Thursday, December 12, 2013

Culture, Media & Sport Committee MP: Patten Must Quit
Second Member Slams ‘Contemptuous’ and ‘Lofty’ Lord
Third Member: “Time He Gave Some Answers”

After waiting ten months to admit that it would be ‘preferable’ for a different version of the Pollard Review into the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal to have been published, the Chairman of the BBC Trust is now facing calls to resign. Philip Davies, an MP on the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee has called on Patten to walk:

“The last shred of credibility that Lord Patten had as Chairman of the BBC Trust has now gone and I think he should go.”

Another member of the committee, Conor Burns, who questioned Patten on this in October, adds:

“The Pollard report and the appointment of Tony Hall as Director General of the BBC was meant to allow the BBC to draw a line under a discreditable period in the BBC’s recent history. Yet myself and others on the Culture Select committee have repeatedly pressed Lord Patten and Tony Hall on the matter of Helen Boaden’s submissions to Polland and why they were excluded from the report. My questions were treated at best with lofty disdain and at worst as if I were just an irritant. The stone walling has now resulted in a completely avoidable questioning of trust in the BBC Trust and their handling of this matter. It may be excusable if there were not repeated warnings from MPs that the BBC could not move on until all information was fully in the public domain. The Trust and the Director General now have very serious questions to answer – not least why did they not answer questions to a Parliamentary committee when they clearly had the information to do so. It is not my role to call for resignations but it is to demand answers to questions that were posed and contemptuously ignored. I hope the Culture Committee will afford Lord Patten an opportunity to answer them very quickly before this episode yet again engulfs the BBC in yet another avoidable crisis of trust.”

The BBC say they are “not getting into numbers” over the amount of media requests that Patten has turned down in the last 24 hours, but it seems he will not be able to run away from scrutiny for long…

UPDATE: Another CMS committee MP, Angie Bray, who was Patten’s PA when he was Tory chairman and questioned Patten on this in April, calls for him to explain himself to parliament:

“I challenged Chris Patten on this issue at the select committee hearing on 25 April and he was very, very adamant then that there was nothing more to be said about it. I felt dissatisfied with the response I got then and it now seems at last that the BBC has woken up to it. It’s time that Chris Patten gave some answers. I think it would be right for Chris Patten to come and answer questions in front of our committee. I was always dissatisfied with the answers I got from Chris Patten back in April. I thought he gave very evasive answers in April. We need to get to the bottom of this and the best way of doing that is for Chris Patten to come and speak to our committee.”

McTernan’s Record: Sacked, Lost, Resigned, Beaten, Booted Out

Self-styled “Writer, Thinker, Strategist” and freshly sensitive lamb John McTernan got all upset when he was mocked yesterday. So much so that Labour’s permanent back-room boy has taken to the Times today to tell us how everyone except him is terrible at their job. As Guido was pointing out as far back as 2007, McTernan’s own CV is a catalogue of humiliating failures:

  • Special Advisor to Harriet Harman at what was then the Department for Social Security – Harman was sacked.
  • Helped run Frank Dobson’s mayoral Campaign – Dobson lost.
  • Special Advisor to Scottish First Minister Henry McLeish – McLeish had to resign over expenses.
  • Helped run Labour’s Scottish Parliament Campaign in 2007 – Labour were beaten in Scotland for the first time in 50 years.
  • Went to spin for Julia Gillard down under – Gillard was booted out by her own party.

Down under McTernan liked to play up his reputation as something of a Malcolm Tucker figure. A senior Labour source says there is one key difference: “the thing about the comparison between him and Malcolm Tucker is that Malcolm Tucker had talent.” Sign him up Ed!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tory MP Rob Wilson Slams Patten Statement
“A Cynically-Timed” Attempt to “Cover Lord Patten’s Back”

Tory MP Rob Wilson is not very happy with the BBC Trust statement:

The BBC Trust’s statement is a cynically-timed attempt to kill a growing story and cover Lord Patten’s back.

The issue has never been whether or not Nick Pollard judged that Mark Thompson was unaware of the Savile allegations while he was Director-General of the BBC. That is not what he wrote in the Pollard Inquiry report. The issue is whether there was, as Nick Pollard concluded, ‘no reason to doubt’ that Thompson knew nothing of the Savile allegations.

