Tuesday, March 25, 2008

F o I Me? No Hypocrisy Says Robinson

Nick Robinson has acknowledged Guido’s FoI request for his expenses on his own blog. He doesn’t get drawn on the whys and wherefores of the issue instead he just gives a politician’s answer referring readers to the BBC’s official reason for refusing. He doesn’t say why he thinks he shouldn’t tell his paymasters his expenses yet MPs should.

Your request falls outside the scope of the Freedom of Information Act because the BBC and the other public service broadcasters are covered by the Act only in respect of information held for purposes “other than those of journalism, art or literature”

Well that argument seems flawed on two counts. Firstly the cost of a bottle of wine ordered by Nick at the telly taxpayer’s expense is not information held for the purposes of journalism. It is information held, by law, for the purposes of accounting. Guido has not FoI’d Nick’s notes of the lunch, he simply wants to know how many pound notes a bottle of wine poured down the throat of a politician costs the licence payers. Guido has not requested the names of his dining partners either. There is therefore no journalistic reason to keep the cost of a bottle of wine secret is there? It is public money after all.

Secondly the BBC has given dozens of FoI responses to requests about expense claim requests in the past. So why is this one different? There is a clear public interest in the voters and licence payers discovering how lavish are the contents of the trough that the politico-media nexus dines at – the public pays for the “trebles all round”. Guido revealed a few weeks ago that the Lobby’s journalists have their own bar subsidised by taxpayers to the tune of £1,000 every working day. Is it any wonder that for so long they have gone easy on MPs when they are guilty of sharing the same trough?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Lobby Lushes Get Blanko on The Taxpayer Too!

Is it any wonder that Guido’s four year campaign against politicians with their snouts in the trough got until recently so little traction in the media? Because the Lobby itself is full of expense fiddling drunks who rarely pay for their own drinks. The Billy Blanko parody of a Lobby hack is based on a composite of a few well known hacks. Guido has remarked on the drunken laziness of the Lobby many times but it is really a private affair between them and their Big Media shareholders. The BBC is different since law abiding television owners have no choice and are forced to pay for their output on pain of jailing. So Guido is keen to FoI what Nick Robinson drinks at the telly taxpayers expense…

Here is the news you won’t read in the papers or hear from broadcast by our fearless Lobby lushes:-

The total subsidy paid by the taxpayer to the press gallery bar and restaurant last year was £201,100. They drink at the taxpayers expense to the tune of a £1,000 every working day. They really are taking the piss getting pissed at the public’s expense.

Friday, August 31, 2007

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…

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sky News : Sir Michael White versus Andrew Gilligan

A co-conspirator reports a ding-dong of press review late last night on Sky. They clashed over Rushdie’s knighthood, with Gilligan apparently implying that Sir Michael could look forward to some reward in Blair’s resignation honours list. How disrespectful of young Gilligan to the doyen of the lobby…

Thursday, June 28, 2007

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 the new regime at No 10 will return my calls, at least until the autumn. I don’t have to curry favour with anyone or worry about giving offence. Instead I can give you an unvarnished prediction of what the next few years of a Gordon Brown premiership will be like.

She has, it is rumoured, taken up the offer of a redundancy payout in the latest round of News International job cuts. Last time Guido indulged in a bit of Times-bashing they got very upset. Peter Riddell even called up an associate to tell him to stop associating with Guido, there was talk of them getting Guido back with an “exposé”. But here you have it from someone who knows; Peter Riddell, Phil Webster et al suck up to Brown and Balls out of fear. It must be true, it is printed in The Times…

Fancy a Bet George?

The Sun’s George Pascoe-Watson, author of this famous front page prediction, says we may have an election in October, but most likely next June. Guido is offering 2/1 against George, if you are interested.

Talking of betting with journalists, Mark Townsend, the Observer hack who wrote in the loss making Sunday paper that the CPS would wind up their inquiry into Loans for Lordships last October with nothing doing and wagered with Guido accordingly, still has not paid up.

