Shadow Cabinet Minister’s Twitter Blocking Spree

Labour’s Shadow Secretary for International Development Kate Osamor has been busy blocking political journalists left right and centre on Twitter. The Guardian’s Pippa Crerar has found herself blocked despite never having interacted with Osamor online. Other victims include The Sun‘s Hugo Gye, PoliticsHome’s Kevin Schofield, the i’s Benjamin Butterworth, and Daily Mail journalists John Stevens and Tom Payne who broke the story about her son’s massive drug bust. Guido really can’t understand in what world Osamor considers this to be a smart or reputable political tactic…

Police Rubbish Remoaner Conspiracy

Remoaners have been working themselves up into a tizzy over the last few weeks over an Open Democracy report which claimed that the police weren’t investigating the Leave campaigns due to “political sensitivities”. Carole was all over it, David Lammy had a Twitter tantrum while 74 MPs, Peers and MEPs including Vince Cable, Chuka Umunna and Lammy signed Ben Bradshaw and Molly Scott Cato’s cranky letter to the Police. Damian Collins even had a stern-looking Observer photoshoot

The Met Police’s response has left the conspiracy brigade looking incredibly silly. Far from “stalling” the investigation, the police revealed that they had only received over 2,000 documents relating to the case from the Electoral Commission last month and were therefore still assessing the documents. No conspiracy, just another Electoral Commission cock-up…

They also issued a stern rebuke to Bradshaw and Scott Cato’s suggestion that they had “been approached by government representatives to suggest that you soft-pedal this investigation due to political sensitivities”, revealing that the only people who had been putting them under political pressure were them and their fellow Remoaners:

“The operational independence of the police is central to our policing system. There has been no contact from any government representative making enquiries into the status of the MPS enquiries. The only approach from any elected politician, political party, official or representative has been your correspondence, or similar correspondence from other seeking the MPS undertakes a wide ranging investigation into the EU referendum.”

The only ones trying to externally influence the police are the ones shouting loudest about “police independence”…

Small Victory for Guido’s Think Tank Transparency Campaign

Followers of Guido on Twitter will be aware of his long-running campaign against the BBC prefixing introductions that frame the think tank guest for the listener or viewer. It always seems to Guido that centrist think tanks are described as “respected” as in “the respected IFS”, right-of-centre think tanks are described as “right-wing” [boo, hiss], left-wing think tanks tend to get no framing.

So it was this morning as the news presenter on Radio 4 reported on a press release from the think tank run by Ed Miliband’s former policy adviser:

Then as if by magic in the next news bulletin;

 

Victory! They suffixed the Resolution Foundation as “left-leaning”.

The serious point is that this framing by the BBC is uneven. The BBC clearly thinks that viewers and listeners are too stupid to know where guests are coming from politically. Guido thinks they should let the audience judge for themselves and so long as there are guests from across the spectrum, balance will be maintained. If they won’t do that perhaps they should let guests self-identify…

Who Was the “Intimately Involved in the Case” Hain Leaker?

Following Friday’s revelations, Lord Hain claims that his breaching of the injunction was “in my personal capacity as an independent member of the House of Lords. I categorically state that I was completely unaware Gordon Dadds were advising the Telegraph regarding this case… Gordon Dadds, a highly respected and reputable international law firm, played absolutely no part whatsoever in either the sourcing of my information or my independent decision to name Sir Philip. They were completely unaware of my intentions until after I spoke in the House of Lords.” Guido understands Gordon Dadds were indeed furious with Hain…

What isn’t explained is how Hain could not know that the firm he advises was involved, given their name is on the front page of the widely circulated injunction to which he was referring. Is he going to claim to be incompetent again – as he did when he was forced to resign from the Cabinet?

The Telegraph’s Editor Emeritus Ian MacGregor tells Guido that, contrary to the rumour reported here on Saturday, “I did not discuss the Green case with Lord Hain. I have not spoken to him for around 5 years to the best of my recollection. I was on holiday last week and was unaware of the identity of the Claimants until revealed by Lord Hain in the House of Lords.” Guido is happy to accept his assurance.

