Clause for Owen Jones Moment

Guardian journalists have today been emailed by the editor, Kath Viner, a detailed set of company “social media guidelines.” “This document explains how we expect Guardian News & Media (GNM) employees and contributors to behave on social media”. Guido – an occasional contributor to the Guardian – the word rate means it is not worth abiding by the rules at the cost of lost banter. Buried inside the document there is specific clause that was apparently included as a result of complaints about Guardian journalists baiting Owen Jones on Twitter in an uncomradely way.

The ‘Owen Jones Clause’ appears under the subheading of “Tone”.

“Do not use social media to air internal disputes with colleagues or contributors, or with the Guardian”

Traditionally a drunken punch up outside the Coach & Horses in Clerkenwell was the accepted way to resolve internal disputes between Guardian hacks. Bloody tweeting snowflakes…

Hat-tip Mark Di Stefano

Guido Poll: Readers Reject TV Debates Commission

Guido readers have not embraced the prospect of a new TV debate commission with quite the same enthusiasm as Sky News, despite Sky‘s wall-to-wall attempts to plug the idea. Over 2,500 readers answered Guido’s Twitter poll, with 74% coming out against the idea of a new quango to force party leaders to take part in televised debates in the run up to general elections. A surprisingly firm 3 to 1 ratio. Guido is not opposed to the idea – so long as a commission was funded by the television industry not taxpayer…

Evan Davis Quits Newsnight for PM

Evan Davis has announced that he is quitting his role as Newsnight presenter and returning to Radio 4 to present PM. Staff were informed in an internal email today:

Dear team,

Apologies to those who couldn’t make the earlier team meeting in which I announced that after 4 incredible years of presenting Newsnight, Evan is off to present PM on Radio 4.

As both economics editor and then presenter, Evan has made a huge impact on our output with his ability to unpick the most complex of stories with intellect, verve and vitality.

We are fortunate enough to have three outstanding presenters on the show. In the interim Emily and Kirsty will step into the space left by Evan while we decide on the next steps for the programme.

For the moment we wish Evan the very best of luck with his new endeavour and offer him huge gratitude for all he has done for Newsnight.

You’ll be pleased to hear he’ll be popping into the office later when we can take any questions over the customary ITUP cake and fizz.

Who will be stepping into his shoes at the helm of the BBC’s flagship politics programme?

Pestmoji on Wednesdays

Robert Peston’s fancy new Wednesday show will kick off next week, with Peston promising some “exciting new elements”. Today we found out that one of these is the creation of his very own emoji. After his Sunday morning flop he’ll need more than an emoji to win over viewers…

Sky’s Young “Council House Occupant” is Really Labour Activist

 

Sky News ran a segment on house building earlier featuring LGA chief Lord Porter and Rania Ramli, who was introduced as a “student who lives in a council house” and described as a “council house occupant”. What Sky News failed to mention is that Ramli is actually a prolific Labour activist, a national officer of Labour Students and a member of the LSE Labour Students committee.

Ramli spent the interview blaming “the Tory government’s” housing policies as well as claiming “housebuilding is down the biggest rate in 24 years”, which is simply not true. The trend in housing starts has been continuously upwards since 2010.

Guido would hope that Sky News did their research better than Ramli next time…

The Economist: Celebrates 175 Years – with Steve Bannon

The Economist is celebrating it’s 175th year of publication with a paen to liberalism in the form of an essay. It is a bit of navel gazing combined with dollops of self-justification. Editor Zanny Minton Beddoes admits in her essay that The Economist has become the in-house journal of the liberal elite, what Steve Bannon calls “the party of Davos”. No institution is immune to intellectual fashions, the newspaper has in Guido’s lifetime championed Keynesianism, then neo-liberalism, and now the ‘Washington Consensus’. It has of late become overly preoccupied with climate change and whatever else concerns the faddish Davos crowd. The irony of The Economist, which was founded in 1843 to champion free trade, free markets and limited government, being on the wrong side of the argument on Brexit, in thrall to the EU and the thousands of tariffs that protectionist bloc enforces, is striking. Never mind the ambitions of those in Brussels for a pan-European super-state rigidly regulated from the Black Sea to the Atlantic.

On immigration Zanny admits for liberals “it is not too wide of the mark to caricature their views on migration as more influenced by the ease of employing a cleaner than by a fear of losing out.” Not a single democracy has escaped pain from uncontrolled mass migration, no politician can ignore the votes of those who have to compete with newcomers, the so-called “deplorables” in America and working-class Brexit voters in Britain. Almost all Western democracies have tired of fast migration. On this Zanny recognises reluctantly that “in the short run, liberals risk undermining the cause of free movement if they push beyond the bounds of pragmatism.” She proposes reform of the rules for refugees, despite accepting that in reality most immigration is driven by economics.

