Saturday, July 5, 2008

Pink ‘Un Euromania is Unhinged

Like many in the City, Guido reads the FT for the markets section and the excellent arts section. The political commentary however is often woeful – it is like the Indy in pink. This morning the leader castigates Cameron for a lack of hard policy positions. Fair enough. It also has this barking Europhile non-sequitur:

Mr Cameron has rightly said he wants to tackle global challenges, such as climate change and migration. To succeed, he must work closely with the European Union. This will be difficult if he is also pandering to the eurosceptic right of his party by pledging to pull out of the EU’s main centre-right grouping.

What difference does it make to global warming if the Euro-Tories agree their line with the French centre-right party or the Czech centre-right party? Mad.

Rupert Murdoch has bought the Wall Street Journal, if the European edition of the WSJ sources more editorial content locally, many in the City will switch, since the FT has already become the preferred journal of record for the Brussels bureaucracy, the WSJ could become the preferred reading of the Square Mile and the business community, which is overwhelmingly wary of Brussels. The FT’s centrist establishment tone alienates more readers than it pleases, many of whom feel they have to read the paper on sufferance. Somehow Guido doubts Murdoch’s WSJ will be Europhile…

UPDATE : ConservativeHome reminds us that Dan Hannan described the FT as the Eurocrats paper.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Bankrupting The Guardian

Guido has always believed that the nature of the statist BBC and the non-profit making culture of the Guardian encourages a statist and non-profit making culture to dominate the thinking of the political class. These two media organisations of course see themselves as providing intellectual and moral leadership. The knee jerk “government must do something” attitude of the two organisations supports the statist consensus. Breaking that consensus is an essential condition for the post-bureaucratic age.

Crucial to creating an enterprise culture and undoing the all-party, semi-socialist culture which prevails in Britain is shattering this media hegemony. Reducing the scope of the BBC is essential to this long term goal. The BBC is the primary reason Britain does not have a Silicon Valley culture, the multi-billion pound tax subsidy crowds out competition, undermines innovation and makes it impossible for rivals to compete profitably. The Tories are only tentatively thinking about “harm reduction” policies towards the BBC. The Guardian is far more vulnerable…

The Guardian is financed by a charitable trust (ironically taking advantage of tax exemptions) the two main sources of income supporting that trust are the profits from Auto Trader and the public sector advertising that fills page after page of the newspaper. One of the first thing the Tories should do in power is set up http://www.jobs.gov.uk. All available public sector positions would be listed there free of charge, this would save hundreds of millions in advertising costs for the taxpayer and deprive the Guardian of a critical revenue stream.

The second income stream has always been vulnerable to competition. Auto Trader profits have financially supported the salaries of the journalists who write environmentalist anti-car editorials in the Guardian. Now a group of former journalists from Autocar Magazine and Auto Express magazines have launched an online-only magazine Drivers-Republic.com. With a bit of luck it will be a deadly competitor to Auto Trader…

Without the taxpayer subsidy and the profits from Auto Trader, the Guardian could go the way of the Morning Star. Once it was deprived of subsidy, after the fall of the Soviet Union, it became an irrelevance.

UPDATE : Tim Montgomerie emails to tell me it is already Conservative Party policy to bankrupt the Guardian.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Exclusive : Indy Owner Profits from Mugabe Poster Advertising

The Indy on Sunday frontpages a tenuous story about MPs owning shares in companies like Barclays that do business in Zimbabwe. Hypocritically, the Indy’s parent company, Independent News & Media PLC, owns 100% of CCI, which according to the corporation’s own website “is the largest and fastest-growing outdoor advertising company in South Africa, with significant operations in Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.”

