Indy Pol Ed Andy Grice Quits

Sean O’Grady, managing editor of the Independent, emails staff:

“After 17 glorious scoop-filled years, our friend and colleague Andy Grice is to step down as Political Editor of The Independent later in the summer. We all know what an amazing job he has done and the debt we owe to him. Happily, Andy will continue to contribute to our titles. Applications are therefore invited to fill some exceptionally big shoes.”

Newspaper Readers Party Preferences

newspaper-party-affiliation

This British Election Study survey shows Indy readers are a mixed bunch and as many back the coalition parties as Labour. So that endorsement will please and anger readers in equal measure. No surprises in the data. 

Indy Backs Second Tory-LibDem Coalition

Well this is a turn up for the books. The Independent has endorsed a second Tory-LibDem coalition:

“A hung parliament is certain this week. For all his talk of no deals with the SNP, Miliband is bound to rely on that party to get his legislative programme through. This would be a disaster for the country, unleashing justified fury in England at the decisive influence of MPs who – unlike this title – do not wish the Union to exist. If that were to be the case while Labour were the second biggest party either in terms of vote share, or seats – or both – how could Labour govern with authority? They could not. Any partnership between Labour and the SNP will harm Britain’s fragile democracy. For all its faults, another Lib-Con Coalition would both prolong recovery and give our kingdom a better chance of continued existence.

This title casts no vote. But we prize strong, effective government, consider nationalism guilty until proven innocent, and say that if the present Coalition is to get another chance, we hope it is much less conservative, and much more liberal.”

It’s damning on Miliband:

“in key areas his policy prescriptions suggest a party unready for government. Tampering with tuition fees would harm universities while benefiting wealthy rather than poor students. Taxing property more is smart, but rent controls won’t work and a mansion tax is a centralising, blunt tool: much better to reform council tax instead. And though he is right not to flirt with leaving the EU, far too many businesses of all sizes fear Labour”

What could non-dom Indy owner Evgeny Lebedev have against Labour…

Beer Drinkers Love Fracking

beer fracking

Beer drinkers join the fight against fracking” declared the Independent on Sunday as it waxed lyrical about a progressive motion being debated Campaign for Real Ale to oppose fracking. Apparently cheap, home grown, low-carbon fuel is a “real and substantial threat to the production and quality of real ale.

Odd then, that the very same day CAMRA roundly rejected the motion.

Gaia is still waiting for the Indy’s update…

Chris Blackhurst’s Northern Fellow Schtick

“Whenever I meet a fellow Northerner these days, the conversation frequently turns to Manchester and devolution”, writes the Indy’s demoted Chris Blackhurst. “All this devolved power is just governing on the hoof – we Northerners won’t be taken in by it”:

“We’re agreed that we’ve never known a sustained, serious call for self-rule. There’s been plenty of grumbling (people from the North of England love to have a good moan) about Westminster and the power it holds over distant lives. But self-determination? Never. Contrary to what Southerners might think, the North is not a separate country.”

So in which industrial city does this “fellow northerner” live?

In which pit village does our hero dwell?

The bleak, grim and desolate Kingston-Upon-Thames, where Blackhurst has lived since 1986.

Evgeny Lebedev Photographed Sans Beard

Via @archiebland

Guido’s World Exclusive Interview With Johann Hari

“Look,” said Johann, his dark eyes welling up with emotion. “I can talk to you about why what happened in my life happened. But I just think that’s a way of trying to invite sympathy, and that would be weaselly.

Thinking this was the moment, Guido leaned in closer to the disgraced former Indy columnist, waiting for that magic word to come from Hari’s lips:

“If you tell a detailed personal story about yourself, you’re inherently asking people to sympathise with you, and actually I don’t think people should be sympathetic to me. I’m ashamed of what I did. I did some things that were really nasty and cruel.”

“I’m very reluctant to go into a personal narrative and give the why,’ the disgraced columnist sighed. “Most people restrain their self-aggrandising and cruel impulses, and I failed to. I failed badly. I think when you do that, when you harm people, you should shut up, go away and reflect on what happened.”

