Who Is On Question Time Tonight?

Remainers Launch Tasteless ‘Deatherendum’ Site

Fanatical Remainers have launched a tasteless website predicting the result of a referendum vote today based on deaths of Leave voting older people. The counter predicts that over a million young people who have turned 18 since 2016 would vote remain, and says 800,000 leave voting older people have died. Their site assumes not one remain person has changed their mind…

This isn’t just a feature of the fringes of the FBPE movement. This is one of their mainstream arguments. Even today Polly Toynbee has been thoroughly ratio’d on Twitter for her crass suggestion that “the will of dead [is] ruling over the will of the young.”

Also this week, has-been singer and People’s Vote campaigner ‘Jamelia’ took to the airwaves to argue that there should be a maximum voting age, preventing older people for voting, because “I don’t think it’s fair that you have a vote when you’re not going to experience the consequences of that vote.” Presumably she thinks the same of the disabled and terminally ill..?

Merkel: Still Time For More Negotiations

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said there is still time for more Brexit negotiations to take place before the UK leaves the organisation. Contrary to what some proponents of May’s original deal have been trying to tell us…

Owen Jones Buys £500 Indulgence for Sin of Writing for The Sun

T’was the yeare of 2019 and ranteth greatly didde the blessed Owene Jones at The Sunne, for as Owene spake its authores didde “whippe up bigotrie and hatred” moste foule. But becameth it then well-knowne that in the yeare of 2011 the blessed Jones didde himself authore writings for The Sunne, for so to floggeth the sales of his owne veritable tome that be knownest as “Chavs”. A hypocrisie moste horrible…

The blessed Owene didde thus resolve to maeke amends for his moste sinneful deed by proferring the princely summe of five hunderedde pounds to buye indulgence for his sinnes, and saw that alle the goode folkes of Momentumme shoulde know that puritie was restored forthwithe upon his moste blessed soule. Per Corbynum dominum nostrum, amen.

Where the Papers Stand on Tonight’s Vote

It’s crunch time for Theresa May and the papers have been setting out their stalls ahead of the big vote this evening. Unsurprisingly, it’s the new Mail which comes out most strongly in favour of May’s deal, with a full front-page editorial imploring MPs to “put your country first” by holding their noses and voting for the deal. The days of “Enemies of the People” and “Crush the Saboteurs” seem like distant memories…

In another sign just how much the media landscape has changed, the Express are also plumping for May’s deal, albeit not quite so overtly. The front pages declares “Don’t Lose Our Trust Forever” while the editorial is hoping for “hard-nosed pragmatism” to win the day, even as they “urge the EU to come forward even at this late hour with the sort of reassurances about the Irish backstop that could swing the vote in May’s favour.” There is increasing speculation elsewhere that the EU is prepared to do this, but not until after this first defeat tonight…

The Sun sits almost exactly on the other side of that divide, urging MPs to reject the deal for the moment and hold out for legally binding changes to the deal, concluding that “Mrs May needs more than a promise. Maybe it will come after her defeat.”  Although it wasn’t deemed quite important enough to push Prince Harry’s meditation habits off the front page…

Meanwhile it’s the resurgent Telegraph that comes out most strongly against the deal, with a robust editorial declaring “MPs must reject this dreadful deal” and an ominous front page splash reporting that Cabinet Ministers have told May she has to quit if she suffers a crippling defeat underneath the headline “Out of allies, out of time”. Ouch…

The Mirror comes out with a rogue choice and backs the Norway model instead, although its readers may not be entirely convinced by its attempts to gloss over the free movement issue. The rest of the papers don’t nail their colours to the mast, instead making vague predictions about the various forms of chaos which will follow the vote. Nothing we didn’t know already…

Peston Tweet Taken at Face Value Costs Currency Traders

Peston earlier tweeted that the ERG were falling in behind May’s deal. Just a warning to Guido’s friends in the foreign exchange game. Please take Peston’s insights into the Conservative Party with a bag of salt…

Bloomberg, who should know better, reported Peston’s tweet as if it was a verified ITV News story. The newswire flashed it out across their terminals. Millions changed hands, boom and bust within minutes resulted…

BBC’s Universal Credit Interviewee is Actually Labour Party Activist

The BBC extensively quote Universal Credit claimant Rebecca Smidmore as a case study in a widely shared article on the beleaguered benefit reform. What the article doesn’t inform its readers is that Smidmore is a Labour Party member. This is especially curious as the BBC knows this pretty key fact and briefly included it in last night’s News at 10 report. Why did they leave it out of the article?

