Newsnight: Gove v Bad Al in Full

The Minister for the Today Programme gave as spirited a defence as humanly possible of the PM’s decision to rule out a third term in this lively exchange with Alastair Campbell last night. 

“It was a statement of the bleedin’ obvious,” insists Gove…

Guardian Editor Final Two Rumour

A white Oxford educated, grammar school girl V a white Oxford educated, public school boy…

Balls Can’t Name a Businessman Who Backs Labour …Despite Sitting Next to One That Morning

This is the moment Ed Balls was asked by Emily Mailtis to name a businessman who supported Labour, but could only name the mythical “Bill”.

Blinky BallsThe strain saw the return of Blinky Balls as he was unable to give the name of a single businessman who supports Labour. It was particularly baffling given that on the morning of the Newsnight interview he was speaking alongside Sir John Armitt, one of the UK’s best known industrialists, at the launch of Labour’s infrastructure strategy. John. Not Bill, John.

WATCH: Angry Burnham’s Newsnight Nightmare

Andy Burnham’s car crash with Newsnight’s Kirsty Wark is well worth a watch:

 

A very tetchy Shadow Health Secretary began the interview by admitting “there is a role for the private sector”, then piled into the Tories for putting “all services” at the hands of the market. As Kirsty politely pointed out, only 6% of NHS services have been outsourced to the private sector, and the vast majority of that was done by Burnham’s Labour government:

When Wark asked for “a straight answer” on how much Labour would allow to be outsourced – “a number, a number please” – Burnham refused, saying: “I’m not going to put a number on it” and that responsibility for this was at local level. The Tory outsourcing so aggressively decried by Burnham is just 1.5% more than he implemented, and he won’t even commit to reducing it. 

Perhaps Burnham’s bad mood was something to do with this morning’s front pages, which report Labour figures have responded to his big speech yesterday by laying into the party’s NHS strategy.

As Miliband centres Labour’s election campaign on the NHS, public satisfaction is at an all time high

Tory Press Conference Computer Love

High above the Metropolis, they did look like Showroom Dummies…

Via Newsnight.

Chuka Abandons Ed’s “Zero-Zero Thing” After 12 Hours

Well, that didn’t take long. Grilled by Laura K on last night’s Newsnight, Chuka Umunna distanced himself from Ed Miliband’s new “zero-zero” slogan unveiled just 12 hours earlier, admitting he “couldn’t give you an exact number” of how many people paid no tax. Chuka knows the line is nonsense: nobody rich and earning in this country can lawfully pay zero tax… 

An exasperated Chuka eventually gave up and tried to change the subject, accusing Laura of “focussing on this zero-zero thing” and claiming Ed’s speech was actually about something else, despite it being the top line. A ringing endorsement of his leader’s latest big idea…

POLL: Who’s Right, Peter Oborne or Craig Oliver?

Peter Oborne went on Newsnight on Wednesday to express a rarely vocalised view in Westminster, namely that Craig Oliver is a “particularly grubby individual”:

No.10’s Super Spinner has responded in a letter published by Ephraim Hardcastle this morning, accusing Oborne of being drunk:

Dear Peter

I just wanted to check you are OK. Some BBC people have been on to me worried you were a bit tired and emotional last night.

Let me know if I can help.

Best wishes,

Craig Oliver.

To which Peter replies:

“I am absolutely astonished that an official working for the Prime Minister would use such terminology. It is offensive and inaccurate. I hope that when he has taken time to consider it he’ll withdraw these remarks which are unworthy of a Downing Street Director of Communications.”

Who was right?

Let the people decide…

Who Says Newsnight is Dumbing Down?

