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Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Julia Hartley Brewer Self Promotion FAIL

With the number of pundits available to bookers of panel shows, paper reviews and breakfast sofas exceeding the number of opportunities available, some of the Pundit Establishment are inevitably finding it hard going to get themselves into the position where they can participate in the “Look at me” game and thereby score More And Bigger Self-Promotion Opportunities For Themselves Personally Now.
Excuse ME, don't you know WHO I AM?!?

And one of the Pundit Establishment’s more trying members - which, given the position well up the Pain In The Arse scale where so many of them reside - is clearly feeling the lack of media adoration more than most: step forward Talk Radio host Julia Hartley Brewer, whose Twitter bio advertises “After-dinner speaker and awards host”, the kind of unsubtle torture which I would be hard pressed to want inflicted on my worst enemy.
So it was no surprise to see Ms Hartley Dooda trying to whip up some attention this morning by doing what she does so well (or badly, depending on your point of view): attacking feminism and feminists. Her target was actor Emma Watson: “Emma Watson: ‘Feminism, feminism... gender wage gap... why oh why am I not taken seriously... feminism... oh, and here are my tits!’” she shrieked.
Talk Radio - how DULL is that?

Wait, what? Ms Watson wasn’t showing off “her tits”, despite the Murdoch goons at the Sun channelling Leslie Phillips and telling readers “Ding dong, belle”, followed by describing her as “topless” and wearing a “peek-a-boob stole”. Was Talk Radio that dull? Well, with “sex education classes for kids, secondary school offer day & giving up salt & vinegar crisps for Lent, all on my @talkRADIO show today”, make that a Yes.
Sad to say, Ms Hartley Dooda garnered very little more than disdain and ridicule for her efforts, and so off she went again: “Angry feministas are cross with me for criticising Emma Watson. Apparently this pic on *Page 3* of the Sun isn't hypocritical at all. Sigh”. Feminism does not preclude fashion shoots. But do go on (as if she needs any prompting).
So getting your tits out for a posh magazine is empowering, but doing it for page 3 of the Sun is exploitation” she observed, on learning that the photo was from a Vanity Fair photoshoot for this week’s edition. And Ms Watson was not getting her tits out.
Naomi Lemur, in less than totally serious mode, prodded Ms Hartley Dooda with an image of a completely covered body: “Yep, because there are absolutely no clothing options for women that are in between this thing and getting your tits out. None at all” replied The Great Woman. SHE STILL ISN’T GETTING HER INTERCOURSING TITS OUT.
How much attention did this score? Only enough for someone to suggest that she was one of those “dried up old white women”. Ms Hartley Dooda tried and failed to do a Derek Jameson in reply: “‘Dried up old white women’. I think she means me”.

In any case, “dried up” was probably wide of the mark. It would have been far more accurate to have said “washed up”. Do I mean her? I surely do.

Sky Bid - Where Is Corbyn?

The time is rapidly approaching for Culture Secretary Karen Bradley to make a decision - not her favourite activity, it seems - on whether to refer the bid by the Murdoch mafiosi for the 61% of Sky they do not yet own to the competition authorities. As Sky is already Britain’s largest broadcaster when measured by income, the decision to refer should be a no-brainer. And one might expect some politicians and business interests to agree.
After all, the last time the Sky bid came round, it was opposed by a host of media interests, including not only the Guardian, but also the Mail and Telegraph groups, and ITV. This time, though, ITV, the Mail and Telegraph are absent, and although what remains of the Guardian’s media coverage is reporting on proceedings, objection is being left to groups like the Media Reform Coalition. So what about the politicians?

Last time, with Mil The Younger leading the Labour Party, there was considerable push-back from the opposition benches. And Miliband is once again voicing his concern at the prospect of Creepy Uncle Rupe taking full control of Sky, along with the prospect of, shall we say, pushing the boundaries of Sky News in the direction of replicating the propaganda model so well practised Stateside by Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse).
So far, so predictable, but the Labour figure who has been most significantly on the receiving end of the Murdoch press’ falsehood and misinformation of late has not been Miliband, but current leader Jeremy Corbyn. The Sun, in particular, has not been backwards in coming forwards with some highly creative attacks on Jezza, not least the wholly untrue claim that he only joined the Privy Council to secure “Short Money”.

