Monday, July 29, 2013

Maggie Funeral Final Cost: £1,205,809

The final figures are out: Margaret Thatcher’s funeral cost £261,976, plus £943,833 for security. A total of £1,205,809, or 1.9p per person. Worth remembering again how it was reported by some at the time:

For some reason the final figure hasn’t made the front page…

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Spotted in Today’s Guardian Editorial Meeting

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Invitation Westminster Advisers Won’t Comment About

As reported last night, the Guardian have added some important details to their Lynton Crosby/healthcare yarn, after Guido’s little fact checking yesterday. Lobbying firm Westminster Advisers “declined to comment” last night over Guido’s revelation that the firm “run by the Labour supporter and former councillor Dominic Church, organised a cross-party meeting at the end of 2010 which was shown the Crosby Textor research.” They told the Guardian: “I’m not going to go into that. I have given you the statement we are giving out. That is all we are saying.” For the sake of clarity, here is the invitation to their event:

“That is all we are saying.”

Monday, July 22, 2013

Guardian Puts Record Straight

wholepicture

The Guardian has done a follow up which largely corrects the record after Guido pointed out the factual errors in their healthcare lobbying story from this morning. Namely that they had got the target audience completely wrong and that the firm organising the event wasn’t Tory leaning CTF, it was in fact Labour leaning lobbyists Westminster Advisers. A statement issued by Mark Detre from Westminster Advisers confirms the accuracy of Guido’s version of events:

“Crosby Textor Fullbrook provided research and advice into public attitudes on healthcare to H5. H5 is a predecessor to the Association of Independent Healthcare Organisations and they did that in 2010 and 2011. The arrangement between CTF and H5 ended in mid 2011. AIHO is a new organisation formed in March 2013 and has no relationship with CTF.”

Nicholas Watt at the Guardian reports that

Detre declined to comment on a report on the Guido Fawkes website that Westminster Advisers, run by the Labour supporter and former councillor Dominic Church, organised a cross-party meeting at the end of 2010 which was shown the Crosby Textor research. Detre said: “I’m not going to go into that. I have given you the statement we are giving out. That is all we are saying.”

Judge for yourself…

“Crosby Presentation” Organised By Labour Lobbyist
Labour MPs Attended Event Held in Commons

clippingThe Guardian, which likes to boast that they give “the whole picture”, are very excited this morning with the suggestion that “The lobbying firm founded by the Tories’ chief election strategist, Lynton Crosby, advised private healthcare providers on how to exploit perceived “failings” in the NHS, according to a leaked document obtained by the Guardian. The presentation was made by Crosby Textor, known as CTF Partners in Britain, towards the end of 2010.” The timing is right, just who the presentation was actually made to has been conveniently left out of the story.

dominic-churchThe Guardian claims that the “leaked” presentation was made by CTF to private healthcare profiteers, it was actually organised by the lobbying firm Westminster Advisers for MPs – who were all given copies – making it more of a handout than a leak. Westminster Advisers is headed by Dominic Church, a wealthy Labour supporter and a former Hammersmith and Fulham councillor for the party. He is a Blairite private healthcare lobbyist

Church lobbies for the H5 Private Hospitals Alliance. The slideshow was shown at their parliamentary reception themed ‘Improving Britain’s healthcare’ on 29 November 2010 in the House of Commons. The invitation was open to all MPs and Guido understands that many Labour MPs enjoyed the hospitality served in Dining Room A. One attendee remembers seeing, for example, Gisela Stuart at the event. CTF merely providing polling data for the report. It was a briefing for MPs by private healthcare, not a briefing to private healthcare.

wholepicture

Mysteriously there is plenty missing from slideshow the Guardian have published. They have run just 4 pages out of the 31 slide presentation, leaving out what does not fit the story. Take this page for example which is positive about the NHS, and inconveniently shows – for the Guardian’s preferred narrative – that the public back reforms:

Nowhere is this to be seen on the Guardian website. Despite cutting pages, they have re-numbered the 4 pages so you would never know. Guido senses a lengthy Corrections and Clarifications coming tomorrow…

Full presentation:

UPDATE:

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Guardian Still Losing Half-a-Million a Week

