Caroline Wheeler to Sunday Times

Congratulations to Sunday Express political editor Caroline Wheeler, who MediaGuido hears will be the new deputy political editor at the Sunday Times from July. A smart hire, Caroline was one of the few journalists who reported definitively that there would be an early election. She has plenty of Sunday Lobby experience and will now enjoy a deserved wider audience. From one Brexit-backing paper to another…

Montie Out, Iain Martin In at The Times

Tim Montgomerie’s column for today’s Times is his last. Montie says he’s off to set up a new project after nearly four years at the paper, good luck to him. MediaGuido understands he will be replaced by Iain Martin, another sensible Brexiteer whose Reaction website has published some of the more thoughtful Brexit-related punditry. Iain will be writing a weekly column starting next week. An important hire especially now the paper is losing Tim. Most of the Times’ other comment writers are zombie metropolitan columnists spouting increasingly irrelevant punditry…

Gove Defends Trump Interview

Michael Gove is getting some stick for his Trump interview from journalists who could never break a window. By Guido’s count the scoop had at least ten separate news lines, on Brexit, Theresa May, Nato, Russia, Syria, Iran, Merkel, travel restrictions for Europeans, his Twitter, Jared Kushner and Camp David. It was on the front page not just of The Times and Bild, but also The Sun, Telegraph, Guardian, BBC News and MailOnline. Think his editor will be happy.

“Economy to Defy Brexit Fears”

times

Britain will be the fastest growing economy in the G7 and beat Bank of England forecasts with 0.5% economic growth in the final quarter of 2016, The Times reports today under the headline “Economy to defy Brexit fears”. A survey of businesses showed the service sector had its best month since January. Of course according to the times this is #DespiteBrexit:

“The country’s dominant service sector has experienced its best month since January, the survey of businesses showed, defying fears of a slump in growth after the Brexit vote.”

New retail sales figures from British Retail Consortium report that sales rose by 1.3% in November, following better-than-expected services PMI data. Barclaycard says consumer spending rose 5.1% last month, the second highest rate since the survey began (H/T @afneil). More good news…

More Fake News from The Times

farage-usa

The Times today has another exclusive which is likely to remain exclusive. They claim Nigel Farage is planning to abandon it in favour of a new life in the United States. Nigel says it is “utter nonsense”.

This is of a pattern, in the last week alone we have had; the “Deloitte Cabinet Brexit Memo” that turned out to be nothing of the sort, the Whitehall think tank that The Times reported as warning Brexit was an “existential threat” that angrily denied making the warning. The thread that ties all this lapsing into fake news is that they are anti-Brexit and UKIP.

There is a difference between having news with views, readers can deal with a publication having a slant, most manifestly do even if they claim to be independent. In a free society The Times is entitled to be Europhile, just as it was entitled to be pro-appeasement in the 1930s. The pattern of recent fake news from the paper is of a kind that suggests journalists are under pressure from the editor to create stories that fit the agenda. If they fall apart on publication the fake news isn’t advancing the editor’s agenda, it is just damaging the paper’s reputation…

Gove Trousers £150,000 For Times Column

gove

Michael Gove is another who’s coining it now his political ambitions are on hold. The Gover is making a cool £150,000-a-year for his new column at the Times, which will no doubt delight some lowly reporters on the paper. It is a good column that’s always worth reading and is a fount of gossip and mischief. Still not earning him as much as Boris got at the Telegraph though. Gove is also writing a book, trousering a £17,500 advance from Harper Collins last month. He says it’s “impossible to calculate” how long it will take him to write. The subject is a mystery…

Institute For Government Slap Down “Wrong” Times Splash

ifg

After their front page yesterday unravelled, the Times have doubled down by reporting that the Institute for Government says Brexit is causing “chaos” and an “existential threat” to some departments in Whitehall. Well, the Institute for Government are not happy with the Times. Their head of research Dr Hannah White says:

“To be clear – this article is wrong to say Institute for Government has warned of an ‘existential threat’ – we reported this as the view of a source.”

The IFG researcher who is quoted in the article, Joe Owen, has retweeted Dr White’s statement that the Times article is “wrong“. Two Brexit doom-mongering Times splashes in two days fall apart – this ‘fake news’ problem is getting worse…

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…

BBC Changes Story as it Emerges Deloitte Authored ‘Leaked Memo’

picture-device-independent-bitmap-1

The BBC excitedly followed up this morning’s Times splash on an alleged Cabinet Office memo bemoaning Brexit chaos: “There is no plan for Brexit, leaked memo says”. Is it quite the bombshell memo gleeful Remainers are hoping? Downing Street say that in fact it wasn’t a Cabinet Office memo at all, it was an unsolicited report authored by Deloitte. In which they found the government needs 30,000 extra staff, presumably Deloitte consultants. Government sources say they told the BBC their headline and story was wrong at 7am. A Whitehall source says:

“This is about as meaty as Will Straw sending something to the letters page of the Times.”