That pack of lies was the first front page for the paper’s alleged “Westminster Correspondent”, the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole, who claims to be a real journalist. The Sun also claimed that in not visibly singing the National Anthem, Corbyn had “snubbed the Queen”,  and claimed that he had not bowed in a sufficiently grovelling manner in his first appearance at a Remembrance Sunday commemoration.
And other Labour figures, most recently Shami Chakrabarti in an interview with the host on The Andy Marr Show (tm), have voiced disquiet about the leadership’s treatment by the media, something that can only get worse if the Murdoch mafiosi gain 100% control of Sky. So where is the organised opposition from the Labour leader?

There isn’t any. You read that right. The party which had previously backed the opposition to the Sky bid, had given significant support to campaigning groups like Hacked Off in advocating for properly independent and effective press regulation, and whose leadership had kept the heat on the Tories over their closeness to the Murdochs, has left objection to deputy leader Tom Watson. Jeremy Corbyn has been effectively silent.

And that’s not good enough. If Corbyn and the rest of the Labour team object to this takeover, they should say so. The Sky bid must be referred to the competition authorities.

Tory Expenses Scandal RETURNS

As 2017 is not a leap year, there is no 29th day in February. Instead, the number 29 has come to signify what the Daily Mail might have called troubling questions for the Tories, as the election expense scandal has been fired back into life by the people at Channel 4 News, fronted by Michael Crick, seen on video doggedly pursuing Theresa May’s right hand man Nick Timothy across Whitehall yesterday afternoon.
What is the significance of the number 29? Well, there are two instances of it cropping up in the expense imbroglio today: 29 is the number of constituencies where investigations into what the Tories spent, when they spent it and what they spent it on are still ongoing. And 29 is the date in March 2015 when Nick Timothy was still employed by the then Cameron Government as a civil servant, but was already working on other matters.

Those other matters were the upcoming General Election campaign, and specifically the fight to keep Nigel “Thirsty” Farage from winning Thanet South from Tory pretender Craig Mackinlay. All Government advisors left their employment on March 30, and from that point, they could therefore work on what they wanted to. But until then, their code of conduct prohibited them from working on election campaigns.

That is where Nick Timothy has problems. Presenting a straight bat to Crick, ignoring the questions and the microphone in his face, and silently maintaining his composure all the way to the Downing Street gate, was the easy bit. Explaining how he came to be already working on the Thanet South campaign before the all-important cut-off date is going to be a more challenging proposition. And it may not just be one day we’re talking about.

Here’s what Channel 4 has uncovered: “at 17:38 [on March 29, Timothy] sends another email to senior Conservatives entitled ‘First draft of messages’, containing a carefully crafted 500-word messaging document, with headings such as ‘Craig Mackinlay is a local man through and through’ … In the email he writes: “Let me know what you think of the first cut of the message sheet. So far, I’ve only worked off the polling book, some local research, and what Craig seems to have been saying locally”.

Colour me cynical - because I am cynical - but that suggests, with Timothy saying that he has been working off the polling book and some local research, that it is highly likely he had been working on the Thanet South campaign before March 29. The problem for the Channel 4 News team is finding the proverbial smoking gun.

That there may be a smoking gun has not been dispelled by the lameness of the excuses being deployed in Timothy’s defence: first, the media is warned not to “besmirch” The Great Man’s reputation, and now we are told “It is clear that the emails of 29 March were sent on a Sunday from Mr Timothy’s personal email account, clearly in his own time and on the afternoon before his last day in Government. They show he was preparing for what he would do once he was no longer in Government service”.

So that’s straight out of the Monty Python Argument sketch, then: “I could be arguing in my spare time”. We need answers, and this time before the 29th of the month.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Fox News Admits IT WAS CONNED

It is a rare thing indeed for the Murdoch goons to admit that they loused up: after all, were they to make a habit of it, they would spend more time ‘fessing up than putting their alleged journalism out there in the first place. So when Bill O’Reilly, top rated host for Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) agreed with criticism of a recent guest pundit, and effectively admitted Fox was conned, people sat up and took notice.
Once again, the subject that undermined the right wing was Sweden. After Combover Crybaby Donald Trump told his followers that there was trouble in Sweden, and that all those “bad people” who just happened not to be white were the cause of it, Fox News booked a pundit called Nils Bildt on The O’Reilly Factor. Bildt described himself as a “Swedish national security advisor”. But there was a problem.

Nobody involved in Swedish Government matters had heard of him. Still, minor point, eh? The press sought to figure out who Nils Bildt really was. The Guardian told “Fox News's 'Swedish defence advisor' unknown to country's military officials … After Donald Trump’s infamous ‘what’s happening in Sweden’ comment, Nils Bildt was billed on The O’Reilly Factor as Swedish national security advisor”.

