Black Swan Guru Lays into Guardian

It seems to have gone unreported that Nassim Nicholas Taleb has written a scathing letter to Alan Rusbridger about the Guardian’s reporting of his public conversation with David Cameron accusing them of a lack of ethics.

Black Swan Guru v 20 WattHe rejects the charge of being a “climate-change denier” made by Lucy Mangan, and the suggestion that he thinks “climate change is not man-made” as alleged by Nicholas (20) Watts.

Taleb points out that “A minimum of homework on the part of your staff would have revealed that I am one of the authors of the recent King of Sweden’s Bonham Declaration on attitude to climate change.”

Nicholas (20) Watts is the senior political correspondent, he hasn’t had a very good silly season.  Made a monkey of over the Baltimore Mayor Hoax and accused  again of not doing his homework.  Hencke might have been slower, but he wouldn’t have screwed up twice like this…

Murdoch Attacks State Sponsored Journalism

Even if James Murdoch is talking his own bookrsz_james_murdoch it is manifestly true, as he says, that “the expansion of state-sponsored journalism is a threat to the plurality and independence of news provision, which are so important for our democracy. Dumping free, state-sponsored news on the market makes it incredibly difficult for journalism to flourish on the internet. Yet it is essential for the future of independent digital journalism that a fair price can be charged for news to people who value it.”

The BBC destroys the ability of competitors to make a profit. We would have a more vibrant culture if the BBC wasn’t destroying the hopes of start-ups unable to compete with a rival that has almost unlimited funds and no need to make a profit. The BBC simply should not be in a whole range of areas, why did it need to nationalise the successful Lonely Planet publisher? Why is it competing to crush the Virgin and Capital radio stations?

The Tories don’t really have a plan to deal with the cultural monolith that is the BBC.  A permanent freeze on the licence fee would be a start.

Fraser Nelson is New Editor of the Speccie

nelsonIn what is a bit of surprise (in that it didn’t leak) the Speccie will have a new editor starting next week.  36 year-old Fraser is taking over on Monday.  He is no Cameroon and will push for sound economic policies from the next government.

Matthew leaves the Speccie in fine fettle, it has a circulation at an all time high of 75,000 and the website sometimes has even more traffic than this blog.  In June Guido reported a rumour that “Matthew d’Ancona is thinking of moving on from the Speccie”…

UPDATE : “After more than three and a half delightful and rewarding years as Editor, exciting opportunities are arising and I have decided to move on…” No news yet as to where d’Ancona is going next, but he confirms he will still be writing his Telegraph columns.  Which suggests Dacre’s job is safe…

Churnalists Made to Look Like Monkeys

Seen that story everywhere about the Mayor of Baltimore condemning Chris Grayling for his referencing of The Wire?

Alex Hilton (Recess Monkey) spoof fake website of Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon, arguing over Chris Grayling's comparison of modern Britain to The Wire

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon's fake website

Alex Hilton (also known as Recess Monkey) set up a fake MayorofBaltimore.org site. The fake press release was riddled with clues – the British spelling, the jokey references and of course the copyright notice at the bottom (R Monkee Esq).

The Guardian, Indy and the Labour blogosphere lapped it up without checking their sources.  Doh!

UPDATE : Chris Grayling tells Guido “it made me laugh”.

Friday Caption Competition

terror

The Mystery of the Missing McBride Emails

Damian McPoisonWhen Guido was on his summer holidays in France, Damian McBride gave an interview to the BBC’s Radio 5 Live and  to the Guardian to try and draw a line under his Smeargate demise.

If you listen to the first minute and a half of that BBC interview he says at one point:

[bbc-news video=8158737 width=420 height=100]
“… When I read back the emails I had errr written and I did that when Derek ahhh Draper called me and said that he thought his emails had been hacked into and errr we had a discussion about this, I thought and and he thought that the main issue was some emails that I had sent, err, about racism in the comments in the Guido Fawkes website.”

Now you may recall that Iain Dale and Guido both sent in Freedom of Information requests about the smear campaign directed at us from within Downing Street. Obviously Guido was aware of the existence of the emails (having said as much on Andrew Neil’s Daily Politics).  The emails basically instructed Draper on how to frame and phrase the smear.

