Who is on Question Time Tonight?

BBC could have tried for something a bit more exciting on such a momentous day…

Owen Bennett Fired Over #MeToo Scandal

Owen Bennett – the recently hired Whitehall editor at The Telegraph – has been fired, after executives at the newspaper discovered he had lied about the circumstances in which he had left his previous position at the Huffington Post. Owen, who publicly presents himself as a feminist and sexual equality advocate, has a less public reputation as a Westminster sex pest.

Sources at the Huffington Post were tight-lipped though they did not deny that he left the “woke” publication before a disciplinary procedure could be commenced. Guido understands that he has been the subject of more than one complaint, including one made to the newly established parliamentary complaints hotline.

When Guido put the allegations to Bennett last night, he confirmed the employment situation and that he had left the Huffington Post because of allegations related to another female employee. Owen’s former boss at the Huffington Post, Paul Waugh, said that all questions should be directed to their human resources department. Owen told Guido that he has been having counseling and therapy sessions to deal with his issues. Later on in the evening, Owen called to say he was aware of a very serious allegation circulating against him and that he would sue if it was published.

Owen made headlines recently with revelations about Michael Gove’s cocaine taking in his biography published during the Tory leadership campaign. Owen is popular in the Lobby with some, though one hack – who already knew of the allegations – said “he deserves everything he gets”.

Sources of Contention

Is everyone getting bored of anonymous contradictory sources?

Government Repeals the Porn Laws

In good news for online voyeurs, the new Government has announced it will not press ahead with Theresa May’s planned porn laws, legislation that would have brought in draconian restrictions on what websites people can freely access. In a written statement today, DCMS Secretary Nicky Morgan said:

“The government has concluded that this objective of coherence will be best achieved through our wider online harms proposals and, as a consequence, will not be commencing Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 concerning age verification for online pornography”

“The Digital Economy Act objectives will therefore be delivered through our proposed online harms regulatory regime. This course of action will give the regulator discretion on the most effective means for companies to meet their duty of care.”

The Adam Smith Institute, which helped lead the campaign to abolish the authoritarian policy is delighted with the policy reversion, which was it has to be said was a long time coming , telling Guido

“Millions of Brits can rest easier tonight as the government finally takes its sticky fingers out of people’s private lives. The porn laws were destined to fail and were a PR nightmare for a party that says it believes in individual liberty, personal and parental responsibility.”

“It’s great news for all of us that the government is no longer in the grip of patrician politicians that don’t understand the Internet.”

Freedom is winning….

The Very Model of a Modern Lobby Journalist

This is superb, “Modern Lobby Journalist” with lyrics by Dmitry Grozoubinski as performed for BBC Radio 4’s Today programme by Simon Butteriss. Too true…

See also Bercow’s Modern Minor Genital

Tom Newton Dunn’s “Tory Split” Fake News Explosion

The Remain supporting commentariat became overwhelmed with excitement late last night off the back of a report from The Sun‘s Tom Newton Dunn, claiming Brexit grandees IDS and Owen Paterson had created a “big split”, branding Boris’ deal “unacceptable” and ‘exploding’ at Number 10 officials. It could have been a big moment, if it were in the slightest bit true…

In reality Paterson’s comments were about a reheated May deal, not Boris’ new negotiations which he told Julia Hartley Brewer on TalkRADIO this morning he welcomed. Read his full comments about May’s deal in context on ConservativeHome this morning without distortion from Tom…

Iain Duncan Smith similarly shot down the report on BBC Breakfast this morning, saying there was enormous “goodwill” towards Boris’ new negotiations and he has not “exploded” at all.

Guido hears that The Sun didn’t even approach Number 10 for comment before publishing the story. Classic Tom “exclusive”…

UPDATE: IDS has told Guido that he categorically denied the story to Tom Newton Dunn yesterday evening, and Tom admitted that The Sun‘s ‘source’ was not even in the room. Number 10 are pushing back now too, with a spokesperson saying of the Sun’s story “This account is not true.”

