Osborne Twists the Knife

The Evening Standard’s front page this afternoon echoes Margaret Thatcher’s famous words said on the steps of Downing Street the day after she won the support of 55% of Conservative MPs in November 1990’s confidence vote:

She resigned seven days later…

Standpoint Editor: Runners & Riders

After more than 10 years at its helm, Daniel Johnson the founder of the conservative-leaning magazine Standpoint is standing down as editor, though he will continue writing for it. He is moving on to be the launch editor of a new online publishing platform TheArticle.com. Standpoint has stabilised financially and is appointing a new editor. Regular contributor Douglas Murray could be in the running, other contributors such as Nick Cohen would probably be ruled out for his broadly left-of-centre outlook even if he does have neo-con tendencies. Edward Lucas has been writing for the mag on and off for a decade. Oliver Wiseman now editing CapX used to work for Standpoint. Of previous contributors to the magazine, Toby Young has got to be in with a chance now he isn’t currently editing anything, he would certainly be a lively editor…

From outside the ranks Jamie Whyte formerly of the IEA could be available. ERG wonk Christopher Montgomery’s name has been put to Guido, Daniel Hannan will have time on his hands when his term as an MEP comes to end soon. Could Juliet Samuel could combine her Telegraph columns with an editorship?

Stephen Bush Becomes New Statesman Pol Ed

The New Statesman’s editor Jason Cowley has made George Eaton joint deputy editor with Tom Gatti. Congratulations to Stephen Bush who is promoted to political editor. Cowley says: “These appointments are to prepare for a planned expansion of the New Statesman in 2019. We have had another successful year…” Losses last year were £477,271.

Boris: Do Not Underestimate the Deep Sense of Personal Responsibility I Feel for Brexit

Punchy stuff…

DUP: Tories Should Uphold Their Side of the Confidence and Supply Agreement

“We’re abiding by our side of the bargain… to deliver control of our laws borders and money for the UK, and also that the UK would leave the European Union as one United Kingdom. If Theresa May wishes to go down a different path from that then she can’t count on our support on the Brexit deal that she has but forward, obviously, and it obviously has consequences…”

Raab: Amber Rudd’s Comments Were Sexist

Raab made a cutting attack on Amber Rudd’s “The men at Westminster seem to flounce out quite a lot” comments speaking to Sky’s Sophy Ridge this morning.

“Amber does this every now and and again, she did it during the referendum when she personalised an attack on Boris. I’m not sure if that’s aimed at me. It sounded a bit sexist to me.”

The shadow leadership election is well and truly underway…

PM Did Not Listen to Raab’s Advice

“I give my advice and it’s either taken or it’s not taken.”

“So it wasn’t taken…”

“Well I want to be careful because I respect the fact that there’s a hierarchy”

McVey Would Run For Leader If People Asked Her

“If people asked me, then of course you’d say… of course you’d give it serious concern and do it…”

Esther McVey: I Did Not Cry

 

Jacob Rees Mogg and Caroline Lucas to Feature in Channel 4 Debate

Channel 4 has reportedly confirmed Jacob Rees Mogg and Caroline Lucas to represent ‘No Deal’ and ‘Remain’ respectively in their debate scheduled for Sunday. The Government and Labour Party representatives are yet to be determined…

Fiona Bruce New Question Time Presenter

In a decision that was widely trailed, newsreader Fiona Bruce has landed the coveted flagship presenting role. She will present her first programme in January. It was always going to be a woman…

Charles Moore Slams Question Time’s 4:1 Remain Panel

Charles Moore received a substantial round of applause on Question Time last night for pointing out that he was the only member of the panel last night to have voted Leave in 2016.

“Everybody on this panel except for me comes from a remain point of view in the referendum… and therefore they don’t understand why people care about this and they don’t see what the real issue at stake is.”

He’s right…

Channel 4 to Host Four Way Brexit Debate

Channel 4 have announced that they will be hosting “The Real Brexit Debate” following Labour’s refusal to sign up to the BBC’s debate proposal. The live broadcast will occur this Sunday, 9th December, two days before Parliament votes on the deal.

Channel 4’s format will have four -unnamed – politicians, representing May’s deal, no deal, a hypothetical Corbyn deal, and remaining in the EU. Questions will be taken from a live studio audience, who Channel 4 say they are working with Survation to assure its balance.

Members of the public can apply to join the audience here

Oxford Professor’s Car Crash Attempt to Discredit Referendum Result

The online-only Independent’s “front page” today breathlessly reported that “illegal Facebook spending ‘won 2016 vote for Leave'”. Philip Howard, a professor at the “Oxford Internet Institute” said it was his “professional opinion” that it was “very likely” that “excessive spending by Vote Leave altered the result of the referendum”. Howard is due to put his “evidence” to the High Court tomorrow…

On closer inspection, it appears “very likely” that Howard’s evidence is a load of utter rubbish, with statisticians having a field day tearing apart his numbers on Twitter. Howard’s calculations get off to a good start with his assumption that 80 million people saw Vote Leave Facebook ads during the so-called “period of excess spending”. That’s in a country of 66 million people, with an electorate of 46.5 million. By Howard’s calculation, 172% of the electorate saw Vote Leave’s ads…

