Diane Abbott: Parliamentary Beard of the Year

When contestants on BBC game show Think Tank were asked for the name of the winner of the 2015 Parliamentary Beard of the Year…

… One contestant decided to have some fun…

Good effort Jackie.

H/T @stackee

Labour MEP’s Migrants “Final Solution” Gaffe

Readers may remember the last time Labour let gaffe-prone Claude Moares go on telly to talk about migrants. It did not go well. Today the portulent clanger specialist struck again on the Daily Politics, telling Andrew Neil we need a “final solution” to the migrant crisis. Oh dear.

CBI’s Unofficial Campaign to Remain

CBI PIC

The CBI has announced that it will make the “economic case [for Britain] to remain’ in the EU, following an internal poll revealing that 80% of members support staying in. Yet they’re refusing to officially endorse Remain…

“The CBI presently is not planning to register as a permitted participant with the Electoral Commission. The CBI will remain compliant whilst continuing to represent the views of its members in the referendum debate e.g. through press releases and broadcast interviews. The CBI is in touch with the Electoral Commission who have provided guidance and has taken independent legal advice to ensure our plans comply.”

Could it be that the CBI are scared of having a repeat of the Scottish referendum? Back in April last year they came out in favour of the Better Together campaign for Scotland to vote to stay in the UK. The resulting backlash concerning the organisation’s neutrality caused a number of other ‘independent’ organisations to withdraw their membership, including the BBC, Scottish broadcaster STV, the Law Society of Scotland and most of the country’s universities. As a result, the CBI was forced to back down and remain neutral. Does this explain their curious and cunning ‘unofficial’ stance this time round?

James Landale Leaving Westminster

Consistently and harshly overlooked for the top BBC politics jobs, Landale is off. He can come back when the PM isn’t also an Etonian… oh…

Gerry Downing Gets Brillo’d

Gerry Downing was given the opportunity to broadcast his call for socialist revolution on the Daily Politics. He also refused to condemn ISIS and elaborated on his views about “the Jewish question”…

BBC’s TV Euro-Debate ‘Revenge’ on No. 10

The BBC has been stepping up the pressure on Downing Street over the show-piece live referendum debate at Wembley stadium. Sources with intimate knowledge of the Beeb’s preliminary offer to Craig Oliver claim they proposed a 4 v 4 debate in front the audience of 12,500, suggesting the following line-up:

Remain: George Osborne, Alan Johnson, Tim Farron, Caroline Lucas

Leave: Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, Iain Duncan Smith, George Galloway

This is a hardball proposal, and one which Downing Street is sure to shoot down. Sources say the BBC made the deliberately provocative bid as “revenge” for Oliver’s obstinate negotiating stance over last year’s election debates.

The BBC are also offering a 1 vs. 1 debate and – in the knowledge that No. 10 will refuse to pit Cameron against Boris – so are suggesting Dave and Gove are put forward in a Question Time style setting. This would meet Downing Street’s condition that they are not on stage arguing with each other at the same time. The wrangling is hotting up again…

UPDATE: A BBC source gets in touch to kick back: “This is total, 100% nonsense, including the format and the names”. Curiously the Telegraph has the very same names. Though this is a strong denial from the Beeb and an all-male Leave line-up would be very unlike Auntie…

Ed Davey Defends EDF Deal

Ed Davey’s worst ever Hinkley Point C deal, which will allow owners EDF to charge treble the current market rate for 35 years, was featured on the Today Programme this morning. The BBC failed to mention at any point before, during, or after Davey’s interview that he is now working for EDF’s lobbying firm, MHP. Davey spoke for three minutes defending his deal with EDF, and did not once think to mention his new role as a ‘strategic adviser at MHP to the energy sector’.

Davey claims the agreement was made with “the best available advice”:

“… the truth is, if you look at deals like this, which are over 60 years of generating, you don’t know sitting here today exactly what the value’s going to be, because you’d have to know the price of carbon, the prices of gases and things, in 20, 30, 40 years time – I’m not a clairvoyant, I’m not God.”

