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Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Brexit Bill Reality Spooks Sun

For those propagandists spinning Britain’s departure from the EU as some great act of liberation, the ultimate answer to the yearning of a people to be free of the bureaucratic straitjacket of the elite, and the start of a new era of Vision And Boundless Hope And Optimism, the moment of reality, where they have to come clean and admit they were deceiving their audience, was never very far away.
He's going to get his way ...

And for the Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun, that moment arrived this week as they were exposed not just as propagandists, but shameless and habitual liars. First, the the relocation of the European Medicines Agency and European Banking Agency was confirmed, to Amsterdam and Paris respectively. Now has come news that Theresa May and her cabinet had admitted it must increase the “divorce settlement” offer.

No more championing London’s former very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson in claiming the EU could “go whistle”. No more of the dishonest pretence the Sun peddled back in April when it told readersEU’RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE Two major London-based European agencies could stay post-Brexit despite EU claims they must be moved, Government insists”. They couldn’t, and they won’t be.
... but she isn't ...

The Lies Of March - “REBATE FOR BRITAIN Theresa May to demand £9billion of assets back from the EU in Brexit divorce talks as ministers prepare to trigger Article 50 within days … Some EU officials have said we could face a £50 billion bill from the bloc - but Government sources say Britain is entitled to get some money back” - didn’t work, either.

July’s “BRIT OF ALRIGHT David Davis’ officials claim to have won victory against EU as Brussels gives UK more time on £85bn divorce bill … Sources claim EU negotiating chief Michel Barnier modified his address at the Commission HQ on Thursday at the last minutewas made-up crap as well, as has become clear to Sun readers today.
... and the EU doesn't care what he thinks

Now, readers are being let down gently, although the mood is still, outwardly at least, defiant.”Prime Minister Theresa May branded Santa after getting Cabinet to sign off £38bn EU divorce bill … Tory backbenchers are furious and have accused Mrs May of caving into the EUblusters an article credited to non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn and alleged “Westminster Correspondent”, the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole.

There is an equally defiant follow-up claiming “Brits will ‘go bananas’ at £40bn Brexit divorce bill which is ‘playing Santa’ for the EU, top Tories warn as Theresa May meets ministers to thrash out size of payment … Rob Halfon and Nigel Evans both said the public do not want to pay huge sums to Brussels”. Nigel Evans and credibility. Yes, well.
And all that was backed up with a ranting editorial packed with anti-EU, anti-Irish, anti-German and indeed anti-reality rhetoric, claiming “It’s the EU that’s in the grip of chaos”, a straight-A F*** right off in one. The problem for the Murdoch mafiosi is that it can no longer hold back the tide of reality. Its readers may take in the propaganda, but one switch on of the TV News in the evening and they see they have been lied to once more.

Those pundits who told us what was going to happen - that the EU would call the shots and we would have to stump up the divorce bill - were ridiculed. But they were right.

Faisal Islam of Sky News - and formerly of Channel 4 News, where they deal in those pesky things called facts - noted after the latest cave-in from the Empress Treeza “In 4 months, Cabinet Brexiteers have gone from: 1. No Transition to a 2 year transition … 2. Parallel trade talks to non-parallel talks … 3. No ECJ transition jurisdiction to No ECJ over new rules … 4. ‘Go Whistle’ to £20bn … 5. £20bn to £40bn”.
He also pointed out that his long read for the Sky News website had already, more or less, laid out this direction of travel. And Jolyon Maugham simply said “EU wants €60bn. We will pay ... about €60bn”. Ultimately, we will do just that. We’ll settle EU citizens’ rights in a way that is acceptable to Michel Barnier and his team. There’ll be no messing around over issues like the Irish border. And we’ll end up accepting the EU terms and conditions.

In other words, the Murdoch goons at the Sun have wilfully and persistently lied to their readers, and now that the moment of reality is here and the situation in which the Government finds itself can no longer be spun or denied, they are well and truly screwed.

The inmates of the Baby Shard bunker don’t like reality? That’s not the readers’ problem.

