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Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Michael Fallon Is Full Of Crap

As the Tories face up to Parliamentary life propped up by the opportunism of the DUP and their Billion Pound Bung, they are realising that it is Jeremy Corbyn and Labour who have the momentum - and the opinion poll lead. There is a fast diminishing list of topics where The Blue Team can claim an advantage. One of those topics, though, is a sure fire winner when it comes to Labour bashing, and that is defence.
Someone he WON'T be going to war with

There’s nothing to get the Tory base fired up quite like a bit of sabre-rattling, a little imperial braggadocio. Who won the war, anyway? So it was that Michael Fallon, defence secretary and dead cat slinger supreme, responded to the latest cyber attack news by asserting that a future such attack might be sufficient pretext for Britain to declare war.

This totally fictitious scenario was swallowed whole by the more susceptible part of our free and fearless press, which to no surprise at all has included the Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun. Here, their alleged “Westminster Correspondent”, the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole, has told readersBritain may go to war with foreign states attempting cyber attack on UK, Defence Secretary warns … Sir Michael Fallon said the recent cyber attack on Westminster was a reminder of the dangers”.

Of course it might, er, not. But do go on. “FOREIGN state hackers could face a declaration of war from Britain if they are found to have targeted us again, the Defence Secretary warned tonight … The chilling threat came as the Tory hawk revealed foreign enemy states are launching two ‘high level cyber attacks’ on Britain every single day”. So with whom was Fallon prepared to go to war - presumably without anyone else’s assistance?

In a major speech be blasted ‘aggressor states like Russia, working overtime to disrupt and discolour our democracy’ who launch around 60 attacks on Britain’s government IT, infrastructure and businesses every month”. Ho yus, Fallon says we’d declare war on the gangster régime of Vladimir Vladimirovitch Putin. Like heck we would.

Despite this “story” being yet another steaming and not particularly fresh pile of bullpucky, the BBC has reported on it, and so, to its further shame, has the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph, claiming preposterouslyBritain prepared to use air strikes or send in troops as retaliation against future cyber attack”.

So they swallowed the Kool-Aid as well, then. And despite Master Cole burbling hopefully “Sir Michael added that a cyber attack could fall foul of NATO’s Article V covering mutual defence, which states that an attack on one member state is an attack on all”, it is telling that none of the Ron Hopeful copy on this subject has managed to get confirmation from anyone in NATO that they would go along with this idea.

The notion of starting a shooting war - especially with another nuclear-armed power, like Russia - over a cyber attack is bunk. It takes a combination of credulousness and idiocy to allow oneself to be fed this drivel and not question its credibility.

Meanwhile, Michael Fallon will have to get himself a better dead cat. Because the one he’s slinging right now is falling apart.

Hillsborough - From Truth To Justice

Last year, 27 years after 96 Liverpool fans were fatally crushed in the central pen of Hillsborough stadium’s Leppings Lane End before that year’s FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest, new inquests into their deaths concluded that they had been unlawfully killed. It was Question Six on the jury’s list: “Are you satisfied, so that you are sure, that those who died in the disaster were unlawfully killed?”.
Hillsborough memorial at Anfield

The answer came back YES, by majority verdict. As the BBC reported at the time, “To answer yes, jurors must be ‘sure’ that match commander Ch Supt David Duckenfield was ‘responsible for the manslaughter by gross negligence’ of those who were fatally injured”. 

Today, the Hillsborough families, their friends and supporters can move from that truth to a vision of justice: charging decisions have been taken against six people involved in the fateful semi-final. Zelo Street regulars will know that from this point on, strict contempt of court rules apply, and so this post will not pass further comment on the charges brought, or those charged. Some of the names will be familiar to observers of the campaign.

As the BBC has told, “Former Ch Supt David Duckenfield faces being charged with the manslaughter of 95 people at the Hillsborough disaster … Mr Duckenfield was the South Yorkshire Police (SYP) match commander at the FA Cup semi-final when 96 Liverpool fans were fatally injured in a crush … He faces the charge of manslaughter by gross negligence of 95 fans”. Duckenfield cannot be charged with the manslaughter of the 96th victim, Tony Bland, because he died four years after the event.

Former South Yorkshire chief constable “Norman [Bettison] faces four charges of misconduct in a public office relating to alleged lies he told in the aftermath about the culpability of fans”. He has company: “Peter Metcalf, who was a solicitor acting for SYP, is charged with perverting the course of Justice, relating to changes to witness statements … Former Ch Supt Donald Denton is accused of perverting the course of justice … Former Det Ch Insp Alan Foster is charged with perverting the course of justice”.

