Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Latest Laughable Leveson Submissions

Having recovered from his weekend exploits Brian decided that Wednesday evening would be a good time for a document dump, releasing submissions on the future regulatory regime for the press. Guido was amused by some of the more wacky suggestions, including:

  • Paul Dacre proposing meaningless “ethical” press cards that would seek to create a Soviet-style club of authorised journalists. Guido might issue his own cards…
  • The Mail editor suggests banning hacks from the Press Association newswire if they misbehave. Apparently “it would be very difficult to produce any newspaper without PA“. Speak for yourself…
  • Max Mosley implying that stories about “sexual conduct between consenting adults” should be banned for not being in the public interest. Don’t mention the spanking tarts!
  • Advertisers should boycott non-compliant publishers. Facebook, Google and Guido are not exactly trembling.
  • PCC Chairman Lord Hunt claiming the PCC never had the power to do anything about previous dodgy press practices. That will be it’s epitaph… 

Well they would say that, wouldn’t they…

Rod Liddle opines in the Speccie

“I suppose we shall have to take Lord Leveson’s word for it that he didn’t threaten to resign from his exciting inquiry. He says he didn’t, and that will have to be good enough for the likes of me. If I was an old school journalist worth his salt, I’d have hacked his lordship’s phone to find out exactly what he said to the Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood.”

Labour MEP: We Should Have Joined the €uro

Loony Labour MEP Mary Honeyball still wants Britain join the Euro. Writing for LabourList she blindly insists that we would have been better off in the single currency all along, suggesting: “Tony Blair’s instincts on the Euro were right, even in the light of the current crisis.” She goes on to warn:

“The UK has once again failed to join the European project at the right time… if a country is not there at the start they stand to miss out on crucial decisions. The Eurozone seems to be going in the direction of some kind of banking union. This will obviously have an effect on the City of London. Being outside whatever kind of union emerges may well prove problematic for our financial services industry. We in Britain should ask ourselves whether we really want a powerful neighbour with a unified banking system which will be able to challenge, not to say get the better of, our most important industry.”

Dangerous…

Cameron Goes Back to Basics

City Hall Ridicule “Secret Meetings” Claims
Boris Turned Down Times Column Offer

Sources close to Boris tell Guido that they find the Political Scrapbook story about secret meetings between Boris and Murdoch minions, as well as the Great Satan himself, popping up now a little bizarre. Given the details of the “secret meetings” were released into the public domain in summer 2011 following a Freedom of Information request which can still be seen on the Mayor’s website here you can understand why.

Scrapbook claim that it still doesn’t explain why no mention of it on the GLA gifts and hospitality register, that would be because the meeting with Murdoch was Boris dropping in late for a coffee at the end of a meal. Even a billionaire’s coffee should come in at less than the £25 threshold for declarations as per the rules:

“1(a)(viii) Any gifts or hospitality I have received from any person which has an estimated value of £25 or more.”

What about the secret lunch with Will Lewis and Rebekah Brooks? Close to Boris sources say that was nothing to do with him in his capacity as Mayor, that was them trying to lure him away from his Telegraph column to write a column for The Times. It was a private lunch on a Friday afternoon…

What puzzles Guido about Political Scrapbook running a year old story is: Why didn’t they run it in the heat of the election campaign when it might have had a dramatic impact? It is almost as if they didn’t want Ken to win…

Scrapbook Scooped by Boris Website

Labour are getting worked up over claims made by Political Scrapbook that Boris Johnson had secret dinner  in January 2011 with Rupert Murdoch just two days before the phone hacking investigation was launched. Their City Hall cronies have jumped on the bandwagon, insisting: “this is extremely serious, for the Mayor to not declare a meeting with Rupert Murdoch at the height of the phone-hacking crisis is truly scandalous”. Indeed, it would be scandalous and a great scoop, if it was actually the case. However, rather embarrassingly, a Boris spokesman points to the fact that the information has been on the Mayor’s website for nearly a year. Oh dear…

UPDATE: At the time of going to pixel the Indy are claiming they could not open the link provided to them by City Hall. Seems fine in the Guy Newsroom…

UPDATE II: The Beeb are covering this, but seem to have missed this quote from a Boris spokesman: “Details of the meetings have been published on Mayor’s website for the best part of a year.”