The Beeb have now changed their headline, offering no explanation of the clarification to readers…

Gove Tipped as Next Sunday Times Editor

gover

Since Michael Gove got his new gig as a columnist for the Times there has been some scuttlebutt going round that it might be an audition for the editorship. Writing in The Oldie, the Mail’s Stephen Glover suggests the Gover is being lined up for the top job at the Sunday:

“[Fleet Street] is awash with a story (which by the time you read this may have already broken its banks) that Gove is about to be made editor of Murdoch’s Sunday Times.”

He goes on:

“According to ‘friends of Gove’, whom I have consulted, no offer of any editorship has been made by Murdoch, from which it follows that none could have been accepted. Of course, it may be that these friends are not being wholly honest…”

Incumbent editor Martin Ivens, who’s been at the paper for two decades, might have something to say about that. Be your stubborn best…

Gove Gets to Work

gover

Times hacks are used to their editorial conferences being a very Tory affair – true blue attendees have included Tory peer Danny Finkelstein, former Tory MP Matthew Parris and former Tory Tim Montgomerie to name but a few. It was nonetheless noted in the newsroom that having a sitting MP present crossed the line rather than blurred it. New book reviewer Michael Gove has been in the room at political conference this week. The Gover was told by the Commons Appointments committee that he must wait three months before he starts writing – that period has not yet elapsed – and he must not “draw on any privileged information available to you as a minister”. Good thing he’s not a gossip…

Corbynistas Attempting to Preempt Co-op Plan

co-operative party inflitrate

In yesterday’s Sunday Times, Tim Shipman revealed that some nameless Labour moderates might use their sister Co-operative Party to form a new opposition. While plans for the immediate future include establishing a factional grouping, Shippers has uncovered a scheme to get Labour moderates to sign up MPs to the Co-operative Party itself, which has a pact to work with Labour in Parliament and elections. “Double-hatted” MPs can then apply to Bercow to have themselves recognised as the official opposition in the event of mass deselections from Labour, which will grant them a healthy chunk of short money. Guido is too modest to point out where the idea was previously mooted

The advantage of Labour MPs flagging themselves as Co-op MPs is that it is a non-split, split. 24 MPs are already Labour/Co-op MPs. The parties do not stand against each other under the terms of an agreement going back to 1927. The Co-operative Party is a legally separate entity from the Labour Party, and is already registered as a political party with the Electoral Commission, thus Bercow will be able to designate them as the official opposition with very little legal difficulties. This Guido understands is only one plan being considered – Tom Watson would be reluctant to go along with it – however he will under no circumstances allow the SNP to become the official opposition.

Ideologically the ideas of the cooperative movement; egalitarianism and mutualism with co-operative commercial enterprises will be agreeable to most of the Progress-faction MPs. It has always struck Guido that Labour taking the state socialist route rather than the non-state co-operative route was, in retrospect, a fundamental mistake that put the Labour Party on the wrong side of history at the end of the twentieth century. A less statist, redistributive party that favoured social market and non-state solutions might be the future…

Corbynista’s have of course mobilised quickly, with Momentum groups on Facebook awash with calls to join the Co-op and “avoid its infiltration by the coup plotters!” Carry on comrades..

Times Runs Full Page Ad for “China Heroes”

China Xinhua Times

On Page 22 of today’s Times sits a series of articles in contrast with the rest of the paper’s coverage of Team GB’s record Olympics haul. A bold headline emblazoned with the Chinese flag praises “China Heroes” such as weightlifter Long Qingquan and table tennis champion Ding Ning. A far cry from the front page headline of “Demand for new honours as Team GB beat China”…

Upon closer inspection, the gushingly patriotic articles are the efforts of a full page advertisement from the Chinese state’s official Xinhua News Agency. Xinhua today declared China “second in the overall standings”, despite Team GB coming second via the traditional tally of gold medals. Odd choice of paper for the bragging propaganda, since the proprietor has really gone off Chinese…

No Cap on SpAd Salaries

SPADS

This morning’s Times reported that special advisers’ salaries are to be capped at £72,000, a very low bar that would not only rule out talented candidates, it would mean current SpAds getting a pay cut. Guido is told that no such cap will be enforced. A Downing Street source says:

“It is not true that there is a new cap on special adviser salaries. All special advisers will be appointed on merit and paid according to their experience and responsibilities. The rules have not changed.”

Guido also understands that reports each Secretary of State will be limited to two SpAds each are wide of the mark. Some ministers will be allowed larger teams. Someone has been giving some naughty negative briefings about the new regime… 

Now Rachel Sylvester Contradicts Her Own Story

Last night Twitter was lively and claiming that Andrea Leadsom had brought up the subject of family and motherhood, this was briefed to the Sunday Times’ political editor Tim Shipman:

This morning Rachel Sylvester was out defending her story, claiming that it was Andrea who introduced the issue of family:

However the partial audio released from The Times has Rachel Sylvester introducing the issue in a question thus:

Rachel Sylvester: “Does your family inform your politics? Do you think motherhood – I thought it was very interesting during the debates you several times said, ‘as a mum’. Do you feel like a mum in politics?”

