Hugo Rifkind Retracts Made Up Quote

Hugo Rifkind had a crack at Toby Young in his Times column on Monday, rubbishing him and the Free Speech Union. Unfortunately for Hugo, it has blown up in his face. In the column, Hugo wrote:

Toby Young founded “the Free Speech Union” out of a professed fear that free online discourse was becoming impossible due to censorious mobs and the cowardly organisations that care more about their own reputations. Within a day, he’d grown hopelessly tangled in his own contradictions, after being asked whether the far-right activist who calls himself Tommy Robinson would be welcome in his club. Only if he was prepared to “sign a statement of values not to be racist, sexist or prejudiced against Muslims,” said Young. Even the club with “Free Speech” in its name has caveats.

Rather than free speech per se, Young was agitating for something along the lines of “the freedom to speak without facing an onslaught of other people calling you scum”. 

Hard-hitting stuff, but there’s one small difficulty. Toby never said the things attributed to him in quotation marks. Why in particular would he have mentioned Muslims? Hugo just made that up or as he put it to Guido “put quote marks around what should have been a paraphrase and garbled it. Easy mistake, but still unforgivably sloppy of me. It’s been changed, I believe there’s a correction tomorrow, and I’ve written to say sorry, too. Any and all ridicule of me rightly deserved.” 

Toby tells Guido:

“Hugo picked an odd day to write a column saying the free speech crisis is a figment of my imagination, given that Reddit has just announced it will be deleting 2,000 subreddits. He’s perfectly entitled to attack me of course, and does so frequently, but making up silly quotes and attributing them to me is a step too far. I expected higher ethical standards from someone who’s won so many journalism awards.”

Three years ago, Rifkind wrote a 4000-word piece for The Times about what he called “the vitally important but hideously complex issue of fake news”. If Toby hadn’t complained, this bit of fabricated news would have stood uncorrected…

mdi-timer 1 July 2020 @ 16:561 Jul 2020 @ 16:56 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Enfield’s Labour Councillors Propose £7,608 Pay Rise for Themselves

Whilst the nation is facing economic uncertainty and people are worried about their jobs, Enfield’s Labour Leader Nesil Caliskan is proposing to raise councillor allowances by thousands of pounds. New proposals increase basic allowances by £159 yet the big rises are in Special Responsibility Allowances.

  • Any member who serves on the North London Waste Authority is in for a £7,608 increase if they don’t already receive an Special Responsibility Allowance.
  • The Labour Chair of the Pensions and Policy Committee is in for a rise of £6,708.
  • Another Associate Cabinet Member post is being created meaning another Labour member will earn £7,608 extra with many having no clue what an ACM actually does…..

Council leader Caliksan recently said that the council was facing “financial catastrophe” due to COVID-19. The council is cyber-voting on the pay rise tonight – let’s see if the ‘cash strapped’ councillors can find the money to line their own pockets…

This all comes on the day Keir Starmer is warning of a “black hole of around £10bn” in council finances. That hole could be a little smaller if Labour councillors stopped giving themselves massive pay rises…

mdi-timer 1 July 2020 @ 15:121 Jul 2020 @ 15:12 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Tory Whips Throttle Tory Taffia

This morning the Times reports Ministers are “considering revolutionising Whitehall’s approach to devolution”, involving a far greater willingness to “engage with devolution” in an effort to strengthen the Union. Abandoning the “devolve and forget” strategy of previous governments…

Guido hears a handful of Welsh Tory MPs furious at the Senedd Government’s response to Coronavirus have being gagged by the whips from questioning the merits of devolution, keen to avoid any “blue on blue” battles between Westminster MPs and local AMs in the run-up to next year’s Welsh elections.

One of the 2019 intake told Guido that Mark Drakeford’s bungled response to the pandemic is an opportune moment to build a case against the current devolution settlement and educate Welsh citizens about the policy powers of their glorified local council. For years Tories have attacked Labour’s Welsh NHS record, unfortunately swathes of Welsh citizens are oblivious to Labour’s control of the devolved policy…

mdi-timer 1 July 2020 @ 14:281 Jul 2020 @ 14:28 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Raab Sets Out Hong Kongers Pathway to Citizenship

Speaking immediately after PMQs, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab formally set out the bespoke UK offer to Hong Kongers with British Nationals (Overseas) status, and their dependents – a group totalling 2.9 million people in Hong Kong, or almost 40% of the population of the city. The route, developed jointly by Raab and Home Secretary Priti Patel is as follows…

  • The British Government will grant BNOs five years limited leave to remain, with the right to work or study in the UK.
  • After five years they will then be able to apply for settled status.
  • After twelve months with settled status, they will be able to apply for citizenship.

There will be no quotas on numbers. Raab described the route as “a special bespoke set of arrangements developed for the unique circumstances we face, and in light of our historic commitments to the people of Hong Kong.” Sound.

mdi-timer 1 July 2020 @ 13:571 Jul 2020 @ 13:57 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Boris Confirms Citizenship Path for 3 Million BNOs in Hong Kong

Boris has just told the Commons “The enactment and imposition of this National Security law constitutes a clear and serious breach of the sino-British joint declaration”, and the Government’s pledge to provide three million Hong Kongers holding British National (Overseas) passports a path to full British citizenship will now be enactedRaab’s statement will flesh out details immediately after PMQs…

mdi-timer 1 July 2020 @ 12:281 Jul 2020 @ 12:28 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions
  1. Richard Graham (Con)👨‍💼 
  2. Andrew Bowie (Con) 👨‍💼 
  3. Nickie Aiken (Con) 👩‍💼
  4. Stephen Farry (Alliance) 👨‍💻
  5. James Sunderland (Con) 👨‍💼 
  6. Claire Hanna (SDLP) 👩‍💻
  7. Shaun Bailey (Con) 👨‍💼 
  8. Christine Jardine (LD) 👩‍💼
  9. James Daly (Con) 👨‍💼 
  10. Bambos Charalambous (Lab) 👨‍💼 
  11. Dr Neil Hudson (Con) 👨‍💻
  12. Stephen Doughty (Lab) 👨‍💼 
  13. Jason McCartney (Con) 👨‍💼 
  14. Ian Paisley (DUP) 👨‍💼 
  15. Duncan Baker (Con) 👨‍💼 
  16. Siobhain McDonagh (Lab) 👩‍💼
  17. Greg Smith (Con) 👨‍💼 
  18. Stephen Timms (Lab) 👨‍💼 
  19. Mr William Wragg (Con) 👨‍💼 
  20. Allan Dorans (SNP) 👨‍💼 
  21. Scott Mann (Con) 👨‍💼
  22. John Spellar (Lab) 👨‍💼
  23. Mr Mark Harper (Con) 👨‍💼 
  24. Mrs Sharon Hodgson (Lab) 👩‍💻

👩‍💻👨‍💻 = Virtual

👨‍💼 👩‍💼= Physical

mdi-timer 1 July 2020 @ 11:581 Jul 2020 @ 11:58 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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