McDonnell and Guardian’s Offshore Investments

John McDonnell is going on the attack over the Paradise Papers, insisting: “Where the Tories refuse to act, Labour will end the era of government turning a blind eye to the scandal of tax avoidance by clamping down on tax havens and ending the loopholes”. The main revelation from the leak so far is that the Queen’s private estate has money invested offshore. Not entirely unlike John McDonnell’s pension investments being managed in Guernsey… 

The Guardian’s story this morning targets those that have assets in 19 tax havens including the Cayman Islands. Which reminded Guido of Guardian Media Group’s GMG Hazel Acquisition 1 Limited, registered in the Caymans.

The Huffington Post splash this morning also leads on the Paradise Papers – no mention that HuffPo’s profits are blatantly transferred to Luxembourg. The owners of the Mail, News UK and The Telegraph also have various offshore tax-efficient structures. Facebook, Google and Guido are not UK-owned though they have at least never piously and hypocritically claimed to be in favour of clamping down on tax havens. Guido’s point is that the likes of the Guardian should practice what they preach…

Michael White: Female Lobby Hacks Are “Predators”

Guido’s immediate thought was “uh oh” when the former doyen of the Lobby Michael White made this not very Guardianista comment on the Media Show:

“The power doesn’t all lie on one side; clever, attractive young women looking for stories. They can play the power game to poor old, ugly backbenchers with bad breath… they are predators.”

Female hacks are the real predators?

The ladies of the Lobby are understandably unimpressed:

Everyday sexism from old Mike…

Polly on Banning Rich Foreign Homebuyers

Says the Guardian columnist with a multi-million pound property portfolio (and – until recently – a villa in Italy)…

£52 To Learn How to Write Columns Like Owen Jones

Got a spare £52 left after conference season? You could always splurge it on a column writing lesson taught by Owen Jones, who is hosting a private masterclass for the few not the many. The ad for the three-hour session to be held at the Guardians offices next month promises:

“Whatever your point of view, award-winning Guardian columnist Owen Jones can help you to turn your knowledge and passion into a persuasive argument.”

Well, Owen has been known to change his tune…

This will include:

“A look at different narrative approaches, from the contrarian to the activist-columnist and the voice-of-reason”

The voice-of-reason indeed…

Owen Jones on Brexit: Then and Now

Back in July 2015 Owen Jones wrote an article for the Guardian headlined: “The left must now campaign to leave the EU”. He argued the left must “reclaim the Eurosceptic cause” and “run its own separate campaign and try and win ownership of the issue”, writing: “Such a populist campaign could help the left reconnect with working-class communities it lost touch with long ago… The case for Lexit grows ever stronger, and – at the very least – more of us need to start dipping our toes in the water”. Like Corbyn and McDonnell before him, Owen positioned himself as a left-wing “Lexiteer” who saw the EU as a bosses’ union…

These days Owen is a strident opponent of Brexit, telling his Twitter followers “I don’t like Brexit” and “I think Brexit is bad”. Today he was on Sky decrying the outcome he promoted just two years ago as a “mess” caused by the Tories:

Owen has form for slippery, career-friendly u-turns, he also pretends to his Corbynista followers that he never betrayed JezHe has more front than Ian Dunt

It’s Official! Guardian is a Charity Case

Yesterday the Guardian announced that it has set up theguardian.org, a non-profit charitable organisation to funnel money from “private foundations, corporations, government entities and private donors that share our goal to support independent journalism and promote freedom of the press.”

The biggest donors to date have been:

  • Skoll Foundation funding for a solutions-oriented series on climate change in America;
  • Support from Humanity United to allow the Guardian to continue its in-depth look at modern day slavery; and
  • A grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to support compelling journalism on the subject of early childhood development.

Joining existing donors:

  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funding for the Global Development site;
  • Ford Foundation support for reporting on women’s rights and inequality;
  • Rockefeller Foundation support for the Guardian’s Cities site, which focuses on building resilient cities.

They say they have strict “conflict of interest guidelines”; no doubt they do. Journalists, however, would only be human if they thought it might not be career enhancing to slag off the sources of millions in funding for their salaries. It is fair to say that the policies of some of these foundations have not been without controversy over the years. This is not a left-right issue. The tension inherent between newspaper commercial advertising and editorial departments is nothing compared to journalists being given funding and guidance on what subjects to write about by sponsors…

Guardian Brexit Coverage Bewildering Remainers

Guido has spoken to several Remainers recently who have expressed bewilderment at the Guardian’s Brexit coverage. Their view is that among the Remain media, the Times, FT and online publications are streets ahead because the Guardian keeps getting basic facts wrong. Look at these examples from the last few days…

Today they have the headline: “Boris concedes UK will have to pay for Brexit”. Eh? Every sensible Leaver including Boris accepted from the outset that Britain needs to meet its financial obligations. When Boris said “go whistle” he was talking about the €100 billion figure being bandied about by the EU. You can reads his quotes – “go whistle” referred to “the sums that I have seen that they propose to demand from this country seem to me to be extortionate”. He never said we wouldn’t pay anything. This is basic stuff, the Guardian is misleading its readers to wrongly make it look like Boris is u-turning.

