Tag Archives: the guardian

Could you edit The Guardian? Take a simple test

Here’s a simple test to see if you too have what it takes to edit The Guardian.

a. You have an interview lined up with a Treasury minister.

b. You have a journalist who happily admits they don’t understand the difference between a cyclical and structural deficit.

Do you say:

1. “Pah, so what? It’s not like we need an interviewer who can understand the basics of economics to interview an economics minister”, or

2. “Err, could we get a different interviewer?”

If your answer is #1: well done, you’re made it (as the third paragraph of this new interview with Danny Alexander demonstrates).

If your …

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Opinion: Why David Cameron will not be Prime Minister in a year’s time

Bizarrely, I was watching dancing coal miners dressed in tutus when I heard the news of Sir Paul Stephenson’s resignation last Sunday evening. A little trigger went off in my mind. Suddenly, the unthinkable had become thinkable. “Cameron will be next” I thought.

OK. We’re now in the “long grass” of the parliamentary recess. Cameron put in a “Tory Trebles all round”, barn-storming performance at the dispatch box on Wednesday. He must have been thankful it was jet-lag proof Johannesburg he had come from (where he met a different type of Tutu) and not New York, with its jet-lag on the …

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Opinion: Hackgate – Who do you trust?

5 Live Drive had a poll yesterday on “Who do you trust?”, particularly with Hackgate in mind.

Emerging, blinking, from two weeks of saturation “Breaking News”, answering that question is a good way to take stock of where we are.

Who do I trust?

Vince Cable is the first person who springs to mind. He (inadvertently publicly) “declared war on Mr Murdoch”. He was then forced to be “hors de combat”. He said “I think we are going to win” and we did. Murdoch is in retreat. Well done, Vince.

Tom Watson is the second person I trust as a result of this …

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In Praise of Nick Davies, the British Bernstein & Woodward to Murdoch’s Nixon

One man, above all, deserves to be singled-out for his single-minded pursuit of the lies, deceit and criminality that have stained British journalism: The Guardian’s special correspondent, Nick Davies.

His has been a lonely crusade. Despite the mounting evidence of corrupt practices, the tentacles of which have extended right into the very centre of the Establishment in this country — Parliament, media barons, senior police officers, Downing Street — Nick Davies has doggedly pursued a campaign which has resulted in the closure of this country’s most-read newspaper. That is some accolade.

But, as he would be the first to point out, it should never have got this far.

The closure of the News of the World would have been avoided if those who knew the truth, or at least had the power to uncover the truth, had done their jobs properly, had fulfilled their duty to the public. And that’s as true of Rebekah Brooks as it is of ‘Yates of the Yard’.

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Opinion: Liberal Democrats to hold inquiry into AV Referendum

The Guardian reports that the Party has decided to hold an inquiry, headed by James Gurling, into the Yes to AV campaign.

I wrote a piece for Lib Dem Voice back in May calling for an inquiry and since then more and more information has come to light about the shambolic and incompetent way the Yes campaign was run.

What does seem rather odd is that there has been no announcement to Party members and activists that this inquiry was taking place and asking for their input. I asked a couple of Lib Dems who had been highly active in …

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What has the DPM done for us?

Lib Dem blogger Matthew Gibson has blogged Nick Clegg’s achievements as DPM over the past year, as viewed by the mainstream media.

Matthew’s been monitoring the papers for months, noting all the positive stories about the Deputy PM and Lib Dem leader.

He splits these up by the common themes that have emerged: leadership, competence, being principled and standing his ground.

Here’s a taster:

Competence

The Independent praise Nick Clegg’s simple and direct language in his speech at Conference concluding ‘Clegg knows what he is doing – quite unusual for a leader of a party’ (see here).

The Daily Telegraph believe

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My letter to The Guardian, unpublished

Sir,

I noticed that around half the recent stories about phone hacking on the Guardian website with photos feature a photograph of Sienna Miller. Does she make up around half of all the people whose phones were hacked?

Yours etc.

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Charles Kennedy to join Ed Miliband on a pro-electoral reform platform

It’s hardly surprising that Charles Kennedy and Ed Miliband would be appearing together to promote electoral reform. Kennedy has long been a supporter of electoral reform and by virtue of not being in government is seen by many in Labour as an easier figure to campaign alongside (even though one of Kennedy’s first acts on becoming party leader was to end the party’s then work in government with Labour). Ed Milband in turn is the author of Labour’s general election manifesto which not only pledged a referendum but also called for a change in the electoral system to follow from …

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We all know the Lib Dems U-turned on tuition fees, so why’s The Guardian indulging in half-truths?

