Sunday Mirror's Tina Weaver Isn't "Fit and Proper" for the PCC

Those of you following Guido on Twitter will know that for weeks Guido has been using the hashtag #CircularFiringSquad to drip out names of journalists from other newspaper groups, in particular the Mirror group, who are as guilty as those arrested at the News of the World. Illegal hacking and blagging, with no public interest defence, has been endemic at Mirror titles. Last night on BBC Newsnight they produced testimony from former employees that at the Sunday Mirror

  • they hired a voiceover artist to imitate celebrities to blag information
  • they “saw Liz Hurley’s phone being hacked and a reporter listen to her mobile phone messages”
  • Ex-Sunday Mirror journalist Richard Watson confirmed hacking took place “pretty much every day”

Last week this blog reported on the record accusations against Tina Weaver, editor of the Sunday Mirror, that she was at the heart of a culture of journalistic illegality. Max Keiser claimed that she personally told him in 2002 about Piers Morgan’s working knowledge of phone hacking – at a time when he was editor of the Daily Mirror. Guido has extensively reported allegations against Piers Morgan dating back to his time at the Daily Mirror which have been followed up worldwide. We have reported testimony that when Mark Thomas was editor of the Sunday People, he was according to Guido’s source – who is a household name, “the biggest phone hacking enthusiast”. The evidence of the Information Commissioner against the Mirror group is compelling.

If it turns out that Sly Bailey’s Mirror group was a criminal enterprise, they will have to face the consequences, with a market capitalisation of only £140 million and damages that could mount up to tens of millions the consequence could be bankruptcy. Plus jail time…

Meantime, and until the due process of the law takes its slow course, Guido thinks it beyond credibility that Tina Weaver is a member of the self-regulatory Press Complaints Commission. Tina should step down.

On a personal note, if Mirror group newspapersgo after Louise Mensch MP, as they are openly threatening to do, they will be making a big mistake. She sits on the DCMS Select Committee and is determined to widen their inquiries out to other newspapers beyond the News of the World. Tina and Sly should remember that it was a similar threat by Rebekah Brooks against Tom Watson that eventually led to News International being brought to crisis point. Louise is just as tough as Tom…

Tom Watson: Lobby System Against Public InterestLobby System Pinnacle of Implicit Politico-Media Corruption

Imagine a secretive organisation whose members have privileged access to Downing Street. Imagine that the members of this organisation receive information covertly. Imagine that the rules of this organisation force the members to withhold information from outsiders if the Prime Minister tells them so to do. Then consider that the members of this closed, opaque, secretive organisation are supposed to hold politicians to account on behalf of the public. After 208 years it is time to end the Lobby system.

The gentlemen of the Lobby drink in subsidised bars, from which the public are excluded, with the politicians they are supposed to hold to account on behalf of that same public. Cowardice and cronyism runs right through the Lobby because they are fearful of being taken off the teat of pre-packaged stories served to them.  That is not journalism, that is copy-taking, this blog was established in part because Guido believes the Lobby system fails the public. The Fourth Estate may not have a formal constitutional role, but the role is real. The role is not to produce “client journalism”.

Peter Oborne in his brilliant Triumph of the Political Class characterises the Lobby system as having produced a tame “client media”. He is absolutely right, the Lobby is far too cosily embedded in the politico-media system, far too close to their subjects, with the likes of Nick Robinson flashing his taxpayer-financed credit card to pour the better vintages down the throats of ministers who have their lunch on the BBC telly-taxpayers. The same ministers who had their expensed groceries sent to their mortgage subsidised home at the taxpayers’ expense. The system stinks, those who are supposed to be watching over politicians – journalists – and the politicians themselves, are the only ones who benefit from the system staying the same.

Two years ago the then PMOS, Simon Lewis, and the then chairman of the Lobby, Jean Eaglesham, announced that the system of Downing Street Lobby briefings was to be reviewed “in light of the changes in the reporting of the work of government in an increasingly fast-moving and on-line media world”. A working group of six lobby hacks and five government spin doctors was to come up with recommendations to be implemented last year. No one from the fast-moving online media world was on the working group. Did anything change? No.