Earlier this week the Guardian reported the government’s proposal for a system of civil judicial cooperation is a “climbdown from its promise of judicial independence”. As pro-Remain experts pointed out, this was wrong. The Guardian had misinterpreted the position paper – it was about child custody, divorce and small business disputes, a separate issue from judicial independence and the ECJ. This is either embarrassing incompetence or deliberate spinning just to blindly attack the government. Not sure which is worse.

Then there was the Guardian’s Brussels correspondent Jennifer Rankin, who snarked in response to Emmanuel Macron’s attempts to reform posted worker rules: “Imagine if David Cameron had tried to change EU free movement rules with other EU countries instead of alone”. As pro-Remain journalists pointed out to Rankin, freedom of movement and posted worker rules are not the same thing. And say what you like about Cameron’s renegotiation, the idea he didn’t try to win support from other EU countries is just factually incorrect.

Best of the lot is Martin Kettle’s analysis in today’s paper. He reckons the government’s position papers make the case for staying in the single market and customs union and u-turn on the ECJ. Then Martin hilariously writes: “None of them quite say this, of course.” Correct, in real life the position papers make clear we are leaving the single market, customs union and ECJ. This is just wishful thinking from Kettle, it isn’t based in reality. Not sure how it got past the editing process.

Guido has noticed pro-Remain journalists falling into two camps recently. Some are becoming more practical, more pragmatic, sensibly and accurately reporting the Brexit process having accepted we are leaving. Others, the Guardian and Open Britain crowd, are in denial. They are embarrassing other Remainers and doing a disservice to their readers…

UPDATE: Craig Oliver on the renegotiation point:

Remain Media Coverage Criticised By Experts

Some pro-Remain pundits and publications are single-minded in their desire to blindly attack the government, even if it means getting the story wrong. Take today’s Guardian article claiming HMG’s proposal for a system of civil judicial cooperation is a “climbdown from its promise of judicial independence”. This is rubbish – child custody, divorce and small business disputes are a separate issue to the ECJ and judicial independence. It’s pretty basic stuff, the Guardian is misleading its readers because of its desperation to create something out of nothing and criticise the government. Here are Matt Holehouse from MLex and Allie Renison from the IoD, who actually know what they are talking about:

Then there is the FT’s David Allen Green, who this morning praised Michel Barnier and dismissed the UK’s positioning papers as “noisiness“, “bluster and the spin“. Get a grip. As the Sunday Times EU correspondent Bojan Pancevski says in response:

“‘Bluster & spin’ is UK attempting to extract a best possible deal, also for taxpayer. It’s a negotiation. Disagreeing with Brexit is one thing, but believing that the EU is “right” in the talks and spin, bluster free is bizarre. Should HMG simply accept terms as they are given? DD already accepted the “Brexit bill,” transition period, some role for ECJ & paying into EU budget post divorce. So this is far from the alleged intransigence that gets reported… If you think you can reverse Brexit, find a political way to do it, don’t bash own government, civil service for doing what they have to.”

Of course some pundits would rather Britain had voted to Remain. We get it. But there comes a point where they are just supporting the other side, getting it factually wrong and acting against the interests of their own readers. Embarrassing stuff…

Baroness Scotland Refuses to Let Guardian Take Pics Inside Mayfair Home

The Guardian sinks to new depths of sycophancy today with its hilariously soft-ball interview glorifying the shamed Baroness Scotland. Little more than an adulatory puff-piece, the article comes in the wake of a watershed series of IPSO rulings that entirely vindicated journalistic investigations into Baroness Brazen’s eye-watering expenses. The paper devotes no fewer than three pages to shilling for the Baroness, giving an unchallenged airing to her side of the story. Even though the piece claims to investigate the details of the refurbishment of her home – carried out at vast public expense – neither the print nor the online version are accompanied by any pictures of the interior. This is particularly amusing as the latter version is headlined: “inside Lady Scotland’s refurbished home”. An explanation is given for this glaring oversight:

“A request to publish pictures taken inside the house was refused.”

We paid for it, so why aren’t we allowed to see?

Throughout, the author entirely misses the point:

“To my surprise, there is no sign of anything that could reasonably be described as an extravagant upgrade.”

That’s because press scrutiny halted the egregious renovation works from taking place at all…

No mention is made of other criticisms of Scotland, not least the Baroness’s work for the Kazakhstan and Maldives governments. Did those questions go unasked?

