Balls Spins Indy Spending Splash

Labour are getting into a spin over this morning’s Indy splash claiming they will pledge to outspend the Tories in 2015. Balls has told LBC the story “is an exclusive but it’s wrong”, blaming a report from the Fabians: “it is not our policy, it is not our position”. As Damian McBride speculates, the Indy front page is manifestly true, Labour just won’t confirm it until they release their manifesto in two years’ time.

Labour pledging to spend more is a case of when rather than if. They say they don’t have a position now, but you can bet the scoop will be confirmed by election day…

Indy Anoint New Deputy Prime Minister

Given that a skeleton Indy staff are expected to work on three newspapers and a website, it’s hardly surprising things like this happen. And that’s before the TV station launches…

Hacked Off Funded By Billionaire Russian Oligarch

Before the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee this morning, representatives from Hacked Off  refused to comment on Guido’s exposing of their donors. They got a comprehensive kicking from most of the MPs present though:

The elite club of multi-millionaires with an axe to grind have confirmed however that they are “due to receive soon a grant from the Journalism Foundation of over £20,000”. The Journalism Foundation was former Indy editor-in-chief Simon Kelner’s £600,000 vanity project bankrolled by billionaire Russian oligarchs and Indy owners Alexander and Evgeny Lebedev. The former KGB agent set up the Foundation to promote “free and independent journalism”, pulling the plug on it after less than a year. Seemingly not before they channelled a chunk of the cash to those freedom lovers Hacked Off…

Exclusive: Angry Indy Staff Move to Strike Ballot

Though notice is yet to be served on the paper’s management, Guido understands that tensions over that the Indy are boiling over and the NUJ chapel has moved to ballot for industrial action. The latest round of cuts see 25 editorial jobs on the line and further integration with the Standard looms. In this round the cuts are only coming from the Indy. Derry Street sources are expecting a big majority on the side of strike action in the vote. One tells us:

“People are scared for their jobs but also for the quality of what will be left behind if this slash and burn exercise is pushed through. We already produce three newspapers and a website with by far the smallest staffs on Fleet Street, those of us left will be asked to do more with even less; not to mention this TV station.”

The anger is being directed at the very top:

“Evgeny Lebedev, who has backed the titles with huge amounts of his own cash, has constantly talked about quality journalism. We’ve always been heartened to hear that. I think a lot of people are now wondering how we’ll be able to produce it if we lose even more staff.”

All out!

Fabricant Files: A New Pact for 2015

Back in August Guido pointed out that

“the Cameroons like to remind the disgruntled Tory right of a simple bit of coalition electoral arithmetic: Tories on 34% + LibDems on 8% = 42%, just about enough to form a government again in 2015. Well UKIP have been also been polling between 6% to 10% for over a year now. If those right-of-centre voters could be brought back into the Conservative Party embrace they would have a good chance of forming a majority government. UKIP have no MPs in Westminster under first past the post, they do however have plenty of voters for Westminster elections.”

The Indy’s John Rentoul said Guido was mad. Today his paper is front paging a report written by Mike Fabricant, the Conservative Party’s vice-chairman for Campaigns, making the same case for a Tory-UKIP pact:

Guido also reported Charles Tannock MEP producing a briefing note making similar points last month.  Increasingly Tory MPs see activists, especially young activists, shifting their allegiance to UKIP. Without the boundary review and a rapprochement with UKIP voters the Tories are going to lose in some 20 seats – unnecessarily. Downing Street is kidding itself if it believes Andrew Cooper’s claims that UKIP votes are going to melt away at the general election…

Laurie Penny Leaves Indy

An intriguing media move today as Laurie Penny leaves her post at the Indy:

Could it possibly be that Indy bosses wielded the axe? Or maybe £23,000 was just not enough…

Sindy Hack Set to Quit Over Late Payment 70 Guardian Journalists Face Sack as Cuts Bite

It looks like an Independent on Sunday journalist is set for an acrimonious departure from the struggling paper. Last month music hack Simon Price was left strapped for cash after the Sindy, clearly feeling the effects of a 19% drop in circulation year-on-year, failed to pay him on time. MediaGuido understands that the money eventually came through, but last night Price was told he had to accept a 25% pay cut or face the axe. Price himself is refusing to comment. Watch this space…

Meanwhile over at Guardian towers Alan Rusbridger’s economy drive has hit a stumbling block.