The sixth person to be charged is “Graham Mackrell, former Sheffield Wednesday Club Secretary [who] will be accused of breaching Health and Safety and Safety at Sports Ground legislation”. There were questions over the ground’s safety certification, and its fitness for purpose. Thus the move from Truth to Justice.

All the defendants, except Duckenfield, will appear at Warrington Magistrates’ Court on August 9. The victims’ families were briefed on the charges earlier this morning.

One group of people, though, will not be in the dock: those who faithfully reported what South Yorkshire Police told them. For good reason, the Sun newspaper not only remains banned across parts of Merseyside, that ban is right now extending its reach.

Of course, what would help shine a light on the behaviour of the press over Hillsborough would be Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry. I’ll just leave that one there.

Jon Snow Row - OH WHAT A GIVEAWAY

As Zelo Street observed yesterday, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog have been in Ron Hopeful mode, running a post claiming that Channel 4 News main presenter Jon Snow said something during his visit to Glastonbury last weekend that was highly disobliging to the Tories. The Fawkes blog’s apprentice sandwich monitor, oops, sorry, senior reporter, Ross Kempsell, thinks he’s on a winner.
Kempsell, rapidly acquiring a Walter Mitty streak, wrongly believes that his single sourced drivel will get Snow sacked. But he is right on one thing: the right-leaning part of the Fourth Estate is all too keen to pick up on the item, especially as it detests Snow, who refuses to serve the news up in a form which they find acceptable. Of course, what they would find acceptable is the equivalent of Tory propaganda.

And in picking up on the Snow claim, the more mainstream media has committed not one dead giveaway, but two. While the Mail has added professional Billy No Mates Philip Davies to the list of Tory MPs eager to dump on the Channel 4 News man, the Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun have put the odious flannelled fool and pretend journalist Master Harry Cole, their alleged “Westminster Correspondent”, on the story.
Ross Kempsell - claims to be a real journalist. No, really

Thus the first giveaway: Cole was, for some time, tame gofer to Staines at the Fawkes blog, and his involvement is another sign of the closeness between The Great Guido and the Murdoch mafiosi. Not only does this show the depths to which Sun journalism has sunk in recent years, it also confirms that Staines and his pals are seriously constrained in what they can say about the print media and its hangers-on.

That’s why the Fawkes blog, which was so gung-ho in its pursuit of Piers Morgan back in 2011, making all sorts of allegations over phone hacking, with Staines boasting how he’d taken down cabinet ministers (so Morgan should have taken him seriously ho ho ho), has not said a peep over recent hacking payouts at Mirror group titles, some of which concern the Daily Mirror at the time Morgan was its editor.
Master Cole - an unsavoury sleazebag airs his views

And the second giveaway? The Spectator magazine, ostensibly a respectable right-leaning magazine, but in reality a repository for Tory propaganda, Islamophobia and climate change denial under the less than benign leadership of its casually dishonest editor Fraser Nelson, has also picked up on the Snow story in its online version.

This has featured in the Steerpike column, formerly the preserve of Master Cole (see above), which uses rather a lot of Fawkes blog terminology - anyone not actively reviling the Labour leader is automatically smeared as a “Corbynista”, Channel 4 is sneered at for being allegedly leftist, and it’s made clear that the author thinks Snow is lying.

So, Spectator people, ‘fess up - are you employing Ross Kempsell to write Steerpike, in the same way you used to employ Master Cole before he took the Murdoch shilling?

As I said, a double giveaway. And the sure and certain confirmation of right-wing media desperation. The Snow story was crap at the Fawkes blog, and it’s crap everywhere else.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Guido Fawked - Jon Snow Smear FLOPS

The right-leaning press does not like Channel 4 News. The broadcaster’s flagship offering is a regular target for disaffected editors and pundits who see its presenters’ independence and commitment to speak truth to power as too radical and - by their sad definition of how the world is ordered - left-wing. And a special place in their pantheon of hatred is reserved for the programme’s main presenter Jon Snow.
Snow is unpredictable, probing, persistent, and utterly devoid of pretence. There will be no deference to anyone, whether Government ministers, businessmen, lobbyists, hacks, pundits, lawyers, union leaders or anyone otherwise appealing to authority. He was also at last weekend’s Glastonbury Festival, and his visit is now being used in a cheap and opportunist attempt to get Channel 4 to dispense with his services.

This singularly pathetic slice of Ron Hopeful behaviour has, to no surprise at all, emerged from the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, where apprentice sandwich monitor, oops, sorry, senior reporter Ross Kempsell has told readersThere’s Snow Such Thing As Impartiality” and based his “story” on a single source, which, to be fair, is one more source than much of the Fawkes oeuvre.
Ross Kempsell - claims to be a journalist. No, don't laugh

Boss place that Glasto. Having a dance with Jon Snow and hearing him shout fuck the Tories is what dream[s] are made of” it reads. This is enough for Kempsell to declare Snow guilty as charged: “A Glasto reveller recounts their weekend with loud-socked Channel 4 News anchor Jon Snow. No one ever thought you were neutral, Jon”.

