Christmas Repeats: Whitehall Union Boss Fills Empty Papers

Today’s papers went big on a whinge from Dave Penman, general secretary of the trade union of senior civil servants, complaining that Whitehall needs more resources because of Brexit. Easy copy for struggling on-duty reporters in the dead week before the New Year. But it really isn’t news…

Today Penman says: “The civil service is going to have to be given more resources to deal with Brexit”. The same point he made on November 23: “With no additional funding, departments will once again be asked to deliver ever more with ever less”. And November 15: “there is a deafening silence from Ministers over whether any additional resources will be provided to deliver this momentous task”. And October 12: “the Government needs to provide the civil service with the capability and capacity necessary to deliver a successful EU exit”. And September 2. And August 31. And July 5. And June 24. You get the idea.

It’s hardly a surprise that the boss of a trade union wants more cash. It’s not even new information either, he’s said the same thing every month since the vote. That’s the problem with the Christmas period: full of repeats…

Mo Ansar’s Christmas Single

Mo Ansar, Britain’s favourite Walter Mitty social commentator, civil rights activist, lawyer, theologian, communications specialist, school governor, lecturer, marriage counsellor, prison chaplain and cricket coach, has become a singer. Enjoy the debut single from his new band Solomon. You’re our Christmas number one, Mo…

LISTEN: Obama Slams Corbyn

President Obama has delivered a withering verdict of Jeremy Corbyn: Labour is “disintegrating” because under Jez they have lost touch with “fact and reality.” Obama was speaking in an interview with David Axelrod in which he appeared to forget the Labour leader’s name:

AXELROD: Just a couple more things. Are you worried about the Corbynization of the Democratic Party? Saw the Labor Party just sort of disintegrated in the face of their defeat and move so far left that it’s, you know, in a very — in a very frail state. And there is an impulse to respond to — to the power of Trump by, you know, being as edgy…

OBAMA: On the left.

AXELROD: … on the left.

OBAMA: I don’t worry about that, partly because I think that the Democratic Party has stayed pretty grounded in fact and reality. Trump emerged out of a decade, maybe two, in which the Republican Party, because it had to say no for tactical reasons, moved further and further and further away from what we would consider to be a — a basic consensus around things like climate change or how the economy works. And it started filling up with all kinds of conspiracy theorizing that became kind of common wisdom or conventional wisdom within the Republican Party base. That hasn’t happened in the Democratic Party. I think people like the passion that Bernie brought, but Bernie Sanders is a pretty centrist politician relative to…

AXELROD: Corbyn.

OBAMA: Relative to Corbyn or relative to some of the Republicans.

Can’t wait to hear what President Trump thinks…

Mutinous Telegraph Journalists Locked Out of Twitter Accounts

Telegraph bosses locked their journalists out of the paper’s social media accounts over Christmas as they hunted for a mutinous employee who publicly attacked the editor. After a disgruntled hack used the Telegraph Politics Twitter account to blast Chris Evans for “firing journalists”, passwords for the paper’s various social media streams were changed. Journalists were not told the new passwords as bosses decided they couldn’t be trusted not to continue the online insurrection. The lockdown caused chaos on Christmas Day when the below tweet misquoting the Queen was sent by the ‘Social’ team from the main Telegraph account. It stayed up for over an hour because none of the journalists who spotted the error knew the password to log in and delete it.

Trust and competence at an all time low at Telegraph towers…

Source Told Laura K Queen DID Back Brexit at Private Lunch

Remember when Nick Clegg accused Michael Gove of lying about the Queen backing Brexit at a private lunch at Windsor Castle? Well, BBC political editor Laura Kuennsberg has revealed a source came to her with the same story before she was scooped by the Sun:

“In a casual chat with one of my contacts, they said: Do you know what? At some point this is going to come out, and I’m telling you now and I don’t know if the BBC would touch it, but the Queen told people at a private lunch that she thinks that we should leave the EU. Apparently at this lunch she said ‘I don’t see why we can’t just get out. What’s the problem?’ My jaw hit the floor. Very sadly, I only had one source. I spent the next few days trying to prove it. I couldn’t find the evidence. Lo and behold, a couple of months later, someone else did. Of course then ensued a huge row between that newspaper and the Palace over what had really been said or not said.”