Of those 80 million people, Howard then claims to use a “conservative industry estimate” that 10% of people who saw the ads would have clicked on them. Of that 10%, he claims that 10% believe, and then “a further 10% of that number can be expected to do something”. Except in his own calculation, he entirely emits his own final step, claiming that 800,000 people (10% of 10% of his imaginary electorate of 80 million) had their votes swung by the ads in the final week of the referendum, rather than 80,000 as his own model predicts. Leave won by over 1.2 million votes…

Moreover, the source he cites for his “conservative industry estimate” estimate of 10% click-through rate – a book called New Media Campaigns and the Managed Citizen – says “banner ads on politics topics generally had a 1 percent click-through rate”. The author of this venerable source? A certain Professor Philip Howard…

Even glossing over Howard’s other major errors, including… deep breath… conflating organic Vote Leave post impressions with paid ad impressions, assuming that the entirety of his imaginary electorate uses Facebook, ignoring the fact that Stronger In were also running huge numbers of Facebook ads and that more people made up their minds to vote Remain than Leave in the final week, assuming that everyone who decided to vote Leave after seeing an ad had previously been planning to vote Remain, the maximum number of people whose votes could have been swung – according to his own methodology – is 4,650. There’s wishful thinking, and then there’s pure and utter fantasy…

UPDATE: For any readers looking to enjoy more of Howard’s stellar “research”, Guido can heartily recommend this paper where he defines all Twitter accounts tweeting more than 50 times a day as bots. Although if you do fall into that category yourself, Guido might suggest getting a few other hobbies…

Twitter Bitch Fight of the Week

Queen of Broadcast Kay Burley has spectacularly slapped down “the second best broadcaster on LBC” James O’Brien. Read the extraordinary conversation in full…

The whole interview is worth watching. O’Brien does not come across well…

We’ll let Guido readers decide who won that one…

BBC Throw in Towel on Brexit Debate

Corbyn has refused to do the BBC style debate, so the BBC has thrown in the towel:

‘We believe ours was a fair and appropriate format for those taking part and, crucially, for our audiences around the country, and it is a shame we will not be able to bring them this programme’

Could May yet go with the ITV format?

Kate Osamor Phoned 999 Twice When Journalists Tried To Ask Her Questions

Disgraced former Shadow Cabinet Minister Kate Osamor reportedly phoned the police’s emergency on two separate journalists, on Friday and Saturday last week. Scotland Yard send six officers to her home in the 24 hour period. What a great use of police resources…

Incredibly, after wide reporting of Osamor throwing water over a Times journalist on Friday, threatening to smash his face in with a bat, and calling the police, she called the police again on a journalist from the Mail on Sunday for politely knocking on her door the following day. Osamor has also blocked half the lobby on TwitterIs this what Corbyn meant when he said ‘change is coming’ for the media..?

Kamal Ahmed To BBC Correspondents: Brexit is “Rubbish”

Outgoing BBC Economics Editor and former Observer Political Editor, Kamal Ahmed, emailed all BBC correspondents last week to encourage them to report contentious Treasury and Bank of England forecasts as definitive. The email, leaked to Guido, states with confidence that economically, Brexit is “a bit rubbish.”

“On the Brexit economic forecasts if we leave the impression “well it might be right, it might be wrong” we would be doing a disservice to our audiences. On economics (and of course there are many other ways to judge Brexit, politically, culturally) the evidence from expert modellers who know what they are talking about (unlike many non-economist politicians) is clear – it’s a bit rubbish.”

Ignoring other expert analysis and the glaring truth that the pre-referendum forecasts were wrong, not a little wrong, not a rounding error wrong, not within the fan tail, not within the margin of error, just completely wrong. Predictions of recession, surging unemployment and collapsing inward investment, all turned out to be totally wrong. The economy grew, employment increased, inward investment grew. Ahmed makes a half-baked defence of the half-baked predictions in the run up to the referendum. The experts – including the BBC – were quite simply very wrong about the future direction of the economy.

“Forecasts by their nature are not “wrong”. If you had two dice, a forecast central tendency on the most likely number thrown would be 7. If you threw a 12 it would not make the forecast wrong, just an outlying possibility had come to pass. “12” is on the distribution.”

The “distribution” will, on past performance, have to be much wider than it was in 2016 if they want to cover the right outcome. In reality most viewers will take the forecast central tendency as the forecast. Kamal, who is being promoted to become the BBC’s Editorial Director, should know that and the BBC should qualify it’s reports “well it might be right, it might be wrong” because that’s the truth about forecasts.

Read his full letter below…

Continue reading

Bercow on Reading Guido

Despite Bercow’s office being quick to send complaints he told someone who inquired if he had seen our story from this morning

“Reading Guido is not a priority of mine.”

Another unhappy reader…

May Does Not Rule Out Resigning If Deal Voted Down

“If it doesn’t get voted in, what happens next, do you resign?”

“Well, I’m focusing on getting that vote and getting the vote over the line.”

No answer…[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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