Tom Watson has just called for an end to the Lobby system and off the record briefings. Cameron has said he supports all contacts between politicians and newspaper executives being a matter of public record. More transparency is clearly a good thing. That transparency should be applied to the Lobby system…

See also: In 2007 Guido filmed this polemic against the Lobby system for Newsnight:

Is Ed Miliband's Ideological Guru the Third Kray Brother?


Watching Newsnight yesterday, post vajazzle, Guido was surprised to see they had on someone who looked and sounded like the third Kray brother; suit, hair and glasses all looked the part. It turned out that he was actually Ed Miliband’s new ideological guru, Maurice Glasman, of ‘Blue Labour’ fame. On the show a Labour MP sceptical of Blue Labour thinking suggested it was sexist and jingoistic. A bit like the Krays?

There are more similarities between Blue Labour and the Krays:

  • Emphasis on respectable working class culture.
  • Rooted in the community.
  • Both advocate non-voluntary protection rackets.
  • Small ‘c’ conservative.
  • Aspirational outlook.

Presumably Maurice loved his mum as well…

Guido’s Celebrity Super-Injunction Legal Advice

Yesterday Rod Christie-Miller, the CEO of Schillings and the lawyer who has made millions covering up the truth for billionaires and celebrities, told Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis that Guido might get “a knock on your door and a long time in Pentonville” for revealing the truth. We shall see…

Here is Guido’s legal advice to billionaires and celebrities:

A lot cheaper and more effective than Schillings’ advice…

Quote of the Day

Schillings’ Rod Christie-Miller tells Emily Maitlis that truth tweeters…

“You may find a knock on your door and a long time in Pentonville.”

Fortnum & Paul Mason

Look out for tonight’s Newsnight report from Comrade Mason who has spent the weekend sipping Molotov cocktails with Laurie Penny. For Mason these last few months have been an exciting period, reporting on a revolution which has Tweeted its way from Tahir Square to Trafalgar Square. Sometimes from dangerous territory with guerrilla protestors taking on tanks and now with those who think smashing up teacakes in front of old ladies is the moral equivalent.

Comrade Mason Live on the Frontline

Sometimes it has been as if he was broadcasting from Karl Marx’s bedroom – actually he did do that – embedded with friends this weekend his report should be an interesting exercise in straining impartiality. On his blog he let slip that: “At Fortnum and Mason the demonstrators who took it over are trying to get out, texting me…”. Above is our reconstruction of Mason in deep cover disguise this weekend…

Come Vote With Me

Last night’s Newsnight special hardly covered the referendum in glory, despite the best attempts of the BBC to nail their colours to their sleeve. With the headline “Majority want overhaul of voting system, poll suggests” you would have thought that it was good news for the Yes campaign, but get to the second paragraph of their story and you find: “63% of those polled said a referendum on changing the system is a waste of time and money when there are other pressing needs in the country.” Hmmm…

Jo Swinson did not help her cause last night with her strictly quite ridiculous suggestion:

On Twitter in the aftermath even her own side rejected the idea. Messy.

Paxman Does a Jeremy *#@*

Poor old Paxo doesn’t seem to have his heart in it any more – he is 60 – and he must be thinking are his 3-late-nights-a-week really worth the million-a-year he trousers?

The C-word came out last night on Newsnight. Once could be an accident, twice a coincidence, but this is third flagship BBC program to drop the c-bomb live on air in recent weeks. Do they have some sort of a bet going on?

Via : Political Scrapbook

Government Defence Organisation Sold Fake Bomb Detectors

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.8317583&w=480&h=350&fv=provider%3Dvideo%26amp%3Btype%3Dvideo%26amp%3Bfile%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.dontpaniconline.com%2Fmedia%2Fdptv%2Fconverted%2Fbomb-detectors-blue-peter.flv%26amp%3Bimage%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.dontpaniconline.com%2Fmedia%2Fdptv%2Fscreenshots%2Finsiders%2Fdptv_img-1-1296145434.jpg%26amp%3Bdock%3Dtrue]

Heydon Prowse has discovered that the UK Trade & Investment Defence & Security Organisation (UKTI DSO) was involved in the selling of millions of pounds of fake bomb detectors to foreign governments. Military personnel demonstrated dud products to gullible buyers. Heydon says the full story will be on Newsnight tonight…

Tories Astroturf Newsnight

On Tuesday’s Newsnight Paxman asked the audience of grassroots party members if any of them thought the child benefit announcement had been handled well. Only one person put their hand up to defend the Government…


But who was this  loyal grassroots member? Well none other than Richard John, a party staffer and recently appointed Head of Communications for the Welsh Conservatives. The only person who would defend the handling of the announcement was being paid to do so. Apparently he was spinning away on Monday’s show as well. Would the BBC class Andy Coulson as a “grass-roots member” too?

