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Polly Toynbee: Sinn Fein Can Save Britain

Hot take of the day: Polly wants Sinn Fein MPs to take the oath of allegiance and block Brexit…

Time’s Up For Chorley

Last night’s Westminster Correspondents Dinner saw Matt Chorley finally able to showcase his wit to a larger audience. It was an opportunity he was never going to give up lightly – he certainly wasn’t going to let the fact that he’s no longer the Press Gallery chairman stand in the way. In the weeks running up to the bash, Chorley argued he should give the main journalist’s speech because he didn’t get to do it when last year’s event was cancelled. It was not lost on the female members of the Lobby that, in the centenary year of women getting the vote, a man was demanding all the glory despite two women – Kate McCann and Emily Ashton – now being the Press Gallery and Lobby chairmen. Chorley and outgoing Lobby chair Tom Newton Dunn then secured the two keynote speeches. Justice was served for the sisterhood by one Theresa May, who spent a good few minutes of her speech roasting Chorley:

“so self-effacing is Matt, that in this centenary year of female suffrage, the year of Time’s Up and Me Too, he has demonstrated just what a stalwart ally he is, by heroically forcing the female Chairman of the Press Gallery to sit in silence and listen to him speak.”

Those male Lobby egos brought back down to earth…

Watson Only Senior Labour Figure to Publicly Stand By Mosley

Tom Watson backed Max Mosley in the Commons earlier, making him the only Labour figure to continue to support the disgraced former fascist:

“If I thought for one moment he held those views contained in that leaflet 57 years ago, I would not have given him the time of day. He is a man though, who in the face of great family tragedy and overwhelming media intimidation, chose to use his limited resources to support the weak against the strong.”

As Guido noted yesterday, Watson is ignoring Mosley’s continuing dodgy views, including his insistence to Cathy Newman this week that he still believes infamous racist and fascist Walter Hesketh is a “very decent person”. Imagine what Watson would be saying if this was a Tory, or indeed anyone who hadn’t given him half a million quid.

Question Time Tests Impartiality Rules With Blue Peter Presenter on Panel

How does this work then? The Question Time panel tonight includes Blue Peter presenter Radzi Chinyanganya, who is bound by the BBC’s strict impartiality rules. Question Time is a political opinions show. Radzi won’t be able to give any political opinions. Not sure they thought this through…

May’s Best Gags From Correspondents Dinner

Some actually not bad jokes from Theresa May at the Westminster Correspondents Dinner last night – she’s surprisingly good at this sort of thing and Guido gives you the highlights below. The Hammond crack is a zinger and she even told a sex joke…

“I was able to catch up with David Cameron over the phone and as ever he had some excellent advice. Don’t worry about Boris. Don’t worry about the Chancellor. Worry about ambitious female Home Secretaries. Lovely to see you here tonight, Amber…” Cue awkward OTT laugh from Amber…

“I remember one canvassing trip that sticks in my memory. I was at the open door of a caravan and there was clearly some activity within, so I knocked and there was no answer. But the activity persisted. I could see somebody lying down on the bed so I knocked again. There was no reply so I looked round the door and there was indeed somebody lying down. It was not one person but two, and it was not the best time to ask them if they’re going to vote Conservative. I have to say they were giving a whole new meaning to the phrase deep and special.”

“Matt Hancock has transcended into a higher state of existence. He’s thrown off the surly bonds of flesh and blood. Matt Hancock actually is now an app. He communicates with me by way of alarming phone notifications. Matt Hancock would like to track your location. Matt Hancock would like to access your photos. But perhaps most worryingly of all, there is a fault with Matt Hancock. Other ministers are following his lead. The Boris Johnson app is great for extending your vocabulary, but it does contain some adult content. The Philip Hammond app is like a drier, less frivolous version of LinkedIn. I’m told one minister is even developing a labour-saving app which converts every Cabinet discussion directly into a James Forsyth column, thus cutting out the hassle of briefing him each week. Tonight I can reveal I’m even working on my own app. It does provide GPS directions to your nearest wheat field, real time tracking of Priti Patel’s air travel, and an instant allocation of all household chores into boy jobs and girl jobs.” 

On Lobby hacks’ early careers… “In 1997 we read how one Tom Newton Dunn reported on how plastic surgery to create the body beautiful is no longer just a female prerogative. I have to say Tom if I were you I’d ask for your money back.”

