Newsnight Hire Pro-Labour TUC Wonk as Economics Editor

newsnightStephanie “Two Eds” Flanders used to annoy Tory MPs when she was the economics pundit on Newsnight, before her the quasi-Marxist Paul Mason had them shouting at the telly. Well imagine how they are going to react to the news that the TUC’s senior economist Duncan Weldon has been hired as her replacement. Weldon is a former Labour Party staffer who has blogged for the Fabian Society, Left Foot Forward and written a series of posts praising Labour politicians and attacking the Tories on LabourList. If that were not enough he also writes regularly for the Owen Jones launched and Unite-funded CLASS think tank. Guido looks forward to his fair and balanced reporting…

BBC sources say that it would be unfair to blame the former Guardian deputy-editor Ian Katz who is now Newsnight’s editor for the hire as James Harding (ex-Times editor) signs off the hires. Katz seems sensitive to complaints about the politics of Newsnight:

It is clearly provocative in a pre-election year to hire a well known Labour Party advocate for the position when the economy is going to be the central election issue. The BBC’s Charter is up for review in 2017. Conservative HQ will be as suspicious as ever of the BBC…

UPDATE: Livid Tory spokesman: “Highly questionable appointment. Arthur Scargill would be a more objective appointment.”

UPDATE II: Duncan Weldon ran as a candidate for the Labour Party in Crouch End, Haringey in the 2010 elections.

UPDATE III: Duncan Weldon was the economic adviser to Harriet Harman when she was acting leader of the Labour Party. This might just lead some to question his objectivity in reporting on Labour’s forthcoming 2015 manifesto.

UPDATE IV:

WATCH: Harman Refuses to Say PIE Affiliation was a Mistake

Well Harriet Harman’s clear-the-air, kill the story interview with Newsnight went well then. Time and time again Laura Kuenssberg asked Harman if she would say that the National Council of Civil Liberites’ decision to affiliate with the Paedophile Information Exchange was a mistake. Time and time again Harman, almost inexplicably, refused. Guaranteeing the story will keep going for a while at least…

Leaked Emails Reveal “UKIP Kidnapper” is Tory Member Newsnight Scoop Missed PM Welcoming Bhutto to the Party

Last night’s Newsnight scoop was bizarre for many reasons, not least their revelations that the UKIP Commonwealth Spokesman had been jailed for seven years. Mujeeb ur Rehman Bhutto was the leader of a gang who kidnapped the son of a wealthy businessman at gunpoint in Karachi in June 2004. The establishment’s favourite new mantra was wheeled out and lots of noise made about the make up of UKIP membership. Except someone didn’t do their homework, fully…

As these emails, just revealed by the Daily Politics, indicate, Bhutto is a member of the Conservative Party:

From: “David Cameron”
Date: 30 January 2014 12:44:35 GMT
To: Mujeeb.bhutto
Subject: Thank you for becoming a Member

Dear Mr Bhutto,

Firstly, let me offer you a very warm welcome to the Conservatives.

I’m delighted you have taken the decision to help us turn Britain around by becoming a Member of the Party. Your membership card will be posted out to you shortly (within the next month).

As a Member, you have a vital role to play. The Conservative-led Government has many challenges ahead before – and including – the next set of elections, but with your help we can continue to make the case for Conservative values.

The more who join us, the more we can achieve – so please email everyone you know who would be interested in becoming a Member of the Conservatives. Together, we can build a better future for Britain.

Thanks in advance for all your help,

David Cameron

This is being blamed on an automated online application. Which cannot be said for Leeds Conservatives following up the email from Dave to further welcome Mr Bhutto back into Tory arms:

From: “Robert Winfield” 
Date: 30 January 2014 23:59:38 GMT
To: Mujeeb.bhutto
Subject: Leeds Central Conservatives

Mujeeb
I am just dropping you a brief e mail to say that I was delighted to learn that you have rejoined the Conservative Party. I hope to speak to you soon but unfortunately I am just getting over flu.

I assume this means that you have severed your connections with UKIP.

Best wishes

Robert Winfield

This is not the first time that UKIP have got into trouble with Tory friends. No one noticed the gay floods chap when he was a Conservative councillor, and the member accused by the Mail on Sunday of being in the National Front was actually a Tory when she made the incendiary comments. And let’s not forget Roger Helmer. As Farage said the other day, “if you accept defectors from the Conservative Party you will always have embarrassments.”

UPDATE: Shapps was just confronted with these emails on the Daily Politics, it seems the Tories had spotted the issue here. Though it seems no one told Leeds…

UPDATE II: Poor Bhutto has been booted out already. Tories say:

“Bhutto is not a member. He applied, got the normal follow ups, and we reserve the right to refuse and have done that.”

Normal follow ups including a personalised welcome thanking them for re-joining? Glad that’s all cleared up then…

WATCH: Paxo “Tattoo” Tops Dimbleby

Guido is enjoying Newsnight’s “and finally” gimmicks…

Laura K Heads Back to the Beeb
Guido’s Favourite Presenter Joins Newsnight

laura k

Great signing by Newsnight:

Well that’s going to keep Guido up right until the end…

Katz Steals Another Pinky Inky for Newsnight

Face-for-radio Chris Cook is leaving the Pink’un to become policy editor at Newsnight. Regular readers will remember Chris from his fair and balanced reporting of a certain Pearson-owned exam board, as well his long, long, long vendetta against Michael Gove, after working for his predecessor in the Tory education brief David Willetts. Seriously though, Guido and Chris settled differences over many beers not long ago in some trendy media hangout we both happened to be in. He wishes him the best of luck. The ‘semi-Tory’ is jumping just as the FT flirts with switching back to Labour…

Kirsty Wark’s Halloween Thriller

Mwahahahaaa…

WATCH: Cookie Monster v Maitlis

Cookie Monster gave nothing away in what really could not be described as the toughest of interviews.  President Karzai was obviously less media savvy…

Watch Teenagers Declare Benefits Bill Should Be Slashed

Here is one that does not fit the usual narrative. Teenagers polled by Newsnight last night collectively agreed to slash the unsustainable benefits bill and use the money to pay down the national debt and increase spending on education and […]

+ READ MORE +

Ian Katz Responds

Mea culpa from the Newsnight editor in an email to Labour spinner Bob Roberts:

Dear Bob,

I am only too happy to reiterate the apology I have already made to Rachel by text and on Twitter: I apologise unreservedly for

[…]

+ READ MORE +

New Newsnight Boss Apologises for Twitter Blunder
Ian Katz “Boring Snoring” Rachel Reeves Direct Message #Fail

As if that Huhne interview wasn’t bad enough, now new Newsnight editor Ian Katz has failed in his attempt to send a private direct message on Twitter. Just days into his new job, the former Guardian deputy editor accidentally published […]

+ READ MORE +

WATCH: Psycho Huhne Newsnight Interview in Full

Over at the Guardian’s broadcast arm, Ian Katz has given increasingly unhinged criminal homewrecker Chris Huhne free rein on Newsnight. It is definitely worth watching in full:

Let it go Chris, it’s over…

Via the appropriately named @liarpoliticians.

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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