Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tee Time for Toby & Tim
Observer Pol Ed Helm’s Shared Love of Yeo’s Green

Guido bumped into his old friend Tim Yeo last night who had ‘absolutely no comment to make to you’ about his dying career. He did however confirm something rather interesting about last week’s Observer. Political Editor Toby Helm penned a vainglorious piece about Yeo’s deselection, claiming it was all part of a wider conspiracy to turn back the clocks on Tory modernisation and silence the green agenda:

“It is known that some local Tories in Suffolk dislike Yeo’s enthusiasm for green issues and his support for gay marriage. He is also less strongly Euro-sceptic than some in the party, and makes the argument that the UK’s best interests lie with remaining in the EU.”

The flaws in the piece were immediately obvious. As a former Major minister (of the back to basics variety) Yeo was hardly the poster boy of Dave’s new model army and he only really cares about green issues that feather his nest. Had Helm picked up the phone to anyone in the South Suffolk constituency he would have known the reasons behind the deselection were to do with Yeo’s absenteeism. So who did Toby Helm speak to?

Well Yeo confirmed to Guido last night that he ‘regularly’ plays golf with Toby Helm. How cosy!

Curiously Yeo was an accompanied by a young lady who he introduced to people as his ‘Special Adviser’. Which is an oddity for a backbench MP…

Monday, August 5, 2013

Where’s Rawnsley?

Last week Guido published some pretty damning evidence that Andrew Rawnsley had lifted vast swathes of his column almost word for word from a previous edition of the Economist. He has been silent about it ever since despite the chance to comment or refute the allegations. Yesterday the “the Observer’s award-winning Chief Political Commentator” was conspicuously absent from the paper, instead he was replaced by Joanna Biggs, the assistant editor at the London Review of Books. Guido hopes he is just on his holidays and not in trouble? Anyone missing Andrew’s insight too much should probably just buy a copy of the Economist…

Monday, July 29, 2013

Rawnsley’s Rehashed ‘Research’ Rumbled

Catching up with Andrew Rawnsley’s “award winning” column yesterday, Guido could not help think he had read the same points being made, with all the same examples and the same anecdotes, somewhere before. Rawnsley tackles the great North/South divide debate with a remarkable similarity to Jeremy Cliffe, the Economist’s UK politics correspondent, who wrote extensively on the issue in April. Cliffe’s two pieces are online here and here.

Guido first smelt a rat at the mention of Alastair Campbell, who Rawnsley writes “secured his two, even more whopping landslides in 1997 and 2001 by winning for Labour in places that had been previously thought unreachable. On the night of his first victory, he thought his staff were pulling his leg when they reported that Labour had won St Albans.” Something Economist readers would know from April, minus the insider anecdote.

“Alastair Campbell, Mr Blair’s spin doctor, recalls the party’s astonishment at the results: “seats were falling that we would never have imagined standing a hope in hell of winning.” The greatest swing was in the south-east and eastern regions, where Labour won 44 constituencies, including such leafy, middle-class suburbs as St Albans (now comfortably Tory once more).”

A coincidence, surely? So Guido started compare the rest of Rawnsley’s column to the Economist pieces, and it does not look good. See if you can spot the differences here:

Economist:

“Of the 158 seats that make up the three northern English regions, only 43 are Conservative [...] Of the 197 MPs representing the English south beyond the capital, just ten are now Labour. The Tories hold only two seats in the north-east and one in Scotland.”

Rawnsley:

“Of the 158 seats in the three northern English regions, only 43 have a Conservative MP. The Tories hold just two seats in the north-east and have only one MP in the whole of Scotland. [...] Under a line drawn from the Wash to the Bristol Channel, there are 197 seats outside London. Just 10 of those seats are represented by a Labour MP.”

Lifting statistics from the Economist is one thing, but what about whole chunks of analysis?

Economist:

“well-off people in the north are more likely to vote Labour than the poor are in the south [...] northerners from the highest social class are more likely to vote Labour than are southerners from the lowest social class.”

Rawnsley:

“Well-heeled parts of the north are these days much more likely to vote Labour than their counterparts in the south. [...] Affluent northerners (the As and Bs of pollsters’ jargon) are more likely to vote Labour than poorer southerners (the Ds and the Es).”

Economist:

““LET’S all do the conga, Maggie is no longer,” sang fans of Liverpool Football Club during their trip to Reading, in southern England, on April 13th. It was as revealing as any opinion poll. [...] Polls following Lady Thatcher’s death revealed a country similarly divided over the merits of her grand funeral. [...] Mrs Thatcher did indeed oversee a collapse of northern manufacturing (though that process neither began nor ended with her), as well as a financial-services boom that was mostly felt in the south-east.”

Rawnsley:

“It is still suffering from the shadow of Mrs Thatcher, which none of her successors has dispelled. As we saw in some of the responses to her death, in much of the north she stands for savage deindustrialisation, impoverishment and southern disdain. She triggered a boom in the City and another in the services sector, the fruits of which were mostly enjoyed by the south.”

