Tuesday, September 10, 2013

WATCH: Psycho Huhne Newsnight Interview in Full

Over at the Guardian’s broadcast arm, Ian Katz has given increasingly unhinged criminal homewrecker Chris Huhne free rein on Newsnight. It is definitely worth watching in full:

Let it go Chris, it’s over…

Via the appropriately named @liarpoliticians.

Monday, September 9, 2013

New Plan B: Re-Write History

A rather kind piece on the BBC website from Stephanie Flanders about how Ed Balls will react to Osborne’s speech. She helpfully lists possible lines for the Shadow Chancellor:

“In reply, Mr Balls will say:

1. He never said that austerity was the only thing holding back the recovery
2. Nor did he say that recovery was impossible without Plan B, though observers would say he came pretty close”
3. There have been many factors holding back growth since 2010, including the eurozone crisis.”

Really? Balls may well say that, but that does not mean it is true.

Firstly Balls told the BBC in May of this year that the Osborne was sticking to a plan that “isn’t balanced, which is a drag on growth, which has choked off recovery in my view.” Which sounds a lot like austerity holding back the recovery.

Secondly, Balls told the Commons in January 2011 that he believed the Prime Minister ‘is going too far and too fast with deficit reduction and that that is what is inhibiting growth in this country’. Yet growth has come without Balls’ Plan B for slower defect reduction.

Thirdly, Balls wrote in the Mirror in January 2012 that “now it’s the Eurozone crisis – why do the Tories never take the blame? Cameron and Osborne have only themselves to blame for what has happened on their watch.” So when it’s going badly the Tories can’t blame the Eurozone, yet when it’s going well, he can? 

Balls made these claims over and over again for three years, yet somehow Stephanie is giving him wriggle room. Guido didn’t realise that they were still friends withbenefits…

Pay-Offs are Nice Distraction for Mark Thompson
MPs Must Use Chance Today To Seek Savile Truth

Today is a bad day for Chris Patten, yet ex-BBC chief Mark Thompson must be slight relieved that his bust-up with the BBC Trust Chairman has been distracting attention from the far more serious allegations he faces regarding the Jimmy Savile scandal. It was Thompson that stirred this row up. While the pay-off story is outrageous, what of the other mysteries looming over Thompson?

Helen Boaden, one of Thompson’s closest former allies, says she informed Thompson in December 2011 that Savile had been accused of paedophilia by reporters from Newsnight. This is relevant because tribute programmes to Savile were broadcast by the BBC after Newsnight’s Savile investigation had been axed in mysterious circumstances. Thompson could have stopped these programmes, though that would have been very expensive…

Thompson denies Boaden’s claim, but as viewers of Channel Four News on Friday night saw, when he was doorstepped by Miles Goslett in New York, Thompson was visibly uncomfortable answering questions about Savile. Guido first linked Thompson to the Savile scandal in February 2012, and internal emails show our post was picked up by many of Thompson’s colleagues at the BBC.

Meanwhile, this morning’s Times reports that Patten is now considering new evidence about Thompson on the Savile scandal which threatens to do Thompson’s reputation serious harm. Sources say Thompson, now CEO of the New York Times, is far more concerned by this than the pay-off scandal. Given how hard it has been to drag Thompson back across the pond in order to face questioning on anything, MPs lining up to scrutinise him this afternoon must ask him about Savile, as well as about those dodgy pay-offs.

Friday, September 6, 2013

WATCH: Battle of the Briefing Emails

The Telegraph’s Ben Brogan takes Adam Fleming through his morning briefing on the Daily Politics:

Before taking him to school:

Busy morning!

Mark Thompson Fingers Chris Patten

Looks like Mark Thompson is going to make a good go of bringing everyone else down with him when he gives evidence to the Public Accounts Committee on Monday. Thompson is accusing Chris Patten, chairman of the BBC Trust, of misleading parliament:

“The picture painted for the PAC by the BBC Trust witnesses on 10 July 2013 was – in addition to specific untruths and inaccuracies – fundamentally misleading about the extent of Trust knowledge and involvement. The BBC Trust witnesses strove repeatedly to play down the significance of the two documents which had emerged at that time, and to make misleading and inaccurate statements, all of which served to minimise and draw attention away from the Trust’s own knowledge and involvement.”

Specifically, this focuses on Patten’s claim he did not know anything about the huge payouts awarded to two BBC executives. Thompson says he is lying:

“In fact, Lord Patten was himself fully briefed, in writing as well as orally, about the Mark Byford and Sharon Baylay settlements soon after his arrival as chairman in 2011.”