This is then followed by dismissing Snow’s own recollection: “Jon Snow gets in touch … ‘After a day at Glastonbury I can honestly say I have no recollection of what was chanted, sung or who I took over 1000 selfies with’ … Classic non-denial. He said it”. That’s right, a bunch of habitual liars who inhabit a borderline Fake News outfit call “liar” on the main presenter of TV’s most trusted evening news bulletin.
Kempsell is full enough of himself to then pretend that his phoney story is gathering momentum, which it is not. Under the claim “Story snowballing (geddit?!?)” he offers “Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen calls for Snow’s resignation … ‘I think it’s time Channel 4 told Jon Snow where to go’”. Er, Andrew Bridgen? The same Andrew Bridgen who’s always mithering about the BBC not presenting the news as he wants to hear it?

The same Andrew Bridgen who’s always there when the broadcasters need a rent-a-quote Europhobe? The Andrew Bridgen who claimed MPs were “getting poorer”? Who has slagged off the HS2 project from the word go, despite getting £2 million for his house in compensation from, er, HS2? And Channel 4 should do his bidding?

Ross Kempsell’s attack on Jon Snow and Channel 4 is going nowhere. Kempsell is labouring under the misapprehension that just because he managed to eavesdrop on Paul Mason in a Liverpool eatery, it somehow makes him a journalist. It does not.

The Fawkes blog already has Billy Liar on its books. Now it’s got Walter Mitty as well.

Sun Coalition Hypocrisy BUSTED

After the Tories finalised their deal with the DUP, miraculously finding the “magic money tree” they claimed did not exist, and bunging Northern Ireland’s largest party a cool billion in return for their support, the right-leaning part of the Fourth Estate had some serious reverse-ferreting to do, not least the Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun, whose stance in the lead up to the General Election was so very different.
At the beginning of this month, a Sun editorial screamedA toxic leftie coalition would spell Brexit betrayal, havoc with the economy and the destruction of Britain … A cosy Labour and SNP pact really would spell the Coalition of Chaos as the left clearly have no understanding of basic economics … Labour could not govern without a coalition with the SNP. Jeremy Corbyn’s posturing on Brexit is meaningless: the Scots would call the shots”.

Moreover, it was all about Brexit: “Imagine, if you dare, the Tories lost their majority next week. Who then would head for Brussels to negotiate our exit? Not the PM who spoke so well yesterday of the ‘great national mission’ to build a ‘stronger, fairer and more prosperous Britain’ via Brexit. And who has insisted, as any tough negotiator should, that she will walk away with no deal if the EU’s final offer is bad for the country”.

Who, then, would represent us? “Instead it would be Corbyn and a third-rate crew cobbled together from the tiny band in the Labour Party still prepared to serve on his front bench … Plus a delegate from the SNP stroppily arguing for Scotland to be exempted from almost all of it … [Corbyn] would buckle to the EU and, to keep power, every SNP demand too … Labour knows it is damaged by the prospect of this Coalition of Chaos”.

What a difference a few weeks makes: today, the Sun leader makes no mention of Brexit at all. Zero. Zilch. Nil. Nada. Not a sausage. Bugger all. And nor is there any mention of any “coalition of chaos”. Instead, it strikes a suitably triumphalist tone.

THERESA May is right to have done a deal with the DUP. It means we have a ­viable Government in the most difficult period Britain has faced in decades … In return, £1billion will be spent in a region needing every penny, benefiting Catholics and Protestants alike”. No comment on all the parts of England and Wales needing every penny, of course.

No mention of “buckling to the EU”, which is as well, given our brave negotiating team has already caved on the idea of parallel trade talks. No mention of minority party demands, which is also convenient to the Murdoch goons, as the DUP is concerned about the prospect of a “hard border” with the Irish Republic.

But what is in evidence is the Sun’s propensity to dishonesty: “Labour’s hypocrisy is blatant and obnoxious. Twice, in 2010 and 2015, they lobbied for the same deal with the DUP”. To get a Queen’s Speech through Parliament and sustain the majority party in confidence votes in 2015? When Labour lost? Pull the other one.

And it is laughable of them [Labour] to accuse the Tories of ‘bribing’ the DUP”. What do the Murdoch clowns think £1 billion is, Scotch intercoursing Mist? Get out of here.