Boom boom…

Lobby Warned Change is Coming at Correspondents Dinner

Last week Corbyn played to his fanbase with that not-at-all-sinister viral video warning the free press “change is coming”. Last night the shadow cabinet – plus Jezza’s media outriders including Evolve Politics sellout Matt Turner – dusted off their black tie and joined the mainstream media at the Westminster Correspondents Dinner. No one tell Skwawkbox…

Outgoing Press Gallery chairman Matt Chorley provided the funnies at the event he has been waiting for his entire tenure. Chorley told the room that plans were already in motion for next year’s bash, when Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn would address the surviving members of the Lobby. “There won’t be any!” heckled well-lubricated brocialist Barry Gardiner. Who will Seumas have first up against the wall? 

Max Mosley Car Crash Over Racist Leaflet

Cathy Newman asks Max Mosley if he lied under oath over the existence of a racist leaflet which claimed “coloured immigration threatens your children’s health. Mosley had a proper car crash after Cathy handed him the leaflet, replying: “If it is genuine it doesn’t reflect my views today” and insisted he had “no reason to apologise to anyone”. Towards the end of the interview he appeared to admit responsibility for the leaflet and accept it was racist. Read the Mail story here. Mosley’s name is at the bottom of the leaflet. This looks very bad for Max, who admitted he supported offering paying to repatriate immigrants and was reduced to accusing the Mail of breaching the Data Protection Act. He went on to insist he was a fit and proper person to fund Labour’s deputy leader and would give him more money. Will Tom Watson hand those half a million pounds of donations back?

Compare and Contrast: BBC Website on Toby Young and Labour’s New Race Row Hire

How about this for a lesson in the double standards of the BBC News website? Toby Young, who had to leave his job at a quango over some ill-advised historic Twitter jokes, was given wall to wall coverage. He features prominently again on the site today as the fourth main politics story, apparently more important than Britain considering military action against the Assad regime in Syria. Seriously?

Contrast that with Munroe Bergdorf, who Labour have appointed as an actual shadow cabinet adviser despite the fact she was fired just last year by L’Oreal over a race row. Bergdorf, a transgender model, has to resign in disgrace after claiming that “all white people” are racist. The same Labour faux outrage brigade who got Toby Young fired are obviously silent on this appointment and Corbyn and Dawn Butler are standing by her. The BBC write up buries the race row issue and the story doesn’t feature anywhere on the homepage. When it comes to the BBC website, once again it is one rule for the Tories and another for Labour…

Guardian ‘Sat on Charity Sex Abuse Scandal Stories’

The Guardian sat on stories from charity sex abuse victims, according to claims made by an industry insider. An ‘overseas aid expert’ writing under a pseudonym told the OpenDemocracy website:

“Why didn’t the complainants go to somewhere like the Guardian? They did.

“These victims are not typical Mail and Telegraph readers and they understood that a story about a lack of accountability in an aid organization will likely be followed in those newspapers by calls for less foreign aid. None of the victims support that goal. What they want is aid plus accountability.  

“Almost all of the complainants went to the Guardian first. Different Guardian journalists were contacted, but all went quiet. One told me: “I just wanted to say I haven’t forgotten about this. Unfortunately the decision to work on the story or not is above my station, so I’m just waiting for a decision either way…” Later, when I asked if they had heard back the same journalist said: “I haven’t unfortunately. It was passed onto powers that be. At the moment it’s looking like it’s not going to run… I presume after some weighing of pros and cons.”

The writer then claims the whistleblowers turned to the right-leaning press: “When the Guardian sat on the story a subsection of the whistleblowers went to the Mail and the Telegraph, who ran it with many fewer sources.” The importance of a plural media…

UPDATE: Priti Patel tells the Sun:

“The Guardian and Save the Children should be apologising to the victims of these horrendous acts who have been let down by their appalling conduct and the subsequent cover-up. They have shown a callous lack of responsibility and a complete betrayal of the victims.”

Rebecca Long-Bailey Doesn’t Recognise Guardian, C4 and Newsnight Pol Eds

Rebecca Long-Bailey appeared unable to recognise the political editors of the Guardian, Channel 4 News and Newsnight as she called questions at Corbyn’s speech. Does she really not know their names? Or was she just pretending so she didn’t look too pally with the media in front of press-hating Labour supporters? For someone apparently unable to recognise journalists, she did a very good job at calling no one from the Sun, Mail or Telegraph…

NUJ’s Buzzfeed Lobbying Letter Sparks Newsroom Anger

MediaGuido has previously reported on how the Buzzfeed newsroom is split over attempts by some staff to unionise. Above is a letter from the National Union of Journalists which was left on Buzzfeed employees’ desks in the office last week. Guido is not sure a patronising Steve Buscemi meme and a listicle on “12 Reasons Why Buzzfeed UK Needs Union Recognition” is the best way to convince staff of their case.

