back to article Fired Ofcom Remainer bod sues UK gov for withholding his payoff

A sacked board member of UK telco regulator Ofcom is suing the British government for refusing to give him a £75,000 ($92,500) payoff. Bill Emmott wants a judicial review of the decision by Culture Secretary Karen Bradley to fire him after the government took offence at a number of articles that criticized Brexit and slammed …

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Mushroom

Good riddance

What a tosser. Told not to do something, does it anyway, throws a tantrum when punished.

Good riddance to him.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good riddance

You hate wearing a tie? but toe the line in every other way. You sound like the usual Ofcom fodder.

(The blog is an extremely interesting read into the internal workings of "revolving doors" Ofcom).

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Re: Good riddance

did you actually read the linked account? Chief Exec not involved in recruitment process decides they don't like the person they get; the Chair, who was involved in recruitment, says not his fault but then changed position with the political breeze. If the quote from the Code of Conduct is accurate (easy enough to check) then he did not breach that or the agreements / understandings.

For me, the most disturbing part seems that he was removed (for whatever reason) with no processes followed: no formal reasons given, no witnesses, and nothing in writing. A full and final settlement was agreed, with Ofcom saying it had to be agreed by DCMS but that was expected within days. That was not forthcoming and there appears to be no written explanation of why not.

Overall, it sounds like they recruited the wrong person, failed to explain to him that even though they had chosen to recruit a journalist/editor they expected him to cease those activities (having agreed he would not be expected to do so) - but then, worst of all, they failed to admit the issue and simply screwed up the process of him leaving. If that process had been handled properly (easy enough), then none of this would have been necessary and we would not be commenting on an article that wouldn't exist.

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Unhappy

Almost right

"slammed Donald Trump as "America's Berlusconi."

Most probably we will find that he's more like Mugabe.

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Roo
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Windows

Re: Almost right

I think Trump is more likely to pan out as America's Yeltsin.

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LDS
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Re: Almost right

And his son-in-law as America's Putin?

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Re: Almost right

Yeltsin was nowhere near as bad as Trump gears up to become...

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Trollface

Re: Almost right

A tad hard on Mugabe, but I take your point.

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Headmaster

After Emmott was disinvited to an Ofcom board meeting in July

Disinvited?

What's wrong with uninvited or just plain not invited?

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Anonymous Coward

Uninvited is never invited in the first place. Disinvited, is invited, with the invite then subsequently recinded, subtly different.

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Anonymous Coward

No - uninvited can only happen if you were previously invited. If you were not previously invited then you were "not invited" or excluded, but you were not uninvited. Uninvited is what should have been used instead of the awful disinvited, if he had previously been invited.

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Anonymous Coward

Nonsense – uninvited is only an adjective, and 'uninvited guests' (for example) refers to guests that were not invited in the first place.

Disinvited is correct – check a decent dictionary.

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If you consult a decent dictionary, as another commentard suggests, you'll find that "disinvite" dates from about 1640, while "uninvite" dates from about 1660. So they've both been around a long time. "disinvite" has been out of fashion for a couple of centuries, but if it's making a come-back, it is a comeback, not something new. (Not that there's anything wrong with being new.)

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Don't mix your political views and your career

Including if you're a politician.

Enough said.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Don't mix your political views and your career

It sounds like Ofcom were the ones trying to mix things to gain political/press influence, here.

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Re: Don't mix your political views and your career

A bit tricky if your job is to write opinion pieces.

Maybe he should never have been hired, but I think I'd rather have experienced people at a regulator than people who know nothing other than how to be politically correct.

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Re: Don't mix your political views and your career

i agree with your "maybe he should never have been hired" - but they did hire him, knew who/what they were getting, and seemed to change their minds. It happens. There are proper processes for dealing with it. This story does not reflect those processes being followed - and if the Ofcom guys were smart, they could have made this a "process" story and no-one would be interested.

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Facepalm

Judicial Review...

So, he was warned that "he should steer clear of politics and public policy issues, as it might be used to call into question his neutrality in future Ofcom judgments".

He ignores the warning, and eventually gets fired.

Hmm, I wonder where he went wrong.

I'm sure there's a lot more to this. I look forward to the judicial review.

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Re: Judicial Review...

I expect that he somehow thought that since his articles were published in Italy, they would not be in the public view in the UK. Naive, perhaps, or perhaps merely arrogant. When you accept a job in which you're expected to render judgement on others, you have to accept that you are constrained in what opinions you're allowed to express in public...showing any bias in one area and recusing oneself from selected cases won't keep the defendant's attorney in the cases you do hear from casting your every decision as stemming from bias. If a criminal-court judge were to openly espouse sexist ideologies in articles...would it not be all too easy for a lawyer to claim the judge also harbors racist bias too? He was told the policy and agreed to it. Then found he couldn't hold his tongue (or, I suppose, keyboard) after current events and violated his agreement...and tried to conceal it by publishing in another country. One doesn't have to give cause or written warnings for violations of policy. If a co-worker came into the office and went on an obscene rant, using foul language and expressing hatred of various ethnic groups, you would expect that person to be dismissed immediately - not gently cautioned not to do it again, and given a written warning to sign off on promising to be good from now on.

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Re: Judicial Review...

There is something that the Reg article does not make clear - and probably should. Ofcom senior management, right up to the level of Chair, knew he would be writing for those publications/organisations and approved that he continue to do so. He was not told to "he should steer clear of politics and public policy issues", they knew he would be writing on those areas - it was agreed he would not write directly on British politics or areas within his remit while in that role at Ofcom, but "broader public policy issues would not cause a problem." If there was a clear breach of policy or of his agreements with them, Ofcom's lawyers would not have reached a settlement for the minister to reject.

