Indy's Independence Whacked

Have you noticed anything different about the Indy in the last couple of days?

Well it seems that the paper has finally conceded that it is politically biased and susceptible to proprietorial influence. Given Evgeny Lebedev “speaks regularly” to the editor Chris Blackhurst, it was only a matter of time before the paper would have to quietly drop their lofty pretensions…

UPDATE: Co-conspirators point out that the change coincided with the arrival of Chris Blackhurst in the editor’s chair.

Follow Friday FoI

Paul Waugh has confirmed that a locked and hidden Twitter account is in fact that of the Downing Street Director of Communications:

Given that Craig Oliver is using his job title and place of work in his Twitter name, Guido feels we have a right to know what he’s pushing. As well as being nosy…

Nick Boles a Wide Ball

Nick Boles has taken to the pages of the Telegraph to give a not-so-coded warning that Tory MPs should behave themselves at their conference and not to rock the boat:

” …what we need now is to put away our favourite ideological hobby horses, ignore the political positioning of the other parties…”

Heaven forbid that a newbie MP might dare utter something vaguely ideological to the party faithful. Even worse they might try to tackle an issue close to the heart of their party in a pamphlet. It’s probably best not to mention that this time last year “Enoch” Boles was being praised for the “radical approach to immigration” set out in his pre-conference book “Which Way is Up“ then. What a difference a year makes though, eh Nick?

Yes Campaign Attempts to Rewrite History

John Denham, Labour’s anti-Business Secretary, told an electoral reform fringe meeting yesterday that the:

“Lib Dems were totally kippered in Yes campaign by thinking ‘We mustn’t do anything to upset the Tories…'”

N02AV veterans have barely been able to keep a straight face at this one, especially given that Chris Huhne was sitting on the very same panel. What was it about Huhne calling other members of the Cabinet Nazis that suggested he was reining in his behaviour?

Rory Unreal: Ironic Tweet of the Day

Except his own private and grammar school one presumably… 

"Something for Something" or Something

In an attempt to mop up the mess that yesterday’s speech has made, Red Ed took to the airwaves this morning and received a savaging on the Today program. His “not anti-business, but anti-business as usual” soundbite is neat, but the rest of the performance was pretty dire. When told focus groups find him weird the Son of Brown took his political father’s stance of pretending not to care and claiming that:

“It is absolutely about substance. I’ve got an old-fashioned view: substance wins out”

Which is weird giving the most insight and policy depth that we got from his speech was the revelatory “something for something”. Possibly the worst line going, after a “new bargain for Britain” of course…

Burnham Muddled and Cook's Motives Revealed

With Burnham going on the attack over the Department of Education email leaks all day, he’s managed to get himself in a right muddle. Firstly he suggested that when in government he used his departmental email address for everything including, we must presume, political activity, which would be against the rules. And this evening one of his spinners has told the BBC‘It’s pretty hard to separate purely party political issues when in government’. Well that somewhat dampens the attack.

With the Tories expecting other leaks to surface in Chris Cook’s FT copy, Guido is wondering quite what this former Tory education advisor is up to. The Information Commissioner has confirmed that they are not running an investigation, contrary to Cook’s report this morning and the whole story has unravelled rather quickly. Toby Young thinks he might have worked it out

Huhne's Brass Neck

Chris Huhne is about to lecture you about the economy, suggesting that it’s evil “Tea Party” Tories who are threatening the economic recovery by calling for less tax and a look at our position in Europe. Of course his own raiding of the already stretched bank accounts of hard working families in order to fund his green vanity projects is perfectly legit.

It always worries Guido at how Huhne goes off on these tangents with a straight face. Whether it’s lying to the police or cameras, Huhne coolly sticks to his line with an almost psychotic calm. Not content with comparing the Tories to Nazis, Huhne is clutching at straws for a figure the LibDems hate even more – Palin. It’s all in the national interest of course… 

Before you take a lecture from him on the economy though, have a look at what Huhne said to the Guardian in 2002:

“The ‘no’ campaigners said the euro was doomed to failure, but all their predictions have been proved wrong”, and “The euro is living up to the highest expectations of the economists who advocated it, and Britain is missing out.”

