Entries from November 2011 ↓
November 30th, 2011 —
Computer hacking: A spokesman for Peter Hain said:
“Earlier today Peter Hain met with Metropolitan police officers leading Operation Tuleta regarding an investigation into the alleged hacking of his official and personal computers during his time as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
I can confirm that Mr Hain has instructed the lawyer Charlotte Harris of Mishcon de Reya to act on his behalf.
Given the serious and sensitive nature of this on-going investigation, it would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage.”
November 28th, 2011 —
At the BSkyB AGM in 2010, James Murdoch received a 1.79% vote against.
November 28th, 2011 —
It’s the Annual General Meeting of BSyB tomorrow.
All the directors of the company are up for election, including James Murdoch. Whilst News Corp dominate the voting shares, it will be interesting to see how many votes stack up from more independent minded investors.
In the 9 months to end of Sept 2011 there were approx 2500 director elections in the FTSE350.
2.5% of directors received a vote against their election of greater than 10%
1% received a vote against of greater than 15%
0.5% received a vote against of greather than 20%
November 23rd, 2011 —
Alistair Graham: ‘If you are doing a private deal, affecting your personal interests with one of the, head of the largest lobbying firms in this country then of course you should register that in your MPs list of interests ‘ – C4News
November 23rd, 2011 —
David Cameron stated in PMQs today that the Tax Payers Alliance “don’t actually pay us”. They may not do so directly but a large number of TPA supporters/donors also fund the Conservative Party, amongst them are:
JCB (Sir Anthony Bamford) – Has donated more than £1 million
The Midlands Industrial Council, £1.5m since 2003:
Tony Gallagher, owner of Gallagher UK, a property company that gave the Conservatives £250,000 in 2007, is a member of the MIC, as is Christopher Kelly who owns Keltruck, and Robert Edmiston who owns IM Group, a large car importer.
Rocco Forte Ltd
Leavesley Group/JT Leavesley
Sir Robert McAlpine
Midland Chilled Foods
Lowe & Fletcher
November 21st, 2011 —
Ahead of this week’s Fare Deal rally, Ken Livingstone has announced the next important part of his Fare Deal for London today – a new zone 2-6 ZoneSaver card to replace the Travelcard abolished this January by Conservative Boris Johnson. Thousands of outer London commuters were stunned to find the zone 2-6 Travelcard was abolished by the Conservative Mayor earlier this year, leading to a 74% fare hike for these customers on January 3rd 2011.
Mr Livingstone made his announcement on a visit to the London Borough of Bexley, part of his ‘Tell Ken’ programme of day-long visits to all 32 London boroughs.
The ZoneSaver Travelcard will end the stealth tax fare rise imposed by the Conservative mayor this January – introducing a new replacement zone 2-6 Travelcard as part of the emergency fares cut planned for autumn 2012 if Ken Livingstone is elected. Boris Johnson abolished the Zones 2-6 Travelcard (which cost £8.60) which meant that passengers who wanted to use a Travelcard were forced to buy a Zone 1-6 Travelcard (which cost £15) paying £128 a month more.
Pressed by London Assembly members about the Outer London stealth tax fare rise, Boris Johnson said the difference between prices was ‘very little.’
Fares have rocketed under Boris Johnson. The cost of a single bus fare has risen 56% (jumping from 90p to £1.40) and the cost of a popular weekly zone 1 – 4 Travelcard is up 23%, costing Londoners £416 a year more than in 2008.
Ken’s announcement comes days before his Fare Deal Rally takes place, which will see hundreds of Londoners come together and support the campaign for fairer fares on 23rd November. Under Ken Livingstone’s ‘Fare Deal’ plan, fares will be cut by 5% in a move set to save the average commuter in London £800 over the next four years.
Ken Livingstone said:
“This is about righting a wrong and ending a disgraceful stealth tax on outer London that should never have been imposed by the Conservative Mayor. In tough times we need to use the levers available to the mayor to reduce the pressure on people who are really feeling the pinch – not a city administration that has become so remote it thinks nothing of a 74 per cent fare rise for many commuters in outer London.
If I am elected I will cut the fares and introduce a 2-6 travelcard,
the ZoneSaver card, saving fare-payers in outer London hundreds of pounds a year. Boris Johnson abolished it in January 2011. I will
reintroduce it by October next year. The choice could not be clearer.
This part of the new Fare Deal for London – to tear up the current plan of above-inflation annual fare rises, cut fares by 5% next October, freeze them for a year and from 2014 ensure they do not rise by more than inflation. It will mean the average commuter in London will be £800 better off over the next four years – in stark contrast to the staggering fare hikes we have seen in the last three years.”
Val Shawcross AM said:
“It was telling that Boris Johnson regarded the financial impact of
scrapping the 2-6 Travelcard as, ‘very little’ when thousands of
commuters in outer London have been forced to pay hundreds of pounds a year.
No wonder the Conservative Mayor is increasingly being seen as out of touch with the interest and concerns of ordinary Londoners. In tough times like these, Londoners can’t afford a mayor who is so out of touch that he is hitting Londoners with stealth taxes like a 74 per cent rise in some Londoners’ fares but thinks it’s okay to have a second job paying £250 000 a year – an amount he calls ‘chicken feed.’
Outer London has been hit particularly hard by decisions made by Boris Johnson. Fares have risen steeply under his watch. Every single outer London borough has seen police numbers cut in the last year.
Vital transport projects like the DLR extension to Dagenham and Croydon tram extension have been scrapped.”
