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Friday, 31 March 2017

Corbyn's London Polling Reality

I hate to have to quote J K Galbraith’s definition of leadership once more, but for today’s Labour leader and his loyal followers, these things sometimes need saying more than once. “All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership”.
Principled and inoffensive is not cutting through with voters

And to that I’ll add another Galbraith observation on leadership, which is particularly relevant to Britain right now: “A leader can compromise, get the best deal he can. Politics is the art of the possible. But he cannot be thought to evade”.

Yet Theresa May evades, and she gets away with it. Consistently. She evaded when visiting the Copland constituency during the recent by-election campaign, and on an issue on which she should not have - the NHS. The local paper was all over it. The Labour campaign milked the evasion for all it was worth. They still lost.

Why Ms May gets away with flouting this cardinal rule of leadership is not hard to explain: she has no credible opposition. Labour does not get its talking points out, rebuttals take hours, and where the leadership stands on issues is to many voters a mystery.

How different Labour looks now compared to the formidable campaigning machine that swept John Major from power and followed by crushing William ‘Ague four years later. Yes, I know, that was Tony Blair. Did I mention Blair? I should go and stand at the back.

But the point stands: Blair and his team won power. The decade following their triumph, up to the financial crash, was a happier and more harmonious time than we have now. And, being in power, Labour could take action to improve the lot of all those who we now class as “just managing”, plus the disabled, the sick, the young, the marginalised.

And yes, I know that those devoted to Jeremy Corbyn will dismiss all of this: it’s all the press’ fault, the polls are wrong, and look at all those policies. But presenting voters with a list of policies, telling them a great grassroots movement is being built, and that they should come and join in - that only causes a glazing over of the eyes.

What about the major anxiety of the people? Where is the leadership on Brexit? Labour loyalists will protest long and loud that it is there and always has been, but that is not how it looks to an increasing number of voters - even, whisper it quietly - in London.

When Sadiq Khan won the Mayoral election, some Corbyn followers were resentful over his apparently distancing himself from Jezza: Khan had, it was argued, won with Corbyn’s help, not his hindrance. Today’s results from the latest Queen Mary University of London and YouGov poll shows that idea to have been utterly delusional.
For Labour, these numbers are beyond bad

The ratings for five party leaders range from Caroline Lucas of the Greens, who manages +13%, through Theresa May on +9% and Tim Farron of the Lib Dems on -8%, to Paul Nuttall of UKIP on a deserved -34%. But way down there at the foot of the table, and on his own patch, is Jeremy Corbyn on an utterly miserable -44%. Sadiq Khan, by the way, had his approval rating polled too. HE SCORED +35%. The defence rests.

These numbers give the lie to one of the Corbyn fans’ most quoted excuses - that it’s all about the press. The Greens get a shitty press, a mixture of patronising, ridicule and dismissiveness. Yet their co-leader is most popular with Londoners. Yes, there may be other factors at work - Ms Lucas and her party are hot on environmental issues, and Londoners are receptive to their view right now. But what about Farron?

The Lib Dems are treated with scorn and contempt by the press, especially the Mail, which takes every opportunity given to it to lay into Nick Clegg - still an MP - especially over Europe. Yet Fallon still manages a reasonable rating, even after the 2015 losses.

Jeremy Corbyn does agreeable, accomplished and inoffensive interviews. He is a deeply principled man. But he is not cutting through with voters. And all the while his party is sinking into oblivion. He and his inner circle - John McDonnell, Seumas Milne and Karie Murphy - must know the game is up with the electorate. But still they sit there, convinced that the fightback will begin soon, and all will be well. But it won’t.

And yes, I can hear the excuses and cat-calling: “you’ve lost all credibility with this post”, “I used to like this blog BUT”, “we won a parish council seat last Thursday”, “why don’t you join us”, “it’s a Blairite/ Brownite/Otherite plot”, “it’s still the press’ fault”. None of that will wash. If Corbyn is so unpopular on his home turf, he’s dead in the water.

Stop blaming the press. Stop blaming previous Labour leaders. Stop blaming those who are pointing out the bleeding obvious. The Corbyn experiment is over. It’s dead. Morte.

Labour needs a leader who is once again willing to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of the people - as opposed to what gives the ideologically inclined a nice warm feeling. It should not need a General Election that puts the party in a worse position than 1935 to bring that reality home. The tragedy is that it probably will.

