He loves it really…
The answer, as Brian grudgingly accepted, is nothing…
Video via @liarpoliticians
MediaGuido gives you the best of the best, kicking off with Fraser Nelson versus Patrick Wintour:
Then ex-Hacked Off campaign co-ordinator Thais Portilho-Shrimpton gave Michael Wolff a schooling:
Rounded off nicely with Alastair Campbell completely losing it with Toby Young:
Brian really does bring out the worst in some people…
The frontpage of the Guardian says that by opposing the Hacked Off campaign’s demand for statutory regulation the Prime Minister is defying the victims of press intrusion. Odd, since the Guardian’s own leader on this very subject was
Our own position remains as we argued it before the inquiry this summer. We believe in independent regulation, both from politicians and the press itself. We do believe in a contract system – not the use of statute – to secure participation.
So the Guardian “defies press victims” as well…
Worth noting that Leveson refrained from naming too many names and is was clearly keen to avoid making direct accusations. One person he didn’t hold back on though was good old Piers Morgan. While discussing Pier’s evidence Brian claimed:
“This was not, in any sense at all, a convincing answer. Mr Morgan could not even resist a further side-swipe at the Guardian (he had earlier referred to that title as the self-appointed bishops of Fleet Street), perhaps in an attempt to draw attention away from the broader ramifications of the question. When linked with other evidence, his reference to ‘the rumour mill’ somewhat downplayed the quality of the evidence incriminating the industry as a whole. And Mr Morgan chose his words very carefully when asked to speak about the Daily Mirror. Overall, Mr Morgan’s attempt to push back from his own bullish statement to the Press Gazette was utterly unpersuasive.”
In other words…
Outside on the steps of the QEII centre David Davis tells Guido that:
“Giving the government the responsibility for press freedom is like putting the fox in charge of the hen house.”
The backlash begins…
The Leveson Report suggests Ofcom could soon wield considerable power over the press. It is recommended that the new regulatory body will be ‘validated’ by Ofcom, the government is to consider allowing Ofcom to regulate newspapers that refuse to join or even becoming the regulatory body itself if the new system fails. So who is the man in charge of Ofcom?
Ed Richards is a former adviser Gordon Brown, who worked in a small office with just the former PM and his PA. He was also a senior policy adviser to Tony Blair. The Guardian describe him as having a background “rooted in New Labour”. Now he could well be the guardian of the guardians. Do we really want Gordon Brown’s henchman in charge of regulating the press?
+ + PCC TO GO, NEW BODY UNDERPINNED BY LEGISLATION + +
+ + POLITICIANS MUST PUBLISH DETAILS OF ALL CONTACT WITH SENIOR MEDIA + +
+ + LEVESON SAYS ‘NO DEAL’ BETWEEN NEWS INT AND TORIES + +
+ + HUNT CLEARED OF BIAS, CABLE CRITICISED + +
Lord Justice Leveson slams press saying “behaviour can only be described as outrageous” across all papers and says criminality was ignored. The police get off relatively lightly, but politicians are slammed for years of turning a blind eye and getting too cosy.
The PCC is a goner. Brian recommends parliament legislate to set up a body to regulate the press that has the power to force due prominence apologies and corrections and fine up a million pounds or 1% of turnover. It should have investigative power.
The press will have to come up with their own body and pay for it. The new body will be “validated” by Ofcom. The body will have no power to make organisations and titles join it but those that do not will be seen in the eyes of the law as negligent and showing wilful disregard for standards and thus face far high costs in civil claims. He says government might want to consider Ofcom regulating those that refuse to join and should be considered as overseeing body if new system fails.
Leveson dresses up new legislation as enshrining freedom of the press and closes with a quote from Sir John Major saying its now or never. Leveson says this is not state regulation but an independent body given powers by the state.
The police are to stop using the term “off the record” and politicians should publish all relationships with senior media figures and brief notes of what was discussed. Estimate of all forms of contact including emails and texts should also be published
On a political note Leveson says there was no deal with the Tories and News Int, criticises but does not name politicians for being too close to media, turning blind eye and failing to get a grip sooner. All too close. Hunt is cleared of bias, though Cable gets a slap for letting his own views get in the way.
Fancy yourself as a Google-based investigative citizen journalist? ITN are setting up just the thing for you: an online channel allowing amateur conspiracy theorists to broadcast anything from UFO sightings to, inevitably, stories of the more sinister kind. ‘Truthloader’ will be coming soon to a YouTube channel near you. Finally somewhere for Phillip Schofield to air the findings of his peerless detective work…
To mark the Guardian’s ‘Offshore Secrets’ week Guido has been exposing some home truths of their own over the past few days. On Monday GMG’s Cayman Islands company was shown to still be active, while yesterday a special Guidorama investigation revealed that their King’s Place offices are owned by a tax-exempt offshore investment trust. Guido can now reveal that last month the Guardian hosted a seminar in which attendees were openly advised on how they could avoid tax:
“Guardian investing’s seminar will introduce and explain the principles, benefits and risks of investing and help you determine whether you could be making more from your money, with the aim of helping you achieve your financial goals. During the seminar we will also introduce our unique proposition Monitored Informed Investing (MII), discuss what you could do to mitigate Inheritance tax and protect your estate from a potential 40% Inheritance tax bill and look at how you can effectively plan for retirement.”