Economist:

“Under the 1997-2010 Labour government the economy grew more slowly in the north—and, partly as a result, the state accounted, directly and indirectly, for a larger share of jobs created there. [...] When Labour increased public spending in the north it strengthened its position there. When the Conservative-led coalition began to cut public-sector jobs they strengthened Labour’s position there, too. (The same may yet prove true of cuts in benefits, which are a larger part of incomes in the region.)”

Rawnsley:

“Under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, the economy still grew more slowly in the north, but it received proportionately more of the increases in public spending. Now austerity has fallen most harshly on the north, where more jobs are reliant on the public sector and a higher proportion of the population is drawing benefits.”

Oh look, if you change the county, nobody will notice:

Economist:

“And regional success and failure are self-reinforcing. A bright young thing in Kent who wants to go into politics has two good options: join the Conservative Party, or leave Kent.”

Rawnsley:

“The divide has become self-fuelling. [...] A Labourite in Surrey has a similar problem: forget about being an MP or head north.”

Rawnsley was clearly concious of being accused of lifting his column or he would not have bothered to make such a minor change.

He didn’t stop there though:

Economist:

“Most obviously, it is much harder for one party to secure a strong political mandate. [...] some way to surmount the problem has to be found if either party is to get a respectable absolute majority. [...] The country needs national political parties. At the moment, it does not have them.”

Rawnsley:

“For as long as the two parties are entrenched in their strongholds but incapable of reaching very far beyond them, it increases the likelihood of there being more hung parliaments. Even if one or other of them can scrape together some sort of parliamentary majority at the next election, it is unlikely to be an impressive one, meaning whoever is prime minister will struggle to claim to have a national mandate.”

Economist:

“The Conservative Party now has scant direct knowledge of the northern cities. Labour is similarly clueless about people living in southern towns.”

Rawnsley:

“When speaking about the south, some Labour people talk as if they were describing hostile territory rather than part of their own country. When on the subject of the north, some Tories can sound as if they are talking about a part of the map captioned: “Here be dragons”.”

Economist:

“Both main parties will concentrate on the Midlands, where loyalties are less entrenched, and on picking off Liberal Democrat seats; but the Tories need to win some northern seats to get a majority.”

Rawnsley:

“They will concentrate on the Midlands and trying to bag some Lib Dem seats, but the Conservatives need to gain some northern seats to have any hope of constructing a reasonable majority.”

Economist:

“The ideal economic solution would be to build a bigger private sector in Britain’s north (and in Northern Ireland and Wales), demolishing what Tories angrily refer to as Labour’s client state. This is the work of many years.”

Rawnsley:

“Politicians of all parties talk about “rebalancing” the economy, but that is the work of many years”

And as if that was not enough, for good measure Rawnsley even nicks Cliffe’s “two nations” sentence:

Economist:

“The diverging politics of the Labour north and Conservative south make England look ever more like two nations.”

Rawnsley:

“We are not so much a country divided as two nations.”

Struggling with Labour out of power and a complete lack of access, the Observer’s “award-winning chief political commentator” has taken to stealing the work of someone twenty years his junior and attempting to pass it off as his own by tweaking a few words. Quite tragic really.

Another Underw-Helm-ing Week at the Observer

Another stunning scoop from Westminster’s finest political editor. Fresh from his “someone was mean to me on the internet” splash a few months back this journalist of unrivalled political acumen has revealed in the Observer that leaders of rival political parties are not welcome in the secure zones of their rival’s conferences. So Farage will not be allowed to speak at Tory conference, nor presumably will Ed Miliband. This narrative smashing revelation is surely worthy of some sort of prize? Lets all give Toby Helm a big round of applause…

Guido will have another struggling Sunday pundit getting desperate later…

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Andrew Wrongsley

Super-connected and popular sage Andrew Rawnsley told his dwindling Observer readers on Sunday that “the ministers who are resisting the chancellor most fiercely are nearly all concentrated on the bluest end of the Conservative party”. He highlighted Eric Pickles and Chris Grayling as some of the fiercest fighters refusing to give in to the Treasury. This morning the Chancellor announced that both Pickles and Grayling had “agreed to significant savings”. Cringe…

Where Grayling was concerned “quite radical reforms” will lead to further savings in in prisons and  court service, sources familiar with Eric Pickles’ thinking say he always believes that more savings can be found, especially in Whitehall. They point to his pushing of the transparency agenda to highlight government overspending. A Treasury insider was scathing: “Mr Rawnsley should check his so called facts. As today’s news shows the Spending Round process is making good progress and what he wrote on Sunday was well wide of the mark.” Another must read column…

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Toby Helm’s Twitter Spat With Gove SpAds

Huge handbags on Twitter this week between the Observer’s Toby Helm and the CCHQ @ToryEducation Twitter account. The Tory tweeter told Helm “You’re like Baldwin and Campbell – an activist, not a professional hack”, provoking paroxysms of rage from the Labour Party press office’s favourite broadsheet channel. Particularly after they called Helm a Labour stooge. This will apparently spill over into the paper this weekend when The Observer is going to allege that it is part of a scandalous McBride/Draper style dirty tricks operation. Guido understands that Helm reckons it could bring down Michael Gove…