BBC Show Features Known Liar

The BBC has been accused of all kinds of biases over the years, and no more so than the anti-EU politicians and press who believe the Corporation is biased against them merely because it declines to turn itself into a cheerleader for the Brexit brigade. But in trying to head off the screaming denunciation of the Fourth Estate, the Beeb has allowed some who peddle rank dishonesty on to its shows in the name of balance.
Why did Kavanagh cross the road? To score More And Bigger Self Promotion Opportunities For Himself Personally Now

This mistake was highlighted by Wednesday’s edition of Newsnight, where host Emily Maitlis had to not only contend with the duty to give her pundits a say, but also detect the propagandist lying of faithful Murdoch retainer Trevor Kavanagh, who is still on the board of sham press regulator IPSO, in addition to his duties as Boot Boy Emeritus for the Super Soaraway Currant Bun. Kav sounds authoritative. But he is flagrantly dishonest with it.

The subject under discussion for the panel which also included writer and film maker Billie JD Porter, semi-detached Labour MP Kate Hoey and Fleet Street veteran Max “Hitler” Hastings was, to no surprise, Brexit. Ms Porter expressed her dismay and embarrassment at the situation that she and many other young people in the UK now find themselves in. Ms Maitlis then turned to Kavanagh, who then breathed in, and therefore lied.

Hers, he intoned with his customary faux authority, was merely a personal view. There were, he assured viewers, many across the EU who were much more opposed to it than Britain had been at the time of the referendum. Much more against the EU. And this was right across the EU. This was not true: he and his paper have been spinning this particular tall tale for some years, and particularly in the run-up to recent elections.

So where is this anti-EU sentiment? Sadly for Kav, it is largely in the minds of himself and his pals at the Sun. When the Austrian Presidential election was re-run last year, the Murdoch goons suggested the country could have a referendum on EU membership - they won’t - and that a far-right victory (their man lost) could sway voters to the right in the Netherlands (it didn’t) and France (less likely now the Russians involvement is known).

The Sun talked up racist bigot Geert Wilders amid talk of a “Nexit”. It didn’t happen. Now the paper is pretending other EU member states will follow Britain out the door, but it’s fanciful: the FN in France is fading, AfD in Germany hardly broke the 5% threshold in the most recent election there, and even the Greeks aren’t minded to vote out.

But Kavanagh had his ace to deploy: the Pope, he stressed, on the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome last weekend - Britain didn’t go to the bash - had said that the EU “was dying”. This was delivered persuasively. But it was another lie: Pope Francis had actually said that the EU “risks dying”. Yet Kavanagh was allowed to get away with his lies unchallenged. Why Ms Maitlis did not correct him is for her to know. But the effect is that the Murdoch propaganda gets out there, and the BBC is complicit in its delivery.

This tsunami of fake anti-EU news and pundit propaganda is inevitable. That does not mean the BBC should just let it happen.

Trump - Impeachment Awaits

While most pundits across the UK have been “looking over there” at all those ghastly foreigners in Brussels, and all the other European capitals that are lining up to tempt businesses to up sticks from London and relocate in time for Britain’s departure from the EU, the not always controlled chaos that is the Presidency of Combover Crybaby Donald Trump has reached what Alex Ferguson liked to call Squeaky Bum Time.
Michael Flynn - plenty to think about

The latest Little Local Difficulty for the Trump Gang is one that could see The Donald follow Richard Milhous Nixon into both infamy and oblivion: his former advisor Michael Flynn, who had to resign not just over his Russia connections, but because he managed to consistently mislead his colleagues in the administration, now appears willing to testify, presumably against his former boss. There is just one problem.

Flynn wants to have immunity from prosecution - upfront. This makes the whole exercise potentially a lot more interesting. What is yet more interesting is that the first announcement was made in the Wall Street Journal - a Murdoch title. Rupert Murdoch has thus far been an unswerving supporter of Trump, who has garnered coverage bordering on the sycophantic from Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse).

Fox’ breakfast offering Fox And Friends - which, note, is part of the channel’s “opinion” strand - regularly features Trump calling in and expounding his views, with those views going unchallenged. NBC News has toldFlynn's lawyer, Robert Kelner, confirmed that discussions had taken place with the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, and said ‘General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it’”.

The subject on which Flynn is expected to testify is, to no surprise at all, Russia. And this comes after parts of the dossier compiled by former security operative Christopher Steele on the potential for the Russians to have “Kompromat” on Trump have been confirmed as accurate. Although the Independent noted, “Russian officials have … derided the dossier’s assertions”, it also toldSome of the claims in a controversial dossier linking Donald Trump to the Russian government appear to have been verified by US media outlets”.

CNN, whose broadcasting the Trump Gang finds so distressing that it derides it as “fake news”, had earlier confirmedThe corroboration, based on intercepted communications, has given US intelligence and law enforcement ‘greater confidence’ in the credibility of some aspects of the dossier as they continue to actively investigate its contents”.

A President compromised by Vladimir Vladimirovitch Putin and his gangster cabal in Moscow? That would be bad enough; worse would be, as with Nixon, the cover-up, the spin, deceit and downright lies. That Michael Flynn is seeking immunity means we are talking indictable offences, and the thought inevitably enters that those in the frame for indictment may include others in the Trump Gang - possibly including Trump himself.

