It Kicked Off Between Gove’s SpAd & Boris’s Spin Doctor at the Spectator’s Summer Party

Last night at the Spectator Magazine’s summer party the crowd of mainly A-list political and media figures came to drink cocktails, gossip about recent events and see and be seen. Leadership candidates Rishi Sunak, Nadhim Zahawi and Tom Tugendhat worked the crowd. Later in the evening as things were winding down the Spectator’s Katy Balls mischeviously introduced Josh Grimstone, the newly unemployed former Special Adviser to Michael Gove, to soon-to-be unemployed Guto Harri, the Prime Minister’s Director of Communications. Josh definitely had something to communicate to Guto about Gove’s late night sacking the night before…

Josh firmly protested that his boss had been loyal to the PM, that he personally loved Boris and that both Gove and himself had been nothing but loyal. He accused Guto of sacking Gove out of spite and attempting, unfairly, to make it look like Gove had been sacked for disloyalty. Guto was sceptical about Josh’s protestations of innocence and insistence that his boss had been loyal. The toing and froing went on in front of a silently listening audience that included Guido, Tim Shipman and Steve Swinford. Neither of the protagonists backed down from their position. Grimstone said Guto’s behaviour was a “f***ing disgrace”.

Guto eventually retorted that it was Gove’s fault that in 2016, when he betrayed Boris, the country was as a result put into 3 years of dismal turmoil under Theresa May. Guto’s stance seemed to be that even if it was true that he had been loyal of late, Gove had it coming to him for the 2016 trauma that he inflicted on the party and country. Unresolved and unreconciled Grimstone broke off leaving hushed onlookers uncertain that the summary justice of last night was entirely justified by recent events. Guto seemed relaxed and satisfied that it was amends for the sin of the past. 

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PM Boasts of Biggest Welsh Westminster Takeover Since Tudors

Boris arrived at Welsh Tory Conference in confident spirits after yesterday’s good news from the Met. Taking to the stage he wished everyone a good afternoon in Boris-ised Welsh, adding “Prynhawn da blodyn as I just  said to the nice person from the BBC which I thought was the right way to address her.” Guido being a non-Welsh speaker had to look this up, and apparently blodyn means “my love”, indicating a very different kind of No. 10-BBC relationship…

Opening with a typical gag, the PM joked “by the way I am very very proud that the new director of communications in No. 10 speaks fluent Welsh, folks; the biggest Welsh takeover in Westminster since the Tudors.”

He was obviously referring to Guto Harri, who demonstrated this Welsh speaking ability admirably on his first day in office. Co-conspirators will remember he gave an extremely rare interview for a backroom staffer to Welsh language website golwg360, where he revealed he and the PM had sung Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive. The resulting media coverage has meant we haven‘t heard much since from the Director of Comms since – either in Welsh or English…

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Boris Johnson: “I Will Survive!”

Guto Harri on his first meeting with Boris since being named Director of Communications:

“I walked in, I gave him a salute and said ‘Prime Minister, Guto Harri reporting for duty’ and he stood up from behind his desk and started to salute but then said ‘What am I doing, I should take the knee for you.”….

“I then asked ‘Are you going to survive Boris?’ And he said in his deep voice, slowly and with purpose, whilst singing a little as he finished his sentence ‘I Will Survive’. ” he answered, ‘I’ve got all my love to give’, so we had a little blast of Gloria Gaynor!”

mdi-timer 7 February 2022 @ 11:57 7 Feb 2022 @ 11:57 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Guto Harri Declares Monday Morning Mission

Arriving at No. 10 for the first time this morning, new comms director Guto Harri declared his first mission is to give out snacks and mineral waters, presumably bought this morning from Tesco. It looks like that wine fridge is about to be repurposed…

Despite consulting with Britain’s most notorious spin doctor ahead of his appointment, Guido suspects Harri’s choice of plastic bag rather than reusable, heading into a supposedly green government, may not go down well with some of his new colleagues. What will Shelley ‘no disposable cups’ Williams-Walker think…

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Rich’s Monday Morning View

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Knee-Taking Guto Off Air, Not Officially Fired

Following Guto Harri’s surprise decision to take the knee live on air (and a subsequent social media storm), GB News tweeted:

“GB News stands four square against racism in all its forms. We do not have a company line on taking the knee. Some of our guests have been in favour, some against. All are anti-racist. We have editorial standards that all GB News journalists uphold.

We let both sides of the argument down by oversimplifying a very complex issue.”

If you’re confused, reading the channel’s actual editorial charter won’t help much: its first point is that they maintain “the independence of [their] journalism“, and they stand for “the right of every individual to form and share their views.” If that’s true, Guido’s not sure how or why Guto’s kneeling breaches their standards. This morning Isabel Webster has taken Guto’s place pairing on the the show with Mercy Muroki. Guido understands that Guto hasn’t been “officially” fired – yet. No one has been able to tell us if, or when, he’ll be back on air…

A month into broadcasting, and despite notable tech improvements, GB News are still suffering from teething problems. Guido’s said it before – television is hard. Notable absences from a few star presenters certainly hasn’t helped: Brillo’s gone on a long holiday, and now Alastair Stewart has broken his hip. Which will make bending and kneeling more difficult…

Following all the technical hiccups and poor ratings, Guido hears that the channel is planning a relaunch in September. Apparently, the top priority will be to switch up the presenter pairings to try and create better on-air chemistry  – so far, the feeling is some of the teams just aren’t working. A new show is also in the works, although details are still in the air. With recess coming up, they might use the silly season downtime to have a rethink. Presumably Brillo’s holiday will end around the same time…

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