Barclays Said to Want £250 Million for the Telegraph

barclays

A rumour is going round the Telegraph newsroom that the paper is on the block for £250 million – though the mood of the Barclay brothers on this is said to be variable – they bought the group for £665 million in 2004. Multiple Telegraph sources have independently approached Guido this afternoon saying the Barclays are considering selling. Separately Guido understands that two consortia are circling…

UPDATE: A spokesman for the Barclays gets in touch with the same statement they sent out the last time these rumours circulated: “There are no plans to sell Telegraph Media Group or any part of it and there never have been.”

Standpoint Magazine Searching for Patron

standpoint

Standpoint, the highbrow conservative monthly magazine edited by Daniel Johnson, is doing well by most indicators – the last two issues were their best-selling yet and their subscription base is rising month upon month. Like most highbrow publications it is not profitable.

Rival progressive magazine Prospect was set up as a for-profit publication yet never made a profit. It has now been taken over by the Resolution Foundation of Sir Clive Cowdery, so has a charitable structure. The Resolution Foundation/Trust has a £50 million endowment from Cowdery. The London Review of Books loses about £3 million per year – this is met through loans from trusts connected to its editor Mary Kay Wilmers and her brother. The Literary Review also has a very wealthy editor – Nancy Sladek – who subsidises it. Granta has an editor (and owner), Sigrid Rausing who is a billionaire. Despite progressive publications having a low circulation they are well funded…

The way Standpoint is structured is that it is owned and published – via a subsidiary – by the Social Affairs Unit, a UK registered charity. Standpoint has been struggling financially for some time. Their main patron has been reducing his support. He will have given the magazine £150,000 this year though there will be no support next year. Last year they raised £250,000 from other patrons, to continue during 2017 they will need to find an additional £250,000 in support/pledges of support over the next month – or sell the magazine. If they don’t do either they will likely fold, which will mean in the age of Alt-Right fake news the conservative cause will have lost a cultured voice…

Porno Perry and the Bonkers Age Verification Bill

perry

The government’s Digital Economy Bill seeking to block access to porn sites with no age verification is shoddy for a long list of reasons. First, how do they decide what to block? Twitter for example contains a huge amount of immediately accessible porn, will the whole social network be blocked? The BBFC, who usually provide classifications for films, will have to employ an army of porn-watchers to determine what is and isn’t blockable. On a practical level, it is impossible to police all 800 million or so porn sites in the world.

Then there are the age restrictions themselves. The government plan is to force viewers to hand over credit card or passport details. Given the stories about hacking we have seen over the last few years, who would share their personal information with some porn baron? Why is the government allowing the potential for people’s names to be forever linked in online databases to their entire porn viewing history? What happens when Britons’ personal porn data is hacked, as it inevitably will be at some point?

DCMS want to issue fines of up to £250,000 to porn sites which refuse to implement age verification. Yet only 7% of porn on the internet is hosted in the UK – 93% of sites hosting porn would remain untouchable. And what’s to stop the current British porn sites moving their servers offshore? Claire Perry has tabled an amendment – backed by lobbyists at Christian Action – to ban foreign sites as well.  The government has the ability to do that, but savvy users can simply use a VPN to log on in seconds. Not for the first time, Porno Perry does not understand the internet

Most importantly, all this forgets one very simple rule: No piece of legislation will ever be invented that can prevent teenage boys from finding and looking at pictures of naked women. Now, about those donkeys

Deloitte Took €24 Million From EU Last Year

deloitte-eu-millions

According to Civitas research fellow Christian Stensrud, Deloitte, the firm responsible for last week’s famous ‘leaked’ memo, took at least €24 million from the EU in 2015. The US company was involved in €45 million worth of EU auditing and consultancy last year and Stensrud’s number-crunching reveals at least €24 million of this went straight to the firm. During the referendum campaign David Sproul, chief executive of Deloitte in the UK, warned of the “unsettling effect” that the vote was having on business and the firm claimed Whitehall needed to hire 30,000 extra civil servants to cope with Brexit. Shrinking EU means somebody needs a new revenue stream…

Blairite Momentum Coming?

blair

Tony Blair tells the New Statesman “I can’t come into front-line politics. There’s just too much hostility, and also there are elements of the media who would literally move to destroy mode if I tried to do that”. So what is he up to? Blair says he plans to use technology to “build a platform” that will create a forum for debate without abuse. Less likely that this is some naff social network idea – BlairBook or Tonblr? – more likely he is talking about a Blairite version of Momentum.