Phone calls and emails go unanswered. Guido strongly recommends that he pays up this week.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Journalists Consorting with Known Police Suspects

Peter Wilby, the ex-editor of the New Statesman, writing in the Guardian on Monday, backed the Guido thesis, that the Westminster embedded Lobby is too cosy with its subjects. He wrote that “political correspondents tend to give politicians the benefit of the doubt… The lobby system makes the press a poor watchdog over government“.
Guido wonders what kind of coverage will be given to Levy’s expected trial by the likes of Anne McElvoy, Dominic Lawson, Matthew d’Ancona (Speccie editor), Will Lewis (Telegraph editor), Charles Moore, Nick Lloyd, Eve Pollard, Piers Morgan and errm, Sue Lawley. Lobby low-lifes were also at Levy’s leaving party in numbers.One wonders about the wisdom of frontline editors like Will Lewis and Matthew d’Ancona attending, could it lead them to compromise their coverage? Even encourage them, in the words of Peter Wilby, to give the Sleazemaster the benefit of the doubt?

Incidentally, Guido’s champagne-swilling co-conspirator spied Dominic Lawson deep in conversation with John Scarlett for much of the evening.

UPDATE : Just noticed that d’Ancona outed himself as an attendee on his blog this morning. He mentions the “oblique reference in His Lordship’s own speech to the great cloud of loans for honours and the files now with the CPS.”

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

They Don’t Like It Up ‘Em

Iain Dale had a go at the Sunday Lobby yesterday for recycling a Brownite speech and spin package. The gentlemen of the Lobby were not slow to respond. Patrick Hennessy from the Sunday Telegraph and Ian Kirby from the News of the World have jumped into his comments to protest.

Having read the stories in the Sunday papers, it does seem that there was a speech in Glasgow on Saturday where Gordon tried to have it both ways – more bugging and surveillance with more accountability. Clearly a briefing of the Sunday Lobby by somone on Gordon’s spin team followed.

Hennessy and Kirby imply there was no condition of the briefing that they should keep it from being put to David Davis, Nick Clegg or even John Reid. Nevertheless Iain is right, it does seem odd not to ask “what do you say to this?” when according to the Sunday Times “a source close to Brown” is spinning that he plans “to build a nonpartisan consensus on the best balance between obtaining convictions of people plotting terrorist acts and preserving our sources of intelligence for the future.” One would have thought a good journalist would have asked Clegg or Davis did they see much chance of a nonpartisan consensus on 90-days-without-trial? Just a thought…

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Informed Sources?

Isn’t today the day that the Sun’s George Pascoe-Watson revealed on the front-page that Blair would leave office? ITS MAY 31ran the headline.

Not quite…

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Informed Sources?

Clarke in ‘kamikaze’ challenge
By GEORGE PASCOE-WATSON
Political Editor
May 03, 2007

CHARLES Clarke was last night poised to mount a “kamikaze” challenge against Gordon Brown for the Labour leadership. The former Home Secretary has successfully rounded up the 45 Labour MPs he needs to back him in the contest.

Clarke will not challenge Brown
By Sun Reporter
May 05, 2007

…and another classic bit of old media punditry from Alex Bell:

Guardian Media Section,
Monday April 30

This week voters north of the border will decide who to elect to the Scottish parliament, but despite the SNP’s popularity in the polls, not a single newspaper will back it, reports Alex Bell
Four Sunday newspapers in Scotland had endorsed an SNP-led coalition the day before: the Sunday Times, Scotland on Sunday, Sunday Herald and Sunday Express. As reported here.

UPDATE : Iain Dale has shredded a so-bad-it-is-bonkers article by Melissa Kite-Flier on the shape of the Tory re-shuffle. Honestly some of these dead-tree-press types seem to write any old crap.


Seen Elsewhere

Ed Balls’ Speech Was Pointless | Dan Hodges
Media Movements: James Lyons to Sunday Times | Media Guido
Rebekah Brooks in Line for £7 Million Payout | Times
A Different Sort of Class War | Telegraph
Labour Candidate’s Links to Ex-BNP Member | Breitbart
McVey Dodges White Dee Debate | Speccie
Labour Candidate: Churchill Was a White Supremacist | Mail
LibDems Stand By Disgraced Sex Offender-Linked Mayor | MK
Has Carol Mills Given Up on Westminster? | Canberra Times
Labour Consider Banning Uber | Asa Bennett
Did LibDems Make Up Hancock Disciplinary Meeting? | Scrapbook


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Eddie Izzard, in his thirteenth year involved in politics, says he’s not cursed because it took Sir Alex Ferguson “seven years to win the premiership so it doesn’t really matter.”



cynic says:

Can anyone help me? I went on holiday a week ago and returned to find someone has pulled out the stake and Gordon Brown is back and acting as Prime Minister. What did I miss? Has there been a snap election?


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