Bill Newton Dunn signed a letter to Tusk yesterday calling for any deal to be rejected by the EU in order to force a second referendum. Perhaps the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…

Tortoise Traffic Bombing

Media grand panjandrum, James Harding, was just on Politics Live lauding the merits of Tortoise Media and the untapped demand for slow news. Despite all their millions raised, wall-to-wall coverage in the broadsheets and endless boosting from the BBC, “Centrist Dad Media” is not winning readers.

According to analytics data from SimilarWeb their visitor numbers are barely a few thousand a day. Guido regularly gets more traffic in one day than they do in months and our readers stay on our site for longer on average than Tortoise readers.

They will no doubt point out quite fairly that Guido has been around for fifteen years whereas they have been around just a year. Or they will claim that most of their traffic is via their app – which has been downloaded a few thousand times. Or that is building a “membership model”. Whatever.

Let’s gloss over that Cadwalladrish article that intimated that Steve Bannon was guiding Boris Johnson’s campaign for the Tory leadership. Guido thought Tortoise were supposed to be countering “fake-news”…  

It is a surprisingly resilient myth that there is an untapped audience crying out for boring, long-winded centrist content. Readers wanting longer articles already have Prospect Magazine for that or on the right StandPoint Magazine. Both publications lose more money than they have readers.

Guido’s iron rule of online media is that in the main those that have financial backing from patrons or venture capitalists lose money – because they can. Publications that survive only on the revenue they generate are successful and better reads – because they have to be. Britain has a number of digital publishing successes; Lad Bible, PinkNews and Mumsnet spring to mind. Profit is the only guarantee of sustainability and independence…

Sunday Newspaper Erases Women

Yesterday, one Sunday paper noticeably chose not to feature a single woman’s by-line until page 15… The Observer. The wokest Sunday paper of them all…

By comparison, The Telegraph had a female by-line on page 1; The Times on page 2; the Mail on Sunday on page 5 and the Express on page 6. Guido doesn’t fail to Observe the irony…

Marr Falsely Attacks Patel for Laughing at Industry Warning

Interviewing Priti Patel this morning, Andrew Marr began reading out a letter sent from major industry players to the Government on a potential no-deal Brexit. Whilst reading the letter out, Marr looked up and accused Patel of ‘laughing’ – even though she clearly was not. 

Immediately Twitter jumped on the clip, attacking the Home Secretary for something she didn’t do. Bad form from Marr…

Pundits Were Certain Boris Wouldn’t Get a Renegotiation

The state of Brexit negotiations still remains unclear, with only slivers of information leaking to the press, however what does now look certain is Boris has forced the EU to prise open the Withdrawal Agreement and renegotiate – the precise thing we were told by anti-Brexit pundits and MPs was under no circumstances going to happen. That was just a Boris fantasy. Guido thought it appropriate to revisit some of these cracking and emphatic predictions from the country’s top Europe pundits:

Peter Foster: the Daily Telegraph’s Europe Editor. The EU’s man at the Telegraph is having a ‘mare

Katya Adler: BBC’s Europe Editor – it was true and pants were dropped:

Krishnan Guru-Murthy – not the all-seeing guru he thought he was…

Alberto Nardelli : Buzzfeed’s Europe Correspondent. Closed not on your N(ard)elli…

Robert Peston: ITV’s Political Editor. Crystal clear there will be no… oops…

Beth Rigby: Sky News’s Political Editor and their Brussels correspondent were emphatic. No chance of re-opening the Withdrawal Agreement…

Lewis Goodall: Sky News Political Correspondent – one of many such from Lewis…

Jon Stone: the Independent’s Europe Correspondent. No need for his daily reminder any more…

James Chapman: Turns out the game was on…


The punditocracy so often take EU lines without question, suspending their professional journalistic scepticism because they are anti-Brexit…

Adam Claims Sky Views Not An Opinion Piece

Adam Boulton is loyally defending a colleague. The difficulty with his argument is that the piece is from “Sky Views”, which is not just the widely used pejorative nickname for the channel from critics, as the website explains “Sky Views is a series of comment pieces by Sky News editors and correspondents”. It is billed as an opinion piece and as such is permitted under Ofcom’s Broadcasting code as exempt from the requirement for impartiality. These are the words Beth wrote, she is not quoting anybody or attributing them to anybody, this is given as her own stated opinion. We have not misrepresented her words in any way. 

