Too Many Tweets Make a…

Guido imagines someone over at Channel Four News just got yelled at…

Bryony Gordon is in Love with Handsome Journalist

Blog favourite Bryony Gordon has taken to the pages of the Telegraph to declare her undying love for a fellow hack. She describes in detail how smitten she is with this “beefcake, hunk, my hero”. And who is this “chiselled god of news” that sends her weak at the knees?

Sky’s riot hero Mark Stone, of course, who else?

Cameron Under Copper Pressure

When Margaret Thatcher came to power in the 1979, one of the first things she did was to implement the recommendations of the report of Lord Edmund-Davies into police conditions, in full. That immediate 45% pay-rise wasn’t forgotten in the years that followed…

Downing Street is going to come under huge pressure today to reverse on planned police cuts. And rightfully so. Boris and even Ken are outflanking the Prime Minister on the right, and deep down, despite a bit of rain and peace last night, the scenes we have seen over the last five days could come back at any time.

Things aren’t going well for Dave and were he to lose the support of the police, things will be very bleak indeed…

David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, gets it

“In areas like mine, we know that 59% of black Caribbean children are looked after by a lone parent. There is none of the basic starting presumption of two adults who want to start a family, raise children together, love them, nourish them and lead them to full independence. The parents are not married and the child has come, frankly, out of casual sex; the father isn’t present, and isn’t expected to be. There aren’t the networks of extended families to make up for it. We are seeing huge consequences of the lack of male role models in young men’s lives..”

Downing Street's iSpAd BlackBerry Security Flaw

BlackBerry is in the news as the “weaponised” encrypted communications system of choice for politicised riot organisers, there is talk that the police and MI5 have called in GCHQ boffins to crack the encrytion on the BlackBerry RIM data network.  On the other side over in Downing Street they also use BlackBerrys. After the last government was blighted by missing laptops, data and even honey trapped phones, Downing Street think they have come up with a solution to protect the BlackBerrys of top aides.

Everyone has to carry around not only their government communications network issued BlackBerry phone, but a BlackBerry Smart Card Reader too, with another SIM card in it. If the two are separated by more than ten metres or so, the Blackberry stops working. So if a pickpocket stole the BlackBerry, it would be useless. Carrying two units in your pockets is of course a little cumbersome and inconvenient. Unfortunately from a security point of view, the wonks and spinners have taken to just sello-taping the two of them back to back…

Dave Prentis is a Tax Hypocrite

Unison boss Dave Prentis isn’t exactly famed for honesty about his salary:

So imagine Guido’s surprise when it appeared Prentis got litigious on the Mail on Sunday:

“Last Sunday we said that Dave Prentis, the Unison general secretary, had secured a 31 per cent increase to his pension contributions from the union. This was incorrect. In fact as a member of the Unison staff pension scheme, Mr Prentis is paying the increase himself under the union’s ‘salary sacrifice’ scheme. We apologise to Mr Prentis for our mistake and for any distress caused.”

The Mail were close, but not quite there. The question they should have been asking is why should someone who is a member of a very generous union final salary scheme choose to sacrifice yet more money to pay into the scheme?

Well a good place to start in the hunt for an answer is Unison’s own Annual Report. Specifically page 16. You won’t be surprised to see that comrade Prentis is one of those unfortunate fat-cats who earn between £100,000 and £112,950. Someone on that money is subject to Gordon’s personal allowance tapering. This means his marginal rate of tax was 60%.

Rather than pay this rate of tax though, Prentis has engaged in some personal tax avoidance and paid the money into his pension, ensuring the state couldn’t get its hands on it. By doing so he has effectively got a 60% tax relief on those payments. Because the Unison financial year doesn’t match the fiscal year, its not possible to say exactly what Mr Prentis’s pay in 2010/2011 was, but Guido understands that it was not more than £99,999…

Only a fool would go out of his way to pay more tax and many up and down the country use this same technique to minimise their bill. However what if you scaremonger about this sort of behaviour for cheap political points? Five days ago Prentis said:

“The Government would be better advised to look at plugging tax loopholes for the rich and tackling tax evasion that costs us billions, rather than giving top earners a cash break.”

Did you have any particular “tax loopholes for the rich” in mind Dave?

A hypocritical, fat-cat union baron… Now Guido has seen everything…

Piers Morgan Admits Publishing Hacked Story Live On TV

In a well-managed, gentle appearance on the Conan show, Piers Morgan has surfaced to try to shut down speculation about his involvement in phone-hacking. But once again he has managed to get his story muddled just by opening his mouth:

[vodpod id=Video.14825881&w=480&h=350&fv=]

“Paul McCartney is apparently now claiming someone hacked his phone, I suspect it was Heather Mills because in the divorce, if you study the divorce papers, Paul McCartney accused Heather then of hacking into his phones and passing information to the papers.”

Morgan has previously admitted having a tape of the couple’s voicemails and he used the content of it to spice up a piece that he wrote for the Daily Mail in 2006. Morgan has sworn blind to the public, and to his new employers at CNN, that he never knowingly published a story based on phone-hacking. So how did Morgan publish this story about Sir Paul McCartney, without knowing where the content had come from?

Gove v Harman

Give it a few minutes, but some popcorn worthy stuff from Newsnight last night:

There’s a rather warped transcript here.

