Mirror’s “Red” Rosa Joins the Daily Labourgraph

After the virtual collapse of the Telegraph’s political team, the new direction the Telegraph is taking will have traditional readers choking on their toast. The latest hire is Rosa Prince from the Mirror. She will, says the Telegraph, add a “new dimension” to their reporting.

You bet she will if previous form is anything to go by…

The Daily Labourgraph

The Telegraph is a shadow of what it used to be, it was the unofficial house journal of the Conservative Party. Of late it has changed complexion, it is seems no longer a critical friend but a hostile enemy of Dave’s party. ConservativeHome is now the unofficial house journal of the Conservative party. The Telegraph has no distinctive voice anymore, it seems (with some exceptions) instead to have a number of left-wingers who hate Cameron plus, for balance, some right-wingers who despise Cameron. Could it have something to do with this explanation by Stephen Glover?

A new understanding was broached. Mr Brown was keen to end the air of hostility. The Telegraph political side was full of Tories and the odd Blairite. Brownites were thin on the ground, if there were any at all. The Prime Minister proposed a fresh start that would lead to the paper being within a loop from which its unsympathetic attitude had previously excluded it. This means, we may assume, that it would be given stories.

We would be very rash to link this or any other exchanges with the subsequent appointment of Mr Porter, a political journalist on The Sun, as the Telegraph’s political editor in place of George Jones. It is very possible that Mr Porter had already been identified and hired. Mr Jones was certainly due to retire. We should note again, though, that Mr Porter is well known to Damian McBride, as he is to Ed Balls, Mr Brown’s right-hand man. And we cannot overlook the fact, as I mentioned last week, that the Telegraph’s political coverage has recently been friendlier to Mr Brown than it used to be, though it is by no means ecstatic.

Here is another extraordinary fact. The Daily Telegraph was organising a fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference, on whether there should be a referendum on the new European Treaty. The meeting had been publicised. Speakers, including the Labour MP Gisela Stuart, who is in favour of a referendum, had been lined up. Then, at the last moment, the event was cancelled by Mr Lewis.

Again, we would be unwise to jump to conclusions. It is nonetheless a plausible theory – I will put it no stronger – that Mr Lewis was persuaded by the Brown camp (the Prime Minister being adamantly opposed to a referendum) that any debate on the issue at a Labour Party conference would be unhelpful, and at odds with the understanding Mr Brown had arrived at with Mr Lewis. What other explanation could there be?

Well?

Circus Master Cracks His Whip

The Sun is running this morning, over seven pages, an all out campaign for a referendum on the EU constitutional treaty. Guido senses that Murdoch is reminding the performing political monkeys who the real circus master is, and that he can really crack the whip if need be.

Click to enlarge.

It is The Sun at its finest, politics with humour, accessible and witty. Kelvin Mackenzie would be proud…

Incidentally, Guido will be getting his chance to vote “No” – in Ireland.

When Commissioned Polls Go Wrong

Dods, the parliamentary publisher, has been around for 170 years and the 21st century seems a bit bewildering for them. Well aware that political blogs are eating them for breakfast, they commissioned an ICM/Dods poll to ascertain what is going on. They already knew that the leading political blogs have far more readers, so they decided to find out what the all-important MPs read online. The news was not what they wanted to hear, so Guido is happy to give it a bit of extra publicity..

MPs are :- % Aware of % Use
Conservative Home 49 27
Guido Fawkes 45 14
Iain Dale 43 13
The House Magazine 41 8
Recess Monkey 22 3

Their flagship publication is the venerable House Magazine, which they have up until now claimed is “Independently identified as the most read weekly publication within the Palace of Westminster.” According to their own research, whilst MPs are roughly equally aware of the leading blogs and that parliament’s trade magazine is online, they are three times as likely to read ConservativeHome and almost twice as likely to read Guido and Iain Dale. Looks like they will now have to change that old claim…

UPDATE : Somebody from Dods has been on to Guido whining that he hasn’t emphasised that it is the online offering being surveyed. Consider it now emphasised. In Guido’s experience most MPs throw the boring old magazine straight into the bin with the rest of the junk mail.

Splitter! Splits! Hooray!

Political correspondents can breathe a collective sigh of relief. As we exit the substance desert that was the silly season they can now start writing “party split” stories.

