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Thursday, 18 January 2018

Murdoch - The New Maxwell

When the Murdoch mafiosi moved to sell a major part of their empire to the Disney organisation - with no job guaranteed for either of Rupe’s sons - the questions were asked as to why the sale, and why now. What would happen to the Sky bid, and the constant appetite of the family for being able to bend Governments around the world to their will? And what would happen to the businesses left behind?
With Murdoch’s UK newspaper operation under continued fire over allegations of phone hacking, blagging, and even evidence tampering, and papers like the Sun now losing money hand over fist, there now has to be added the potential for Rupe’s slavish support for Combover Crybaby Donald Trump rebounding badly on him, and the thought that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller might come after the Murdochs as well.

All of this has now come sharply into focus with the belated news that Rupert Murdoch is now recuperating at one of his many homes after suffering a “serious back injury” on board son Lachlan’s yacht. Reports are sketchy at best: as the Guardian has told readers, “Rupert Murdoch reportedly suffered a back injury in a recent sailing accident, according to an internal note from the media mogul, which was provided to the Associated Press”.

Murdoch “would be working from home for weeks because of the injury, according to a person with knowledge of the email who was not authorized to share the note”. We should take the Murdoch mafiosi on trust. So what happened? “Murdoch, 86, was reportedly in the Caribbean on his son Lachlan’s yacht around the beginning of the year when the injury occurred, and taken from the boat to a hospital by helicopter”.

So it was bad enough for him to have to be airlifted to hospital, yet it appears to have taken weeks to let the world know. And it’s bad enough for him to be away from work for several more weeks. Worse, the exact nature of Murdoch’s injury is not being disclosed - deliberately, it seems. All of which brings back memories of another troubled media mogul and a most unfortunate incident involving a yacht.
Robert Maxwell, aka Captain Bob, aka The Bouncing Czech

In 1991, Robert Maxwell, one of the most vile and litigious newspaper owners ever to walk the earth, managed to fall off his luxury yacht the Lady Ghislaine into the Atlantic Ocean off the Canary Islands. His naked body was recovered some time later. It was only after his demise that the discovery was made that Maxwell had been raiding the Mirror Group’s pension fund to prop up his empire - to the tune of hundreds of millions of Pounds.

Of course, Rupert Murdoch, once a great business rival of Maxwell’s, is not in such acute financial straits. But what connects the two is that it is only when Rupe shuffles off this mortal coil that we will finally discover the extent of his bad behaviour - not just the indulgence of his papers in “The Dark Arts”, but more importantly the abuse of power on his behalf at a Governmental level in a whole series of countries.

Meanwhile, it’s only a coincidence that Murdoch’s businesses are in turmoil, he’s in the firing line for Mueller, and he goes and has a mystery yachting accident which takes weeks to be confessed to the world’s media. And if you believe that, you’ll believe anything.

Uber 10 Hour Shift Myth BUSTED

Not for the first time, driver and rider matching service Uber has pulled the wool over most of the press pack’s eyes with a move which turns out to be utterly meaningless. After it became clear that many Uber drivers were working long enough shifts for some of them to fall asleep on the job - and sometimes at the wheel - the company has decreed that none of those drivers can work more than ten hours at a time.
This looks a reasonable move at first - until you look more closely. This is what Uber drivers have been told: “From Tuesday 23 January, after spending up to 10 hours of time ‘on trip’ (from confirming a trip to completing it), the app will notify you that you need to take a 6 hour break. You’ll need to be offline for a full 6 hours before your ‘on trip’ timer is reset”. See the “from confirming a trip to completing it”? Hold that thought.

Quite apart from allowing drivers to bust the limit - “If you are on a trip that puts you over the 10 hour limit, you will be able to continue driving until the trip is completed” - the answer to “What counts towards your 10 hours ‘on trip’ time?” exposes this move for the sham PR fluff that it really is. It’s all about that “confirmation to completion” idea.

This is the revealing answer to that question: “The time that you are ‘on trip’ counts from confirming the trip to completing the trip … If you are online but not with a passenger and not on the way to a pick up, for example waiting for a request or in the airport queue, then this time is not included into your 10 hours of time ‘on trip’”. It does not take much knowledge of Uber drivers’ behaviour around London to see through that.

