Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Leaky Watson

If his rapidly fading smug smile was anything to go by, Tom Watson got a much tougher ride at Leveson than he was expecting. He was probed about McBride and Smeargate, denying any knowledge of a plan to counter Guido, despite the Red Rag website actually being set up. He was also cornered on leaking and again denied, on oath, that he leaked information from the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee to the Guardian. That will clear  up the  mystery around them getting hold of all sorts of evidence before anyone else then. He was forced to answer yes to the next question though – of course he was feeding Nick Davies.

Watson was also asked about his relationship with Political Scrapbook. He denied, unprompted, to being “part of the management”, or indeed ever feeding them information. Which is odd given a simple Google search pulled up this glaring example:

“Tom Watson will in a few moments use parliamentary privilege to publicly expose details of a notorious murder inquiry allegedly blocked by News International.”

Information reaching the media before Parliament? How did that come about? The website also carries a very prominent advert for Watson’s book and is funded by the his allies at the GMB Union….

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Jeremy Clarkson on Tom Watson

Friday, May 4, 2012

Brum Says No Mayor

Despite the best efforts of his mate Tom Watson to fix it, Siôn Simon will not become Mayor of Birmingham. Brummies said no to a mayor. Siôn Simon quit Parliament in a bid to become Birmingham’s first mayor. The former Birmingham Erdington MP stood down at the general election to spend more time in the constituency and lobby for the city to adopt an elected mayor system. It has turned out to be yet another error of judgement for Siôn. Don’t be surprised if Tom Watson doesn’t try to fix up his old mate with a peerage.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

WATCH: Watson Dodges Questions on Committee Leak

Fearless campaigner for transparency Tom Watson signed a commercial contract with a Allen Lane to co-write a book that will generate earnings, but he has not declared this contract to Parliament. Since the book’s subject matter relates directly to his work as a member of the Culture Select Committee, this lack of transparency is doubly odd. Watson is profiting while quoting Bob Dylan and grandstanding on the Committee…

When Guido raised this earlier Watson went on the attack, forcing the Chairman of the Committee to rein him in. One thing for was clear – Watson didn’t want to talk about it:

Dial M for Murdoch came out well before today’s report, yet page 312 explicitly states that the Committee would find that News International had misled Parliament – it was a leak from a position of privilege with commercial implications. John Whittingdale, the Committee chairman, said he did not know of any breach committed by Watson – well now he does. Not only has Watson undermined Parliament, but he did so to line his pockets. A fit person for the committee?

Dial S for Special Access 
Watson Revealed Committee Findings In Book

Given that the Culture Select Committee report into phonehacking is months overdue, Guido has popped along to their press conference to ask whether the Committee had any objections to one of their members – Tom Watson – publishing his own version of events last week for commercial gain.

Guido wonders whether any of the Select Committee raised objections to Watson publishing his weighty tome “Dial M for Murdoch” before today’s report was finalised, and what assurances the Chairman had sought that Watson would not take advantage of his privileged access to the Committee, especially as the conclusions of the report – that News International executives mislead parliament – is revealed on Page 312 of the book. Answers to follow, hopefully…

UPDATE:

Guido seems to have hit a nerve, instead of replying, Watson went on the attack. The Chairman said most of the infomation was public, but that does not explain Watson revealing that the Committee would rule NI mislead Parliament. It makes a mockery of Parliament as Christ Bryant might say…

Friday, April 27, 2012

More Labour Not Backing Ken

Yesterday’s cack-handed plea by Labour’s campaign supremo Tom Watson for Labour supporters who can’t stand Ken to “hold your nose, vote for Ken” follows on from Labour peers Lord Sugar and Lord Winston expressing anti-Ken sentiments.

Labour have now roped in Oona King, who was once described by Ken as a Blairite “she-devil” to support Ken in a transparently false show of party unity. What Oona really thinks about Ken was revealed before he was selected as the official candidate. She said ‘I don’t think Ken Livingstone is the way to go. He may qualify for Britain’s Got Talent but only on UK Gold’. Not the most ringing endorsement…

Guido was intrigued to hear on the grapevine that Tom Watson’s tame attack-puppies at the left-wing union-sponsored website Political Scrapbook can’t stand Ken Livingstone either. He searched their website for evidence of support for Ken and found none – months of anti-Boris material, not one single article so far that is pro-Ken. Last night Guido challenged them on Twitter to back Ken with a bet. They refused to back Ken…

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dial W for Watson

Neo-Guido put it to Tom Watson at his press conference that given he was at the core of Gordon Brown’s operation while Rebekah Brooks was coming round for sleepovers at Chequers and Screws hacks were changing the Prime Minister’s son’s nappies, he has managed to distance himself rather well. He wouldn’t give a firm commitment  to focus on his main job as an MP after the book, or even his new job as Labour’s Deputy Chairman for Campaigns. However he did confirm he had visited Bradford twice during the doomed campaign, which will do wonders to quell concerns about his commitment to his job…