November 18th, 2011 —
Yesterday I wrote a column for the Express and Star. It was picked up by a Times journalist this morning. Here is the text exchange between Ben Webster and me, you may find it of interest and or amusing.
Ben Webster: Hi Tom, could you tell me what the allegations are against the Times and Sunday Times? Thanks, Ben Webster. You can email me at ***********
Me: Ask the editors.
Ben Webster: I’m following up what you wrote in the Express and Star. Please can you tell me what you were refering to?
Me: Oh don’t be silly. Walk into your editor’s office and ask him.
Ben Webster: I have done. But I would like to know what you were referring to. Why do you seem reluctant to say?
Me: And what did he say?
Ben Webster: You may be aware of allegations the editors are not aware of. That’s why I’m asking you.
Me: Please let me know what your editor said and I’ll confirm whether I concur. It’s a big moment for him to publicly admit for the first time, that the Times has been touched, albeit in a tiny way, by the hacking scandal. Has he done that yet?
Ben Webster: Is it that you are not confident enough of the allegation to say what it is?
Me: Actually, no. It’s because I don’t trust you, your editor or your company not to twist the story. Remember the Murdoch’s first testimony when I went to the toilet and you put a picture of the empty chair on page two? At the time you acknowledged it was a mistake. You said your editor was going to call to put the matter right. He didn’t. So, what did he say to you this morning when you put searching questions to him about the paper being touched, albeit in a tiny way, by the hacking scandal?
Ben Webster: Why don’t you trust me? You have referred to allegations about criminal acts against 2 national papers. I am not aware of those allegations. I’m simply asking you what they are.
Me: To repeat: what did your editor say?
Ben Webster: What story do you think I have twisted? I think it’s unfair to suggest that.
Me: There’s a certain amount of comic dancing around the handbags about this conversation, Ben. You ask why I don’t trust you. I don’t trust you because a; I don’t know you and to my knowledge have never met you b; I don’t read your work because I prefer the guardian for media stories and the telegraph for news and your paper hides behind a paywall c; you work for a company that has used private detectives to put me under covert surveillance on at least two occasions and the chief reporter of another paper in the stable told me of plans by the former chief executive to ‘smear’ me and d; I know and your editor knows exactly how the Times has been touched, albeit in a tiny way, by the hacking scandal and even he seemingly doesn’t trust you enough to give you a straight answer. Under the circumstances, I think most reasonable people would understand why I’m not going to help you more than I already have. Do have a good day, sir.
November 16th, 2011 —
“It is not possible for me to respond to Mr Thurlbeck’s statement in full as to do so may prejudice the conduct of the police inquiry.However, to be fair to Mr Thurlbeck, it is true to say that he did tell me that he raised his concerns with senior managers in July 2009. I am sorry that I cannot say more at this time. I have made the information he shared with me available to the police.”
November 14th, 2011 —
I am very sorry that I will not be able to attend the conference today.
Roy Greenslade has just revealed that six months ago, members of the DCMS Select Committee were the targets of covert surveillance by private investigators and journalists working for News International. This revelation became the third occasion that I know of in which I was a target of covert surveillance News Corp in the UK.
Under the circumstances, I have to spend the day seeking advice from the Speaker and discussing the matter with fellow members of the DCMS Select Committee as to our legal and constitutional position.
I am very disappointed not to be with you. Had I been there, I would have made the case for editors getting on the front foot and coming up with their own reform position – one that protects the noble tradition of robust, no-nonsense journalism that typifies the British newspaper industry but that ensures editors put matters right when they get them wrong.
I would also have taken a pot shot at Lord Patten’s lugubrious speech justifying the BBC not being able to adequately investigate the phonehacking scandal. The DCMS committee published a report that found Rupert Murdoch’s executives guilty of “collective amnesia”. We found it “inconceivable” that others were not involved in hacking. Where was Nick Robinson, the most powerful political editor in the land, during this period? Kissing Andy Coulson’s arse.
Please feel free read out the contents of this letter to delegates with my sincere apologies for not being there.
November 5th, 2011 —
The Information Commissioner’s Office have responded. You can read the full response here. (PDF)
November 1st, 2011 —
To coincide with the start of the London Conference on Cyberspace, 11 organisations and experts on freedom of expression and privacy online have today written to the Foreign Secretary about the UK’s domestic Internet policies.
Pointing to UK proposals for greater controls over what legal material people are allowed to access on the Internet in the UK, Open Rights Group, Index on Censorship, Privacy International, Evgeny Morozov and Heather Brooke, argue that Britain’s desire to promote freedom of expression and privacy internationally is being hampered by domestic policy. The letter continues:
“The government now has an historic opportunity to support technologies that promote rather than undermine people’s political and social empowerment. We call for the UK government to seize this opportunity to reject censorship and surveillance, domestically and internationally, that undermines people’s rights to express themselves, organise or communicate freely. That is the only way to both enshrine the rights of citizens in the UK and to support these principles internationally.”
The full letter is available on the Open Rights Group website. The full list of signatories is:
Brett Soloman, Executive Director, Access,
Dr Agnes Callamard, Executive Director, Article 19
Cory Doctorow, Fellow, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Jonathan Heawood, Director, English PEN
Evgeny Morozov, author, ‘The Net Delusion’
Andrew Puddephatt, Director, Global Partners
Heather Brooke, author, ‘The Revolution will be Digitised’
John Kampfner, CEO, Index on Censorship
Tony Curzon Price, Editor-in-Chief, openDemocracy
Jim Killock, Executive Director, Open Rights Group
Simon Davies, Director, Privacy International