Bureau of Investigative Journalism Like Inspector Clouseau

This morning the grandly named “Bureau of Investigative Journalism” provides the Guardian with a splash claiming that the Tories are more dependent on the City than ever. However Guido can reveal that so inept is the investigation that it is more Inspector Clouseau than Sherlock Holmes.

According to the BIJ “The biggest individual City backer of the Tories is David Rowland, who has contributed £4.013m in just two years.” Anyone who has read even only the business pages of the Guardian will tell you that David Rowland is a property developer, not a City financier. His firm is not even listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Subtract Rowland from the BIJ’s own dubious numbers and all of a sudden the reality behind the headline City Bankrolled Tory Election Campaign becomes less exciting, with their own self-selected top ten of remaining City donors giving the Tories a mere 9% of their funds. Even then it is the case that the individuals gave their money out of their own pockets – and not one single one of them works for a bailed out bank. The BIJ was supposed to herald a new kind of journalism, yet this sloppy piece of work is as slapdash as anything Kevin Maguire could knock up in a half-an-hour after a good lunch. Guido was a supporter of the BIJ when it launched, this is very disappointing.

Sensationalist, misleading and wrong on the single most significant piece of data. Yuba Bessaoud is one of the hacks behind the piece, Guido can vouch that he is a great guy for a night out, but he isn’t a financial journalist, he is a Labour Party loyalist, who by his own admission doesn’t know the difference between inflation and interest rates.

The BIJ received a £2 million grant from the Potter Foundation last year to explore new ways of conducting and funding investigative journalism. David Potter made his fortune when he floated his firm on the London Stock Exchange…

UPDATE : Under the heading “Individual Donors with links to Global Banking Crisis” the BIJ press release argues that because property developer Robert Tchenguiz borrowed from an Icelandic bank, Kaupthing, his £53,620, donation was somehow linked to the banking crisis, Derek Quinlan another property developer donated £46,500 to the Tories and borrowed from Irish and Scottish banks. So despite them not being City figures they are linked to banks that went bust – therefore the Tories are involved in the financial crisis. By that logic everyone with a mortgage borrowed from Halifax, Northern Rock, LLoyds, Bank of Scotland and RBS is linked to the banking crisis. Very tenuous.




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John Curtice on fiscal policy:

“Attitudes to taxation and spending are basically counter-cyclical. If a government comes in and tries to reduce spending and taxation, after a while people will get worried about the state of public services. If a government increases taxation and public spending, after a while they’ll get concerned about increasing taxation…. In as much as there are lots of ideologues out there who think the state should be this proportion of GDP, they’re all wrong. Because the public’s view is counter-cyclical to the recent experience. It’s basically impossible to satisfy the public.”

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