Government’s Trident Spin Misfires

Below Guido tracks the government’s spin on the Trident misfire over the last 48 hours:

  • Saturday night: Sunday Times reports “serious malfunction” during Trident test, missile “may have veered off in the wrong direction towards America”.
  • MoD says in a statement that it was “successfully tested and certified”.
  • Sunday: On Marr, Theresa May refuses to answer questions about what she knew and when.
  • Monday morning: Number 10 spokesman insists the test was “successful” in certifying the crew and submarine. Says May was informed. Won’t say if she was told about any ‘misfire’.
  • Monday afternoon: Michael Fallon tells Commons not to “believe everything you read” in Sunday Times. Won’t say what in their report is inaccurate. Says test was “successful” and “satisfactory“. Won’t comment on details of any ‘misfire’.
  • May repeats the “successful” line in pool interview.
  • While Fallon is speaking, US official tells CNN the test ended in failure, and that rather than “veering” towards the US coast, the trajectory was part of an automatic self-destruct sequence.

The government’s line from Saturday night to Monday afternoon is that the test was “successful”. The US now say it was a failure…

TfL Told Khan He Could Freeze All Fares

Sadiq Khan has repeatedly explained his broken TfL fares promise by claiming that Travelcards and daily and weekly caps are out of his control. Of course this doesn’t justify the broken manifesto pledge that commuters would “not pay a penny more”. And it turns out it isn’t even true…

The excellent Mayorwatch blog has got hold of the advice TfL sent Khan when he took office. In it, TfL told the Mayor it would be possible to freeze Travelcard prices and daily and weekly caps, even going as far as giving him a cost plan:

“the financial impact on us of freezing Travelcards (and pegged daily/weekly Oyster/contactless caps), which would be an additional £660m over five years”

If Travelcards and daily and weekly caps are out of the Mayor’s control, why would TfL include the cost of freezing them in their advice to him? Khan really enjoying the lack of accountability in his new job. Gordon Brown’s team didn’t call him Sadiq the sneak for nothing…

Blue on Blue: Sir Craig Oliver v Julian Lewis

Sir Craig Oliver has lost it with Julian Lewis after the Tory Defence select committee chair claimed this morning that David Cameron’s spin doctors had covered up the Trident misfire. Sir Craig put out a statement blasting Lewis for “making these claims without any evidence”. On the Daily Politics Lewis doubled down:

“A very senior former Cameron spin doctor has rung up my office in a state of great anger, saying they never knew anything about it. I have to say it was a great pleasure to convey the message to Sir Craig Oliver that he ought to issue a press release on the subject, and I hope he will do so in great detail and depth. But nevertheless, if he didn’t know, did the Prime Minister know? And if the Prime Minister knew, why didn’t he make the matter public and why didn’t he tell even his closest spin doctors?”

Sir Craig’s statement was on behalf of a “spokesman for Mr Cameron’s media team“. When the spokesman needs a spokesman, as someone once said…

Seumas Officially Leaves Guardian

Guardian editor Kath Viner emails staff:

“I’m writing to let you know that, following a period of unpaid leave from Guardian News & Media, Seumas Milne has decided to continue in his role as the Labour party’s strategy and communications director, and is leaving the staff of the Guardian.

I would like to thank Seumas for his brilliant Guardian journalism, and we hope he’ll write for us again in the future.”

At last…

Oxfam Would Take 150 Years to Raise as Much for Charity as 8 Billionaires

Oxfam this morning launches an attack on eight billionaires whose wealth they label “grotesque“, claiming this “super-rich elite are able to prosper at the expense of the rest of us“. Guido has done some cursory digging and found that the eight billionaires lambasted by Oxfam have made at least $60 billion in charitable donations. By contrast Oxfam spends around £300 million a year on charitable causes. It would take more than 150 years for Oxfam to raise as much for charity as the eight billionaires they condemn today.

  1. Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft: More than $27 billion dollars in charitable donations, some 48% of his net worth, saving some 6 million lives fighting malaria and polio.
  2. Amancio Ortega, founder of Inditex: More than $95 million in charitable donations.
  3. Warren Buffett, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway: More than $21.5 billion in charitable donations.
  4. Carlos Slim Helu, owner of Grupo Carso: More than $4 billion dollars in charitable donations.
  5. Jeff Bezos, founder, Amazon: More than $25 million dollars in charitable donations, invests hundreds of millions in not-for-profit ventures.
  6. Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook: More than $1.6 billion in charitable donations.
  7. Larry Ellison, co-founder, Oracle: More than $564 million dollars in charitable donations.
  8. Michael Bloomberg, founder, Bloomberg LP: More than $4.22 billion dollars in charitable donations.
Sources: The IndependentForbes, WealthX