Uber drivers know where the most lucrative pick-ups happen, and when. They also know that in most of those areas, even being able to pull off the road for a few minutes is next to impossible. Parking in central London without having to pay through the nose or break the law - unless you’re a real taxi with access to real taxi ranks - is non-existent. So Uber drivers keep on the move, around those lucrative parts of town.

That’s why you see them on the Euston Road, hoping to catch someone coming in to Euston, St Pancras or Kings Cross by train. It’s why there are so many of them pootling around Parliament, looking for ideologically suitable MPs, peers and their staff. And why so many Uber cars hang around Theatreland later on at night, on the off-chance of securing a long run out into the suburbs. None of this will count towards that 10 hour cap.

So when Steve McNamara of the LTDA says “This is a toothless cap that still allows Uber's drivers to work over 100 hours a week, and is a PR stunt that will not improve passenger safety”, he is dead right. Because that is what it is. Driving around the area west of Euston station so that they can time it right when the call comes, nip down Drummond Street, on to Melton Street and catch someone off the train is not going to count.

But it’s time behind the wheel, it’s contributing to overall fatigue, and it shows Uber’s grand pronouncement to be nothing more than another cheap stunt to con the gullible reporters and pundits who still think the sun shines out of Uber’s backside.

The time for Uber to take safety seriously has not yet arrived. That’s not good enough.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Tommy Robinson Threatens Murder

The law enforcement authorities have had plenty of experience in dealing with the machinations of Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, over the years. Today they got good reason to add to that CV after Lennon threatened to commit murder - and was recorded doing so. His obsessive pursuit of all and any followers of The Prophet may just end up gaining him one follower too many.
Stephen Yaxley Lennon aka Tommy Robinson

Lennon has, recently, proclaimed his knowledge of the Qur’an, loudly boasting when given a platform by broadcasters, as he was on ITV’s Good Morning Britain when Piers Morgan, as so often, substituted shouting someone down for rational and informed debate. But when Ali Dawah suggested to Lennon that he debate with The Great Man one to one, the mask slipped as realisation dawned that the Muslim basher was not up to the job.

What Ali Dawah proposed was debate: Lennon ultimately tried to deflect by substituting a charity boxing match. That by itself shows intellectual cowardice on a monumental scale, but what followed shows that Bedfordshire Police should be taking a keener interest in someone on their patch. Because when Ali Dawah phoned Lennon, and recorded the conversation, the first thing he got out of him was a death threat.

Lennon told Ali Dawah that, should he turn up chez Lennon, he would kill him. He went on to clarify this: he would “instantly” kill him. So not only is Lennon threatening murder for doing something he himself has done several times recently to other people - hypocrisy is such a challenging concept to some people - he’s suggesting that he has the means to do so “instantly”. Is he keeping offensive weapons in his house?

Then, as if he could not dig himself in deeper, Lennon told Ali Dawah that he “respected” the killers of Fusilier Lee Rigby. How can anyone wanting to see a peaceful world have any respect for two sad individuals who used their car to bludgeon a man into semi-consciousness before brutally beheading him? Any idea that Lennon is a man of peace was blown to bits the moment he came out with that one.
Ali Dawah corners Lennon

What was also clear from the recording Ali Dawah has made available is that Lennon’s knowledge of the Qur’an does not appear to be as great as he would have us believe: he is left umming and ahhing when challenged over verses from the Holy book.

Equally bad is the idea that Lennon can rock up on others’ doorsteps - including in the dead of night, let us not forget - in order to harass those who have done no more than express an opinion which does not chime with his own. His appetite for harassment recently lost a worker in Luton his job after Lennon repeatedly turned up at the man’s workplace with his mob in tow. He is a stinking hypocrite of the worst kind.

His justification was that the man he targeted had revealed his address. But he had not. Lennon loves to call “liar” on others, but he does plenty of his own lying. Well, now he’s been caught on record, bang to rights, making murder threats against someone who is doing no more than quoting his own playbook back at him.

It is high time that Stephen Lennon’s little Wild West Show was brought to an end. It’s a subject on which Bedfordshire Police could do us all a favour.

