huhne, Nick Clegg, Ken Clarke – people from impeccable civil libertarian backgrounds. I think when people see the detail they will understand this is a very sensible way of keeping up with technology and not a snoopers’ charter. And I wouldn’t as Prime Minister sanction something that was.”
Hug ‘em close Dave.
Via Dan Knowles.
Patrick Wintour’s article in the Guardian this morning has gone down very badly in Labour circles. The notion that Labour MPs could be banned from triggering by-elections in order stand as Mayors or Police Commissioners due to dire finances has been met with outrage throughout the party. Though Labour are indeed broke, insiders see this for what it is – a direct attack on Liam Byrne and his bid to run for Mayor of Birmingham. Central command and control is back.
One former SpAd said: “Such a naked stitch-up. It would be simpler if Tom Watson just said that no-one whose name wasn’t Siôn Simon was allowed to run. Mind you, Siôn would still find a way to cock it up.”
Another senior party staffer points out: “why is the by-election thing only a problem when it’s Liam? They were happy to do it when it suited them, ie to get Lucy Powell in. Precedent was set by Sir Peter Soulsby in Leicester South, Watson was desperate to get his best mate Jonathan Ashworth in. It’s only when they lose control of the fixing they want to change the rules. Harriet biggest hypocrite of all. She used by-elections to get her cronies in – Ashworth was her former political secretary. And Seema Malhotra in Feltham and Heston was her former adviser.””
The article has fingerprints all over it, especially as it names Harman as the driving force behind the idea. Her husband Jack Dromey is likely to chair Siôn Simon’s Birmingham campaign. Guido understands that a deal was struck when Dromey replaced Simon in the All Female Selection for Birmingham Erdington in 2010. One source called this an “old school Labour/union stitch up of the worst kind.”
If a police-led investigation uncovered thousands of crimes committed by over 300 suspected serial criminals, you would expect the editors of newspapers to be screaming at their journalists to get to the bottom of the story to splash across the front page. If the accused worked for powerful organisations with deep links to politicians and the bosses of these criminal enterprises had access to politicians at the highest level, even hosting parties for the politicians, it would be a huge scandal. Papers would be all over the story…
You would in those circumstances expect the criminal justice system to gear up for trials on a scale not seen in Britain before. Judges would perhaps have to consult their Italian counterparts – who took on the mafia’s tangentopoli in the nineties – for advice. Organised crime on this scale has hitherto been unheard of in Britain.
This isn’t a crime thriller storyline. Operation Motorman uncovered industrial scale criminality and hundreds of suspects names. Currently in Britain the newspapers are neither naming nor shaming because the criminal enterprises are the newspapers themselves, who understandably do not wish to report their own crimes. Their silence is a matter of self-preservation.
When the media don’t want to see justice done and politicians don’t want their closeness to what are effectively criminal enterprises exposed, the judges must then be our last hope for the truth, just as they were in Italy in the nineties. In gifting politicians power – in Italy it was money – the newspapers have come to believe that they are protected by the very same politicians from the law. Britain has been governed for decades by an interlocking politico-media elite analogous to Italy’s tangentopoli…
In the wake of the News of the World scandal last year David Cameron appointed Lord Justice Leveson to
inquire into the extent of unlawful or improper conduct within News International, other newspaper organisations and, as appropriate, other organisations within the media, and by those responsible for holding personal data.
On the surface the terms of reference looked set to catalyse revelations as to what has been going on – the police, politicians and the newspapers – all were to have their relationships, culture and ethics examined.
In the course of the Inquiry Leveson has received prima facie evidence of some thousands of crimes committed by hundreds of journalists. The Operation Motorman files gathered by the Information Commissioner expose a culture of criminality in the day-to-day functioning of the media. The corrupting of police and other offices of the crown was a matter of course not only at the News of the World and other Murdoch titles, it was also the case at the Mail and the Mirror newspaper groups as well. The silence on this issue from these newspapers is because they fear a circular firing squad.
Leveson has the evidence required to initiate criminal actions and civil actions by thousands of victims of crimes committed by newspaper journalists. Guido challenged Leveson to his face to publish the evidence, thus allowing the victims of industrial scale illegal invasions of privacy to get justice. Leveson claimed it was difficult nine years on. Guido understands that there have been two applications to Leveson to release the Operation Motorman files. The applications, heard in private, were refused.
So in Britain we have a situation where the judge charged with investigating the crimes carried out by the media is covering up their crimes. There is an overwhelming public interest in the victims getting justice.
The Operation Motorman files are huge, the thousands of entries contained in the files are a mere snapshot of the industrial scale criminality carried out by the press. Today Guido is releasing the Blue Book section of the Operation Motorman files covering the 1,028 News International related entries out of a total of some 17,000. These files are known to most newspaper editors and to Guido’s knowledge no action has been taken against the journalists named within, some of whom are now senior journalists. To Guido’s knowledge Guardian journalists have possession of the files covering the Mail and Mirror groups. One wonders why they so far have only been willing to name the names of journalists from the Murdoch press…
It seems to Guido that there is no political will to see this through, the press are by and large keen for their own reasons to suppress the truth and the judiciary are actively suppressing the evidence. In those circumstances it is only by bringing the evidence out into the open that justice will be done.
Inclusion of the name of a journalist in the Operation Motorman files does not mean a journalist has committed a crime. Some of the entries are for innocent inquiries, a few will be breaches of Section 55 of the Data Protection Act which can be justified if the journalist concerned can prove that they were acting in the public interest.
The published file has personal data belonging to victims redacted.
The published file has the names of persons known to be of interest to the security services redacted.
There are transposition errors in the files. For example Gordon Rayner (entries 1006 – 1009) actually worked for the Daily Mail not News International as recorded in the Blue Book. Rayner made over 300 information requests in the Motorman files, over 180 of which were for information that could not be legally obtained.
Journalists should note that Guido is not commenting further for the moment. To understand how to interpret the files contact the Hacked Off campaign.
If you are a named victim contact the Hacked Off campaign they may be able to help.