Moreover, the Guardian clearly struggled to find defenders of the Baroness who would put their name to quotes. All that can be mustered are simpering lines from Scotland fan Lord Mandelson and Evan Harris, director of Hacked Off, who has a vested interest in damning IPSO on any account. Even The Guardian seems to admit no serious argument can be made in Scotland’s defence…

Private School Quota Would Cull Guardian’s Columnists

Ellie Mae O’Hagan goes full authoritarian in The Guardian‘s ‘Utopian Thinking’ column today, proposing a “restriction on the number of privately educated people in Britain’s elite”:

 “In journalism, things are going backwards, with more journalists now coming from private schools than in 1987… let’s introduce quotas. If 7% of the population goes to private school, then it seems only fair that 7% of Britain’s elite jobs should go to privately educated individuals. This would include chief executives, barristers, journalists, judges, medical professionals and MPs.

Putting aside the moral and practical objections, let’s indulge for a moment in the breathtaking hypocrisy of Ellie’s ‘utopia’. If she had her way, the vast majority of her own newsroom would either be sacked or never have been employed. Privately educated senior Guardianistas, answer the register after your name is called…

  • George Monbiot, Stowe School
  • Polly Toynbee, Badminton School
  • Andrew Rawnsley, Rugby School
  • Jonathan Freedland, University College School
  • Zoe Williams, Godolphin and Latymer Girls School
  • Tanya Gold, Kingston Grammar School (Independent)
  • Marina Hyde, Downe House for Girls
  • Bidisha Bandyopadhyay, Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls
  • Peter Bradshaw, Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School
  • David Mitchell, Abingdon School
  • Timothy Garton-Ash, Sherborne School
  • John Hooper, St Benedict’s School
  • Sam Leith, Eton College
  • Peter Preston, Loughborough Grammar School (Independent)
  • Simon Jenkins, Mill Hill School
  • Richard Norton-Taylor, Kings School, Canterbury
  • Clare Armitstead, Bedales
  • Ben Goldacre, Magdalen College School
  • Martin Wainwright, Shrewsbury School
  • Victoria Coren, various independent schools
  • Hadley Freeman, “boarding school in Cambridge” 
  • Matthew d’Ancona,  St Dunstan’s College
  • Former Editor Alan Rusbridger and occasional contributor, Cranleigh School

Perhaps for her next piece Ellie Mae can tell us which of her colleagues she thinks deserves the chop on the basis of their background…

There are undoubtedly plenty more privileged Guardianistas (let Guido know via the comments). O’Hagan’s own privately educated VICE columnist boyfriend* Sam Kriss (University College School) would also surely be out of a job. Actually, maybe it’s not such a bad idea after all…

N.B. Presumably 93% of Ellie’s other boyfriends were state educated. Incidentally, 0% of the Guido Fawkes newsroom were privately educated.

Abi Now Doesn’t Want 100% Inheritance Tax – for Herself

Abi Wilkinson’s plan for a 100% inheritance tax in The Guardian was met with derision and some scepticism. She has now revised her plans and would actually quite like to inherit thousands from her parents. A tax loophole for her own little personal tax haven. Abi clearly thinks totalitarian socialism is only something for other people to suffer…

100% Inheritance Tax: Stupid or Evil?

Abi Wilkinson in The Guardian has a “utopian idea”, a 100% inheritance tax. Guido thinks that sounds more like a dystopian idea, against human nature, and a totalitarian idea in breach of our most fundamental human rights.  The only question Guido has outstanding: is the idea just stupid or is it evil?

“Sick Man of Europe” UK Outperforming Eurozone Rivals

The IMF’s downgrade of its growth forecast for the UK economy this year is being seized upon to pursue the narrative that Brexit is hurting Britain while Eurozone economies grow. One Guardian headline says the UK has become “the sick man of Europe”. If you look past the headlines it’s a different story…

The UK is predicted to grow 1.7% in 2017, more than France (1.5%) and Italy (1.3%). Not sure how that makes Britain the sick man of Europe. Germany is forecast to grow 1.8%, just 0.1% more than Britain – which is forecast to be in the middle of the G7 performance table. The supposedly burgeoning Euro area has a 1.9% growth forecast, described as “solid” by the IMF. That is only 0.2% higher than the apparently disastrous UK. And the Eurozone is growing at its slowest pace in six months. Britain’s forecast for 2018 remains unchanged at 1.5% growth. Breathless pundits can calm down…

Today’s “downgrade” to 1.7% this year should be viewed in the context of the IMF’s referendum forecast of negative growth for 2017 in the event of a Brexit vote. The new numbers are of course a massive upgrade on their original prediction. It wasn’t just Brexit that exposed the IMF sham – in 2014 Christine Lagarde asked “Do I have to go on my knees” as she grovelled to the British government for her incorrect forecasts about austerity. No one should be taking IMF forecasts seriously any more…

