Friday, July 18, 2014

BBC Justifies Telly Poll Tax By Claiming Poor Watch More TV

The BBC claims that the licence fee poll tax is justified because poor people watch more television than better off households. With Director General Tony Hall appearing in front of the DCMS select committee this week, the Beeb’s Director of Policy James Heath blogged that a flat rate licence fee is fair on the poor because they watch so much TV:

“The argument for a uniform fee is that there is a direct link between the level of the service received by everyone, and the level of the charge made on everyone. While the licence fee does constitute a higher proportion of lower households’ expenditure, these households also consume more BBC TV than richer households.  As a proportion of household spending, the licence fee is lower than expenditure on many other household items, including transport services, communications, and fuel. Over the last five years the cost of many household items has gone up significantly in real terms while the cost of the licence fee has declined. The licence free represents a very small percentage of household expenditure – even for the lowest income decile, on average, the licence fee is around 1 percent of household spending.”

Dismissing people on a low incomes as a bunch of idle, square-eyed couch potatoes hardly seems in keeping with the liberal, progressive values of Aunty Beeb. If a right-winger patronised less well-off people by telling them a flat tax was value for money because they spend so much time in front of the telly, the Today programme would be in uproar…

SPEAKER WATCH: Runners and Riders for Clerk of the House

The decision on the new Clerk is expected soon. It’s down to three candidates: two women and the next-senior clerk David Natzler.

The pale male is the egregiously superior candidate. Natzler is qualified in procedure, experienced in the intricacies and mysteries of the House. His main liability? Apart from the most unfortunate name in the parliamentary manifest, he’s an old Etonian.

The Speaker has stacked the selection panel to put his preferred candidate in. Speaker Watch believes this to be one Carol Mills, an Australian, currently the parliamentary Head of Administration in Canberra.

However, the House wants Natzler and that may force the Speaker’s hand.

Russia Today Journalist Sensationally Resigns Over Putin “Lies”

Sara Firth, a British journalist at Russia Today, has confirmed to MediaGuido that she today resigned in protest at the channel’s coverage of the Ukraine plane crash.

RT is funded by the Kremlin…

UPDATE: Press Gazette has these quotes from Firth:

“Yesterday when the story broke you get the kick in your stomach when you’re going to get the facts and it’s this huge story. And I walked into the newsroom and they were running an eye-witness account of God-knows who the person was blaming the Ukrainian government, and it is such a volatile situation. I said [in a previous interview], if I was asked to burn the facts and not tell the truth I’d be a goner, and so I’m gone… it’s the level of disrespect for the facts that really bugs me. And so I made my decision yesterday when we started covering the story and this morning woke up and I just knew that I can’t go back in any more. The thing is once I made the decision, you have to be honest with yourself and it’s so difficult…. Once you start telling the truth it’s brutal.”

Friday Caption Contest (Silent But Deadly Edition)

Entries in the comments please…

Va Bene! Silvio Acquitted

The Italian appeals court has today acquitted Silvio Berlusconi in his underage prostitution “Rubygate” trial. He had been sentenced to seven years behind bars but now walks free. Salute!

UPDATE: His ban on holding public office has also been overturned, reports AP. Time for a comeback?

WATCH: Cameron Statement on Ukraine Plane Crash

Via Sky/ITV.

PM’s Aide Royally Embarrassed By Fashion Faux Pas

Guido will spare his blushes by not naming the PM’s key aide who turned up at a Buckingham Palace dinner straight from the office. He immediately realised he’d failed to read the invitation as he joined the other guests who were dressed for dinner in black-tie. To his relief he spotted someone else also in a suit, but at that very moment Prince Philip walked in and turned to the incorrectly dressed pair. The adviser tried to make light of his sartorial mistake, at which point Prince Philip boomed, “Who the bloody hell comes to dinner in a suit?” Before an aide diplomatically shuffled the Prince on…

Sacked O-Patz Trolls Climate Change Campaigners
Former Environment Secretary to Deliver GWPF Annual Lecture

It didn’t take long for Owen Paterson to take advantage of being freed from the shackles of high office. The axed Environment Secretary is to deliver this year’s annual lecture at the Global Warming Policy Foundation, the climate sceptic group and scourge of lefty climate change activists chaired by Nigel Lawson. One for the diary…

Unions Not the Only Ones Who Need a Majority

Labour sources were last night unconcerned by the Tories’ announcement that “the next Conservative government” will introduce a 50% threshold for strikes. Frankie Maude has pledged to force unions to secure a “double majority” for strikes to be legal, a majority of members and a majority in favour of industrial action. On the face of it this seems another welcome trade union reform by Maude’s Cabinet Office, though if it is conditional on the almost impossible event of the Tories winning a majority next year then it is little more than window-dressing. As the Telegraph’s Polling Observatory shows today, it will take a small miracle for the Tories to do so. So far the LibDems have resisted union reform this time round. If the Tories are serious, this needs to be a red line in coalition negotiations after the election…

Thursday, July 17, 2014

This Is How You Do It, Mr Mitchell

The Downing Street ducklings are fast becoming Guido’s favourite addition to the catwalk. 

Pic via Political Pictures

Seen Elsewhere

All the Single Ladies (And Lords) | Bloomberg
How Ruffley’s Resignation Became Inevitable | ConservativeHome
We Need a Recall Bill Now | Speccie
Left-Wing Anti-Semitism is Nothing New | Dan Hannan
Coe Pulls Out of BBC Trust Race | Mail
It’s Not How You Look, Ed. It’s How You Think | Hugo Rifkind
Mehdi Hasan’s Israel Spin Debunked | Breitbart
Labour’s Muddled Cam Attacks | Janan Ganesh
Ed’s Policies are a Pile of Fudge | Damian McBride
What Ruffley Standing Down Tells Us About Gove | James Forsyth
Tories Say They Could Sack Ruffley | Buzzfeed


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Damian McBride writes in the epilogue to his memoir…

“At the time of writing, nine months from the election, I’ve concluded that Labour currently has no positive messages to communicate to anyone about why they should vote for the party, no policies which will persuade them, and is being run in a totally dysfunctional way.”



Christie Malry @fcablog

Ed Miliband does photo oops, not photo ops


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