How adrift the current editor of The Economist is from the founding principles can be seen with her support for Universal Basic Income – putting everyone on the dole, disincentivising work. She cites a modest proposal for America to introduce a “UBI of $10,000 a year” which she admits “would require a tax take of at least 33% of GDP”, to be paid for by more disincentivising wealth taxes. So much for limited government.

One could go on, Steve Bannon did at their recent shindig. Judge for yourself how Zanny fared:

Happy birthday to The Economist…

Poll: Do We Need a TV Debates Commission?

Adam Boulton’s proposal that an independent debate commission be set up to avoid the farce of past general elections whereby they either didn’t happen or the formats were stitched up between political parties and broadcasters, making for dire television is worth considering.

If there were to be a commission Guido would not want it to be either statutory or at taxpayers’ expense…

Remainstream Media Reverse Ferret Over Irish Tech Border

For months Brexiteers have been pilloried by Remainer pundits, politicians and broadcasters for suggesting that technological solutions could keep the Irish border open after Brexit. Today The Times has reverse-ferreted to report glowingly that technological solutions for the border are now being secretly considered… by the EU. Brexiteers have always argued that opposition to a tech border was political, not practical…

Remainers are now trying to move the goalposts and insist that they were still correct to mock technological solutions as unworkable fantasies because the EU is currently only looking at applying them across the Irish Sea, rather than on the land border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. This is desperate special pleading. If the EU accepts technology can work across the sea border, then technology can also be applied to the land border.

There is four times as much goods trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK than there is between NI and the Republic. The vast majority of trade across the land border is local trade between small businesses, most of which is agricultural produce or construction materials. An all-Ireland agricultural regime is a sensible compromise, as the ERG proposed last week with DUP supportA few bricks and bags of cement are not going to pose a grave threat to the “integrity of the single market”…

London Mayor Attacks London Evening Standard Editor

Sadiq Khan has been getting a little wound up since the Evening Standard started running the “Sadiq Khan Audit” last week, looking at how well he was actually delivering on his election promises. You know, that normal thing that journalists do…

The pressure seems to have got to Sadiq, as he channelled his inner Trump to unleash an angry outburst against Evening Standard editor George Osborne during Mayoral Question Time yesterday. Is it a good long-term strategy for the London Mayor to be launching personal attacks on the editor of one of London’s biggest papers?

Who Is On Question Time Tonight

Question Time is back with a bang this week broadcasting from Banbury. Faiza Shaheen is Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Chingford and Woodford. Why has Question Time put a Labour MP and a Labour candidate on the same panel?

Sky News Phone Scaremongering Gets Bad Reception

Less than a day after their Brexit scare story about pilot licences failed to take off, Sky News were at it again yesterday with another ‘scoop’ about how British holidaymakers would again have to pay mobile phone roaming charges in the EU if there was no Brexit deal.

Unfortunately for Sky, their story didn’t get quite the reception they were hoping for…

Three sent Sky a polite reminder that they had already offered customers free EU roaming before any EU regulations came in and will continue to do so after Brexit, deal or no deal:

Sky were in danger of losing signal altogether as The Sun ran a story overnight that the government had struck an agreement not to increase roaming charges even in the event of no deal with the top four phone giants, including Vodafone and EE who cover 85% of the market between them. Even if any smaller companies which tried to jack up prices, the exodus of customers to other networks would soon make them change their mind. Looks like Sky’s sources weren’t as dialled in as they thought…

EU Votes to Ban Memes

The EU Parliament voted by a margin of 2:1 today to adopt Article 13 of the EU Copyright Directive, a stringent copyright restriction that has the potential to ban memes. MEPs were made to vote again after having voted to reject it in July. Sound familiar?

Article 13 requires web companies to automatically filter out any copyrighted content, from songs to videos to even pictures. Say goodbye to your favourite gifs, movie stills, or other potentially copyrighted material on any social network. 

Article 11 of the directive also is also deeply troubling for web freedom, in requiring internet companies to pay news outlets for hosting their content, potentially even just previews of articles.

This is just the latest anti-tech anti-consumer attack from the EU after they ludicrously fined Google billions of Euro’s earlier this year, and the year before.

This vote is not the end of the process, however. Every amendment passed today will have to go through behind-closed-doors negotiations between EU bureaucrats and EU member states. We can expect another vote on this ludicrous legislation in January 2019. Brexit can’t come soon enough…

New Mail on Sunday Pol Ed

As Guido predicted, Glen Owen is the new Mail on Sunday political editor. Glen’s intensive prowling of the bars of Westminster for the last decade has finally paid off. Glen has noticeably smartened up his look of late as befits a would-be doyen of Her Majesty’s Sunday Lobby. This will trigger a small round of musical chairs in the Lobby…

CAA Shoots Down Faisal Over “Misleading” Sky News Scaremongering Over Pilot Licences

The Civil Aviation Authority has put out a searing statement in response to Sky News’ breathless report by Faisal Islam that British pilots would need to be reissued with their licences and would no longer have them recognised by European Aviation Safety Agency in the event of a no deal Brexit. Fasten your seatbelts…

The CAA blasted the Sky report as “misleading” and dismissed the idea that UK pilot licences would cease to be valid in the EU without a Brexit deal. Sky have got it plane wrong:

“Both commercial and private UK pilot licences would remain valid for use on UK-registered aircraft as the United Kingdom is a signatory to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Chicago Convention. Our licences are internationally recognised – including by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) – both now and after 29 March 2019.”

