More changes afoot in the government spin world this afternoon.
In an rather interesting move Nick Robinson’s producer Thea Rogers has joined team Osborne, replacing Poppy Mitchell Rose, who was last seen in a first class carriage and is now off to Washington.
Guido always had Rogers down as Labour, though she is said to be friendly terms with Craig Oliver.
Via James Forsyth
UPDATE: More details on Speccie:
“She’ll have a particular emphasis on the broadcast presentation of Osborne’s economic and political strategy. She’ll fit in alongside Ramesh Chhabra, Osborne’s political spokesman who is in charge of daily news management for the Chancellor.”
In without a doubt the most amusing news of an otherwise dull by-election results day, the LibDems came fourteen votes short of keeping their deposit in Corby. The humiliation was complete after two recounts and heated discussions between the LibDems, the returning officer and an electoral commission official. UKIP came third as Labour won back Louise Mensch’s old seat. Mr Mozzarella got closer to the LibDems than the LibDems did to UKIP. They’re having a whip round for Clegg’s candidate…
The Mail were bang on the money with this morning’s revelations about the cosy close-knit community of Guardianistas and tabloid-bashers advising the Leveson Inquiry. One of Sir David Bell’s previous endeavours that they highlight was founding the Media Standards Trust which gave birth to the Hacked Off campaign. According to their website the MST is “governed by a board comprising respected figures from civil society and the media”.
So just who are these respected figures?
The MST’s deputy chair is Julie Middleton, CEO of Common Purpose. Her superior on the board, acting chair Baroness Helena Kennedy, is a Labour peer and former chair of anti-Thatcher group Charter 88, who is herself reportedly associated with Common Purpose, Medical Aid for Palestinians and perhaps should not be described as a Guardianista given she sits on the Indy’s board. Then we have Anthony Salz, who is a member of the Scott Trust which controls the Guardian, and Albert Scardino, a Murdoch-hating Guardian contributor who is married to Marjorie Scardino, CEO of FT owners Pearson PLC.
In their mealy mouthed mission statement about the “news ecosystems” and “think-and-do-tanks”, the MST pride themselves on “promoting quality, transparency and accountability in news”. So just how accountable are they? They hold no elections and have no membership structure for supporters. Guido asked board member Mary Ellen Barker how he could get on the board, she told him that proposals are made and discussed by the board. The very definition of a self-selecting elite. They claim not to be a lobby group yet admit “we do seek to influence policy and will try to talk to senior figures in politics”. Sounds like a lobby group to Guido.
The MST has a self-selecting, closed circle leadership structure that is accountable only to themselves. Essentially it is a clique of the usual chattering class suspects who are using their influence inside the Leveson Inquiry to try and undermine their more successful press competitors. They really are enemies of a free press…
The people have spoken, and the undoubted winner of last night’s by-elections and PCC plebiscites is the increasingly anti-politics Guidoisation of the British public. Here are the key stats so far:
- Ed’s former deputy chief of staff Lucy Powell took Manchester Central with a turnout of 18.2%, the lowest turnout in a by-election since the Second World War.
- The Tories lost their deposit, and only beat UKIP by five votes.
- Almost 75% chose not to vote as Labour held Cardiff South.
- Tory Angus MacPherson won the Wiltshire PCC election on a turnout of 15.8%.
- Turnout in Coventry for the West Midlands PCC election was 10.9%.
- Some polling stations have reported turnout as low as 3%.
Meanwhile UKIP’s odds in Corby have come in from 120/1 to 6/1 and Prezza is under pressure…
Sir David Bell is a trustee of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the crisis-hit amateur hacks who produced the infamous McAlpine Newsnight report. Bell also co-founded the Media Standards Trust, the body that helped set up tabloid-badgers Hacked Off. It’s more Thick of It than Watergate, but it does highlight the cosy close-knit group lobbying for an unfree press.