Guido Fawked - Facebook Idiocy EXPOSED

The quip made by Private Eye magazine when newspapers left “hot metal” technology all those years ago - “New technology baffles pissed old hack” - might need a little updating to cover the latest demonstration by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog that some in the new media have an embarrassingly deficient knowledge of the medium in which they claim expertise.
Behold the figurehead of deep technological knowledge

Under the guise of once more putting the boot into BuzzFeed, probably because it does genuine journalism, rather than the self-appointed faux kind practised by The Great Guido, has come the claimFacebook’s Retreat From News And Algo Change Panics Buzzfeed”. The post explains “Facebook’s Adam Mosseri announced last Thursday that it is getting out of the news business and going back to connecting people with personal stuff”.

And, so what? Is there some point to this exercise? The post attempts to do so as it continues “For Buzzfeed and other Facebook traffic driven organisations this is bad news, Buzzfeed gets some 23% of their traffic at the whim of Mark Zuckerberg. Unsurprisingly Buzzfeed bought adverts on Facebook on Friday pushing soon to be lost users to download their app”. But then the Fawkes massive starts to go wrong.
In the political sphere those sites that specialise in clickbaity headlines designed to go viral on Facebook may see a drop in traffic”. And they may not: this is something that all of  those who run blogs, solo or group efforts, monitor. What the Fawkes rabble clearly don’t know is what these “Algo Changes” are. The Great Guido is not privy to Facebook’s algorithm development programme. Nor is he as savvy on technology as he imagines.
This is mostly crap (no surprise there) ...

We know this after the post tells “Approximately 7% of Guido’s traffic is referred from Facebook. Twitter on the other hand drives 23% of our traffic, just behind Google on 24%. The Spectator and Breitbart also rely on Facebook for some ~7% to 8% of their traffic. Skwawkbox and The Canary rely on Facebook respectively for a massive ~40% and ~48% of traffic”. That very much depends on how you use Facebook.

Zelo Street has a Facebook page which has all the blog’s posts linked from it. This is nothing to do with the site’s move away from news, and is no different from any other Facebook page offering links to other content. Likewise, Skwawkbox has a Facebook page which links back to that blog. What The Canary offers looks no different, except that it’s had more effort expended on it. The Fawkes folks are just scaremongering.
...  which makes it more of this

But then, when it comes to The Great Guido and technology, we’ve been here before. When they were trying to shill (again) for London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, the Fawkes rabble made a series of claims about “automatic” trains, and how London’s Tube could be made driverless. They were talking crap. Because they didn’t understand the technology.

Fast forward two years, and the Fawkes massive is still shooting from the hip before finding out what they are talking about. Another fine mess, once again.

Eugenics - Toby Young Was Not Alone

When the loathsome Toby Young was finally prised away from his board position at the newly created Office for Students, it was clearly the revelations in both the London Student and Private Eye magazine about his attendance at the London Conference on Intelligence that had persuaded him to throw in his hand and leave the table. Tobes described this analysis as “balls”, so, given his record of dishonesty, that probably means it’s right.
Ben Bradley MP

And while Young has been lying low for a few days, after cobbling together an unconvincing apologia for Himself Personally Now, having failed to convince those repulsed at what was not his first foray into the world of eugenics, the Tory right has thrown up yet another supporter of “breeding out the thicks”. Unlike Tobes, this one could prove to be genuinely dangerous, as he is a sitting Tory MP.

Ben Bradley, who unexpectedly won Mansfield for the Tories last year, has been made a vice-chair of the party. Theresa May might come to regret that decision, after BuzzFeed revealed that he had been advocating vasectomy for the workless. The Guardian noted that Bradley had concerns about the lower orders breeding.

A Conservative MP who has been appointed as a party vice-chairman once suggested that unemployed people should opt for free vasectomies rather than continuing to have children they could not afford to support … In a blogpost, Ben Bradley claimed that the country would be soon ‘drowning in a vast sea of unemployed wasters’ if workless families had four or five children while others limited themselves to one or two”.