The book seems to be rounding things up rather than moving things on, but one new revelation, though vague, is intriguing: Watson alleges that an intermediary and dinner companion claimed NI would “give him” Coulson if he backed off of “sacred Brooks”. No further details are given, but there is one former News of the World journalist turned Brownite Culture Minister who immediately comes to mind…

Watson Spins Divorce as Murdoch’s Fault

Tom Watson is blaming Rupert Murdoch for the break down of his marriage. His wife Siobhan used to be on his payroll until the expenses crisis exposed him and in a shameless plug for his new book he says:

“I’m very sad to admit the failure of my marriage. I tried my very best to hold things together but the pressure of the hacking scandal inquiry has taken its toll.”

He says that it was the “aggressive” media intrusion which had increased his problems rather than his late night carousing sessions in Soho dives, his 9-hour long video game playing sessions and his wandering eye. By complete coincidence he has a big press conference this morning.

What Watson doesn’t mention about that “aggressive media intrusion” is that he was being followed by a hired private investigator at the 2009 Labour conference in Brighton because the News of the World editorial management did not trust their lobby hacks – who they saw as too close to Watson drinking buddies – to stand up stories about problems in his marriage.  The private-investigator followed him back to his hotel room…

Thursday, April 12, 2012

“Campaign Coordinator” Tom Watson Drops Another Clanger

Tom Watson’s re-branding from boot-boy Blair-stabber to Murdoch-slayer has come under fire ever since the Labour Deputy Chairman in charge of campaigning saw George Galloway steal a safe Labour seat on his watch. Along with his fingerprints being all over stitch ups, his dubious halo is starting to slip. Many have wondered where the fearless seeker of truth has been throughout this turbulent few weeks. Well Guido found him:

MURDOCH’S NEMESIS TARGETS SOUTH CAMBS MP -
IN HIS OWN CONSTITUENCY

THE man who led the campaign against Rupert Murdoch’s media empire is to turn his sights on South Cambridgeshire MP Andrew Lansley – in the Health Secretary’s own constituency.

Labour’s Deputy Chair and Campaign Co-ordinator Tom Watson MP felt so appalled by proposed reforms to the NHS he decided he “couldn’t stomach any more”.

So in an email to Party members he said he would personally campaign in Mr Lansley’s constituency to “remind them what would happen” if Lansley’s plans go through.

He will visit the constituency on Wednesday, April 11 to knock on doors and talk to voters ahead of the Local Elections on May 3.

“For Andy Burnham’s Drop the Bill campaign to succeed, we have to talk to people in our communities to get the message across,” he said.

The Drop the Bill campaign cannot succeed – it failed when the Bill recieved Royal Assent on March 27.

The “Notes to Editors” made Guido chuckle too:

“Tom Watson is MP for West Bromwich East and Labour’s Deputy Chair and Campaign Co-Ordinator in the Shadow Cabinet. He was a Minister in the previous Labour Government and shot to fame as a member of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, where his campaigns against phone-hacking at the News of the World won him much praise.”

Perhaps the rotund bruiser should spend a little more time concentrating on his campaigning rather than self-aggrandisement.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Red on Red: Watson Attacked as “Labour’s Mafia Boss”

The fallout continues. Labour colleagues are pointing more fingers at Watson:

“It looks like Watson may have overplayed his hand here. Its difficult to see how Siôn Simon is going to come out of this well and if MPs do make it on to the ballot paper its  going to look like a defeat for them. In 24 hours they’ve managed to give shadow cabinet member Liam Byrne the outsider/underdog status which can only help his campaign. 

 Watson tried to reinvent himself for the new politics era but he’s let the mask slip. He walks around with a halo on calling for more transparency in the media one moment and then be doing secret back room deals half an hour later. He’s the fixers fixer, in many ways he’s like Kevin Rudd in Australia. He complains about “invisible voices” and “faceless men”, but they are him. He called James Murdoch a mafia boss, but it takes one to know one, he’s Labour’s mafia boss”

Labour sources point to the fact normally “the General Secretary would have stepped in by now to sort out this mess,” but Iain McNicol is “an ineffective lightweight with no authority”.

Tempers are flaring…

 

UPDATE: A former Labour SpAd twists the knife:

“This is now going to turn into a ‘stop Sion’ campaign. Watson, what a genius. Doing for Sion what he did for Gordon…”


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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David Cameron drug policy reformer and leadership contender in 2005…

“Politicians attempt to appeal to the lowest common denominator by posturing with tough policies and calling for crackdown after crackdown. Drugs policy has been failing for decades.”



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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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