So the Indy’s owner actually made money from Mugabe’s poster advertising campaign for the election. Stick that on your front page…

UPDATE : A co-conspirator points out that Baroness Jay and Ken Clarke are non-execs on the board of INM plc. In Baroness Jay’s case it seems particularly difficult to reconcile her chairmanship of the Overseas Development Institute with personally profiting from the firm that profits from Mugabe’s election advertising campaigns.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Trouble at the Labourgraph

Today sees another round of sackings at the loss making Telegraph. Rumours abound that Heffer is off to the Daily Mail affronted by the spiritual decline of the paper – as well as an unsympathetic attitude to his hero Enoch Powell from the editor Will Lewis. The £10 million loss last year was they claim due to the move to the Victoria newsroom and the website’s multi-media revamp.
This year’s losses should be more limited – though the website is still not making money for anyone except ITN who supply content. Morale is low, even the Barclay Brother’s consigliere, Andrew Neil, was reported in the Indy on Sunday saying “The bloodletting at the Telegraph has gone on too long. After any takeover there is an element of blood on the carpet, but you have to go forward then and take your staff with you.” Admininstration staff on the foreign desk were fired Wednesday, 8 more staff hacks face the sack.

The paper’s editorial line is confusingly mixed, for a paper that was once considered the house paper of the Conservative Party it harbours a number of hacks who are determined enemies of Cameron. It is seeking to gain readers from the Daily Mail by emulating the Daily Mail. The only problem being the Mail does it so much better.

The other problem is the problem faced by all newspapers worldwide. Office based readers increasingly read their paper online and do not buy the inky dead tree version for the commute. They are also more promiscuous in their reading choices. The better the website, the less attractive the paper. Guido spoke last night at the journalist’s Frontline Club on a panel with digital hacks from the Press Gazette, Guardian and the Telegraph. As digerati they were a bit more clued up than most hacks – so they were very pessimistic. Guido of course cheerfully reminded them that he was the only one on the panel from a profitable publisher…

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Who’s Miserable Now?

Polly is moaning about the Daily Mail, The Sun and “the dominant voices of the blogosphere” being malicious pessimistic miserablists. Is she having a laugh?

Guido miserable? Has she seen the polls? Labour polling the worst since polling began, Gordon the most hated Prime Minister in history with the most negative ratings ever? If Quentin Letts and Richard Littlejohn fancy coming out to lunch we would probably all die laughing… (don’t get your hopes up Polly).

UPDATE : According to a co-conspirator Polly said on Radio 5 this morning that she earns £117,000 for her column.

Totalled

Blogging was light yesterday as it was a busy day for Guido. Met David Farrar of Kiwiblog fame. He is in London on a European pub tour for an IDU meeting in Paris, it ended up being a bit of an afternoon session in the sunshine down the pub. Went from there with Mike Smithson of PoliticalBetting and LabourHome’s Jag Singh to Iain Dale’s Total Politics launch party to see if Guido could drink the place out of Pimms. Cheers to Lord Ashcroft.

Got increasingly “tired” and incoherent as the night wore on. Everyone wanted to see the tag. Crowd was mainly media-political rather than politicians. Avoided Mark Oaten, argued with Angus MacNeil, congratulated Sunny Hundal on making Liberal Conspiracy work (was clearly more than merry by this point), harangued a certain former Newsnight producer, worried at how much weight Jon Craig has lost – he was delicately sipping a glass of champagne – on the way out Jonathan Isaby’s girlfriend told Guido to stop bullying him.

Total Politics bills itself as being positive about politics and politicians, as such it is aimed squarely at the political class. Which is very different from the way Guido takes aim at them…

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Case for Elite Politics and Not Listening to the People

Fresh from telling people that if only they were as clever as him they would vote for Ken Livingstone, Steve Richards has a pricelessly revealing piece in The Indy this morning. It reveals a core trait shared with many fellow pundits who are fully paid-up members of the political class – an elitist contempt for democracy.

