Isabel Oakeshott Suing The Guardian For Defamation

Isabel Oakeshott is suing the The Guardian after it suggested that the way in which she got her agenda setting diplomatic cables scoop over the weekend was by sleeping with either Nigel Farage or Arron Banks. She has hired hardball lawyer Donal Blaney to secure the removal of the comments and an apology…

In the print version of an article by The Guardian’s John Crace, the paper published the line “Not least because the only way Isabel Oakeshott, the journalist who got the leaked emails, ever gets a scoop is if Nigel or Arron Banks slips it to her.” In the online version this read “Not least because the only way Isabel Oakeshott, the journalist who got the leaked emails, ever gets a scoop is if he or Arron Banks leave it conveniently tucked under her pillow.” Guido is sure he wasn’t talking about a tooth fairy situation…

It has now been changed a third time to “… the only way Isabel Oakeshott, the journalist who got the leaked emails, ever gets a scoop is if he or Arron Banks leave it conveniently to one side for her.” Not sure that is any better than slips it under the pillow. Now it sounds like a tip being left for a hooker.

Oakeshott is demanding the following;

  1. The Guardian must pay £3,000 towards Ms Oakeshott’s legal costs.
  2. The Article must be taken down, and no similar comments to those complained of in this letter must ever be published again by The Guardian and/or Mr Crace.
  3. An apology must be published, in terms to be agreed with Ms Oakeshott, through us, online, on social media and in the print edition of The Guardian in as prominent a place as the Article appeared.
  4. The Guardian must pay a sum to be agreed in damages to Ms Oakeshott to compensate her for the damage and distress that she has suffered as a result of the Article and the comments complained of.

They have until 4pm on Friday to comply, otherwise legal proceedings will be commenced…

‘Sky Sources’ Break Triesman Resignation… 20 Minutes After BBC

The evergreen “Sky Sources” have delivered another scoop right on time – this time they’ve managed to break the news of Lord Triesman’s resignation from Labour a mere 21 minutes after BBC Newsnight actually broke the story. With a copy of Triesman’s resignation letter in full…

Labour’s former general secretary resigned in protest at Labour’s “institutional anti-Semitism”, saying that Labour is “no longer a safe political environment for Jewish people or other opponents of anti-Semitism”. Former Labour Health Minister Lord Darzi has confirmed his resignation from the party to Newsnight too. It’s one thing for Sky to be behind the curve, citing “Sky Sources” when the story has been out in the public domain in full for over twenty minutes is just comical…

UPDATE: Former President of the Royal College of Physicians Lord Turnberg has also resigned from the Labour Party. Corbyn’s week going from dire to truly abject…

Scruton Blasts the Tories for Throwing Him Under the Bus

Sir Roger Scruton has now issued his own press statement after the New Statesman finally issued an apology to him yesterday over George Eaton’s hatchet job. However, while Scruton appears to have largely buried the hatchet with the New Statesman, he instead launches a searing broadside at the Conservative Party for the way they threw him under the bus. They didn’t even bother asking for his side of the story before hanging him out to dry…

Scruton say he was “astonished” by the comments issued by 10 Downing Street and “particularly distressed by the behaviour of the Minister who sacked me on the strength of the NS article, without asking me whether it accurately represented anything that I had said” – the minister being James Brokenshire. Scruton even says he is “grateful” to the New Statesman for awakening him to the “true moral crisis of the Party to which, despite everything, I still belong.” Ouch.

Read Scruton’s statement in full:

“I am pleased to have resolved my complaint against the New Statesman. They have apologised for how they misrepresented my interview on Twitter and accepted that their article in some fundamental ways did not accurately reflect what I had said. I am pleased that the words I actually spoke are now available. This experience was very unpleasant, not least on account of the rush to judgment by others in the media and in politics.

“I was particularly distressed by the behaviour of the Minister who sacked me on the strength of the NS article, without asking me whether it accurately represented anything that I had said. I was also astonished by the comments issued from Number Ten Downing Street, and by the fact that the Conservative Party made no collective effort to defend me. I am grateful to the New Statesman at least for this, that these distressing events have awoken me to the true moral crisis of the Party to which, despite everything, I still belong.”