He would have fitted right in with Joseph Goebbels. One could even imagine him being a minor participant at the Wannsee Conference. Bradley also claimed “There are hundreds of families in the UK who earn over £60,000 in benefits without lifting a finger because they have so many kids (and for the rest of us that’s a wage of over £90,000 before tax!)”, which also demonstrates his appetite for propaganda.
Guess who agrees with the Hon Member?

So what has he had to say for himself? Like Tobes and his pals, he wants us to believe that this is a mere “historic” episode, telling “I apologise for these posts. My time in politics has allowed me to mature and I now realise that this language is not appropriate”. Well, he made those comments in 2012, when already in his 20s.

The Labour-supporting Mirror is certainly not convinced, adding yet more embarrassing observations like “The now-deleted post was headlined ‘Give us the benefits ‘cap’ - before we all drown!’ … It was tagged with keywords including ‘chavs’ and ‘wasters’ [remember the Tories’ Activate group talking of “gassing chavs”?] … [Theresa May] was under huge pressure to sack him last night after his ‘repulsive’ comments emerged”.

Saying “I wrote it a long time ago when I was young and not really thinking it through” is not going to cut the mustard. The whole eugenics agenda is tied up with the ideological right. And that ideological right is increasingly influential in today’s Tory Party. Ben Bradley and Toby Young are mere tips of a much larger and nastier iceberg.

The Nasty Party never went away. It just became a whole lot nastier.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Guido Fawked - Fake News Hypocrisy

As the smelly brown stuff interfaced violently with the rotating ventilation device yesterday and the true scale of the Carillion mess became clear, it was also noticed that some of those involved had been close to the Tories, and in some cases rather too close: chairman Philip Green (no relation to the BHS one) had been an advisor to the Prime Minister, although that role ceased in December 2016.
Behold the righteous and upstanding judge of what is right and proper

LBC host and occasional Newsnight presenter James O’Brien noted this, but got it wrong when he claimed Green was still advising Theresa May. So he later Tweeted out a correction. This was deemed insufficient by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, who today proclaimedJames O’Brien’s Carillion Fake News Goes Viral”, denouncing O’Brien as a mere “leftie”.
So this is Very Bad ...

The Great Guido told his adoring readers, whomsoever they be, that O’Brien was “Keen to find a damaging line”, and gasped disbelievingly that “His original tweet was retweeted more than 8,000 times. The correction has been retweeted 170 times. And James still hasn’t deleted his fake news”. It wasn’t “his news”, whatever its nature, but hey ho.

This was most emphatic: anything later found to be untrue would have to be deleted, and of course a correction would be mandatory. However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, news then arrived that puts the Fawkes massive in what Spike Milligan might have called A Very Difficult Position.
... while this, er, don't ask

As the people at Left Foot Forward have told, “The Electoral Commission have kicked out a complaint against Britain Stronger in Europe, after Tory politician Priti Patel MP claimed she had evidence of ‘joint spending’ between Remain groups … the Commission have conducted their assessment - showing there is no evidence of any joint spending against Britain Stronger in Europe”. So how are the Fawkes folks involved?
So, listeners, what's first time caller Paul from Ireland telling us? Is it ...

Well, this is what they said at the time: “Priti Patel has written to the Electoral Commission asking them to launch an investigation following Guido’s stories on how the Remain campaign flouted spending rules during the referendum. As we revealed last week, Remainers shared data, suppliers and campaign materials, coordinated spending, funnelled £1 million to new campaigns set up in the month before the vote, and potentially spent double the legal limit”. Flouted spending rules. No ifs, no buts.
... a load of this? Or are his ...

So confident was The Great Guido that the post ended with this triumphant declaration: “The Electoral Commission have told the BBC they are looking into Guido’s stories, but have yet to launch a formal probe. A lot of evidence landing on their desk this morning”.
... pants once again well alight?

Those claims were fake. Total crap. Not worth the Electoral Commission wasting their time over. So has any humble pie been consumed chez Fawkes over this dreadful mistake? Has a correction been issued? Has the original series of allegations been deleted? As if you need to ask: one rule for the Fawkes rabble, another for its targets.

The Fawkes massive once again finds itself standing in an awfully draughty glasshouse. Another fine mess, once again.