It was also established that “the Swedish defense ministry and foreign office told the newspaper Dagens Nyheter they knew nothing of Bildt”. And Slate was rather less subtle than the Guardian, asserting “Fox News Interviews Fake Expert on Sweden to Warn About Immigration Threat”. Reminding readers of the Fox Habit of pitching news and comment items to deliberately feed off one another, the article went further.

Nils Bildt, was part of a segment on the O’Reilly Factor in which two guests debated claims about whether recent immigration had made Sweden more dangerous. This, of course, came mere days after President Donald Trump was inspired by a Fox News segment to make a reference to ‘what’s happening last night in Sweden’ during a Feb. 18 Florida rally”. Trump is fed Fake News, then Fake News reinforced by more Fake News.

And now CNN - not Trump’s favourite news outlet - has revealedSwedish media outlets have reported that Bildt, who was born Nils Tolling, left Sweden in 1994 and emigrated to the U.S. He later changed his surname to Bildt … On Sunday, the newspaper Aftonbladet reported that Bildt had expressed interest in 2013 in running for office in Sweden with the nationalist right-wing party Sweden Democrats. His bid was not successful”.

The Sweden Democrats are an anti-immigrant party, populist and nationalist. The party had its roots in Swedish fascism and has been part of a white supremacy movement. So it should come as no surprise that someone who took an interest in running for office under their banner might pass the kind of adverse comment on refugees being admitted to his home country which would match the agenda of the Trump gang and Fox News.

In the circumstances, Bill-O had little alternative but to admit “[W]e looked into the situation and the criticism is valid”. Nils Bildt looked too good to be true for those out there on the right wanting to paint Sweden as a modern hell-hole. That was because he was too good to be true. The Murdoch goons got conned, rather than doing the conning themselves.

Swedish Alt-Right Liar EXPOSED

The tsunami of Fake News claiming to come out of Sweden, and by sheer coincidence timed to follow directly from the recent outburst by Combover Crybaby Donald Trump, has already featured on Zelo Street, as the contribution of Battersea basement dweller Paul Watson was considered. Watson is not actually on the ground there in Sweden. But he knows a propagandist who says he is: step forward “Peter Sweden”.
A real Swedish source - or maybe not

Peter Sweden, or whatever his real name and location is, makes this claim in his Twitter bio: “Swedish photographer. Reporting on news from Sweden. Political commentator. Your go-to source for news from Sweden that the MSM won't report”. How very convenient for all those Alt-Right ranters - a real Swedish source! Or maybe not: he also claims to be in “Europe - Not the EU”. Sweden is an EU member state. I’ll just leave that one there.
He is also clearly working closely with Watson and the rest of the Muslim misinformation machine, as witness his faux shock at Tim Pool - the journalist paid via Watson to go to Sweden - claiming “a local Muslim in Sweden says he believes 20-30% of Muslims here support ISIS”. He then reinterprets even this: “In the video the guy that is being interviewed says that 80% of the refugees from Syria that has arrived in Sweden support isis”.
Note the lack of any reliable sampling or methodology: that is not the point. The point is to get the misinformation and invention out there for the rest of the Alt-Right shock jocks to feed off. Peter Sweden also Retweets Voice of Europe, a Fake News feed that endorses the likes of neo-Nazi Geert Wilders. But back to his own “product”.
Suspected handgrenade found near police station in migrant dominated Kista near Stockholm” he proclaimed. Did it look like that one? He doesn’t know. That isn’t the point. Once he’s pulled the deception trick, he’s away: “Once again i cannot state this enough. THIS IS A HANDGRENADE !!! A military grade weapon. Let that sink in”. And then he just makes it up: “A new report says that grenade attacks in Sweden increased with 170% from 2015 to 2016”. Citation? Link? You jest. The Alt-Right doesn’t dwell on such trivia.
Instead, after pausing to give his approval to Voice of Europe spinning for Marine le Pen, Peter Sweden is propagandising about arson: “Summary of arsons / explosions in Sweden Saturday 18/2 to Sunday 19/2. At least 30-35 cars were set on fire”. His source is Avpixlat. Wikipedia describes the site asa Swedish online magazine with close ties to the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats … The site has been labeled a racist hate-site”.
This does not concern Peter Sweden, who moves swiftly on to endorsing comments like “European rape capital #Sweden has now achieved 100% rape increase in the past 3 years. @realDonaldTrump right again” (not even slightly close to the truth) and appealing to authority with “Regarding Kista. It is a well known multicultural suburb. I've been at Kista shopping centre many times and i can confirm that it is”. But has he?

