Last Days at Buzzfeed

Judging by these tweets, not a great day at “the future of journalism”:

Sad and entirely predictable news…

Bolton: She Came Round But I Didn’t Sleep With Her

UKIP sources confirm Guido’s story: Henry Bolton and Jo Marney did go home together after their loved-up dinner last night. It is claimed Marney came back to the leader’s Fokestone flat only to collect her bags. So keen is Henry Bolton to prove this that he ran out to a local taxi firm this morning and took a picture of the taxi log detailing Marney’s cab back to Maidstone. Poor bloke, gets the girl all the way back home but no action…

Local Labour Members Demand End to Jared Investigation So He Can Be Deselected

Members of Jared O’Mara’s Constituency Labour Party in Sheffield Hallam are demanding answers from the never-ending ‘investigation’ into his homophobic and misogynistic posts – with some calling for him to be deselected. Labour launched their probe into O’Mara four months ago, then paused it while he was off sick. Labour members in Sheffield Hallam are livid about the lack of progress, complaining on their private Facebook group that they have been kept out of the loop. They now want the party to report back immediately.

A second asks “why on earth this is taking so long“:

Some members have been arguing for him to go. One says:

“Jared should never have been selected to stand as an MP, and it’s only due to the National Executive choosing candidates quickly that Jared was chosen. Nevertheless, on application forms potential MPs are required to disclose any information from their past that could be used to embarrass them in the future: by not revealing his behaviour Jared was either deceitful or else he genuinely believes there’s nothing wrong with the way he behaves, which is possibly even worse.”

Things are getting so heated that members have been banned from slagging off O’Mara on the group because “opinion can easily leak out and be used by our opponents”:

Now the Corbynistas control the Labour Party disputes panel, think we can guess how the investigation is going to go…

Jared Victim: He Shouldn’t Be Back in Westminster

The woman who Jared O’Mara called an “ugly b*tch” says he shouldn’t be back in Parliament and wants him out of Westminster for good. Guido broke news of Jared’s return to Sophie Evans, who was upset by the disgraced MP’s misogynistic slurs against her in a Sheffield nightclub. Sophie said:

“I’m sorry to hear he has been ill. I stand by what I said, Jared is not fit to be an MP and he shouldn’t be back in Westminster. Obviously, before he went off sick, there was also a period when he wasn’t doing anything for his constituents. He’s back voting – but he wasn’t doing much before. I stand by what has been said of Jared: that he is an oaf.”

Jared was spotted in the House yesterday voting on the EU Withdrawal Bill. He was embraced by fellow Labour MP Tracy Brabin and was still wearing his Labour Party lanyard despite being suspended. Labour might be happy to have Jared back, but his victims are outraged…

Bolton’s Night With ‘Ex’ Jo Marney Ends With Love Train Home

This is the moment embattled UKIP chief Henry Bolton pledged to stand by his racist texts storm ex during an intimate dinner at a posh gentlemen’s club. In pictures obtained by Guido, the pair are seen dining together last night; hours earlier Mr Bolton declared his continuing love for the 25-year-old model in a newspaper interview – despite having publicly dumped her this week. An eyewitness to the tête-à-tête said:

“They were holding hands and touching in a manner suggestive that they were very much still together. They drank at the bar, Henry was making his support for Jo very clear.”

On leaving, the pair were doorstepped. Mr Bolton claimed:

“She’s now going back to Maidstone and I’m now going back home.”

But Guido can reveal Mr Bolton was later seen with Jo on the platform at Folkestone West station, the town where the UKIP boss has a flat. Perhaps she missed her stop…

Last night Kippers were furious at the thought Mr Bolton could u-turn on his decision to end the relationship. A senior UKIP source told Guido:

“Henry Bolton has killed the party”

Sunday’s crunch UKIP NEC meeting just got even more interesting…

Picture desks please email team@order-order.com

James O’Brien Too Much For Newsnight

MediaGuido had heard a few whispers about why James O’Brien had been canned by Newsnight – chiefly that BBC bosses were fed up with his Trumpian hyper-partisan attention-seeking both on their programme, on Twitter and elsewhere. One insider says they simply ran out of patience with him always going off on one. O’Brien has today essentially confirmed that version of events, tweeting:

“I withdrew from the roster some months ago to retain my right to criticise Brexit and Trump in my other work”

To the relief of those who had to work with him, there are no plans for him to present again…

PMQs Sketch: Jez The Builder Should Be Privatised

Jeremy Corbyn should have arrived at PMQs ready to swing a wrecking ball at Theresa May over Carillion, but, in scenes beyond parody, Labour’s Bob the Builder forgot his tools. Geriatric Jez ruined his digs at May by digging himself a hole: yet again he forgot to ask the Prime Minister a question, to which May – somewhat surprisingly – responded:

“I’m very happy to answer questions when the right honourable gentleman asks one. He didn’t.”

