Thursday, May 31, 2007

Correcting Adam Boulton

Can I be allowed to correct something Adam Boulton has written in this week's Press Gazette HERE?

After a quarter of a century as a member, I’m this year’s chairman of the Parliamentary Lobby. In spite of its sinister reputation, the Lobby is not an old boys’ network in which politicians and hacks conspire to “keep it under their hats”. We rarely hear secrets and, if we do, the public is informed pretty soon afterwards. In practice, it is the main interface between political journalists, the Government and parliamentary institutions. Our privileges are granted by the Speaker and the Serjeant at Arms, not 10 Downing Street – an important safeguard during the bumpy Blair decade. Blair and Alastair Campbell unilaterally trashed the way Government had interacted with political journalists. Brown is bound to have ideas of his own.

We also have to deal with the rise of the blogger. Iain Dale, Guido Fawkes et al want Lobby passes. But do they want to operate as journalists or gossip columnists? It’s up to the Serjeant at Arms whether to let them in.

Can I make it clear that I do not want a lobby pass. It is true that 18 Doughty Street has applied for one, but I have made clear that it is not for me. I am not a lobby journalist and I do not wish to become one.


Anonymous said...

So will someone at 18ds be designated as the lobby journalist or will it be a pass which can be used by anyone ? So you will never use the 18ds lobby pass ?

Iain Dale said...

You can't have a generic pass. It has to be for a specific person.

Anonymous said...

Iain , much more to the point: if Buckinghamshire can have more grammar places, why can't the rest of us?

This is madness. Can we have more grammar school places or not? And if not, why not?

Anonymous said...

i'm trying to watch nick cohen.
nothing is happening.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your reply Iain. So will the pass be made out for one particular Journalist at 18ds no need to name who. But you will not at any time use the pass yourself ?

Iain Dale said...

Vote Freedom. Correct.

BCB Webmaster said...

Has 18DS ever run a programme about the Lobby? Or, if not, would it? I have never thought of it as sinister, but any body that deals directly with the Gov't must have a few good stories to tell.

Gareth said...

"Blair and Alastair Campbell unilaterally trashed the way Government had interacted with political journalists". From the man married to Anji Hunter that is devastating testimony. Why pick up on the trivia and miss the important bit??

Hughes Views said...

Does Guido really want to join this important part of the Great Conspiracy about which he is always worrying his more credulous readers or did Mr B make that bit up? Or, der der der dah, is the suggestion itself part of the Great Conspiracy...

Hywel said...

"But do they want to operate as journalists or gossip columnists?"

I'm surprised this hasn't attracted more attention.

Looking at the "stories" reported by some mainstream journalists which are basically what unamed friends of Brown/Blair said about the other the difference is hard to see.

In any case that test is a highly subjective one at best - you can have a lobby pass if "we" deem you to be a proper journalist.

The West Wing covered this quite nicely in one episode. Toby saying that he would give accreditation to the National Enquirer if they asked - because then he would know that no-one was stopping the Washington Post

Anonymous said...

I'm glad it wasn't just me. Apparently the BBC's News at Ten thinks Dominic Grieve is in the shadow cabinet too, a 'senior member of the shadow cabinet' no less.

Anonymous said...

Oh Dear.
Paxman is crucifying Willetts.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Dave Cameron is in a bit of trouble over his stand on HIS principles about Grammar Schools -- or at least tonights news are headling such.

Chris Paul said...

Where does Cameron live? Do they have Grammar Schools there? Or are his down for Eton? oR has he correctly worked out that the million on the three could be better spent ... in a home off teh Edgware Road for example.

The Huntsman said...

One detects more than just a hint of snobbery in Mr. Boulton's sniffy remarks and just a touch of the sense that a closed shop is feeling threatened.

Even though you do not want one for yourself, can you see any valid reason why you should not have one if you did apply? It seems to me that the efforts of the serious blogger are not those of gossip columnist and Boulton is just trying to disparage a future source of competition.

As a conservative I am against this sort of closed shop so hopefully the Speaker/Sergeant-at-Arms will ignore the Trades Union Spanish practices approach.

The Military Wing Of The BBC said...

Bolton is TV journo Collaborator In Chief: he works for Sky AND married Tone's secretary FFS. His relationship with The Regime was the most shameful undermining of the new (media controlled) English constitution ever seen.

He will be first up against the wall come the revolution. A socialist on 500k a year.

Indeed he will be first up against the wall next time he comes to Buckinghamshire and finds the barricades up round chequers.

How could Sky be allowed to shut down ITN's 24 hour news channel and then promptly withdraw their own service on Freeview?

Anonymous said...

The lobby's not a sinister, old boy's network...

Adam Boulton, here's some real (film) journalism for you:

TAKING LIBERTIES – In cinemas NATIONWIDE from 8th June 2007.

The shocking truth about the erosion of our fundamental civil liberties by Tony Blair’s government will be exposed this summer in TAKING LIBERTIES, released in UK cinemas June 8th 2007.

Right to Protest, Right to Freedom of Speech. Right to Privacy. Right not to be detained without charge, Innocent Until Proven Guilty. Prohibition on Torture. TAKING LIBERTIES will reveal how these six central pillars of liberty have been systematically eroded since 1997.

TAKING LIBERTIES uncovers the stories the government don’t want you to hear – so ridiculous you will laugh, so ultimately terrifying you will want to take action. Teenage sisters detained for 36 hours for a peaceful protest; an RAF war veteran arrested for wearing an anti-Bush and Blair T-shirt; an innocent man shot in a police raid; and a man held under house arrest for two years, after being found innocent in court. Ordinary law-abiding citizens being punished for exercising their ‘rights’ – rights that have been fought for over centuries, and which seem to have been extinguished in a decade.