The seminar, held at the Guardian’s tax efficient offshore-owned York Way offices in October, was organised by Guardian Investing, GMG’s personal finance advice team. This is no third party operation, the Guardian has approved, condoned and even put its name to helping people avoid inheritance tax. Their high-minded journalists wax lyrical about hiding money from the Treasury’s coffers, all the while encouraging tax avoidance on the quiet. There is no end to their hypocrisy…
Day two of the Guardian’s ongoing Offshore Secrets investigation focused on “who is buying up London: the real identities behind Britain’s secret property deals”. Apparently some 100,000 tax avoiders have been purchasing British properties and offices using offshore companies, hiding their dealings in the UK and reducing their bill to the exchequer. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the Guardian’s very own offices were owned by an offshore company? Surely not…
Guido can reveal that 90 King’s Place, the Guardian’s offices in central London, is owned by a tax exempt offshore investment trust managed from Germany:
If and when the trust’s owners ever decide to sell the property, bought for £234 million and now worth considerably more, the owners could sell the trust offshore rather than the property itself and avoid all UK taxes. The trust itself is exempt from corporation tax in Germany. The Treasury will be denied millions of pounds.
It is incredible that the Guardian is paying millions to an offshore trust which is structured in such a way that it pays no corporation tax anywhere in the world. Guidorama tried to contact James Ball, the Guardian investigations journalist at the forefront of the Offshore Secrets series, he said he was too ill to speak to us, the Guardian Media Group’s press office claims that all the press officers are abroad. Caught on camera Patrick Wintour, the paper’s political editor, pleaded ignorance.
The hypocrisy of the Guardian moralising about tax-avoiding offshore owned properties when it is actually based in one is priceless …
Transcript of the footage of Piers Morgan speaking to Charlotte Church:
PM: “There was a spate of stories that came out because of mobile phones. When they first came out mobile phones journalists found out that if the celebrity hadn’t changed their pin code, right…”
CC: “Yeah, you can access their voicemail.”
PM: “You can access, access their voicemail. Just by tapping in a number. Are you really telling me that journalists aren’t going to do that? If they know they can ring up Charlotte Church’s mobile phone, listen to all her messages…”
CC: “My God”
PM: “Right, now all you have to do and I know it’s hard because celebrities don’t like doing anything for themselves is actually change your security number.”
CC: “Yeah, I’ve changed my security number”.
PM: “And now you don’t have to worry”.
Just in case you have forgotten, Piers claims:
“I do not believe that any story we published … was ever gained in an unlawful manner, nor have I ever seen anything to suggest that.”
He told Leveson:
“… I had no reason or knowledge to believe it was going on.”
Lord Patten huffed and puffed as he told Tory MP Philip Davies that he was deluded if he thought he was “going to do a diary for you in order to satisfy some populist pursuit of somebody you didn’t want to run an organisation which you don’t want to exist, you are kidding yourself,” He then tried humour to hide the fact that he is a part time Chairman and struggling to justify the £110,000 of licence fee payers cash:
“I think it’s a thoroughly impertinent question. I think you’re entitled to know how much time I’m spending, I think you’re entitled to put down freedom of information requests for how many days I spend in the office, or how many days I spend doing other things. Do you want to know my toilet habits? What else do you want to know?”
Apparently asking about how BBC money is spent is “impertinent”.
The baiting-Tory wasn’t going to take it lying down though, telling Patten, “I know it’s difficult for you to refrain from being patronising’ and asking him to try at least shed some light on his “grand title, which I’m sure would have appealed to you”. Miaow.
During his grilling at the CMS select committee this morning Chris Patten name-checked this month’s MediaGuido exclusive revealing his part time role at the BBC. Asked by LibDem Adrian Sanders how many days a week he was now working at the Beeb, Patten explained:
“I think about eight. There was an FoI from the Guido Fawkes blog that showed I was in the office around three days a week for the first half of the year, and that more recently it has been four days a week”.
The FOI actually showed that during the first six months of the year Patten turned up to Great Portland Street even less than that: on average between two and three days a week, working on BBC business on an unspecified number of other days:
His work load has understandably increased over the last few months, but not out of choice. It’s having a knock on effect on his other jobs though, with Oxford students accusing Patten of abandoning his duties as their Chancellor.
Who says Paxo isn’t the shining light of optimism that spreads cheer across the nation…
In 2011 Guido produced a video highlighting Guardian Media Group’s financial hypocrisies, provoking a rambling article from editor Alan Rusbridger and another self-justifying piece in the paper blaming the decision to place hundreds of millions in assets offshore on their investment partners Apax.[…] Read the rest