“One advantage of today’s social media is that you can build networks. Movements can begin at scale and build speed quickly. You’re not going to relate the answers to the challenges that we face by a Twitter exchange, so what I’m interested in doing is asking: what are the types of ideas that we should be taking forward? How do we provide a service to people who are in the front line of politics, so that we can provide some thinking and some ideas?”

Blair says there are millions of “politically homeless” people in Britain, he wants his new “platform” to represent the Europhile, metropolitan, Blairite to LibDemmy liberal elite. Blair’s organisation has already hired former Mandy SpAd Patrick Loughran and Scottish Labour loser Jim Murphy, and he has been in talks with Nick Clegg. Problem for Tony, as he recognises, is the political forces that exist today are very different to when he was winner…

Amy Lame is Sorry, Not Sorry

khan22

City AM reports that Sadiq Khan’s Twitter troll aide has written to the leaders of six Tory councils apologising for calling Ruth Davidson scum, George Osborne a “c*nt” and celebrating Thatcher’s death. Since Lame’s only public response to the row has been to ‘like’ tweets supporting her unhinged rants, you’ll be forgiven for not believing her apology is genuine.

Still no explanation from Khan or Lame about her tax arrangements, which are highly abnormal for a public official…

More Fake News from The Times

farage-usa

The Times today has another exclusive which is likely to remain exclusive. They claim Nigel Farage is planning to abandon it in favour of a new life in the United States. Nigel says it is “utter nonsense”.

This is of a pattern, in the last week alone we have had; the “Deloitte Cabinet Brexit Memo” that turned out to be nothing of the sort, the Whitehall think tank that The Times reported as warning Brexit was an “existential threat” that angrily denied making the warning. The thread that ties all this lapsing into fake news is that they are anti-Brexit and UKIP.

There is a difference between having news with views, readers can deal with a publication having a slant, most manifestly do even if they claim to be independent. In a free society The Times is entitled to be Europhile, just as it was entitled to be pro-appeasement in the 1930s. The pattern of recent fake news from the paper is of a kind that suggests journalists are under pressure from the editor to create stories that fit the agenda. If they fall apart on publication the fake news isn’t advancing the editor’s agenda, it is just damaging the paper’s reputation…

OBR Debunks Remain Predictions on Growth, Unemployment

obr

Worth pointing out that yesterday’s OBR forecast comprehensively debunked several of the key claims made by the Remain campaign. During the referendum Osborne and the Treasury told voters 500,000 jobs would be lost in the aftermath of the Brexit vote. The OBR’s numbers are hugely more optimistic, they say unemployment will only go up by 100,000 by 2020 and that employment will rise too: 500,000 more jobs will be created. During the referendum the Treasury forecast a Leave vote to cause growth to plummet to -0.2% in 2017, and there to be a recession. The forecast is now +1.4% and no recession. What’s more, Project Fear’s threats that Brexit would cause permanently lower growth have been rubbished – the rate of growth will return to the long run average by 2019 say the OBR. Remember this when Remainers claim they told you so…

Gove Trousers £150,000 For Times Column

gove

Michael Gove is another who’s coining it now his political ambitions are on hold. The Gover is making a cool £150,000-a-year for his new column at the Times, which will no doubt delight some lowly reporters on the paper. It is a good column that’s always worth reading and is a fount of gossip and mischief. Still not earning him as much as Boris got at the Telegraph though. Gove is also writing a book, trousering a £17,500 advance from Harper Collins last month. He says it’s “impossible to calculate” how long it will take him to write. The subject is a mystery…