Or say sorry, thought the interviewer…

“Going on about myself would just be arrogant and actually repeating being nasty, and that’s what I’m trying not to be. When you fuck up, you should privately reckon with the harm you have caused and you should pay a big price.”

And apologise perhaps, but still no…

Of course Johann Hari didn’t say any of this to Guido, but to Decca Aitkin of the Guardian.

See attribution isn’t so hard after all.

Apparently Hari is back promoting his new novel about drug addiction.

So much for shutting up and going away to reflect on what happened…

Lebedev in North Korea

Never seen without his beard, the Hacked Off backing publisher of the Indy and Evening Standard, Evgeny Lebedev, has travelled to that bastion of press freedom, North Korea. The AP’s former Pyongyang bureau chief ponders:

His search for a buyer for the Indy continues…

Indy Quietly Changes 'Powerful Jewish Lobby' Headline

The Indy’s eccentric Mira Bar Hillel is off on one again this afternoon, with the headline writer wheeling out the age old “Jewish lobby” slur for her latest frothing about Israel, which includes the charming imagery of “tentacles”. Unfortunately the online subs didn’t get to the headline before MediaGuido had grabbed a screenshot.

Sindy’s Civil Service ‘Exclusive’ Will Remain So

‘Scoop’ from yesterday’s Independent on Sunday:

“Labour will be given only six months to “road test” its plans for government with senior civil servants, after David Cameron controversially intervened to block early talks, The Independent on Sunday has learnt.”

But is it actually true that the amount of time the opposition is being given to consult with civil servants before the election is being cut? Oliver Wright notes that “In previous elections, under a convention set by John Major, such talks could take place up to 16 months before the last possible date an election could be called.” Though that was before the era of fixed-term parliaments when election dates were chosen at the PM’s discretion, usually 12 months before the last possible date, giving the opposition party four months and not the full 16. The 16 month period allowed the PM to avoid revealing the exact date of the election which could otherwise be calculated from the date access was granted. Indeed, a reader points out that in 1983, 1987, 2001 and 2005 the opposition party had as little as four months’ access to civil servants. So, actually, Labour are getting a pretty good deal.

This is part of a wider pattern of whining from Miliband, following on from Labour’s moan that he didn’t have enough time to respond to the Budget. This should really help Ed beat the perception that he is weak and pathetic…

Dear Amol Rajan,

The Cellar
House of Commons
London
SW1 0AA

Mr Amol Rajan,
Editor of the Independent.

Dear Mr Rajan,

I am writing to propose a syndication deal. As you can see below your diarist Andy McSmith deems my work worthy of your pages on an almost daily basis, so I am sure he will be happy to provide a reference.

This week alone Mr McSmith has seen fit to lift yesterday’s lead in your newspaper’s excellent diary revealing that Harriet Harman and Jack Dromey had been put in an awkward spot by their son working for Paddy Power, they of the famous Oscar Pistorius bet. An amusing tale, which appeared on the pages of my blog the previous day.

Today, Mr McSmith has another fine story about a crafty coalition organised by local LibDems so they can keep child rape charge councillor Ryan Hope in the tent. Worrying developments indeed, and a niche story first reported on my blog last Friday.

Mr McSmith was also tickled by a Twitter bitch fight between Sally Bercow and fellow magpie Andrew Pierce, which he duly wrote up in his diary last week. Hardly an exclusive of course, though Mr McSmith’s readers were well behind the curve given the very same words had already appeared on my website.

It is some years since McSmith took a picture of me from the blog reposing in bed with Toby Young and it was with some difficulty that we successfully extracted payment in the end.

I propose that since Mr McSmith appears to lift my copy without payment or attribution, perhaps we could come to an arrangement by which you cut out the middle man and get your diary stories straight from the source? I know that money is tight at the Indy and I would not want you to waste your budget employing a diarist who simply lifts stories from elsewhere.

