… Chris Grayling answered "erm erm erm erm erm erm erm erm erm erm erm erm….. I promised to send him a goody bag!
— Jacqueline Gold (@Jacqueline_Gold) May 25, 2012
Lobbyist Jon McLeod of Weber Shandwick is sobbing in PR Week about Fred Michel’s correspondence with Adam Smith. Weber were representing the opposition to the bid:
”The sheer volume of texts and emails is extraordinary, especially when you bear in mind that the level of equivalent communication with the media alliance was nil”
Do you think he meant to imply that Weber Shandwick were just not very good at their job? Lobbyists are paid to try to influence the democratic process and the problem comes when the politicians do not put up enough of a defence. Michel was apparently “bombarding” DCMS with messages. Rightly or wrongly, Weber cannot moan if they were not even trying…
Next’s week witness list for Leveson is a fiery one. Blair is is all day Monday and Hunt all day Thursday. Cable, Gove, May and Ken Clarke will also face a grilling. If this is the calibre of witnesses this week, expect the PM and Brown to be called in the first week of June. The Inquiry is not sitting in Jubilee week which gives the PM plenty of time with his lawyers and coaches…
Last night Guido found himself at the Media Society’s awards ceremony where the luvvies of the metropolitan elite had gathered to spend the night congratulating themselves. The evening was dedicated to the hyperbolic glorification of the Guardian’s pursuit of the hacking story and the work by their investigative journalist Nick Davies.
Steve Coogan was the compere, telling some fantastically foul-mouthed jokes about Paul Dacre, Louise Mensch and James Murdoch. Tom Watson took to the podium to trowel on the praise thickly with a flowery speech about the heroism of Guardianistas. Sir Harry Evans hammed it up on stage and continued his decades-long feud with Murdoch, calling Rupert a liar at Leveson. It went so over-the-top it was over the horizon when the Media Society’s president, American-born Geraldine Sharpe Newton, compared the hacking saga to Watergate, casting Nick Davies and the Guardian’s editor Alan Rusbridger in the famous leading roles. There was a lot of talk about the “fear of taking on Murdoch”, it seems clear to Guido that far from being fearful the Guardian has enjoyed itself immensely pursuing Murdoch.
As if all that that was not enough to digest, before dessert we got Henry Porter going over the same rhetorical ground as previous speakers until he named Stephen Glover, William Shawcross, Toby Young and Boris Johnson on a roll call of “shameful” Murdoch media cheerleaders in comparison to the moral giant that is his editor. Rusbridger himself gave a dignified acceptance speech, which depending on your taste was either too knowingly smug or, as Tom Watson claimed, fine since he had “earned the right to smugness”. Rusbridger did at one point self-deprecatingly suggest he would perhaps be better cast as an older Harry Potter rather than in a British movie version of Watergate.
It was all getting a bit too much for Guido to bear when Nick Davies came on, he was amusing and authentic with a more down-to-earth style acceptance speech. Then Nick changed gear and said that the Mirror and the Mail were as culpable in their criminality as News International, that it was a “fluke” that the Mirror was not in the dock too. Later in the Corinthia bar, speaking over a brandy, one of the lawyers at the heart of the hacking saga said that Davies was wrong about the Mirror not being in the dock. Forthcoming legal cases will put the Mirror squarely in the dock – it seems it is true that one day you’re the cock of the walk, the next a feather duster…