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. The establishment’s favourite new mantra was wheeled out and lots of noise made about the make up of UKIP membership. Except someone didn’t do their homework, fully…

As these emails, just revealed by the Daily Politics, indicate, Bhutto is a member of the Conservative Party:

From: “David Cameron”
Date: 30 January 2014 12:44:35 GMT
To: Mujeeb.bhutto
Subject: Thank you for becoming a Member

Dear Mr Bhutto,

Firstly, let me offer you a very warm welcome to the Conservatives.

I’m delighted you have taken the decision to help us turn Britain around by becoming a Member of the Party. Your membership card will be posted out to you shortly (within the next month).

As a Member, you have a vital role to play. The Conservative-led Government has many challenges ahead before – and including – the next set of elections, but with your help we can continue to make the case for Conservative values.

The more who join us, the more we can achieve – so please email everyone you know who would be interested in becoming a Member of the Conservatives. Together, we can build a better future for Britain.

Thanks in advance for all your help,

David Cameron

This is being blamed on an automated online application. Which cannot be said for Leeds Conservatives following up the email from Dave to further welcome Mr Bhutto back into Tory arms:

From: “Robert Winfield” 
Date: 30 January 2014 23:59:38 GMT
To: Mujeeb.bhutto
Subject: Leeds Central Conservatives

Mujeeb
I am just dropping you a brief e mail to say that I was delighted to learn that you have rejoined the Conservative Party. I hope to speak to you soon but unfortunately I am just getting over flu.

I assume this means that you have severed your connections with UKIP.

Best wishes

Robert Winfield

This is not the first time that UKIP have got into trouble with Tory friends. No one noticed the gay floods chap when he was a Conservative councillor, and the member accused by the Mail on Sunday of being in the National Front was actually a Tory when she made the incendiary comments. And let’s not forget Roger Helmer. As Farage said the other day, “if you accept defectors from the Conservative Party you will always have embarrassments.”

UPDATE: Shapps was just confronted with these emails on the Daily Politics, it seems the Tories had spotted the issue here. Though it seems no one told Leeds…

UPDATE II: Poor Bhutto has been booted out already. Tories say:

“Bhutto is not a member. He applied, got the normal follow ups, and we reserve the right to refuse and have done that.”

Normal follow ups including a personalised welcome thanking them for re-joining? Glad that’s all cleared up then…

WATCH: Paxo "Tattoo" Tops Dimbleby

Guido is enjoying Newsnight’s “and finally” gimmicks…

Laura K Heads Back to the Beeb Guido's Favourite Presenter Joins Newsnight

laura k

Great signing by Newsnight:

Well that’s going to keep Guido up right until the end…

Katz Steals Another Pinky Inky for Newsnight

Face-for-radio Chris Cook is leaving the Pink’un to become policy editor at Newsnight. Regular readers will remember Chris from his fair and balanced reporting of a certain Pearson-owned exam board, as well his long, long, long vendetta against Michael Gove, after working for his predecessor in the Tory education brief David Willetts. Seriously though, Guido and Chris settled differences over many beers not long ago in some trendy media hangout we both happened to be in. He wishes him the best of luck. The ‘semi-Tory’ is jumping just as the FT flirts with switching back to Labour…

Kirsty Wark’s Halloween Thriller

Mwahahahaaa…

WATCH: Cookie Monster v Maitlis

Cookie Monster gave nothing away in what really could not be described as the toughest of interviews.  President Karzai was obviously less media savvy…

Watch Teenagers Declare Benefits Bill Should Be Slashed

Here is one that does not fit the usual narrative. Teenagers polled by Newsnight last night collectively agreed to slash the unsustainable benefits bill and use the money to pay down the national debt and increase spending on education and health. Maybe the Tories should not be so worried about votes for sixteen year olds…

Video via Liar Politicians

Ian Katz Responds

Mea culpa from the Newsnight editor in an email to Labour spinner Bob Roberts:

Dear Bob,

I am only too happy to reiterate the apology I have already made to Rachel by text and on Twitter: I apologise unreservedly for my ill-judged remark about her appearance on Newsnight last night. As you know it was intended as a private message but as you rightly say that is no excuse.

I don’t accept your implication that my tweet reflects in any way on the impartiality of Newsnight, except to the extent that it reflects a determination to make Newsnight as interesting as I can. I am acutely aware, however, that we ask quite a lot of guests when we invite them into the studio to do late night interviews and my tweet hardly conveyed the appreciation we owe them for making the trip. 

I particularly regret any personal offence or upset I have caused Rachel and hope she will come on Newsnight again soon.

Best

Ian

Don’t count on it…

New Newsnight Boss Apologises for Twitter BlunderIan Katz “Boring Snoring” Rachel Reeves Direct Message #Fail

As if that Huhne interview wasn’t bad enough, now new Newsnight editor Ian Katz has failed in his attempt to send a private direct message on Twitter. Just days into his new job, the former Guardian deputy editor accidentally published his candid thoughts, before swiftly deleting the tweet:

He shared his thoughts with his 26,000 followers…

Pic via @jamesmanning4

UPDATE:

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.