So who did tell Hain? How independent was Hain’s “independent decision” exactly?  He said it was someone “intimately involved” in the case – it is unlikely to be a lawyer. Philip Green is livid of course, “As many people have said, Lord Hain’s blatant disregard of a judgement made by three senior judges is outrageous.” Green takes a very dim view of Hain’s financial relationship with his enemy’s law firm.

A clue to the source is perhaps that when Hain named Philip Green in the House of Lords on Thursday at 14:43, The Telegraph were the first to report the naming an impressively few minutes later. Nobody else noticed…

Hammond on No Deal Impact

“If we leave with no deal we will be in a different set of circumstances and it would require a different approach.”

Hammond: I Believe in Universal Credit

Saturday 7-Up

This week 195,784 visitors visited 594,391 times viewing 904,767 pages. The top stories in order of popularity were:

You’re either in front of Guido, or behind…

Hain is Paid Adviser to Telegraph’s Lawyers

Great scoop from our friends at Legal Cheek, spotting that Peter Hain is a paid adviser to Gordon Dadds, the law firm who are representing The Telegraph in their fight to overturn Philip Green’s injunctions. Now whatever your view of super-injunctions – Guido is against them – it is not a good idea for lawyers or those working for lawyers to break them. It is also a bad idea for parliamentarians to act in the clear interests of people who pay them within parliament. In fact it is against the rules. Arguably Hain has helped the firm he advises circumvent the injunction and fatally undermined its efficacy.

Hain did say when he used privilege that he had been “in contact with someone intimately involved in the case”:

Sounds like that could be a lawyer working on the case. Judges do not take kindly to this kind of shenanigans and there could be repurcussions for the Gordon Dadds firm if they are found to have conspired with Hain to breach the injunction…

UPDATE: Lord Hain has responded in a statement claiming he was “completely unaware” Gordon Dadds were advising the Telegraph:

“I took the decision to name Sir Philip Green in my personal capacity as an independent member of the House Of Lords. I categorically state that I was completely unaware Gordon Dadds were advising the Telegraph regarding this case. Gordon Dadds, a highly respected and reputable international law firm, played absolutely no part whatsoever in either the sourcing of my information or my independent decision to name Sir Philip. They were completely unaware of my intentions until after I spoke in the House of Lords”

Well, he would say that…

Henry VIII vs Theresa May

When asked who would he rather have negotiating a Brexit deal, David Starkey was cutting. “I think the answer is a bit obvious”…

Political Drilling MP-Style

Channel 4 took some of the more violent language used by MPs and demonstrated that it would not be out of place in a drill rap. For the record Guido doesn’t really think there’s a serious issue with MPs engaging in the creative use of metaphor…

Will Watson Shift from Media Critic to Media Star?

When Guido bumped into Tom Watson at the Labour Party Conference he offered some weight loss advice. Media professionals say TV adds 20 pounds (10 kilos) to you, and Tom has lost much, much more than that. This has led to a persistent rumour: given Tom can see the writing on the wall that without a doubt the Corbynistas will eventually oust him as deputy leader, he will seek a media career rather than struggling on as backbencher in a far-left permanent-opposition party. Similar to how Nigel Farage has done…

By coincidence he is standing in tonight for Nigel on LBC. Lets see how he does. Don’t be surprised if Tom gets a caller from Waterford on line 1…

Moment Hain Names Philip Green as #MeToo Super-Injunction Businessman

Peter Hain has used his parliamentary privilege to name Topshop boss Sir Philip Green in the House of Lords as the businessman with a super-injunction out against a new #MeToo scandal being reported. For those who didn’t get the “gags to riches” clue in The Sun’s headline this morning…

Who Is On Question Time This Week?

Only one Brexiteer on the panel in 61% Leave-voting Barrow-in-Furness…

Toynbee: No More Referendums… Except This One

The Guardian’s second referendum supporting Polly Toynbee got into a sticky situation on Politics Live when Andrew Neil revealed her own words from just last year “never try another referendum.”

Her response? “Well, except possibly this one.”

Inspired.