It was a “coalition of chaos” if it was Labour. When it’s a party the Murdoch mafiosi prefer, it’s no longer a grubby stitch-up, but “best for Britain”. Pass the sick bag.

Paul Dacre’s Schools Meltdown

Despite the Tories cobbling together a deal with Northern Ireland’s DUP, their Parliamentary majority is wafer-thin, and that means with a few by-election reverses, there could be another General Election soon. So they and their Labour opponents are already planning for one. Also looking ahead to the next contest is the Daily Mail’s legendarily foul mouthed editor Paul Dacre, and hence today’s front page splash.
Why the f*** should I care about council schools when I send my sons to Eton, c***? Er, with the greatest of respect, Mr Jay

SCHOOLS’ BID TO SWAY ELECTION … Head teachers sent out letters attacking Tory policies during campaignthunders the headline, under by by-line of education correspondent Eleanor Harding, although this is not about education, but the usual Mail staples of misinformation, falsehood, threats and bullying. Schools across the country are being told that Big Dacre Is Watching Them.

The detail effectively admits that the Mail does not have enough dirt on its targets to make any direct accusation: “Families sent letters by headmasters 'trying to sway the general election’ [note use of quotes] … Headmasters stand accused of trying to sway the general election by attacking Tory policies” [in other words, once again, there isn’t the evidence to stand up the claim]. But the Mail presses on regardless.

Families were sent a series of political messages – by post and on social media – in the run-up to the national vote on June 8 … One warned of the ‘dreadful state’ of education funding under Theresa May. It was sent by heads from 3,000 schools across 14 counties … Parents elsewhere were urged to sign a petition set up by the Left-wing National Union of Teachers”. As Sir Sean nearly said, I think we got the point.

But then come the supposedly biased letters. One, sent from 3,000 schools, “urged families to raise the ‘current financial difficulties’ in schools with all prospective parliamentary candidates”. The Mail concludes “While it claimed that the schools signing the letter were not ‘involved in a politically biased or partisan way’, it was clearly critical of Tory funding policies”. But it does not mention any party.

The Mail does, though, have an expert on hand, “Anthony Glees, professor of politics at the University of Buckingham”. He has told “Council-run schools should not be seeking to influence voters during the purdah period … parents will fear understandably their children are being indoctrinated”. Of course, he’d know all about indoctrination - he wrote about it recently for a paper called, er … the Daily Mail!

That’s because he is also “director of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham”. And in this capacity, he has obediently churned outAn intelligence expert's devastating verdict: Leaks by Edward Snowden and the Guardian have put British hostages in even greater peril” for the Mail, as well asLiberal elite are helping spread of extremism”. So he’s not an exactly impartial witness.

But good of Paul Dacre to tell the world that he will be on the teaching profession’s case come the next General Election, making sure the Mail’s tsunami of spite is unleashed on any of its members daring to incur his displeasure.

The Daily Mail - still desperate for a Tory Government. No change there, then.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Commuter SNAFU - Boris Excused

While some in the right-leaning part of the Fourth Estate keep the flame burning for the Prime Ministerial prospects of London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, one of the skeletons rattling away in his cupboard resurrected itself this morning, to the detriment of tens of thousands of commuters.
An absolute Muppet. And Elmo from Sesame Street

A significant part of  the London Underground was paralysed by a catastrophic signalling failure at Earl’s Court. This took out all the Sub-Surface lines (SSL - meaning the District, Circle, Metropolitan and Hammersmith and City) as well as the Piccadilly. The effects are continuing to be felt.

And while the press has been covering the actual failure, the reasons behind it have somehow been missed, which is most convenient for Bozza, because much of it leads directly to his door. It was on his watch that the SSL resignalling contract was awarded in 2011. It was also on his watch that the contract was junked two years later, thus meaning old and worn-out signalling had to remain in service rather longer.

Moreover, because the Piccadilly has to share tracks with the District west from Baron’s Court, that line’s resignalling has also been pushed back, as has the renewal of the already 40-odd year old train fleet. It is not a coincidence that the SSLs and the Piccadilly Line are increasingly plagued by serious signal failures (the signalling contract that was junked replaced an earlier one … which was also junked. More delays).

Why London Underground should have even considered the system they agreed to buy in 2011 - Bombardier’s CityFlo650 - at first appears a mystery. It had only been proved in service on airport people movers, and one end to end Metro line in Madrid. But for Bozza, it offered the holy grail of future automatic operation - the mythical driverless (and therefore Union bashing) Tube he had been fraudulently promising Londoners.

What Londoners got instead was the Bombardier deal junked, although some of the £345 million contract had to be paid up, and a replacement deal with Thales which is coming in at £760 million. You read that right. Plus the sure and certain knowledge that giving Thales the nod to do the rest of the Piccadilly Line will add rather more to the price tag.