Dan Wootton - Another Fake Exclusive

Having won an award recently, the Murdoch Sun’s associate editor and keeper of the paper’s piss-poor Bizarre column Dan Wootton might have thought that he could do no wrong, that he may actually be popular among all those slebs on whom he regularly, and so inaccurately, reports. But he also presided over the entirely fictitious and malicious attacks on former Strictly finalist Alexandra Burke.
His "exclusive" is on the front page ...

And when he was inexplicably gifted the Arts and Entertainment journalist of the year award last December, Private Eye magazine was on hand to remind the world what a complete and utter shit Wootton had been to so many people. Then his not really knowledgeable column failed to correctly identify boy band Westlife, while the Eye revealed that his attack on Ms Burke was because she didn’t give him an interview.

Yes, Dan Wootton is a deeply repellant creep whose journalistic credibility is not unadjacent to zero. And today he has underscored this in the most unfortunate manner, as his latest “Exclusive”, with his own name on the by-line, turned out to be nothing of the sort. Once again, the subject for the claim was Ant McPartlin, and the Sun was trying to score cheap sales and clicks off the ITV star’s impending divorce.

So what was the allegedly exclusive news? “SHARE OF THE DOG … Ant McPartlin and estranged wife Lisa Armstrong battle over custody of their dog … The ITV superstar is expected to be forced to share ownership of chocolate Labrador Hurley to ensure their marriage ends amicably outside of the courtroom”. And there was more.

To the sound of barrels being scraped over at the Baby Shard bunker, readers were told “The chocolate Labrador is so close to the I’m A Celebrity presenter that he even gained special dispensation for him to visit while in rehab last year … But we can reveal he is likely to be forced to share custody of the five-year-old in order to see the marriage end amicably out of court”. Yes? Yes yes? Yes yes yes?
... but, er, not in his own paper

Who has Wootton got to back up this lamentably rank slice of hokum? As if you need to ask: “A source close to the couple”. Now colour me sceptical, because I am sceptical, but didn’t McPartlin give Wootton an interview recently? So he qualifies as “A source close to the couple”, or in other words, this is yet more made up bullshit.

And not only is is made up bullshit, it’s not exclusive: the Ant’n’Wife dog story has been plastered all over the front page of the Daily Star, the ultimate downmarket news destination. That report depends on the testimony of “An insider”, as in the inside of the Daily Star’s newsroom, or what is left of it after Richard “Dirty” Desmond sent most of the hacks and subs down the road. It’s crap, but at least there’s no “exclusive” pretence.

Dan Wootton’s abysmal behaviour ensures that when the Murdoch mafiosi decide he’s no longer worth the candle - which could come sooner rather than later - he’s going to find out just how popular he is, and how bankable all those “exclusives” really are.

Be careful who you upset on the way up, and all that. Another worthless Murdoch clown.

Tory Press - Don’t Mention Carillion

It was Paul Mason who noticed recently that when something reflects badly on the Tories, their backers in our free and fearless press have a habit of taking that something off the front page. Yes, they’ll discuss the something on inside pages, maybe even have a moan about it in editorials, but the name of the game is keeping embarrassing somethings off the front page. So it has been with the collapse of Carillion.
Carillion leads in the Guardian ...

There are tens of thousands of jobs at risk - that’s as in, at risk of vanishing without those affected getting paid - amid the scandal of top management enriching themselves, shareholder bonuses being doled out year-on-year despite the increasingly parlous state of the company, and a gaping chasm of a pensions shortfall, but for loyal Tory-backing papers, is has to be kept off the front page. You think I jest? Just take a look.
... and at the Mirror ...

While the now tabloid Guardian makes the Carillion collapse its lead story, telling that as many as 30,000 small firms - sub-contractors, suppliers - may lose out with some having to close as a result, and the Mirror makes sure its readers know the identity of the winners (bosses) and losers (workers), the story is different in Tory backing territory.
... but relegated to very minor status at the Telegraph ...

The closest the True Blue brigade gets to even admitting there has been a scandal is when the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph adds a small item to its front page - “Carillion left without Whitehall oversight”, so it’s the useless bureaucrats’ fault, and not the party the paper supports - buried at bottom left. Don’t worry yourselves, Tel readers, it’s not really important. Bashing the French gets more prominence.
... and missing completely from the Sun ...