The Guardian carries a sensationalist headline tonight: Revealed: Lib Dems planned before election to abandon tuition fees pledge. The truth is somewhat different from the newspaper’s anti-Lib Dem spin, however.

The story is clearly designed to make the reader believe that, even as Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems spoke out against tuition fees, it was secretly their plan to renege on the party’s manifesto pledge. Yet, if you read more carefully it becomes clear that the party was simply anticipating the likely hung parliament scenario — that faced with two parties, Labour and the Tories, committed to tuition fees …

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Opinion: Are the poor going to be driven out of the south by the Coalition’s housing benefit reforms?

A shocking story in the Guardian this week that, not content with driving the poor out of Kensington and Chelsea, the Coalition’s cap on housing benefit would force them out of southern England altogether. Worse, this came from the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), who sound like they ought to know what they are talking about.

I rang up the CIH and asked how I could get hold of a copy of the study and was surprised to hear that there has been not actually been one. They are apparently ‘doing some work for a Select Committee’ which …

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How the media loves mixed messages (when they suit their own message)

‘Conservative spending cuts are worse than Thatcher’s, says Alan Johnson’ shouts today’s Observer, reporting the paper’s interview with Labour’s incoming shadow chancellor.

If the election had turned out differently — if Labour had won, rather than suffering one of the worst defeats in its history — the headline could have read a little different… Imagine this headline:

    Alistair Darling: we will cut deeper than Margaret Thatcher

But wait, we don’t have to imagine that headline: it already exists, and was used by the Observer’s stablemate The Guardian back in March when reporting the then Labour chancellor’s realistic appraisal of the …

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Lib Dems on child detention: read our lips, it will be ended

The Guardian today carries a story, Government climbdown on detention of children in immigration centres, which — if it were accurate — would have Lib Dems hopping mad. Thankfully, it’s not accurate.

It was six weeks ago, at his first acting stint at Prime Minister’s Questions, that Nick Clegg formally announced that (as per the Lib Dem manifesto and Coalition agreement) the practise of child detention would end:

It was simply a moral outrage that last year the Labour government imprisoned, behind bars, 1,000 children who were innocent of any wrongdoing whatsoever. This coalition government will once again restore a

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Guardian verdict on voting reform: “Mr Clegg spoke for progress; Mr Straw for reaction.”

The Guardian has not always been kind to the Coalition since its formation; still less to the Lib Dems. But its stinging rebuke to Labour’s “opposition for opposition’s sake” — with its attempt last night cynically to torpedo the Lib/Con government’s electoral reform measures — might perhaps give the new party leader pause for thought.

In the topsy-turvy world of Coalition politics, two parties which do not support the alternative vote last night voted to endorse a referendum on it; while the party which pledged to introduce it in its manifesto decided to jettison that promise.

It was an irony …

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Who is who behind the scenes in the coalition?

Today’s Guardian has a pretty decent go at covering who the key advisers are, on both the Liberal Democrat and Conservative side, how they are working together, who talks to who and so on.

The piece has been praised by others today, but I only say “pretty decent” because it doesn’t mention Alison Suttie. Talking about Lib Dem advisers without mentioning her is a bit like talking about Lib Dem MPs without mentioning Vince or my diet without mentioning chocolate. Previously for Ming Campbell and now for Nick Clegg she’s played an absolutely key role in a deputy chief of …

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Marks out of ten for the coalition?

The Guardian is running the latest ICM poll today.

The overall story is good for the Lib Dems – up three points to 19% (both Labour and the Tories are slightly down against the last ICM poll), and the Coalition remains stubbornly popular, still in the 55-60% range.

But this is just one poll (and there are others both significantly better and worse for the party), so let’s not worry too much about the headline figures.

More interesting is the line the Guardian takes and the “marks out of ten” for the Coalition Government.

First the line taken in the article. If …

Posted in Polls | Also tagged and | 15 Comments

Guardian: Labour’s involvement in illegal abduction and torture of British citizens

Today’s Guardian reports the involvement of senior Labour figures, including Tony Blair and Jack Straw, in the illegal abduction and torture of British citizens by the secret services:

The true extent of the Labour government’s involvement in the illegal abduction and torture of its own citizens after the al-Qaida attacks of September 2001 has been spelled out in stark detail with the disclosure during high court proceedings of a mass of highly classified documents.