Osborne Making As Much as a Premier League Footballer

osborne

George Osborne might have been standing at the despatch box yesterday as Chancellor on a meagre £141,000-a-year. Instead, he’s trousered £320,000 for speeches to various bankers in the last two months alone. Pro rata that’s nearly £2 million a year, £40,000-a-week, over £5,500-a-day. More than many Premier League footballers make, and around the same salary earned by Leicester City’s champions Riyad Mahrez, Wes Morgan and Danny Drinkwater last season… 

Osborne made £70,000 speaking to the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association in Washington, as well as nearly £30,000 for a speech at Stanford University. JP Morgan paid him £81,000 and £61,000 for two speeches in New York. Then three weeks ago Osborne was paid £80,000 by Palmex Derivatives. He could’ve been slumming it in Downing Street, instead he’s earned more in two months than the average Briton does in 12 years…

Farage Speech at the Ritz

Nigel Farage recounts the year of the revolution at his victory party at the Ritz…

When Tory Treasury Used to Mock More Borrowing…

tory-t

These tweets mocking Labour for wanting to borrow more and not balance the books were sent by the Tory Treasury team just last year…

Richmond LibDem Reveals Pro-Heathrow Reading Habits

lib-dem-heathrow-shelfie

The LibDem candidate in Richmond has given a shocker of an interview to the Standard, offering a highly implausible explanation for her Brexit flip-flop and bizarrely blaming an aide for another disastrous interview in which she attacked Zac Goldsmith. Sarah Olney also posed for a picture in front of her bookshelf, awkwardly revealing her pro-Heathrow expansion reading habits. Heathrow’s Terminal 5 – History in the Making describes it as “an iconic piece on infrastructure, which is a tribute to the best of the world’s design and engineering.” Richmond LibDems have been bigging up Olney’s anti-Heathrow expansion credentials, despite the fact her husband helped build Terminal 5. She finished her Standard interview by admitting: “If I don’t win, I’ve got a nice house, a great husband, lovely children and a good job to go back to.” nice house paid for by her great husband’s work for Heathrow…

PMQs / Autumn Statement Sketch Double Bill

pmq-autumn-statement

Before we get to the disaster that was the Autumn Statement, first PMQs. Not one to break with tradition, Jeremy Corbyn continued to question the Prime Minister in the manner of a tramp freshly whisked out of the gutter, chucked into a suit and given a hastily cobbled together sheet to read from. Barely glancing up from his notes while rattling off a list of uninspiring figures, the Labour leader happily wasted all his questions on the NHS, briefly pausing to cast stern looks of reproach across the house. Although in retrospect he may have just been stopping to wonder where his next hot dinner was coming from.

Of course for Corbyn the health service is best understood not as a public service but a deity: divine, unimpeachable, the ultimate source of good and entirely above criticism. Such religious fervour naturally does not lend itself to irony, and so a particular highlight today was his concern about “bed blocking”. This is when an ill person should be discharged but due to poor administrative oversight they end up languishing in an entirely inappropriate position. Sound familiar?

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Labour Rising Star Falls to Earth

Rebecca Long-Bailey is the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, tipped as a Corbynista rising star and protege of John McDonnell. On the Daily Politics today, Long-Bailey had no idea whether Labour wanted to stay in the single market, then claimed they wanted to stay in the customs union. When it was pointed out this means Britain would not be able to make new trade deals with other countries, Long-Bailey claimed it might be possible. It is not. She then could not name any country with a “zero percent deficit”. No idea what she is talking about, completely out of her depth, a joke that she is seen as a talent by Labour.

Vid via Brexit Central

Hammond’s £4 Billion Tax Bombshell

tax

It isn’t just debt and borrowing that are going up, Hammond has stealthily raised taxes too. Insurance Premium Tax is being hiked from 10% to 12% from next June, a 100% increase compared with November 2015. It was just 5% when the Tories got into power.[…] Read the rest

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