We know the history of this shameful chapter in the long list of shameful chapters pertaining to the Johnson Mayoralty through the efforts of the late Tom Barry, who put together the chapter and verse at Boris Watch - while the Evening Standard spent Bozza’s eight years in office singing his praises and keeping schtum about the affair.

Meanwhile, the Piccadilly Line trains will celebrate their 50th birthday before being replaced, with their cousins over on the Bakerloo Line maybe getting close to their 60th before going to the scrapheap. All this is part of the scandal of a Mayoralty the press failed to hold to account - partly because Bozza was one of their own.

What you will not read in any of the papers. And that’s not good enough.

Katie Hopkins Hate Has Consequences

Whatever has been said by pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins, now working out her notice at Mail Online, whether on social media or elsewhere, is invariably excused as “just telling it like it is”. All the warnings of incitement and hate speech have been routinely dismissed: those who hang on her every word, we are told, could not possibly take such sentiments literally. It’s only the exercise of free speech. We should therefore get over it.
Viewers may want to look away now

So when she took to Twitter in the wake of the Manchester Arena bombing, ranting22 dead. Number Rising. Schofield. Don’t you even dare. Do not be part of the problem. We need a final solution #Machester”, this was, once more, only “telling it like it is”. That Ms Hopkins then felt the need to “correct” the clear incitement to genocide to “We need a true solution” did not improve matters. She was duly sacked by broadcaster LBC.

Moreover, Mail Online will not be renewing her contract when it comes up. But still the idea that hate speech has consequences was not allowed to enter. Until yesterday, when the Manchester Evening News reported “Muslim man attacked by thugs who then vandalised his home quoting a racist Katie Hopkins tweet”. And which Tweet might that have been? “The tweet had called for a 'final solution’”. Ah right. THAT Tweet.

So what exactly happened? “A horrified Muslim man has told of his shock after he was targeted by right-wing extremists who graffitied his home with a line from a Katie Hopkins tweet … The 42-year-old man says he was knocked unconscious by thugs and woke up to find his walls covered with the words of hate [the man] had been drilling a broken bathroom door handle and wearing earphones while home alone on Wednesday morning”.

Do go on. “Intruders entered his Heckmondwike home before striking him from behind with an unknown object … He said: ‘My back was turned and I didn’t hear a single thing … A couple of minutes later I woke up with a sore head and I felt a bump on the back of it. Then the adrenaline kicked in … I knew someone must have hit me so I dialled 999 … I made my way outside - that’s when I saw the graffiti on the walls above the staircase”.

On one wall, the graffiti read: ‘P***s out. We need a final solution #Machester’”. As the MEN points out, “It quoted a Twitter post written by disgraced newspaper columnist Katie Hopkins following the Manchester terror attack - even misspelling the hashtag”. Also ominously pointed out in the report is that the man’s house is “less than two miles from where Jo Cox was murdered by Thomas Mair last year”.

So far, to no surprise at all, Hatey Katie has made no discernible comment. But the clear use of her words, right down to mis-spelling “Manchester”, are a dead giveaway. Meanwhile, she’s quoting rape statistics and doing her “nudge and wink guess who’s behind it” number. And keeping her fingers in her ears.

Will Mail Online even wait for Katie Hopkins to work her notice after this latest, er, unfortunate incident? Or will they conclude, as so many have already, that her little Wild West Show has run its course. This kind of casual hate speech is not good enough.

Sun Corbyn Trident Scare BUSTED

Another week, another desperate attempt by our free and fearless press to smear Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on whatever subject they can dig up. Not fazed by the ominous sight of Mail pundit Peter Oborne being jeered by a BBC Question Time audience for suggesting that his paper doesn’t tell lies - ‘fraid it does, Peter - the Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun have once more launched one of their own.
To no surprise, the dead cat being chucked on the table today is all about Trident. That’s our so-called “independent nuclear deterrent”, which isn’t independent and hasn’t deterred any attack on this country and its people. But it is nuclear. and although another Question Time audience, this time before the General Election, threw up some who considered Jezza to be insufficiently bellicose, loosing it off would have grim consequences.

As I pointed out at the time, the destructive power of today’s nuclear weapons puts anything that has gone before in the shade. The devices detonated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 are puny by comparison. That does not deter the Sun’s hacks, who have cobbled together a new nuclear frightener headlinedJeremy Corbyn pledges to ditch Britain’s nukes as he boasts he’ll be in Downing Street THIS YEAR”.