Nixon did not fall on the discovery of the Watergate burglary, or when the tapes were handed over. But fall he did. And Nixon was a consummate politician of decades’ standing. Donald Trump is just a sad old fool going through the motions.

The endgame of this Presidency may now be in sight. The dénouement will be not only self inflicted, but richly deserved, and something to savour. More later.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Natalie Rowe’s Standard Refusal

News has arrived on Zelo Street from Natalie Rowe, who will be familiar to many regulars as the person who imposed more than strict financial discipline on the Rt Hon Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the seventeenth Baronet. Ms Rowe has a story for the press about her former client, but in the case of the Evening Standard, she has found it difficult to find a taker, even at the lowest possible asking price (ie zero).
Natalie Rowe

Why this should be I will leave up to readers to decide, but from the information Ms Rowe has made available, what I can tell is that she contacted the Standard’s newsdesk on at least two occasions, and both times was put through to a reporter who wanted to know who she was, but was unwilling to pitch his name to her.

On the first time she called, she asked if the newsdesk would be interested in a story about a prominent Tory MP, given that the paper was now to be edited by one, ie Osborne himself. The reporter would not commit himself to a yes or no answer, but on several occasions during the conversation suggested he should call her back on a mobile phone.

But, Ms Rowe reasoned, she was already speaking to him using her mobile phone. Why would he want to ring back? The thought enters that the newsdesk may have wanted to record the conversation. The unnamed journalist, having not made any progress on that front, decided to end the conversation and rang off.

There’s courtesy for you. But, it seems, Ms Rowe was undeterred, and was back on that mobile phone soon afterwards. And after badgering the unfortunate switchboard operator at the Standard, she was back talking to the newsdesk. That the same person apparently answered the call makes one wonder just how many staff the Standard really allocates to its newsdesk (seems the answer to that is “one”).
Look who's here (this photo (c) Natalie Rowe)

This time, things got rather more interesting: firstly, the still wilfully anonymous hack at the other end of the phone had realised who he was talking to. “Is your name Natalie?” he asked. Then he became more forthright. “You’re Natalie Rowe … look, this is a twenty year old story”. This was a most creative use of the Standard’s crystal ball, maybe too creative: the story Ms Rowe was offering the paper is very much an up-to-date one.

This she tried to impress upon the insistently anonymous hack. The problem was that, as with too many hard pressed hacks nowadays, he was not listening. It was, for him, still a twenty year old story, which begs the question - why would he not hear Ms Rowe out? The story concerned the reopening of an IPCC investigation into a recent raid on her flat and the removal of two photos which may prove embarrassing to the former Chancellor.

But the Standard’s newsdesk didn’t want to know. Mentioning Osborne, it seems, brings forth a wall of excuses and then unwillingness to take it further. I’m sure there is a good explanation for this, especially as Zelo Street readers will already have figured out that Ms Rowe’s story is an update of what was posted on this blog, and on Byline Media, back in January this year. Twenty year old story my arse.

The moral of this tale? Don’t take your Osborne stories to the Standard.

Dan, Dan The Brexit Fibs Man

After the delivery of the allegedly historic Article 50 letter to the European Union yesterday has come the continuing onslaught of press propaganda, telling us how wonderful everything will be outside the EU, how optimistic we must now be, how anyone who thinks otherwise is bitter and sullen, and in the process telling a whole host of the most blatant whoppers in order to keep the public as ignorant as before.
And no-one is better at being bright-eyed and bushy-tailed while spinning a raft of porkies than Dan, Dan The Oratory Man. Hannan has been given a platform by the Murdoch goons at the Sun to give anyone foolish enough to believe him a pep talk on how all those sour Remain supporters are wrong, and he is right. So just to put them all straight, let us examine some of the claims he makes, and why they are, shall we say, unreliable.

Remoaners have convinced themselves that we're incapable of making choices without Eurocrats to order us around”. Ah, the reassuring sound of abuse. And there were no “Eurocrats” ordering us around beforehand. But do go on. “SHEESH, guys, cheer up!” At the thought of Hannan getting rumbled? I already did. “Theresa May’s moderate and statesmanlike tone as she announced the ­triggering of Article 50 could not have been more different from the hysterical pessimism of her ­critics”. More abuse.

To be fair, most of the 48 per cent have accepted the result”. NO CITATION.

Are we not capable of making our own choices without Eurocrats to order us around?” There are still no “Eurocrats” ordering us around.

During the campaign, we were told that a Leave vote would cause an immediate crash”. NO CITATION (problem here is the word “Immediate” - not true).