David Miliband Party Animal

Do you detect the influence of the editorial values of Guy News TV in last night’s Newsnight? Laura Kuenssberg is good enough to replace Emily Nomates…

Worth watching until the end for the focus group “David Miliband Party”Miliband is eminently mockable…

Where's the Cut?

Last night John Redwood flummoxed Kirsty Walk on Newsnight (here) when he said that the government was not cutting public expenditure. She didn’t really know where to go with her line of questioning since it was so off her script. The BBC weltanschauung is that we will soon be seeing massive and terrible cuts in government spending which will provide endless material of the grinding down the poor and vulnerable kind for them.

The truth, as Redwood points out, is that the government is still planning on spending rising every year, government debt will continue to rise year-on-year and the deficit will not be closed even in 2015. The unfunded overspending will be restrained in comparison to Gordon Brown, but will continue regardless. This government will continue to spend more than it receives and the budget will not be balanced. There will be no overall cut in spending…

Newsnight's Olly Grendlestein Problem

Newsnight’s regular political panel, made up of Cameroon Danny Finkelstein, the LibDem’s Olly Grender and Blairite insider Peter Hyman, has a bit of a problem. Ever since the coalition emerged Grender and the Fink have moved closer and closer to each other, not only on the sofa but in terms of argument. They seem to agree on almost everything now with only some nuanced differences.

It’s essentially two pro-government mouthpieces against one for Hyman who has to fight them both – Labour is bound to start really moaning about this sort of thing…

Newsnight's Pie Fight : Unappealing Politics at its Best

If you missed last night’s Newsnight, you missed a classic of its kind.

Prezza, Pickles and the Huhney monster trashing each other and squabbling in a manner that would make fish wives embarrassed.  Every now and then Prezza would shoutAshcroftlike he had a politicised version of  Tourette’s syndrome.  Huhne accused Blair of wanting a Labour government to protect his lobbying interests. Pickles tried to out-gruff Prezza.  It was so bad, it was good.

Watch it on iPlayer here.

Graphic Example of Media Influence

On Tuesday Guido posted a graph displaying an inverse correlation: every time Gordon showed a whiff of recovery the value of the pound went into free fall. Whenever Labour goes up in the polls the pound goes down on the exchanges.

Well it seems last night the Newsnight economic team not only copied the concept, but Emily Nomates’s graphic too – the start dates and margins are identical to Emily’s original graph.

Nice to know where the BBC’s great and good come for an economics lesson.

Point of Order Order

When Guido reads articles about how powerful and influential this blog is he laughs because it was set up on a whim and primarily for his own amusement. The insight that perhaps makes this blog successful was that political gossip and tittle-tattle is far more compelling than people will admit.   Now bearing in mind that the readership of this blog is heavily concentrated in the media, parliament, political parties, the law and the City, which story do you think was most popular yesterday?

The critical analysis of the political paralysis surrounding the fiscal situation? The report back from the Shadow Chancellor’s benchmark launch? The highlighting of the hypocrisy of a senior political journalist?

No of course not. Kirsty Wark’s Prada skirt wardrobe malfunction topped the lot and was easily the most popular story yesterday, followed up by the Telegraph and the Mail this morning.  Which is why this is the blog you love and they hate. Happy 55th Birthday Kirsty!

Kirsty Makes Newsnight More Exciting

And you thought Emily Maitliss was the leggy one…

Jacqui Smith : Crime Without Punishment

Crime Without Punishment

Guido is grateful to Newsnight’s David Grossman for revealing how it passed that Jacqui Smith’s investigation by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner and critical report to to the Committee on Standards and Privileges resulted in a mere slap on the wrist.