Damian has now publicly confirmed that he sent them (in February, when Draper started smearing Dale and Guido as racists).  So why did the Cabinet Office produce some of the emails regarding Dale, but not the ones regarding Guido?  Guido only got emails sent by Draper, not the emails sent by McBride.  Guido has re-submitted an FoI to the Cabinet Office asking again for the emails Damian has now publicly confirmed he sent.

Blair on Powell

When Enoch Powell died Tony Blair led the tributes:

“He was one of the great figures of 20th-century British politics, gifted with a brilliant mind.”

February 9, 1998

Now what was it Mandelson was saying?

Via Mark Reckons

UPDATE : Here is what Hannan wrote for the Telegraph in 2007 on the subject of how any reference to Enoch Powell provokes huge controversy

For what it’s worth, I think Enoch Powell was wrong on immigration. The civil unrest that he forecast, and that many feared in 1968, didn’t materialise. Britain assimilated a large population with an ease that few countries have matched. Being an immigrant myself, I have particular cause to be grateful for Britain’s understated cosmopolitanism.

Hannan : Labour Try Again

Guido saw Hannan’s interview with the Reason Foundation’s Michael Moynihan pop up in his feed reader this morning.

Not really paying attention Guido let the video play in the background and got on with other things until he heard “Enoch Powell” mentioned.  Uh oh, was the immediate reaction.  Hannan said he admired Powell as “somebody who understood the importance of national democracy, who understood why you need to live in an independent country and what that meant, as well as being a free marketeer and a small government Conservative.”

This could get interesting Guido thought, and sure enough within hours a Labour contact asked what my opinion of the Reason Foundation was – the Foundation is a West Coast libertarian outfit which is respectable and cerebral – well as respectable as right-wing Californian dope-fiends are ever going to be.

Guido spoke to Dan to ask him when he gave the interview – about “a month or so” ago was his answer – before the NHS kerfuffle cemented Dan in the affections of Labour’s spin operation.   He said it wasn’t the first time he said that, that he wasn’t going to deny his view in the future and that on immigration he was on the record as taking the Friedmanite free market liberal view rather than the restrictive Powellite stance.

Dan asked how did Guido think it was going to play out.  “Well there is no news about and if Labour get Liam Byrne or Mandelson to put the boot in…”

Sure enough Mandelson has popped up: “Yet again, we are seeing the two faces of the Conservative Party. The one they want to present to the public and the one which attacks the NHS and praises Enoch Powell.”  Predictable.

The usually fair minded Mark Hanson of LabourHome has written a very poor piece of analysis – claiming that it is dog-whistle stuff. He also reckons Hannan is deliberately provoking “the Notting Hill set” to stoke up “his fan base” in the Conservative Party. Two problems with that analysis are Hannan has been on holiday in France for the last fornight and the interview was filmed weeks ago, before the NHS kerfuffle. The first Dan knew about this blow-up was when Guido called him this afternoon.  The dog-whistle is fatally undermined in that Powell was cited by Hannan in a list of influences which included Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek – all of whom were ideologically opposed to immigration restrictions.  The fact is that Hannan and his ideological fan base (such as it is) are more liberal on immigration policy than the official Labour Party position…

Update on Jacqui Smith Prosecution

Chris Galley from the Sunlight Centre for Open Politics has made Guido promise to be careful what he writes and the law firm Sunlight have retained has made it clear that they would prefer silence, however since Guido’s readers have donated thousands of pounds towards getting a prosecution started, you deserve an update.

The lawyers are in the evidence gathering phase – they want to establish from multiple sources the truth – Guido is under strict instructions not to elaborate or speculate. This will go on for some months apparently.

