Tuesday, April 2, 2013

RIP Political Scrapbook

10 days, zero posts; there is no sign of life over at Britain’s leading left-wing blog. Not even – if their lefty pals are to be believed – the death of the welfare state and the privatisation of the NHS could revive Political Scrapbook. Nor could IDS’ £53 petition or Osborne’s dodgy figures wake them from their blogging coma. The Scrapbook twitter account, posting tweets from “the whole Scrapbook team”, has lain dormant for over a week. Rest in peace…

UPDATE:

Monday, March 25, 2013

12 Things Buzzfeed Need to Know About the British Blogosphere

Guido would like to welcome BuzzFeed to the UK online scene. They’ve had a highly prolific first day and are pressing the right buttons with their booze up tonight. Guido thought he would share with them some top tips for surviving the British blogosphere:

  • Iain Dale invented the online list format in Britain before you.
  • Don’t worry about HuffPo over here, they couldn’t break a window.
  • Waking up before lunch is not a necessity, see Political Scrapbook.
  • The rate you should charge for #SkyPapers is £300.
  • It’s very important to Paul Waugh that he gets credited for any story, pun or hashtag.
  • SideBoob stories are an admission of creative failure.
  • Take the phrase evidence based blogging with a pinch of salt.
  • If the New Statesman’s Alex Hern sends you another job application, just send him back this:

  • “Dr” Eoin Clarke writes about healthcare a lot but ignore him because he is not a doctor and he is always wrong.
  • We recommend a flame war with Derek Draper.
  • Meet Larry and Freya. You’ll like these two.

And finally…

The number one rule:

You’re either in front of Guido, or behind…

Lords Vote on Amendments As Press Charter Unravelling

Blog OffHow bad is it for the Hacked Off drafted Royal Charter’s prospects?

  • Lebedev, the owner of The Indy, the only paper with an editor keen on the press control Royal Charter, has said it is a bad idea.
  • Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger is suggesting delaying it all for a year.
  • The Economist has joined the Speccie, Staggers and Private Eye in shunning the new system.
  • Most of the big newspaper groups are looking less and less likely to go along with things as they stand.
  • Editors of local papers are livid that they will be brought into this regulatory quango when they are already under financial pressure.
  • The former campaign manager for Hacked Off has disowned the campaign –  “I wanted reform that understood the press, but some of them wanted reform that punished the press. They became more militant, more politically aggressive and I felt uncomfortable with it.”
  • Lawyers say the exemplary damages provision is in breach of Article 10 of the ECHR.
  • Bloggers from across the spectrum have united against the ill thought provisions.
  • Hacked Off now say that blog regulation was never their intention.*
  • Over the weekend there were tri-party talks to try and figure out how to exempt blogs – which Leveson never intended to regulate.

Still the political class may still ram it through the Lords this afternoon…

Lord Lucas has a sensible amendment to exempt blogs and small publishing enterprises:

LORD LUCAS

131C  At end insert— “Other publishers

9) A publisher who focuses on a specific locality or region and only reports national issues on an incidental basis that is relevant to such local or regional matters.”

131D  At end insert—  10) A publisher who operates as a non-charitable campaigning organisation and is publishing material incidental to the organisation’s aims and objectives.”

131E At end insert—  11 ) A publisher who does not exceed the definition of a small or medium- sized enterprise as defined in sections 382 and 465 of the Companies Act 2006.”

Just because the amendments are sensible and widely supported doesn’t mean they will pass…

*Evan Harris told the Open Rights Group that he wanted to see Guido regulated. Can’t imagine why…

Friday, March 22, 2013

Lord Lucas Amendments in Full

Here are Lord Lucas’ three amendments to the Crime and Courts bill:

blogoff“A publisher who focuses on a specific locality or region and only reports national issues on an incidental basis that is relevant to such local or regional matters.

A publisher who operates as a non-charitable campaigning organisation and is publishing material incidental to the organisation’s aims and objectives.

A publisher who does not exceed the definition of a small or medium-sized enterprise as defined in Section 382 and 465 Companies Act 2006.”

Here we go…

Via @jimwaterson

Breaking: + + + Amendment to Protect Bloggers Put Down + + +

blogoffWith only a few hours to go before the 3 pm deadline Guido is hearing that Lord Lucas is putting down an amendment to exclude small independent bloggers from the regulatory burden of the Royal Charter. The amendment is based on the wording proposed by BigBrotherWatch (see here).

The aim is to insert a new Schedule into the Crime and Courts Bill:

‘Exclusions from definition of “relevant publisher”

“A publisher who does not exceed the definition of a small or medium-sized enterprise as defined in Section 382 and 465 Companies Act 2006.”

This effectively takes out all small independent bloggers and re-calibrates the legislation to only cover what Tom Watson rightly calls “Big Media”. Hopefully this will command cross-party support…

Media Bitch Fight: Scrapbook v HuffPo

With the future of the blogosphere at stake today, Guido takes absolutely no pleasure in seeing two old friends turn on each other:

Roll on 3pm

Tom Watson Backs Blog Off

There is now cross-party unity condemning the Hacked Off drafted attempt to regulate the blogosphere, as Tom Watson backs the Blog Off campaign against control of the internet:

“It is clear to all but the very stupid that the new system should only apply to big media -with print operations that might also have a digital presence. Maria Miller should urgently clarify how this will be achieved.”