Really? Do go on. “JEREMY CORBYN has boasted that he will be Prime Minister by the end of the year, it emerged today … The Labour leader also pledged to get rid of Britain’s nukes ‘as soon as he can’ - even though his party is committed to keeping them”.

Two things here. One, as has been pointed out to the Murdoch goons, what they are quoting has been paraphrased and is secondhand. And two, “as soon as he can” is not a pledge to “ditch” anything. The Sun wants its readers to think that Britain is governed the same way their paper is run - by absolute decree. It isn’t.

We have cabinet Government and, in the Commons, a functioning democracy. You know, Sun hacks, the democracy you like to bang on about when it suits you.

Still, on with the porkies, eh? “Mr Corbyn has strongly suggested that if he became PM, he would refuse to use nukes even if the country were attacked”. No he hasn’t - he has restated that position adopted by every Prime Minister since the war (well, except Theresa May), and that is there should be no first use of nuclear weapons.

Any more creative journalism in the tank? There sure is: “A senior defence source said: ‘Jeremy Corbyn chose to go to a music festival on the day we honour the brave men and women who protect us. So it should come as no surprise he wants to ditch the nuclear deterrent that keeps us safe’”. A “senior defence source”. That they just made up.

The article also glosses over Labour’s commitment to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, despite Britain (as well as Russia and the USA) having ratified it. After all, this isn’t about accurate and factual reporting. It’s about smearing any politician who dares to believe the press should be accountable for their decades of bad behaviour.

The Sun - lying to readers since Murdoch bought it in 1969. So no change there, then.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Tommy Robinson’s Triple Trouble

Following his recent appearance on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, former EDL head man Tommy Robinson has carried on a low level slanging match with Piers Morgan. Anything bad about the GMB encounter was not his fault, it was a set-up, Morgan was out to get him - the roll-call of excuses has been endless. But along the way, Robinson said some things that could get him into serious trouble. Like serious legal trouble.
Tommy Robinson

And then yesterday he fetched up at Royal Ascot, where his notoriety preceded him. At the end of his Day At The Races, Robinson was captured by a coach dashcam having a violent altercation with another man. He can be seen aiming a series of blows at his opponent. This, too, is someone else’s fault. The problem for Tommy is that when this and two other strands are pulled together, it may mean even more trouble.
Let’s start at the very beginning, as it’s a very good place to start. Assed Baig posted a short video with the comment “Video of former leader of the EDL @TRobinsonNewEra repeatedly punching a man at Ascot”. Morgan then observed “Tommy Robinson hates Islam because he says it's a 'violent' religion. Here's Mr Robinson at Ascot yesterday”.
So far, so much of a wind-up. But Robinson then pleaded mitigation. Well, sort of: “Some context to the video released today, I will release a full video later. This is the Muslim coach driver who released the vid”. It was a Scary Muslim (tm) wot did it! Well, Mandy Rice Davies situation. But there is still a problem for him.
Self-defence, which if seriously provoked, as has been claimed, is one thing. But aiming a series of punches is not self-defence, nor will any court let a defendant get away with pretending that it is. And where the trouble doubles up is when Robinson makes statements about Piers Morgan (and Jeremy Paxman) that are not true.

He made these claims on Twitter: “Damn cheek from a man accused of hacking dead children's phones by Jeremy Paxman at the Leveson inquiry … Paxman testified how you taught him to hack phones, and later your newspaper paid £££damages for hacking dead people's phones”. Paxman did not make any hacking accusation against Morgan at the Leveson Inquiry. Nor have the Mirror group titles faced any accusation, or paid damages in respect of, hacking a dead child’s, or dead anyone’s, phone.
And explaining how hackers get into a target’s voicemail is hardly “teaching”. Paxman’s account is clearly retelling how Morgan encouraged the Newsnight presenter to change his voicemail code to something that was not the factory setting. If Morgan or Paxman were so minded, they could issue proceedings for defamation and might expect to win their cases.
Then it potentially gets even worse: after Rupert Myers passed adverse comment about Robinson, and told him “I'm sure you consider all publicity to be welcome”, Robinson replied “#trollwatch”. This refers to the practice of turning up on a target’s doorstep, or at their workplace, with his pals and a camera, for one of thosepolite conversations”.
Did Tommy Robinson tell Rupert Myers whether he intended to do that? Do we take that as a threat he has made against Myers? Well, Myers will know now. All of which, taken together, might mean serious trouble for the former EDL man. And it’s his own fault.