Yours,

Guido Fawkes Esq.

UPDATE:

Is the Indy Up for Sale?

Greenslade thinks so. Having gutted the editorial staff and rebranded, it seems the cash strapped Lebedevs have got bored:

“The Independent is up for sale. The paper’s founder, and current chairman of its publishing company, Andreas Whittam Smith, has been authorised to seek out a buyer. The owners, Alexander Lebedev and his son, Evgeny, have been indicating for some time that they would be happy to dispose of the paper and its sister titles, i, and the Independent on Sunday. They have made various cryptic statements over the last six months about their willingness to offload loss-making papers that they see no prospect of turning into profit. Alexander Lebedev’s fortunes, based on a variety of businesses in Russia, have declined dramatically over the last couple of years.”

Don’t all rush at once.

Steve Richards Takes Lobbyists’ Money

steve-richards-lobbyist

Guido can reveal that Steve Richards, the Indy’s political pundit and sometime TV talking head, has taken up a role with the public affairs lobbying firm Hanover Communications. When Guido spoke to Steve he was a little sheepish and seemed unsure of his role, he said he would be providing political advice to the firm. According to Charles Lewington, the former spinner for John Major who founded Hanover, Richards will be a “strategic advisor”. Hanover’s clients include fracking pioneers Cuadrilla, assorted investment banks like Goldman Sachs, various arms dealers, big oil corporations and pharmaceutical companies. Richards says he has cleared it with the Indy and “it won’t affect his writing”.

Chris Blackhurst's Kama Sutra

Indy staff have been left baffled this afternoon by an email inviting them to help themselves to “a crate of unclaimed stuff in front of Chris Blackhurst’s desk including some high heels, a copy of the Kama Sutra, an assortment of dog shampoo and a speed camera (hand-held).”

Sounds like one hell of a kinky night…

 

Indy's Almost Perfect Relaunch

Indy editor Amol Rajan will have come down from last night’s celebrations by now, his stylish redesign of the paper has been well-received almost universally this morning. With all eyes on the new look, the subs forgot to take out an unfortunate comment at the end of this sport piece:

Harsh words.

Via @scottygb.

Indy Looking for ‘Augmented Reality’ Editor

According to the advert, “The Independent is seeking a digitally focused journalist with experience producing and presenting content for a daily news-driven augmented reality service”. Surely there is only one candidate.

Ex-Sindy Editor John Mullin to Head BBC Indy Ref Coverage

The man in charge of the BBC’s Scottish referendum coverage will be former Independent on Sunday editor John Mullin.

Big move…

Meanwhile Tony Blair’s former political spokesperson Godric Smith has been appointed by James Purnell as a £100,000-a-year Beeb PR adviser. A Blairite BBC takeover…

Indy Falls For Onion Spoof

Cringe-inducing stuff from the Indy today. Quite how they still don’t know the Onion is a satirical website is beyond Guido, yet they have managed to run a ‘quote’ from a supposed CNN boss on Miley Cyrus’ dancing, clearly the only story of the day:

Finally addressed some hours later:

Doh!

Anger Boiling Over as Indy Prepare for Walk Out

As the Indy prepare to go out on strike at 4pm, the Lebedevs are not the most popular Russians in Kensington right now. Though the strike has been cut by one hour as a sign of goodwill for further negotiations, insiders at the paper are not holding their punches. The anger is aimed way above the editor:

“I think this strike is a vote of confidence for some sort of survival plan, for the editor and against the way people above him at senior management have gone about forcing people out of their jobs without even considering voluntary redundancies. 

Others are more candid, accusing Evegeny of only seeing the Indy as “a seat at the top table… it gets you into Downing Street and to w**key parties”. There is particular anger at the way forced redundancies were put on staff before even asking anyone if they wanted to quit…

Strike Confirmed at the Indy

It’s official: strike action will go ahead at the Indy over editorial cuts.

Bosses won’t be too worried though – the action is planned for two hours on Friday afternoon.

Just enough time for a three bottle lunch…[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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