Which would be a resigning issue if proven. Tory MP Rob Wilson told Guido last night:

“It is not altogether surprising that Mark Thompson and Chris Patten are fighting like ferrets in a sack. As the light has been shone into the dark corners of the BBC, people with questions to answer have began to mount campaigns to save their own skin. They’ve been caught out and it’s now become every senior executive for himself at the BBC, whether a past D-G or a current chairman of the BBC Trust. It’s all deeply disappointing and embarrassing but altogether predictable.”

Of course Thompson knows all about telling select committees one thing when the opposite turns out to be true

Monday, September 2, 2013

Ex-Sindy Editor John Mullin to Head BBC Indy Ref Coverage

The man in charge of the BBC’s Scottish referendum coverage will be former Independent on Sunday editor John Mullin.

Big move…

Meanwhile Tony Blair’s former political spokesperson Godric Smith has been appointed by James Purnell as a £100,000-a-year Beeb PR adviser. A Blairite BBC takeover…

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Beeb Tries to Trip Up Tory Councillors

Eccentric Conservative councillors are a vital source of silly season copy for any hack, evidently something not lost on the BBC Sunday Politics team this week. Worth noting that they are spending licence fee payers’ cash on a ComRes poll of Tory councillors which even the staunchest Beeb defender would concede are designed to embarrass the party. The questions include:

  • asking if they think “climate change is not happening”
  • whether “Immigration has had a negative impact on Britain”
  • whether “legalising gay marriage will cost my party more votes than it gains at the next Election”
  • whether they support a ban on the burkha
  • whether Cameron and Osborne are “arrogant”
  • whether they support an electoral pact with UKIP

Of course those taking part in the poll have every opportunity to answer otherwise, nonetheless it is certainly an interesting choice of question topics from the BBC. No doubt they will also be asking Labour councillors specifically-designed awkward questions in the name of impartiality…

UPDATE: A Labour councillor gets in touch to tell Guido his party’s questions are on approval of Miliband and Balls and union links.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

UKIP Seek to End Criminal Prosecutions For Licence Fee Rebels

Immature petty squabbling aside, UKIP are back to doing what they do best this afternoon. Following this morning’s revelation that 155,000 people were criminalised last year for not paying the licence fee, the party is pushing its proposal in the Lords that the telly tax moves from a criminal to a civil jurisdiction. Which would be a start…

155,000 People Criminalised By BBC Last Year

Cracking little find in City AM today. 155,000 people were criminalised by the BBC last year over licence fee offences. That is 12% of all criminal prosecutions in the UK. If you don’t pay you end up with a fine of £1,000 or even a jail sentence. The TV poll tax is a protection racket pure and simple…

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Is Mark Thompson Cracking Up?

It would seem former BBC Director General Mark Thompson, who is now the boss of the New York Times, is not looking forward to his upcoming appearance before Parliament. A witness tells the New York Post’s Page Six:

“I saw a cameraman and a reporter speaking to Thompson outside his apartment before rush hour,” says the source. “He was tense and angry and was talking very loudly. They followed him around the corner and he lost his temper and shouted at them. It really caused a scene.” The source added, “Someone needs to tell him that we can do without this kind of scene happening in the neighborhood.”

Apparently the team from Channel Four were asking the expat about Savile. Add to that the pay-off scandal and you can understand why Thompson is a little tetchy…

Seen Elsewhere

A Dozen Reasons to Be Cheerful | John McTernan
Political Bloggers Are Equal Opportunities Attackers | ConHome
Michael Gove Should Resign | Conservative Women
Sarah Wollaston’s Naming and Shaming of Bloggers | LibDemVoice
Fraser Nelson: Put Your Money on Ed Miliband to Win | Guardian
Guido Fawkes is Too Aggressive | The Times
Ditch Tobacco Plain Packaging | Grassroots Conservatives
What Farage, Boris and Rob Ford Have in Common | William Walter
Labour Spell New Adviser’s Name Wrong | ITV
Dave Stung by Jellyfish | Sun
City Minister’s Inheritance Tax Dodging Trusts | Indy

Guido-hot-button (1) Guido-hot-button (1)

Rod Liddle on the loony UN sexism special rapporteur:

“There is more sexism in Britain than in any other country in the world, according to a mad woman who has been sent here by the United Nations.

Rashida Manjoo is a part-time professor of law at Cape Town University in the totally non-sexist country of South Africa (otherwise known as Rape Capital Of The World).

Mrs Magoo has been wandering around with her notebook and is appalled by the sexist “boys’ club” culture here, apparently.

I don’t doubt we still have sexism in the UK. But is it worse than in, say, Saudi Arabia, d’you think, honey-lamb? Or about 175 other countries? Get a grip, you doolally old bat.”

orkneylad says:

What’s he been doing FFS, mining bitcoins?

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