Tony Parsons Has Forgotten The 70s

Observers of the Pundit Establishment in all its agony will already know that this less than august body has more than its fair share of those who have gradually crossed the floor from left to right, becoming increasingly selfish, reactionary and authoritarian as they go. But when the hour demands an inadvertent comedy turn as well, one pundit has no peer, and that pundit is the preposterous Tony Parsons.
Parsons, who was accommodated by the Mirror for rather too long, but has now gravitated to the Murdoch Sun, has today indicated that he at least understands one thing: the right-wing propaganda spewed out by him and his pals is having no effect on that part of the electorate which is increasingly drawn to Jeremy Corbyn. So he has raised the white flag and told his remaining readers that a Labour Government is inevitable.

Let’s teach the Glastonbury groovers a lesson on the horrors of socialism and give them Prime Minister Corbyn” moans the headline, before Tone makes his first research fail. “IT is no good lecturing all the young groovers at Glastonbury about the horrors of socialism - they are going to have to learn that hard lesson for themselves”. The average age of Glasto-goers in 2015 was 42. It’s probably around that this year.

So after alienating a few more million voters, off he goes again: “there’s no point in the old folk droning on about the Seventies”. Why don’t yer, Tone? It’s yer favourite subject. And, indeed, he promptly does just that. “It is no good telling youngsters about three million unemployed, endless strikes and how runaway inflation wakes you up in the middle of the night with the worry about how the hell you will pay next month’s bills”. Ri-i-i-ight.

A word in your shell-like, Tone: we did not have three million unemployed in the seventies. Unemployment did not peak until well after Mrs T had come to power and the Tories inadvisedly listened rather too keenly to the advice of Professor Milton Friedman and his pals. Three million unemployed had nothing to do with socialism, and everything to do with a combination of monetarism and free market doctrine.

As for inflation, yes, it was bad in the 1970s, but laying the blame solely at the Labour Party is coming it. The “Barber boom”, so named after Ted Heath’s chancellor of the exchequer, really kicked it off, Labour under Harold Wilson failed to tame it, and after Mrs T came to power, off it went again. Bad inflation returned  - still under the Tories - at the end of the 80s (the “Lawson boom” this time) and was only tamed in the mid 90s.

Anyone would think Tony Parsons is getting forgetful. But he’s got that covered with a little ageism and abuse: “Jeremy Corbyn gurning on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street like a right-on Albert Steptoe … let’s get the senile old booby in Downing Street”. That’s probably actionable, as well as rank hypocrisy. After all, Jezza isn’t the one who can’t remember what happened in the 1970s - that would be Tony Parsons.

Isn’t it high time Tony Parsons was put out to grass? He’s done quite enough of the fraudulently scoring More And Bigger Paycheques For Himself Personally Now.

Corbyn Does Glasto - Cue Moaning

The annual gathering that is the Glastonbury festival comes to a close today, and among all the music in yesterday’s line-up, there was one extra guest who received a reception little short of rapturous. Yes, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had arrived from London and was there to make a speech from the Pyramid Stage. He later gave a second impromptu speech from the festival’s Left Field. But not everyone was happy about his visit.
Those in the press establishment who are still having problems with the idea that Jezza is actually popular, and increasingly so, among much of the electorate were ready and waiting - to put the boot in. And first out of the blocks was Mail Online, with the sneering and partisan sense of entitlement well to the fore.
The Tweeter known as Not The Tory Press could not believe the headline - soon deleted, but captured for posterity - which read “So much for your eco-credentials, Jeremy! Corbyn visits Glastonbury’s green fields in a convoy of gas-guzzling 4x4s - shortly before taking to the stage to denounce environmental destruction”. That Corbyn had travelled from London to nearly Castle Cary by train was not permitted to enter. It was not satire! Come to think of it, it wasn’t worth calling journalism, either.
Next up for a sip of whine was Piers Morgan, who carped “I'd like to have seen Jeremy Corbyn try to address the #RoyalAscot crowd like he did Glastonbury” before renewing his efforts to blag a table at the Chiltern Firehouse so he could bore the other diners crapless telling them how famous he was. And on it went.
Ross Kempsell, apprentice sandwich monitor (oops, sorry, “senior reporter”) for the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines at the Guido Fawkes blog, latched on to a Tweet from the BBC Radio 1 account, using it to fashion a predictably tedious hit piece.
Also ready with an elitist sneer was Kempsell’s predecessor, the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole, now pretending to be a real journalist at the Murdoch Sun, with “‘Directly to the dispossessed’ who had each paid £238 to be there”. Two things here: one, it was for four days’ entertainment, and two, Master Cole had no room to try that one, as the Tweeter known as cricketfan reminded him: “Instead of the £1,000 a plate that Hedge Fund Managers and Oligarchs pay to go to the Conservative Black & White Ball?
Meanwhile, the media establishment whores at Spiked (so titled because it should have been) tried to get in on the act with “If this was Theresa May at a country fair and the only black person in the pic was a security guard, lefties, Buzzfeed etc would go wild”.
And they failed. But the pièce de résistance came from Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, trying desperately to score some attention from Corbyn’s appearance. “Why should we pay the BBC licence fee just so they can promote @JeremyCorbyn? Outrageous” he moaned.