Some cruel people have suggested that Newsnight has dumbed down in recent months. Guido thought this new promo deserved a wider audience. More Newsround than Newsnight…

iBoulton

Sky are going all interactive for the new Adam Boulton evening show Sky News Tonight, launching on the first of the month:

“In a first for a major nightly news programme, Sky News Tonight will have comprehensive parallel output on social media, where users will be able to view – and engage with – a host of extra content that will follow, complement and enhance the live TV output, in real time.Viewers will be able to interact with the programme via Sky News’ social media platforms which will give them the power to engage in the discussion, contribute to the debate and even influence the agenda of the show. “

Given the number of people who sit watching TV whilst on Twitter now, it seems like a logical step. The show will also feature high profile interviews conducted from Westminster, at the far more reasonable time of seven through until nine – another reason not to stay up for Newsnight.

Another Innocent Politician Accused on Newsnight

In their defence, this one was hardly their fault. On last night’s programme, Neil Hamilton accused a former Labour MP of being into kinky sex. Neil Hamilton being Neil Hamilton, he got the wrong one, and Newsnight have now apologised:

“In a live Newsnight interview about party whips’ knowledge of MPs’ personal secrets tonight, former Tory whip Neil Hamilton referred to a former Labour MP, now dead, who he said had been known to visit “bondage and sado masochism clubs and behaved in the most outrageous way.” 

Mr Hamilton incorrectly named the MP as Allan Rogers, who is former MP for the Rhondda. Mr Hamilton says he meant to refer to another former MP, now dead. Mr Hamilton said: “I apologise unreservedly to Allan Rogers. It was an inadvertent slip of the tongue.” Newsnight also apologises to Mr Rogers.”

Whoops!

Paxman: ‘I am a Tory… Newsnight is Made by 13-Year-Olds’

Freed from the shackles of the BBC behemoth, Jeremy Paxman seems to be enjoying getting off the fence and telling us what he really thinks.  It turns out he claims to be a closet Eurosceptic who believes Europe has been “nothing but trouble for us”, and has been secretly sound all along:“I am in favour of governments getting out of people’s lives. Particularly foreign government. The closer you can take decision-making to the people affected by those decisions, the better.” Speaking at Chalke Valley History Festival, Paxo revealed political leanings for the first time: “I have to be frank, I suppose I am a one-nation Tory, yes.” He also gave the audience his explanation for Newsnight’s shift to the left:

“Look, Newsnight is made by 13-year-olds. It’s perfectly normal when you’re young that you want to change the world. The older you get, the more you realise what a fools’ errand much of that is and that the thing to do is to manage the best you can to the advantage of as many people as possible.”

That explains Ian Katz’s tousled hair and youthful looks…

UPDATE:  Ian Katz responds:

Zoe recalls the 14 year-old Newsnight editor none too fondly…

snog

Let it go Zoe, it was 30 years ago…

Year of Code’s Lottie Dexter is Matt Hancock’s New SpAd

Lots of people were very mean about the Year of Code when its director Lottie Dexter admitted that she was unable to code on Newsnight, but was learning. Well it turns out that the campaign’s mantra – that learning to code is a ticket to higher places – really is true. Just 4 months ago Lottie told Paxman:

“Over this year I’m going to see exactly what I can achieve, so who knows I might be the next Zuckerberg in 12 months time.”

Not quite, but Guido hears she is off to fill the newly appointed position of Matthew Hancock’s special adviser…

Bookies Suspend Newsnight Betting on Krishnan Guru-Murthy

Both Paddy Power and Ladbrokes have suspended betting on Channel 4’s Krishnan Guru-Murthy replacing Paxman at Newsnight. Paddy Power tell MediaGuido “we suspended the bet as people were lumping on Krishnan”, who at one stage was a 20/1 long shot. Over the weekend several media sources placed him in the chair. Last night MediaGuido asked a coy Krishnan if the bookies were correct to stop taking bets, after taking some time to come up with his line he replied:

“I’ve not commented on any speculation for obvious reasons and never do. Let’s have a drink sometime”

Guido was tempted to just ask him the same question 14 times to get Krishnan in the inquisitorial mood for NewsnightPaxman leaves this month so Guido will put the champagne on ice for that drink with Krishnan…

Another Pro-Labour Newsnight Hire

David Lammy’s ex June Sarpong is Ian Katz’s latest hire at Newsnight, Mandrake reveals. What they didn’t mention is that Sarpong’s Labour connections do not end there. The photo above shows her fronting a Labour election rally in April 2005 alongside Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. The Telegraph at the time reported that the former Channel 4 presenter seemed awe-struck”, fangirling on stage over Labour leaders present and future. Having Labour links on your CV seems to be a prerequisite for a Newsnight job these days…

UPDATE: Sarpong will, according to Newsnight’s Ian Katz, apparently only be an occasional contributor.