Press Paperchase Paranoia

Advertising revenues are, for our free and fearless press, a sensitive subject. This may be not unrelated to their having been in freefall for some years now, with the “web giants”, whom the media establishment despises, doing rather better at attracting advertising spend. That could explain the most unfortunate establishment reaction to the latest success by campaigning group Stop Funding Hate, which targeted the Daily Mail.
Trans people? I'll call the c***s what I f***ing well want, thanks

As the BBC has reported, “Stationery company Paperchase has apologised for a promotional giveaway in the Daily Mail after it was criticised for working with the paper … The chain offered two free rolls of wrapping paper in Saturday's newspaper … It said it was ‘truly sorry’ after hundreds of people - encouraged by campaign group Stop Funding Hate - urged the chain to end the partnership”. But that was not and end to the matter.
One does not target the Mail and get away without incurring the displeasure of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, as well as all those who pay fealty to him. So when the Paperchase promotion, and the Stop Funding Hate response to it, ended as they did, all hell broke loose. The inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker were on the warpath.

But as the Guardian then observed, the Mail had no idea who they were fighting. The Dacre doggies blustered “it is deeply worrying that Paperchase should have allowed itself to be bullied into apologising - on the back of a derisory 250 Facebook comments and 150 direct tweets - to internet trolls orchestrated by a small group of hard-left Corbynist individuals seeking to suppress legitimate debate and impose their views on the media”.
More punters on their way to Paperchase ...

There was more: Piers Morgan was characteristically abusive towards Paperchase, thereby increasing their popularity. Julia Hartley Dooda declared that she would boycott the retailer, to the great relief of their staff who wish she had taken that action earlier. But, to no surprise at all, the basis for Stop Funding Hate’s intervention - the Mail’s appalling attitude towards trans people - remained unaddressed. What a non-surprise.

And even if other papers were keeping schtum about the ruckus, their boot boys were soon on the case: the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog decided on a mixture of dishonesty, abuse and mental health smears to attack Paperchase and Stop Funding Hate. The result was truly hilarity inducing.
... make that lots more punters

Stationery store Paperchase is facing a backlash from angry customers after bowing to pressure from anti-press freedom cranks not to offer promotions in the Daily Mail”, they blubbered, also deploying the terms “loonies”, “nuts”, and “mental”. As the writer was the Fawkes teaboy Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham, there had to be a malicious lie. And he did not disappoint, claiming “Stop Funding Hate, a group whose stated aim is to censor or bankrupt the free press in Britain”. Milk, no sugar, hold the smears, thanks.

But he did boost Paperchase sales by reassuring potential customers that they would not encounter Laura Perrins, Christian May, Iain Martin, Dan, Dan The Oratory Man, or the serially clueless Tim Montgomerie if they shopped there.

So that’s yet another media establishment own goal, then. Looks like Job Done for Stop Funding Hate and another example of the Pundit Establishment not living in the real world.

Brillo Out Of His German Depth

Our free and fearless press has once again decided to exaggerate events in another country as a means of diverting attention from the shambles that is Theresa May’s motley crew and the Brexit negotiations, the opportunity being gifted to them by the collapse of coalition talks in Germany. Recent elections meant outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party had to talk to two others in order to stitch together a majority coalition.
A little more to chew on for The Great Man

This was not helped by the centre-left SPD deciding to pass on another “grand coalition”, and so Merkel’s CDU/CSU had been negotiating with the Greens and the Free Democrats. The latter has walked out of talks, thus meaning either more talks, or more elections. It also means pundits in the UK telling everyone who will listen that they know all about German politics, even if, in many cases, they don’t know as much as they claim.
All of which brings us to Andrew Neil, now a BBC host and pundit, and who has decided that he knows everything there is to know about Germany. In this he may have been emboldened by the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph’s claim “Merkel faces battle for survival”, and the Murdoch Times telling readers “May told to exploit Merkel crisis to reduce Brexit bill”. If only he had checked out the Guardian.
Merkel hints at fresh polls after talks collapse” was their more sober assessment. Germany does things in a more measured and thought-through manner. Talks may resume; they may not. But it is as nothing when put alongside the Brexit brouhaha. That did not deter Neil, who declared “Germany tonight in its biggest political crisis since late 1940s. Bigger even than UK’s current ongoing political crisis”.
Jon Worth, a Brit in Berlin, poured cold water on the idea. “You have not got a clue. One of four parties walked out of coalition talks. It might take a while to find a solution. Big. F**king. Deal”. The Great Man set himself to pour disdain upon this upstart: “Guess you’re not reading/watching German media”. Instead, he was about to get his comeuppance.
I LIVE in Germany. I am a member of a German political party and am a delegate to its party congress. I follow German politics for my job. And, just maybe, I might know a thing or two about it?” countered Worth, clearly with some exasperation that a supposedly authoritative pundit had not taken the time to figure out who was on the other end of the conversation - or perhaps he didn’t consider such things necessary.
Nor was Neil the only one from the Beeb to be called out by Worth: after political editor Laura Kuenssberg ventured “Merkel mess about as helpful to govt as Chancellor saying ‘there is no unemployment’ at the start of Budget week”, he clearly felt the need to administer a little further education. “Misses the point. No way there was going to be a govt in Germany before December summit anyway. And there was no disagreement in coalition talks about #Brexit. UK *still* needs to get its own act together before seeing problems elsewhere”. No disagreement in coalition talks about Brexit - UK pundits take note.