Guido has, for once, no complaints about Commissioner John Lyon’s report to the Committee.  Paul Waugh says that the Commissioner “confided during the course of his inquiry that he has to “keep a keen eye on the blogs”. Government sources feel that Lyon believed he was under heavy pressure to do a tough report…” Good.  It is fair to say that John Lyon and the Sunlight Centre for Open Politics were in correspondence from the outset – remember the Commissioner at first rejected Sunlight’s original request for an investigation into Jacqui Smith.  Sunlight persisted, citing precedent and the existence of witnesses and he reluctantly began an investigation.  (Sunlight’s correspondence was noticeably omitted from the final report.)

The former Chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, Sir Alastair Graham, is shocked that despite the findings, which include that the former Home Secretary attempted to mislead the investigation as to where she spent most of her nights, the MPs’ Committee on Standards and Privileges ruled she just had to apologise.  Guido has said it before; MPs judging MPs will always give them the benefit of the doubt, it is like selecting jurors from prison.  In this case the composition of the Committee was disgraceful.  One Tory, Greg Knight, was outnumbered by five Labour MPs, Andrew Dismore, Chris Mullin, Kevin Barron, Paddy Tippin and Dr Alan Whitehead.  So despite being found to have wrongly claimed £116,000, to have mislead the investigation and broken the rules, her ‘honourable’ friends ruled she had to merely apologise.  She was not ordered to repay a  single penny.  This is crime without punishment…

Cuts, Lies and Videotape

Remember Fraser Nelson pleading with the Prime Mentalist to tell the truth?

The tape doesn’t lie.  Unlike Gordon.

UPDATE 23.10 : Newsnight’s David Grossman has just run this pooled clip, without the Sky overlays. If you look carefully you can spot Grossman smirking in the front row.

Newsnight's Politics Pen

Tim Montgomerie and Iain Dale have got quite worked up about the Newsnight line-up for its Politics Pen experiment. Essentially the charge is they had four Labour insider / cronies vetoing public expenditure control policies from wonks (and a comedian).

pen_participantsThe political Dragon’s Den / Politics Pen types were Lord Digby Jones (former Labour Minister), Deborah Mattinson (Gordon Brown’s pollster), Matthew Taylor (Blair’s Head of Policy) and Greg Dyke (former Labour donor and luvvie of the nineties).[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



Tip offs: 0709 284 0531
team@Order-order.com

Quote of the Day

Tory MP Nick Boles says what everyone thinks…

“There is a timidity and lack of ambition about Mrs May’s Government which means it constantly disappoints. Time to raise your game, Prime Minister.”

Sponsors

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.
UKIP NEC Votes No Confidence In Bolton UKIP NEC Votes No Confidence In Bolton
Greenpeace Still Making Fake Wind Claims Greenpeace Still Making Fake Wind Claims
Sunday Show Highlights Sunday Show Highlights
Local Labour Members Want Jared Deselected Local Labour Members Want Jared Deselected
Last Days at BuzzFeed Last Days at BuzzFeed
Bolton: She Came Round But I Didn’t Sleep With Her Bolton: She Came Round But I Didn’t Sleep With Her
Jared Victim: He Shouldn’t Be Back in Westminster Jared Victim: He Shouldn’t Be Back in Westminster
Sick Jared Back to Work Sick Jared Back to Work
Ann Black Purged by Red Terror Ann Black Purged by Red Terror
Parole Board Admit Processes Breached Parole Board Admit Processes Breached
Paul Mason: Aggressive and Intimidating Paul Mason: Aggressive and Intimidating
James O’Brien’s Carillion Fake News Goes Viral James O’Brien’s Carillion Fake News Goes Viral
O’Mara Hasn’t Helped a Single Constituent in Months O’Mara Hasn’t Helped a Single Constituent in Months
Credit Where Credit’s Due Credit Where Credit’s Due
Osborne on Carillion: Then and Now Osborne on Carillion: Then and Now
Paul Mason’s Column Axed Paul Mason’s Column Axed
Lord Pannick Backs Gauke’s Judicial Review Lord Pannick Backs Gauke’s Judicial Review
“Get On Your Knees, B*tch” Clive Lewis Returns to Labour Frontbench in Reshuffle” “Get On Your Knees, B*tch” Clive Lewis Returns to Labour Frontbench in Reshuffle”
Vulnerable Children’s Data Breached at Labour-Run Leicester City Council Vulnerable Children’s Data Breached at Labour-Run Leicester City Council
Dover Traffic at Record Levels Dover Traffic at Record Levels