What of the Murdoch Sun? Not a peep, although the paper whines about Carillion in its editorial. Like the Tel, they concentrate on the story of toddler Poppi Worthington, about whom they pretend to care despite dedicating themselves to slagging off social workers and cheering spending cuts that deplete Police numbers. Oh, and there’s more Meghan, because Royals sell papers and distract readers from reality.
... same at the Mail ...

No Carillion at the Mail either, where the fate of tens of thousands of those hard-working Brits the Dacre doggies claim to champion was unimportant compared to recycling a press release from Iceland stores and reinventing it as a triumph of the now environmentally responsible Mail. That’s the same paper that whines about renewable energy and does not have a problem with fracking. Just keep the bad news off the front page.
... and nowhere to be seen at the Express

Likewise at the Express, which has room to tell readers that there is cold and wet weather in January (who knew?), frighten its ageing readership over Alzheimers’, and thunder triumphantly that we’re going to cut off aid for all those ghastly foreigners. And they too want justice for Poppi, although somehow they missed the story until everyone else picked up on it (which was after the BBC covered it extensively).

So, as Paul Mason warned us, only to be sneered at by those out there on the right, when the news is really embarrassing for the Tories, their press pals make sure it’s kept off the front page. That means little or no Carillion - unless and until The Blue Team has something positive it can say about the débâcle.

And the press establishment wonders why trust in its product is shot. Hey ho.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Carillion - Tories In Deep Shit

While the more downmarket end of our free and fearless press has been binging on Sleb cheapies, out there in the real world what Sailor Heath once called “The unacceptable face of capitalism” has been manifesting itself as construction and service company Carillion has been forced into liquidation by lenders who had lost patience and concluded that, no matter how long they waited, they were not going to get their money back.
Or maybe not

The effect was immediate: train cleaners, who get around their patch using vans supplied by Carillion, found their fuel cards had been cancelled. They have to either pay for filling up out of their own pockets or the trains don’t get cleaned. The company’s pension fund has a deficit of around £580 million. And the value of what can be liquidated is so little as to mean most shareholders will see very little of their money.

However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, despite a financial situation  that has been parlous for some time now, Carillion kept on paying shareholder dividends, so those not seeing their share capital returned have at least had their regular divi. Those were not the only dividends being paid: directors’ bonuses kept on being doled out, and the “clawback provisions” for these were relaxed in 2016.
That means Carillion’s directors got their extra wedge, safe in the knowledge that no-one could come and tell them to put the dosh back in the kitty. Even the Institute of Directors has cavilled at that move, frothing “It does no good to the reputation of UK business when top managers appear to benefit in spite of the collapse of the organisations that they are responsible for”. The tens of thousands facing the dole might not be impressed, either.

It is suspected that Carillion submitted unrealistically low bids for Government contracts to keep the workload up, but the combination of bidding too low and failure to keep control of costs meant that this practice just made matters worse. And there was more.
George bricking it big time

Despite the profits warnings, the Government just kept on awarding the firm work. And it is that which put the Tories on the spot. As they have been in office, either in coalition or alone, for more than seven and a half years, they have no credible way of blaming anyone else for the current mess. They slavishly followed the false god of “Private Good, Public Bad”, only to see it come back and bite them. This is their can to carry.
Quite

And there is no avoiding complicity: attracting deserved ridicule today has been the why-oh-why editorial from the Evening Standard, which has demandedWhy has the state found itself so dependent on a few very large outsourcing firms? Why was Carillion awarded huge contracts by the civil service, with whom rather than ministers almost all procurement decisions lie after they knew it was struggling last year?
THE PROSECUTION RESTS

The Standard’s editor, the Rt Hon Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the seventeenth Baronet, can answer those himself. As Chancellor of the Exchequer for six recent years, he was a full participant in the Carillion mess. This is also his can to carry.

When it came to Carillion, the Tories were absent elsewhere. That’s not good enough.