Peter Sweden claims to be a photographer, but appears not to include any original content. He claims to report from Sweden, but could be posting his garbage from anywhere. All we can say with any reliability is that he is yet another element in the falsehood and misinformation machine intended to cloud reality and prevent reasoned and rational discourse. So he’s just another Fake News troll, then.

UKIP Wants To Have No MPs

If anyone were still in any doubt as to who wields the real power among the motley convocation of saloon bar propper-uppers at UKIP, that doubt has been dispelled as what is supposed to be a serious political party descends further into infighting and the slow but certain implosion that follows the removal of its primary purpose.
Squeaky no knighthood finger up the bum time

As I pointed out the other day, the Kippers’ paymaster Arron Banks had told “I am giving Paul Nuttall an ultimatum that either I become chairman and sort out Ukip by bringing in business people and professionals to make the party electable, or I am out of there … The party cannot continue to be run like a jumble sale … If Nuttall doesn't professionalise it and toss out the likes of Douglas Carswell, Suzanne Evans and the rest of the Tory cabal then the party is finished anyway”. Carswell is UKIP’s only MP.

And today, who should have joined the denunciation of Carswell but Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, no longer UKIP Oberscheissenf├╝hrer, absent from most of the Stoke on Trent Central by-election campaign after taking his bat home, and otherwise devoting his time not to the party he led for so long, but to scoring More And Bigger Self-Publicity Opportunities For Himself Personally Now, and mainly in the USA.

As the Guardian has reported, “Ukip’s only MP, Douglas Carswell, should be thrown out of the party immediately because he is actively trying to damage it, Nigel Farage has said … Farage said … ‘As a party, how can we let a man represent us in the House of Commons who actively and transparently seeks to damage us? I think there is little future for Ukip with him staying inside this party. The time for him to go is now’”.
Carswell - not playing the troughing game

So what’s the problem? “Farage has accused the MP for Clacton, with whom he has a long-running feud, of trying to block attempts to organise a peerage for him”. A peerage? Ah, but: “Former Ukip leader Malcolm Pearson initially attempted to organise a peerage for Farage but then switched to lobby instead for a knighthood when it became apparent he would have had to quit as an MEP in order to take up any seat in the Lords”.

Farage is so dependent on troughing off the EU, the organisation he supposedly despises, that he will not give up his MEP’s salary and, perhaps more importantly, benefits. Carswell, as is well known, does not favour milking the expenses regime quite as blatantly - and shamelessly - as Farage. So it should come as no surprise that he is less than totally enthusiastic about getting Mr Thirsty a knighthood for services to greed.

And when Farage blusters “Since the general election he has brought nothing to the party at all other than constant division, at times I believe deliberately stirred up to cause maximum damage to the party … As a party, how can we let a man represent us in the House of Commons who actively and transparently seeks to damage us? I think there is little future for Ukip with him staying inside this party. The time for him to go is now”, he has only himself to blame. He wanted Carswell in UKIP. Be careful what you wish for.

There’s no clearer evidence that the Kippers have a death wish: they lose yet another attempt to get another MP, then demand that they also lose the one they already have - because the selfish and dishonest gobshite who used to lead the party can’t get a knighthood. UKIP is finished. Carswell might as well return to the Tories.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Dan Hodges - Beyond Desperate

Despite the Mail on Sunday’s resident Ron Hopeful telling readers that he was “Britain’s best political columnist”, the sheer cluelessness alone tells anyone with brain plugged in and a hole in their backside that the not at all celebrated blues artiste Whinging Dan Hodges is anything but. And to put the lid on his deservedly wobbling reputation, Desperate Dan has had a less than happy weekend to boot.
He's desperate, Dan

The blowback for the pundit who told the world that Mil The Elder would become Labour Party leader in 2010, UKIP would fail to break 6% of the national vote share at the 2015 General Election, Jeremy Corbyn would not become leader of the Labour Party, Britain would not vote to leave the EU, and that Hillary Clinton would become the 45th President of the United States, began when Matthew Black reminded us of his 2016 analysis of Hodges, which included the passing of severely adverse comment.
Ava Vidal - plain speaking