Still no word from the Met over which MPs they will be prosecuting – don’t think the issue of MPs’ expense fiddles has gone away – come the general election it will be an issue and will result in the biggest clear out of MPs since the second World War.  It ain’t over until the fat lady sings…

[gigya width=”480″ height=”360″ src=”http://farm.sproutbuilder.com/load/KgAOnUFDF_aXLeIq.swf” quality=”best” wmode=”transparent” ]

You can donate here. Sunlight is going to regularly publish details of donations and expenditure (down to the last penny) online.  Showing the way by example…

Rowland Gave Tories a Million to "Set the People Free"

David Rowland, the property developer tycoon says of the million he has bunged the Tories this year:

“I made the donation as a result of my passionate concern for liberty and the economic future of Britain. We need fresh ideas, national renewal and above all a Government that sets the people free. I feel strongly that the Conservatives under the leadership of David Cameron are the party that will deliver that. They are the best hope for this country’s future.”

Guido is hard pressed to think of any Tory policies that will set the people free. The only outstanding libertarian commitment they have made is to abolish ID cards.  Cameron rarely speaks about freedom, the Tories sound more like technocratic managerialists than freedom fighters…

+++ Ted Kennedy Dead +++

Washington Times obituary here.

Finishing the War on Drugs

DruggiesIf things had gone slightly differently for David Cameron instead of being on the verge of becoming PM, he could be yet another former public school boy who ended up squandering his privileges and doing jail time for possession of cannabis and cocaine.  The current President of America could just be another black ex-con from a broken home.

If there is one message that comes through from The Wire, it is that the war on drugs can not be won and that it corrupts all of society – not just those in the drug gangs – the police and politicians as well.  It is far from fictional, apart from the corrupting effect the police waste time which could be better spent fighting crimes of violence and against property.  It costs a couple of billion a year to seize half a billion worth of drugs.  The jails are full of young people who could, if they had not been criminalised, gone on to become leaders like Obama and Cameron.  If drugs were decriminalised we would waste less money and lives than we do now.

nice-people

The criminal justice system would be freed up to deal with pressing problems greater than students smoking pot and ravers taking ecstasy.  Addicts would be treated within the healthcare system, not the criminal justice system.  Addicts deserve pity, not incarceration.  Decriminalising drug use and treating it as a health problem would in a stroke undermine the gangsters and drug trafficker just as ending prohibition undermined the mafia.  The biggest beneficiaries of drug prohibition are the crime bosses.

Evan Davis: IDNSHC

TodayGuido was on the Today programme this morning talking about the formerly anonymous blogger suing Google for revealing her identity (under Court order). Just before we went live Evan Davies started Googling to see what had been written about him on this blog (“ego searching” is the term), Evan found a few references to body piercing.  Guido offered him, since he was there, a chance to quell the rumour.

He appeared not to hear, but he did smile…

The Perfect Guardian Article

profile-alek_passportThis article complaining that the “compare the meerkat” ad is racist is possibly the ultimate Comrade Blimp article.  There is some suspicion that it is a piss-take.  Even the headline is too good.

Meerkat forces? Not good enough.

Via Tory Bear.

Even Labour Voters Prefer Cameron to Brown

With YouGov polling that the Tories are still seen as more trusted with the NHS than Labour, the Guardian/ICM poll has another glaring result:

Asked, regardless of individual party preferences, whether a Tory government under David Cameron, or a Labour one under Gordon Brown, would be best for Britain 37% of people who voted Labour in 2005 – now think Cameron would be best, only 31% back Brown.

The Conservatives lead Labour among all social classes and in all regions…

If those numbers were true in any other British political party they would just get rid of the leader. The Labour Party has lost the collective will to win and turned into a horde of lemmings…

Caption Competition Winner

Wanking BallsAs is traditional, most of the Friday Caption Competition entries were lame.  Marginally less lame was this one

Ollie Cromwell says:

Gordon enjoyed wearing his gift fron J.K Rowling.

The spin-off on Ollie’s own Red Rag blog* deserves some reward, a copy of The Big Red Book of New Labour Sleaze will wing it’s way if Ollie emails his postal address.[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Heather Wheeler talks to Burton Mail about her tweet…

“It was a tongue in cheek pop after the European Parliament tweet – it was purely that. I also wanted to congratulate Team GB on a brilliant result and thirdly congratulate the Commonwealth countries who also did very well. Fourth, I am also looking forwarded to establishing new trade agreements. That was it – nothing more. Let’s just enjoy the summer!”

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