Sky’s claim that all licences would need to be reissued “which would cost millions” was also shot down, with the CAA pointing out that this was a “purely cosmetic change” which would simply be carried out as and when pilots needed licences to be reissued in the normal course of events. It is as daft as suggesting that the Home Office is going to reissue every single British passport the day after Brexit simply to erase the words “European Union” from the cover. Pretty terminal for the report…

The CAA also accused Sky News of further departures from reality with their claims that there would be turbulence in its ability to provide safety oversight to the aviation industry in the event of no deal, “strongly refuting” any suggestion they were concerned and dismissing Sky as “confused”It certainly wasn’t a First Class story…

The UK’s aviation regulator is confident of a smooth landing whatever the outcome of Brexit – it’s only Sky who are making for the emergency exits. Let’s hope Faisal’s next report is more grounded in reality…

McDonnell Heckled Live On Sky

John McDonell faced heckles from a frustrated passer by live on Sky News this morning when he argued that a general election was needed to break Brexit deadlock.

“No way! No way! We’re out. We’re getting out.”

This is turning out to be a bit of a ‘dies horribilis’ for McDonnell…

Owen Jones “Discredited From the Start”

Guardian columnist Owen Jones has been taking aim once again at the hard left’s public enemy no.1 – a certain T. Blair, natch – using his latest column to decree that “A new party would just be a Blairite tribute act, discredited from the start”. Nothing to do with the rampant entryism and anti-Semitism infesting the once-great Labour Party, of course…

As well as getting a bit too friendly some admittedly pretty unpleasant dictators, also on the charge sheet was today’s revelation that the Tony Blair Institute has been receiving funding from the Saudi Arabian regime. Blair was dismissed as “beholden to the wealthy and powerful, including the headchoppers of Riyadh”.

Let’s hope Owen wasn’t reading, er, the Guardian on March 7th this year, where there were no fewer than three giant adverts paid for by none other than… the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia:

If Blair’s Saudi funding renders his political efforts “discredited from the start”, will Owen start applying the same standards to his own Guardian columns? Of course, the current leader of the Labour Party would never dream of cosying up to murderous dictators or taking funds from repressive regimes either…

h/t @jamesprice_tpa

BBC Unplugs Cable

The Lib Dems weren’t too impressed today when the BBC‘s new Politics Live show unexpectedly cut away from PMQs just before Vince Cable took to his feet to ask a question about EU nationals. A Lib Dem spokesman labelled it “bad form from the Beeb” and added that they “never thought we’d lead the bring back Brillo campaign“.

Before Lord Adonis gets too excited about supposed BBC Brexit bias, Guido understands that the BBC is trialling a new policy of cutting off PMQs after 45 minutes to give more time for analysis back in the studio.

Andrew Neil will be back from the south of France later this month to do a few Thursday shows before returning to his usual Wednesday slot in October. Guido readers will be relieved to learn that they won’t have to rely on the Lib Dems’ campaigning skills to see Brillo back on air…

Corbyn Loses Temper With BBC Again

 

He’s looking very tired and irritable…

Krishnan v Robbie

Last week Robbie Gibb, the PM’s spin-doctor and former BBC politics supremo got into a spat with Krishnan Guru-Murthy:

Guido doesn’t think Krishnan’s interviewing style is anything like Jon F**k the Tories Snow, he suspects Robbie has however got an impression of Krishnan’s thinking from moments like this on Friday night:

 

Krishnan Guru-Murthy let slip his position when he was talking to Labour Party MP Louise Ellman and Labour Party campaigner Owen Jones:

“… isn’t it weird for a man [Frank Field] who was seen as so sort of anti our position on immigration to now claim that the Labour Party is seen as racist?”

Oops… is it any wonder Robbie doesn’t put government ministers and MPs on Channel 4 News?

UPDATE: Krishnan responds

I meant “our” as shorthand for very broadly government/opposition (who have both allowed large scale EU and Non-EU migration) but I agree I should have been more precise so was open to be understood the way you did (which is totally not what I meant).

Sky News: Labour Shit

Slip of the tongue on Sky News this morning as the phrase “Labour leadership” came out as “Labour shit”Freudian slip?[…] Read the rest

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