On the night of the referendum Beth was distraught with the result, she doesn’t like the idea of No Deal and is not a fan of Boris. She is entitled to her views, we don’t have a problem with Sky News being remainstream media, we are not forced to watch it or pay for it. Equally, we’re entitled to draw our readers attention to the slant of their coverage.

Will Woke Pundits Get ‘Joke’?

Amazing isn’t it, that pictures that have been lying around on newspaper picture desks for a week are suddenly on the front pages today. Most of the coverage is under newsdesk bylines rather than sports writers. The English Cricket Board chief executive Tom Harrison said last night: ‘We have spoken with both Clare and Ben – as well as others in attendance – who have all clarified the innocent context behind the still photographs taken at last week’s PCA Awards. Whilst it is not the case here, we recognise that for the millions who are impacted by domestic violence, this is a very real and serious issue.’ So the collective line from the sports world is “it was a joke” and that is where sports hacks are going to leave it. Let’s see what the likes of Marina Hyde, Camilla Long, Sarah Vine, Gaby Hinsliff, Camilla Cavendish, Caitlin Moran, Jane Moore and, err Charlotte Edwardes have to say about the pictures in their newspaper columns…

Ben Stokes Choked His Wife

Ben Stokes Choke Holds Wife ClareGuido has long argued that the Lobby are self-serving and protect their sources from negative stories getting out, a point Guido demonstrated a decade ago with the exposure of Damian McBride. The Lobby it has to be said have nothing on Sports hacks, who are all about access, promoting their personal ‘brand’, some of them with popular Twitter followings miles beyond their own title’s circulation. They cover for the subjects they write about, hoping to ghostwrite biographies of the sportsman they cover. Their ‘client journalism’ is as unhealthy and bordering on corrupt as the Lobby was decades ago…

The Professional Cricketers’ Association Awards Fiftieth Anniversary party was held last Wednesday at the Roundhouse in Camden. Cricketers and the sports journalists that cover them were in attendance. Ben Stokes was there with his wife, Clare Ratcliffe.

The evening began happily enough for the couple, enjoying a drink at the bar, chatting with a mate, everything was fine. Then something happens and Clare tells Ben she doesn’t want to hear it, speak to the hand. They go off to a side room and a row starts, anyone at the event couldn’t be unaware of something going on. All of sudden Stokes grabs his wife Clare in a chokehold and then she either falls back, pulls away or is pushed back by him. The couple left the event minutes later…

The cowardice of sports hacks is one of the great unspoken press scandals. They are terrified of upsetting their clients, so sex scandals and drunken misbehaviour go unreported. When news reporters poke their noses in, they despair at what it means for them. Ghosted columns, lucrative ‘auto’ biographies that are no such thing, all are jeopardised by such revelations. The events of Wednesday night were witnessed by many at the Roundhouse. The existence of these photos is widely known by sports journalists. Fleet Street is too scared to publish them for fear of undermining the carefully constructed image of England’s cricketing sporting hero…

Ben Stokes is currently the bookies favourite to be BBC Sports Personality of the Year, and there were calls for him to be knighted after the Ashes. Sports journalists are protecting their client… Charles Saatchi accepted a police caution for throat grabbing Nigella…

Tom in Twitter Jail

Appearing on Sky News, Guido’s Tom-off-the-Telly left the studio with a spring in his step after another successful TV appearance. However the smile soon slipped from his face after discovering Twitter has suspended him for 12 hours. The crime? Calling on the police to tackle Extinction Rebellion protestors…

Tom got suspended for calling on the police to be authorised to taser the Lambeth Bridge blocking rebels, just days after Priti Patel pledged £10 million to equip 60% of the boys in blue with tasers. Guido expects Twitter to be going after Priti’s account imminently… Unfortunately, Tom Couldn’t be DM’d for comment…

