James Chapman – remember him? – has chucked in “The Democrats” and is freelancing for “3 days a week” for former Bell Pottinger boss James Henderson at his new outfit JH Communications. The pair worked together very briefly at Bell Pot before Henderson had to resign over the South Africa scandal and the company imploded. As a former civil servant the ACOBA committee have had approve Chapman’s appointment, subject to conditions:
“… he should not draw on, disclose or use any privileged information available to him from his time in the Crown Service…”
The BBC have finally jumped on the Agent COB story, only to blow it with a stupid question. Rather than ask something pertinent about what information he handed to a communist spy, BBC finance reporter Steph McGovern went with: “Are you a Czech spy?” He replied: “No”. Well he would say that wouldn’t he…
Looking at the framed copy of Charter 77 signed by Václav Havel hanging on Guido’s office wall yesterday, it occurred to to him that at the same time Jeremy Corbyn was having tea with Lt Jan Dymic, an officer of the Czech Státní bezpečnost (StB), Havel was probably enduring one of his many prison stints courtesy of the same StB service. Compare the moral character of Corbyn and Havel:
Before being elected to political office Havel was a celebrated playwright and intellectual. As a dissident he was jailed many times and his plays were banned from being performed in Czechoslovakia.
Before being elected to political office Corbyn was an official with the Garment Workers Union.
Havel was once charged by the StB with being a “rabid opponent of socialism”.
Corbyn is a rabid proponent of socialism.
After the crushing of the Prague Spring by Warsaw Pact tanks in 1968, Havel was banned from leaving the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic.
Corbyn took his then girlfriend Diane Abbott on holiday to East Germany (Warsaw Pact member country) a few years after the crushing of the Prague Spring.
Tom Watson is very upset with the idea that anyone would air lurid, unsubstantiated, historic allegations against MPs. He writes this morning:
“Unfortunately for these newspapers, the years of slurs, of stretching the truth to breaking point, of completely one-sided reporting may be creeping up on them. They do not wield the power they once did, their circulations are falling and people simply don’t trust them anymore.”
Guido is old enough to remember when Watson called Leon Brittan “evil” in front of a House of Commons Select Committee and had to apologise to Brittan’s widow when the paedophile claims turned out to be fantasy. He has some brass neck.
On the BBC Norcott is introduced as a Conservative – to forewarn snowflakes that now is the time to flee to the safespace – hopefully this new introduction policy will apply to all comedians on the BBC. “Here’s pseudo-lefty tax dodger Jimmy Carr”, “here’s Marxist Alexi Sayle”, “Hard leftist whatshisame* from the Office”, “Laugh with Green vegan…” etc.
It is worth checking the social media breakdown that Norcott generates when he appears. Enraged Corbynistas angry that people are laughing at them “whilst millions blah blah blah…”
The departure of Jim Waterson to the Guardian means Buzzfeed are looking for a new political editor. It’s a sweet gig: you get free pizza and beer on Fridays and only have to file once every couple of weeks. As ever MediaGuido brings you your runners and riders…
Emily Ashton, Buzzfeed: An internal hire is most likely as Lobby colleagues will not exactly have been convinced that the future is at American websites who promise to take over the world and then fire everyone. Ashton is a proper hack and chairman of the Lobby. Good bet.
Alex Spence, Buzzfeed: The other surviving member of the Buzzfeed politics team, scourge of Tory MPs with mildly embarrassing social media accounts. Short odds.
Alberto Nardelli, Buzzfeed: That scoop on the Brexit impact assessments came at a good time for him. Well-connected in the Cabinet Office.
Mark Di Stefano, Buzzfeed: The site’s former Australia pol ed moved over to be UK media correspondent as part of the recent Antipodean takeover. Funny on Twitter but limited knowledge of Westminster prior to six months ago.
And your external candidates:
Katy Balls, Spectator: Mr Steerpike can do the gossip, can do the politics and has the right chat for the Buzzfeed readership. But are they too base for her?
Mikey Smith, Mirror: Proficient in gifs and memes. Probably too old for the job.
Sebastian Payne, FT: Millennial, tick. Has Twitter, tick. Strong Insta game an added bonus.
Harry Cole, The Sun: Experience running Westminster’s best online news operation for five years. Likes cats.
Matt Chorley, Little Read Box: Why limit those LOLs to an email when you can join Buzzfeed and just tweet them out? Chorley’s inner milennial could shine…
Steve Walker, Skwawkbox:Buzzfeed are in awe of his virality. Time for him to join the MSM?
Matt Turner, Evolve Politics: Matt isn’t really a die-hard Corbynista, he only pretends because he couldn’t find any other way into journalism. Has a Lobby pass now, but surely he craves the real respectability only Buzzfeed can offer?
Owen Bennett, HuffPo: Should probably “keep his f***ing nose out of this”. If last week’s events are anything to go by…
One of Jeremy Corbyn’s top allies worked as a London correspondent for the Soviet Union’s news agency during the Cold War. Unite union Chief of Staff Andrew Murray – who was seconded to Corbyn’s inner circle during last year’s General Election campaign – worked for the USSR’s Novosti organisation between 1986-7 (the height of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament). Journalism was often used by the Soviets as a front for intelligence activities…
Murray’s links to Corbyn are substantial: Jezza has praised his “enormous abilities” and both have served as chairman of the Stop the War Coalition. As former Tribune editor Paul Andersonnotes:
“Murray, head backstairs honcho of Unite, the main union backer of Corbyn, used to buy space for advertorial in left-wing British papers for Novosti, the Soviet press agency.”
