The Hound

A giant replica of Dominic Cummings at the People's Vote march.

Cummings attacks tax-raiser Boris

Dominic Cummings says Tories should organise to prevent Boris Johnson raising taxes, as he plans to fund social care.

On his blog, the ex-spad-in-chief speculates that the row with the Prime Minister and the Chancellor Rishi Sunak could lead to the government’s downfall. “The Tory party will own everything that goes wrong with social care for years to come.”

Cummings questions why such a proposal is being put on the table when the government is choosing “to spend £35 billion just this Parliament on HS2”. He brands the manifesto-busting commitment as a Boris Johnson’s “read my lips: no new taxes” moment, adding: “This blunder, if it happens will be the source of recrimination for years.” He calls on Tory backbenchers to lobby the Chief Whip, Mark Spencer, against such reforms.

The real meat, however, is served in the second half, as he slams Bojo’s leadership. He writes: “The more he talks about ‘levelling up’ the more he reminds everyone his slogan is as empty as ‘Global Britain’, another rubbish slogan.”

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Cummings diatribe without a mention of the PM’s wife Carrie ‘Antoinette’ Johnson. “Plots become self-fulfilling when you so obviously behave selfishly, have no plan, have no grip, lie to everyone, and let your girlfriend interfere with government and whisper audibly in your ear while you’re talking to colleagues.”

The ending may be the most damning indictment of the attacks so far, given the closeness of their previous relationship during and after the EU referendum:

“The only point and justification for ‘Johnson as PM’ was to serve as a spokesman for Vote Leave. We had a plan to get Brexit done and the constitutional crisis out of the way, consign Corbyn to history, rewire the state and the Conservative Party, destroy the Labour Party and fundamentally change the condition of the country — and a team, formal and informal, to do it. He has none of these. He’s there for himself. That’s it. You know this.”

Former actress and Dutchess of Sussex Meghan Markle

Ofcom clears Piers Morgan over Meghan comments

Piers Morgan, who is taking time off the telly to “spend more time with his opinions”, has been cleared by Ofcom over his criticism of Meghan Markle on Good Morning Britain.

Viewers weren’t too pleased with Morgan when he said he “didn’t believe a word” of the Duchess of Sussex’s tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey back in the spring. Seeing this ex-Fleet Street hack getting riled up was pure spectacle, to the point where Morgan “had enough” and walked off set.

A record 57,000 complaints were sent the regulator’s way, including one from the Duchess herself. She probably thought she had a chance of winning this media bout, given her previous victories in court against The Sun and Mail on Sunday.

Yet Meghan can’t always have it her way. Ofcom has ruled in Morgan’s favour, saying he did not breach any broadcasting codes, although they have accepted that his remarks were “potentially harmful and offensive”.

Morgan is relishing his “resounding victory” against “cancel culture”. He has even asked if he could have his GMB job back…

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Politico snapped up for a cool billion

Politico is usually the one hounding out hearsay from the alleyways of authority. But this week it was Politico making the headlines after German publishing giant Axel Springer snapped up the website for a cool $1 billion. 

And who can blame the publisher? Politico has established itself as a go-to name for wonks, hacks and officials across Washington, Westminster and Brussels.

Axel Springer might have sniffed out a bargain others have overlooked. It has also purchased majority stakes in Business Insider and Morning Brew, which banked more than $150 million and $20 million in revenues respectively in 2020. 

The same cannot be said for Vice Media, the hipsterphile “content company” read by those who like their hazelnut skinny latte with cashew milk. The media group lost over $20 million in 2020 – even with the financial backing of Rupert Murdoch, George Soros and Disney – and executives have announced plans to reduce the number of articles on it’s sites.

Dozens of writers and text editors have also been sent their P45s. It’s become a bit of a yearly tradition for Vice to lay off a load of its employees all in one go. In 2019, 250 staff members lost their jobs, and in 2020 another 155 walked out the door.

Even if the death of journalism has been greatly exaggerated, Vice’s days might be numbered. 

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