Thursday, April 23, 2009

Iain Martin Leaving Labourgraph

Iain MartinDon’t know why or if he even has somewhere to go, but source is reliable.   Maybe Iain is too Conservative leaning for the newspaper’s political team.  The political team has just been strengthened by importing Ben Brogan from the Daily Mail.  On the other hand it has been weakened by the loss of contributing editor Damian McBride, who supplied stories to the chief copy-taker, Andrew Porter.

Guido is also all too well aware that there are internal recriminations at The Telegraph over how it has handled Smeargate.  The Guardian this morning is reporting something of the story.  The Telegraph’s official line is that they aren’t bothered, a TMG spokesperson told the Guardian “As you might imagine, we did not entirely buy [Guido's] version of events. But we are relaxed about it, to be honest.”

Well perhaps they might like to explain their version of events after everyone has seen this:

From : Christopher Hope
To : Guy Fawkes

Date : Thu, Apr 2, 2009 at 6:09 PM
subject :  Non-disclosure agreement
mailed-by telegraph.co.uk

…This is to confirm that we, the Telegraph Media Group, are happy to give you our assurance that anything that you show to us tomorrow (April 3) will be in confidence, for our information, and will not be published in any form without your explicit and prior agreement.

Yours sincerely

Christopher Hope
Whitehall Editor
The Daily Telegraph
111 Buckingham Palace Road
London
SW1W 0DT

SmokescreenAs far as Guido is concerned they have behaved abysmally. They tipped off Downing Street with details of a politically serious story, publishing a spoiler that might as well have had Damian McBride’s byline (it didn’t mention him), they then alone of any newspaper in the world published a hatchet job of a profile. So if you are a source with an important political story, best you give the Telegraph a wide swerve.  They can’t be trusted.  They are likely betray your confidence and reveal you as the source…

UPDATE : Iain Martin has not responded to Guido’s emailed request for comment. So read into that what you will. Also have just noticed that Michael Ellam told the Lobby in the first briefing in the aftermath of Smeargate that the first Downing Street knew about Smeargate was when they were contacted on Friday night (by “national press” aka The Telegraph.)

Potty Priorities

The tabloid headline driven drug laws in Britain are a mess. The next Prime Minister of Britain spent his days at Eton smoking dope, the current Home Secretary says she only smoked “weak” dope, as if that makes a material difference.   If they had been caught and convicted they would probably not have got where they are today.

It is a mad situation where you get a lighter sentence for raping someone than you would for selling them a joint.  Which do you think is worse?

According to the government’s sentencing guidelines study in 2004, the average custodial sentence imposed for rape of an adult was 79.7 months and for GBH was 50.1 months.  For dope dealing the average was 84.0 months.

Why does “intent to supply” a relatively harmless, though wrongly categorised class ‘A’ drug like Ecstasy, attract a stiffer sentence than “attempted rape”?

UPDATE : Just noticed that Peter Wilby in the New Statesman is saying the contemporary left is too timid to be rational on drugs. The centre-right is too, given that a fair share of the Shadow Cabinet have enjoyed recreational drug use, isn’t it time we stopped kow-towing to Dacre and had a grown up attitude to drug addiction? It is a public health problem, not a criminal / judicial problem.

Hat-tip : UK Drug Policy Commission

Bailout : Gordon’s £1.4 Trillion Fail

giltsHere is the futures price chart for the generic Gilt.  All that is stopping that chart going further south faster is that the Bank of England is printing money (though printing isn’t the way it done nowadays, the Bank just changes amounts in the electronic ledger).  Some of that money is recycled into mopping up gilts.  It won’t work for ever.

Gordon has convinced fellow members of the IMF to sell the fund’s gold reserves, this visibly holds down the gold price as the relative value of paper money is destroyed.   There will be an awful day of reckoning.

The gilt market will revolt sooner or later.   Darling’s fantasy forecasts will be rejected by those of us in the reality-based financial markets.   The numbers are horrific.  Bloomberg’s Andrew MacAskill has totted up the cost of the bailout as £1.4 trillion.  That is over 100% of GDP.

Public Hearings on MP’s Expenses


Sir Christopher Kelly has this morning announced the terms of reference for the The Committee on Standards in Public Life’s Inquiry into MPs’ Expenses.  He says:

The aim of our Inquiry is to reform the system of MPs’ expenses to create a new set of rules which are trusted by the public, and which give MPs the support they need to do their jobs.

There will be public hearings, Guido intends to attend those hearings and make a submission through the Sunlight Centre for Open Politics.*

Over the last five years of investigating MP’s fiddles it is fair to say that Guido has become something of an (unwilling) expert on the system and the abuses of the system by which MPs enrich themselves.

Broadly speaking there are some simple principles which need to underpin any new system.  Firstly and most importantly transparency.  We need a completely transparent system of financing.  The best protection we have against shady behaviour is sunlight.

Secondly we need full accounting.  Every single penny must be accounted for, it is public money and the public are entitled to know where it goes.  If politicians don’t like it, maybe public life is not for them.