And for the pundit who claimed to be a Labour member, but who embraced Lynton Crosby in celebrating the win of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson in the 2012 London Mayoral Election - Bozza’s disastrous eight years pretending to be Mayor of London is only now entering the consciousness of the Pundit Establishment - it swiftly got worse.
Hodges decided to pick an argument on the wrong subject, on the wrong pretext, and with the wrong person. His subject was racism, his pretext that he had experienced it, and the person was comedian Ava Vidal. He could have desisted, but the Hodges iron law of Twitter argument holds that, unless he comes over all righteous, throws a mardy strop and blocks his adversary, battle must be joined until won, or, as in this case, lost.
Had Hodges experienced racism? Ms Vidal had to put him straight: “If we walk down the street together (unlikely) &someone calls me n****r, I personally EXPERIENCED racism & you personally WITNESSED it”. But what about if they, er … “Please get your black friends to explain to you that you being called a ’n****r-lover’ is not racism against you. This is embarrassing”. Not going very well, was it, Dan? And then it got worse.
Hodges signed off a reply to Ashiwaju Bisi Alimi with “thank you Nigel Farage”. He was just not going to get that one past Ms Vidal: “Jesus. He's now calling a black person 'Nigel Farage.' A mainstream columnist gaslighting and being a racist troll. Total disgrace”. But Dan’s got black friends, honestly. Was she convinced by that? “Sure. Amazing that you've been banging on since yesterday using them as props and they've decided not to confirm your story. Says it all”. That would be a No, then.
And just to make sure he got that, she followed up with “What has that got to do with your 'black friends' not confirming your story we all know is bollocks?!” Dan Hodges could have just admitted he was clueless, was talking crap, and then yielded to Ms Vidal. But because he’s a Really Important member of the Pundit Establishment, he won’t.
It used to be rumoured that David Cameron was an enthusiastic reader of Hodges’ missives. Which goes some way to explain why he was the worst Prime Minister in living memory. Meanwhile, Dan Hodges, far from being “Britain’s best political columnist” is in line to succeed Peter McKay - as The World’s Worst Columnist. You’re welcome, Dan.

Toby Young Oscars Racism BUSTED

Last night, the great and the good of the film industry - well, those that the newly paranoid inhabitant of the White House was prepared to let in to the USA - gathered in Hollywood for the 89th Academy Awards. This was an opportunity for the real stars of the silver screen to collect gongs, make speeches, or just be seen at the ceremony and after party. It was also an opportunity for shameless nobodies to piggyback a little attention.
(c) Doc Hackenbush 2014

And there is no-one more shameless among the ranks of nobodies than the loathsome Toby Young, who has inexplicably been gifted the editor’s position at Spectator Life magazine, which still features a regular column from a career racist and anti-Semite. Tobes had clearly decided beforehand to use the Oscars to score More And Bigger Self-Promotion Opportunities For Himself Personally Now.

So it was that Spectator Coffee House readers were subjected toThe most politically correct Oscars ever?” with Tobes telling “this year’s Oscars will be even more politically correct than usual – not so much the 89th Academy Awards, as Hollywood’s First Annual Diversity and Inclusion Awards”. And there was, regrettably, more.
African-American actors have been nominated in each of the four acting categories. Six black actors have been nominated in total, a whopping 30 per cent. Four of the five nominees in the Best Documentary Feature category are people of colour, while Barry Jenkins, the African-America writer and director of Moonlight, has been nominated in two different categories”. Er, Moonlight did get the Best Picture award. Minor point, eh?

Tobes was too busy sneering to realise that there might be a good reason for the nominations: “In case you don’t get the point, the Academy has nominated the black playwright August Wilson for Best Original Screenplay for Fences, even though he’s been dead for 12 years. I don’t recall William Shakespeare being nominated for Macbeth last year. Perhaps that’s because he’s ‘too white’”. Who let those bleck cheps in hyah?
And don’t forget, good right-leaning Spectator readers, “This year’s four-hour telecast, due to be broadcast tonight, will be a tsunami of virtue signalling. No self-respecting Oscar winner will be able to leave the stage without letting the audience know just how much they really, really dislike Donald Trump”. That’s because Trump is a weapons grade, sexist, misogynist, bullying, sexual molestation practicing, dishonest, intolerant shit.
But enough of the “I’m white and straight and I’m in a minority AND IT’S NOT FAIR” whining. Best Actor and Best Director - that would be two key awards in any Oscars ceremony - went to white males. Make that white STRAIGHT males. This has proved such a humiliation to Tobes that he has deleted his Tweets sneering “And the Oscar goes to … anyone provided they’re not white, heterosexual or male”. But he was too late.