There is always someone in the world better informed than you. Most of us have long ago figured that out. Sadly, this realisation is yet to reach Andrew Neil.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Sun Editor Backs Death Threats

Those who look in regularly on Zelo Street will need no introduction to the Brexit attitude of the Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun: the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker are renowned for their hectoring and even abusive attitude to all those who so much as doubt the wisdom of carrying out an act of national economic self-harm merely for the delectation of the likes of Creepy Uncle Rupe.
Tony Gallagher - far less pleasant than he looks

The howling denunciation of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar for the heinous crime of both sticking up for his country, and outlining a policy towards the Irish border conundrum which is what our own Government has said in the past that it wants as part of the Brexit deal, is typical of the genre. So when the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph indulged in an act of aggressive bullying towards 12 Tory MPs last week, the Sun’s editor concurred.

After the Tel ran its “The Brexit mutineers” splash, showing photos of all 12, including six women - Heidi Allen, Nicky Morgan, Sarah Woolaston, Vicky West, Antoinette Sandbach and Anna Soubry - there was considerable pushback, including from many in the Leave camp. The front page “naming and shaming” was regarded by them as counter-productive. But the deeply unpleasant Tony Gallagher was not among them.

In an exhibition not only of an uncaring nature, but also of the kind of Tweets that do not age at all well, Tone shrugged “I can’t see what’s wrong with p1 of the Telegraph today. It’s called journalism. Absurd over-reaction”. But then, he doesn’t mix with the lower orders, and rarely dines anywhere that charges less than £100 a head for nosh’n’drinks. And the worst opposition he’s likely to meet on the streets is someone from Channel 4.
The situation for those Tory MPs, and especially the women among them, is rather less pleasant: as I pointed out yesterday, an organisation called Voter Consultancy Ltd has been buying Facebook advertising space in order to run personal attacks on the latter. Thus far Sarah Woolaston, Vicky Ford and Nicky Morgan have been targeted. But there is no evidence that any of the men have. And it gets worse - a lot worse.

As the BBC has reported, “Ex-Tory minister Anna Soubry says her office has received 13 death threats since a newspaper front page named her as one of 15 ‘Brexit mutineers … The pro-EU Remain supporter said the police took the threats seriously and had passed two cases to prosecutors” [my emphasis]. The Tel’s excuse? “The paper's editor defended what he called ‘the legitimate actions and language of a free press’”.

The report continued “The threats had included ‘references to what happens to mutineers’, [Ms Soubry] told the BBC, adding: ‘A number of tweets have said we should be hung.’ … She added: ‘If the Telegraph had not printed that headline those death threats would not have come through - that is a fact’”. And as for hiding behind the “freedom of the press” - there is no licence to effectively shout “fire” in a crowded theatre.

That Telegraph front page story was cheap, shoddy and downright nasty journalism. Now it has resulted in death threats. The Sun’s editor thinks that is just fine. Don’t buy the Sun.