On the Agent COB story, Anderson, an expert on eighties links between the Soviet Union and the British left, says: “My hunch is that there is still a fair bit more of this to come…”
Keith Vaz promised to “only accept a worker’s wage” when he was in the process of becoming an MP, Guido can reveal. Vaz is under renewed pressure over his finances after the National Crime Agency was asked to launch an Unexplained Wealth Order investigation by Tory MP Andrew Bridgen. According to newspaper reports published before his election in 1987:
“Secretary of Richmond and Barnes Labour Party Keith Vaz has been selected as Labour candidate for the Leicester East constituency… Mr Vaz is going to live and work in Leicester in the run up to the election. He said that if elected he will only accept a worker’s wage and donate the rest of his parliamentary salary to the local Labour Party.”
Mr Vaz’s parliamentary salary is £74,962. Mr Vaz’s spokesman said this weekend the allegations are “entirely unfounded”. How much of Vaz’s salary over his 31 years in Parliament has he donated to Leicester East Labour Party?
Asked by Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby if she ever kicks her shoes off and orders a takeaway, the Maybot malfunctioned and was unable to answer. Could have been worse, at least she didn’t do a Gordon. “I like English food, I like British food…”
The BBC News website still hasn’t covered the Agent COB spy scandal more than a week after it first broke. No news article, unlike its primary broadcast competitor Sky News and every major newspaper, even the Corbynista Independent. The sum total of the Beeb website coverage is a few lines buried in a round-up of the papers on Saturday. What about on TV and radio? There was a brief mention of the story in the paper review on the Today programme last week and again yesterday for a few seconds on the Andrew Marr show, when Marr said: “it does seem reading through it rather thin.” Never mind the very serious questions Corbyn has to answer about his judgment and what information he passed the Czechs, or the fact he is facing calls to explain himself before the Foreign Affairs select committee.
As Stephen Glover writes in today’s Daily Mail:
“The BBC’s refusal to report either the allegations against Corbyn, or the unequivocal denials of his aides, amounts to a dereliction of duty. It recalls the political bias it showed in the early Blair years until – following the manifest half-truths of the Iraq War – some even-handedness was restored.”
This has been the main story in Westminster over the last week and the national broadcaster is refusing to cover it…
The two egos guilty of ruining Sunday night Twitter this week were the Mail on Sunday’s Dan Hodges and Neil Henderson of the BBC’s #TomorrowsPapersToday. Henderson kicked things off by countering criticism over his failure to tweet last week’s MoS Brendan Cox front page citing “legal advice”. Dan then reached Peak Hodges when he proceeded to attempt to explain libel law to specialist libel barrister Greg Callus.
Isn’t a simple solution merely a commitment to retweet the headlines that the national newspapers print. I can’t quite see the circumstances where a court says “Neil Henderson retweeted this front page, let’s get him”.
Well, *I* won’t, but that’s because I’m a specialist libel barrister. If you’re not a specialist libel barrister, then like a dentist recommending tooth-brushing, I heartily recommend getting advice from one of my colleagues!
This by Ross Chmiel is fascinating. Entirely subjectively we think Cameron looks like a horsey girl, Blair looks mumsy, Callaghan and Heath like grannies, Wilson looks like a hot blonde, Eden like a girl in the Profumo scandal. May and Thatcher are mind boggling…
Buzzfeed’s political editor Jim Waterson has joined the Guardian as their new media editor. Looks like the competition just went up a notch. Will the last person to leave Buzzfeed please turn off the fridge full of free beer?
The Tories are calling for Jeremy Corbyn to be hauled before the Foreign Affairs select committee to face questions over his links to a Czech spymaster. David Morris has written to FASC chairman Tom Tugendhat asking him to bring Agent COB in for an evidence session to “allow the facts to be established and individuals to clear their name”. Here’s the letter:
Dear Mr Tugendhat,
It has recently been widely reported in the National Media that the leader of the Opposition, the Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP had fraternised with a Soviet Bloc Czech Spymaster in the late 1980s. Included in the reports are statements made by the former spy master from the StB – the Statni Bezpecnost, Jan Sarkocy. These statements come from the man who was based in the Czech Embassy in London at the time and who should therefore be in a position to have some authority on the issue.
Given that it is widely accepted the Czech intelligence service had a track record of successfully penetrating Parliament – including the recruitment of at least two senior Labour MP’s – John Stonehouse and Will Owen there are strong grounds to warrant further investigation of these reports.
We are fortunate that a number of former Soviet Bloc Intelligence agencies have had their files preserved. The Stasi of the DDR have had many of their records preserved and they may also shed some light on the issue.
These are very serious and disturbing allegations given that the Leader of the Opposition wants to scrap Trident debasing our defence capability and national security.
Despite the efforts of some to play down these issues there are some serious allegations being made about a Member of this House. I have considered asking the ISC but as their primary role is oversight of the UK’s intelligence service and not foreign relations I feel that your committee is best placed to investigate. I also note that the allegations relate to activity over 20 years ago and so much of the information would not be restricted by Government secrecy rules. At the very least an evidence session from all those mentioned in recent news reports would allow the facts to be established and individuals to clear their name,
David Morris MP
The man who wants to be Prime Minister has been accused by a Czech spy of handing information to Britain’s enemies – something he does not deny. At the very least we should be told what Corbyn said in his meetings with Jan Sarkocy, and allow him to answer the very pertinent questions about his judgement in being foolish enough to meet Soviet bloc “diplomats“. Tugendhat should call him…