Regulating the Web

[gigya src=”” flashvars=”” width=”480″ height=”160″ allowFullScreen=”true” wmode=”transparent”]Martha Kearney on BBC Radio 4’s The World at One went over the arguments with Guido about press regulation. It ain’t happening…

Hugh Grant Admits “Enormous Delight” From Tabloid Smears

These are Hugh Grant’s thoughts on the redtops from when he was the guest on the Desert Island Discs radio show some years back. They make very interesting listening:

[gigya src=”” flashvars=”” width=”480″ height=”160″ allowFullScreen=”true” wmode=”transparent”]

“You can’t really moan. Sometimes you think it would be nice if the tabloids didn’t dig up every skeleton and lie and smear and all those things, but on the other hand when they lie and smear and poke fun at other celebrities it gives me enormous delight. So I can’t be too hypocritical.”

Oh really…

Speccie Say NO Downing Street Say Guido is a “Relevant Publisher”

The Spectator have made up their mind on state regulation. Here is tomorrow’s cover:

Think that’s pretty clear…

Downing Street has cleared up yesterday’s confusion about whether or not Guido will fall under the Charter:

“No newspaper or blogger would be forced to join the regulator, the Royal Charter system is a system of incentivisation. However, those ‘relevant publishers’ that choose not to join the regulator would be subject to costs and could be subject to exemplary damages if taken to court. ‘Relevant publishers’ are specifically defined and could include blog sites that are written by multiple authors, have editorial control and are published in the course of business.”

It goes without saying that it’s a “no” from Guido too…

Policy Wonk Burns Misleading Plain Packaging Consultation

Setting up a policy consultation that doesn’t actually do any proper consulting seems to be a growing theme under Dave. A report by Rupert Darwall, the policy wonk who helped expose the Civil Service foul up over the Virgin West Coast train franchise, has laid into the Department of Health’s consultation on plain packaging. Darwall’s report finds:

  • The consultation was deliberately framed to garner support for plain packaging, presenting policy-makers with a loaded question.
  • Questionable evidence: no causal link between packaging and smoking.
  • Department of Health admitted the consultation was biased but has done nothing about it.
  • Consultation does not consider negative impacts such as reducing barriers to illegal tobacco.
  • Overall the consultation creates a misleading impression that plain packaging will cut smoking.

That went well then. You can read Darwall’s report in full here

Even Adam Afriyie Cannot Watch


In his slow-motion train-wreck leadership interview on Sunday, the over-coached yet under-prepared charisma by-pass known as Adam Afriyie boasted of the “efforts of my team around me.” This team presumably includes the media advisor he was putting feelers out for recently. Well he might want to sack whoever advised him that it would be fine to shut his eyes during a photoshoot for an interview. The front cover of this week’s Total Politics looks ridiculous. 

Osborne Caves to National Union of Ministers

A big win for the National Union of Ministers: Osborne is demanding £2.5 billion of extra cuts but is protecting May, Hammond and Pickles. The rest of the unprotected Cabinet will have to deal with a 1% cut in resource budgets. The money will be spent on capital spending. Criticise George in public and your department gets ringfenced, everyone else must suffer in silence…

UPDATE: A Whitehall wonk gets in touch to insist Hammond is merely being allowed to roll-over his budget underspend for this year, and while May and Pickles’s grants is protected they will still have to find 1% savings from the rest of their budgets. Their entire budgets will be unprotected in 2014-15.

Who Is the Hacking Supergrass?

Rumours have been flying around this week over the “hacking supergrass” reportedly involved in the Mirror arrests and news that the Screws might have hacked another 600 phones. Neil Wallis, who was arrested along with camera-friendly Dan Evans in the summer of 2011 before the CPS dropped the case, denies that it’s him:

“One of very few things that have hurt is an appalling lie that has floated around Fleet Street. Apparently it surfaced in Private Eye – that police/CPS only decided on No Further Action in my case because I had “helped with their inquiries” into colleagues. That could not – literally, physically – be further from the truth. As any crime reporter who still has a police contact talking to them can find out after 30 years, I’m inured to bitchiness of Fleet Street, but that’s a lie that’s beyond the pale.”

So it isn’t the Wolfman. The suspect would have to have knowledge of both the Sunday Mirror and the News of the World features desk…

Hacked Off Funded By Billionaire Russian Oligarch

Before the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee this morning, representatives from Hacked Off  refused to comment on Guido’s exposing of their donors. They got a comprehensive kicking from most of the MPs present though:

The elite club of multi-millionaires with an axe to grind have confirmed however that they are “due to receive soon a grant from the Journalism Foundation of over £20,000”. The Journalism Foundation was former Indy editor-in-chief Simon Kelner’s £600,000 vanity project bankrolled by billionaire Russian oligarchs and Indy owners Alexander and Evgeny Lebedev. The former KGB agent set up the Foundation to promote “free and independent journalism”, pulling the plug on it after less than a year. Seemingly not before they channelled a chunk of the cash to those freedom lovers Hacked Off…

Mirror Man Dan’s TV Plans

Guido is hearing that big things could be on the horizon for former Mirror hack Dan Evans. Rumour has it Evans, who worked at the paper’s Sunday operation under Tina Weaver before moving to the News of the World in 2005, has been in talks with a major TV production company.[…]


Telegraph Deputy Editor: Thanks But No Thanks

Deputy Editor of the Telegraph, Ben Brogan, though writing in a personal capacity, has said this morning:

“I’ve concluded that we should note the outcome, thank the politicians for their engagement, and quietly but firmly decline to take part. I suspect time will be allowed to let the dust settle, but it is far from certain that this scheme will fly.”

The clearest sign yet that at least one major media organisation is planning on thumbing their nose at the whole thing.[…]


Quote of the Day

Boris tells the BBC he would like to be PM:

“I would like to be the lead singer of an international rock group. That was my aim, or a good guitarist. I would love to have been a world-famous painter or a composer.[…]


The Simple Royal Charter Explained in Full

Fourteen Tory rebels said no to exemplary damages in the Commons last night:

  • Richard Bacon
  • Christopher Chope
  • Tracey Crouch
  • Philip Davies
  • Nick de Bois
  • Andrew Percy
  • Mark Reckless
  • John Redwood
  • Andrew Turner
  • Martin Vickers
  • Charles Walker
  • Sarah Wollaston
  • Richard Drax
  • Jacob Rees Mogg

And here is what has been dreamt up by Hacked Off and politicians in the middle of the night.[…]


The Word of GOD

Former Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell told the Daily Politics last week that “we need to be proud of our Civil Service – it’s impartial, it’s objective, it’s honest”. GOD had been confronted with a bruising column from Thursday’s Telegraph that attacked a mid-ranking Civil Servant who had addressed the weekly meeting of Permanent Secretaries, known in the trade as “Wednesday Morning Colleagues”.[…]


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Quote of the Day

Philip Hammond at Treasury questions:

“I’m sorry to be boring.”

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