Football Lads Alliance In Trouble

Those sensitive souls at the Football Lads Alliance, which is merely opposed to all kinds of terrorism and not at all racist, honestly, are looking to take their recent success in getting thousands of supporters to come to their London rally north of the border to Edinburgh. But many in the city are not at all keen to see their brand of enthusiasm rock up next weekend, and with good reason. So what has the FLA been up to since last month?
They have been complaining bitterly about the recent TV exposé of the far right, and in doing so have committed a rather basic gaffe. The good news for the FLA was that they were not highlighted as part of the far right, which one might have thought they would have taken as a positive. But for a publicity hungry group like that, not getting a mention set the person in charge of their Twitter feed off on a rant.
CRAP TV TONIGHT … CUT ... LONG LIVE THE FLA … GOODNIGHT” it told. What was the problem? They didn’t get tarred with the same brush as the Islamophobes. But then came the spotlight shining on their proposed march in Scotland and things got a lot worse. “@AmySouthall … When are you free to discuss. You guys keep writing articles about @lads_alliance without any foundation” complained the Twitter feed.

And thus the sly threat: “Please feel free to drop Amy a polite note about her article … Firstly it's the vet's next weekend, and secondly it's in Edingburgh not Glasgow … Nothing factual about this article”. Yeah, it’s OK for thousands of blokes to pile in on a young journalist. And when Hope Not Hate Tweeted “The National Front will march to the cenotaph today, followed by the Football Lads Alliance” they went ballistic.

These people are the real fascists … The FLA was made up of men, women and children yesterday and they fail to see how damaging they are … The FLA wants a safer place for future generations. Stop trying to pigeon hole us with a load of crap”. What was “crap” about HnH's statement? It was purely factual. And there are significant concerns about their march in Edinburgh which the group is so far failing to address.
As has been told, “FEARS have been raised that a Scottish protest inspired by a convicted hooligan who staged “the biggest far-right rally since World War II” in London is set to clash with anti-fascist St Andrew’s Day marches … A coalition of anti-racist campaigners, including the Scottish Trades Union Congress, MPs and MSPs, have raised concerns about the threat of a far-right linked group on the streets of Edinburgh this month”.

There was more in the Herald Scotland report: “Campaigners including Ian Murray, Edinburgh South Labour MP, and Tommy Sheppard, Edinburgh East SNP MP, joined a collective call warning of the Football Lads Alliance (FLA) group’s decision to rally in the Scottish capital on the day of a series of anti-racist St Andrew’s Day events”. Why is the FLA planning to march when there is an anti-racist march on the same day?

If the FLA wants to claim it isn’t racist, then marching in the same city and on the same day as an anti-racism event is not the way to do it. Just a thought.

Farage Health Tourist Hypocrisy

Still inexplicably given a regular slot by broadcaster LBC to spout his inimitable combination of hatred, dishonesty and other sundry bigotry, former UKIP Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage has once again been putting the boot into all those ghastly foreigners, whipping up prejudice on the flimsiest of pretexts. Last night’s offering in this genre was a claim about NHS “health tourism”.
Squeaky freeloading finger up the bum time

He's said it once and he'll say it again, Nigel Farage says the NHS can be helped by cracking down on health tourism” tells the blurb, before quoting The Great Man asserting “We touched earlier on foreign nationals being treated in the NHS. It's an issue that I've raised in the past and been screamed at for daring to talk about it … But £2 billion a year is the cost of health tourism in this country … You may say that's a small part of the overall health budget, but hey, it's still £2 billion”. The inference is clear.

Farage is suggesting - probably wrongly, but let’s stick with him here - that the £2 billion is an amount that can be saved and spent elsewhere, either in the NHS or by some other public service. That’s very noble of him. So I’m sure that Mr Thirsty would be equally hot on a group of just 24 people spraying public money up the wall.

Who might I have in mind? Simples. Nigel Farage is an MEP. His constructive contribution to the European Parliament is not unadjacent to zero. Yet he draws a salary, and expenses, and, whisper it quietly, so do all the other UKIP MEPs - and those who may no longer be UKIP MEPs, but were elected under that party’s banner. All of these less than totally august beings also draw attendance allowances.