To remind Jez to do his job properly, Carillion could offer the bearded wonder a few tried and tested techniques. Fix flashing orange lights to his folder beside each question, perhaps, or equip Labour MPs with fluorescent jackets emblazoned with reflective question marks. Rig up a siren to blare “NOW ASK THE QUESTION”, punctuated by loud beeping, like the audible warning emitted by a reversing lorry. Get a demolition team in (there should be a few short of work now), fix explosive charges to the Labour front bench, and detonate one every time Corbyn speaks for more than a minute without asking anything. Alternatively, equip loudmouth Thornberry with a nailgun, and let her remind the fool who’s boss every time he cocks up…

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Crowdfund Legal Challenge to Keep Worboys in Prison

Two victims of John Worboys are launching a judicial review of the decision to release him – their last hope to keep the black cab rapist behind bars and be told on what grounds the Parole Board believe him to safe to the public. Judicial reviews are expensive, the victims’ legal bid is being crowdfunded as they try to raise the cash to get it to court. Guido cannot think of a better cause – you can donate here

Chi Onwurah Brillo’d on Iran

Labour’s Chi Onwurah completely unable to say whose side she is on in Iran… painful. 

“Have I?” Thornberry Can’t Remember Backing Carillion

Some brass neck from Emily Thornberry at PMQs, heckling May over Carillion and then, when it was pointed out she had previously backed the company, asked “Have I?” Guido can refresh her memory:

She even wore their hat…

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 17 January.

Q2 Mr Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi (Slough)

Q3 Jeff Smith (Manchester, Withington)

Q4 David Linden (Glasgow East)

Q5 Simon Hoare (North Dorset)

Q6 Carol Monaghan (Glasgow North West)

Q7 Dr Lisa Cameron (East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow)

Q8 David Simpson (Upper Bann)

Q9 Nic Dakin (Scunthorpe)

Q10 Alex Norris (Nottingham North)

Q11 Imran Hussain (Bradford East)

Q12 Stephen Timms (East Ham)

Q13 Paul Scully (Sutton and Cheam)

Q14 Sir Henry Bellingham (North West Norfolk)

Q15 Scott Mann (North Cornwall)

Comments in the comments…

Labour Digital Guru Andrew Gwynne Member of Multiple Racist Facebook Groups

Andrew Gwynne is always giving it large about his groovy role as Labour’s National Campaigns Coordinator, churning out essays about the crucial part he played as the digital guru of Labour’s campaign. He wrote last June:

“[We] linked our voter database technology with Facebook. This cutting-edge tool allowed us to deploy targeted messaging to key voters on a more personal and localised level than ever before… When we saw improved local canvass returns in Sheffield Hallam, we were able to target anti-Lib Dem Facebook messages at all the voters in the seats that we thought were being contested between Labour and the Lib Dems. In the last week alone 24 million people viewed our shared content on Facebook.” 

For such a Facebook expert, Gwynne’s activity on the social media site is rather eyebrow-raising. Gwynne’s personal account has joined a variety of bonkers, racist and antisemitic group. According to Facebook, Gwynne is a member of:

  • Stop Zionist USA: a group dedicated to sharing antisemitic material including pictures comparing Benjamin Netanyahu to Hitler, memes which blame Israel for ISIS and spreading Rothschild and Soros conspiracy theories

  • United Against the Monarchy: a republican group which shares pictures ridiculing the royal family
  • Stop the Mosque: a campaign against building new Mosques which warns “Islamic conquest is well underway in Europe”

  • Truth Is Rising: a nutjob group for conspiracy theorists which has suggested ‘7/7 was an inside job’ and is awash with antisemitic material

Either Gwynne has managed to hide some pretty radical views or – perhaps more likely – he is simply blanket-accepting all the group invitations he gets from randomers. Tell us more about your Facebook expertise, Andrew…

Priti Accuses Electoral Commission of Bias and “Double Standards”

Following the Electoral Commission’s refusal to investigate the Remain campaign despite clear evidence of spending breaches, Priti Patel has accused them of bias and “double standards”. Priti notes that the Commission launched a full investigation into Vote Leave over claims of spending collusion – despite no evidence – and yet are refusing to look at BSE even though a whole dossier of evidence was submitted to them. Priti has a point – how can they investigate the Leavers when there is no evidence, but ignore evidence of Remainers overspending?

What is particularly concerning is that you decided on 20 November 2017 to reopen an investigation into Vote Leave Limited and Mr Darren Grimes, in spite of the fact that there is much less evidence of a common plan. As you acknowledge at [25] of the Review of Assessments – ‘there are no direct indications of the campaigners working together’ (my emphasis added) and that – as you state at [31] – that ‘the Commission is not aware of what any such communications [between Vote Leave and Mr Grimes] contained or whether it indicated a common plan or arrangement was in place’.

In other words – despite the fact that there is no evidence of Vote Leave Limited or Mr Grimes engaging in joint planning (even of an advisory nature) – you have been persuaded of the need for a full investigation. However, when clear documented evidence of the Remain campaigns coordinating specific messaging is presented to you, this is dismissed as ‘advisory’. This would appear to be a clear case of double standards.

Priti not unreasonably alleges the Electoral Commission have a lower bar for investigating Leavers than Remainers:

I have to conclude that the Electoral Commission appears to have used an extraordinarily low bar – arguably, far too low a bar— when deciding to open your new investigation on Vote Leave and other campaigners for Brexit, yet have set a very high bar when deciding to open an investigation into Britain Stronger in Europe.