Guardian News and Media made an annual loss of £30.4 million last year, as hard as they try to spin it that still means they are haemorrhaging half a million quid a week. Guardian Media Group made an operating loss of £54.8 million last year, reporting profits before tax of £22.7 million. Presumably meaning their profits after tax were £22.7 million. For three years Guido has been asking GMG where their 50.1% stake in TMG (Autotrader) is held. Guido has asked the GMG CEO Andrew Miller and Alan Rusbridger, who to be fair – despite sitting on the GMG board – admitted he had no idea. Also fortuitously Guido was sat at a lunch next to Dame Liz Forgan chair of the Scott Trust, asked her about GMG’s offshore secrets and she said Guido was the last person she would tell. So much for that famed commitment to openness and transparency.  Still no answer, we’re working on the theory that they have created an aggressive tax avoidance structure – solely to avoid UK tax – maintaining for 7 years an offshore Cayman’s holding corporation.*

Some good news though: the Guardian annual report says their hedge fund investments and investments exploiting third world emerging markets are performing well. Alan Rusbridger meanwhile took home total remuneration of £491,000, with chief executive Andrew Miller pocketing £769,000, including a £100,000 bonus fat-cat bonus putting him on some 72 times the earnings of the Guardian’s lowest paid staff. Austerity is only for the staff…

*If any bean counters have any ideas as to why Trader Media Group’s financing costs are so high when it is so profitable, please share in the comments, could it be that they loaded the onshore part of the group up with debt that is serviced by paying the interest, presumably tax-free, offshore to the GMG Caymans holding company? They then can use the tax free profits to support the loss making journalism? Does that theory make sense? How exactly does the money flow from TMG to GMG?

See also Guardian’s Offshore Secrets

Friday, July 12, 2013

First New Snowden Photo

Grande Floppuccino

By Guido’s calculations the Guardian coffee shop is costing them £240,062-a-year, that’s around £20,000 blown already since it opened at the end of May. They were clearly having a slow start when Guido paid them a visit, though perhaps things have picked up? One co-conspirator decided to find out yesterday lunchtime:

The numbers don’t look good either. At prime time they had only sold 94 cups, well short of the 270-a-day they need to stay afloat.

Maybe Guido is being unfair and it’s not just Guardian Coffee that is struggling. How might the other cafes and restaurants in the Shoreditch box park be getting on by comparison?

Oh dear…

H/T @libdemlife

Monday, July 8, 2013

Telegraph’s Rowena Mason Off to Guardian

Congratulations are in order for the Telegraph’s political correspondent Rowena Mason, who has landed a move to the Guardian. She is off in the next few weeks. Perhaps a more natural home.

Rowena isn’t taking Guido’s calls, this time…

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Seumas Milne Despairs at Fall of Berlin Wall

Given the incredible footage of the mass protests coming out of Egypt against an Islamist leader who has betrayed his country’s transition to democracy, you might have thought our metropolitan liberal elite would come down on the right side for once. As ever, the strongest defence of a terrible regime comes from the Guardian’s former Stalinist Seumas Milne. In Milne’s warped world, apparently tearing down the Berlin Wall was a bad thing:

“The tumultuous Paris upheaval of May 1968 was followed by the electoral victory of the French right. Those who marched for democratic socialism in east Berlin in 1989 ended up with mass privatisation and unemployment. The western-sponsored colour revolutions of the last decade used protesters as a stage army for the transfer of power to favoured oligarchs and elites. The indignados movement against austerity in Spain was powerless to prevent the return of the right and a plunge into even deeper austerity.

In the era of neoliberalism, when the ruling elite has hollowed out democracy and ensured that whoever you vote for you get the same, politically inchoate protest movements are bound to flourish. They have crucial strengths: they can change moods, ditch policies and topple governments. But without socially rooted organisation and clear political agendas, they can flare and fizzle, or be vulnerable to hijacking or diversion by more entrenched and powerful forces.”

Bonkers…


Seen Elsewhere

Cam Cannot Stem EU Immigration | David Keighley
9 Mansion Tax Questions for Ed Balls | TPA
Politicians are Lying to You About Immigration | Alex Wickham
Give Journalists Public Interest Defence in Law | Guardian
Cameron is Going to Have to Deal With UKIP | Dan Hodges
Opinions on Key Issues By Constituency | Red Box
Britain Irrelevant Inside EU | Dan Hannan
Cameron Heading for Fall on Europe | Rachel Sylvester
Lords Speaker Spends £350 on Two Mile Limo Ride | Sun
Shapps Slaps Down Barroso “Propaganda” | City AM
Bookies v Pollsters: What We Learned From IndyRef | Paddy Power


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Chris Bryant talks to the Times Diary about a famous gay actor:

“I don’t think I’ve had sex with him. He says we had sex in Clapham. I’m fairly certain I’ve never had sex south of the river”



Progressive Inclusion Champion says:

Great to hear Carswell call for inclusive policies and that UKIP must stand for first and second generation immigrants as much as the English.


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