Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Rewards for Failure at Guardian

The Guardian Media Group has just announced it is making 78 journalists redundant and closing all its weekly newspaper offices in Greater Manchester – 39 jobs will go at the Manchester Evening News and another 39 at the weeklies. Further cuts in advertising, distribution and IT will bring the total job losses to 150. For them, management have failed.

The NUJ’s Joe Slade and Bethan Dorsett, said: ‘There is some hard talking to do now. We cannot stomach a pay freeze for the masses alongside bonuses for the top table.

Polly will no doubt be supporting the workers railing against the bonus culture which saw her boss, the Guardian Media Group chief executive, Carolyn McCall, paid a package of £827,000, comprising a salary of £424,000, plus a bonus of £385,000 and benefits in kind of £18,000. Not to mention her editor’s six figure bonus…

Hat-tip : Mantex Blog

The Case against Twitter

UPDATE 2011: After reading below from March 2009, readers will want to read the article Tweeter Culpa published on May 6, 2010.  A mere year later.

Guido has a Twitter account, it was set-up before Twitter cut the free broadcast-to-SMS-text service. It was, and still is, a headline feed for the blog. The idea that it is some kind of revolutionary form of social media interaction is laughable. Below is the case against political Twittery:

Exhibit A:Derek Draper claims to be the most followed political Twitterer.

Iain Dale positively relishes keeping us up to date with his movements – why anyone besides Mrs Fawkes would be interested in knowing that Guido was stuffing porridge into a recalcitrant 2 year old at 7.30 a.m. or Guinness into himself at 7.30 p.m. is bewildering.
Rachel Sylvester in The Times this morning quotes a psychologist (a real one, not Derek Draper) who hits the send button on the head;

Exhibit B: Twitter is reality TV without the pictures. There is a combination of neurosis and narcissism involved. The psychologist Oliver James has said: “Twittering stems from a lack of identity. It’s a constant update of who you are, what you are, where you are. Nobody would Twitter if they had a strong sense of identity.”

Not sure if sense of identity is the right attribute, it is more a case of self-worth stemming from attention. That people care to know what the Twitterer is doing enhances their own sense of self worth. Draper feels validated and boasts (on Twitter of course) that he has more “followers” than his rivals. He has spent a lot of time canvassing thousands of Twitterers of other political commentators to build his following. Desperate. The desperation is shown by a key ratio, your followers to following ratio – your Twitter F2F ratio.

Exhibit C: Twitter F2F ratios

John Prescott 1,410 Followers, 29 Following - 48.62

Iain Dale 2,499 Followers, 152 Following16.44

Tom Watson 2,518 Followers, 909 Following2.77

Alastair Campbell 2,567 Followers, 2,088 Following1.23

Derek Draper 2,918 Followers, 2,836 Following - 1.02

Look at those ratios, Prescott and Dale have healthy ratios, with a genuinely won following. Even so, following 152 other Twitterers is toppy for even always-connected Dale. Does Tom Watson really engage with 909 followers? Alastair Campbell and Derek Draper are obviously totally inauthentic spinners, they have merely followed thousands of people by deliberately Twitter-spamming Dale and Guido’s Twitter followers. Automatic reciprocation grew their following completely synthetically – the incredibly low ratio is the giveaway. Prescott hasn’t used artifice, his followers are genuinely interested because he is the real deal.Rachel Sylvester concluded that “At Westminster, [Twitter] is a symbol of a wider loss of confidence by the political class.” She has a point. Twitter is not a substitute for really engaging with people and winning them over. Political Twittering is merely a displacement activity for doing something more meaningful.

Prize Winner

Guido is inclined to belatedly give the prize for last week’s caption competition to Apricot Fox who (a) managed to grasp the contest rules (b) come up with a credible potential thought for the Head of Protocol greeting Gordon on the Brown carpet with his trousers tucked in his sock.

Bemuses Guido that so many when asked to describe what she is thinking, put words in the Prime Mentalist’s mouth. You losers.

“Gee, you are a great Cyclops…I mean, CYCLIST!”

If Apricot Fox emails Guido her address he’ll get round to mailing her A History of Political Trials: From Charles I to Saddam Hussein and a copy of The Big Red Book of New Labour Sleaze. Congratulations.*

*Congratulations also to Hugo Rifkind for getting an advice column out of the picture.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Telegraph: "It Was Only a Little Bit of a Hack"

Nothing to worry about apparently.

Just as well. Wouldn’t want an august journal of record being hacked in any way that would be disrespectful. This is the paper that had Gordon Brown as guest of honour at their big party this year after all.

James Kirkup’s article today has an amusing angle:


Murphy’s Tax Law

Richard Murphy, the proselytiser for taxation given so much credit as an “expert” by taxaholic hacks at the Guardian as the leading authority, has just made a startling admission on Sky News. He said it is worrying for everyone left behind that more corporations are leaving Britain fearing higher taxes – for which he campaigns – because the tax burden will fall harder on fewer taxpayers. That is what happens when looters try to fleece the productive too much.

Union Boss "Wins" With 5.4% of the Vote

Unite, the union which effectively controls the purse strings of the Labour Party, had an election for leader and nobody bothered. 85% of voters were in the none-of-the-above category.

With only 15% bothering to vote, only 60,048 (5.4%) out of a claimed membership of 1,096,51 voted to keep Derek Simpson in the bling style to which he is accustomed. Not exactly a resounding endorsement.

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Sunday, March 8, 2009

+++ Telegraph Users Passwords and Emails Hacked +++

You should change your password if you are one of the 700,000 registered Telegraph.co.uk users.

Hackers boasting here. Security warning here. The Telegraph, as far as Guido can tell, has not alerted users that their passwords have been compromised. Shane?

Trans-Atlantic Refusal to Apologise :
Brown Rants “Let’s Have It Out Now”

It is worth reading the account pieced together from witnesses to the mid-Atlantic back-of-the-plane confrontation between Brown and his press tormentors. The Mail on Sunday gives a pretty full account of Brown’s aggressive refusal to give the Lobby even an off the record acceptance that he is in any way culpable in the tiniest way for the particularly dire economic situation Britain faces.
ITN’s political editor Tom Bradby says that after an interview ‘Off camera, the mike was ripped off and we exchanged a few tart remarks… He has a bad temper.’ So it was mid-air with the off-the-record, no notebooks, no tapes, Lobby briefing turned rant:

Pressed to admit he had made mistakes, he said: ‘No, it was supply. If inflation is low, people are going to borrow money to buy houses. You can’t stop that. You don’t understand it.’

At one point the man from the Labour-supporting Guardian threw him a lifeline saying: ‘Can I just make it clear we aren’t all saying that?’

When another journalist tried to defuse the situation, Mr Brown refused to be diverted. ‘No, let’s sort this out now, let’s have it out now,’ he said, jabbing his finger.

Not exactly the bonhomie of the Blair Force One days on the return flight. The Mail’s report does not identify the cringe-makingly obsequious Guardian hack doing the journalistic equivalent of bringing teacher an apple.

Guido can tell you it was the political editor, Patrick Wintour.

+++ Police Follow Custard Trail, Leila Deen Arrested +++

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

Find out more about PLMR

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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