An MEP’s annual salary translates at present into a Sterling amount of around £85,000. Added to this is a flat-rate monthly allowance of €4,299 for office costs. On top of that is the daily subsistence allowance of €304. MEPs can also claim up to 24 return trips a year from their home countries. And then there is the reimbursement of travel costs for official duties in Brussels and Strasbourg. Plus a €4,243 official travel allowance for official trips to other destinations. Those allowances easily double the MEP’s base salary cost.

So we can safely assume that each UKIP MEP costs us - yes, we the taxpayers stump up for Mr Thirsty to go to Brussels and do Sweet Jack - at least £170,000 a year. And there are 24 Kippers (or former Kippers) in the European Parliament. Do the math, as they say: the cost of UKIP Financial Health Tourism exceeds £4 million a year.

Much of what is claimed to be “health tourism” is the unavoidable cost of people from outside the UK - and, indeed, outside the EU - falling ill while here. On the other hand, absolutely none of what We The People have to pay to keep Nigel Farage and his unproductive pals in the style to which they have become accustomed is unavoidable - his is a deliberate and sustained act of wilful and gratuitous freeloading.

Nigel Farage wants to crack down on public sector waste? Good. He and his fellow UKIP MEPs can make a real contribution to the cause by not sponging off the taxpayer.

After all, I’m sure the NHS could use another £4 million a year. Cheers Nige!

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Mail Benedict Allen War Boils Over

It’s been a fact of life for the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker ever since Geordie Greig was appointed editor of the Mail on Sunday that, on several well-publicised occasions, that title and the Daily Mail offer opposing takes on the same story. Sometimes the daily title puts out a spoiler to trip up the Sunday, but today it has been the other way around, as the MoS has left its daily stablemate covered in rather more than confusion.
Who f***ing says I'm losing my grip, c***?!?

At the heart of today’s clear attempt to raise the anger and blood pressure levels of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre is the story of “explorer” Benedict Allen’s recent visit to Papua New Guinea. As the BBC has reported, “A search was mounted for the 57-year-old after his family said he had not taken planned flights home … Mr Allen was travelling on his own to try to find the reclusive Yaifo tribe, whom he first met 30 years ago”.

Sounds dramatic. And the Daily Mail certainly thought so. Soon, the Beeb was telling readers that Allen’s agent claimed “‘Benedict looks forward to being reunited with his family and friends but will need some time to get back to full health,’ the statement added. ‘He would like to send thanks for all the kind messages he has received’ … Mr Allen's wife, Lenka, told the Daily Mail: ‘It is such a relief. I'm so happy, it's amazing’”.

The Dacre doggies wanted the world to know that Allen was a modern-day hero: “he has eaten his dog to avoid starving in the Amazon, been shipwrecked canoeing to Australia, been shot at by drugs hitmen, sewn up a chest wound in Sumatra with a boot-mending kit, trekked more than 600 miles in the far east of Russia during the worst winter in living memory, and even more impressively still, survived sharing the bed of Jerry Hall”.
Geordie Greig, Mail on Sunday editor

They also wanted the world to know that It Was The Mail Wot Rescued Him. “Explorer Benedict Allen begged his wife’s forgiveness as the Mail rescued him from the jungle yesterday … Weak from malaria, the veteran adventurer had become trapped between warring tribes in one of the most remote spots on Earth … After the Mail found the father of three yesterday and handed him a satellite phone to call his wife Lenka, he told her: ‘I’m so sorry I’ve put you through this, Linky’”. And then came the MoS spoiler.

After the Guardian sensed disquiet at Allen’s antics by telling “Benedict Allen allies defend rescued explorer against backlash … Supporters deny disappearance in Papua New Guinea was a PR stunt”, the MoS went for their sister paper’s jugular. “The helicopter pilot who airlifted Benedict Allen from the jungle of Papua New Guinea has played down the explorer's ordeal, saying: 'He didn't really need rescuing’”. Do go on.

Craig Rose, who has flown in the country's mountainous central highlands for 12 years, said the TV adventurer had been well cared for by tribespeople and appeared to be in no danger when he was found … To the surprise of the helicopter crew, Allen filmed himself and the helicopter as it circled a remote mountain airstrip where he was waiting to be picked up on Friday. The crew waited for an hour as the explorer posed for pictures with villagers before his evacuation. 'He was lapping it up,' said Rose”.