Keith Vaz, a former minister for Europe, is calling for a referendum on the European constitution that Jim Murphy, the current minister for Europe says isn’t a constitution, just a bit of administrative tidying up. The FCO traditionally lies for its country, Murphy is lying for a foreign superstate. Blunkett says a referendum was promised and Miliband says Labour is not split. Super…

Gummer is getting a kicking from John Redwood saying basically that the mad burger-eater will damage the economy with his Green taxes and plans for increasing airport congestion. Cameroonie sources are briefing that they won’t pay much attention to the loopier ideas from Zac and Gummer. Fantastic…

So we have splits, splitters and lots of easy copy ahead of the party conferences. Cynics among you might wonder if the splits haven’t just been teased out by the media to manufacture a storyline, the Sun (Vaz article) and GMTV (Redwood interview) can take the credit for getting it going. The show must go on…

Blog Today, Print Tomorrow (Again)

Iain Dale has alerted Guido to the fact that the blog post on Huhne was recycled in the newspaper diaries this morning. Guido doesn’t usually read ’em, but they clearly read him…Peter McKay’s Ephraim Hardcastle in the Mail even pinched the carbon based life forms crack. Is Guido bitter? He’d like a case of decent Margaux sent over from Associated Press this time. The Evening Standard’s diary has been stealing stories from Guido and Iain for years without ever paying a penny. Guido is still smarting from receiving a mysterious letter from the Evening Standard headed “Dear Londoner’s Diary Contributor”… is someone fiddling the expenses at Associated?

Undercover Journalist Uncovered by Google

Iain has a story about the Daily Mirror Caught Trying to Infiltrate Conservative HQ with a posh girl. She came unstuck after they Googled her name and came up with her Mirror byline, then they checked the source of her email back to the Mirror’s offices. Doh!

Iain mutters darkly about legal action – presumably lying on her CV and at the interview – which is a form of attempted fraud. Don’t hold your breath on that going anywhere. Who hasn’t?

Anyway isn’t this what investigative journalists are supposed to do?

Telegraph Political Team in Meltdown

As reported here three weeks ago, it seems that the Little and Large blog is dead, it is an ex-blog. Jonathan Isaby and Brendan Carlin seem to have abandoned the idea. Look around some of the other blogs and they are also pretty dead. Ben Brogan at the Daily Mail and Danny Finkelstein at The Times are really the only serious Dead-Tree-Press political bloggers going now.

Elsewhere at the Telegraph the experienced George Jones has apparently been given the push in such a cack-handed way that he’s suing and expected to get a six-figure pay-off. His job is being given to the silent-but-deadly Andrew Porter, of the Sun, formerly on the Sunday Times who is an old chum of Telegraph editor Will Lewis. Key qualities: won’t tell Lewis not to be such a silly boy; won’t be a member of Telegraph ancien regime.

Porter’s place on the Sun (keep up) is being taken by Graeme Wilson of the Telegraph. Wilson’s place on the Telegraph is being taken by James Kirkup from the Scotsman. Toby Helm is rumoured to have wanted to get out of the Lobby – if you’d been passed over for the top job you might conclude there was little point in hanging around to see if you got it next time. One of the things the imported Mailograph newsdesk didn’t realise about him – his sister is married to Jonathan Powell, although that is not such an asset nowadays. The new Mailograph is obsessed with getting scoops, a-la Andrew Pierce. But a lot of Pierce’s scoops stay exclusive, and with good reason.

Sir Michael White Loses It

My friend the Axegrinder notes a memo going around the press gallery yesterday sent by the doyen of the Lobby;

Good to see that the people’s ink spills from the pen of plutocrats.

(Yes, it is a slow news day).

Guardian Front page Cock-Up ‘Fess Up

Now this is what Guido calls a cavalier attitude to the facts:

Thursday July 26, 2007
Corrections and clarifications

A chart showing David Cameron’s personal rating in a Guardian/ICM poll (front page, yesterday) contained several mistakes. It did not include those voters who said they liked both David Cameron and the Conservative party, and muddled some other figures. The correct figures are: likes Cameron, but not the party, 18%; likes Cameron and the party, 25%; doesn’t like Cameron, but does like the party, 26%; don’t know, 26%. Five per cent refused to answer. Voters were not asked if they did not like both Cameron and the party. We did not make clear that the chart showed figures for all voters, not just Conservative voters.
Just to remind you, the front page graphic showed no-one liking Dave and the Tories. Wishful thinking…

Guardian/ICM Poll : Nobody Likes Dave and Tory Party?

Guido was sure his brain was too addled by alcohol when he saw the front page of the Guardian this morning. Rich Johnston emailed it in and the penny didn’t drop until he explained it slowly. According to the Guardian’s ICM poll sample of 1005 randomly telephoned adults, not one single person likes David Cameron and the Conservative Party. Some like the party, some like Dave, but none like both. Guido knew the polls were bad for Dave, but really, does no one like ’em both?