That campaign progressed not necessarily to his advantage, with Jonathan Fisher replying “Why should I pay the BBC licence fee when they so frequently ask a man who's lost seven election campaigns for his political insight?” and Andy Lewis, aka Le Canard Noir, added “I'll tell you what would be worth the license fee. Farage on the Pyramid Stage with 100,000 people chucking bottles of piss”. Jealousy duly gets its deserved comeuppance.

Top Six - June 25

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 Corbyn - The Sun Loses It One Sun editorial tells you all you need to know about the realisation by the Murdoch goons that they are losing the plot.

5 Corbyn Royal Bow Smear BUSTED Another Fawkes and Sun joint promotion, the claim that Jezza should have bowed to Brenda at the State Opening of Parliament was another pack of lies.

4 Grenfell Tower - Breitbart Lies BUSTED The convocation of the terminally batshit that is Breitbart, under the less than benign leadership of Raheem “call me Ray” Kassam, span another all too obvious pack of lies about responsibility for building and maintaining the tower block involved in the disastrous fire.

3 Daily Mail Profited From Torture If the Mail’s legendarily foul mouthed editor Paul Dacre had problems with a mere Guardian cartoon, a new judgment from the ECHR would be a lot worse. Here’s why.

2 Grenfell Tower - Idiot Blames Corbyn There’s always one Tory supporting troll out there, and this one calls himself Malcolm Knight.

1 Paul Dacre’s Guardian Meltdown The Daily Mail’s legendarily foul mouthed editor lost his shit in true Mr Creosote style over a Martin Rowson cartoon in the Guardian.

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

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Brexit Is Going Backwards

Returned to not very much power after a General Election where she went out to catch the public mood and somehow dropped it, Theresa May has now shifted her focus to the Brexit negotiations. Emboldened by her not particularly strong hand, and the magnificent delusion of many in and around our free and fearless press, she has gone to Brussels to tell those ghastly foreigners exactly where they get off.
We will, so the narrative goes, take back control, become once again masters of our own destiny, able to go out into the world and discover just how little clout our name carries nowadays. The problem, as ever, is the gulf between the version of reality peddled by the Tories and their press pals, and the actual reality for the other 27 EU member states. So it should surprise no-one that the PM’s efforts are going nowhere fast.
It's so bad that SHE is now a cabinet minister

This was made abundantly clear when Ms May declared that she had made a generous offer on the rights of EU citizens in the UK. The move was cheered to the rafters by the right-leaning part of the Fourth Estate. Jakub Krupa of the Polish Press Agency, however, noted that the view from his country was less positive: “Poland's Europe Minister Szymański says he appreciates May's proposal, but considers it incomplete and not meeting all EU requirements”. He was not alone.
Guy Verhofstadt told “May’s ‘generous offer’ does not fully guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the UK”. The Independent reported “European leaders tell Theresa May her 'big offer' on EU citizens isn't good enough”. Nick Eardley of the BBC added “Donald Tusk says UK offer could worsen situation for citizens and falls below expectations”.
Labour MEP Richard Corbett helpfully explained “Why #TheresaMay offer on #rights of EU citizens already living in #Britain is in fact not so generous”. It was because she was telling those citizens they could have some of the rights they already enjoyed. And Rupert Myers reported Nick Clegg’s response to the mess: “The fate of EU citizens is the easiest bit, and they've screwed that up as well”. Could it get worse still?
As if you need to ask. Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom appeared before the inquisition of Emily Maitlis on Newsnight and told her “It would be helpful if broadcasters were willing to be a bit patriotic”. Strewth, did we just declare war on someone?
John Harris of the Guardian, pausing to note caustically but correctly “Oceania is at war with Eurasia again”, had more interesting quotes from Ms Leadsom, including “We’re very well prepared for the negotiations” (no we’re not), “We have a very strong hand” (evidently not), and the magnificent “I am simply saying we all need to pull together as a country”.
What use “pulling together” will be when what we need is someone else to pull us out of the mire into which we have voluntarily fallen is not told. And the idea that a little censorship will stop Britain from being regarded across Europe as a laughing stock is beyond delusional. As the football chant goes, “they don’t know what they’re doing”.

Meanwhile, the Brexit clock ticks on. And nobody in the Government has the sense to stop it, and maybe ask if this is really such a great idea. I’ll just leave that one there.