A free press doesn’t fear the government’s stick…
A free press doesn’t fear the government’s stick…
Did she really do that and was it deliberately?
Back in January Labour’s deputy leader insisted:
“The public worry that the relationship between the press and politicians has been far too close. It’s fair to say that over 30 years in parliament, I don’t ever remember being described as a “darling of the press”. Harriet Harperson – Hapless Hattie – “she who hates men” – and those are some of the nicer things that have been said.”
Funny then that in the first six months of this year Harman had almost twice as many meetings with members of the press than she did with her own constituents. Between the beginning of January and the end of June Harman had no less than 31 separately listed meetings with media figures, including a “general discussion” with Sun editor Dominic Mohan, whose paper she has accused of “bullying” the Labour Party.
Over the same period Harman held just 18 constituency surgeries. That means she met Camberwell and Peckham residents three times a month, while she met people from the media on average five times a month. Hattie says she’s never been called a darling of the press, Guido is happy to set the record straight…
Ed had his own muddles at his speech today, but this from his deputy is quite something:
Guido could watch this one again and again.
How much would you pay for dinner with Harriet Harman? Well the going rate seems to be about £7,500 for a table or £750 per plate. It’s ok though, because you get a two free bottles of champagne…
The fourth annual Labour Party Women’s Dinner will be hosted in the Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden. Having eaten there, Guido would feel ripped off at £75, and that’s without the dubious company. One seat would cost a worker on minimum wage, doing 40 hour weeks, three weeks’ pay. Who exactly is Harman expecting to fork out for the occasion? Surely not those rich successful women?
Guido can’t find Harriet Harman’s “first major speech on the future of the media” trailed in any other paper besides this morning’s Guardian. Apparently Ed Vaizey’s DCMS shadow is declaring that she is “going to be a champion of press freedom”:
Before her first major speech on the future of the media, Harman claimed there was a clear consensus around these principles, and last night challenged editors to put forward practical proposals. “I think it would really help Leveson if newspaper editors came forward with a solution. We have had a good scoping of the issues, but now it is time for the editors to lay their cards on the table. They need to propose the solution, rather than have one imposed upon them.”
All this has come as a bit of a surprise to a source with knowledge of the Shadow Culture brief. Guido hears whispers of a meeting last Monday (January 16) where Harman had to be talked out of supporting the state regulating the press. Just nine days ago Harman was openly advocating imposing the very solution that she derides today. Add to that her track record of trying to censor the tabloids and Page 3 plus her past support for extreme political correctness suggests the idea of her being some sort of champion for free speech becomes risible…
As Westminster gets back into gear and the first drinks parties of the year spill out onto pavements, it’s amazing who you bump into on the Embankment. Former stand-up comedienne Ayesha Hazarika and her new/old boss Harriet Harman weren’t very happy with Guido’s pre-Christmas report on Ayesha’s move out of Ed’s office and back to Harman’s. Ayesha made specific denials of allegations not even made…
Blog reader Harriet couldn’t seem to bring herself to fully engage, choosing instead to lob words in from the sneering sideline, without direct eye contact. “Poison” she declared. “Lies” she hissed. How ungrateful, not even a word of thanks for all our hard work with DUEMA…
Ayesha wanted Guido to know that she was still very much involved with Ed’s PMQs prep, and had even contributed jokes yesterday, not something you would have thought you would want to boast about on your CV. Alas the only place you can actually read her jokes is on Paul Waugh’s blog, as they didn’t quite make the cut for Hansard…
Well this morning’s story about Ed’s departing joker Ayesha has not gone down well in the Labour Press office. There was already enough kerfuffle trying to get the line straight before this Freudian slip was spun to us on the record, hastily corrected 5 minutes later:
Ayesha herself has also been on to bend Guido’s ear and deny everything. We’re happy to accept both official denials.
Ayesha Hazarika – a former stand-up comedienne – who previously crafted one-liners for PMQs has been sacked by Ed Miliband as his spokesperson. Labour sources say that the Political Adviser (PAd) wasn’t sacked over yesterday’s dismal performance in particular. The decision was made some weeks ago, in part because Ed Miliband felt she wasn’t performing well in the role of presenting him to the media and he was also increasingly uncomfortable over her close relationship with Tom Watson. Ayesha has been consoling Tom during his marriage break-up.
On hearing that her former SpAd was to be sacked by Ed Miliband, Harriet Harman offered Ayesha her old job back working for her. This didn’t go down well with Ed Miliband who took Ayesha’s re-appointment by his deputy-leader as something of an affront to his authority. Such is the weakness of his leadership that Harriet Harman ignored Ed’s protests.
UPDATE: Ed’s people now spinning Ayesha wasn’t sacked, she was “made redundant”, that must be because Ed Miliband doesn’t need a media spokesperson and Harriet needs another? Paul Waugh was told this morning that she left by “mutual consent”. Hopefully they will get their line straight by lunchtime.
Along with suggesting that removing their inbuilt 5-7% point advantage is “gerrymandering”, Labour are making a lot of noise about new changes that will mean individuals have to register to vote rather than the head of the household doing it for everyone that lives in a property. Harman is frothing at the mouth and will close conference by saying:
“The Tories are hoping if they take away the right to vote from students, young people living in rented flats in our cities, people from ethnic minority communities… if fewer of them can vote it will help the Tories win.”
It’s times like this that the darker side of Labour’s patronising statism and attitude towards the individual really shines through. Basically Harman saying that Labour voters are too thick to fill out a form. If that is the deputy leaders attitude toward to the public, then she doesn’t deserve to represent them. Given some of their strongholds, you might wonder why Labour are really so keen to keep the head of the household filling out the form…
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