Sham Pain

“It was hard to stomach David Cameron preaching austerity from a golden throne” writes Guardian contributor Ruth Hardy, who waited tables at the Lord Mayor’s banquet on Monday. Guido commends Ruth for her use of cliché; rolling off all the old classics about “the cuts”, it being “like a scene from Downton Abbey”, and not forgetting the requisite moan about a “champagne reception”. Apparently not a fan of the stuff, she slams Dave for “the idiocy of calling for cuts while wearing a white tie”, somewhat bravely asking “has the man never heard of Twitter?” Well, talking of Twitter, here is a picture Ruth tweeted of herself drinking champagne in what could be “a scene from Downton Abbey”:

Has she “never heard of Twitter”?

MPs Demand Yes or No Answer From Rusbridger

Following Alan Rusbridger’s mealy mouthed letter, Julian Smith and Stephen Phillips QC have asked him to deny in unambiguous terms sending the names of British spooks abroad:

“You have also been exceptionally careful in your response to the concerns raised by us and other colleagues as to the issue of the communication of the identities, or information which might reveal the identities, of intelligence personnel.  Specifically, the inference from the contents of your letter – and you nowhere deny this – is that the files stolen by Mr Snowden have been sent by you overseas, to others over whom you have no control.  Can you please now confirm, in clear and unambiguous terms, whether you or (to the best of your information and belief) anyone at The Guardian has directed, permitted, facilitated or acquiesced in the transfer of the files, unredacted by you, which you have obtained from Mr Snowden to any person in the United States or elsewhere.”

Which is going to be a tough one to answer, to say the least…

Rusbridger's Spooky Non-Denial Denial

Wednesday’s letter from 28 MPs to Alan Rusbridger specifically asked him to come clean about any identifying details of any member of the British intelligence services that have been distributed abroad. Something the Guardian has denied doing previously, but is now being oddly vague about. Guido has seen Rusbridger’s response, it is worth taking a look at the very careful language he uses:

“On the issue of staff names, you will be aware that over 850,000 people worldwide have access to not only the Snowden documents but to a whole range of information on GCHQ. Neither we nor any of our journalistic partners have published the identities of any personnel from the intelligence community, a point accepted and welcomed by the relevant agencies.”

All but confirming that names were sent abroad. Interesting how he denies ever having published the names. That wasn’t quite what they were asking, was it?

What is Going On at the Guardian?

Last month the Guardian flatly denied spreading the names of GCHQ intelligence agents abroad, now they are refusing to do so. The paper admits sending some of its leaked documents abroad, though now for some reason today won’t make the same denial that spies’ identities were not amongst them. Have they only just checked? Did they even know at the time?

Guido is not sure how shipping names across borders is necessary when exposing the over-reach of the NSA. It is worth noting that two of the journalists most intimately involved the original NSA coverage have now either left the Guardian or moved on to different things, in different countries…

Guardian Jobs Carries Advert Banning Female Applicants

Many of the thousands of jobs advertised on the Guardian website are in recruitment. They are currently carrying an advert for a position down in Bristol as an account director at Pure Recruitment. So far, all pretty standard. Just the one thing: due to the successful candidate having to deal with businessmen from the Middle East, women are banned from applying.

“To include clients in the Middle East. Please note; Due to the travel and work restrictions for women in this area, we need to limit our candidate selection to males only.”

The Guardian turning a blind eye to workplace discrimination against women at home and abroad. Everyday sexism…

H/T @LAMillinery.

UPDATE: Victory!

Psycho Huhne Versus “Fictional Stories”

Is there a better argument against state regulation of the press than the last politician to be jailed after newspapers exposed his criminality coming out and backing it? Huhne’s latest rehab rambling in the Guardian reads like a spoof:

“What’s all the fuss about the royal charter meaning the end of press freedom? The royal charter doesn’t establish any regulation of the press – but the fourth estate still needs urgently to re-establish credibility…  If the Sun could not make up fictional stories when accuracy is too boring, time-consuming or costly, how would it make money?”

Huhne moralising about people “making up fictional stories”. Another reason to bring up those famous words again:

“What I want to say is these allegations are simply incorrect, they’ve been made before and they’ve been shown to be untrue, and I very much welcome the referral to the police as it will draw a line under the matter.”

Credibility has never really been Huhne’s strong point.

Ed Balls’ £5 Million State Subsidy For The Guardian

Guido isn’t sure who this one is more embarrassing for. While in office, Ed Balls used taxpayers’ money to subsidise the Guardian to the tune of 1% of its turnover. As Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Balls bunged Kings Place £4,899,688 between 2007 and 2010. The money went on services ranging from advertising to training courses. Guardian News & Media had a turnover of £261.9 million in 2007/2008, that year they were the lucky recipients of £2,445,787 from Balls’ department or 1% of their annual turnover. Someone had to help keep them afloat, turns out it was the taxpayer…

Knowing Me Steve Coogan, Knowing You Alan Rusbridger

A very special guest at the Guardian’s morning conference today: Hacked Off’s very own Steve Coogan. Must have been some smiles around Kings Place when a gushing memo telling hacks how coke and hookers fan Coogan is an “ethical standard bearer” was delivered this morning. Of course he’s got a film out, so now the press are his best friends. The Royal Charter was only signed on Wednesday and already Hacked Off are running their own paper…

You’re Either In Front of Guido…

The Telegraph, Mirror, Indy, et all finally played catch up this morning. So what did the fearless seekers of truth over at the Guardian make of yesterday’s latest nudge down the global rankings for press freedom? Poor Rusbridger pet James Ball, who is off to the States to be their new investigations editor after colleagues claim he was approached by another organisation then used that as promotion leverage, did not have a good day. Is this is the level of investigative journalism we can expect from the Guardian in the future?