WATCH: Paxman v Silvio

Since Paxman announced he’s on the way out, he’s seems to have got that old spark back.

Paxo Asks Silvio: Did You Call Merkel an Unf**kable Lard-Ar*e?

On tonight’s Newsnight, Paxo interviews Silvio Berlusconi:

[jwplatform src=”http://content.jwplatform.com/players/F7Z8yJ98-dwaBVFtT.js”]

We’ll miss him when he’s gone…

Katz Attempting to Force Out Paxman

When Newsnight’s Ian Katz is not singing along with his eyes closed at private gigs with Dave, Samantha and Tom Ford, Guido hears he is sharpening his knife. As revealed in yesterday’s Sun, BBC sources suggest that Katz is trying to push out Jeremy Paxman from his half-hearted role as anchor. “He’s shot his salary load on Laura K”, says a senior BBC source, forcing Katz to “hire kids and Nazis.” The removal of the well-remunerated Mr Paxman would certainly free up a massive chunk of the show’s budget. £800,000 a year could hire a lot more staff, but would anyone watch without the show’s most famous star?

Newsnight Hire Pro-Labour TUC Wonk as Economics Editor

newsnightStephanie “Two Eds” Flanders used to annoy Tory MPs when she was the economics pundit on Newsnight, before her the quasi-Marxist Paul Mason had them shouting at the telly. Well imagine how they are going to react to the news that the TUC’s senior economist Duncan Weldon has been hired as her replacement. Weldon is a former Labour Party staffer who has blogged for the Fabian Society, Left Foot Forward and written a series of posts praising Labour politicians and attacking the Tories on LabourList. If that were not enough he also writes regularly for the Owen Jones launched and Unite-funded CLASS think tank. Guido looks forward to his fair and balanced reporting…

BBC sources say that it would be unfair to blame the former Guardian deputy-editor Ian Katz who is now Newsnight’s editor for the hire as James Harding (ex-Times editor) signs off the hires. Katz seems sensitive to complaints about the politics of Newsnight:

It is clearly provocative in a pre-election year to hire a well known Labour Party advocate for the position when the economy is going to be the central election issue. The BBC’s Charter is up for review in 2017. Conservative HQ will be as suspicious as ever of the BBC…

UPDATE: Livid Tory spokesman: “Highly questionable appointment. Arthur Scargill would be a more objective appointment.”

UPDATE II: Duncan Weldon ran as a candidate for the Labour Party in Crouch End, Haringey in the 2010 elections.

UPDATE III: Duncan Weldon was the economic adviser to Harriet Harman when she was acting leader of the Labour Party. This might just lead some to question his objectivity in reporting on Labour’s forthcoming 2015 manifesto.

UPDATE IV:

WATCH: Harman Refuses to Say PIE Affiliation was a Mistake

Well Harriet Harman’s clear-the-air, kill the story interview with Newsnight went well then. Time and time again Laura Kuenssberg asked Harman if she would say that the National Council of Civil Liberites’ decision to affiliate with the Paedophile Information Exchange was a mistake. Time and time again Harman, almost inexplicably, refused. Guaranteeing the story will keep going for a while at least…

Leaked Emails Reveal “UKIP Kidnapper” is Tory Member Newsnight Scoop Missed PM Welcoming Bhutto to the Party

Last night’s Newsnight scoop was bizarre for many reasons, not least their revelations that the UKIP Commonwealth Spokesman had been jailed for seven years. Mujeeb ur Rehman Bhutto was the leader of a gang who kidnapped the son of a wealthy businessman at gunpoint in Karachi in June 2004.[…] Read the rest

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