PREVIEW SCREENINGS – Tuesday 5th June 2007

Preview screenings of the film will take place in cinemas across the country on 5th June - in London, Aberdeen, Liverpool, Cambridge, Edinburgh, York, Bath, Oxford and Exeter.

Liberty’s Director Shami Chakrabarti will take part in a live panel discussion following the preview screening at the Clapham Picturehouse, London.

To view the trailer:

Anonymous said...

Guido joins the Lobby? I don't think so. He'd have to agree to be bound by Lobby terms, for a start . . .

dizzy said...

I'd like a lobby pass just for a day so I could wander round and see how drunk everyone is.

Unsworth said...

Let's be clear.

The Lobby is, by definition, an exclusive club. Lobby 'Terms' are, inevitably, a means of closing down news, but in any event are about as effective as a blancmange spanner.

The definition of 'jounalist' is what? The definition of 'gossip columnist' is what? Where do these differ? In both cases they 'report facts', and in both cases they may express 'opinion'.

Adam Boulton is carefully placing the blame elsewhere - something he has honed into a mastercraft.

Anonymous said...

Are you asking your blogettes to distrust Adam Boulton and not to take his word as a fair and balanced journalist and person?

As a member of a poloitical party, and proud of being Labour (I don't run), I have to say, you are asking a lot of me to disregard anything Adam has to say.


Iain Dale said...

Gary, I see your foolishness hasn't dissipated since I banned you from this blog a year ago.

I was merely correcting a factual error in Adam's piece. I have the highest regard for him both personally and as a journalist.

Anonymous said...

Talking of Westminster and its arcaic ways....
Herald, 28.5.07
Fighting plaques
SO, what are our MPs up to while eyes have been on the Scottish Parliament elections? Well, Aberdeen Labour MP Frank Doran chairs Westminster's administration committee which decides on the weighty matters of running the Palace of Westminster, and has recently debated whether the chess room could be better utilised as it lies empty for most of the time, and whether to improve the supply of prepaid envelopes for MPs.

But this month the committee had to decide whether a plaque should be put up to mark the bicentenary of William Wilberforce's campaign to abolish slavery.

Shouldn't be a problem as Frank, the previous month, was keen to put his name to a popular motion regretting "that many thousands of Africans suffered horrific, degrading and immoral treatment as a result of the slave trade".

But not that straightforward after all, it seems. His committee dismissed the suggestion in one sentence: "The committee agreed not to approve the proposal on the grounds that it was likely to lead to a proliferation of plaques around the Estate."

Well done, Frank.

= = = = = = =
Members present:
Mr Frank Doran, in the Chair
Mr Bob Ainsworth
Janet Anderson
Derek Conway
Mr Neil Gerrard
Mr Kevan Jones
Mr Greg Knight
Mr Andrew Robathan
John Thurso
Apologies: Mr Simon Burns, Mr Christopher Chope, Frank Dobson, Mr Brian H
Donohoe, Helen Jones, David Lepper, Pete Wishart.

The Committee considered a proposal for a plaque commemorating William Wilberforce and the abolition of the slave trade, together with the views of the Advisory Committee on Works of Art and the advice of the Serjeant at Arms.
The Committee agreed not to approve the proposal on the grounds that it was likely to lead to a proliferation of plaques around the Estate.

= = = = = = =
= = = = = = =
EDM 1221

That this House notes with regret that many thousands of Africans suffered horrific, degrading and immoral treatment as a result of the slave trade; commemorates the dignified and brave manner in which enslaved Africans rose up against their oppressors; further commemorates 25th March as the bicentenary of the passing of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act 1807 by Parliament; notes that the barbaric slave trade saw millions of enslaved persons transported through British ports; acknowledges that many of its past victims are the ancestors of present-day British citizens; recognises that the UK's economy directly benefited from the trade; calls on the Government to establish an annual National Slavery Memorial Day on 23rd August to memoralise both the outlawing of the slave trade and the resistance to it by enslaved people; further cautions that in 2007 hundreds of thousands of adults and children are still being trafficked and sold into forms of slavery such as forced labour and prostitution in a global criminal trade, causing devastating human suffering both abroad and in the UK; congratulates the Government for signing the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings on Friday 23rd March 2007; and further urges the Government to take any other steps that may be necessary both to combat modern day slavery and to raise awareness about modern and past slavery, in co-operation with partners in the UK and abroad.

Vaz, Keith 78 signatures 27.03.2007

....Doran, Frank

Frank Doran is MP for Aberdeen North

= = = = = = =

= = = = =

Anonymous said...

dizzy said...
I'd like a lobby pass just for a day so I could wander round and see how drunk everyone is.

June 01, 2007 8:09 AM

Too right Dizzy! No wonder they're all in a muddle. :)

Paul Linford said...


You can say many things about the Lobby, but the pissed-old-hacks-propping-up-the-bar-all-day caraicature is at least 10 years out of date.

It may have been true once - lunchtime drinking was regarded as pretty much de rigeur even in local journalism when I started out in it. But the profession, and the Lobby, has moved on.

Anonymous said...

If any of you have any doubts that Gordon brown is not crooked then just pop over to the Fawkes blog and see what he has found out about the Smith institute and its theft of government money! Yes thats right people, theft! It turns out that the taxpayer has been funding a brownite pressure group! I cant see Adam or the BBC running this story though! I wonder why?

Anonymous said...

"I am not a lobby journalist and I do not wish to become one."

Yes, best to concentrate on your stronger areas.