He went on to claim it was a diary story at best. Perhaps he should be taking over from Hugh Muir instead.

Indeed it was snarky slow claps all round at Kings Place:

But then again if the story’s not handed to you on a plate by Edward Snowden or Julian Assange, why bother leaving the office? Come back Glenn Greenwald, all is forgiven.

Where do the BBC Go to Find the New Peston?

The Guardian, of course. The Beeb are advertising Pesto’s old job in the paper’s job section. You don’t have to read the Guardian to work at the BBC, but it helps…

Julian Smith’s Spooky Flip Flop

Tory MP Julian Smith has been busy doing the rounds in the TV studios today, sticking the boot in to the Guardian for publishing the Snowden files. This afternoon he has a debate in Westminster Hall debate on “The Guardian newspaper and its impact on national security”. Julian clearly takes the concerns of spooks very seriously.

Apart from the time he chose to ignore parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee report on how Chinese firm Huawei – banned by the US and Australia on security grounds – was able to gain a foothold within Britain’s internet infrastructure. When BT, heavily invested in Huawei kit, was awarded the taxpayer-subsidised contract to install broadband in Smith’s constituency, he dismissed any security concerns:

“This announcement is the modern day equivalent of the coming of the railways or the introduction of canals.”

If only he’d had the chance to talk about it on telly…

Taxpayer Still Subsidising Guardian

Back when they were in government Labour used to give the Guardian a helping hand by bunging them taxpayer cash for advertising departmental jobs in the paper. It was one example of government waste the Tories vowed to crack down on. Well in 2012 Maria Miller’s DCMS gave the Guardian £10,698 of taxpayers’ money “as part of the drive to attract a wider spectrum of candidates to the boards of our country’s institutions and encourage more diverse public appointments”. Every little helps…

Huhne Becomes Guardian’s Best Man

The Guardian’s efforts to help Chris Huhne on the road to rehabilitation continue with some aplomb. Either Huhne is being super canny and coat-tailing onto the Guardian’s pet causes for their affection, or someone is helping him on the inside. Always worth remembering that Huhne was best man of to Patrick Wintour, the Guardian political editor who wrote today’s front page story. Huhne says that while he was in Cabinet he knew nothing about the controversial Tempura surveillance programme.

“The invasion of privacy is breath-taking. The defence that you have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide is as outrageous as it was when made by the totalitarian states. Citizens may – for good or bad reasons – want their activity to be private without in any way being illegal. Privacy matters.”

Enjoyable as it is to read Huhne’s opinions on law, order, liberty and privacy, funny he never felt so strongly about the activities of our security services while he was in power and could actually do something about it.

Polly Blames Headline Writer For Baby P Smear

Polly Toynbee is blaming her Guardian headline writer for her smear of the year contender this morning.

“many commenting here have not bothered to read my article carefully (or at all), and the headline (which I didn’t write, and which is more provocative than the print Guardian) I didn’t write.”

Of course that hasn’t stopped her from tweeting the very same headline. This excuse didn’t wash for Geoffery Levy. For some reason the same privilege wasn’t afforded to the Mail…

Guardian’s Bid for Smear of the Year

Polly Toynbee, or her Guardian sub, has found the culprit responsible for the deaths of young children at their hands of their parents: the Tories of course! Apparently Baby P and Hamzah Khan’s deaths can be blamed on “Tory vandalism”, Michael Gove to be specific. Just the one problem. Aside from Polly ignoring the role of you know, the parents, or even social workers, teachers and doctors, both Baby P and Hamzah Khan died under a Labour government. And this from a paper that moralises about rival’s ethics.

WATCH: Psycho Huhne Newsnight Interview in Full

Over at the Guardian’s broadcast arm, Ian Katz has given increasingly unhinged criminal homewrecker Chris Huhne free rein on Newsnight. It is definitely worth watching in full:

Let it go Chris, it’s over…

Via the appropriately named @liarpoliticians.

Hodge Blames Gordon For Vodafone Tax Dodge

Margaret Hodge isn’t wasting any opportunity to bleat about the £84 billion Vodafone/Verizon deal today:

“We must demand reassurance that HMRC has thoroughly examined this proposition to ensure British taxpayers get their rightful share of this massive profit. If there’s a flaw in legislation it has to be urgently addressed by Treasury ministers. I don’t understand how anyone can justify such a massive windfall without handing a fair share to the Exchequer. If this is an instance in which Vodafone has simply played the system then clearly they themselves have an obligation to UK consumers, on whom they depend for their business, to do the right thing.”

Flaws in legislation, you say? Well the two companies are exploiting the so-called “Substantial Shareholder Exemption” loophole to legally dodge the tax, the very same loophole used by Guardian Media Group when it sold Autotrader. SSE is a corporation tax exemption for businesses disposing of a substantial shareholding in a part of their business. The idea is that businesses should be able to restructure their businesses without having to worry about chargeable gains implications. And who was it introduced by? One Gordon Brown…

UPDATE: That “flawed tax law” Hodge is complaining about? She voted for it.

When Front Pages Go Wrong

Spare a thought for the Daily Star today. They have splashed on the “shock secret love children” of Coronation Street actor Charlie Condou, sensationally revealing that he “secretly fathered two children with a straight girl pal”. Just the one problem. Unfortunately Condou’s kids were less than secret, he wrote a column devoted to them in the Guardian for a year.

In their defence, it’s not like anyone would have read it…

Exclusive Footage of Guardian Hard Drives Being Destroyed

A reconstruction, obviously…

How Prime Minister Ordered Destruction of Guardian Hard Drives

The full story of how state security came to oversee the destruction of the Guardian’s hard drives, not in the Guardian, but the Mail.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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