Toby Young’s whining, entitled twattery might gain him some attention from the right-leaning part of the Pundit Establishment. But from out here in the Real World (tm), the only thing his amateurish snivelling merits is ridicule. Away with you, Tobes.

Sun Prisoner Deportation Hypocrisy

The Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun are in full mock horror mode this morning at they announce to the world “Killer Exclusive … American strangler dumped on Britain”. Who he? Well, Dempsey Hawkins, who is 57, has spent 38 years in prison in New York State for murdering his then girlfriend, and has been released on condition that he gets deported. He is British, and so has been deported to the UK.
Here, he has worked to rebuild his life with the help of friends, got himself a job and somewhere to live, and is a generally productive member of the community. But that’s not good enough for the Murdoch mafiosi, who have readers to frighten and papers to sell. “‘HE'LL KILL AGAIN’ … Killer who strangled girl in US now in UK after Brit campaigners fought for his deportation … Murderer Dempsey Hawkins denied parole nine times since being jailed for murder of his 14-year-old girlfriend in 1970sthey howl.

Do go on. “When he was 16 he strangled his 14-year-old girlfriend Susan Jacobson with a shirt and stuffed her body in an oil drum … He then pretended to help searchers look for her while keeping them from finding her … retired NYPD cop Mark Corrao added: ‘This man has been dumped on you people. The family feel powerless. Everyone in the UK should be alerted and know what happened’”. But, er, hang on a minute.

Deporting criminals? Where did I hear that before? Was it … no, surely it couldn’t have been … yes, I think it was … wasn’t it … rings a bell … of course, it was in that well-known paper … what’s it called … y’know, I do believe it’s called … THE SUN!

Deporting criminals is a Sun speciality - so long as it’s the UK deporting them, or as they are saying today, dumping them - somewhere else, preferably somewhere full of brown or black people or, failing that, somewhere they speak foreign. “Moroccan criminal who cannot be deported identified as Abu Hamza’s ‘daughter-in-law’ … Tory MP Philip Davies outed her using parliamentary privilegewas a typical example.

There was more. We’ve been told ofDeport delays for hundreds of European criminals being hosted in UK … Brexit MP says figures show the 'system is broken’”. Then there wasALMOST 1,800 foreign criminals who should have been deported are still here five years after being freed from jail”. Or how aboutNEARLY 6,000 foreign criminals waiting to be kicked out of Britain are freely roaming the streets, official figures reveal”?

Or this variation: “THOUSANDS of foreign offenders could be escaping deportation each year because police officers are failing to check their immigration status”. And don’t forget the Poles: “AT LEAST 130 Polish criminals serving time in UK jails should have been sent home over the past four years – red-faced officials admitted”. Yeah, who do they think they are, getting above their station by doing cheap plumbing for us?

The Sun is fine with deporting criminals - so long as it’s somewhere outside the UK they get dumped. So that’s the usual stinking hypocrisy from the Baby Shard bunker, then.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Lily Allen - Say Sorry, Tabloids

Once again, the malign influence of our free and fearless press has come to bear on one of its favourite hate figures, singer Lily Allen. Except this time papers like the Mail and Sun, which have relentlessly demonised Ms Allen, especially when she committed the heinous crime of showing compassion towards refugees, did not need to set their attack dogs on her: their readership was already conditioned to undertake the assault for them.
Lily Allen

Ms Allen revealed that she had suffered from PTSD after suffering a still birth. And that was when the abuse began: there were suggestions the still birth was caused by drug dependency - most likely because the member of the brains trust making the comments read it in the paper, so it had to be true. That she had also admitted to having issues around post-natal depression and bipolar disorder just fired up the mob even more.

As the BBC has told, “Her Twitter account has now been taken over by a friend to try to stop the abuse … The trolls accused her of being to blame for the death of her baby and suggested she had mental health issues … It started when the 31-year-old singer tried to highlight the prejudice shown towards immigrants … But, when mostly anonymous trolls started abusing her things started to get nasty”. The keyboard warrior massive again.
That's what I bladdy think of some bladdy singer bladdy taking the bladdy piss out of me, youse bastard Pommie drongoes!

The Beeb’s report also mentions “Lily regularly posts about controversial subjects and it's not the first time she's faced abuse on Twitter … She spoke out about the Calais migrant crisis last year, apologising for what she deemed to be a lack of action on the part of the UK government” before the inevitable news that “Lily … has now announced she's taking a break from Twitter”. The misogynist, sexist and even racist abuse was too much.