And then the first provable lie: “Britain grew faster in the six months following the vote than in the six months before it, and ended 2016 as the world’s most successful major economy”. FIFTH most successful, behind the USA, China, Japan … and Germany. Yes, the same country that is in the EU, and welcomed hundreds of thousands of refugees.

Remainers used to tell us that the French would throw our immigration officers out of Calais … In fact, four months after the referendum, the camp there was finally closed”. FALSE EQUIVALENCE.

They used to say that it would cause separatism in Scotland … In fact, opinion polls show that Scots are more pro-Union than before the Brexit vote”. Very little difference, in fact you can see pre-referendum and post referendum polls HERE and HERE. So debatable at best (plus we are yet to see data for after the Scottish Parliament vote this week).

Yes, there will be some disruption, as there is in any worthwhile change … When you move from a dilapidated house to a comfortable one, the move itself is still stressful. But it’s worth it”. WE’RE NOT MOVING HOUSE - that’s another FALSE EQUIVALENCE.

Even after we leave, we’ll still make mistakes. But they’ll be our mistakes”. Whoopee-do. If it all goes belly up, we’ll get a nice warm feeling because we’ll be on our own.

And finally the Hannan Pièce de Résistance: “We are an old, rich and serious country. We’ll manage”. With a honking great debt mountain largely down to his Tory pals inflicting several years of needless austerity on the UK, yes, really rich. Age and seriousness has sweet Jack to do with it. And “we’ll manage” is utterly unconvincing.

As so often, Hannan and his fellow happy-clappy let’s-all-smile-and-think-optimistic-thoughts disciples have nothing to say barring exaggeration, downright dishonesty, and pretending that provided we all smile and chant “La la la we can’t hear you” everything will turn out fine. The EU is portrayed as “Them”, rather than a club of sovereign nations. We are spun the usual tale of “going global” and “getting out into the world”.

We were going global, and had got out into the world, before this frankly pointless and delusional exercise began. The UK, before the banking crash - not caused here - and the arrival of the Tories’ austerity obsession, was a far happier place than it is today.

Moreover, the UK in the 1960s, which tried for so long to get into what was then the EEC, had good reason to do so: it was a country in decline, a land of residual delusion of grandeur and an Empire that had long gone, a laughing stock, an increasing irrelevance on the world stage, while the EEC was rebuilding and renewing itself after the war years.

That Daniel Hannan wants us to go back there tells you all you need to know about him.

Sun EU Terror Hypocrisy

Acts of terrorism taking place in Britain are universally agreed by our free and fearless press to be A Very Bad Thing. Moreover, the same kind of thing across mainland Europe, in the Middle East, in the USA, or indeed anywhere else is also A Very Bad Thing. So it follows that security agencies across the world sharing information and otherwise cooperating with one another is to be applauded and encouraged.
Or rather, it was: after our not at all unelected Prime Minister hinted in her letter triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty that we had a good relationship with the EU on security matters, and it would be a pity if something were to happen to it, those in Brussels, and indeed across the EU 27, expressed dismay at the idea that she would use the threat of pulling security cooperation in order to strong-arm the EU into giving us a better deal.

But this thought was not allowed to enter at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun, where the Murdoch goons put Theresa May’s threat on their front page: “PM’s Brexit Threat To EU … YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIVES … Trade with us and we’ll help fight terror”. There you have it in one: it’s OK for the UK to become a rogue state, fine for the streets of EU capitals to be the scene of a few mass murders. And there was more.

THERESA May yesterday offered Britain’s world-beating skill on fighting terror to the EU - so long as we keep free trade … Triggering exit talks, the PM issued a tough warning on the consequences of no deal … She said: ‘Failure to reach agreement would mean our co-operation in the fight against crime and terrorism would be weakened’ … controversially, she placed Britain’s security know-how at the centre of any negotiations”.

Once again the delusion is all too apparent: we have our security apparatus, as do other EU member states, in particular France, Spain and Germany. But because WE’RE BRITISH and our side SPEAKS ENGLISH then WE ARE BETTER THAN THEY ARE. On what basis does the Sun make its assumption? From the use of which performance metrics? But that is not told. Instead, an equally delusional editorial applauds Ms May.

THERESA May’s historic Article 50 letter and Commons statement were a pitch-­perfect overture to the EU: reassuring and generous but with a flash of steel … We hope the EU responds in a ­similarly benign spirit and with less of the intransigence it has shown so far”. There has been no intransigence, merely the following of correct procedure. Do go on.

Mrs May’s challenge is to be as tough, if need be, as the German Chancellor is … Which is exactly why the Prime ­Minister would be crazy not to use our peerless anti-terror security services as a bargaining chip … Some critics may be disgusted at her intention to tie in the free trade deal we want with our spooks’ continued co-operation with counterparts on the Continent … But Brussels wouldn’t hesitate to do it if the boot was on the other foot”. No citation, and none will be forthcoming.

