Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thurlbeck Turns the Tables

Neville Thurlbeck has lobbed his grenade into the unravelling News of the World saga. He claims that he was continually blocked from showing a dossier of evidence about phone-hacking to senior staff:

“I requested that I be allowed to show my dossier to Rebekah Brooks, the chief executive officer at News International. I do not wish to embarrass the executive who warned me away from Rebekah’s door, for he is still in harness at News International and I regard him as nothing more sinister than an amiable buffoon. A Polonius-type figure in this drama. In short, a ‘yes man’ with a file perpetually tucked beneath his arm.”

Who is the amiable buffoon is the obvious question, as is why didn’t Thurlbeck just walk into Brooks’ office with the damning papers and tapes?

Tom Crone and Colin Myler do not come out of the, somewhat pompous, Press Gazette article at all well though. Thurlbeck lands the blame firmly at their door for hiding evidence from James Murdoch, which ultimately led to the demise of the paper. He has some rum words for Tom Watson too. Well worth a read for one side of the story, but he certainly has an axe to grind…

*For those wondering about where that picture came from, this is also well worth a read. Not safe for work!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Guido is Getting Under Tom Watson’s Skin

For the last few months Guido has been the only one to point at Tom Watson’s new emperor outfit and laugh. Because of his new role as crusher of the press, the papers didn’t report his taxpayer funded PR adviser, nor his hypocrisy on spending, nor his late night antics at this year’s Labour conference. They’re not going to mention the real reason Tom was being watched by the tabloids in Brighton 2009 either…

However, Watson’s reputation took a knock today and the pack dared to criticise the bully for his over the top “mafia” attacks. Sky’s Sophy Ridge tweets that he just refused to do an interview with them because someone, somewhere on Sky News has quoted this blog. Apparently that makes “trivial television”. Not a great day for Tom to call others trivial… 

Guido will have something to say about Watson when he gives evidence to the Joint Committee on Privacy and Injunctions next week. Something tells him that Tommy won’t be repeating that he thinks the blog is “legendary“:

Watson’s Grandstanding Slammed
Won’t Stop TV Headlines Though

Tom Watson created some drama at James Murdoch’s Select Committee appearence with the revelation, clearly not even briefed to the other members of the committee, that he’d met with Neville Thurlbeck. The former Screws Chief Reporter allegedly told Watson that the paper’s legal man Tom Crone had shown James Murdoch the email he denies he ever saw. Watson should have quit while he was ahead…

Instead his “you must be first mafia boss in history who didn’t know he was running a criminal enterprise” triggered groans from his fellow MPs.   The Guardian’s media man Dan Sabbagh wasn’t impressed: “Watson really blew it at the end with over the top questioning pushing the mafia line. His Media Guardian Deputy Editor called it “OTT”, ITV said “Watson fails to land a blow on Murdoch, so resorts to insults…and makes himself look ridiculous.” It’s as if he could hear the movie soundtrack in his head…

Friday, November 4, 2011

Tom Watson Bills Taxpayer For PR Advisors

The latest tranche of expenses data published this week had £652.08 claimed by Tom Watson for “Professional Services (Staff.)” This is the fourth identical claim made by Watson since April, bringing the total bill to £2,639.40. These payments mirror the rise in Watson’s campaign against News International as well as a shake up in his personal image… 

Watson’s local paper the Wolverhampton Express and Star claim that the this money is being paid to Gordon & Badley Communications –a PR company with a track record of providing Labour MPs with consultants. Why are we paying for Tom Watson’s personal aggrandisement? 

Video: Dolly and Watson Sing the Blues

A Friday treat for you from last night –  an “absolutely totally brilliant” butchering of a Dylan classic “Forever Young” by our old friend:

Despite Gordon Brown saying  there was “no place in public life” for him, Draper is back in the fold and singing his heart out as his old chum Tom Watson looks on at last night’s fundraiser for Ed Miliband’s Political Adviser Polly Billington’s shoo-in selection bid for the Thurrock constituency. As he can’t be seen in shot, presumably McBride is holding the camera…

With the Labour bloggers taking their lines from direct meetings with Ed Miliband, Political Scrapbook doing the red-raggy ones and Left Foot Forward and LabourList parroting press releases, it is as if Draper’s vision has finally been achieved. Only after he got out of the way…

UPDATE: Amusing snippets coming in from last night from all sorts of places. Apparently Polly and Ed Balls sung Endless Love and Dolly did three songs. Who knew Like a Rolling Stone had thirteen verses…

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Watson Criticises Sam & Dave’s £30,000 Refurbishment
Labour MPs Tom & Iain Claimed £100,000 for Lavish Flat

Former Minister for Dirty Tricks Tom Watson thinks he can redeem his past sins on the back of pummelling Murdoch. The media are too terrified to say a negative word about him, so not for the first time it falls to Guido to highlight some hypocrisy ignored by the craven Old Media. A Labour Party press release in Watson’s name yesterday bleated:

“At a time when David Cameron is squeezing the income of millions of hard working families, he has decided to show off his grace and favour accommodation which he has lavishly and unnecessarily refurbished at the taxpayers’ expense. £30,000 of taxpayers’ money was reportedly spent on refurbishing the flat – more than most workers earn in a year… This is blatant hypocrisy and shows just how out of touch Cameron is.”