Where might these anonymous beings of less than total courage have got their inspiration for their attacks on Ms Allen? We do not need to look too far: the Murdoch Sun has used any excuse to attack her, ever since she took the piss out of Rupert Murdoch. Don Rupioni is nothing if not a vindictive SOB, and the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker are all too ready to attack anyone, especially if it will get KRM to throw them a biscuit.
Why can't I f***ing put the boot in to some singer, c***? Er, with the greatest of respect, Mr Jay

Also guilty as charged are the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre and his obedient hackery at the Daily Mail, all keen as mustard to denounce anyone showing compassion for people who are not white. The Vagina Monologue’s hatred of Ms Allen was such that Glenda Cattia Maxima Jan Moir was instructed to pen a hatchet job on her. Anyone not prepared to keep their distance from refugees is not the Daily Mail’s kind of person.

So what are the Mail and Sun saying about this disgraceful attack on Ms Allen? Nothing. Not a sausage. Zero. Zip. Nil. Nada. Bugger all. After a suitable pause to let the bully boys do the hard lifting for them, they will score some cheap column inches by saying “Singer targeted by Vile Trolls”, say it’s all the fault of that Social Media that their readers should not trust, and snigger into their upmarket designer snackettes at a job well done.

This targeting of Lily Allen is a direct result of yet more bad behaviour from at least two tabloid papers who knew full well what they were at when they targeted her, and what the result would be. Say sorry, Tony Gallagher and Paul Dacre. You are utter filth.

Brexit - The Dark Money Reality

Recently, Zelo Street attended a gathering of media people where the subject being discussed by the invited speakers was Brexit, and its potential aftermath. Among the questions asked afterwards was one notable intervention from a well-known writer whose name does not need to be disclosed. His pitch was basically “yes, but what about all the Dark Money?” This was a most prescient question, as we are now discovering.
We now know that both “designated” campaigns, Britain Stronger In Europe and Vote Leave, are being investigated for potential spending irregularities, but this is a mere “Look Over There” item - the Dark Money is beyond conventional investigation. But we do know that the Dark Money has been a part of the referendum campaign.

Why we can say that the presence of Dark Money, most probably emanating from the USA, is rather more than the conspiracy theory some would have us believe, is that the tip of this particular iceberg is now in plain sight. Moreover, the bulk of that iceberg is becoming clearer with each new revelation. We start in Northern Ireland.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) spent just over £58,000 on its 2015 General Election campaign. But somehow, it managed to spend £425,000 on the referendum. What’s more, most of that money was expended on mainland British campaigning. How so? As the Guardian has reported, the DUP “spent £282,000 on a pro-Brexit advert in a newspaper that is not published in Northern Ireland, according to documents released by the Electoral Commission”. They bought a wrap-round in the Metro freesheet.

So who paid? As the Guardian has also told, “Under a provision in funding rules dating to the Troubles, which allows Northern Irish political parties to accept anonymous contributions, the identity of the donors to the DUP campaign had not been made public”. And despite the later claim “the DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson revealed on Friday that the little-known pro-union Constitutional Research Council (CRC) had donated”, that does not tell us where the money originated. Thus the invasion of the Dark Money.

And it gets worse: also in that paper’s sights is the leave.EU campaign fronted by the likes of Arron Banks and Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, and here the sums potentially dwarf the DUP’s Metro advert. Here’s the intro: “Cambridge Analytica, an offshoot of a British company, SCL Group, which has 25 years’ experience in military disinformation campaigns and ‘election management’, claims to use cutting-edge technology to build intimate psychometric profiles of voters to find and target their emotional triggers. Trump’s team paid the firm more than $6m (£4.8m) to target swing voters”.

Who owns Cambridge Analytica? Hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, and the connection to the EU referendum? You’ll love this: “the longstanding friendship between Nigel Farage and the Mercer family led Mercer to offer his help - free - to the Brexit campaign”. This is what is referred to as a “benefit in kind.
Following the money - and the money you can't see

So what was the game? “The strategy involved harvesting data from people’s Facebook and other social media profiles and then using machine learning to ‘spread’ through their networks … the campaign used this information, combined with artificial intelligence, to decide who to target with highly individualised advertisements and had built a database of more than a million people, based on advice Cambridge Analytica supplied”.

And how did this pan out? “Two weeks ago Arron Banks, Leave.eu’s founder, stated in a series of tweets that Gerry Gunster (Leave.eu’s pollster) and Cambridge Analytica with ‘world class’ AI had helped them gain ‘unprecedented levels of engagement’. ‘AI won it for Leave,’ he said”. But what was that about benefits in kind?

