Circus Master Cracks His Whip

The Sun is running this morning, over seven pages, an all out campaign for a referendum on the EU constitutional treaty. Guido senses that Murdoch is reminding the performing political monkeys who the real circus master is, and that he can really crack the whip if need be.

Click to enlarge.

It is The Sun at its finest, politics with humour, accessible and witty. Kelvin Mackenzie would be proud…

Incidentally, Guido will be getting his chance to vote “No” – in Ireland.

When Commissioned Polls Go Wrong

Dods, the parliamentary publisher, has been around for 170 years and the 21st century seems a bit bewildering for them. Well aware that political blogs are eating them for breakfast, they commissioned an ICM/Dods poll to ascertain what is going on. They already knew that the leading political blogs have far more readers, so they decided to find out what the all-important MPs read online. The news was not what they wanted to hear, so Guido is happy to give it a bit of extra publicity..

MPs are :- % Aware of % Use
Conservative Home 49 27
Guido Fawkes 45 14
Iain Dale 43 13
The House Magazine 41 8
Recess Monkey 22 3

Their flagship publication is the venerable House Magazine, which they have up until now claimed is “Independently identified as the most read weekly publication within the Palace of Westminster.” According to their own research, whilst MPs are roughly equally aware of the leading blogs and that parliament’s trade magazine is online, they are three times as likely to read ConservativeHome and almost twice as likely to read Guido and Iain Dale. Looks like they will now have to change that old claim…

UPDATE : Somebody from Dods has been on to Guido whining that he hasn’t emphasised that it is the online offering being surveyed. Consider it now emphasised. In Guido’s experience most MPs throw the boring old magazine straight into the bin with the rest of the junk mail.

Splitter! Splits! Hooray!

Political correspondents can breathe a collective sigh of relief. As we exit the substance desert that was the silly season they can now start writing “party split” stories.

Keith Vaz, a former minister for Europe, is calling for a referendum on the European constitution that Jim Murphy, the current minister for Europe says isn’t a constitution, just a bit of administrative tidying up. The FCO traditionally lies for its country, Murphy is lying for a foreign superstate. Blunkett says a referendum was promised and Miliband says Labour is not split. Super…

Gummer is getting a kicking from John Redwood saying basically that the mad burger-eater will damage the economy with his Green taxes and plans for increasing airport congestion. Cameroonie sources are briefing that they won’t pay much attention to the loopier ideas from Zac and Gummer. Fantastic…

So we have splits, splitters and lots of easy copy ahead of the party conferences. Cynics among you might wonder if the splits haven’t just been teased out by the media to manufacture a storyline, the Sun (Vaz article) and GMTV (Redwood interview) can take the credit for getting it going. The show must go on…

Blog Today, Print Tomorrow (Again)

Iain Dale has alerted Guido to the fact that the blog post on Huhne was recycled in the newspaper diaries this morning. Guido doesn’t usually read ’em, but they clearly read him…Peter McKay’s Ephraim Hardcastle in the Mail even pinched the carbon based life forms crack. Is Guido bitter? He’d like a case of decent Margaux sent over from Associated Press this time. The Evening Standard’s diary has been stealing stories from Guido and Iain for years without ever paying a penny. Guido is still smarting from receiving a mysterious letter from the Evening Standard headed “Dear Londoner’s Diary Contributor”… is someone fiddling the expenses at Associated?

Undercover Journalist Uncovered by Google

Iain has a story about the Daily Mirror Caught Trying to Infiltrate Conservative HQ with a posh girl. She came unstuck after they Googled her name and came up with her Mirror byline, then they checked the source of her email back to the Mirror’s offices. Doh!

Iain mutters darkly about legal action – presumably lying on her CV and at the interview – which is a form of attempted fraud. Don’t hold your breath on that going anywhere. Who hasn’t?

Anyway isn’t this what investigative journalists are supposed to do?

Telegraph Political Team in Meltdown

As reported here three weeks ago, it seems that the Little and Large blog is dead, it is an ex-blog. Jonathan Isaby and Brendan Carlin seem to have abandoned the idea. Look around some of the other blogs and they are also pretty dead. Ben Brogan at the Daily Mail and Danny Finkelstein at The Times are really the only serious Dead-Tree-Press political bloggers going now.

Elsewhere at the Telegraph the experienced George Jones has apparently been given the push in such a cack-handed way that he’s suing and expected to get a six-figure pay-off. His job is being given to the silent-but-deadly Andrew Porter, of the Sun, formerly on the Sunday Times who is an old chum of Telegraph editor Will Lewis. Key qualities: won’t tell Lewis not to be such a silly boy; won’t be a member of Telegraph ancien regime.

Porter’s place on the Sun (keep up) is being taken by Graeme Wilson of the Telegraph. Wilson’s place on the Telegraph is being taken by James Kirkup from the Scotsman. Toby Helm is rumoured to have wanted to get out of the Lobby – if you’d been passed over for the top job you might conclude there was little point in hanging around to see if you got it next time. One of the things the imported Mailograph newsdesk didn’t realise about him – his sister is married to Jonathan Powell, although that is not such an asset nowadays. The new Mailograph is obsessed with getting scoops, a-la Andrew Pierce. But a lot of Pierce’s scoops stay exclusive, and with good reason.

Sir Michael White Loses It

My friend the Axegrinder notes a memo going around the press gallery yesterday sent by the doyen of the Lobby;

Good to see that the people’s ink spills from the pen of plutocrats.

(Yes, it is a slow news day).

Guardian Front page Cock-Up ‘Fess Up

Now this is what Guido calls a cavalier attitude to the facts:

Thursday July 26, 2007
Corrections and clarifications
A chart showing David Cameron’s personal rating in a Guardian/ICM poll (front page, yesterday) contained several mistakes. It did not include those voters who said they liked both David Cameron and the Conservative party, and muddled some other figures. The correct figures are: likes Cameron, but not the party, 18%; likes Cameron and the party, 25%; doesn’t like Cameron, but does like the party, 26%; don’t know, 26%. Five per cent refused to answer. Voters were not asked if they did not like both Cameron and the party. We did not make clear that the chart showed figures for all voters, not just Conservative voters.
Just to remind you, the front page graphic showed no-one liking Dave and the Tories. Wishful thinking…

Guardian/ICM Poll : Nobody Likes Dave and Tory Party?

Guido was sure his brain was too addled by alcohol when he saw the front page of the Guardian this morning. Rich Johnston emailed it in and the penny didn’t drop until he explained it slowly. According to the Guardian’s

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Wot, No Little & Large?

Since that little embarrassment over the reporting of postal votes in Ealing Southall, the Telegraph’s Little & Large blog has gone silent. The last posting was a week ago.

If Guido shut up shop every time a writ was threatened…

[…]

+ READ MORE +

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

[…]

+ READ MORE +

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

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Charles Clarke says Cameron is the most successful PM for over a century…

“Under Margaret Thatcher the Conservatives gained 99 seats. They lost 211 under John Major, gained one under William Hague, quickly and wisely got rid of Ian Duncan-Smith, gained 32 under Michael Howard and have so far gained 133 under David Cameron who, to the great surprise of many (including senior Conservatives), has turned out to be the most electorally successful Tory leader since 1900.”

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