Boulton Turns Sky Blue

In off-air footage leaked to Buzzfeed, Sky’s Adam Boulton slipped into a few Anglo-Saxonisms, one directed at his co-worker Beth Rigby in Birmingham earlier this month for Conservative Party Conference.

“Just put the f***ing seat in”

“She’s got to come and f***ing sit here is she wants to be on telly”

“SIT DOWN THERE stop f***ing around”

Is this really a big deal? Is your workplace a church or nursery? The Guy Newsroom is more profane…

Times Prints Fake News

The Times has made a spectacular error in rewording a letter written by Veterans for Britain, signed by military luminaries such from Major-General Julian Thompson CB, to Rear-Admiral Roger Lane-Nott and Professor Gwythian Prins.

Veterans for Britain‘s original letter was clear that this is a group that supports the full implementation of the 2016 referendum, and a change in Prime Minister if that is what it takes to deliver it.

“…if [the PM] lacks the grip to deliver the will of the People’s Vote 2016, then surely now is the time to hand over..”

However The Times, which used to aspire to be the journal of record, reinterpreted the words which became…

“…if [the PM] lacks the grip to deliver a People’s Vote, then surely now is the time to hand over..”

Cock up or conspiracy?

Guardian Out By 5,100%

The Guardian quietly issued a sheepish correction last week, admitting they got their benefit cap figures out by a mere 5,100%. The original article alleged that low income families would lose out by £210 every single week from the government’s freezing of working-age benefits in cash terms until 2020. In reality the number is £210-a-year, not the inflated £10,920-a-year that they initially calculated. Slow clap.

Fabbers’ Starkers Shock for Kay Burley

If Guido readers weren’t sure whether Michael Fabricant hadn’t already revealed too much with his video promoting his naked charity bike ride earlier, his afternoon appearance promoting it on Sky News might help them make up their minds. Fabbers opted for an unusual zoological metaphor to allude to some of the logistical challenges of filming on a cold day. Kay was speaking for all of us when she said “I think that’s more information than I’ll ever need in my whole life”…

Carry-On Carole’s Conspiracy Confusion

Carole Cadwalladr is not happy that the police inquiry into an alleged over-spend in the referendum campaign is not proceeding at the speed she would like. The Electoral Commission referred matters to the police in May and Carole wants results. She phrases it thus “What I want to know is: cock-up? Or conspiracy?” Here we go again…

Bear in mind that everybody accused by the Electoral Commission of wrongdoing is appealing everything. They all reckon they have a reasonable chance of success. Andy Wigmore claims that the Electoral Commission now realise they have cocked-up in Leave.EU’s case and are trying to wriggle out of the situation. Anyway Carole reckons it is all due to political interference. Harder to blame it all on the Russians this time…

The police might of course take the view that they will wait until the appeals have run their course before they proceed with an investigation. After all there are murders and stuff to investigate before they go on what might turn out to be a wild goose chase.

As you can see from her tweet, Carole thinks the police should not be subject to political interference, something with which all Guido’s co-conspirators can agree. So, as you can also see, Carole wants more politicians to interfere. You would have thought all the cuckoos would have gone south by now…

Axe the Reading Tax!

It’s Time to End Prejudice Against Digital Readers.

The UK Government has the opportunity to overturn an illogical and manifestly unfair tax system that discriminates against digital readers.

Historically EU legislation has prohibited zero-rating VAT on ebooks and epublications. So while the UK’s VAT regime has rightly exempted printed books, magazines and newspapers from VAT since the 1970s, a 20% tax on reading and on knowledge in the digital world has continued to be levied at Brussels’ behest.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Trevor Kavanagh’s analysis of the Brexit process…

“Thanks to Mrs May and her useless Chancellor Phil Hammond, this will not come without pain. But we escape with imagination and true British grit or we will be boiled alive.

It means on this centenary Remembrance of our struggle against tyranny, we risk ceding non-military victory in Europe to the undemocratic forces of an unaccountable totalitarian regime.”

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Will Watson Shift from Media Critic to Media Star? Will Watson Shift from Media Critic to Media Star?
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