Having acknowledged the existence of Helen Boaden’s testimony that she informed Thompson that Savile had been investigated for sexual abuse, a direct contradiction of Thompson’s version of events, both the BBC Trust and Pollard continue to stand by his finding that there was zero reason to doubt Thompson’s account. The only logical implication of this is that they regard Helen Boaden, then the BBC’s most senior female executive, as an inferior and less credible witness than Mr Thompson.

This is a baffling, indeed worrying position that neither Pollard or the BBC Trust have attempted to explain. They must do so without delay. If they are right, it raises serious questions about Ms. Boaden’s fitness to continue as the BBC’s Head of Radio.

Until Pollard and the Trust fully address the issue rather than try to dodge it, it will remain apparent that the Pollard Review contains a major error which Mr Pollard freely acknowledges in his unguarded private conversations, but shamefully refuses to own up to in public.

It appears, despite a terrible 12 months, the BBC Trust has learnt nothing about openness and transparency and continues to behave like an organisation accountable only to itself.

Newsnight are on the case. Lets hope there’s not another cover up…

Another BBC Whitewash From Patten
Nick Pollard Sorry for “Genuine Conversation”

Nick Pollard has written to the BBC Trust to apologise for telling a journalist that his report into the Jimmy Savile scandal was flawed and that he made ‘a mistake’ by not including key evidence that Mark Thompson had been told allegations about Jimmy Savile were going to be made by Newsnight in December 2012. Pollard admits the tape that Guido published this morning was genuine and that he regrets getting busted:

It has taken 10 months for the BBC Trust to finally kick into action after the flaws in the report came to light. And it’s still murky…

Four trustees, whose identity we did not know, have met in secret and concluded that though ‘a mistake’ has been made, it’s best to just ignore it:

“The unanimous conclusion of the four Trustees is that they are satisfied that Nick Pollard properly weighed all the evidence that was available to him and that the conclusions of his report are robust. They remain confident that Nick Pollard conducted an independent, fair and thorough examination of the issues raised by the dropped Newsnight investigation.

While the Trustees did not consider that the recording undermines the conclusions of Nick Pollard’s report, they agree it would have been preferable for a reference to Helen Boaden’s legal letter to have been included. They also felt it was regrettable that Nick Pollard had decided to try to correct the record through an off-the-record conversation with a journalist, rather than raising this point directly with the BBC, who commissioned the report.”

Yet Nick Pollard himself confessed that he had not “properly weighed all the evidence that was available to him” and this statement does not address the fact that the BBC Trust have been aware of the flaws in the Pollard Report for ten months and were only forced into acknowledging the problems after threats to make the tape public. £3m spunked up the wall in a flawed report and still Patten is trying to save his arse.

Patten Laments Loss of Trust in BBC (With a Straight Face)

Lord Patten has surfaced in the comfort of the Guardian. Writing about the BBC governance shake up, Fat Pang claims:

“People clearly love and value the BBC’s programmes; we know this because they keep watching them. But it’s not enough for people to love the BBC’s content. They also need to have faith in the way it is run. There is no doubt that events over the past year – Savile, the McAlpine Newsnight, the failed Digital Media Initiative technology project and the excessive severance payments to senior managers – have rattled that faith.”

Yes, licence fee payers are also rattled that for ten months the Chairman of the BBC Trust has been complicit in a cover up.

McTernan’s Tactics Revealed

Guido is enjoying reading leaked emails sent by John McTernan, the former Labour spinner turned Julia Gillard’s henchman and inspiration for the Crossest Man in Scotland. The press down under reckon he comes across a bit Malcolm Tucker, though Guido has always seen him as Jamie. ABC report:

“When Ms Gillard’s chief of staff declared a “war on crap’” and ordered staff to tidy their workstations to make the office one befitting a prime minister, a colleague jokingly referred to “McTernan’s office” as one needing attention.

Mr McTernan replied: “C***, you will be c**ted too” in a reply-all email to the office.”

In one of his more amusing meltdowns McTernan blacklists an ABC journalist who dared to criticise him:

From: McTernan, John
Sent: Tuesday, 5 March 2013 3:19 PM
To: PMO – Media
Subject: Simon Cullen

Gets nothing,

Ever.