Multiple people in the Buzzfeed newsroom say the NUJ letter has caused genuine anger for two reasons. One Buzzfeed source says it is deeply misleading and takes credit for changes that were always going to happen. Buzzfeed journalists believe the pro-unionisation side of the office are lying to their colleagues about their achievements.

A second Buzzfeed source says the NUJ letter is significant because the Central Arbitration Committee is currently deciding whether there is to be a secret ballot on unionisation, and the letter does not even countenance the idea that there should be a vote. That Buzzfeed source says: “It’s strange a movement that professes to be about rights for the workers doesn’t even want those workers to have a say from the outset”. A third Buzzfeed source says: “People are exhausted by all this, it is tearing the office apart”. It seems the NUJ’s dirty tactics of fibbing to hacks and opposing workplace democracy are not going down well…

Mr Toynbee’s Fine Dining Brass Neck

In the Guardian yesterday David Walker, Mr Polly Toynbee, bemoaned the abolition of the Audit Commission by Eric Pickles at DCLG and complained that there isn’t a quango to police councillors guilty of “fine dining at Le Caprice and the Ritz”. Oddly Walker forgets to mention that he was the six-figure Director of Communications for the Audit Commission before its abolition. Nor does he declare that he used taxpayers’ money to wine and dine other quangos such as the National Audit Office, socialising at taxpayers’ expense at the Reform Club, Footstool restaurant and the Ebury Wine Bar. Walker and his guests blew £1,766 of taxpayers’ cash on restaurant bills in 2009 alone, before he left and trousered a £30,000 payoff. The motto of the Audit Commission when Walker was there was “protecting the public purse”…

Dugher v Skwawkbox

When Corbynista “trolling fake news nob head” Skwawkbox asked UK Music boss Michael Dugher why he was at the Brit Awards, the former Labour MP responded in characteristic fashion:

Sadly the volume of sweary anonymous quotes from Labour MPs has plummeted since Dugher left Westminster…

Who’s On Question Time Tonight?

Yet another remain-dominated panel…

Even Remainers Think BBC Is Anti-Brexit

According to a new YouGov poll more remain voters (14%) think the BBC is anti-Brexit than pro-Brexit (13%). Question Time viewers perhaps…

BBC’s John Simpson Defends Oxfam

BBC News World Affairs Editor John Simpson publicly defended Oxfam on the day its executives appeared before a parliamentary select committee – which was a major news item on the Beeb. Simpson, who is paid up to £200,000-a-year by the taxpayer and is bound by the same impartiality rules as any BBC journalist, said of the charity: “I for one am not abandoning it now”. What is going on at the BBC at the moment?

BBC Website Finally Reports Corbyn Spy Story… And Attacks “Press Barons”

The BBC website finally reported on the Corbyn spy scandal last night, after ignoring the main story in Westminster for days. Yet for some reason the Beeb’s coverage focused on attacking the press rather than holding the Labour leader to account. The headline of the first story was “Press still writing about Corbyn spy claims”, as if Auntie feels they shouldn’t be. The second story gave the game away by going after “press barons” – not sure how that pejorative term meets BBC impartiality guidelines. The story did at least reference a BBC reporter’s stupid question to Corbyn mocking the story by asking him “are you a Czech spy”. Just imagine the Beeb’s coverage if the leader of the Tory party had met a spy from a far right totalitarian regime…

Agent COB Threatens Free Press: “Change is Coming”

Jeremy Corbyn has refused to answer legitimate questions all day from journalists about his Czech spy links. He is so unrattled by it all he has released a video in which he warns the free press “change is coming”. He also accuses the media of “going a little bit James Bond”. He does realise Bond was the good guy right?

BBC Ask Corbyn If He’s a Czech Spy

The BBC have finally jumped on the Agent COB story, only to blow it with a stupid question. Rather than ask something pertinent about what information he handed to a communist spy, BBC finance reporter Steph McGovern went with: “Are you a Czech spy?” He replied: “No”.[…] Read the rest

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