Expect Paul Dacre to go on one of his frequent holidays, in order to calm down and avoid the possibility of simultaneously combusting at his own editorial conference, very soon. The Robert Mugabe of Fleet Street should have retired when he turned 65.

Britain First Leader NICKED AGAIN

These are not good times for the far-right in the UK. The travails of Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, are legion, and included his having problems finding a venue for another of his book signing events last night - this one in Grimsby. Lennon was eventually reduced to using a local pub to meet his adoring supporters - and give away copies of his allegedly best selling book. 
No racism here, and don't you forget it

His pals at Britain First have fared even less well, especially the group’s deputy leader Jayda Fransen. She and Paul Golding had spent some time this year touring Europe to very little effect at all, then in September the Guardian reported thatTwo leading members of the far-right group Britain First have been charged with causing religiously aggravated harassment … Paul Golding, 35, and Jayda Fransen, 31, were bailed to appear before Medway magistrates court next month. Golding has been charged with three counts, Fransen with four”. And soon it got worse.

The following month the Mail told readersBritain First's deputy leader has been arrested during a rally for violating terms of her bail, the far-right party says … Jayda Fransen was arrested yesterday at the protest in Sunderland after making a short speech among the crowd”. Why this might have been was also explained.

Both are required to present themselves weekly at a police station as part of their bail arrangements - but they have spent recent weeks touring far-right events throughout Europe … On Friday, Ms Fransen conducted a phone interview with Radio Aryan, whose tagline is 'save the fatherland’”. Radio Aryan. But they’re not racists, honestly.

And now Ms Fransen has been nicked once more, as the BBC has reported: “The deputy leader of the far-right group Britain First has been arrested in London by Police Service of Northern Ireland detectives … Jayda Fransen, 31, is being interviewed in Belfast over a speech she gave in the city during the summer … The speech was made at a ‘Northern Ireland Against Terrorism’ rally at Belfast City Hall on 6 August”.

Paul Golding was in full victimhood mode: “A large group of plain clothes police detectives from Belfast of all places jumped out of nowhere and have arrested Jayda … What have they arrested her for? Both of us addressed, made a speech, at a public demonstration outside Belfast City Hall all the way back in August … The detective I spoke to told me she is being flown to Belfast tonight to be interrogated”. Then he just took the piss.

It's absolutely ridiculous - this is non-stop with me and Jayda, non-bloody stop”. Yeah, right. The rozzers don’t just pick up folks off the street - on several occasions - and go through the process of charging them for what Golding claims is “no bloody reason”. The Police are there to keep order, and if necessary to enforce it. The Britain First leadership wants to stir up trouble, they put themselves in line to be duly nicked as a result.

Perhaps the far-right will start to get the message. But don’t bet on it.

Voter Consultancy Ltd - The Reality

After several Tory MPs signalled their opposition to some of the Government’s Brexit proposals, and the clumsy intervention by the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph naming them all on its front page, we now have a much more sinister targeting of those MPs which verges on harassment. This latest intervention has come from a company called Voter Consultancy Ltd via paid-for Facebook advertising.
The misinformation bus rolls back into town

So who is Voter Consultancy Ltd, which talks about its “grassroots efforts to make sure that we hold our MPs accountable”? There’s a clue in that line: “Grassroots” is a term bandied about by the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance to mask the reality, that it is an Astroturf lobby group with no grassroots. And there is a TPA connection with Voter Consultancy.