As one of the guilty men leading the charge against the free press, it’s better late than never.

Good to have a “propa blogger” on board…

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hacked Off Faces Backlash from Thousands of Bloggers
Effort to Exclude Small Enterprises from “Relevant Publisher”

blogoffLast night’s hasty launch of the Blog Off campaign for a free and unregulated blogosphere has seen over 2,400 people sign the petition telling Hugh Grant and Evan Harris where to put their regulations. Hacked Off are revising their hitherto arrogant stance and furiously back peddling this afternoon as the legislation they advocated has backfired after UK bloggers realised they would be pushed into costly and cumbersome regulatory organisations. Hugh Grant has just tweeted a link to a post on the Hacked Off website claiming that the proposals have not been endorsed by them:

“They have not been endorsed in any way by Hacked Off. On the contrary, at the weekend we urged the three parties not to approve them finally there and then, but to leave time for them to be improved. The parties agreed to this. For what it is worth, we believe the potential impact on bloggers and small publishers was unforeseen – an accident in the drafting – and we know of no reason why politicians might resist efforts to put things right.”

Frankly this is nonsense. If it were not for Hacked Off’s meddling there would be no danger of bloggers facing this vain attempt at regulation. Counter lobby Blog Off, backed by BigBrotherWatch, are urgently looking for a Peer willing to table an amendment by 3 p.m. tomorrow to protect independent bloggers. If you can help, email here.

Blog Off are looking to table an amendment that inserts into the Crime and Courts Bill a clause excluding from the definition of “revelant publisher” any enterprise that meets the definition of a small or medium sized enterprise as defined in Sections 382 and 465 Companies Act 2006.

There is, to coin a phrase, less than 24 hours to save the independent blogosphere…

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Guido’s Warning to Liberal & Progressive Bloggers:
Royal Charter Aims for Tabloids and Guido, It’ll Get You Too

One thing that surprises Guido is that his comrades in the liberal, progressive blogosphere have seemingly not noticed that the proposed Royal Charter aims to control and regulate them as well as the tabloids.

Schedule 4, Point 1 of both the government and the opposition’s versions of the Royal Charter will bring blogs under the regulator’s control:

“relevant publisher” means a person (other than a broadcaster) who publishes in the United Kingdom: a. a newspaper or magazine containing news-related material, or b. a website containing news-related material (whether or not related to a newspaper or magazine)”

Now the What about Guido?” question has been answered by Maria Miller to Harriet Harman’s satisfaction, Guido’s rival bloggers should pause before rejoicing. You will all be regulated as well. British bloggers will, if politicians get their way, no longer have unregulated free speech on the internet.

big-sister-maria-miller

So to all those in the progressive blogosphere who support regulating the freedom of the press, Guido poses this simple question: will you defy the new regulator or submit to that system of state control you support? If it goes through the fun will start when fractious bloggers start complaining about their rival’s falsehoods and demanding they print due prominence corrections. The chaos of every petty flame war on the internet spilling over into the new statutory-backed regulator’s complaint procedure system will paralyse it. Have Maria Miller and Harriet Harman thought this through?

To all those bloggers who support this press control Charter because they hate Murdoch and Dacre, Guido offers this cautionary counsel, remember that the new regulator will cover you as well. You will have all the expense and bureaucracy of compliance as Murdoch and Dacre face, without the means. Unless like Guido and the Spectator you plan to become media outlaws too…

Friday, February 15, 2013

Two Left Feet Hires Blunder Blogger

A big welcome to Left Foot Forward’s new associate editor James Bloodworth. Rather awkwardly for the new boy at the bankrupt blogging slave workhouse, just a few days in, he’s already had a nightmare. Here is what Bloodworth wrote earlier:

Just the two problems. Gordon abolished it. And Ed didn’t promise to scrap it, he said he would bring it back. It’s been updated since. Pretty basic stuff, you would have thought, for Britain’s self-proclaimed leading wonk website…

H/T @IainChapman

UPDATE: Talking of left wing people saying ridiculous things. Here is Laurie Penny on the “Nato” invasion of Iraq. And here is Tim Stanley beautifully skewering her piece.


Seen Elsewhere

What Will Happen if Scots Leave? | David Aaronovitch
Why Are Radicals Like Carswell Leaving Tories? | BBC
Danczuk: Rotherham Abuse Imported From Pakistan | Telegraph
Ashya King Case Shows How Authorities Get it Wrong | ConHome
The Carswell Show | Jon Craig
Cops Seized Journalist’s Phone to Out Whistleblower | Press Gazette
Chuka’s £2,500 Tax Avoidance Donation | Times
Another BBC Stitch Up? | David Keighley
Divided, Pessimistic Tories Expect Defeat | Alex Wickham
Labour Suspends Rotherham Council Members | Sky
PM Used Terror Crisis to Deflect From Carswell | Rachel Sylvester


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George Osborne rejects the Ice Bucket Challenge from Ed Balls:

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We also need Zil lanes.


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