Kath Viner Not Keen on Seumas Affair Story

A Guardian source tells MediaGuido those photos of lefty lothario Seumas Milne were the talk of the newsroom yesterday. Hacks at Kings Place spent the day speculating about the identity of their former colleague’s blonde companion. Yet for some strange reason the tale doesn’t make today’s paper, despite being all over rival broadsheets. Seems editor Kath Viner is not keen on Seumas affair stories… 

Guardians of Nepotism


The Guardian attacked celebrity nepotism this weekend, training its sights on eighteen-year-old Brooklyn Beckham for the crime of securing a deal to author a coffee table photography book. You’d never find nepotism on Fleet Street, of course, where advancement is solely based on merit. Especially at the Guardian, where until recently former editor Alan Rusbridger had not only his wife but also his daughter writing for the paper at the same time. Comment writer Lindsay Mackie (AKA Mrs Rusbridger) still pens the odd piece under the new regime; daughter Bella Mackie (AKA Miss Rusbridger) started out as the ‘Community Editor’ for Comment Is Free and is now a senior editor at VICEIf only his dad worked there Brooklyn could be the Guardian’s football reporter…

Hospital Admits Sun Man Didn’t Impersonate Grenfell Relatives

An allegation made against a reporter working for the The Sun, whipped up by the Guardian and left-wing news sites, has turned out to be completely untrue. King’s College Hospital had “formally written” to IPSO to complain about a journalist who was accused of impersonating a friend or relative of a Grenfell victim while seeking an interview in the aftermath of the fire. The Sun strongly denied this at the time, and now the complaint has been withdrawn. A News UK spokesman said:

“They accepted that our reporter did not ‘impersonate relatives’ or ‘friends’. As a result of this the hospital has withdrawn any IPSO complaint.”

Will MediaGuardian, who sent this false allegation viral, ensure their correction is just as prominent?

Guardian Hack’s Ill-Advised Riot Tweet


Oops. Guardian news journalist Damien Gayle has tweeted out an article reporting police “would struggle to deal with a repeat of 2011 riots” along with the wink-wink-nudge-nudge comment: “you know what to do“. Challenged by the news editor of ITV News, Gayle doubled down:

Gayle has now deleted his post and tells MediaGuido:

“Yes, it was a rather stupid thing to tweet. I’ve deleted it after seeing the error of my ways. No offence was intended, and I’m sorry to those to whom it has been caused.”

Damien could teach John McDonnell a lesson in how to apologise for being silly.

Guardian Endorses Corbyn

In 1996, the Guardian wrote this about Jeremy Corbyn in a blistering leader column:

“Every few years, the London Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn indulges his romantic support for Irish republicans by using his parliamentary privileges to give them a publicity platform. These occasions always also provide a showcase for Mr Corbyn’s abiding qualities: his lack of wider political and moral judgment, his predilection for gesture politics, his insensitivity to the feelings of most Londoners and his indifference to the policies of his party… Mr Corbyn’s actions do not advance the cause of peace in Northern Ireland and are not seriously intended to do so. It is surprising that a politician as clever and important as the Sinn Fein leader should be bothered with him. Grown-up people ought to keep this childish sideshow in perspective. Mr Corbyn is a fool, and a fool whom the Labour Party would probably be better off without.”

21 years later, the paper has endorsed that “fool” to be Prime Minister:

“Mr Corbyn unquestionably has his flaws. Many see him as a fluke, a fringe candidate who stole the Labour leadership while the rest of his party was asleep. In parliament he failed to reach beyond his faction. He is not fluent on the issues raised by a modern, sophisticated digital economy. His record of protest explains why some struggle to see him as prime minister.

But Labour’s leader has had a good campaign. He has been energetic and effective on the stump, comfortable in his own skin and in the presence of others. He clearly likes people and is interested in them. He has generated an unfamiliar sense of the possible; once again, people are excited by politics. Most pundits think the voters will repudiate Mr Corbyn’s Labour party. They may do so. But Mr Corbyn has shown that the party might be the start of something big rather than the last gasp of something small. On 8 June, Labour deserves our vote.”

Labour under Corbyn on the cusp of something big, reckons the Guardian brains trust…

Guardian Publishes May Conspiracy Theory

You’d expect this sort of conspiratorial absurdity from Skwawkbox or Rufus Hound. Guardian hacks must be pretty embarrassed about their retirement ready cartoonist Steve Bell this morning.

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Quote of the Day

Jo Swinson on Chris Rennard…

“Vince — and Tim before him — have repeatedly, publicly said Rennard is not welcome anywhere near their frontbench team, even as an adviser. I remain deeply frustrated that he was not expelled from the party through its disciplinary process. It just feels wrong, and I do not want Lord Rennard to continue as a member of the party. As far as I am concerned, he is not welcome.”

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