UPDATE : Turns out that it was a difficult to explain Grauniad cock-up, the actual figures from ICM were very different – 25% liked both Dave and the Tories. Pretty “cavalier with the facts” report, it should have been obvious that something was wrong, maybe over at the Guardian they can more easily believe that nobody likes Cameron. In the real world he is a bit more popular than on Farringdon road.

Wot, No Little & Large?

Since that little embarrassment over the reporting of postal votes in Ealing Southall, the Telegraph’s Little & Large blog has gone silent. The last posting was a week ago.

If Guido shut up shop every time a writ was threatened…

Informed Sources?

Everybody, everywhere, has been going through Campbell’s The Blair Years so Guido hasn’t bothered. But one little snippet has caught the eye and proves a point. Phil Webster, The Times’ political editor, gets a little testy whenever Guido or his own colleagues hint or suggest that he is a less than objective Brownite patsy.

So Guido wonders how he will feel about this comment about a time in October 1997 when New Labour faced a little PR difficulty; “The words went to Webster, the spin was applied, and away we went,” writes Alastair. Kind of gives the game away…

Sieghart Says Times Colleagues Craven to Brown

Startlingly candid admission in farewell column:

As this is to be my last regular column for The Times, I am in a different position today from other commentators. I don’t have to worry about whether the new regime at No 10 will return my calls, at least until the autumn. I don’t have to curry favour with anyone or worry about giving offence. Instead I can give you an unvarnished prediction of what the next few years of a Gordon Brown premiership will be like.

She has, it is rumoured, taken up the offer of a redundancy payout in the latest round of News International job cuts. Last time Guido indulged in a bit of Times-bashing they got very upset. Peter Riddell even called up an associate to tell him to stop associating with Guido, there was talk of them getting Guido back with an “exposé”. But here you have it from someone who knows; Peter Riddell, Phil Webster et al suck up to Brown and Balls out of fear. It must be true, it is printed in The Times…

Fancy a Bet George?

The Sun’s George Pascoe-Watson, author of this famous front page prediction, says we may have an election in October, but most likely next June. Guido is offering 2/1 against George, if you are interested.

Talking of betting with journalists, Mark Townsend, the Observer hack who wrote in the loss making Sunday paper that the CPS would wind up their inquiry into Loans for Lordships last October with nothing doing and wagered with Guido accordingly, still has not paid up.

Phone calls and emails go unanswered. Guido strongly recommends that he pays up this week.

Lobby Slower than Guido Again

Yesterday morning Guido reported that Blair would resign as an MP. Today the rest of the Dead-Tree-Press is catching up and reporting that he will do so this afternoon. Tory party Chairman Frankie Maude put CCHQ on by-election alert after reading the story here yesterday morning.

Guido even managed to beat blogging Benedict Brogan, which is becoming increasingly difficult to do nowadays. Do keep up the rest of you…

Glover : Editors Should Not Associate With Levy

Stephen Glover in the Indy this morning agrees with Guido, that it may prove to have been inadvisable for editors to attend Sleazy Levy’s leaving party.

Not long now…

Le Totty Watch : Socialist Affairs

The French press is even more craven in the reporting of political misdoings than our own tame/feral* Lobby. So it is no surprise that it was the French blogosphere, not the Paris press, that made it impossible to keep Socialist party leader François Hollande’s affair secret.

François had four children with Ségolène Royal (pictured left), the losing French Socialist Presidential candidate. He is having an affair with TV8’s political reporter, Valerie Trierweiler (pictured right). When announcing their split the elegant Ségolène said that now “he was free to enjoy his romantic life alone”.

France has strict privacy laws of the kind that some of our politicians would love to have over here. Blogs now make those laws almost impossible to enforce. Technological progress.

Hat-tip : EuroSoc

*You choose.

Informed Sources?

Guido reads in the Indy’s Pandora column that David Davis is horrible to his staff and that Hilary Armstrong “is rumoured” to not be staying in government come the Brown takeover. Startling revelations.

Hilary formally announced she was standing down two weeks ago.

Journalists Consorting with Known Police Suspects

Peter Wilby, the ex-editor of the New Statesman, writing in the Guardian on Monday, backed the Guido thesis, that the Westminster embedded Lobby is too cosy with its subjects. He wrote that “political correspondents tend to give politicians the benefit of the doubt… The lobby system makes the press a poor watchdog over government“.[…] Read the rest

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