Paxman's Beard Releases Statement

Jeremy Paxman has just released this statement through Newsnight:

“I have grown a beard for the last few summers, and suddenly wondered whether I really needed to shave it off to present Newsnight. Unless you’re lucky enough to be Uncle Albert on Only Fools and Horses, Demis Roussos or Abu Hamza, the BBC is generally as pognophobic as the late-lamented Albanian dictator, Enver Hoxha. I may keep it or I may shave it off, but I think I’ll make my own decision.”

Well keeping people guessing is one way to get those suffering viewing figures up…

Newsnight Back in the News

Congratulations to Newsnight for generating headlines without managing to  cover up a paedo-scandal, implode into an inter-staff war or smear someone as a nonce. No its not the influence of their new editor Ian Katz either.  Guido thinks Paxman’s new beard is marvelous.

Watch: Tim Yeo Stung By Sunday Times Offered To Be £7,000-a-Day Advocate and Lobby Government

It’s all over for Tim Yeo. The Energy and Climate Change select committee chairman has been stung by the Sunday Times, offering to become a paid advocate for a fake firm for £7,000-a-day.

“The reporters approached Yeo posing as representatives of a solar energy company offering to hire him as a paid advocate to push for new laws to boost its business for a fee of £7,000 a day. He told them he could commit to at least one day a month, despite the fact that he already held four private jobs and was in negotiations to take a further two. Setting out what he could offer, the MP said: “If you want to meet the right people, I can facilitate all those introductions and I can use the knowledge I get from what is quite an active network of connections.” Asked if that extended to government figures, Yeo replied: “Yes.” The House of Commons code of conduct forbids members from acting as paid advocates, including by lobbying ministers. Yeo also said he could help them by guiding them on submitting evidence to his own committee, which he described as “a good way of getting your stuff on the map”.”

Confirming what we knew all along: Yeo is one of parliament’s most shameless Honorable Members. Guido has hunted him for years, you can read all this blog’s stories on Yeo here. Westminster is for sale…

UPDATE: Funny that he mentions his “active network”, on Newsnight a couple of years ago Guido accused Yeo of of abusing his position as an MP to facilitate a green investment network. He threatened to sue…

Katz Leaving a Sinking Ship

A cunning move by Ian Katz, jumping from the Guardian to Newsnight. The heir apparent is the latest lefty print figure to join the Beeb. Guido reckons he will return to Kings Place eventually, as the editor of a multi-platform, video-led converged Guardian. He can bide his time while Alan Rusbridger wrings his hands for a few more years as the print figures continue to crash and the mass sackings become inevitable. Smart...

The appointment has not gone down well with everyone. BBC types and government sources are moaning to the Speccie, while a Tory source tells Guido: “At this rate Alastair Campbell will be presenting. Given the huge salaries the Guardian pay, the BBC need to disclose how much they are billing the license-fee payer for Mr Katz.” Mr Paxman was unavailable for comment…

Newsnight Parent Governor Actually Labour Activist

lucy

Last night’s Newsnight panel on free schools was made up of two headteachers, a former teacher and the suspiciously anti-Tory Lucy Reese, billed as “a parent governor from Camden where primary schools have the best Ofsted outcomes in the country”. What they didn’t tell you is that Reese is actually a Labour activist, touted earlier this year as a potential council candidate for upmarket Primrose Hill. A writer for Left Futures, when Reese isn’t helping out at her local primary school she knocks on doors telling people to vote for Ed. Must have slipped their mind…

Full Jeremy Paxman Statement on Entwistle Resignation

Statement from Jeremy Paxman:

“George Entwistle’s departure is a great shame. He has been brought low by cowards and incompetents.

The real problem here is the BBC’s decision, in the wake of the Hutton Inquiry, to play safe by appointing biddable people.

They then compounded the problem by enforcing a series of cuts on programme budgets, while bloating the management

That is how you arrive at the current mess on Newsnight. I very much doubt the problem is unique to that programme.

I had hoped that George might stay to sort this out.It is a great pity that a talented man has been sacrificed. While time-servers prosper.

I shall not be issuing any further statements or doing any interviews.”

Right, so who is next for the chop?

Parliamentary Privilege and Criminality

Parliamentary privilege was cited last night by David Grossmann in his Newsnight report as being an obstacle to bringing Denis MacShane to trial, the Labour MP John Mann disagrees:

On Friday Guido was tipped off by a source close to the Standards and Privileges Committee that once they had published their report the way was open for the police to resume their investigations. After consulting a barrister, who was in absolutely no doubt that parliamentary privilege was no longer an obstacle, Guido wrote to Scotland Yard asking them to resume the case – as did the Tory MP Philip Davies.

In 2009 we did the same for Jim Devine who, like Denis MacShane, submitted falsified invoices to back up expense claims. You may recall that David Chaytor, Elliot Morley and Jim Devine went to the Supreme Court to argue that they were protected by parliamentary privilege. They attempted to use the 300-year-old law to argue that any case against them should be dealt with by Parliament rather than the courts. The Supreme Court ruled that expense fiddles were ordinary crimes not covered by parliamentary privilege. Devine was sentenced to 16 months…

Explosive Newsnight in Pipeline

If the lawyers don’t spike it, tonight’s Newsnight could be pretty spectacularly explosive. Bureau of Investigative Journalism hack Iain Overton has been working on a major story that is currently being legalled.

Hopefully George Entwistle has not commissioned any forthcoming Christmas specials about said politician…

https://twitter.com/iainoverton/status/264308253033381888[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Alan Sugar on Jeremy Corbyn:

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