Boris Slams Dave's Police Cuts

While Ken shot himself in the left foot with his much derided linking of the riots to cuts, Boris has pointed his gun elsewhere – behind him rather than forwards though. Speaking on Today he knew exactly what he was doing when he said:

“If you ask me whether I think there is a case for cutting police budgets in the light of these event, then my answer to that would be no. I think that case was always pretty frail, and it has been substantially weakened… This is not a time to think about making substantial cuts in police numbers – I’m looking at the country as a whole.”

Given the Mayor didn’t have the greatest day yesterday, yet London was relatively quiet last night thanks to a surge in police numbers, you can see his logic. Though Guido wouldn’t have liked to been anywhere near Downing Street at about 08:20…

Michael Gove told Harriet Harman on Newsnight

“…if there is anyone responsible for how these children were brought up, it is the Labour party”.

Fatherless Feral Youths

Yesterday Guido tweeted that he “Would bet that the majority of the homes of those looting youths are fatherless”. Andrew Neil chimed in pointing out that “Surveys suggest that in areas like Tottenham as many as 80% families have absent/no fathers. Similar to worst ghettoes in US… Pointing out most underclass families are fatherless [is] different from blaming single mothers”. The progressive twittersphere went spare, as if this observation was somehow controversial.  

It is self-evident that the welfare state has fundamentally undermined the family, enabling and actually encouraging fatherless families to become commonplace. This is a social disaster. Welfare incentives are powerful nudges in a negative direction. Downing Street wonks should understand that “nudge theory” works two ways, not always in a positive direction.

The scale of the problem is immense, in a generation since the sixties the percentage of births outside marriage has risen from 5% to 40%. Some of those are in co-habiting couples – which unfortunately are more fragile than traditional marriages – however the majority are brought up in fatherless households. A Civitas study found that children living without their biological fathers are more likely to get into trouble at school, to have adjustment problems and eventually go to jail. Iain Duncan Smith can’t solve deep social problems with welfare reform alone. Society needs to reverse decades of failed “progressive” thinking about the family and social norms. A culture which makes no value judgements about how we raise our children is creating tomorrow’s looters and rioters.

The Beeb and Mail Batten Down the Hatches

Guido hears that an order from the top brass over at High Street Ken has gone out demanding that Mail hacks wrap things up an hour early so they can all get back to the comforts of suburbia before nightfall. Canary Wharf is emptying too.

There is also a rumour doing that the rounds that Television Centre over at White City is shutting up shop early…

It is next to Westfield shopping centre to be fair…

Tory Councillor Says Let The Rioters Go Free

That’s not a headline Guido ever expected to write. Les Lawrence, who is in charge of kids and yoof for Birmingham Council, has said those trashing his city centre, stealing anything that wasn’t nailed down and generally causing mayhem, should be spared punishment. It seems he got the hug a hoodie memo about five years too late. Instead of locking up rioters, Lawrence wants the police to take away their X-Boxes and TVs. Presumably their old ones as well as the ones that they stole yesterday?

Coincidently the Tory councillor’s partner is the delectable Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT union…

A Good Day For Citizen Journalism

Two videos have surfaced this afternoon to remind you that things might just be alright out there after all. Firstly, this is what London is up against:

And secondly, something you don’t see everyday:

Stephenson and Yates must be spitting blood…[…] Read the rest

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Catch a Looter


Head over to Catch a Looter to see if you can identify any of these scumbags…

UPDATE: Not wanting to miss out on the fun, the Met have uploaded their own version to Flickr.[…] Read the rest

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Recall Confirmed: You Read It Here First

Number 10 has just confirmed that if Dave is having his holiday ruined, so is everybody else in Westminster. Technically the Prime Minister has all the powers that he needs to shut down the chaos with the army, yet politically it makes sense to bind in Miliband to any decision to made.[…] Read the rest

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Rumour: Parliament to be Recalled on Thursday

From a usually reliable source…

Breaking…[…] Read the rest

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Melanie Phillips blogs on the London riots…

“What we are seeing, in the sluggish and unprepared reaction of the police and political class to these events, compounded by their serial failure to grasp from previous such disturbances just what is going on here, is a catastrophic combination of professional inertia and incompetence, serial eyes off the ball, paralysing political correctness, an apparent reluctance to identify, name and deal with subversive activity, a capital’s police force in systemic disarray, a criminal justice system that has become an insulting joke, a refusal from the top to draw clear lines in the sand and to exercise moral and political leadership, a pandering instead to mob rule, tyro politicians who have never had a grown-up job and couldn’t run the proverbial whelk-stall let alone get a grip on a culture teetering on the edge of the cliff, a third-rate civil service machine that no longer can be relied on to keep the show on the road, a culture of narcissistic selfishness on an epic scale and a general breakdown in education, morality and elementary codes of civilised behaviour, much of it deliberately willed on for the past three decades by a grossly irresponsible and politically motivated intelligentsia that set out to smash the West.”[…] Read the rest

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Street Solidarity: Stealing from Wounded

[…] Read the rest

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Organised Anarchy

As embers smoulder across London, fingers of blame are going to be pointed. While there’s no doubt this spread spontaneously beyond anyone’s wildest plans, leaflets found in the broken glass show this hasn’t been a completely disorganised effort:

Guido is looking into what exactly law firm Bindmans knew about their contact details making it on to these leaflets:

[…] Read the rest

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Seen Elsewhere



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Quote of the Day

Responding to Corbyn’s statement that the US should have arrested ISIS leader, al-Baghdadi, John Mann bluntly tweeted:

Baghdadi blew himself up with a suicide belt. An arrest might have been slightly difficult in these circumstances.”

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