The Sun’s delusion extended to “Mrs May was RIGHT to challenge the EU to join Britain in championing free trade”. Hello Murdoch doggies! The EU already champions free trade. It’s called the Single Market. You may have heard of it.

But good to see the Murdoch goons’ terrorism hypocrisy on full view. One can only marvel at the prospects of the logic gymnastics to come.

Andy Coulson’s Payday REVEALED

After Andy Coulson, who edited the late and not at all lamented Murdoch Screws at the time when it was being effectively run as a borderline criminal enterprise, was found guilty at the Hacking Trial and sent to prison, the sob stories began: his legal fees, totalling hundreds of thousands of pounds, would not be paid by the Murdoch mafiosi, his property might be seized, and his children would have to be taken out of their private schools.
Andy Coulson - looked after by his press establishment pals

Some quite magnificently large onions were taken out to accompany the playing of nanoviolins: “Will £750k legal bill cost Andy Coulson's wife her £1.7m family home?asked the Mail. And while the Guardian reported that Coulson had successfully got the Murdoch empire to pay his legal fees, there was the problem of future employment.

Indeed, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog were bereft at his lack of prospects: “As you contemplate tucking into your Christmas dinner and unwrapping the presents under the tree, reflect on the fragility of our lives. At the beginning of the year Andy Coulson was one of the most powerful men in the country, at the right-hand of the Prime Minister in Downing Street.”. Yes? Yes yes? Yes yes yes?

Now he is a virtually unemployable pariah, abandoned by the Murdochs he long served and disowned by David Cameron whom he propelled into office. He is said to be selling his home and taking his children out of their private schools as he faces criminal charges which could lead to a lengthy imprisonment in the New Year … The greasy pole is a dangerous thing”. Except, as so often, The Great Guido was talking crap.

We know this as Coulson is back, and, truth be told, had been back for some time. As Zelo Street noted last year, the Screws’ former head of PR Hayley Barlow, now at Channel 4 News, was telling her Twitter followers about Coulson’s appearance as a Brexit analyst. The sensitive nature of the rehabilitation is thought to have contributed to Piers Morgan’s hair trigger response to Evan Harris of Hacked Off mentioning Coulson - and Rebekah Brooks - during a heated exchange on ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

But it was yesterday’s news that Coulson is being employed by the increasingly downmarket and desperate Telegraph that caused many to sit up and take notice: as Roy Greenslade told Guardian readers, “Andy Coulson hired as Telegraph PR adviser … Journalists said to be shocked as ex-News of the World editor jailed over phone hacking gets job to promote truthfulness of papers”. And there was more.
Paul Vickers - another with a chequered past

His public relations firm, Coulson Chappell, has been awarded a contract to improve the standing of the company’s publications, the Daily and Sunday Telegraph. His main brief is thought to be to promote the papers as truthful and authoritative … The appointment was overseen by TMG’s chief executive, Murdoch MacLennan, who is regarded as one of Coulson’s most loyal friends. He gave evidence on Coulson’s behalf at his trial”.

What Greenslade did not tell is that not only had Coulson been doing consultancy for the Telegraph for two years already - a part time engagement, revealed by Private Eye magazine and for which Coulson was paid around £60,000 a year - but also that his current deal is worth a lot more than that. How much?

Well, after it was also revealed that the Tel is sending many of its sub-editors down the road and farming out much of the work that they do, exactly what Coulson is making from his old pal’s selective largesse is understandably of a sensitive nature. But an industry source has given Zelo Street a ballpark figure on Andy’s pay range.

It has been put to me that Andy Coulson is being paid “well north” of £200,000 by the Telegraph. And he isn’t the only one with a chequered past to be hired under the less than totally prestigious leadership of Murdoch MacLennan.

Last year, the Tel hired former Trinity Mirror legal man Paul Vickers, who told the Culture, Media and Sport select committee when asked about phone hacking at those titles “We have done huge investigations and, to date, we have not found any proof that phone hacking took place”. He and his pals can’t have looked very far.
Murdoch MacLennan - leading light of the press establishment

Greenslade was not convinced: “What ‘huge investigations’ were those, I wonder? What we can be certain about is that they lacked the necessary rigour. Just consider the number of claims, the number of stories involved and the number of journalists responsible. Hacking happened, the high court was told yesterday on an ‘industrial-scale’ between 1999 to 2006”. And after all of that, he was still appointed to a senior role in the Regulatory Funding Council, the funding body for sham press regulator IPSO.

Now he’s at the Tel, having been appointed just a year after leaving Trinity Mirror with a £400,000 plus payoff. And he left IPSO’s funding body, but only after a ruckus over his potential conflict of interest over hacking claims at his former papers.