Previously secret papers that have been disclosed include a number implicating Tony Blair’s office in many of the events that are to be the subject of the

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Clegg’s verdict on Labour in opposition: “Collective bile is not a political strategy”

There’s an in-depth, wide-ranging and pretty frank interview with Nick Clegg in The Guardian today, in which he defends the coalition, assures those Lib Dem activists worried by the budget cuts that they are “not driven by some ideological zeal”, and attacks Labour for its failure to recognise that coalitions are here to stay: “Something very, very big is happening in politics.”

Here are some of the juiciest Clegg-bites:

On the coalition:

is not an aberration, but a natural consequence of what has been happening for years, which is a loosening of the old tribal ties between the old parties and

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Two Lib Dem MPs rebel over VAT

The Guardian:

The coalition faced its first rebellion last night when two Liberal Democrat MPs voted against a budget proposal to increase VAT to 20%.

Bob Russell and Mike Hancock voted with Labour to oppose the increase, which has alarmed many Lib Dems who warned during the election of a Tory VAT “bombshell”.

To shouts of “shame” from the Labour benches, the 2.5% increase in VAT from January was backed by 346 to 270, majority 76. Russell, MP for Colchester, and Hancock, MP for Porstmouth South, had earlier supported a backbench Lib Dem motion demanding a Treasury investigation into the impact on the

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A curate’s egg of an article – The Guardian asks, “Will the Liberal Democrats survive the coalition?”

There’s an interesting in-depth feature in today’s Guardian, focusing on the future prospects for the Lib Dems now the party is in government: Will the Liberal Democrats survive the coalition? (It’s a question I think we’ve all been asking ourselves for the last three weeks).

It’s a generally fair and balanced take – highlighting the many acknowledged threats to the party, recognising there are opportunities, too – with interviewees including Lord (David) Steel, Simon Hughes and James Graham.

However, it’s a little marred by some rather strange omissions by its author, Andy Beckett. For example, it seems odd to talk …

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Postal ballots are not the same as postal vote application forms

The Guardian today seems to confuse application forms for postal votes with the actual ballot papers that postal voters receive:

At the weekend David Monks, head of elections for the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives, called for a ban on political parties handling postal votes amid fears that activists are collecting ballot papers before forwarding them on in order to record the results in their canvassing process. This breaches a national code of conduct, but is not illegal.

Activists taking postal ballot papers and then recording the voting intention from them would leave them open to legal action (e.g. undue …

Posted in Election law | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Can you help Emily Thornberry?

Emily Thornberry, Labour MP for Islington South, has been on Newsnight repeatedly claiming there is nothing new in The Guardian’s support for the Liberal Democrats and that it’s just a repeat of what the paper said in 2005.

So perhaps you can help her by seeing if you can work out the difference?

The Guardian, 2005: “Voters should use their heads and hearts to re-elect Labour with an increased Liberal Democrat presence.”

The Guardian, 2010: “If the Guardian had a vote in the 2010 general election it would be cast enthusiastically for the Liberal Democrats.”

Re-elect Labour? Vote Liberal Democrat? It’s all …

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+++ Holy crap, the Guardian endorses Lib Dems

Not content with publishing a letter from leading progressives, the Guardian tonight brings to an end its journey to a decision about which party to support.

The article is here.

General election 2010: The liberal moment has come
If the Guardian had a vote it would be cast enthusiastically for the Liberal Democrats. But under our discredited electoral system some people may – hopefully for the last time – be forced to vote tactically

We can certainly commend them on their decision, and my headline shows my surprise at them taking this bold step. I think many people were expecting …

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This is why the posters, avatars, status updates and more matter

From The Guardian’s report on its latest ICM poll (which puts the Lib Dems in second once again*):

There is also evidence that the bandwagon effect is helping the pick up votes: 31% of all voters, including 26% of Labour supporters, say knowing that other people are switching to the Lib Dems encourages them to do the same.

That’s one of the reasons why posters in windows, avatars on Twitter, group membership on Facebook and so on all matter: they help persuade more people to vote Liberal Democrat.

* Although the spread from first place to third is within the margin

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The Guardian asks, “What happens if Cameron loses?”

Here’s a bit of fun speculation, at least if you’re not a Tory. Let’s suppose most of the last 10 days’ polls are right, and David Cameron’s Tories are destined to have fewer MPs than Labour in the House of Commons (even if they win more votes) – what would the Tories do?

That’s the question Andy Beckett ponders in today’s Guardian.