Well, any benefit in kind worth more than £7,500 must be reported to the Electoral Commission. They have no such item from Mercer, or leave.EU, filed as yet. How much might Cambridge Analytica’s services have been worth? If the Trump campaign shelled out the thick end of £5 million, what leave.EU got is probably going to be well into seven figures. And thus a further, more subtle, invasion of the Dark Money.

On top of all that is the possibility that opinion formers - newspaper pundits, solo and group blogs, and other social media warriors - have been suckling at this particular teat as well. More Dark Money, and more probably untraceable Dark Money, at that.

Who might those beneficiaries be? Well, Mercer has now been revealed as one of the owners of the Breitbart News Network, that convocation of the irredeemably batshit that has turned the proliferation of Fake News into its own particular speciality.

But the money is only one aspect of this invasion: as the description of the Cambridge Analytica methods shows, the potential is also there for wholesale misuse of personal data, an area where the Information Commissioner may want to get involved.

One should not dismiss the Information Commissioner’s powers too readily: this is, after all, the body that brought an end to the (mainly) illegal information gathering operation of Steve Whittamore back in 2006. Another Operation Motorman could well be in the offing.

The elephant in the room is, of course, that the referendum has been held and the damage done. But who drugged the beast and paid the bills are still to be uncovered. More later.

UKIP On Brink Of Breakup

The excuses for UKIP’s failure to win the Stoke on Trent Central by-election have been coming thick and fast, and there was no thicker or faster presence than the party’s deputy leader Peter Whittle (who?) fetching up on The Andy Marr Show (tm) and claiming that there was no problem, Paul Nuttall was going to remain leader, and that his being absent elsewhere was nothing to do with his taking his bat home after losing, no sirree.
Farage and Banks - taking their bats home

Whittle was in that corridor of delusion that so many in UKIP seem to inhabit so enthusiastically, claiming that Nuttall’s going off on “a trip” was usual in the aftermath of a by-election, that the electorate did not know him well enough (baloney), whined about the personal attacks on Nuttall (which he richly deserved for his dishonesty), and seemed to actually believe that the party is “more united than ever”.

Just how delusional this is can be seen from the antics of former Oberscheissenf├╝hrer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and his pal, Kipper paymaster Arron Banks. Farage took his bat home from the Stoke campaign when he discovered Lisa Duffy, who passed severely adverse comment on him, was running the show - so much for unity. Mr Thirsty has been giving more attention to his media career - over in the USA.
Nuttall - a useless joke figure

Banks, after helping to derail Nuttall’s election effort by insulting the families of the Hillsborough victims, has now returned refreshed from his reassuringly expensive skiing holiday in non-EU Switzerland and decided to enact the modern-day equivalent of the Munich Beer-Hall Putsch. This will result either in UKIP becoming the party of Himself Personally Now, or not getting any more of his dosh.

This is what Banks told the joke paper that is the Sunday Express: “I am giving Paul Nuttall an ultimatum that either I become chairman and sort out Ukip by bringing in business people and professionals to make the party electable, or I am out of there … The party cannot continue to be run like a jumble sale … If Nuttall doesn't professionalise it and toss out the likes of Douglas Carswell, Suzanne Evans and the rest of the Tory cabal then the party is finished anyway”. Yes, that’s UKIP unity for you. And there was more.
Carswell - only UKIP MP now out of favour

These dullards aren't bringing in Tory votes, Stoke proved that, so what are they for? The party now needs to bring in serious people to fix its ramshackle administration, stay relevant, and stay radical or it will die … From what I hear far from winning elections, Carswell's main concern is sabotaging Nigel's knighthood, which is why he must leave the party”. UKIP isn’t “radical”. It’s a rag-bag of opportunist bigots.

Back in that corridor of delusion, Peter Whittle responded to the prospect of Banks flouncing off by claiming that other backers would come forward. But who? Ms Duffy’s presence in Stoke - she’s supposed to be employed as an EU civil servant, which prohibits her working on non-EU related stuff - has been reported to the EU’s OLAF fraud unit. Nuttall could yet face criminal charges over his nomination papers. And it gets worse.

UKIP is rumoured to be in debt, with creditors becoming restless. Who would volunteer to take on all of that, just to have to put up with all the infighting? Farage is only concerned with self-promotion, Banks is a damaging loose cannon, Nuttall is a figure of fun, and the only thing they can all agree on is lying to the electorate. The UKIP party is almost over.