MacLennan, meanwhile, after having headed the Newspaper Publishers’ Association, is now on the board of the International News Media Association. He is a leading light in the press establishment. And he has personally appointed an ex-crim who oversaw the Screws during the most infamous period in its infamous recent history, as well as bringing on board a lawyer whose track record is, at best, chequered.

And that’s scant consolation for all those subs sent down the road. The Telegraph - just another part of the rotten press establishment, looking after its own, and stuff the little people - even if they work in the industry. No change there, then.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Montgomerie FT Groupthink Problem

Even as the process to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is enacted, and most of those who have caused themselves to believe that life will be non-specifically but wonderfully better outside the EU are in states combining rapture and euphoria, in one corner of the Europhobic punditerati, there is only frustration and gloom at one publication that refuses steadfastly to indulge in the consumption of Kool-Aid.
I'm sorry, I haven't a clue. Again

And that corner belongs to the serially clueless and obscenely overrated Tim Montgomerie, self-appointed expert pundit of no discernible ability who has risen without trace to become one of the Pundit Establishment, and “friend” of politics shows across the whole range of broadcasters, from the BBC to ITV to Channel 4 and of course Sky News (“first for breaking wind”). Monty has a problem with the FT.

Why should this be? Ah well. The FT has covered the Brexit debate and associated political process in a way that has incurred the displeasure of not only the Europhobic part of the Fourth Estate, which is most of it, but also that part of the Pundit Establishment which takes those papers as rather closer to gospel truth than they really are. As a result, Monty, being a good Europhobic pundit, is unhappy with their behaviour.
Hence his grouchy observation that “The FT's #Brexit coverage has become a joke”. Ah, but if it were a joke, rather than just not being what the Europhobic right wishes to be served up, the FT would not have the reach it does. Thus Monty’s inability to distinguish between reality and his opinion. And it gets worse.
In other words the FT has a serious groupthink problem. Herds and flocks have more independent thinkers” he added later, taking time out to tell the Spectator’s serially dishonest editor Fraser Nelson - the one who thinks sham press regulator IPSO is the “toughest press regulator in the Western world” - “Don't undersell Spectator Fraser. You have @hugorifkind, Matt Parris backing Remain. Real diversity of opinion. The FT? One herd, one flock”. Ein Volk, ein Reich and all the rest, eh? Keine Scheisse.
At this point, Monty watchers may have heard their bullshit detectors go off, and with good reason: Tim Montgomerie has no room to call anyone else for having a “groupthink problem”. It was him, after all, who in 2009 participated in one of the most serious groupthink howlers ever to hit the Pundit Establishment, as he Phone Hacking scandal was first brought to public notice by Nick Davies and the Guardian.

In the very same paper, he pennedThis is about revenge, not phone taps”, asserting that this was nothing more than an act of payback by the Labour Party for Damian McBride’s infamous emails. It was not. Monty was not alone: this became received wisdom, and continued to be so until the lid finally came off the scandal two years later.

Neither he, nor the rest of the supposedly authoritative pundits routinely called upon to dispense their “wisdom” over the airwaves, bothered to do the most elementary research before launching their tirades against the Guardian; sucking up to Rupert Murdoch, who soon afterwards rewarded Monty with a job, was more important to him.

Tim Montgomerie went seriously wrong then. Now he is almost certainly going seriously wrong again. The groupthink problem here is not the fault of the FT, but of himself.

Guido Fawked - Press Backside Wiper

Although his name is largely absent from the dubiously sourced copy churned out in his name nowadays, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines of Guido Fawkes alleged notoriety has not been totally idle, as the print-only Blogosphere Magazine shows: Staines has featured in an article for the coffee-table bi-monthly, where he no doubt gets to expound the pretence that he is a free spirit of the new journalistic frontier.
This is, of course, total crap, and the only nugget of any worth to come out of the interview is that The Great Guido blew £10,000 betting that Combover Crybaby Donald Trump would not win the US Presidential Election last year. Thus he confirms his continuing conformity to personifying a latter-day Loadsamoney, brandishing his wad as a way of telling the world the his is bigger than yours, and don’t you forget it.

Meanwhile, back at Staines’ obedient rabble who actually write his blog, the idea of independence had the final nail hammered into its coffin yesterday, as readers were treated to not one, but four examples of gratuitous press establishment backside wiping, and typifying this grovelling to his press masters was “Legs-It’s Not Bigotry, It’s Popular Journalism” as the Mail was backed and Owen Jones ritually kicked.
Staines' real boss tells him where he gets off

The idea that the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre and his obedient hackery are in any need of support from Staines is preposterous, as is the idea that yesterday’s puke-making article by Sarah Vine (aka Mrs Michael “Oiky” Gove) was anything other than a typical Dacre broadside to tell his readers that the Little Ladies should know their places, and submit to being made objects of mail gratification rather than independent human beings.