*Full disclosure, Guido financially supports the Sunlight Centre for Open Politics.  If you want to intern for the Centre (next month) email your resume to team@sunlight-cops.org.uk.

Nadine Ambushed Gordon at PMQs

Yesterday, prior to PMQs, Nadine Dorries asked the Speaker to call her in order to ask the Prime Mentalist for a personal apology over Smeargate.  The Speaker declined her request claiming that he could not use PMQs for personal special requests. Which is untrue because he can and does.

Nadine DorriesIf you watch yesterdays PMQs you will witness a successful ambush.  When Nadine stood up to ask the question her backbench colleagues mysteriously sat down.  The Speaker had to call someone from the Conservative benches, he was left with no choice but to call Nadine. Gordon was thus forced  humiliatingly to make a direct apology.  Never, ever underestimate Nadine Dorries, she is a Tory Tigress…

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Reporting from the Guardian

IndexGuido was at the Index on Censorship Awards ceremony last night, deep in the bowels of the Guardian’s new fancy offices. The purpose built modern building will make a great museum when the paper eventually goes bust.

The event was packed to the gills with media luvvies and Islington’s finest. David Hare gave a splendidly acerbic speech. Chairman Johnathan Dimbleby raged against the “censorship” of the BBC’s Middle East reporter Jeremy Bowen, who was mildly criticised for his blatant anti-Israeli bias by the BBC Trust’s Editorial Standards Committee. Guido thought it a gentle rebuke to Bowen given how biased his broadcasts from the supposedly impartial state broadcaster seem. Hardly makes him a dissident, does it? He has been given no punishment, no demotion, nothing. Wonder if he had been criticised for anti-Palestinian bias would the room have been so concerned?

Václav HavelStereotypically the auction fundraiser saw a week in a Tuscan villa get the top bid from the assembled Hampstead liberals and Guardianistas. No, it really did. Guido was very pleased to win the auction for a copy of the Charter 77 human rights manifesto signed by Václav Havel himself. The dissident playwright was imprisoned multiple times during the Soviet era by an authoritarian socialist Czech regime, his plays were banned and he was reduced to working in a brewery. After the Velvet Revolution he ended up being President of the freed Czech Republic. It went for a tenth of the price of that week in Tuscany. Guardianistas really do have different values…

Budget Message : Sod Off If You Are Successful

Guido isn’t going to do much on the budget, the FT is probably the best place to go for coverage. As soon as the 50% tax hike was announced emails pinged into the inbox along the lines of “That’s it, I’m off to Switzerland”. What is Labour saying to those who work hard and become successful? “We will punish you” seems to be the message.

Good news for Dublin and Dubai.  They will welcome entrepreneurs with lower tax rates and open arms.  Guido would not be surprised if this measure ends up reducing revenues as people flee penal tax rates.

PMQs Budget Double Bill Live Chat

Ed Balls and Jim Knight Lied to Parliament

Ed Ball and Jim KnightKen Boston is opening up with both barrels on Ed Balls and his deputy Jim Knight.   Boston was made the fall guy for the SATS fiasco, not so he writes in an explosive letter. Guido can’t help feeling that if Ed Balls spent less time plotting his leadership path and more time on fixing the state school system we might be better off.

Read the letter (here) Boston has sent to the Select Committee overseeing Balls’ department – it accuses Balls and Knight of spin, smears and deliberate falsehoods. In more honourable days this letter would mean the Minister’s resignation this afternoon. Fat chance with this dysfunctional cabal in Downing Street…

UPDATE : Gove is demanding an apology from Balls, Graham Stuart, Tory member of the CSF Select Committee wants him to resign:

“Ministers have been accused of misleading Parliament, Lord Sutherland’s official inquiry and the Select Committee. Millions of children were let down by the SATS exams fiasco and the response of Ed Balls was allegedly to smear a public official who was then forced into silence for months afterwards. If these allegations are proved true then Ed Balls will have to come before the House of Commons, apologise and consider his position.”

Nothing would make a lot of Labour MPs happier…

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Copy-Taking Culprit

From : guido.fawkes@order-order.com
To : foiteam@cabinet-office.xxxxxxx

Dear Sirs,Smokescreen

Further to my Freedom of Information Request and Subject Access Request made under the provisions of the Data Protection Act (1998) on March 27, 2009, please can you assure me that you will be including all emails to and from Damian McBride and The Daily Telegraph in the days before he resigned.

Particularly but not exclusively the emails referring to myself (pseudonymously or not) or my blog which were sent to Andrew Porter.

Regards,


Seen Elsewhere

5 Things We Learned From Guido’s Party | GQ
Revealed: Guido Fawkes Anniversary Dinner Guestlist | Peter Oborne
More Owen Jones Errors | Michael Ezra
Why Should Men Get Equal Maternity Leave? | Laura Keynes
Dentists Have Last Laugh Over Sneering Keynes | FT
Why’s Clegg Giving Men Paternity Leave? | Conservative Women
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


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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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