Informed Sources?

Everybody, everywhere, has been going through Campbell’s The Blair Years so Guido hasn’t bothered. But one little snippet has caught the eye and proves a point. Phil Webster, The Times’ political editor, gets a little testy whenever Guido or his own colleagues hint or suggest that he is a less than objective Brownite patsy.

So Guido wonders how he will feel about this comment about a time in October 1997 when New Labour faced a little PR difficulty; “The words went to Webster, the spin was applied, and away we went,” writes Alastair. Kind of gives the game away…

Sieghart Says Times Colleagues Craven to Brown

Startlingly candid admission in farewell column:
As this is to be my last regular column for The Times, I am in a different position today from other commentators. I don’t have to worry about whether the new regime at No 10 will return my calls, at least until the autumn. I don’t have to curry favour with anyone or worry about giving offence. Instead I can give you an unvarnished prediction of what the next few years of a Gordon Brown premiership will be like.

She has, it is rumoured, taken up the offer of a redundancy payout in the latest round of News International job cuts. Last time Guido indulged in a bit of Times-bashing they got very upset. Peter Riddell even called up an associate to tell him to stop associating with Guido, there was talk of them getting Guido back with an “exposé”. But here you have it from someone who knows; Peter Riddell, Phil Webster et al suck up to Brown and Balls out of fear. It must be true, it is printed in The Times…

Fancy a Bet George?

The Sun’s George Pascoe-Watson, author of this famous front page prediction, says we may have an election in October, but most likely next June. Guido is offering 2/1 against George, if you are interested.

Talking of betting with journalists, Mark Townsend, the Observer hack who wrote in the loss making Sunday paper that the CPS would wind up their inquiry into Loans for Lordships last October with nothing doing and wagered with Guido accordingly, still has not paid up.

Phone calls and emails go unanswered. Guido strongly recommends that he pays up this week.

Lobby Slower than Guido Again

Yesterday morning Guido reported that Blair would resign as an MP. Today the rest of the Dead-Tree-Press is catching up and reporting that he will do so this afternoon. Tory party Chairman Frankie Maude put CCHQ on by-election alert after reading the story here yesterday morning.

Guido even managed to beat blogging Benedict Brogan, which is becoming increasingly difficult to do nowadays. Do keep up the rest of you…

Glover : Editors Should Not Associate With Levy

Stephen Glover in the Indy this morning agrees with Guido, that it may prove to have been inadvisable for editors to attend Sleazy Levy’s leaving party.

Not long now…

Le Totty Watch : Socialist Affairs

The French press is even more craven in the reporting of political misdoings than our own tame/feral* Lobby. So it is no surprise that it was the French blogosphere, not the Paris press, that made it impossible to keep Socialist party leader François Hollande’s affair secret.

François had four children with Ségolène Royal (pictured left), the losing French Socialist Presidential candidate. He is having an affair with TV8’s political reporter, Valerie Trierweiler (pictured right). When announcing their split the elegant Ségolène said that now “he was free to enjoy his romantic life alone”.

France has strict privacy laws of the kind that some of our politicians would love to have over here. Blogs now make those laws almost impossible to enforce. Technological progress.

Hat-tip : EuroSoc

*You choose.

Informed Sources?

Guido reads in the Indy’s Pandora column that David Davis is horrible to his staff and that Hilary Armstrong “is rumoured” to not be staying in government come the Brown takeover. Startling revelations.

Hilary formally announced she was standing down two weeks ago.

Journalists Consorting with Known Police Suspects

Peter Wilby, the ex-editor of the New Statesman, writing in the Guardian on Monday, backed the Guido thesis, that the Westminster embedded Lobby is too cosy with its subjects. He wrote that “political correspondents tend to give politicians the benefit of the doubt… The lobby system makes the press a poor watchdog over government“.
Guido wonders what kind of coverage will be given to Levy’s expected trial by the likes of Anne McElvoy, Dominic Lawson, Matthew d’Ancona (Speccie editor), Will Lewis (Telegraph editor), Charles Moore, Nick Lloyd, Eve Pollard, Piers Morgan and errm, Sue Lawley. Lobby low-lifes were also at Levy’s leaving party in numbers.One wonders about the wisdom of frontline editors like Will Lewis and Matthew d’Ancona attending, could it lead them to compromise their coverage? Even encourage them, in the words of Peter Wilby, to give the Sleazemaster the benefit of the doubt?

Incidentally, Guido’s champagne-swilling co-conspirator spied Dominic Lawson deep in conversation with John Scarlett for much of the evening.

UPDATE : Just noticed that d’Ancona outed himself as an attendee on his blog this morning. He mentions the “oblique reference in His Lordship’s own speech to the great cloud of loans for honours and the files now with the CPS.”

Further Reflections on that Blair Speech

Guido’s instant reaction to Blair’s speech is below. Having now re-read the speech it seems a reasonably accurate analysis of the state of media coverage of politics. The problem is that Blair has to a great extent brought this

[…]

Politicians are Feral Spinners

Blair must reap what he sowed. The culture of New Labour is a culture of rapid rebuttal, the set “line”, the vicious rubbishing of enemies, the off-the-record briefing all backed up by armies of government media handlers and Special Advisers.

[…]

Informed Sources?

Isn’t today the day that the Sun’s George Pascoe-Watson revealed on the front-page that Blair would leave office? ITS MAY 31ran the headline.

Not quite…

[…]

Hefferlump Shot

Simon Heffer is no longer going to edit the comment pages at the Torygraph. There will be cheering in Notting Hill tonight…

UPDATE :

A co-conspirator points out that this is something like the eighth comment editor in three

[…]



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Quote of the Day

Andrew Neil on the dying Dead Tree Press

“I read more bloggers now than mainstream columnists, because they’ve got more interesting things to say. Too many columnists today make you think, ‘Yeah, I think you’ve said that 10 times before and I’ve just noticed your column has not go a single fact in it’”.

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