Guardian bosses had hoped around 100 hacks would accept voluntary redundancy, but only a mere 30 came forwards.

Meaning 70 face the sack…

Indy's Parliamentary Sketchwriting Shifts Leftwards

The Indy’s march to the left continues. They have replaced long-standing parliamentary sketchwriter Simon Carr, who had robustly sound views, with left-leaning Donald MacIntyre (pictured wearing glasses), who is being recalled back from Jerusalem. His politics are left-wing to the extent that he was close enough to Mandelson in his Lobby days to write his biography.

Don is the sober more thoughtful father of James MacIntyre and in more politically incorrect times he was once voted the sexiest man in the Lobby by the hackettes – some say Maggie fancied him. MacIntyre may not be quite as acerbic or non-partisan as the much-missed Simon Carr, but given his clout he should be a big enough figure to tell the editor Chris Blackhurst to get lost if he tries any editorial bossing about. Getting rid of Carr means there is one less reason to read the Indy…

Matt Chorley to Become MailOnline Political Editor

Guido has learned that the Sindy‘s political correspondent Matt Chorley is jumping ship to become the first Political Editor of the MailOnline. Chorley has confirmed to Guido that he will start his new job on September 10, just in time for party conference season.[…]

+ READ MORE +

5 Year-Old Vintage Hennessy


The Sunday Telegraph’s Patrick Hennessy has gone big today on his mate Damian McBride’s confirmation two weeks ago of the truth of a Guido story about a secret email system dating back from 2007.

Hennessy’s rival John Rentoul over at the Sunday Indy mocks the vintage of the story:

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Lebedev Hit By Huge Indy Losses

Evgeny Lebedev has suffered a huge hit to his pocket after his company announced losses of £24 million for the Independent, i and Evening Standard newspapers over the last financial year. Things were particularly bad for the Indy, which made a pre-tax loss of £18 million.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Indy Sketch-writer Misses Paper's Splash

The Indy’s Simon Carr used his sketch today to slam the idea that the Tories have reverted to their “nasty party” image. Carr rubbished the suggestion, arguing:

“If that’s the return of the Nasty Party, there’ll be an awful lot of nice people nodding along with it.

[…]

+ READ MORE +

The Penny is Dropping

Guido understands that Johann Hari’s close friend, protégé and replacement at the Indy “Laurie Penny” could be about to get caught up in a similar quote fabrication scandal. With the Indy’s terrible handling of one star’s demise, Guido does not imagine that their new £25,000 per annum columnist could, or would, receive the same leniency afforded to Hari.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Dirty Hari Returning to Indy in “Four or Five Weeks”

Despite Chris Blackhurst admitting that the paper’s reputation had suffered great damage at the hands of Johann Hari, the Indy editor also confirmed to Leveson, taking a sip of water and looking directly into the camera,  that the disgraced fraudster will be “returning as a columnist” in the next four or five weeks.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Steve’s Pitch

They say that history is written by the victors, but that hasn’t stopped the Indy’s Steve Richards trying to buck the trend. Upon reading his “Gordon is still great and should come back and teach us all how to save the world” piece, you could be forgiven for thinking his copy was filed after the festive sherry was passed around the Indy office, but something else piqued Guido’s interest. […]

+ READ MORE +

The Evening Independent

The Indy and the Standard have begun a slow merger. Despite talk of “separate identities” the Lebedev’s pet Pravda projects have merged their sports and business desks. Guido got thinking, why has no newspaperever tried to go national in the evenings? […]

+ READ MORE +



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