Owen Jones Scraps With Andrew Neil

Things got personal last night on the This Week sofa when Owen Jones, who was appearing on the show to talk about the threat poised by the British far right, went for Andrew Neil over his role as Chairman of the Spectator. The whole kerfuffle meant that there was no time for Owen to actually answer the question on the distinction between far right ‘thuggery’ and far left ‘activism’. It gets heated…

Who Is On Question Time Tonight?

BBC’s flagship political programme Question Time is back on our screens tonight with new presenter Fiona Bruce. Despite the fresh face, there is still a three to two lefty remainy panel. Some things never change…

The Million Pound Question

Tonight is the debut of the new Fiona Bruce hosted Question Time. BBC sources say that the original fee she was offered was less than Dimbleby got and the BBC argued that it was a legacy from less transparent days. Unlike Dimbleby, who was paid via a private company which did not have to reveal his fee, she will be paid direct by the BBC.

Bruce’s agent cannily played the ‘pay gap’ card to argue that she should receive the same money for doing the same job. Dimbleby was said to be on £15,000 an episode. At the same rate this will push Fiona’s total earnings from the BBC up to the £1 million threshold…

BBC Asian Network Asks If Teen Should Be Killed For Apostasy

The BBC Asian Network has been asking its listeners this morning whether they support Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun leaving her family, or presumably whether they think she should be killed. Seriously.

This question will not have come as a shock to regular listeners to the BBC Asian Network, who will be aware that it has a history of being tone deaf to contemporary moral norms. If a Tory MP had posed any of these questions, the ‘liberal’ left would have ended their careers…

The BBC Asian Network has the second highest budget per listener of any BBC Radio station, and the lowest audience figures for any BBC station…

UPDATE: BBC Asian Network has now deleted their original tweet, but Guido has preserved it for readers in horrifying technicolour: 

Juncker’s “Monster” Spreads Shameless Fake News in Spat With Greg Hands

Greg Hands’ much-shared ConHome article yesterday on the malicious motives of top EU officials towards Brexit appears to have seriously ruffled some Eurocrat feathers. European Commission boss Martin Selmayr, lovingly referred to by colleagues as “Juncker’s Monster” and “Darth Vader”, tweeted angrily this morning:

Hands had committed the heresy of, er, quoting on-the-record statements from Selmayr and Barnier’s deputy Sabine Weyand in prominent British and German media outlets. As fluent German-speaker Hands himself pointed out in response:

“There are 17 separate sources to my article, all German & UK media, all mainstream publications (Times, Welt, BBC etc), all individually linked to. So what is “false” about it? Most prominently, the interview you yourself gave to the Passauer Neue Presse.”

EU hostility to any serious level of press scrutiny is no surprise. Claiming outright “we have never said this” is straight-up fake news from the EU’s top official…

Broadcasters Abandon College Green

Following what was described to Guido as a ‘strategic risk assessment’, broadcasters have opted not to broadcast from College Green today in light of increased harassment of presenters and guests. There is also a noticeably heightened police presence in the area…

Apparently a monitoring van has joined regular police vans around the corner from the broadcasting tents. A regular presenter from College Green has told Guido that this is a decision taken by their superiors, they expect to be back tomorrow.

Funny how after weeks of idiots shouting at ‘Leavers’, action is only taken when Remainers are shouted at…

Channel 4 Unveils Brexit Battle Bus

Clever rebrand of the famous Vote Leave battle bus by Channel 4 to promote their new Brexit drama with Benedict Cumberbatch which is airing tonight. Triggering Remoaners before they even tune in…

Guido saw an advance screening of Brexit: The Uncivil War last week and it is well worth a watch, so far it is annoying all the right people. Channel 4, 9pm…

Newsnight Appoint Lefty Remainer as Economics Editor

Newsnight have appointed Ben Chu as their economics editor while Helen Thomas is on maternity leave. Chu is a lefty Remainer who has churned out a regular diet of sour-faced news stories attacking the Tories and generally revelling in bad economic news as the Independent’s smug economics editor, attacking Brexiteers as “xenophobes” and calling politicians like Michael Gove and Jacob Rees-Mogg “intellectual and moral pygmies”. He’ll fit right in at the BBC…

Sunday Mirror Calls for NHS to be Marketised

The Sunday Mirror’s leader column this week took aim at Theresa May’s 10-year NHS plan, however their prescription is probably not what you’d expect from the Labour Party’s required reading: marketisation of the NHS. The paper calls for an end to the NHS being free at the point of use with wealthier patients now being forced to pay for their healthcare. Despite the fact they’ve already paid higher income tax and national insurance towards it…

“Mrs May’s 10-year plan for the health service is another opportunity for fundamental reform. The NHS has only been truly free at the point of use for three of its 70 years. Consideration must be given to the well-off contributing.”