Ben Bradshaw’s Shameless Gove Fake News

Ben Bradshaw successfully caused a storm in a teacup last night over a mild-mannered speech by Michael Gove at the German Embassy. Bradshaw himself heckled Gove with the word “nonsense” and then proceeded to tell the world how awfully the speech, which received sustained applause, went down.  Listen to the exchange above…

Gove: “Britain and Germany have so much in common, not just…”

Bradshaw: “Nonsense”

Gove: “I think Britain and Germany do have much in common”

What happened next was a textbook case of fake news spreading because a class of media Remainers were uncritically seeing what they wanted to see. After the event, Bradshaw tweeted an account of the speech that bears no reality to what actually happened.

Off the back of Ben Bradshaw’s tweet, a host of journalists piled in

In a textbook case of Brexit Derangement Syndrome, nutty academic Peter Neumann tried to claim that Gove compared Brexit to the “fall of the Berlin wall and East German’s quest for freedom” which he simply didn’t at all. Guido would have preferred it if he actually had…

In reality, Gove mentioned German Unification because the event he was speaking at was about the anniversary of German Unification. He didn’t talk about it in the context of Brexit at all. Ironically, clearly BDS-radicalised Peter Neumann is Chair or the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation…

Simon Schama, who wasn’t there, then tried to claim that Gove compared the EU to the USSR, asking “How can he sleep?”. Sadly for Guido, Gove simply didn’t.

Buzzfeed journalist Alberto Nardelli, who was actually there, tried to clear things up. “He wasn’t widely heckled. Heard one person say “nonsense””. His tweet received 46 likes, Bradshaw’s got over 6,000…

Listen to the speech and its reaction in full here

No Coffee For You, Prime Minister

After a slue of late night receptions with Tory members, Boris was denied his much needed caffeine hit this morning by his press team – all because it came in the wrong cup. When Number 10 Press Secretary Rob Oxley handed the Prime Minister a cup of coffee, it was swiftly snatched away by events aide Shelley Williams-Walker who scolded him saying “No disposable cups.” Oxley was later spotted buying a KeepCup and a mug at the Tory Party conference shop…

UPDATE: Several hours later…

Beth Rigby’s Report of PM Having “Angry Meltdown” is Fake News

Beth Rigby reported the PM having a public meltdown in the voting lobby, quite the scoop:

Brexiteer MP Marcus Fysh say it is untrue

Nadine Dorries, a Boris loyalist, says she was there, “The only finger jabbing and raised voice came from Jess as her friends photographed and filmed it. The PM could barely get a word in and was embarrassed and bemused as Jess shouted.”

These are all of course Boris loyalists, so they might be discounted, except Jess Phillips herself also denies it is true

Yet Beth has left her tweet up for her 141,000 followers to see with thousand of retweets garnered. Completely rejected as fake news by named witnesses and those involved.

BBC Upholds Maitlis ‘Sneering’ Complaint

The BBC’s Complaints Unit has upheld a public complaint against Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis, who was accused of “sneering and bullying” towards Rod Liddle. This could begin a very long slippery slope of complaints about Maitlis’s similarly high and mighty BBC colleagues…

The BBC found that Maitlis’s comments – which led to Liddle frustratingly yelling “get a grip, Emily!” during the broadcast – were too “persistent and personal” in her attacks on Liddle, and thereby “failed to be even-handed”. Is this a new dawn for the BBC enforcing neutrality? Guido doubts it…

Sky News Deals with Massive Leak

Westminster was dealing with a massive leak this afternoon. Not that of Geoffrey Cox’s legal advice to the PM, but the weather hammered down harder than a supreme court judge’s gavel (yes Guido knows UK judges don’t use gavels but the metaphor worked well). 

Watch above as Kay Burley deals with a massive drip, and Guido’s not talking about Lewis Goodall…

The Lobby on Tour

Whilst Boris may be stressed in New York, the Lobby have found time to go out and enjoy themselves; with footage emerging of George Parker – the FT’s political editor – riding an electric bull in a New York bar.  Guido would think the Lobby would be well-practised at handling bull…[…] Read the rest

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