You do work for a firm that lobbies on behalf of EDF though…

Media Minister Monitor: Battle of the Producers

MMM-February-the-shows

Yesterday Guido brought you Minister Media Monitor, our new resource monitoring ministerial broadcast appearances. As Craig Oliver implements a “one minister a day” policy, the battle is on between producers to land a government spokesman for their programme. In February Sky News and the World at One were the most successful at getting ministers on, followed by the Today programme and Question Time. Piers Morgan only granted one minister a spot on Good Morning Britain. The full numbers show just how few ministers Downing Street authorises to go on the airwaves, another key decline in accountability…

Betting Suspended on Newsnight Political Editor

newsnight-runners-riders

Paddy Power have suspended betting on the Sun’s Tom Newton Dunn being the new Newsnight political editor. His opening price of 5/1 quickly shortened after a flurry of bets from “in the know” punters apparently, though one told Paddy Power “my only inside knowledge is someone said he looked more cheerful than usual last week”. Betting was suspended when the odds narrowed to 1/5 this morning…

A late runner doing the rounds is the New Statesman’s Stephen Bush. Young, up and coming – and Ian Katz loves a nerd – though he hasn’t always been on their radar:

Get all your runners and riders here

Jim’ll Fix It Staffer Alleges Drugs, Glory-Holes and BBC Corruption

SAVILLE

A former BBC employee who worked on Jim’ll Fix It gets in touch with his experience of Television Centre in the 1970s. Here is his account of drugs, glory-holes and widespread corruption:

I worked there through part of the period. Everyone knew. But the culture was highly sexist, phobic and ignorant. Sex was common currency in most aspects. There was a notorious “cottage” with glory-holes etc in one of the three “assembly” areas in TV Centre. Drugs were commonplace. Favours were sought and corruption was open. That’s the context. That’s why nobody screamed blue murder.

He was far from being alone! I worked on “Fix It”, albeit obliquely. Provided props and and support for the design team. You just avoided the ‘talent’ because he had a famous temper. His predatory sexual creepiness was the least of our worries. He was just a nasty piece of work who enjoyed getting people sacked or in all kinds of trouble. He had few friends amongst the staff. Dressers hated him and the famous cigars were bought in crates at the licence payers’ expense. Horrible man, but not the only one…”

And according to Dame Janet Smith’s report, not a single member of the management knew…

Corbyn’s PMQs Ammo From BBC

At the last PMQs Jeremy Corbyn asked a question from “Rosie“, a fan of the Labour leader who opposes the government on housing. Afterwards, Rosie wrote on her Facebook about why she prefers Jezza to Dave. There are some choice words for the PM.

“Unfortunately, when Jeremy asked David Cameron about my situation, his response was disappointing and misleading. Mr Cameron said he’s ‘delivering for Rosie’ – but he’s definitely not… Jeremy put a strong case forward in my defence by urging the Prime Minister to accept there is a housing crisis and that his weak gesture politics are not enough. It was both saddening and infuriating to listen to Mr Cameron insist that he is doing right by me, when in reality his government is failing my generation.”

Punchy stuff from this Corbynista.

It will come as absolutely no surprise to readers that Rosie in fact works for the BBC:

Indeed, she’s been at the Beeb for three years. When she’s not working as a production coordinator or on commissioning and formats, she’s writing Jezza’s PMQs… 

Guido’s MP Referendum List, As Seen on BBC News

Guido’s crowd-sourced list of MPs’ positions on the referendum has received massive interest from punters, pundits, MPs and Tory associations, and today it was used in an in-depth statistical analysis on the BBC One O’Clock News. Read the spreadsheet they are all talking about here

JoCo v George Galloway

All credit to Jo Coburn for not losing it with George Galloway on the Daily Politics. Not to mention the killer put down: “When have you ever not wanted to talk about you?” Galloway joining Grassroots Out is going well, then.