What our Tommy fails to mention, “wilfully” you might say, is that the refurbished flat will last far longer than Cameron’s premiership and will remain the property of the people. Unlike someone else’s lavishly fitted out residence…

The personal flat that Watson shares with fellow former Minister Iain Wright has seen them claim over £100,000 for refurbishments and such like for their pad including their shares of the legal costs involved in buying it, as well as the fees to buy the freehold. Unlike the PM he will be able to sell and keep the profit from his taxpayer feather-bedded nest. Interesting to note that Watson is suddenly willing to bring Cameron’s family into play. Given that the Watson clan have collectively taken £300,000 off the taxpayer you might wonder whether Tom is really one to be criticising anyone…

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Rupert Murdoch Won By Bigger Margin Than Tom Watson

The News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch was up for re-election by shareholders last week. Tom Watson MP led a campaign, backed by commercial rivals The Guardian, to unseat him from the board. Tom travelled to Los Angeles (courtesy of union subs) to vote union pension fund proxy votes. Watson’s attempt failed with Rupert Murdoch getting 86% of the shareholder vote, which compares favourably to Watson’s mere 46% of the vote in his West Bromwich East constituency at his re-election (his share of the vote sank 9.2% at the general election). To add insult to injury, News Corp shares have rocketed up 16% this month alone. Hold on to those shares comrades, no one went poor betting on Murdoch…

Never mind, in consolation he got a night out partying on tequila and singing “Come on Eileen” in La La Land…

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

George Monbiot brings Tom Watson back to reality:

“The Labour government weakened the rules on lobbying transparency. The ministerial code published in 2007 dropped the requirement that meetings between ministers and lobbyists should be recorded. It also rebuffed MPs’ demands for a register of lobbyists. You’ll be surprised to hear who the villain was: Tom Watson, then a Cabinet Office minister, now a heroic campaigner for corporate accountability. He brushed aside the call for a register with the claim that “we have a pretty good system in the UK”.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Watson v Whittingdale

Tom Watson has officially been bought into beef up Ed’s machine. As Deputy Party Chairman in charge of campaigning he will sit in the Shadow Cabinet. John Whittingdale the chair of the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee, where Watson has clawed back his tarnished reputation, suggests there is a conflict of interest. It’s extremely rare for a frontbencher to be allowed to sit on a Select Committee, but Watson is digging in, suggesting that Michael Fallon, who is on the Treasury Select Committee, holds a similar party role for the Tories:

Fiiight.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lewis’s Looney Licensing Plan Disowned By Miliband

Ivan Lewis’s plan to licence journalists has dominated discussion around the conference zone today. It’s been met with near universal derision. Guido hears that Tom Watson and Ivan met up last night, keeping Ed most definitely out of the loop, not least because he was having a polite tête-à-tête with Hugh Grant at the time. Ed, and those around him, were kept in the dark…

Lewis didn’t mention the idea to the fringe event he spoke at last night , despite the fact he had clearly already briefed the press. Conspiracy theories are rife, with party staffers scratching their head at why Lewis dropped this dumb-bomb today of all days…

UPDATE: Ed Miliband’s spokesman has just pulled the rug out from under Ivan to The Sun:


Seen Elsewhere

Labour’s Plan to Attack Part-Time Boris | Standard
Ex-Sun Hack Cleared After 582 Days on Bail | MediaGuido
11 Times Boris Denied He Would Stand for Parliament | Buzzfeed
Attacking UKIP’s Posters is Counter-Productive | Guardian
Sarkozy Tried it on With Hollande’s Ex | Times
Another Spare Room Subsidy Cut Success | Harry Phibbs
Rich Now Have Less Leisure Than Poor | Economist
UKIP’s Immigration Policy Promotes Migrant Entrepreneurs | Breitbart
Another Feminist Lecture | Laura Perrins
UKIP Posters Bad Economics But Good Politics | James Delingpole
Tories Losing to UKIP in Scotland | ConHome


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A confused Nick Griffin says Nigel Farage is a shill for the City, forgetting that City banks want to stay in the EU:

“Farage is a snake oil salesman, but a very good one. His supposed anti-immigration stance is all smoke and mirrors, as is his carefully cultivated image as a ‘man of the people’. The truth is that UKIP is a pro-immigration party that exists to lobby for the interests of the City of London.”



Alexrod says:

It’s money innit.


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