Tuesday, October 23, 2007

How to Tell If Tony Wright Has Been Nobbled

Today is the first hearing of the Public Administration Select Committee into Propriety and Honours: Lessons Learned. At 3.00 pm oral evidence will be taken from: AC John Yates, Metropolitan Police, Carmen Dowd, Head of Special Crime Division, CPS and David Perry QC.

This is only the first hearing, we are told there will be others.

Tony Wright chairs the committee and is being criticised for selecting the terms of reference to avoid investigating the actual allegations. He no doubt would argue that was the job of the police.

However, if at a subsequent hearing he does not call Lord Levy to answer questions, you can safely assume he has been nobbled. Arguably Blair and Ruth Turner should also be called to explain themselves.

Guido has also seen a copy of a letter sent to Tony Wright by a witness making specific allegations about being offered honours in return for donations to the Labour party. The letter specifies who made the offer, the figures discussed, as well as naming the Labour party operators involved when they were introduced to Tony Blair. The witness states in the letter that they are bemused at the lack of a prosecution. The witness also states in their letter to Tony Wright (copied to all members of the Committee) that they are willing to testify to the Committee. If that witness is not called Tony Wright has been nobbled.

To the hundreds who have pledged publicly (and privately) to financially support a private prosecution and have been wondering what has been going on, rest assured preparations have been made, legal soundings have been taken and we are waiting to see what comes out of these hearings.

You will also remember that after the dropping by the CPS of the case, the briefings in the papers by “friends” of Levy and Ruth Turner that they would be taking legal action against those who made the accusations. Nobody has received a writ. They have gone very quiet.

What Did They Do With Gisela?

This morning Quentin Letts in his sketch wonders what the Labour whips did to Gisela Gordon is Lying Stuart during Brown’s EU treaty statement yesterday. He points out that she was noticeably missing despite having helped on the drafting committee for the EU constitution. Jack Straw (pictured here) chose her to be on Valéry Giscard d’Estaing’s committee when he was Foreign Secretary. Quentin is therefore looking for her:-
Lost: one feline Labour MP, sleek coat, answers to the name of Gisela Stuart (Edgbaston). If you see this much-stroked pussy please ring to say she is all right.

The slimey Kaufman had a go at her yesterday as well, he spoke of how some MPs were prepared to write “well remunerated articles” in the Press, and how they “prefer money to the truth”. Rich coming from him, as you can see by studying the register of interests.

Some MPs do television for free, but not him. Here are Gerald’s recent declared media fees: BBC (Up to £5,000), Daily Mail (Up to £5,000), Mail on Sunday (Up to £5,000), Evening Standard (Up to £5,000), Fees from the Telegraph Group. (Up to £5,000), The Scotsman, News International, (Up to £5,000). Massive pot calling small kettle…

Monday, October 22, 2007

Bit bored today. Chris Clegg and Nick Huhne are too difficult to distinguish.

Guido got a press release from John Lewis telling him that they supply the Huhnie monster with his suits. Says it all really.

Name & Shame MPs Who Vote Themselves Tax Cut

Guido was at an impromptu meeting of successful* internet entrepreneurs held at the Adam Street Club. We were briefed by David Gauke from the Tory shadow treasury team who also sits on the Treasury Select Committee.
Basically the entrepreneurs were extremely pissed off that they were looking at a sudden 80% hike in capital gains taxes when they come to sell their start-ups. They are not the only ones, the CBI, the Institute of Directors, the British Chambers of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses are spitting tacks at a tax that came out of the blue via the back of an envelope.

David Gauke pointed out that MPs would, as a result of the reforms, now get a 55% tax cut on capital gains (down from 40% to 18%) when they sell their taxpayer subsidised Westminster second homes. At this self-serving outrage there was a collective “what the f***!” from a roomful of exasperated entrepreneurs.

Guido thinks when the vote comes, those MPs who vote themselves a 55% tax cut and small businesses an 80% tax hike, should be named and shamed. Guido is thinking not just of Yvette and Ed Balls, but those champagne socialists with their multi-million pound property portfolios who will benefit. Michael Meacher and Emily Thornberry spring to mind, but they are not the only MPs who’ll be voting themselves a tax cut on their property portfolios. It adds insult to injury when you factor in that the taxpayer has paid them a tax-free mortgage subsidy worth some £40,000 a year to MPs. Guido will happily publicly name and shame MPs with bulging property portfolios who vote for the Finance Bill that clobbers entrepreneurs. Email Guido any names and details…

*FYI, this blog is more profitable than Guardian Unlimited, which is supposed to be an online success. Apart, that is, from the making money element of success

Indy-Gate Scandal at Independent

The Indy-gate scandal is gathering momentum in the media following Kelner’s un-apology.
  • Dan Hannan in the Telegraph is derisory about the Indy’s misinformation.
  • Roy Greenslade in his widely read (by hacks) Guardian blog returns to the issue for a second time.
  • James Forsyth over at the Speccie’s CoffeeHouse wonders “What would The Independent say if another newspaper had done the same on Iraq?”
  • Iain Dale doesn’t think this over yet. “Not by a long way.” Nor does Guido.
  • Melanie Phillips thinks Indy-gate “a practice associated with the unfree press in totalitarian societies. Once again, the blogosphere has shown its power to hold the mainstream media sharply to account and inflict real damage to its reputation.”
150_not_indyThe newspaper’s readers surely deserve to know the truth. Is it now the editorial policy of the Independent to reprint lengthy government press releases word-for-word if Andy Grice* agrees with them? Shouldn’t the Indy flag up when it is re-printing government press releases - “This information was supplied by the government, we are reprinting it in its entirety on the front page because we agree with it.” Perhaps a little “Government Approved” logo would suffice?

