Time to End Anonymous Times Leader Columns

Times Masthead

When Guido started back in 2004 he tried to be an anonymous blogger until he was outed by the Guardian duing the 2005 elections (a Labour party employee had traced back the fax number).  A major part of the reason for that was to save my wife embarrassment.

nightjackNowadays the third person anonymity on this blog is just a stylistic device, for Richard Horton it was for essential career reasons, blogging policemen are breaking regulations. The Times claims public interest is behind the reason for outing the Orwell prize winning Nightjack blogger. Mr Justice Eady, who fancies himself to be a legislator as much as a judge, ruled that the mere fact that the blogger wanted to remain anonymous did not mean that he had a “reasonable expectation” of doing so or that The Times was under an enforceable obligation to him to maintain that anonymity.  He is clearly correct in law.

The Times journalist says he wanted to discover the true identity of the author of blog,  for with that knowledge he would be able to judge the standing and authority of the author.   The Times has daily leader columns, these famously thunder out the considered view of the newspaper on the issues of the day and seek to influence the direction of the country. It would enable Guido and the rest of us to better judge the standing and authority of those leaders if they were signed rather than anonymous.   Was the recent leader on Investment v Cuts,  which was so favourable to the Shadow Chancellor’s arguments, written by a former work colleague and friend of George Osborne?  It would be nice to know.

Which employee of BSkyB supremo James Murdoch argued for a smaller BBC and against giving licence fee money to Channel 4?  Who wrote the last leader calling for interest rate cuts?  Was it Rupert Murdoch himself?  All News Corp’s newspapers worldwide argue without exception for interest rate cuts.  Hardly surprising when you know  News Corp struggles to service interest payments on $14 billion of debts…

Pay Points for Political Piggies

If you see any good expenses spots link to them in the comments and Guido will highlight them here all day:

pig-in-shitPaul Waugh notes George Osborne had us pay £47 for a DVD of his speech on “Value for Money”.

pig-in-shitJames Arbuthnot thinks it wholly necessary for us to pay £138 for a “chainsaw for logs”.  Massacre him at the general election.

pig-in-shitTerry Rooney claims off us £125 pcm for “cleaning” and his landlord bills him for cleaning too. No receipt was required for the cleaner because it is was below £250. He cleaned up.

pig-in-shitJulia Goldsworthy made us pay £734.30 for her Meniscus “rent” under incidental expenses.  What is that about?

pig-in-shitDoug Henderson claimed for tax advice from the taxpayers and claims frequently for the maximum amount for food.

pig-in-shitAlan Duncan takes £250 petty cash each and every month without any justification. Because he could.

pig-in-shitLembit Opik claimed £19.99 for the “Mother of All Wigs” – justified apparently as a sundry cost “incurred while supporting a Charitable Event”. It actually appears that we taxpayers supported it with cash Lembit.

pig-in-shitDid Jim Devine MP really claim £938 for a Mink coloured suite? He could have just made it up like his electrical bills.

UPDATE : There is just so much troughing that it is impossible to do it all justice…

Random Spot Check on a Political Piggy


Guido will be going through MP’s expenses at random today, amazingly Tom Watson’s expenses are the first randomly selected for detailed examination Fancy that, him looking just like a piggy and all…

Redacted Expenses Save Blushes

Guido has had a quick look through some expense claims – the redactions hide a lot of sins and seem to have been applied inconsistently.  Despite the censorship it is still  possible to discover some interesting stuff.

Have a look for yourself here.

Blair : We Paid to Shred His Evidence

There is an Irish saying that sums up Blair.  He is one “cute hoor”. You have to laugh, we paid to shred his receipts…


+++ Kitty Usher Resigns Over Expenses +++

Downing Street Spins Malik is Different from McNulty

Tony McNulty resigned from the government when he came under investigation by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner over £60,000 claimed on a second home, where his parents live.

Malik Reported to Parliamentary Standards commissionerYesterday the PM’s spokesman, Michael Ellam, was asked whether the Prime Minister thought it was premature and unwise to bring Shahid Malik back into Government so quickly.  He was also asked why it was right for Shahid Malik to step down while Sir Philip Mawer held an inquiry, but not while  John Lyon held one?  Ellam gave some waffle which didn’t really make sense.

McNultyMcNulty admitted in his letter of resignation that “It has been immensely difficult for me to give full attention to my job as Minister for London and for Employment and Welfare Reform with this issue hanging over my head.” Malik on the other hand wants us to believe he can give his ministerial duties his full attention despite being under investigation for corruption. 

Why is he different from McNulty?  Why is John Lyon’s investigation less important than Sir Philip Mawer’s investigation – which had less damning evidence to consider?

You Twitter If You Want To

Hazel Twitter

Under pressure Hazel Blears has set up a Twitter account. “YouTube is no substitute for knocking on doors” she once famously said and Twittering is not going to stop a deselection either.  Poor Hazel, she only has 9 followers…

Drug Pushing Lobbyists of the World Unite!

The news that sleazy lobbyist Steve Morgan, formerly of the now defunct Morgan Allen Moore, who was retained by Peter Hain in his disastrously dodgy bid for Labour deputy leader has taken his team of spin merchants to the huge […]


PMQs Live Chat : Heat is On

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Clegg Breaks Ranks on Nuclear Options

Nick Clegg has broken ranks with the political establishment on Trident, telling Nick Robinson “We have to be realistic and candid about what we can and can’t afford as a nation”.

Nuclear CleggDuring the Cold War the logic of Trident and […]


Bonkers MPs Should Lose Seats

Brown is BonkersAlistair Campbell thinks MPs detained under the Mental Health Act should not automatically lose their seats. The BBC reports him saying that such a “simple and symbolic” rule change would be a “powerful” way to lift the taboo around mental […]


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Quote of the Day

Lord Sugar on Jeremy Corbyn:

“If they ever got anywhere near electing him and him being the Prime Minister then I think we should all move to China or somewhere like that and let this place just rot.”

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