Once again it falls to Guido to point out the wholesale transfer of political operatives to the charity sector is backfiring. In 2014 the Charity Commission found Oxfam guilty of failing to maintain their political neutrality over their anti-Tory electioneering. Oxfam’s policy director Richard Pyle is a Labour supporter whose Facebook likes include LGBT Labour and a string of Labour candidates, MPs and MEPs. Oxfam’s treasurer David Pitt-Watson was Labour’s Finance Director for two years and was even appointed General Secretary of the party. The Red Cross secured a week of anti-Tory headlines with its overblown claims that the NHS is experiencing a “humanitarian crisis”, its new head of media is the left-wing former Guardian journalist Polly Curtis. Today’s Oxfam report effectively endorses Jeremy Corbyn’s new policy position, slamming pay ratios at FTSE 100 companies. People aren’t taking the naked political spin of the Labour-centric third sector seriously. It says it all that the best media hit Oxfam had today was the front page splash on the communist Morning Star…

Sunday Times’ James Lyons Off to Spin For NHS

MediaGuido can reveal a major Lobby move: the Sunday Times’ deputy political editor James Lyons is leaving to take up a communications role for NHS England. Lyons has been in the Lobby for 16 years, on the Tories’ case at the Mirror before becoming the scourge of the Corbynistas at the Sunday Times. Spinning for the NHS is a job that typically pays well into six figures, certainly a nice little earner. Congratulations to James. Half the Lobby will be sniffing around his old job, stay tuned for what will no doubt be an epic MediaGuido runners and riders…

UKIP Spin Shuffle: Farage Gets New Comms Chief

Changes behind the scenes in Nigel Farage’s top team: his no nonsense head of media Michael Heaver is departing to set up a new media venture and make the case for UKIP on TV. He will be replaced by up-and-comer Dan Jukes, who previously worked on the digital side of things. It’s a busy job – Nigel’s comms chief has to field media bids around the clock. Often while at lunch. Herman Kelly in Brussels is still doing international media. Guido fact: Jukes and Heaver call themselves “the Brylcreem Boys” due to their metropolitan penchant for male grooming…

Boris Aide Joins Edelman After Team May Force Him Out

Boris Johnson’s respected former adviser Will Walden has joined lobbying firm Edelman after being forced out of government by Theresa May’s increasingly paranoid aides. Boris wanted Walden, his long-serving, well-liked director of communications, to join him at the Foreign Office. Number 10’s control freakery saw them refuse to sign off on the appointment, so Walden has moved to the private sector to earn a decent salary as Edelman’s MD. A talented public servant lost to the dark side thanks to more silliness from Downing Street…

PM’s Aides Turn Anger on CCHQ

Eagle-eyed tweeters will have noticed that the CCHQ Twitter account has not posted anything for six days. Nothing at all, in fact, since their ill-fated tweets directly targeting Labour MPs who abstained on the Article 50 vote. The attack misfired after it emerged some of the Labour MPs were away on international trips with Tory colleagues who also didn’t vote, a fact Labour took great delight in publicising.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Ambassadors Say Sky News Boris Story Untrue

boris

Italy’s ambassador to London Pasquale Terracciano has gone on the record to the Sunday Telegraph to confirm Boris did not back freedom of movement, contrary to the Sky News report that caused such a stir this week. Terracciano reveals:

“We do not normally comment on discussion we have at EU Ambassadors’ level with members of Government.

[…] Read the rest

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BEIS Civil Servants Forced to Embrace Brexit

leave

Yesterday Guido revealed how civil servants at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy had sent out a press release discussing what will happen “if the UK leaves the EU”. Well, the press release has now been updated to end the uncertainty and make clear there is no “if” about Brexit.[…] Read the rest

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Bad Al Attacked Farage’s “Elitist Party”… Where Was He That Night?

When Alastair Campbell attacked Nigel Farage for attending an “elitist party” at the Ritz on Wednesday night it was tempting fate. Guido wondered aloud, where was Bad Al that night?

[…] Read the rest

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Press Release That Unmasks Remainers’ Post-Truth Tactics

mcgrory

In his car crash interview with Andrew Neil yesterday, Continuity Remain campaigner James McGrory said:

“It’s clear there is no mandate to leave the single market. The idea that the Leave campaign spoke with unanimity and with clarity and purpose… and said we will definitely leave the single market is just not true.”

Oh James…

Guido has found a press release sent by Stronger In on 11th May this year.[…] Read the rest

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Andrew Neil Debunks Viral Open Britain Video

This week the zombie Remain campaign group Open Britain released a video purporting to show prominent Leave campaigners backing staying in the single market. On the Sunday Politics Andrew Neil revealed that the quotes were edited to take them completely out of context.[…] Read the rest

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Telegraph Pol-Ed Dominiczak Joins Crosby Textor Fullbrook

dominiczak

Tells you everything you need to know about the dire situation at the Telegraph that their widely respected political-editor has, Guido can reveal, quit to join lobbyists Crosby Text Fullbrook Partners. Guido understands that Telegraph executives tried to convince him to stay.[…] Read the rest

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Touché Deloitte: Leak Nothing to Do With Cabinet Office

times

Oh dear: Deloitte have confirmed their ‘leaked memo’ on Brexit wasn’t commissioned by Cabinet Office and was done without access to Number 10. A complete humiliation for the front page of this morning’s Times and subsequent BBC report. A lot of ‘fake news’ going around at the moment…[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Michael Gove to the Commons on Trident:

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