The firm’s sole director is Thomas Borwick. He was Chief Technical Officer of Vote Leave and before that was involved with … Cambridge Analytica. Borwick was pals with one Andrew Whitehurst: the two were co-directors in two previous companies, as Miles King pointed out. And he was one of the four people who set up WESS in 2013.
Whitehurst was the W in WESS; the others were Matthew Elliott (co-principal of Vote Leave and a founder of the TPA), Jag Singh (co-founder of MessageSpace) and the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines of Guido Fawkes infamy. WESS was purported to have a database called Metis at its disposal. The Spectator magazine told at the time of “The mighty Metis machine that could save Cameron’s bacon in 2015”.
Metis would, we were told, use “Data on the supporters of issues based campaigns”. Also, “Other sources being fed into Metis include aggregated census records, social media profile data and online political advertising response data”. WESS had “the intention to gather ten million peoples’ personal information by the end of next year [2014]”.
The principals of WESS might not have been thinking this through, but many now are doing just that, and coming up with one question: just how legal is all of this hoarding of personal information? And after the 2015 General Election, what happened to all that information? Would Borwick and his pals care to confirm that none of this work has found its way to Cambridge Analytica - and Voter Consultancy Ltd? Thought not.
All those connections stack up: Singh was the one who accompanied Staines’s then gofer Harry Cole to Moscow in late 2011, following which the Fawkes blog ran adverts paid by the Russian Government and mentions of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin’s gangsterist régime in Moscow by The Great Guido dried up completely.
Matthew Elliott was also on the advisory board of the now-moribund Young Britons’ Foundation of Tory bullying infamy. He founded an organisation which never quite managed to answer the simple question - who pays for the TPA? Now, we find ourselves asking who is paying for Voter Consultancy Ltd to indulge in harassing Tory MPs.

So far, Sarah Woolaston and Vicky Ford have been targeted by Borwick’s latest brainchild. Their colleague Anna Soubry has called the targeting “Offensive and untrue” and called those doing it “Brexit bullies”. The Information Commissioner would have good cause to delve into Borwick, Whitehurst and their past alliances. And everyone else would have good cause to ask once again: whose money is driving this latest nasty intrusion?

Top Six - November 19

So what’s hot, and what’s not, in the past week’s blogging? Here are the six most popular posts on Zelo Street for the past seven days, counting down in reverse order, because, well, I have to be out and about later. So there.
6 BBC Promotes Fake News Failure Despite the efforts of the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, the attack on Labour MP Emma Dent Coad had generated precisely zero front page column inches over two days. So why did the BBC’s Daily Politics give the exercise credibility?

5 Tommy Robinson - Get The Nanoviolin Stephen Yaxley Lennon had his Twitter blue tick removed. Cue much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

4 Guido Fawkes Russia Connection The Fawkes massive’s connections to Russia go back a long way - and Paul Staines is on record admitting he took money from the Moscow Government.

3 Tommy Robinson Charity VANISHES Stephen Yaxley Lennon was made a “goodwill ambassador” by a charity that wasn’t really a charity. Then the charity and its figurehead disappeared.

2 Alex Wickham - We Have To Talk The Fawkes blog’s teaboy is not known as “Billy Liar” for nothing. He is a complete and utter shit. So what is our free and fearless press doing giving him and his pals a seat at their table?

1 Farage Takes £100K Libel Hit Former UKIP Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage settled the defamation action brought by Hope Not Hate - and as a result ended up more than £100K out of pocket.

And that’s the end of another blogtastic week, blog pickers. Not ‘arf!

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Don’t Menshn Russian Printshops

While those teasing out Russian involvement with the Trump Gang, and influence on groups in and around the UK involved with the campaign to leave the EU, seek to find signs of evidence, some out there in wacko conspiracy land dispense with such niceties. If they can find real people who don’t agree with them, that is quite sufficient to provoke accusations of Kremlin fellow travelling and have GCHQ alerted.
Wibble, wibble, she's a hatstand