Sun Political Editor in Topless Photo Scandal

The travelling hack pack with the PM in Mexico are really going for Craig Oliver. The Sun’s Political Editor Tom Newton Dunn just filed this unwelcome dispatch from sunnier climes:

Careful Tom, as Guido understands it, you are part of the topless triumvirate in Craig Oliver’s poolside snaps…

UPDATE: Word of photos of Number 10 officials in the bathers reaches the Guy Newsroom. Mutually assured destruction it seems…

Because He’s Worth It

Earlier this month Guido broke the news that No.10 SpAd Dr Sean Worth had quit his job to take up a post at Policy Exchange. Putting his head above the parapet for the first time since, the good doctor appeared on Newsnight last night. If only Worth’s former colleagues could say these things like this while still in government… 

Video via LiarPoliticians

Speaker Ignores Parliament Booze Subsidy

The Speaker has been talking to Total Politics about the bars in Parliament:

Are bars in Parliament a good thing, and could it operate without them?

Many members feel it’s appropriate for Parliament to have facilities in which they can entertain their constituents, and constituents very much enjoy coming here. Members lead very busy, stressful lives, and are required to be in the House long after `normal’ working hours. If they wish to unwind with a sociable beer or glass or wine with colleagues, then I see nothing wrong with that. I’m sure Parliament could survive without bars, but it would be a shame if constituents and other visitors were to lose the opportunity to be entertained here.

What do you have to say about the reporting of Parliament’s bar business, specifically talk of reduced-price alcohol or the level of ‘rowdiness’?

There are a number of myths that continue to be perpetuated, one being that the bars here serve very cheap alcohol. Since 2010, the price of alcohol served in the House has increased significantly and the prices in our bars are now comparable with high street pubs, and kept under constant review. I also don’t recognise the wilder reporting concerning `rowdiness’ on the estate. Once myths get established it’s very difficult to counter them, but in spite of that, the Commission will continue to do what it thinks is right to encourage sensible alcohol use on the estate.

Note that he does not mention the £5m subsidy, or try to pretend it does not exist – as he did on Sky News a few months ago. Those significant increases in price that he mentions were in fact a mere 5% bump. That still makes Strangers’ cheaper than any other pub in Westminster that is outside of the estate.  As for entertaining constituents and other visitors, perhaps Bercow could explain why in the areas where this can happen, such as the Strangers’ Dining Room, it’s twice as expensive as the Members’ dining room. Only George Galloway is calling for the bars to be closed, but why should we have to pay for them?

Your Bill


Seen Elsewhere

Cam Cannot Stem EU Immigration | David Keighley
9 Mansion Tax Questions for Ed Balls | TPA
Politicians are Lying to You About Immigration | Alex Wickham
Give Journalists Public Interest Defence in Law | Guardian
Cameron is Going to Have to Deal With UKIP | Dan Hodges
Opinions on Key Issues By Constituency | Red Box
Britain Irrelevant Inside EU | Dan Hannan
Cameron Heading for Fall on Europe | Rachel Sylvester
Lords Speaker Spends £350 on Two Mile Limo Ride | Sun
Shapps Slaps Down Barroso “Propaganda” | City AM
Bookies v Pollsters: What We Learned From IndyRef | Paddy Power


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Chris Bryant talks to the Times Diary about a famous gay actor:

“I don’t think I’ve had sex with him. He says we had sex in Clapham. I’m fairly certain I’ve never had sex south of the river”



Progressive Inclusion Champion says:

Great to hear Carswell call for inclusive policies and that UKIP must stand for first and second generation immigrants as much as the English.


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