New Statesman Apologise for Roger Scruton Hatchet Job

The New Statesman has finally issued an apology to Roger Scruton after George Eaton’s hatchet-job interview which got Scruton fired after wilfully taking a number of his quotes out of context. They admit that his comments about China and Hungary were taken out of context and “acknowledge that the views of Professor Scruton were not accurately represented” in the series of tweets that Eaton subsequently fired out. They say “we apologise for this, and regret any distress that this has caused Sir Roger.”

Of course the “distress” caused to Scruton was losing his job, meanwhile Eaton is back at work, albeit after a demotion to ‘Assistant Editor’. Probably won’t be getting any high profile interviews for some time…

Corbyn Sponsored EDM Backing Panorama’s Anti-Semitism Investigator

The latest Corbynista hate figure is BBC Panorama’s investigative journalist John Ware for daring to make a programme featuring former Labour staffers blowing the whistle on anti-Semitism. The programme hasn’t even been broadcast yet and Corbyn’s unofficial mouthpieces have already been aggressively going after him for days…

Funny how the hard left didn’t always have such a problem with Ware, here’s an Early Day Motion from 2002:

“That this House warmly congratulates BBC Panorama and the ever-vigilant investigative journalist, John Ware, for their perseverance and courage in researching and broadcasting, Licence to Murder, an investigation into collusion between British intelligence services and loyalist paramilitaries…”

And who exactly sponsored the EDM? None other than a certain Jeremy Bernard Corbyn…

Heather Mills Wins “Highest Media Libel Settlement in British History”

Heather Mills says that she and 90 others have been awarded the “highest media libel settlement in British history” after winning their case against News Group newspapers over the News of the World phone hacking scandal. Mills says:

“We have been awarded the highest media libel settlement in British legal history, and with it, a complete and unmitigated apology for the criminal, targeted smear campaign waged against us by News Group Newspapers – including hacking, invasion of privacy, and the publication of countless falsehoods and lies between 1999 and 2010.”

She’s yet to reveal just how big the payout is…

Raab “Exclusive” Does Third Round

PoliticsHome had an “exclusive” investigation this morning into the vast sums splurged on targeted Facebook ads by Dom Raab’s unsuccessful leadership bid. As Guido suspected at the time, he was targeting the wrong audience during the MPs’ phase…

One problem with this exclusive story, The Sun already had it as an “exclusive” two and a half weeks ago on 19th June. That’s not all, a full eight days before The Sun ran it the story was actually broken by the BBC’s Joey D’Urso on 11th June, ironically the one person who didn’t plaster “exclusive” all over it. Exclusive to all news outlets everywhere…

For Once, One of Us, Says It

Who’s On Question Time Tonight?

Yes that is our Tom, so you’ll have someone to cheer…

Losses at Political Publisher Dods Surge to £5 Million

Guido is frankly stunned to report that political publisher Dods, whose publications include The House Magazine and PoliticsHome, has seen losses this year surge to £5,537,000. The firm shuttered Public Affairs News recently and rumour has it that Lord Ashcroft and Lord Bell fell out in relation to Sans Frontières Associates, Bell’s Ashcroft-backed lobbying venture. The losses are something of a surprise because Dods last year confidently claimed the bad times were over and they were all set for a profitable year. Given Dods main customer base, the public affairs industry in London, is coining it as firms try to figure out Brexit, it is somewhat mystifying. The digital future envisaged seems to have been less profitable than expected…

Something that was not unexpected was the writing off of 70% of the investment in Social360. In January Guido wrote:

Dods bought into Social360 – a social media monitoring service – which has not sold to clients as well as hoped. Many potential clients manage with a combination of Google alerts and Tweetdeck, both of which are free products. The social media crisis solution seems a bit unnecessary, because when you are in social media crisis, you know it without the need for expensive software. Making their database of “Dods People” acessible via a Salesforce CRM plugin seems like a smart idea until you realise public affairs professionals don’t use Salesforce, sales people do. “DODS Signals”, which “enables the tracking of social media profiles and interactions for over 5,000 political influencers”, is essentially a social media list with bells and whistles, which can pretty much be functionally replicated, for free, in Tweetdeck. Unless you don’t know how to search for a hashtag.

