Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Worst BBC Forecast Since Michael Fish

Spare a thought for Nick Robinson who yesterday morning confidently told us that “Gordon Brown no longer appears to be under threat. The cool political climate of the Autumn has replaced the heated frenzy of the Summer.”

Gordon “has been saved for now at least not by anything he’s done but by an atmosphere of weary resignation that has taken over much of his party.”

This putsch is not random synchronicity, Guido has a hunch that the plan is not a mere grassroots move to push Gordon out, it is a determined effort to use backbench proxies to shame cabinet ministers into telling Gordon his time is up. Miliband can stay out of the limelight and let Progress’ president, Alan Milburn, stir up the trouble.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Threat is Real

This morning Nick Robinson told listeners to Today “Gordon Brown no longer appears to be under threat. The cool political climate of the Autumn has replaced the heated frenzy of the Summer… The PM, it seems, has been saved for now at least not by anything he’s done but by an atmosphere of weary resignation that has taken over much of his party.”

Later this morning we learnt from Sky that some backbenchers had requested nomination papers. Clearly not everyone is resigned to going down with the Prime Mentalist…

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Nick Robinson : Politicians Are Two-Faced Liars

Nick Robinson is doing holiday cover on the Today show* and has been uncharacteristically candid on his blog. Nick says “that the public words of support for the PM often do not reflect the private misgivings I hear… It is the job of journalists to look for them but it is also our job to report the difference between talk and action.”

Great, go on, do your job then Nick. Tell us who is saying one thing to you and another to the public. Or is this a secret just for you and not the people who pay your wages? Who are the two-faced liars?

*Have to admit he is preferable to Jim Naughtie.

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?

Don’t Read All About It :
Robinson’s Boozing Expenses are a State Secret

Nick Robinson was on the Today show and has a blog up this morning about the progress of openness campaigners in finding out about MP’s expenses. Ironically Guido was just about to blog about his progress in trying to find out about Nick’s own expenses. The BBC reckons it would be unfair for us to know how much Nick Robinson spends on boozing with politicians. Guido thinks it unfair that British TV viewers have to pay for it against their will. Why pay the licence fee if they won’t tell you what they spend it on?

Mr Guido Fawkes
March 20, 2008

Dear Mr Fawkes

RFI20080192 – Freedom of Information request

Thank you for your email of 26 February 2008 requesting a full, itemised account of the expenses of the BBC’s Political Editor, Nick Robinson, and in particular any itemised receipts for Shepherds, Le Caprice and The Atrium restaurants. The reference number for your request is RFI20080192.

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” (see Schedule I, Part VI of the Act). We are not therefore obliged to supply information held for the purposes of creating the BBC’s output or information that supports and is closely associated with these creative activities.

The BBC considers that this includes information about the costs involved in creating its output, including expenses incurred during this process. Information which is not subject to disclosure under the Act because of Schedule I might otherwise be exempt from disclosure because of the application of other provisions of the Act. The BBC notes the recent decision notice of the Information Commissioner (ref. FS50085710): in that case the Commissioner considered that payments (including expenses) made to talent did fall within the scope of the Act. However, the Commissioner decided that the information was exempt from disclosure under section 40(2) of the Act as he felt that the payment information constituted personal data and that its disclosure would breach the first data protection principle in the Data Protection Act, being ‘fair and lawful processing’. The Commissioner considered that the individuals in that case had a reasonable expectation that their personal data would not be disclosed and it would therefore be unfair to do so.

The BBC does not agree with the Commissioner’s decision on the scope of the Act and reserves its position on the matter; however, the BBC onsiders that in the event of a similar finding by the Commissioner in this case, the information you have requested would also be exempt under the Act under section 40(2) as the information constitutes personal data and disclosure would breach the First Principle (fair and lawful processing). The expenses claimed by this individual do not relate to the performance of a public function which involves spending public money or taking influential policy decisions. The individual involved would not expect the type of information requested to be disclosed to third parties, and therefore to do so would be unfair.

Yours sincerely,

Stephanie Harris
Head of Editorial
Compliance, BBC News

So just remember this evasion next time Nick gets on his high horse about expenses and public money. Of course Nick could voluntarily publish his expenses, exactly how much booze does it take to loosen Damian McBride’s tongue?
UPDATE : Guido’s further thoughts on this are here.

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.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Show Us Your Expenses Nick

Nick Robinson seems quite chuffed with himself, having managed to provoke fifty odd MPs into signing an EDM after his well deserved dig at the Speaker:
THE REPORTING OF MR NICK ROBINSON
25.02.2008

Kilfoyle, Peter

That this House deplores the innuendo of the blog of Nick Robinson, the BBC’s lobby correspondent; calls upon him to substantiate the imputations he makes in his blog concerning the Speaker and hon. Members; and also calls upon the BBC to publish a full, itemised account of the expenses of Mr Robinson, in the name of transparency and accountability of public funds.

