Guido has just checked with David Miliband’s office. He didn’t Twitter a tribute to Michael Jackson. British newspapers are reporting that he Twittered “Never has one soared so high and yet dived so low. RIP Michael”. Except of course he didn’t.
On Wednesday Guido gave a presentation to the Press Association on the future of digital journalism. Looks like Guido could teach them something about checking their sources…
UPDATE : Paul Waugh and Sunder Katawala also exercised commonsense in suspecting that Her Majesty’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs might not be Twittering in the middle of the night about Wacko Jacko. Guido will not be taking lectures in future from Twitterholics on how they will crowd source news or from the grandees of the newswires on how they have higher thresholds for substantiating stories.
UPDATE II : P.A. have now pulled their story, so has the Telegraph. Agence France Presse also ran the story.
Michael Jackson died of a heart attack last night. He did some half decent political songs (They Don’t Care About Us and Earth Song) but his best stuff was disco like Billie Jean and Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough. “Thriller” was the best-selling album of all time, yet he dies almost broke…
UPDATE : PMS says on behalf of Gordon Brown “Michael Jackson had millions of fans in Britain and the Prime Minister’s thoughts are with his family.”
Dave says “I know Michael Jackson’s fans in Britain and around the world will be sad today. Despite the controversies, he was a legendary entertainer. Everybody will be thinking of his family, especially his children, at this time.”
Is this what they mean by cleaning up parliament? This poster has gone up in all the loos on the parliamentary estate. For MPs too stupid to understand the correct procedure…
Gordon at a photo op this afternoon:
“They [Tories] would take away all the measures that would help the unemployed.”
Are the Tories really going to abolish the dole and re-training grants? When did they say that?
UPDATE : Labour have just sent out a press release:
We will uphold the highest standards of integrity – Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown MP, Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party, today pledged Labour candidates to the highest standards of integrity, accountability, and prudence with public money.
100 of Labour’s young candidates and activists joined Gordon Brown at Labour HQ to sign up to an eight point promise that they will put the public’s interest first.
Of course you will…
Hat-tip : FT Westminster Blog
Sadly Guido’s old adversary Derek Draper ducked out of giving us the benefit of his PR and blogging expertise at PR Week’s “new media” conference at the very last moment. Guido had to improvise his speech since he was expecting to just have another ding-dong with Draper. Most speakers seemed to be using Draper as a case study in how not to win friends and influence people online. At the conference Guido learnt that LabourHome’s Alex Hilton has gone all corporate and formed a “Digital PR Consultancy” with David Prescott. So no more monkeying around from him.
Incidentally, the Henry Jackson Society have organised a talk for next Tuesday to which they sent out invitations on Monday. All tickets went straight away, much to the surprise of the non-partisan society which usually holds dry talks about geo-political flash points like the Middle East. Such is the demand for tickets the organisers have now moved the event to the biggest room available in Parliament, the Grand Committee room.
When you know that the speakers on the subject of ‘the internet: saviour or corruptor of democracy?’ include Nick Robinson, Guido and Sir Michael White, you would be right to guess that this could make the Hamas – Likud peace negotiations look calm by comparison. Unlike Nick, Guido won’t be pulling his punches…
Mervyn King’s testimony yesterday was shocking, he made public that the Bank of England was not consulted on Alistair Darling’s plans for the reform of banking regulation. Call Guido old fashioned, but he somehow thinks that it might be a tad useful if the former student Trotskyite turned Chancellor, Alastair Darling, consulted the professor of economics turned career central banker, Mervyn King. This is not mere student politics, this is the trillion dollar question of the moment. Mervyn confirmed that the current tri-partite regulatory regime designed by Balls and Brown “was a mess”.
As if that wasn’t bad enough figures released yesterday showed that Britain has the biggest budget deficit in the world. The best placed economy to weather the global crisis (© G. Brown) had government borrowing hit £20 billion in May, which means the government is overspending by nearly £30 million an hour. Gordon is spending way beyond our means and putting our children into debt at an unheard of rate. He actually boasts that he is going to spend, spend, spend…
Mervyn basically testified yesterday that the government needed to cut spending much more dramatically than it is planning to do or else we will be ruined. If Gordon is hoping for a recovery (as Alastair officially predicts) to save him in time for a general election the news from the OECD will not be encouraging. The OECD said yesterday that Britain is in “severe recession” and that it was downgrading it’s expectations for the UK economy, predicting it will shrink by 4.3% this year…
Meanwhile over in Brussels Finnish centrist Hannu Takkula has decided to stay in the liberal ALDE because presumably he remembered he isn’t a conservative after all and Lithuania’s Waldemar Tomaszewski has joined the Euro Conservatives / Reformists Group. So they are still an 8 nation group above the all important 7 nation threshold…
The Tories have accepted Gordon’s dividing lines on cuts versus spending. Gordon seemed to think that he could then just shout “Tory Cuts” and that would be it, 1997 all over again. Only problem being that the economy is in such bad shape there will inevitably be “Labour Cuts”. The Treasury knows it, the Chancellor knows it, Yvette Cooper knows it, Peter Mandelson knows it, the City knows it, the media knows it and the voters understand that it is necessary. Only Gordon thinks his delusional dividing line is plausible. This is why this attack video from the Tories hits the spot (though it goes on a bit too long):
Cameron at PMQs keeps on going at Brown’s credibility. It will succeed as a line of attack because it is true. Brown can’t help himself when it comes to fiddling statistics. The whole success of his chancellorship was based on massaging the numbers…
UPDATE : Politicshome polled 100 Westminster insiders and found that 74% thought that “‘the central ideas that make up Gordon Brown’s policy, political strategy and day-to-day tactics were all developed between 1992 and 1994. He hasn’t had an important idea since.” Which explains why he thinks the “Tory Cuts” line might still work…
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George Galloway says of his former Respect candidate the UKIP MEP turned Tory, Amjad Bashir…
“Clearly Bashir does not have any real political principles or commitment, only naked opportunism and self-interest. He represents the revolving door principle in politics. The Tories are welcome to him because he will cause them embarrassment. Fortunately Respect was able to act before he did it to us.”