Oh dear, a one off perhaps? Nope = have a look at the Indy in 2003:

“The freedom to set interest rates merely according to domestic needs is a cruel mirage. Monetary union protects economies from the vagaries of speculative capital flows, enabling more stable growth and investment.”

The rest they say is history…

UPDATE: Paul Waugh has a couple of intriguing snippets – not only was he singing their praises on the fringe, but Huhne will be attending next week’s Labour Party conference in Manchester.

Back to Spin School for Belardinelli

The spinning antics of Ed Balls’ minion Alex Belardinelli are a continual source of amusement in the Guy News room. Sometimes his cavalier attitude to the truth is outdone by a spectacularly poor effort. This morning he was tweeting about “the head of world’s biggest investment fund” saying the government “can and should change course” in a reference to PIMCO – the Pacific Investment Management Company.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Vince Attack Shafted By History

The most memorable sound-bite from Vince Cable’s speech will be his attack on his coalition partners and the right in general:

“What I will not do though is provide cover for ideological descendents of those who sent children up chimneys.”

Like his attack on “spivs” last year, this one will stick for all the wrong reasons.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Huhne's Greek Fears

After being probed by Andrew Neil yesterday, Chris Huhne squared up to Brillo again on the Daily Politics. He accused the Greeks of making false statements to the authorities about their economy. Guido agrees that such false statements are indeed as he says “outrageous”.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Bi-Comms Disaster

After his story earlier in the week about pro-Israel lobby group BICOM, Guido was tipped that their CEO Lorna Fitzsimons, the former Labour MP, was in some serious trouble. He was tracking down an email that was accidentally sent out on Monday to some of BICOM’s media list instead of the intended recipients – the donors.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Centre Stage Hain, Cheryl on a Train

With a disaster on his doorstep in the Swansea Valley Peter Hain, the Shadow Welsh Secretary, has been hogging the airwaves all morning. Though he is the local MP, he seems to be trying to make  capital out of the Welsh mining tragedy.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Flashback: "The Paper's Reputation Was Left In Tatters"

If they’d fired Hari this story would have gone away, instead the Indy’s mad decision to welcome him back in 2012, so long as no more significant revelations emerge, has poured more fuel on the fire. In many ways Hari is no longer the issue and fingers are being pointed above his head:

http://twitter.com/#!/indy_hack/status/114117651902631936

Guido had to chuckle when he had a look at the Indy’s  coverage of the sacking of the New York Times fantasist Jayson Blair:

“It was a byword for journalistic integrity, a beacon of truth and one of America’s proudest institutions.

[…]

+ READ MORE +

FLASHBACK: Osborne Statement On Natalie Rowe Allegations

George Osborne said in October 2005:

“The allegations are completely untrue and dredging up a photo from when I was 22 years old is pretty desperate stuff.

This is merely part of a smear campaign to divert attention from the issues that matter in this leadership contest and I am confident people will not be distracted by this rubbish.

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Huhne Ally Grasping at Straws

The Mail’s Ephraim Hardcastle diary had an interesting snippet about Huhne this morning. It appears his defence lines are already being acid-tested. A source said:

“It’s very rare for a minister, while in office, to be charged with a crime. It’s also a very unusual case in that the man accused – and the wife accusing him – might both be prosecuted.”

It’s rare for a man purported to be of noble standing to hide behind his family in such a way, so Guido is unsure of the point there…

However it was the final line that really caught his attention:

“Huhne’s lawyers could argue there was an abuse of process in the way the case was brought to court.”

Er, how exactly?[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

George Osborne paraphrases Boris, telling the FT:

“If the ball came loose at the back of the scrum, I wouldn’t fumble it”

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