Nick accepts that “If you ladle it out, you’ve got to take it, as the old saying goes.”

Well let Guido dish it out a little more to our favourite public service broadcaster. This Freedom of Information request has just been submitted to the BBC’s FoI unit.

Dear Sirs,

Please could you send me, by return as soon as possible, a full, itemised account of the expenses of Mr Nick Robinson, in the name of transparency and accountability of public funds.

Am particularly interested in the itemised receipts for Shepherds, Le Caprice and The Atrium restaurants.

There is considerable public interest in this as evidenced by the Early Day Motion 1037* signed by over 50 members of parliament.

Please acknowledge receipt by return.

Yours faithfully,

G. Fawkes

Although Guido is with Nick on this, it should be a bit of fun to see his wine choices. Before you ask, Guido spends nearly all his pocket money on booze, the rest is wasted…

UPDATE : Curly reckons Nick is beginning to sound like Guido. Say it ain’t so…

Monday, October 8, 2007

Media First, House Second

Even Nick Robinson is taking the piss out of the Bottler-in-Chief. He is asking readers of his blog for suggestions as to what he should ask Gordon at today’s press conference. He also explains why old Brown pants would rather face the press pack than the opposition.
The truth is that he would far rather do this at a news conference than in the bear-pit of Parliament or a round with the media’s toughest interviewers. It isn’t that difficult when you get to choose the questions (allowing you to say “the lady at the back with the headscarf” if the going gets tough and you fancy a detour into the Middle East) and you disallow follow-ups and when you stand up in the state rooms of Downing Street looking prime ministerial.

Is that “toughest interviewers” jibe a dig at Marr? Apparently Robbo only found out about the Marr audience with Gordon second hand. Brave Brown is not coming to the House first today (has he forgotten about “the new politics”) he is going to face the Lobby first. Revealing isn’t it that he would rather face the likes of Andrew Marr than MPs. Incidentally, Robbo asking his blog readers for help? He’ll be offering them T-shirts next…

Friday, September 28, 2007

Breaking News

Nick Robinson breathlessly informed us yesterday on his blog that “The BBC has learnt that over the past 24 hours the Labour Party has begun recruiting key staff to work on an election campaign.” Nick is a brilliant investigative reporter isn’t he? Guido read about that on Recess Monkey the day before, who read it in the Guardian.

Guido could be wrong, but something tells him Gordon is bluffing.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Guido Regrets…

Well the live interview was definitely a mistake and against my better judgement, as was the in-the-shadows idea of the Newsnight editor, but nice to have Sir Michael White go to full-frontal-abuse.
His denial of knowing his friend Prescott was even 68 is contradicted here
Interviewing Prezza for the Guardian on the 10.05 out of King’s Cross yesterday I was startled, not for the first time, by his resillient energy. It was his 68th birthday, which makes him eight years older than me and a good deal more energetic. Why hasn’t he got any white hair, I found myself wondering? What’s his secret? Pauline’s cooking? Grecian 2000? Tracey? Croquet? A zeal for the public good?

Incidentally – want to clarify something immediately re Nick Robinson – that last line about Nick being the source, did not mean he was the source for the original much contested Guido “email” second system story. Nick has never been a source. We had a discussion re the Ruth Turner document after doing his interview. That was what the reference was to, pretty sure that came over all wrong, and genuinely apologise for any embarrassment caused to Nick. Good night.


Seen Elsewhere

Comply or Die at Grauniad | MediaGuido
Labour Beats UKIP in South Yorkshire | LabourList
Mock the Week’s Weak Comedy | Nigel Farage
Can Jim Murphy Save Scottish Labour? | Guardian
There is Still Appetite for the Westminster Lunch | Jon Craig
Labour Turn Their Backs on Jewish Community | Dan Hodges
Chivalry is Not Dead | Laura Perrins
Jonathan Jones is a Tw*t | Iain Dale
Second Scotland Poll Suggests Labour Wipeout | Times
Paedo Probe Boss Urged to Quit | Sun
Keynesian Tories Won’t Eliminate Deficit | Tim Montgomerie


VOTER-RECALL
Find out more about PLMR


Zac Goldsmith: “The hon. Gentleman might like to know that today’s Guido Fawkes quote of the day is the one on drug laws that we have heard cited by a number of hon. Members.”

Mike Hancock: “I am delighted to hear that Guido Fawkes is talking about something other than me.”



“Digger” Murdoch says:

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


Tip off Guido
Web Guido's Archives

Subscribe me to:






RSS


AddThis Feed Button
Archive


Labels
Guido Reads
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,554 other followers