Who to believe, Laura K and her sources and The Sun and their sources, or Nick Clegg…

Saturday Seven Up

This week 169,055 visitors visited 497,671 times viewing 805,383 pages. The top stories in order of popularity were::

You’re either in front of Guido, or behind…

Red Len’s “Great Value” to the Morning Star

Pro-Assad agitprop rag the Morning Star has endorsed Len McCluskey for the Unite leadership. Their floppy-haired, Oxford-educated editor Ben Chacko explains:

“Mr McCluskey’s support and advice has been of great value to us throughout his leadership.”

Chacko’s paper is in line to receive a good deal more than “advice” should Red Len be re-appointed General Secretary of Britain’s wealthiest union. During McCluskey’s current tenure “support” meant thousands of full-colour Morning Star subscription mail shots sent out to Unite branches across Britain at members’ expense. In one leaflet McCluskey decrees:

“There is no substitute for reading the paper but you could also take out a shareholding in the Morning Star and send a regular monthly sum to the paper’s Fighting Fund.” 

Len’s “support” has indeed been of “great value” to the Morning Star, least they can do is repay the favour…

UK Shoots Up World Business League Table

The UK has shot up the annual list of countries where it is best to do business. Britain is now fifth on the Forbes magazine “Best for Businesslist – rising from tenth place last December. The list’s editor said the UK moved up because of “improved scores on corruption, tax burden and monetary freedom, as well as a stronger stock market” – all of which were subject to Project Fear doom-mongeringSky News reports:

“The UK has moved up the list of the best countries in the world to do business – despite wider fears over how Brexit could hit trade and slow economic growth.

First on the list is Sweden. The Swedish people defied their political class by voting against adopting the Euro in 2003. An April poll showed the majority of Swedes surveyed would like to see their country follow Britain out of the EU. Eurosceptic countries are the most business-friendly in Europe…

“Bastards” Chuka, Stella and Jess Attacked at Corbyn Christmas Party

Chuka Umunna, Stella Creasy and Jess Phillips were attacked as “bastards” at Jeremy Corbyn’s less than festive Christmas party last night. Guido has obtained a covert recording of the “JC4PM Christmas bash” at Conway Hall, where the audience heard speeches from Corbyn and John McDonnell. Our undercover recorder also had to sit through a speech by barmy Corbynista ‘comedian’ Ava Vidal, who launched into a sweary rant about Labour moderates:

“When did left-wing become an insult in Labour circles? It became an insult when certain people in the Labour Party, I’m naming no names… Stella Creasy, Chuka Umunna, Jess Phillips. Bastards, the lot of them. They’re the ones whose fault it is that people don’t even know what the Labour Party is any more.”

So much for the season of goodwill!

Cable’s Ex-SpAd Giles Wilkes Heading to Downing Street

Usually reliable sources tell Guido that Giles Wilkes, the ex-SpAd to Vince Cable who is currently writing the Lex column and FT leaders, is joining Downing Street in the New Year. He will be covering the corporate governance and industrial strategy policy brief. His appointment shows how far the government has moved on from the free market neo-liberalism of the last three decades…

Nice guy. Big Remainer and Lib Dem obviously. Giles is vehemently opposed to Brexit and tightening up on immigration – so his policy differences with the PM are only on the core goals of Downing Street. As an ex-wonk from CentreForum he can be too clever by half, he was one of the few LibDems who thought tuition fees were the right thing to do, so he has the required classic political awareness and sensitivity of an autistic wonk. Obviously being an “expert economist” and former bookmaker he managed to publicly lose a bet to Guido on the direction of inflation…

His appointment will infuriate the right of the Conservative Party. Wilkes once described tax cuts as “gambling with taxpayers money”. Giles seems not to understand that it is their money in the first place. Mind you he did apologise for calling Guido “innumerate” after he lost that bet to him.

Guido was unable to confirm the appointment at the time of going to pixel despite reaching out to Wilkes.

N.B. SpAds wondering what he will be like to work with can watch him pontificating about SpAds here.