Which clearly contradicting Rachel’s claim made at 09:04 to the BBC:

Rachel Sylvester: “What was so striking was it was she her introduced the issue of family, I didn’t raise it at all… it wasn’t I who introduced it, she did.”

An hour later at 10:04 the BBC has Rachel Sylvester saying she did raise the question:

So apparently contradictory assertions. Goes without saying that Leadsom completely denies raising the issue, calling the claim “gutter journalism”. The only way to establish whether or not Andrea Leadsom has been stitched up is to release the full recording – something The Times is refusing to do…

LISTEN: Partial Times Audio Excerpt

The Times have released a partial excerpt audio recording of the key part of Andrea Leadsom’s interview with Rachel Sylvester:

Rachel Sylvester: “Does your family inform your politics? Do you think motherhood – I thought it was very interesting during the debates you several times said, as a mum. Do you feel like a mum in politics?”

Andrea Leadsom: “Yes. Really carefully because I am sure Theresa will be really sad she doesn’t have children so I don’t want this to be ‘Andrea has children, Theresa hasn’t’, do you know what I mean? Because I think that would be really horrible. But genuinely I feel that being a mum means you have a very real stake in the future of our country, a tangible stake. She possibly has nieces, nephews, lots of people, but I have children who are going to have children who will directly be a part of what happens next.”

In Andrea’s defence, Sylvester brought up the subject of motherhood and asked the question about her being a mum. Suggestions from the Twitter outrage bus that this was a Trumpian ploy are way over the top. Leadsom’s horror at the Times headline “Being a mother gives me edge on May” is genuine. It was naive rather than nasty…

Warsi ‘Defection’ Unravels

The Times have watered down their mischievous first edition claiming Sayeeda Warsi has ‘defected’ from Leave to Remain. No one in Vote Leave thought she was a Brexit supporter or is aware of her doing any campaigning for them at all. She has only tweeted about Vote Leave once – ten days ago – to attack them. She did not appear on the website of pro-Leave group Muslims for Britain. In February Warsi told Eurosceptic campaigners she had not declared. When Dan Hannan invited her to join the Leave campaign, she declined. Neil Kinnock even once backed her for EU commissioner…

What about her own words? Speaking in 2013, Sayeeda said:

“Membership of the EU is in the UK’s national interest”

In 2014 she said:

“One of the things that attracted me to David Cameron was that he was not obsessed with Europe and immigration. I would hate to think that is where we end up again – obsessing with Europe and immigration.”

And in 2011 she told the Tory group of MEPs she explicitly supported being a member of the EU:

“Now is not the time to turn our backs on our friends. We must continue the work we have started together. This is the work that Margaret Thatcher began, bringing about growth through a competitive single market. And that must be our mission today. And with that, it is my great pleasure to introduce a man who is leading this mission [William Hague]. A man who fought a campaign about being in Europe but not run by Europe. He was criticised – but he was right.”

Forget dead cat, Downing Street and Sayeeda have sold the Times a pup…

Thunderer Not Breaking News

times

The Times, paper of record in Britain since 1785, will stop publishing breaking news on its newly redesigned website. Attempting to string out the dead tree press model of releasing editions (at 9 a.m., noon, and 5 p.m.), they reckon:

“The power of an edition has endured at The Times and The Sunday Times for 230 years. Our challenge is to update this concept for the digital age.”

Other broadsheets are tightening up their paywalls following The Times‘ allegedly profitable paywall model. Many in the industry query how it is that Times papers went from losing £50 million-a-year to profit with just a wave of an accountants wand. There have not been massive redundancies announced – though many bylines have quietly disappeared from The Sunday Times – the bloodletting has certainly been quieter than it was at the Telegraph. We’re just pleased that after all these years the apps will have a search box…

Media Diversity

Sweetener

The Times, Telegraph and Independent all went for the same cliché headline, used to cover countless budgets and spending reviews beforeThe rest of the unpopular press following in the Indy’s footsteps is not a good omen for the Times and Telegraph…

H/T thhamilton

No. 10 Loses Half its FTSE Support Since Dave’s Deal

Last Thursday, before the EU council meeting, the Telegraph had a briefing that “more than 80 FTSE 100 firms” were about to support Dave’s deal and back Remain:

Yesterday, after the deal, the FT reported that only 50 FTSE bosses were going to sign the letter supporting Remain:

As Guido revealed, the stunt had been drafted and orchestrated by Downing Street civil servants, and was lined up to appear in today’s Times.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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