Not that the all-male line-up at the Fawkes blog would be deterred by such considerations, of course: after all, they had more press establishment backsides to wipe, like all of the Europhobic press: “Leavers Walk Out Of Brexit Committee Over Benn’s Highly Partisan Report”, for instance. Trying to set the agenda and pave the way for their pals to behave as badly as ever. Sadly, the “partisan” was not true, nor justified.
Ross Kempsell - the new Fawkes sandwich monitor

And that was only the half-way point: next up was‘Marine A’ Alexander Blackman Could Be Free Within Weeks”. What was the point of the Fawkes folks running a story that the press establishment has already covered exhaustively, other than to let them know of its continuing loyalty? And then came the Pièce de Résistance.

Paul Mason Loses Complaint Against The Sunreally took the biscuit. So sham press regulator IPSO wiped the Murdoch goons’ collected arses. Big deal. But interesting that, unlike the Fatima Manji complaint where Trevor Kavanagh got himself in trouble for putting the boot in on her when he was supposed to be an IPSO board member, the Sun has farmed out the post-complaint kicking to The Great Guido.

There was even an opportunity to gloat, which also reflects badly on Staines: “How does Guido know all this [about how Mason was caught on video]? He hired that reporter”. That “reporter” is called Ross Kempsell. Yes, The Great Guido is so in hock to the press establishment that he hired one of their wannabes. Another fine mess, once again.

Brexit - Press Delusion Complete

The moment all those optimistic, happy-clappy, smiling, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and, let us not drive this one round the houses for too long, utterly delusional campaigners have fought for so long to see has now come to pass: our not at all unelected Prime Minister has signed the letter that will trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and set in train the process by which Britain leaves the European Union.
To accompany this occasion, the usual raft of bullshit sound bites has been launched: Britain will be truly global (will we trade with more countries as a result? Don’t ask), the EU will smile on us because they need us more than we need them (not true), the Commonwealth will embrace us with open arms (it won’t), and our Parliament will once more be sovereign (which it was all along). So what of the press reaction?
Very little of this has ventured anywhere near reality: apart from the Guardian, which has at least pitched an honest headline - “Today Britain steps into the unknown” - and the Murdoch Times, which has been granted permission not to drink the Kool-Aid and has therefore given readers the dispassionate “The eyes of history are watching … May triggers Britain’s EU departure”, that delusion has been almost complete.
For those still employed by the increasingly downmarket and desperate Telegraph, there is no room for anything resembling the intellectual process: for them, it is a case of “do as you are told”, embodied by the headline “Unite behind Brexit, says May … Prime Minister tells Britons to put aside differences as she dispatches Article 50 letter to Brussels”. Thanks, but I’ll make up my own mind about this particular clusterf***.
Moving from the Buckingham Palace Road bunker to that at Northcliffe House, the obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre (a multi-millionaire bully boy who won’t suffer, no matter how screwed the country becomes) have really been on the strong stuff, telling readers “FREEDOM”. What those readers will be freed from is another matter. But we are left in no doubt that this is “a historic day for Britain”.
For those employed by Richard “Dirty” Desmond to churn out the Express, there is at least some relief that they can focus somewhere other than the meltdown in their chosen party, UKIP. They talk of “Theresa May’s No-Nonsense Message To Brussels … DEAR EU, WE’RE LEAVING YOU … PM signs letter to trigger our EU exit today”. She signed it yesterday evening, and the exit doesn’t take place for two years. Still, details, eh?
But the Pièce de Résistance was the moment of rapture for the Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun, once more believing all those other 27 EU member states give a flying foxtrot what they think. “Today, as our PM triggers Britain’s exit from the EU, we beam this message from the iconic White Cliffs to our neighbours … DOVER AND OUT”. Gosh, all those on mainland Europe must be quaking in their boots. Or not.

For so much of our free and fearless press, the delusion is complete: freedom we already had, independence we never lost, opportunity that was always there, the global trade we already enjoyed. Still, there is that Vision and Boundless Hope and Optimism to look forward to. And, of course, ignoring every warning from history.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Katie Hopkins Appeal FAILS

One hates to post on the same subject twice in the same day, but sometimes the good news is just too good not to make sure it reaches the widest possible audience, and I don’t just mean Piers Morgan and Eamonn Holmes standing alongside one another (allegedly). So what is too good to keep quiet? Ah well. This afternoon, another Zelo Street prediction was proved correct in the most delicious manner.
Viewers may want to look away now

Regular visitors will recall that, after pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins was taken to court by writer and campaigner Jack Monroe for acts of defamation on Twitter, and Ms Hopkins lost, there was much talk of an appeal. I was even advised by a prominent QC that she would appeal. But nonetheless I stuck to the prediction, made less than a fortnight ago, that Hatey Katie would not be appealing. And so it has come to pass.
Jack Monroe

