And the pace of the fall off may be quickening. Last week’s performance show, featuring the songs of Mariah Carey, one of the most successful pop singers in history, was the lowest-rated Tuesday “Idol” in five years among TV’s most important demographic, adults ages 18 to 49. The subsequent results show, in which country warbler Kristy Lee Cook got the hook, delivered “Idol’s” worst Wednesday numbers among adults ages 18 to 34 since its first season back in summer 2002. Producers also saw depressed ratings for their “Idol Gives Back” charity extravaganza, which this year aired as a stand-alone show with no competition-related material.
Pitt-Watson has missed three officers’ meetings and at least two business board meetings and has communicated only to confirm that he had not given notice to his present employer.
Feel free to email Guido the conclusion of the meeting…
UPDATE 09.05 : Guido called Harman’s parliamentary office for a comment. No answer. Well they do keep public sector hours so perhaps someone will get back to Guido before lunch. Meantime you can leave a comment, and many of you have already…
UPDATE 09.10 : The hacker has contacted Guido to tell him that the passwords have been changed. Harman is now locked out of her own website.
The National Association of Estate Agents reports that house sales and mortgage approvals have halved. First time buyers are an increasing rarity, below the asking price deals more common, properties are taking longer to sell and the number of buyers on agents books is down by a third. And Gordon still condemns the Tories for proposing to effectively remove first time buyers from paying stamp duty…
Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague, has today called on David Miliband to take urgent action with regard to the Chinese ship, currently heading to Uganda carrying arms bound for Zimbabwe.
Guido suggests the Shadow Foreign Secretary need not lose any sleep over Chinese ships heading to Uganda. Just a hunch…
Last week he made two great Bushisms in his speech to the Scottish TUC:
- “I remember the 1940s.” Gordon Brown was born in in 1951.
- “The Government has done more for poverty over the past fifteen years” Yes, beginning when John Major was in charge of the government.
- He also told Sky’s Adam Boulton last week that Britain had been “diversifying into gold” by selling Britain’s gold reserves. And it was the Tories fault anyway.
- “Nelson Mandela was freed in our lunchtime.” Well, Prezza’s lunchtime…
- “Britain and China are both centres of invasion….”
Nice and simple. Not.
“You’re wrong. No one will lose out. Come on . . . you guys have exaggerated it all.”
When BBC political editor Nick Robinson insisted there was a sizeable Labour revolt, Mr Brown fired back*: “No it isn’t. There are just one or two MPs asking questions.”
When a journalist from a Labour-supporting paper insisted that the rebellion was far bigger, Mr Brown scowled: “Really? Really? That’s what you say.”
He was equally abrupt with ITN political editor Tom Bradby, who had asked him at the White House about the resignation threat by ministerial aide Angela Smith.
Mr Brown was forced to break off from his White House talks to beg Ms Smith not to resign. “You said a Minister was going to resign, but she didn’t,” Mr Brown told Mr Bradby.
Asked “What did Angela Smith say to you?” Mr Brown replied: “She just phoned me to say she wasn’t resigning.”
BBC Newsnight political editor Michael Crick asked sarcastically: “She phoned you up at the White House to tell you she wasn’t resigning? Do all your Ministers do that?”
Another journalist put Mr Brown on the spot: “Do you acknowledge that there will be some losers from this tax change?”
The Prime Minister replied: “No. It’s not as simple as that.”
Clearly if you start talking transparent bollocks to the Lobby when you are off-the-record, you will inevitably get a bad press. The whole point of the Lobby and off-the-record briefings is that they are supposed to allow candid honesty in return for non-attribution. Gordon’s psychological flaws and unwillingness to accept criticism make it impossible for him to accept that when he has made a mistake, and this was a huge mistake, he has to openly make amends. His usual bullying didn’t work in this case – he has now made a humiliating U-turn – not an act of leadership.
*Nick Robinson has obliquely confirmed the Mail on Sunday’s version of events. He blogs that “Gordon Brown had shouted down those who told him there were many many losers from his last Budget as Chancellor and those who told him he faced a real political crisis as a result.” Guido suspects that Nick himself was, as reported, one of “those” shouted down.
UPDATE : U-turn letter (pdf) here.
Perhaps they need another £50 billion…
The Rix garage in Kirkcaldy has been charging an outrageous £1.45 a litre for diesel and £1.25 for unleaded petrol. Not that this will bother Gordon – he has never had to pay for petrol.
The Grangemouth oil refinery is on the verge of shutdown as it looks like a two-day strike by staff will go ahead this weekend.
Reports from around the country tell of queues of panic buyers worried that the 200,000 barrel-a-day Grangemouth refinery closure will force the BP Forties Pipeline System, which transfers oil from more than 50 North Sea fields, to be turned off. If the dispute lasts for more than two days Britain will run dry…