No alerts.

No transcripts.

No returned calls.

Nothing.

Ever.

Not a whim.

Dead.

An order.

Feel free to forward to him.

Dom Cummings eat your heart out.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Free Bercow Update

Turns out someone did say it yesteday…

Susan Elan Jones (Clwyd South) (Lab):

I pay great tribute to you, Mr Speaker, for the honesty you have shown in saying that you got it wrong on the apartheid issue. I have to confess that once upon a time I stood waving a placard outside the university of Bristol union against someone who was viewed as a very right-wing member of the Federation of Conservative Students. I could not possibly name that person; suffice it to say that I think he looks rather better sat in a green chair and wearing a tie with the flag of South Africa on it.

Mr Speaker:

Yes, I fear it was on 23 October 1986; I remember it only too well. I am grateful to the hon. Lady, I am sure, for reminding me.

Eternally grateful.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Time Running Out for Patten to Save Face

Pompous part time BBC Trust Chairman is having a terrible Monday morning. As Guido reported in yesterday’s Sun, the chairman of Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee has weighed into the growing Pollard Review shambles. John Whittingdale says:

“Lord Patten previously told us he was relaxed about it but having listened to the tape recording he’s shifted his position. The committee would now like to see the exchange of letters between Patten and Pollard. Then we will decide if further action is necessary.”

James Harding is quiet too. Now Rob Wilson has given Patten an ultimatum. This morning Trevor Kavanagh reports:

“BBC boss Lord Patten will today be given 48 hours to come clean over claims that top executives knew Jimmy Savile’s reputation as a rampant sexual predator. If he fails to respond, Tory MP Rob Wilson has told me exclusively that he will release taped evidence that ex-BBC chief Mark Thompson was personally warned about a Newsnight investigation into the allegations.”

Tick tock, tick tock…

Friday, December 6, 2013

Media Movements: Metro Loses Pol Ed to PR

Metro Political Editor John Higginson has quit the Lobby for the dark side at Westbourne Comms. A loss for the extremely well read free-sheet, that has high levels of access thanks to its wide circulation. A hack leaving journalism for PR?  It will never catch on…

Labour Expenses Zombie Can’t Stop Fibbing

More bad news for Labour’s Enfield North candidate, expenses trougher Joan Ryan. Just this month the former Labour whip was bragging to voters about her spotless record on Enfield’s Chase Farm Hospital when she was their MP, before she was kicked out following the expenses scandal.

“As your MP I worked alongside the local community, health professionals, patients’ representatives and my fellow Labour colleagues for 13 years to keep Chase Farm maternity services and a blue-light Accident and Emergency department.”

Well that’s not what the minutes of her November 2009 Downing Street meeting with the former Prime Mentalist to discuss Chase Farm say. According to Gordon’s records, Joan didn’t sound too bothered about standing up for the hospital. They report:

“she was tempted to bow to the inevitable. Although she did not want to concede on the clinical arguments, she accepted that we had to move on.”

Who would have thought an ex-MP with a history of creaming her constituents would not be entirely honest with them?


Seen Elsewhere

From the IRA to Windsor Castle | WSJ
Coulson: Everything You Need to Know in 6 Seconds | MediaGuido
Mo Ansar’s Silence | Adrian Hilton
Gove Loses WWI Battle | Conservative Woman
5 Reasons Labour Likely to Win General Election | Sunny Hundal
Dave Surrounded By Topless Women | Sun
UN Loony says Britain Most Sexist Country | Sun
Farage is a Good Reason to Leave the EU | Dan Hannan
UKIP Blocked Expenses Questions | Times
NHS Showdown Coming | Paul Goodman
Sons of Brown | Telegraph


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Cathy Jamieson MP, Labour’s Shadow Treasury minister, commenting on Treasury analysis of the economic impact of tax changes…

“If the Treasury is looking at the economic impact of tax changes, then surely it should examine the impact of the rise in VAT and cuts to tax credits? George Osborne’s £12 billion VAT rise knocked confidence, helped to choke off the recovery and has cost families £1,350 over the last three years.”



orkneylad says:

What’s he been doing FFS, mining bitcoins?


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