What has made the news yet more delicious is that Ms Hopkins was clearly minded to appeal, but for reasons best known to Herself Personally Now, somehow managed not to understand that this meant she had to take certain actions within a specified period of time. It was not quite the same as all those media offers coming in to her - on this occasion, she had to be proactive with no-one to prompt her.
This, it seems, was too much for Ms Hopkins, and as David Allen Green at Law And Policy has told, “Breaking: Katie Hopkins fails in (first) attempt to obtain permission to appeal decision in @MxJackMonroe case. No stay for costs ordered”. That there is no stay for costs ordered means Hatey Katie has to stump up the first instalment of £107,000 as previously ordered at the time the judgment was handed down.
It gets worse: the judge handing down this decision would not have been impressed, even had Ms Hopkins bothered to get her, er, stuff together within the necessary timescale: “Reason for refusal: Hopkins' application for permission to appeal left too late. Judge says permission would have been refused anyway”. Looks like there was no point in her bothering, then. Bear that in mind for later on.
Her appeal was made literally two days too late, as the judge confirmed: “Hopkins’ application for permission to appeal two days too late: ‘the order in this case was sealed two days before her application to me’”. So even if the judge had been minded to allow the appeal, the train had left the station. Where does she go now?
Green gives a hint of that with his final Twitter intervention: “‘There comes a point when the lower court no longer has jurisdiction over the case.’ Judge refusing Hopkins' appeal permission application”. The lower court. That means if Ms Hopkins wants to keep on appealing, she must do so to a higher court. And however rapidly she gets her act together, the reality is that this means it will be yet more expensive.

As the judge on that lower court has already put on record that he would not have given her permission to appeal, it is looking a yet more hopeless exercise. Time for Hatey Katie to admit defeat, pay a rather larger amount than two Dollars, and quit time wasting.

Katie Hopkins Hates Reality

Last week’s attack in London is starting to fade from media view, helped on its way by Police confirmation that there was no evidence to suggest the perpetrator Khalid Masood (formerly Adrian Elms) was connected in any way to ISIS (or whatever they’re called this week), or indeed to al-Qaeda. It was also described asspeculation” to suggest that Masood had become radicalised while in prison.
Viewers might want to look away now

So while the authorities will put in place measures to stop anyone with murderous intent getting into the grounds of the Palace of Westminster, and make it nigh-on impossible for a car to be driven at speed along the Westminster Bridge pavement, London and Londoners will very much carry on with life, all creeds, colours and faiths rubbing along together as they have done for decades past. But there has been a dissenting voice in all this.

And that voice, to no surprise at all, comes from pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins, now needing more media appearances than ever before due to that non-trivial legal bill she ran up losing a libel action brought by writer and campaigner Jack Monroe. Hatey Katie has seen an opportunity to generate interest by coming over all contrarian - while at the same time trying make the rest of the world as frightened as her of Scary Muslims (tm).
So off she went on another Mail Online rantfest: “Even if we were to accept all the other answers from the Met Police - about not being radicalised in prison, what he was doing in Saudi, why he chose to relocate to an extremist community - surely one very difficult question remains”. Like what, apart from accusing the cops of lying?

It’s this: how many other Khalids are there out there not being watched? How many other knife-wielding Muslim converts with a penchant for random short visits to Saudi and multiple homes amongst extremists are still operating unseen?” Ms Hopkins manages to miss that the not-yet-a-Muslim Adrian Elms was also a violent criminal.
But she does know that “The faux liberals of London have been brainwashed into believing 'we stand united', that somehow 'walking down a pavement' is the new brave, and that 'carrying on as normal' equates to being resilient and not cowed”. In other words, nobody is listening to her any more. Well, not in the UK. So what to do?
Simples. She is always assured of a hearing on Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse), and so has taken to Twitter to tell “Back with @TuckerCarlson at 2140 eastern - talking about the great multicultural cover up happening here in the UK … Joining @TuckerCarlson tonight. Called a Nazi sympathiser for refusing to sing from the 'we stand united' songsheet”. No, she was called a Nazi sympathiser way before that.
Try again. “This is not the Blitz. We aren't defending the UK. We're asked to be accomplices in its fall. And I refuse to join”. Still no-one cared. How about kicking the BBC? Sure thing: “Mother. Wife. Shocked & saddened. Same language. Same song sheet. Same propaganda. Was there an actual script @BBCNews? N Korea feels free”.

But still no-one who mattered cared. And how will she pay those legal bills after Fox News loses interest? Who knows? And, indeed, who cares? Katie Hopkins doesn’t get London. Worse, she doesn’t get tolerance, fortitude, or forgiveness. Or reality. Sad, really.