Sun Guardian Tabloid Sneer BUSTED

The end of another era has come today as the Guardian abandons the Berliner format and moves to join most of the rest of the press as a tabloid newspaper. Next Sunday’s Observer will follow suit. This is part of a longer term drive to reduce costs as part of a three-year “transformation programme”, with the Guardian’s own printing sites closing as that part of the production process is outsourced to Trinity Mirror group.
So far, so routine, but one media organisation has decided it cannot let the move go without comment. As befits those whose machinations were exposed when the Guardian blew the whistle on phone hacking, the Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun have dedicated part of today’s editorial to sneering righteously at the Rotten Lefties (tm) from Kings Place. The attack is as crude as it is dishonest.

Under the heading “Small world”, the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker snipe “THE Sun warmly welcomes the Guardian to the tabloid club … As of today, the cash-strapped newspaper has shrunk to save on costs after making a £38million loss in 2016/17 … So, from one tabloid to another, here is our suggestion for them to turn around their failing fortunes: actually report some exclusive, rip-roaring stories … We know that is an alien concept to them but it might help them flog a copy, or two”.
Rip-roaring stories? Non-exclusive with made up numbers ...

And, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here. One, the Sun has no room to call anyone out for losing money: the former cash cow of the Murdoch mafiosi lost £24 million last year, and while this is less than the Guardian’s loss for the same period, they made up for that by shipping a whopping £68 million the year before.
... which the Daily Star did better

Why is the Sun losing so much? Simples: the paper has had to pay out tens of millions in damages to settle phone hacking claims - and keep them out of the courts. Worse, the consequences of the paper’s illegal behaviour continue: the Sun’s representatives are back in court later this week over a raft of allegations, including not only phone hacking, but blagging, and the minor detail of email deletion and evidence suppression.
Plus two, the Sun also has no cause to get righteous about “exclusive, rip-roaring stories”, as the front page of today’s edition shows. Although the headline claimsShowbiz Exclusive … ANT TO PAY WIFE £31M … Priciest Brit celeb divorce EVER”, there is nothing exclusive about a story already in the public domain - Ant McPartlin and his wife splitting - embellished by made-up quotes from the ubiquitous “A source said”.
Moreover, what happens between McPartlin and his wife is of Sweet Jack relevance to all those ordinary Brits who shell out their hard-earned dosh to keep Rebekah Brooks, Tony Gallagher and the rest of the Sun freak show in the style to which they have become accustomed. On the other hand, the Guardian’s lead, about yet more sticking plaster being applied to the NHS, is relevant to almost all of them.

The Murdoch Sun: stinking hypocrisy, criminal behaviour, and irrelevant tosh served up as if it were real news. No-one need take lessons from this shower.

McDonnell - Sunday Politics In Trouble

Among media outlets, those most trusted by the public are the broadcasters. And the most trusted of this group is, and has been for many years, the BBC. That trust brings with it significant responsibility, something of which the overwhelming majority of the Corporation’s staff will not need reminding. So when the impression is given that the Beeb’s impartiality is slipping, it is a cause for concern - whatever one’s political stripe.
Oi! Sunday Politics people! I want a word with you

As Zelo Street regulars will be aware, the flagship Daily Politics has been there before, when then junior shadow minister Stephen Doughty resigned live on the show, this occurring at 1155 hours on a Wednesday, five minutes before PMQs and with Jeremy Corbyn, his party leader, being put at a disadvantage as gleeful Tories made sure David Cameron had the information before he got to his feet in the Commons.
The attempts by the BBC to brush this off were sunk by the inadvertent release of an internal blog post titled “Resignation! Making the news on the Daily Politics”. So one might have thought that, despite the departure of Robin Gibb from the Corporation, lessons would be learnt. But maybe they have not, after the Sunday Politics took a stance on shadow chancellor John McDonnell which has rung alarm bells in Labour circles.
Sarah Smith, new Sunday Politics host

After the Tories declared that they were taking a more respectful tone, and challenged Labour to do likewise - an easy stunt to pull when you have the boot boys of the Fourth Estate to do the smearing for you - shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner was questioned by new host Sarah Smith over comments made by McDonnell in a video some time ago, regarding Work and Pensions minister Esther McVey.
McDonnell, as is now well known, was not expressing his own opinions in the recording played back to Gardiner, but recounting his experiences in a visit to Liverpool, and particularly the unexpectedly strong adverse feeling expressed to him about Ms McVey. He made it clear that the comment “Why aren’t we lynching the bastard?” had come not from him, but by a group who “kicked off” over the “Sack Esther McVey” campaign.

