Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cuts, Lies and Videotape

Remember Fraser Nelson pleading with the Prime Mentalist to tell the truth?

The tape doesn’t lie.  Unlike Gordon.

UPDATE 23.10 : Newsnight’s David Grossman has just run this pooled clip, without the Sky overlays. If you look carefully you can spot Grossman smirking in the front row.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Newsnight’s Politics Pen

Tim Montgomerie and Iain Dale have got quite worked up about the Newsnight line-up for its Politics Pen experiment. Essentially the charge is they had four Labour insider / cronies vetoing public expenditure control policies from wonks (and a comedian).

pen_participantsThe political Dragon’s Den / Politics Pen types were Lord Digby Jones (former Labour Minister), Deborah Mattinson (Gordon Brown’s pollster), Matthew Taylor (Blair’s Head of Policy) and Greg Dyke (former Labour donor and luvvie of the nineties).

Not being known as one to miss a chance to bash the BBC you might be surprised to hear Guido thinks the Newsnight editor Peter Rippon has a point.  He can balance this panel in another show with a panel of right-of-centre panelists giving the thumbs up or thumbs down to advocates for quangos and big spending departments. 

The next panel could listen to those making the case for spending just as the previous panel listened to those making the case for expenditure control… they will do that, right?

Crowd Sourcing Opinion v Commentariat Opinion

Mindtracker
Until now we have had no way of knowing what the public really think of the party leaders performance. Instead, the members of the commentariat simply form their insider consensus, unsupported by anything other than their own shared metropolitan prejudices.

For example, the current consensus among the pundits is that it’s not a good idea for Cameron to get angry with Brown. “Too much like Flashman” think the hacks. But lots of voters are angry as hell at the PM and want to see him get a great big slap in the face (hence the popularity in Dan Hannan’s viral video in which he gave the PM the full hairdryer treatment).

Are the pundits right? What do swing voters actually think? At the moment that knowledge isn’t available to anyone unless they have pots of cash to spend. In the U.S. Frank Luntz charges corporate clients a small fortune to run dial groups (as seen on Newsnight) which capture exactly how voters feel about what politicians are saying. If you have the money, the effect of every word and weird facial expression can be measured precisely.

Now that technology is about to be democratised… it is time to cut out Sir Michael White and find out what voters actually think.  Let the crowd-sourced experiment begin – click here or on the button above and you will be able to record your responses blow-by-blow to today’s PMQs clash.  We’ll have the results back later…

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

+++ Lord Rennard to Get the Crick Treatment on Newsnight +++

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Political Class Starting to Fear the Public’s Anger

Not often that Polly Toynbee, Tim Montgomerie and Guido agree: popular anger with the political class is rising.  Something that Polly wants Labour to adjust to by moving policy to the left as well as limiting public-sector fat-cat pay. Tim Montgomerie agrees on the latter but wants the Tories to wake up to popular anger by putting on hair-shirts and getting their own snoughts out of the trough.  Guido welcomes both pundits to the anti-politics banner.

Democracy is broken, the political media elite distant from the people with the two main parties offering no choice and no change.  Osborne is promising no change and blaming the economic crisis.  Taxation will remain penal, spending will remain prolific, there will be some reforms of a failed state bureaucracy but no rollback and no radicalism.  Hannan is at least making the case for a radical shift of power from the centralised state bureaucracy to people at local level.

The Cameroons can’t seal the deal with the people with pragmatism,  “Triangulation Now!” is not the banner that will get people marching.  Voters are angry with Brown and disenchanted with politicians offering more of the same.  Bedazzled during the Blair years, Cameron, Osborne and Hilton have yet to show that they realise the times have fundamentally changed.  Taking strategic advice from the wrong Danny* has left the Tories outflanked on their USP – the LibDems are now the only party promising to reduce the tax burden on the low paid.  Hannan told Newsnight last night that people are fed up of being, “ripped off, lied to and ignored” by politicians.  Disenchantment with politicians has never been higher, most think they are overpaid and dishonest.  Hannan gets it.  This crisis is an opportunity to radically change the plan.

*Finkelstein.  Nice guy, but wrong.  Danny has been consistently one political zeitgeist behind the times all his life.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Exclusive : Paxman : The Faked Evidence of Support

Jeremy Paxman writing in the Mail on Sunday this weekend “Wear a poppy… for the lions killed in war, not the donkeys who send them there” has fine words about the wars that have cost the lives of so many heroes:
“I shall wear a poppy because an act of remembrance once a year is the very least that those of us who have not been asked to risk our lives can offer those who did not have a choice.”