Richards accepts that a referendum on Europe would be lost in Britain, he blames this rightly on “distant bureaucrats that run the EU, apparently incapable of producing documents that are comprehensible to voters. We cannot hold these officials to account if we do not know what they are doing or supposed to do.” Does he accept this signals that Europe needs to be reformed? No, it means a referendum should not be held.Bizarrely he goes on to argue that politicians “are so in touch with the mood of voters they are fearful of their own convictions… Party lines are already blurred because leaders fear the voters too much. If they became less neurotically attentive, politics would become more interesting and, I suspect, more progressive.” There we have it. In print. If only politicians ignored the voters, the policies he favours could be implemented. If only the voters weren’t in the way…

The arrogance and contempt for the will of the people that Steve Richards shows again is breath taking, he makes no bones about it, he wants a progressive tyranny run by people who think like him. He knows the voters do not want the same, so he thinks politicians should ignore the voters. He laments that this is “unfashionable”, on the contrary, it remains a core belief of many members of the political class in the Westminster Village and in Brussels. Is it any surprise that an anti-politics culture is growing as people and politicians become disengaged?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Online Market Share and Mind Share Means Profit Share

Guido gets asked to speak at more and more dead-tree-press industry events, the stump speech has changed over the last year or so, whereas in the past Guido has said basically we (bloggers / new media) are going to have your (columnist’s / newspaper’s ) breakfast. The line has evolved even as the mediasaurs embrace blogging. The numbers tell the story:

Across the Atlantic old media is dealing with imploding advertising revenue and decreased mind share. After the New York Times and Washington Post the most powerful media force in politics according to academic studies is the Drudge Report, courted by Democrats and Republicans alike A three man operation versus old media titans?

Guido, with only part-time technical help and the occasional intern doing research, is run at a profit – unlike The Independent, Guardian or Telegraph – giving their online operations a good run for their money. The traditional commentariat now also has to deal with well funded professional newcomers such as PoliticsHome which has established a quality niche for political obssessives. The Guardian and New Statesman are embracing Liberal Conspiracy as the new media champion of the left, with news values and editorial judgement that has until now been lacking in comparison with ConservativeHome. They might reflect that when regime change comes, the media opposition to the Conservatives might be marshalled by Liberal Conspiracy rather than their own somewhat tired media clique.

New media operations like Gawker, HuffPo and Federated Media in the U.S. are earning tens of millions for bloggers, hitherto in Europe it has been more like tens of thousands, but that is now changing. Economic viability is important because as producing original content for new media becomes profitable, it will become better. Bloggers have mind share, they increasingly have mass market share and will therefore increasingly take a share of the profits…

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Diary Change

On the Indy’s Pandora column Olly Duff is moving to the news desk. So he clearly didn’t disgrace himself too much in the eyes of Roger Alton at the leaving moving party for Simon Kelner. The gossip column will be left in the hands of Henry Deedes. Floreat Etona!

Over at The Times Hugo Rifkind is moving to features and apparently there may be no successor gossip column in the newspaper (although there seems to be one today, by-lined Adam Sherwin with a familiar story about Nadine employing her daughter). The editor obviously aims to boost sales by making the paper even less entertaining.

Katy-Taylor Richards is no longer a gossip columnist and is now a serious lobby journalist she tells Guido. Which is very confusing, because she writes for the Daily Express.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

"Torygraph" European Coverage Attacked by Own European Correspondent

Guido went all out on European gravy affairs last week. Speaking to one of the most media-savvy players on these issues Guido ventured that the Telegraph’s coverage was surprisingly thin (in the dead-tree-version) – which given their hardline Euro-sceptic editorial stance seemed bizarre.

“Bruno was spiked” came the reply – which explains some of the more bizarre blog posts by Bruno Waterfield their Brussels correspondent. Guido is not referring to the four-letter flecked references to dick sucking or his identification of the actual high-speed Euro gravy train. It has been deleted now, but he actually complained on his own Telegraph blog about his story not appearing in the paper with words (from memory) like “what do you expect, it is the Torygraph”. Bruno clearly not a happy Brussels bunny…


Seen Elsewhere

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
What I Would Have Done if I was Sarah Wollaston | Iain Dale
Boris is an Epic Europhile | Louise Mensch
Warsi Got PM to Confront “Secular Fundamentalism” | Fraser Nelson
Guardian April Fools Apology | Press Gazette
Jenni Russell and Her Child’s Godfather, Ed Miliband | Breitbart
Labour’s Left and Right are Growing Restive | Staggers


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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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