Not forgetting that in 2014/15 they bought “Social Lens” for a million which was also subsequently written off. There is also the very real competitive threat from Politico, which is a quality product written by journalists and read by the public affairs professionals who are Dods’ core customer base. All will work out next year says the new CEO after they raise £13.2 million to buy another software company, this time an Indian company, so they can get into AI. What could go wrong?

Labour MP’s Bare-Faced TV Licence Hypocrisy

Scottish Labour MP Hugh Gaffney went on a rant at PMQs over the Government not doing enough for free BBC TV licences. As May pointed out, it’s for the BBC to answer why they can afford to increase their “talent bill” yet again while taking away pensioners’ free licences…

Not that Gaffney needs to be too worried himself, it turns out he’s quite happy for other people to pay for his own TV licence – despite his MP’s salary of £79,468 a year, he’s claimed his £150.50 TV licence off the hardworking taxpayer instead. Classic!

Come Work in the Guy Newsroom

We’re looking for a summer intern and it is a six week paid position. Obviously you must be digitally savvy and if you can edit video that is a definite positive. We have been known to sometimes hire interns for permanent positions. You must share our values, want to chase down a story and supply your own headwear. We could not care less about where you are from, what schools or university you went to, we care far more about what you can do. Email paul@order-order.com for more details…

UPDATE: Overnight we were deluged by applications. We are closing applications at noon today (Wednesday, 3 July).

UPDATE II: Applications are now closed. We have had about 50 applications overnight.

Lineker Costs All the Licence Fees of Everyone in Buckingham

Guido’s number crunchers have calculated that the total amount of money spent on each of the BBC’s top ten stars is equivalent to every single resident of some of the UK’s most significant towns paying a licence fee directly to the loaded luvvies.

Gary Lineker, for example is paid £1,750,000 a year. Including employer’s National Insurance the BBC is paying £1,991,500 for him, divided by the licence fee that would cover every man woman and child in Buckingham. And that’s not even taking into account that licence fees are per household rather than per person!

  • Gary Lineker – Buckingham, Bucks
  • Chris Evans – Abergele, Conwy County
  • Graham Norton – Bidford-on-Avon, Warwickshire
  • Huw Edwards – Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire
  • Steve Wright – Gilberdyke, East Yorkshire
  • Alan Shearer – Busby, East Renfrewshire
  • Andrew Marr – Kirton in Lindsey, Lincolnshire
  • Claudia Winkleman – Thorpe Willoughby, North Yorkshire
  • Jason Mohammad – Stocksfield, Northumberland
  • Vanessa Feltz – Brewood, Staffordshire

The BBC hands out this sort of cash to its top tier luvvies yet can’t bring itself to find the savings to not tax the over 75s. All of this would cease to be a problem if they just scrapped the licence fee and moved to a sensible subscription model like Netflix, Sky, HBO, Amazon Prime, BT Sports, Apple Music, Spotify…

BBC’s Barnett Says No Deal is “Willy Waving”

Guido likes Emma Barnett’s pugnacious neo-Paxonian interviewing style. She seems to dish it out to all sides and manages to keep her personal politics off broadcast. Not off Twitter though…

So a gentle reminder to a BBC journalist opposing the stated policy of both candidates to be the next Prime Minister. The BBC social media guidelines clearly state “We must not endorse or appear to endorse any other organisation, its products, activities, services, views or opinions… The personal use of the internet by BBC staff must be tempered by an awareness of the potential conflicts that may arise… editorial staff should not indicate their political allegiance.” Guido is unsurprised that a BBC hack is not keen on exiting the EU on no deal terms, just a little surprised they are tweeting their view…

Whitehall Mega-Merger Boris Story Rubbished

Guido has long been a fan of slimming down the vast amount of government waste that emanates from Whitehall, even he was a little taken aback by the Telegraph’s front page story that Boris was supposedly planning to slash over half of the Cabinet roles and merge several huge Government departments together. The number of Cabinet posts would apparently be cut from 26 to just 12, with major departments including Work and Pensions, Justice and Transport reportedly set for the chop. Unfortunately it seems that someone was freelancing and speaking only for themselves…