Empty words. In the picture byline above the article bearing his photo he is wearing a poppy. Hypocritically it is faked.

We know what Paxman thinks of faked evidence (watch him grill Policy Exchange’s Dean Godson here). He told Godson with his trademark sneer: “Authenticity is all, as you well know.”

Paxman, who is paid by the BBC £1 million for a three day week on Newsnight, was not available to answer Guido’s questions.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Newsnight Mess Up the Market Report Yet Again

Kirsty correctly informed us that the pound had “tumbled almost one and three quarter cents” yet the graphic had it up +1.74 cents. Viewers have to guess the truth, one wonders does anyone at Newsnight actually care?

Guido watched Randall Live on Sky earlier this evening interviewing Martin Sorrell. An adult conversation about business and the markets with some interesting insights. Sorrell explained what he was up to re-domiciling WPP in Ireland. It wasn’t at all the hectoring quasi-Marxist business bashing that so often characterises the BBC’s reporting – which might be fine for Guardian readers but is pretty tiresome for people interested in business news. Randall is recommended.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Newsnight is a Shambles, Come Back Peter Barron

Guido has given up on bothering to report the number of times they get the market report wrong, suffice to say that it might as well be a random number. If you can’t rely on a simple thing like that what does it say about the more nuanced reporting? On the day last week that U.S. markets had the huge downward move, Newsnight had a graph showing that it had plunged from roughly 10,100 to, errm, 10,400. Pathetically bad.

Grossman managed to pick up one decent story at Labour Party conference which led to the 3.15 a.m. drink fuelled McBride briefing. Two-ways from the conferences were persistently plagued by technical problems. One night Paxman said on air what all the viewers were thinking “it is a bit of a shambles here tonight.” They spent the conference season playing “Place the Face”, demonstrating that Michael Crick may have a more promising career as a game show host than an investigative reporter. Just a bit of fun? The Guidoisation of politics? Maybe, however is that dumbing down really a good use of the expensive resources of the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme? When Crick finished his Place the Face finale piece on Wednesday, Paxman sneered and Crick exited the stage a minute or two later walking across screen in front of the camera, a dark Crick shaped shadow obscuring the Newsnight discussion with Finkelstein and the pair of cliche merchants he spars with. It was emblemic of the state of the show. Amateurish isn’t the word for it.

They have a Trotskyite reporting from Wall Street on the travails of capitalism – comical. Iain Martin in the Telegraph has also lost patience with the only show the entire Westminster Village watches. They have yet to finalise a replacement for Peter Barron. They need someone to get a grip on it because it is becoming a joke.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Newsnight Messed Up the Market Report Yet Again

Are they just doing this to wind Guido up? The Dow closed up some 1700% yesterday according to Newsnight. Do they use a monkey or a random number generator for their market reports? Every other night they screw up this simple report. They should just give up because wrong information is worse than no information. The Dow actually closed at 10,609.66 according to Sky News – a credible, reliable news source.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Comrade Mason Replies

After the kerfuffle about the mixed up market report last night this (presumably genuine) communication from Newsnight’s business reporter and trade union leader has come in:
Guido – I should probably have said the value of its shares fell 48% in after market pricing, or some similar gobbledygook. As your other commenters point out the issue of whether there is a futures “market” is philosophically moot. Unfortunately the words “futures market” were in a piece of paper printed off into my hands literally as the 5-strong team of makeup women and masseurs was prepping me for my live appearance and seconds before we went on air. The words “futures market” entered my brain while I was puzzling whether the 48% fall really mattered in such an illiquid market. But hey, guys: if you think I sound like a hysterical Trot, you should listen to McCain!

Fair enough. Guido is in no position to criticise someone for screwing up live on Newsnight…

Incidentally, that last sentence is an interesting point, Guido will only note that the lead piece on the show tonight is scheduled to be “Does capitalism still work?” Producers with a sense of humour…

Seen Elsewhere

Apple’s Tim Cook: iGay | Techno Guido
Insurgent Parties Plunge Labour Into Crisis | Alex Wickham
Mind-Bending Politics of Drugs | Mark Wallace
PC Worries Prevent Police Protecting Young Girls | Jill Kirby
Miliband Should Win Rochester | Martin Kettle
Thatcher Minister Sir John Nott ‘Voted for UKIP’ | Times
Time to Listen to Drugs Experts | Guardian
Drug Laws Don’t Work | Times
Our Moral Duty to Cut Taxes | David Cameron
Greens Ahead of LibDems | Guardian
Channel 4 to Spoof UKIP Election Win | Guardian


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Is it just me, or is Nigel Farage just a top hat and a monocle away from being a Batman villain?


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