Who Is On Question Time Tonight?

bbcqt 1802

Tonight’s episode will be from Stratford-upon-Avon. Finally, with June Sarpong the BBC have given us a real political heavyweight…

Mogg Mauls PM’s Thin Gruel

Jacob Rees-Mogg was doing the rounds last night as the PM desperately scrambles to finalise a deal on his proposed renegotiations before Friday.

The Eurosceptic MP started the night on Channel 4 News, where he was asked by Jon Snow about how many Tory MPs he suspected would come out in favour of Brexit. He declined to give an estimate, instead referencing Guido’s very own MP Referendum List. That’s another happy reader then…

However the night was still young, and so Rees-Mogg went on Newsnight later to further hammer home the paucity of Cameron’s renegotiations. Speaking to Evan Davies about the potential the PM wouldn’t secure a deal he said:

“It’s the flim-flam that you expect around these negotiations so that they can go through the night and then our hero returns, triumphant, game, set and match. We’ve seen all of this before in European negotiations, my guess is that most of it is broadly agreed. We haven’t asked for anything, the thin gruel is all we’ve asked for, and there’s no reason for the EU not to give it to us, if you don’t ask for anything you might as well be given nothing. And that’s where we are and it will all work out, and then we’ll be expected to sing Hosanas when the Prime Minister returns”.

With the Mogg in such fine form it’s a wonder he isn’t leading the out campaign…

Tory Manifesto Tracker Launch

Look out on this morning’s Sunday Politics for the launch of their new manifesto tracker analysing how well the Tories are doing at keeping their election promises. It’s a pretty hefty piece of work, recording progress on each of their 161 pledges over the next four years. George Osborne’s section will be worth keeping an eye on:

  • Eliminate the deficit entirely and start running a surplus in 2018-19
  • Cut government waste; plan a further £10 billion of annual savings by 2017-18 and £15-20 billion in 2019-20
  • Continue to control government spending in 2018-19, no longer cutting it in real terms, but instead growing it in line with inflation. From 2019-20, after a surplus has been achieved, spending will grow in line with GDP
  • Britain to become the most prosperous major economy in the world by the 2030s

Red lights appearing against these policies will highlight the Chancellor’s squandermania and properly hold the government to account on some of their more unrealistic promises. Well, Labour are hardly in a position to do it…

Dimbleby’s Questionable Tirade Against “Right-Wing”

dimbleby-partisan

Any Questions last night came from the Royal College for the Blind in Hereford with the Lord Blunkett, David Davis, the dotty General Secretary of CND, Dr Kate Hudson, and Quentin Letts. The mix compered by Jonathan Dimbleby. At the end, as the audience was still sitting there, Dimbleby gave them a lecture about the horrid right-wing wanting to close the BBC and urging them all to write to their MP, ministers etc. Oddly partisan for a Dimbleby…

Not only was this unusual – and quite a test of his status as an impartial presenter – there is also the fact that Hereford is the seat of Jesse Norman, chairman of the Culture Select Committee, which has just launched a savage judgement on the BBC Trust, calling for it to be scrapped. Jesse’s report also took the Beeb to task for organising that round-robin letter by BBC stars to try to speak up for the Beeb. Dimbleby is swimming in quite dangerous partisan waters here, surely…

Who Is On Question Time Tonight?

Capture

Tonight’s episode will be from Llanelli. Guido hopes for a performance of a similar calibre to her ballroom dancing from Leanne Wood…

Sadiq Loses It With BBC Journalist Over TFL Fares Sums

SK: “I don’t accept this nonsense that’s been bandied about… TfL haven’t said there’s a £1.9 billion…”

BBC: “They have to me, Sadiq Khan, they have to me.”

SK: “… Hold on a sec, you’ve asked me a question. You’ve bandied about a figure that’s incorrect and I’m correcting you… you’re throwing about these figures that are complete nonsense… I think it’s important that I correct journalists…”

When you’re explaining, you are losing…

Who Is On Question Time Tonight?

qt

Tonight’s broadcast will be from Bradford. Not exactly UKIP country for Nige…[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Alan Sugar on Jeremy Corbyn:

“It’s clear you alluded to students refunds to get votes from young impressionable people. You are a cheat and should resign.”

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