Taking Out the Trash Day: Nick and Fi on £140,000 Each

Downing Street has chosen the first day of the Christmas holidays to publish the salaries of government special advisers. Theresa May’s joint chiefs of staff Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy are on £140,000 each. There are now 83 SpAds costing the taxpayer £7.9 million a year…

Jamie Reed Goes Nuclear

Jamie Reed, a two term MP best known for cracking bad jokes on Twitter, is resigning as an MP. He is off to work as a lobbyist for Sellafield. As a no holds barred anti-Corbynista he can see which way the wind is blowing politically. Aged only 43, he has chosen to make some money rather than battle in opposition for the rest of his working life…

He of course says  “This decision has got absolutely nothing to do with Jeremy Corbyn. On a personal level I’ve got a very cordial relationship.” Yeah, right…

Given how poorly Labour are polling currently, Reed’s Copeland seat looks fairly marginal. The Tories were only 2,000 behind. Could UKIP steal votes from both Labour and the Tories? This will be Nuttall’s first test. If Labour lose the by-election Corbyn will be back under intense pressure…

Labour MP Jamie Reed Quits

Click image to enlarge

By-election! Majority just 2,000…

Cheer Up Joyless Columnists, You Have Given Us Much Laughs

Can’t help feeling today that Rafael isn’t going to the same parties as Guido. Must be pretty tough for Rafael at the moment. He’s a centrist, liberal metropolitan political commentator. Broadsheets have an excess inventory of those type of columnists nowadays don’t they? “They write authoritatively, shame it is all bollocks” was a country-dwelling, right-of-centre columnist’s description of his rivals to Guido at a jolly Christmas drinks party. Unfortunately the lumpen liberal wordsmiths don’t go to dinner parties with Corbyn, May or Trump. Worse still they don’t even know people who go to dinner parties with Corbyn, May or Trump…

At some point they must fear that editors are going to realise that this type of columnist is a little surplus to reader requirements and not in the main game any more. Why else might Rafael, and other columnists of his ilk, be joyless?

  • He’s Blairite or whatever they call themselves nowadays. Their host party has been taken over by Corbynista loo-las.
  • He didn’t expect Brexit. Now all the wrong people are enjoying themselves and partying.
  • He was looking forward to President Hillary. She’s their kinda gal. They got Trump.
  • He’s a Guardian journalist. The paper had a billion dollar endowment to last them in perpetuity. They are now losing so much money it won’t last them a decade. Look at what happened to the Indy.

Today is the darkest day of the year, tomorrow it gets lighter. So cheer up Rafael and a hearty Merry Christmas to all the columnists who have had a very difficult and traumatic year: Zoe, Janan, Hugo, Matthew, Matthew, Phil, Philip, John, Gaby, Polly, Jonathan and Marina. You have given the rest of us unintended laughs all year long… 

Confirmed: Malcolm Coles Out at Telegraph

Last week MediaGuido reported that the Telegraph’s digital guru and pantomime villain Malcolm Coles was being let go from the paper. Coles responded by demanding we take our story down, telling us it was “untrue” and “defamatory” and cc’ing his lawyer into his email to this site. Today, six days later, Coles has confirmed he is out:

“We did some good stuff over the last two years. And we also did football emoji scores. I wish everyone there well for 2017.” 

A rare case where Telegraph hacks are pleased to see someone leave. Coles will be hoping his lawyer has better success getting him some redundancy cash…

Merry Christmas

Parliament is in recess, Guido’s liver needs to go into remission, the parliamentary news sausage machine has been switched off. The Dead Tree Press will be empty of news. We too will be taking a break from breaking news…

News flow will be light, we will still be uploading this and that, highlighting things that have amazed, amused and angered us and our co-conspirators.[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

The FT’s Wolfgang Munchau on the “fake maths” of economic forecasts:

“The truth is that our ability to forecast the future beyond the current quarter is limited… The curse of our time is fake maths. Think of it as fake news for numerically literate intellectuals: it is the abuse of statistics and economic models to peddle one’s own political prejudice… The fakeness of the maths lies in an exaggerated inference. Economic models have their uses, as do opinion polls. They provide information to policymakers and markets. But nobody can see through the fog of the future.”

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