*According to Simon Kelner “what we printed was a collection of facts, which our political editor independently verified.”

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Huhne “Can’t Remember” Authoring Druggie Article

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Indy-gate : Issue is About Journalistic Ethics, Not the EU

The Indy’s editor-in-chief Simon Kelner, attempting to defend the reprinting of an FCO press briefing as original journalism, claimed that “The Eurosceptics, who have monopolised this debate for so long, appear to be shooting the messenger because they don’t like the message… I am completely unapologetic about our attempt to explode the myths that have been allowed to develop in what has been an extremely one-sided debate…”.
This is an attempt to distract from the substantive issue – which is a question of journalistic ethics. No one can accuse the Indy of being one-sided on the issue, they have laughably flipped and flopped on the referendum issue:

18 June – a leader calling for a referendum, “The question is whether or not a package of fairly weighty changes that will undoubtedly affect Europe’s shape and destiny should – in this country at any rate – be decided in a referendum. The answer is simple: it should and it must.”25 June – a leader opposing a referendum,

“Having dangled the prospect of a referendum last week, Mr Brown was right to bat it smartly away.”12 September – a leader calling for a referendum,

“The case against a vote on the treaty is weak. The Government’s argument that the new European treaty is significantly different from the European Constitution that was rejected by Dutch and French voters in 2005 is unconvincing. The name may have changed but it is essentially the same document on which Tony Blair promised a national plebiscite shortly before the last general election… This newspaper wants a referendum for different reasons.. Rather than trying to evade the moment of truth, Mr Brown should concentrate his energies and those of his Government on campaigning for a yes vote.”18 October – the piece

cut ‘n pasted from the FCO briefing opposing a referendum.Source : OpenEurope.org

Kelner’s credibility on this is zero. We can completely ignore the Indy’s position on the EU Referendum, it is as irrelevant as it is changeable.In America, where journalists take professional ethics more seriously, there would be resignations if a journalist plagiarised a government briefing wholesale. The substantive issue here is not whether the Indy is for or against a referendum, it is whether the Indy is a credible source of honest independent journalism, or a rag which reprints press releases uncritically. Which is it? Indy readers have a right to know if they are being peddled government spin as independent journalism on the front page.

Tim Yeo Does a Days Work

Guido has reflected on the high emission hypocrisy of Tim Yeo before. This week we read in the FT about him flying off for some golf. The article reveals that he actually went to the office on Monday, yes a whole day, before flying to Spain for another week of golf. Well done Tim…

"Queen" Brown at the Rugby

Last night the Rugby World Cup commentators said that in addition to Princes William and Harry, the Princess Royal was present “as the representative of the Queen”. After the final whistle, the trophy was presented by the French head of state Sarkozy accompanied by Mbeki, South Africa’s head of state, and Gordon Brown. Protocol-wise it should have been Anne.

What was Brown’s role at the rugby world cup final? Was he keen to get close to all those rugby heroes to bask in their reflected glory? Sports fans should note that the PM is a sporting Jonah; Scotland lost the the soccer match he attended as PM, England lost to Germany the match he attended with Merkel and the English rugby team suffered his curse last night.

The Springboks carried Mbeki aloft as they celebrated, if England had won could you imagine Jonny and the boys carrying our bottler-in-chief on high?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Indy-gate : Fax Over A Press Release -If It Is True, We’ll Put It On the Front Page

The Indy’s editor-in-chief, Simon Kelner has finally given a comment to the Guardian :

“What we printed was a collection of facts, which our political editor independently verified. The source doesn’t really make a material difference. What matters is whether those facts are accurate or not. And no one, as far as I can see, is doubting the truth of what we printed.”

Neil O’Brien, who spotted Indy-gate, is not so sure about the somewhat partial “facts”. The only sure fact is that a government press release was presented to Indy readers as original journalism. It wasn’t original, it wasn’t journalism. It was almost word-for-word a reprint of a government briefing.

The paper’s staff might be embarrassed, but Kelner should be ashamed – he has discredited the name “The Independent”.


Seen Elsewhere

Labour’s Plan to Attack Part-Time Boris | Standard
Ex-Sun Hack Cleared After 582 Days on Bail | MediaGuido
11 Times Boris Denied He Would Stand for Parliament | Buzzfeed
Attacking UKIP’s Posters is Counter-Productive | Guardian
Sarkozy Tried it on With Hollande’s Ex | Times
Another Spare Room Subsidy Cut Success | Harry Phibbs
Rich Now Have Less Leisure Than Poor | Economist
UKIP’s Immigration Policy Promotes Migrant Entrepreneurs | Breitbart
Another Feminist Lecture | Laura Perrins
UKIP Posters Bad Economics But Good Politics | James Delingpole
Tories Losing to UKIP in Scotland | ConHome


new-advert
Guido-hot-button (1) Guido-hot-button (1)


A confused Nick Griffin says Nigel Farage is a shill for the City, forgetting that City banks want to stay in the EU:

“Farage is a snake oil salesman, but a very good one. His supposed anti-immigration stance is all smoke and mirrors, as is his carefully cultivated image as a ‘man of the people’. The truth is that UKIP is a pro-immigration party that exists to lobby for the interests of the City of London.”



Alexrod says:

It’s money innit.


Tip off Guido
Web Guido's Archives

Subscribe me to:






RSS


AddThis Feed Button
Archive


Labels
Guido Reads