You think I jest? This has become a regular occurrence in the parallel universe inhabited by (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch, whose appetite for getting a little too excited and going running to the security agencies is at least providing them with one more name for their Twitter block lists. Ms Mensch has gone from merely unhinged to totally and absolutely gaga in her efforts to smear anyone of differing view.
This was shown to good effect earlier this week after Andrew Hickey told “All the people replying to that saying @MikeH_PR is a Russian disinformation agent... it's just absurd”. Ms Mensch immediately jumped in to the conversation, uninvited. “Why? Is he paid by Russia? Are you, Mike? ‘Russia’ to mean Russian interests directly or indirectly”. Hinde simply took the piss out of her: “FFS don't tell George Soros”.
Then, without any prompting, she lost it completely: “Making a note of Russia’s asset Party in the EU cc @gchq”. Mike Hinde was “Russia’s asset”? On the basis of what? And look - the upmarket Manhattan Walter Mitty even copied GCHQ in on the exchange. So that’s more spam they’ll have to filter out. It soon got worse - a lot worse.
By last night, the accusations were reaching paranoid proportions, and not for the first time. “Some unkind souls might note the public reporting in the UK today that @hugorifkind father Malcolm Rifkind is a member of Conservative Friends of Russia” she began, with a very smal amount of evidence indeed - evidence only by association, and even that needing a king size logic leap to stand it up.
Still, with a little straightforward lying, and another nod to GCHQ, this particular turd could be buffed up a little: “And if they were really graceless, cc @GCHQ, those same uncouth #OSINT watchers might remember Conservative Friends of Russia’s Malcolm Rifkind outing sensitive and current TS/SCI US military cyber capability on the floor of the House”. Malcolm Rifkind did WHAT? We might have noticed at the time if he had. But he hadn’t.
And then came the moment of not only venturing past Barking, but overrunning the buffer stops at Upminster. “I tend to hold grudges. You can all ask Sir Tim Hunt’s accusers about that. I haven’t forgotten Portland Media’s involvement in both Hunt and Trump Russia” declared Ms Mensch. Portland Media? Er, hello? Portland Media is a design and print business based in Clerkenwell. It offers “Cutting edge design at affordable prices”.

The company’s Twitter account has not said anything this year. The possibility of it being involved in any form of espionage is not unadjacent to zero. This is just plain ridiculous.

Louise Mensch is beyond paranoid. She needs to seek help - and do so very soon.

Tommy Robinson Charity VANISHES

It was one of the stranger media announcements of the year: Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, was announced as a “Goodwill Ambasador” for the MMBF Trust. This organisation, as Hope Not Hate pointed out, gives the impression of being a charity, and has been promoted as such. It “also trades as the Matthew Martino Benevolent Fund”. There was to be an MMBF Tommy Robinson award.
Stephen Yaxley Lennon aka Tommy Robinson

Whether this was for losing a young solicitors’ employee his job, repeatedly violating the privacy of a blogger for expressing his opinion, committing acts of contempt of court, illegally identifying a Border Force official, pushing misleading figures for book sales, throwing a mardy strop at Twitter for enforcing its terms and conditions, or any other of Lennon’s highly creative enterprises, is not yet known.

But what is known is that Matthew Martino is another who, like Lennon, likes to use a false name as a means of self-identification, if not self-promotion: he is in reality Mathetes Chihwai, a 25-year-old Zimbabwean who claims to be an entrepreneur. The problem with his so-called charity is that not only is there no record of it with the Charities Commission, its alleged £100,000 “arts fund” is matched by last filed net assets of just £16,443.

So far, so unusual, but what has happened since the announcement of Lennon’s appointment as a “Goodwill Ambassador” and HnH’s investigation has been positively bizarre. The Short Film Festival dumped MMBF as a result of Lennon’s appointment. The UnDependence Film Festival followed suit. The Mail Online report of Lennon’s appointment noted that the Charity Commission had said “The Commission has contacted the organisation [MMBF Trust] to establish on what grounds it describes itself as a charity, and why it has not submitted an application to register”.
Mathetes Chihwai aka Matthew Martino

It got worse: the involvement of Martino (or Chihwai if you prefer) with Essex TV, of which he had been a director, was terminated abruptly. CEO Tim Tiernan told “The EssexTV and EssexMagazine board has terminated Matthew Martino (Mathetes Chihwai’s) directorship of both companies and he yesterday agreed a severance deal and sold all his shareholding back to myself and Mr Alin Stacescu (our Creative Director) … We are absolutely horrified and shocked beyond belief by the decision by Mr Martino’s trust to have any degree of association with Tommy Robinson. We are now conducting an internal review into how much ‘in kind’ favours Mr Martino offered to Mr Robinson and if any of our staff were involved”. Could it get more bizarre? It certainly could.

Tiernan’s Twitter feed was taken private soon afterwards. That of Martino/Chihwai fared worse: it’s been deleted. The great entrepreneur and philanthropist has gone to ground. The web page at Essex TV for the “Matthew Martino Innovators’ Fund” has vanished. The MMBF website has been put behind a login barrier.

But there has been not a peep from Lennon about these developments. He gives the impression of having taken the free publicity and run. Not, of course, that anyone should conclude that this is a mere PR stunt with no real end product. Perish the thought!