This did not stop Ms Smith confronting Gardiner with the assertion that McDonnell had repeated the comments “with approval”, as if the Sunday Politics team retrospectively knew the state of mind of the shadow chancellor. It also caused disquiet among some Labour supporters that the audio released on Twitter was faded out immediately after McDonnell quoted the comments. Sarah Smith had to issue a clarification later.
It was not the only part of yesterday’s Sunday Politics to cause adverse reaction: the so-called “Commentators who count” included right-wing Talk Radio host Julia Hartley Dooda, who was not challenged when she blatantly and dishonestly claimed that Keir Starmer was responsible for the decision not to bring more charges against “Black Cab Rapist” John Worboys. The program’s host has changed; the tired old pundit parade endures.

We need trusted media sources. So it is imperative that those sources show no undue favour - or hostility - to any political party or grouping. And while the clarification is welcome, it’s a little too late when it comes after the event The BBC needs to do better.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Katie Hopkins Supports Lynching

Having now been cast adrift from the pundit mainstream, pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins is left to search for clicks among the detritus of the far-right, around the stagnant tide mark of flotsam and jetsam not yet scoured from the bathtub of history. Here, she has continued her fruitless campaign against London’s elected and popular Mayor Sadiq Khan, not that she’s any kind of racist of course, oh no.
Viewers may still want to look away now

Hatey Katie’s pursuit of any dirt she can find on Khan - which, sadly for her, is not very much - led her to become most agitated at the Mayor’s comments following the decision not to come to London next month by combover crybaby Donald Trump. “The London Mayor believes he is in a position to gloat. #Shithole” she snapped. But she soon had something to applaud, after Khan’s address to the Fabian Society was interrupted.
Sadiq Khan - rather more popular than Katie Hopkins

Here, she deployed a cheap homophobic smear as she smirked “Sadiq Khan speech interrupted by protestors. Pro Sadiq Khan protestors retaliate - by holding flags & standing in a camp manner”. These protesters, she suggested, were in the right: “Anyone else feeling it? The tension between what is being said & what we think? The UK is bristling, screwed down like a pressure cooker”. So who were they?
According to the Guardian, they werea small number of demonstrators from a recently formed far-right group called the White Pendragons”. They told the audience “Ladies and gentlemen, we’re here today to make a non-violent, peaceful citizen’s arrest”. Paul Brand of ITV News later told that “they told us Sadiq Khan has no right to be Mayor of London, referencing his religion”. Khan made light of the incident.
Ms Hopkins did not. After Mail Online correctly described those protesting as a “far-right” group, she countered with “Far right - the appeasers code for ‘this thinking is wrong’”. So the self-proclaimed “White Pendragons” were not only right in her eyes, those who declared otherwise were mere “appeasers”. Ri-i-i-ight.
There was just one teensy problem with her argument: the “White Pendragons” were, perhaps, not there to make a “non-violent, peaceful citizen’s arrest”. They had brought along a worryingly sturdy looking scaffold with them - as in the kind of “scaffold” to which the hero is marched in Hector Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique.
We know this as Aaron Bastani Tweeted out a photo of the construction, which had been brought along mounted on a car trailer. He did not find the sight “non-violent” or “peaceful” at all, asking “White nationalists literally brought a gallows as they harassed Sadiq Khan. I’ve seen people arrested for carrying pens as offensive weapons but this is fine?
Maybe the “White Pendragons” were not intending to use their gallows in anger. But once again, had it been anyone who was not white doing that, and certainly if a Tory politician had been targeted, the outrage meter would have been off the scale.

As for Katie Hopkins - she’s seen all of this and happily nodded along with it, being more than happy to slag off anyone of differing view. So now we know that she’s cool with a democratically elected politician being taken out and lynched.

That is fine in the alternative universe of Hatey Katie. I’ll just leave that one there.