Monday, September 2, 2013

Hodge Blames Gordon For Vodafone Tax Dodge

Margaret Hodge isn’t wasting any opportunity to bleat about the £84 billion Vodafone/Verizon deal today:

“We must demand reassurance that HMRC has thoroughly examined this proposition to ensure British taxpayers get their rightful share of this massive profit. If there’s a flaw in legislation it has to be urgently addressed by Treasury ministers. I don’t understand how anyone can justify such a massive windfall without handing a fair share to the Exchequer. If this is an instance in which Vodafone has simply played the system then clearly they themselves have an obligation to UK consumers, on whom they depend for their business, to do the right thing.”

Flaws in legislation, you say? Well the two companies are exploiting the so-called “Substantial Shareholder Exemption” loophole to legally dodge the tax, the very same loophole used by Guardian Media Group when it sold Autotrader. SSE is a corporation tax exemption for businesses disposing of a substantial shareholding in a part of their business. The idea is that businesses should be able to restructure their businesses without having to worry about chargeable gains implications. And who was it introduced by? One Gordon Brown…

UPDATE: That “flawed tax law” Hodge is complaining about? She voted for it.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

When Front Pages Go Wrong

Spare a thought for the Daily Star today. They have splashed on the “shock secret love children” of Coronation Street actor Charlie Condou, sensationally revealing that he “secretly fathered two children with a straight girl pal”. Just the one problem. Unfortunately Condou’s kids were less than secret, he wrote a column devoted to them in the Guardian for a year.

In their defence, it’s not like anyone would have read it…

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Exclusive Footage of Guardian Hard Drives Being Destroyed

A reconstruction, obviously…

How Prime Minister Ordered Destruction of Guardian Hard Drives

The full story of how state security came to oversee the destruction of the Guardian’s hard drives, not in the Guardian, but the Mail.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

WATCH: Rusbridger Speaks
Says It Went Right to Number 10

Something they deny:

Who do you believe?

Guardian v Spooks: Key Questions

Guido gives you a fair and balanced (as always) run down of everything you need to know on the developments of the last few days. As well as the key questions to both the Guardian and the security services that have gone unanswered.

  • David Miranda, the partner of Glenn Greenwald, was detained at Heathrow by UK security services. They took his computer and memory card.
  • It has since emerged that Miranda was carrying sensitive information from one of Greenwald’s contacts, something which was not mentioned in the initial Guardian report.
  • Miranda says he did not know anything about the contents of the documents but was simply transporting them for Greenwald.
  • Why did the Guardian fail to mention any of this in their initial report? Why has their side of the story, at least in part, begun to unravel?
  • What justification do the security services have for detaining him under the Terrorism Act? Did they believe he was a terrorist?
  • Alan Rusbridger claims that GCHQ spooks smashed hard drives in the Guardian basement after a series of demands that they were returned.
  • Why did Rusbridger allow this to take place? Why did he not begin a legal battle or do his reporting from abroad, as he ponders in his article?
  • With the knowledge that the Guardian would have made copies, for what purpose did GCHQ do this other than intimidation? What did it achieve?

Worthwhile further reading on this from Dan Hodges and David Allen Green. Both sides have important questions to answer…

Spooks Smash Guardian Hard Drives

Fascinating stuff from Alan Rusbridger last night. The Guardian editor claims that two months ago he was approached by a government official on behalf of the PM demanding he destroy material they were working on. A month later Rusbrisger says he received a phone call in which he was told “you’ve had your fun. Now we want the stuff back”. Then a quite extraordinary day at Kings Place:

“And so one of the more bizarre moments in the Guardian’s long history occurred – with two GCHQ security experts overseeing the destruction of hard drives in the Guardian’s basement just to make sure there was nothing in the mangled bits of metal which could possibly be of any interest to passing Chinese agents. “We can call off the black helicopters,” joked one as we swept up the remains of a MacBook Pro.”

You can read his account in full here. Of course there are unanswered questions, chiefly why did Rusbridger allow the spooks to do this? Though what this comes down to is that state security was in the Guardian’s basement destroying their hard drives. Which is a hugely worrying development. After all, this could be Guido one day…

Monday, August 19, 2013

Andrew Rawnsley Still on Holiday

Three weeks since Guido published the remarkable similarities between Andrew Rawnsley’s Observer column and a piece in the Economist. Three weeks since Andrew Rawnsley has appeared in the paper. Still no comment from him despite Guido asking again and again. Hope he is enjoying his break…

Smacked Bottom For Press Gazette

Press Gazette’s scoop on Friday that Guardian hack Nick Davies is off to America will remain exclusive. They reported that the paper’s “US invasion gathers pace” as “Nick Davies joins Paul Lewis Stateside” in a now pulled piece.

No need to get the PCC involved this time, but still. Ouch.

Labour MPs Attack Labour Terror Law

Whatever your position on the Guardian’s in-house “pompous douchecanoe” Glenn Greenwald, the detention of his partner under the Terrorism Act raises eyebrows, to say the least. Front of the queue is Labour’s favourite bandwagon-jumper Keith Vaz:

“What is extraordinary is they knew he was his partner… Bearing in mind it is a new use of terrorism legislation to detain someone in these circumstances, I’m certainly interested in knowing, so I will write to the police to ask for the justification of the use of terrorism legislation – they may have a perfectly reasonable explanation. But if we are going to use the act in this way … then at least we need to know so everyone is prepared.”

Yvette Cooper is particularly angry:

“Any suggestion that terror powers are being misused must be investigated and clarified urgently – the public support for these powers must not be endangered by a perception of misuse. The police and security agencies rightly work hard to protect national security and prevent terrorism. But public confidence in security powers depends on them being used proportionately within the law, and also on having independent checks and balances in place to prevent misuse.”

While Tom Watson has helpfully chipped in:

The answer, of course, is that David Miranda was detained under the Terrorism Act that Watson, Cooper and Vaz’s party voted in. If it turns out it is being used to go after journalists and their partners, it won’t take a whistleblower to work out where the blame lies…


Seen Elsewhere

India’s Modi Bypasses Mainstream Media | Index
Bercow on the Knife Edge | Quentin Letts
Welcome to Mississippi | Conservative Women
LibDems Select Hancock Replacement | Blue Guerilla
Carswell Resigning: “Moment Labour Won Election” | Labour Uncut
Why We Need Change | Douglas Carswell
The Howard Roark of Westminster | Guardian
Carswell, the Clacton Cassandra | James Ford
Love Bomb Carswell | ConservativeHome
Denis MacShane’s Ex is Now Hacked Off Spokesman | Speccie
How the Carswell Story Unfolded | Sky News


VOTER-RECALL
Get the book Find out more about PLMR


Douglas Carswell’s side-kick Dan Hannan MEP pours water on the obvious question:

“I won’t be joining UKIP, though I wish Douglas Carswell all the best. He has been a superb MP, and it’s honourable to stand for re-election.”



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


Tip off Guido
Web Guido's Archives

Subscribe me to:






RSS


AddThis Feed Button
Archive


Labels
Guido Reads
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,436 other followers