I'd quite like to know what broadcasting or journalistic experience Ofcom's Chief Exec had before taking that role, as that would help clarify whether her experience as an editor has covered this sort of thing before; I'd also quite like to know whose advice the Minister took before reaching a view - independent counsel, after talking to both Ofcom and Mr Emmott, or what?

As soon as Ofcom/DCMS publishes their version, I'll read with just as much interest as I read Bill Emmott's version today, or the articles that have appeared in Private Eye on a fairly regular basis over recent months. More than happy to be shown that I'm wrong, as I have this naive wish to be able to trust our regulatory bodies?

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a bunch of incompetent, egomaniacal clowns.

Why does the article suggest only one minister when we have a government full of them?

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Facepalm

Re: a bunch of incompetent, egomaniacal clowns.

Why does the article suggest only one minister when we have a government full of them?

Why does the article suggest only one minister when we have a Parliament full of them?

There fixed it for you.

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Anonymous Coward

spot on ..

"she was clear taxpayers' money must not be used to reward a breach of conduct."

Exacttttly. When are all the MPs involved paying back their salaries during the period of questionable expenses (if that's actually ended)? Or the MoD civil servants who go through the revolving door into defence contractors - and their equivalents in every other department?

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It's a bit more complicated...

Not a good article by the Reg here. Private Eye gave a much more balanced view of this two weeks ago (so it's not even news really). The Govt. wouldn't be offering a tax payer funded without prejudice settlement unless they had been advised that he could win. He's no egomaniac. He advised them before his appointment what his position on all of these issues was and that he was going to continue to write about them. The Government said that was OK. When someone further up the food chain than the not terribly bright Karen Bradley saw that he was on the payroll they lightened the pram payload and sacked him for writing the stuff that they had just said was OK with them. His problem may be that by publishing the private correspondence, he has defamed himself. The whole thing is a titsup but not in the way The Reg describes.

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Thumb Up

Re: Private Eye

Required reading if you want any idea of what's going on politically in the UK.

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Re: Private Eye

Yes, especially as the documentary series on it stopped production ages ago. Far more enlightening than Panorama, Newsnight etc.

"Yes Minister"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Private Eye

BBC's 'The Thick of it' is probably closer to the real life blunt 'you fcuked up' Political reality of the 24hr media political spotlight but sadly, without the quaint cleverness of Yes Minister/Yes Prime Minister.

Theresa May has the all the cluelessness of Jim Hacker, but without any of the character's charm.

It would never work today. Bernard Woolley (Derek Fowlds) wouldn't have any empathy for TM and would gladly leave her to rot.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Private Eye

"It would never work today. Bernard Woolley (Derek Fowlds) wouldn't have any empathy for TM and would gladly leave her to rot".

Real life parallels?

"Sir Ivan Rogers resigns from civil service days after quitting role as UK ambassador to EU"

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Anonymous Coward

"It would never work today. Bernard Woolley (Derek Fowlds)" ... would have been sidelined by Malcolm Tucker ... the quiet and the clever swept aside by the loud, brash, bully.

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LDS
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Were articles about Berlusconi as a politician...

... an issue for BBC to make deals with Berlusconi as the Mediaset media company owner?

Berlusconi is well known for not accepting to be criticized - and seeking revenge when he can (it sued The Economist while Emmot was the director).

If so, where's the conflict of interests, really?

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Coat

And so everyone [...] – comes out looking like a bunch of incompetent, egomaniacal clowns. The decision to scrap the BBC Trust is looking better every day.

What to replace it with? Some big shoes to fill

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Anonymous Coward

Quote: "After Emmott was disinvited to an Ofcom board meeting in July, he claims to have negotiated a settlement where he would get paid £75,000 to leave quietly."

Negotiated with who, exactly? I have visions of a meeting somewhat like the explanatory video show in the original Jurassic Park film, where John Hammond explains to himself how it all works...

"So, I've done something I was asked not to, what should my punishment be?"

"Oh I don't know, how about I award myself about three years salary for someone who works in the public sector and walk away as if nothing had happened?"

"Why yes, I believe that's the least I deserve for having made such a difference to the lives of every man, woman and child in the country."

"So I'm in total agreement, I'll have enough to fund an old person's care for a year."

"Sounds good to me, pleasure doing business with me..."

With regard to his promise to not get involved in discussions over people/organisations he had been slagging off, what then was the point of his being in the role? I presume a similar accusation of bias would be levelled for those he had 'bigged up' as well, so how could he claim any sort of impartiality when it came to doing the job he was actually employed to do? Even if he had found for someone he had insulted or against someone he had complimented, questions would (should!) have been asked as to why he was behaving that way.

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Since when.....

has any politician NOT been an incompetent, egomanical clown?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Since when.....

it is kinda a job requirement really, isn't it? Well, the egomaniacal bit, and the clown part doesn't usually hurt their careers. Come to think of it, incompetent doesn't seem to hurt enough either.

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"And so everyone – from a top editor to a government minister to the heads of the media regulator – comes out looking like a bunch of incompetent, egomaniacal clowns"

All infected by the pernicious infectious mindset known as "luvvies"

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Facepalm

I swear I could hear the Benny Hill closing credits music as I was reading that article.

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Big Brother

"Department of Culture"

What Orwellian dystopia have I wandered into?

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