Judge the robust exchange for yourself:

It is unclear to Guido whether or not the account is run officially or unofficially from CCHQ or by Gove’s SpAds, or what the exact rules about this would be. As is so often the way with Twitter, exchanges are strongly worded. SpAds are supposed to operate within civil service limitations.  A strongly worded written letter of admonishment to a SpAd from the permanent secretary may result. Not exactly enough to bring down the Secretary of State…

UPDATE: Looks like Toby has been down the bookies:

Monday, January 14, 2013

Have Cocks and Have Nots

This weekend played host to an almighty media bitch fight turned left-wing civil war between furious feminists and “bed-wetting” transsexuals. It all kicked off when Guardian and New Statesman columnist and heroine of the fairer sex Suzanne Moore stomped off Twitter after opining  in the Staggers last week: “[Women] are angry with ourselves for not being happier, not being loved properly and not having the ideal body shape – that of a Brazilian transsexual. Moore deactivated her account, not before going out in a truly spectacular blaze of glory, telling her followers: “People can just f*** off really. Cut their d***s off and be more feminist than me. Good for them”. Quite.

julieStep forward Julie Burchill, Moore’s feminist friend and fellow Guardianista. Taking up arms in defence of her under fire colleague in her Observer column, Burchill went tonto. Suggesting that “a gaggle of transsexuals telling Suzanne Moore how to write looks a lot like how I’d imagine the Black and White Minstrels telling Usain Bolt how to run would look”, Burchill proceeded to launch a stinging attack against the ‘trans lobby’, denouncing them as “screaming mimis”, “Shims, shemales, whatever you’re calling yourselves these days”, and “bed-wetting transsexuals” who “have your c**k cut off and then plead special privileges as women”. Cue lefty rage.

Basking in the illiberal glow of the post-Leveson world, shouty crackers LibDem minister Lynne Featherstone went all Tom Watson and demanded Burchill be sacked:

While Alan Rusbridger conveniently forgot that he is editor-in-chief of Guardian News Media as he went into full defensive mode:

alan2

As the dust settled this morning lefty commentators were still entrenched behind their barricades desperately trying to out-feminist each other. Man-bags at dawn…

UPDATE: The Guardian/Observer combine started Friday claiming it “OWNED” the weekend, by Monday it had disowned the Burchill article, self-censoring and removing it.

 The Observer is a paper which prides itself on ventilating difficult debates and airing challenging views. On this occasion we got it wrong and in light of the hurt and offence caused I apologise and have made the decision to withdraw the piece.

A lack of editorial balls…

Monday, December 12, 2011

Another Sorry Chapter in the Cable Fable

When doorstepped this morning, Vince Cable ruled out resigning saying: “I’m just getting on with my job as I always do.” So he limps on to fight, and lose, another day, but that’s not to say he hasn’t been banging his steel mug against the bars of his cell this weekend. With Clegg initially saying he was behind the national interest, Cable’s voice on the outside, also known as the spectacularly irritating Matthew Oakeshott, was deployed to stir things up.

The Observer reported: “One of Vince Cable’s closest allies, Lord Oakeshott, has refused to rule out a possible resignation by the business secretary. Cable’s comrade Will Hutton had clearly had a direct earful too: “He will speak out aggressively against Cameron’s veto; his decision is whether to resign to do so or say so in office, courting his sacking.” Will Hutton being wrong about something comes as no surprise, but him making something up would. Yet again Cable has clearly threatened that often cited nuclear bomb, yet failed to push the button. When push comes to shove, he’s yellow to his core…


Seen Elsewhere

Fraser Nelson: Put Your Money on Ed Miliband to Win | Guardian
Guido Fawkes is Too Aggressive | The Times
Ditch Tobacco Plain Packaging | Grassroots Conservatives
What Farage, Boris and Rob Ford Have in Common | William Walter
Labour Spell New Adviser’s Name Wrong | ITV
Dave Stung by Jellyfish | Sun
City Minister’s Inheritance Tax Dodging Trusts | Indy
What I Would Have Done if I was Sarah Wollaston | Iain Dale
Boris is an Epic Europhile | Louise Mensch
Warsi Got PM to Confront “Secular Fundamentalism” | Fraser Nelson
Guardian April Fools Apology | Press Gazette


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Rod Liddle on the loony UN sexism special rapporteur:

“There is more sexism in Britain than in any other country in the world, according to a mad woman who has been sent here by the United Nations.

Rashida Manjoo is a part-time professor of law at Cape Town University in the totally non-sexist country of South Africa (otherwise known as Rape Capital Of The World).

Mrs Magoo has been wandering around with her notebook and is appalled by the sexist “boys’ club” culture here, apparently.

I don’t doubt we still have sexism in the UK. But is it worse than in, say, Saudi Arabia, d’you think, honey-lamb? Or about 175 other countries? Get a grip, you doolally old bat.”



orkneylad says:

What’s he been doing FFS, mining bitcoins?


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