Despite Labour’s perennial claims that the Tories are plotting to privatise the NHS, it’s the leftie Mirror that’s calling for marketisation of the health service first. Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth even had an op-ed of his own in the paper. Surely Labour can’t be plotting to privatise the NHS too…

That’s not to say that it would necessarily end up being a bad thing for the NHS. Charging rich patients to pay for non-vital procedures on the NHS could trigger an explosion of market mechanisms in UK healthcare, forcing the NHS to undergo marked-based reforms to keep up, or even catalysing a wholesale shift towards a more efficient European style social insurance-based system with improved patient outcomes overall. However, this would require broader liberalisation of the healthcare market to ensure genuine competition instead of a rigged and overly-expensive market. Not a caveat likely to make its way into the Mirror any time soon…

Facebook Algo Change Hits Online Political Traffic

Guido predicted at the beginning of last year that the change to Facebook’s algorithms would impact online traffic dramtically for those websites that specialised in making content go viral to drive traffic. Taking a look at some of our rivals; one site that bucked the trend was ConservativeHome, the turmoil in the party has been good for their trade, with pageviews up by 13% on the year, although the number of unique users has fallen slightly, likely as a result of there being no general election in 2018. Guido is relieved to only be down 1.89% year-on-year, not so bad in an off election year. On the left it would seem that The Canary, which used to be neck and neck in traffic terms with Guido, finished the year much weaker. Is that because of Facebook or outrage fatigue?

The other sites impacted badly by the Facebook algo change were the newspapers’ websites. According to ABC figures Mail Online was down 16% year-on-year and Sun Online was down 12%. Guido understands that because of the New Statesman’s new semi-permeable paywall it too has seen an even more dramatic collapse in online traffic… 

David Davis Hasn’t Urged May to Delay Meaningful Vote

A number of media outlets are reporting today that David Davis has urged Theresa May to delay the meaningful vote again in an op-ed in the Telegraph. He hasn’t.

As his op-ed actually reads:

“And let’s be clear: the Withdrawal Agreement does not respect the referendum result. That is why the meaningful vote had to be delayed and one wonders if even the January vote will go ahead.

“Attempts to frighten MPs into supporting it are unlikely to work, because voting down this substandard deal will not result in no Brexit. How could it? There is no mechanism for that to happen. The UK will leave the EU on 29 March. That is nailed down in primary legislation and international treaty commitments. There is no wriggle room.”

At no point does he urge May to delay the vote. His main points are the importance of no deal preparations and that MPs should ignore “briefings that Continuity Remain elements will seek to extended Article 50 or force a second referendum”. Guido understands that DD is in fact a bit miffed that this misinterpretation of his remarks has taken hold. Not helped by the Telegraph’s own front page

Delaying the vote again will not change the fundamental lack of support for May’s deal in the Commons, nor the fact that the EU currently sees no need to move on its position. May actually losing the vote will force the EU to make a choice – does it throw away the possibility of any deal or come back to the table? It will be the latter…

MPs Will Debate TV Debates

Sky News’ dogged campaign to #MakeDebatesHappen may be about to finally start yielding results with MPs set to debate the issue on Monday. After several months, Sky’s petition to establish an Independent Debates Commission has now hit the 133,000 mark after a relentless campaign to promote it that even included Kay Burley asking Jon Bon Jovi whether he supported the idea. We’re half way there…

TV debates haven’t really caught on in the UK after Nick Clegg’s surge in 2010 put the two main parties off. Small parties naturally all want to get a look in but the anarchic seven-way debate last year generated much heat and very little light. On balance Guido reckons it’s a good idea as long as the commission is politically independent and not funded by the taxpayer. Since it’s the broadcasters that stand to benefit, surely they can stump up the cash for it…

Buzzfeed Loses £1.9 Million, Founder Mulls Merger With Vice

Buzzfeed UK filed their accounts for 2017 on Christmas Eve. They show that revenue rose an impressive 62% to £33,363,304, unfortunately expenses also rose 48% to £35,288,846 resulting in an operating loss of £1,900,229. Which is an improvement on the previous year’s £3,543,554 loss.[…] Read the rest

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