For all the paper’s culture war-stoking, The Telegraph is remarkably woke when it comes to its own HR practices. In November Guido revealed the paper’s Buckingham Palace Road offices has its own woke library of critical race theory-promoting books, attacking – among other things – white fragility. The company’s leftie graduates in the HR department are already making hay this new year, laying the groundwork for LGBT+ history month.
Coming soon to Telegraph HQ will be a drag performance by Drag Kings. Guido’s sure the Lobby team will be keen to make the journey over to Victoria for that enticing offer…
Recently, Guido revealed that CCHQ has created a team library outside Nadhim Zahawi’s office, allowing staff to borrow and donate books for communal lending. It appears the Telegraph has had a similar idea. Guido reckons the available books differ somewhat from Tory HQ’s.
Photos taken by a mole in the vicinity reveal the book selection has been specially curated to push an ideology, completely at odds with the paper’s public stance. The shelves, called “The Library of Belonging”, only stock books on diversity, gender identity and ‘white fragility’:
It seems bizarre to Guido that a newspaper based on a sensible political philosophy allows its staff to be scolded by a group of middle-class graduates in the HR department. Based on the sign-out sheet, it seems staff aren’t that interested…
It is a cliché that Tory MPs “are the most sophisticated electorate in the world”. In reality they are duplicitous, disingenuous and risk averse, with careerists swayed by herd psychology driven by rumour and misdirection. Or rather, they were.
As Nic Watt confirmed on Newsnight, real-time online publicly available lists of declarations sourced from social media, contacts and the leadership campaigns themselves have made things more transparent. They have reduced the potential for MPs to double or triple pledge their support in private and ended the bluffing that characterised Tory machine politics in the past. Andrew Mitchell’s claims “of we have it in the bag”, Heath’s surprise defeat, Liam Fox’s confident claims of victory – none of this will happen nowadays. Because of the existence of online real-time data, available to all via a browser – a public service pioneered by this website. There is now less opportunity to bluff.
Here is some insight into what has happened in the last few days: the Rishi campaign has decided in their wisdom to freeze Guido out – no briefing, no contact, effectively pretending we don’t exist as a fact of political life. Petulantly putting us in the penalty box for giving Rishi a hard time in the last leadership campaign. We started reporting and publicly recording the support of MPs for Boris on Thursday, and by yesterday evening the Rishi campaign was instructing their supporting MPs to contact us to confirm their support for him. As our records showed support for Rishi catching up with and then pulling ahead of Boris, his campaign reminded supporters to confirm their pledges to us. All can now see the relative strength of candidates’ support.
In this morning’s Times, Matthew Parris today claims that
“Momentum is being manufactured through creating an impression that Johnson is already on his way to victory. Mysterious reports on social media suggest he’s surging ahead among those MPs who are declaring — but the identities of some of these are undisclosed. They will (we’re assured) reveal themselves “later”. The sense of movement this creates is giving those many Conservative MPs who still keep their own counsel the idea that this man is a winner, and (say quieter MPs to themselves), “we’d better declare for him early, as we know he rewards supporters and freezes out the rest”.
Copy which Parris obviously filed yesterday afternoon before we showed Rishi surging ahead that evening. Unhinged analysis, shown to be so, as events unfolded before the ink was dry on his claims.
MPs who have not pledged can be seen by all sides. They are either genuinely undecided – waiting to see which way the wind blows – or biding their time for Machiavellian reasons, or simply ransoming their vote for the highest bid or best favour. What MPs can’t do is double pledge any more. If they tell a campaign they are backing their candidate the campaign expects them to go public. If they don’t go public, they are suspect.
As the pioneers of real-time transparency in this form, we decided to record the preferences of MPs who are whips or 1922 Committee officials or hold offices in the party which require them to be publicly neutral. Which is why we record higher numbers than our rivals. We verify those pledges directly even when campaigns assure us. Which is why when last night we hit 100 for Rishi, the Rishi campaign immediately confirmed to the media they had passed the threshold, despite other media organisations being well behind with their figures. We note with satisfaction that now some of those same media organisations are switching to quoting using our public plus private figures methodology.
Yesterday the site was visited three quarters of a million times, such was the demand for data.* This kind of transparency is now a fact of political life, the game has changed. Changed for the better…
Guido can’t put his finger on what it is about the new Telegraph Politics logo that makes him feel uncomfortable. Would advise Chopper not to wear it as an armband. Or grow a moustache…
Chris Evans’s “Reign of Terror” at Telegraph towers is having consequences beyond a backlash from employees. In addition to the usual sackings, the paper is now facing an “exodus” of staff, according to whistleblowers. Guido’s newsroom moles reveal that the state of things has got so bad senior managers are now distributing flyers on every desk in the London HQ, titled “It pays to know people”. You’d hope you wouldn’t have to tell that to a room of journalists…
The flyer’s proposition is simple: staff could earn £2,000 for every new starter they bring into the Telegraph family. As well as the purple pamphlets on each desk, a large notice has also been erected at the entrance to the newsroom with the same “It pays to know people” message, and emails from Mark Musgrave their “Chief People’s Officer” have also been hitting inboxes.
There are, the mole reports, now “leaving drinks” emails from staff every week, sometimes multiple; “the frequent sound of people being “banged out” of the office, as is tradition, has become deafening.”
Whistleblowers attribute hacks abandoning ship to one major complaint: the ban on working from home. The policy was introduced after the pandemic in September 2021 and is seen as particularly nonsensical given most staff only chat online anyway. This stands in contrast to other papers, many of which have adopted a hybrid approach to work.
“The reason is ideological, and down to a lack of trust from managers of their own staff, which is why management culture and WFH is so often cited by those leaving. Ironic, though, how the Telegraph’s HR floor is always empty because they’re WFH.”
Staff are apparently exhausted, the poor dears. Meanwhile the paper’s columnists are often found filing op-eds from the comfort of their homes about the outrage of people not returning to offices…
Guido has been critical of The Telegraph’s direction, receiving plenty of emails from unhappy former readers about it. So it is only fair to report that the Telegraph Media Group (TMG) has seen profits rise and claims online subscriptions have reached a record 740,000 paying subscribers, generating a 25% rise in pre-exceptional operating profits. They say that online subscriptions are generating £44 million in revenue which they claim gives “blended average revenue per subscription (ARPS) for December 2021” of £175. Which is triple what Guido gets (£59.45) from dividing £44 million by 740,000 paying subscribers. So either Guido is missing something or the figures don’t compute, particularly as everybody Guido knows is on the £1 subscription deal. Perhaps The Telegraph’s energetic* PR could call to explain?
It is noticeable that this all coincides with the bloody end of the Grazia era at the Telegraph. First the Telegraph Magazine editor, Marianne Jones, and her deputy Lucy Dunn, both went off with stress after falling out with editor Chris Evans last year, and never came back. Then “Director of Lifestyle” Jane Bruton herself popped out for coffee one day and never returned – not fired as her lawyers insisted unconvincingly to Guido (there was no leaving party either, a shocked newsroom source told Guido). Then Features Director Vicki Harper also went off with something stress-related at the same time as Jane, formally leaving the company last week (presumably after coming to some financial agreement with TMG). The question a lot of people are asking is: why were they ever hired in the first place? It appears, seven years later, Chris Evans came to the same conclusion.