Would David Cameron resign or be forced to quit? According to Tim Bale, author of The Conservative Party: From Thatcher to Cameron, he’d be safe if he chooses to be:

“You’ll get lots of huffing and puffing on

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Guardian readers switching to Lib Dems in droves

Wednesday’s editorial for the Guardian – which I found online here – is one of those pieces you see all too often in the Guardian, the time honoured preparation of the nose peg. Hold your nose, disregard the stench and put the cross by the rose.

It tries to find some vestige of hope in the Labour party, one thing remaining that is still worth voting for. But it’s the penultimate paragraph and not its conclusion that rings truest:

The party’s activists and MPs are so obviously convinced of their own decent intentions and past record that they fail to

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Michael Moore live online at the Guardian at 11am

Over at The Guardian website, Michael Moore, Lib Dem spokesman on international development, will be live online and answering readers’ questions about aid and development from 11am today, Tuesday. Here’s how it’s being trailed:

Last year, the Liberal Democrats set out their thoughts on international development in a policy paper, which outlined support for the aid target of 0.7% of GDP, a call for renewed efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals and an acknowledgement that aid sometimes fails and that perhaps financial aid is not the most effective way of delivering support.

At 11am (GMT) on Tuesday, 16 March, the Lib

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Stephen Tall and Mark Pack on the launch of ‘How Liberal / Authoritarian is your MP?’ website

To co-incide with the launch yesterday by Lib Dem Voice of our new ‘How Liberal / Authoritarian is your MP?’ website – http://rank.libdemvoice.org – two articles apeared in the media …

Meanwhile Stephen Tall penned an article for The Guardian’s Comment Is …

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ICM: 59% of Lib Dem voters support marriage tax breaks … Or do they?

The Guardian’s monthly ICM poll, published today, asks a couple of intriguing questions.

For a start, we discover where Lib Dem supporters perceive they sit within the class system (however self-defined) – 50% say they are middle-class, and 48% that they are working-class. This compares with 38% middle-class to 61% working class for Labour; and 56% to 39% for the Tories.

(Slightly bizarrely, it turns out the Lib Dems have more supporters who identify themselves as upper-class (2%) than the Tories do (1%); the poll’s margin of error may explain that finding.)

But the ICM/Guardian question which interested me most …

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Why I’m sticking up for the Taxpayers’ Alliance. Sort of.

Today’s Guardian is full of righteous indignation about the allegation that the Taxpayers’ Alliance has set up a charitable arm to claim Gift Aid on donations from wealthy backers, Tory tax allies ‘subsidised’ by the taxpayer:

A campaign group which claims to represent the interests of ordinary taxpayers is using a charitable arm which gives it access to tax relief on donations from wealthy backers, the Guardian has learned.

The Conservative-linked Taxpayers’ Alliance, which campaigns against the misuse of public funds, has set up a charity under a different name which can secure subsidies from the taxman worth up to 40%

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More Hansard quotes about #Trafigura

Yesterday we brought you links to discussion in Parliament about disreputable oil company Trafigura’s legal shenanigans to prevent discussion of their activities on the Côte d’Ivoire.

Today here’s a little more, courtesy of Private Eye’s blog. Ian Hislop, the editor of the magazine, appeared with Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger at a select committee hearing discussing the damage injunctions can do to real, investigative journalism. An unedited verbatim transcript can be found here, with the juicy bits starting around Q850, about halfway down the very long page.

In it, Hislop talks candidly about a number of incidences where …

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  • User AvatarJoe Bourke 25th Apr - 2:41am
    Matthew, I think we need to remember that in Gladstone's day the British East-India company was the largest global corporation in history, accounting for half...
  • User AvatarRichard Dean 25th Apr - 12:40am
    @jedibeeftrix. Have you really descended to this? Your comments always used to be interesting and challenging!
  • User AvatarRichard Dean 25th Apr - 12:37am
    There'll always be crises. It's a fact of life. Politics is the art of managing them and learning from them, and learning is what is...
  • User AvatarDavid Allen 25th Apr - 12:23am
    Matthew Huntbach, If you read very carefully, you will find that Alex Marsh did not write a "flood of propaganda which insists that the pre-merger...
  • User Avatarjedibeeftrix 25th Apr - 12:06am
    the article, and the degree of division in the comments makes me lol. but at least the division represents a degree of sanity returning to...
  • User AvatarRay 24th Apr - 11:54pm
    There should be no bullying down to the "normal and harmless" homosexuality.
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