She wants them to reconsider their decision. Good luck with that – we know where the Electoral Commission’s loyalties really lie

Lily Allen: I’m Sorry for Spreading Anti-Tory Fake News

Millionaire musician Lily Allen has apologised for spreading fake news about the Tories. The socialist songstress is well known for her lefty Tweets, infuencing countless young fans. This time she claimed Chris Grayling was having lunch with George Osborne “at the Ivy on the day Monarch went under” (she would know). Nice line, but it turns out Grayling was not in London; instead he was dealing with the crisis and meeting Monarch passengers at Manchester airport that day. When Tory MP James Cleverly pointed this out, Lily tweeted: “my bad, I do apologise”…

Yet she hasn’t deleted the original tweet…

Back to Work: “Sick” Jared Makes Miraculous Recovery as Media Pressure Mounts

Good news! Jared O’Mara has briefed the Mirror that he is feeling much better after his four months off and will be making a “phased return” to work. The timing of his miraculous recovery is surely just a coincidence and definitely, absolutely nothing to do with the Yorkshire Post turning on him yesterday. Guido is glad to hear Jared is fighting fit – this means Labour’s paused investigation into his conduct can resume and report back swiftly. Right?

Now Rachel Reeves Baffled by Labour’s Brexit Position

Now Rachel Reeves completely caught on the hop trying to describe Labour’s ever-uncertain position on the single market and Brexit in general. You can’t blame her…

Facebook’s Retreat from News and Algo Change Panics Buzzfeed

Facebook’s Adam Mosseri announced last Thursday that it is getting out of the news business and going back to connecting people with personal stuff:

“Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers…” 

Good for people who want to share pictures of their cats, bad for media organisations that have a business model based on cat GIFs. Twitter’s stock price rose 5% on the news that they will now be the main social news platform…

For Buzzfeed and other Facebook traffic driven organisations this is bad news, Buzzfeed gets some 23% of their traffic at the whim of Mark Zuckerberg. Unsurprisingly Buzzfeed bought adverts on Facebook on Friday pushing soon to be lost users to download their app. At one time Buzzfeed were spending millions on Facebook adverts, they may well have to do so again if their content is dropped from the Facebook feed. In the political sphere those sites that specialise in clickbaity headlines designed to go viral on Facebook may see a drop in traffic…

Approximately 7% of Guido’s traffic is referred from Facebook. Twitter on the other hand drives 23% of our traffic, just behind Google on 24%. The Spectator and Breitbart also rely on Facebook for some ~7% to 8% of their traffic. Skwawkbox and The Canary rely on Facebook respectively for a massive ~40% and ~48% of traffic…

N.B. Traffic data sourced from Similarweb.

Sleepy Swayne Nods Off During Clarke Remain Speech

Desmond Swayne appears to nod off during Ken Clarke’s droning remainer speech in the Commons. Definitely deliberate from Dessy, he must have known he was in shot…

Labour NEC Purge: Red Terror Strikes Black

Momentum is wasting no time using its new NEC majority: today it purged longstanding Disputes Panel chair Ann Black and replaced her with top Momentum chief Christine Shawcroft. It took only 24 hours for the red terror to strike Black: the NEC voted 22 to 15 to oust her in a move which was not backed by many of the unions. NEC sub-committees are usually re-constituted without opposition – but not in the new world of Momentum’s red terror. The NEC’s Disputes Panel is crucial part of Labour’s disciplinary machinery, not least as it is responsible for deciding whether to investigate allegations of antisemitism. Gaining control of the Disputes Panel will effectively allow Corbynistas to be their own judge and jury…

Ann Black was a strong critic of the Blairite wing and undoubtedly was on the left – but she wasn’t left enough for Momentum. Many Labour MPs will be aghast at the move: they generally consider Black a fair arbiter with a good understanding of the rulebook. Outspoken Corbynista Shawcroft (whose lack of political judgement is summed up by the fact she said ISIS should be invited for tea and backed corrupt Lutfur Rahman), by comparison, will be instinctively distrusted by moderates or non-Corbynistas undergoing disciplinary procedures. As if to underline just how bad things are getting in Labour, nutjob Tony Greenstein – who was suspended from the party for calling people “Zionist scum” – called for the move on Facebook:

“She (Black) is the one who’s been victimising people. She is in control of disputes which works hand in hand with compliance. She has to go and we have to call for her to go… it’s absolutely imperative that Anne (sic) Black is targeted by name… it’s the same with Iain McNicol”

The new red purge begins…

Parole Board Admit Processes Breached, Decision May Be Wrong and Worboys Could Reoffend

The chairman of the Parole Board has all but admitted that procedures were breached during the John Worboys case, that the decision to release him could be wrong and that the black cab rapist could reoffend. In a statement welcoming the judicial review of the Parole Board’s decision, Nick Hardwick says “there should be an independent investigation” because “some victims who should have been kept informed were not and victims and the public deserve to know exactly what happened”.[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

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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