Damian Green was confronted with the plan on Newsnight last night and reacted incredulously. Team Boris have, alas, firmly rubbished any suggestion that it came from them. The Telegraph’s own article merely cites various MPs who now support Boris who have expressed a preference for merging various Government departments, it’s a pretty major leap from there to presenting it as official Boris policy.  Liz Truss as BEIS minister might be up for closing that department…

Marr Splutters as Hunt Says He Would Do No Deal “With a Heavy Heart”

Marr declares that entrepreneurs “will lose their companies” if no deal happens, before literally spluttering with incredulity as Hunt gives him a measured and thoughtful answer to his question. Not even pretending to be impartial…

Media-Targeting Law Firm Lied to Journalists About Phone-Selling Scandal

Journalists have long been familiar with the experience of an email from the Schillings law firm landing in their inbox threatening them not to publish a story about various celebrity clients, from footballers like John Terry and Cristiano Ronaldo to controversial oligarchs like Oleg Deripaska and charming businessmen like Philip Greene. Only the most distinguished clients…

So when Schillings themselves came under the spotlight earlier this year after the press got wind that their former Operations Director Martin Flowers had been illicitly selling on company phones, Schillings naturally came down like a tonne of bricks on papers attempting to run the story. One national publication received an aggressive letter from Schillings point blank denying the story:

“There is no proper basis for such serious allegations to be made. There has been no data breach. If you have any evidence to support your allegation, you should put this to us. You will not be able to do so, as no such evidence exists. You are not the first media outlet seeking to publish this serious allegation, which derives from a malicious source who has express knowledge of the falsity of the allegation and has an axe to grind against this firm, evident from his attempts to have other newspapers publish his false allegation when others realise this would be unlawful.”

It turns out that the evidence very much did exist – the Solicitors Regulation Authority this week found that Flowers had indeed taken 95 handsets belonging to Schillings and then sold them to a phone recycler over five years, pocketing £13,547 for himself. Flowers was fined the same amount by the SRA and disqualified from working in the legal profession or being employed by any licensed body. Schillings’ clients like Deripaska will no doubt be delighted that corporate phones from their legal representatives made their way onto the black market. Whoever sent the misleading letter from Schillings is lucky they didn’t sign it with their own name, otherwise they might well be facing an inquiry from the SRA themselves now…

UPDATE: A co-conspirator notes that according to the SRA’s report, Schillings were first “alerted by Vodafone after it had identified unusual activity on the account”. For Vodafone to notice the unusual activity this suggests that the phones were still connected to the network when they were sold on. Could potentially turn into an even stickier situation for Schillings…

Beth’s “Turd” Shock

How will this play with Tory voters? Guido is not sure whether they will merely approve of the sentiment or be absolutely ecstatic about it…

UPDATE: Boris says “Pas du tout” (“not at all”).

UPDATE II: Boris gives fuller response “I have no recollection of this comment. But I notice that it is not very well sourced – anyway.”

Boris Hits Out At Bannon Conspiracy Codswallop

On LBC this morning Boris hit out at a “codswallop” story alleging he is somehow taking advice from Steve Bannon, who he hasn’t met since he met the then Chief of Staff to the President of the USA on an official visit as Foreign Secretary. The much reported ‘texting’ later on was just Bannon trying and failing to secure another meeting…

“This is the biggest load of codswallop I have ever heard.”

Carole is basically the Bannon of the left, churning out whatever she likes without regards for basic facts while her fanatical online following pile in with the retweets…

Clegg: ‘Absolutely No Evidence’ Russia Influenced Brexit

Carole Cadwalladr and David Lammy have been spluttering furiously into their cornflakes all morning after Nick Clegg told the Today Programme that there was “absolutely no evidence” that Russia or Cambridge Analytica influenced Brexit. Clegg said “we have a duty to explain fact from some of the allegations that have been made”.[…] Read the rest

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