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Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Tories Attack Their Own Peers

While the Tories make hay with a variety of creative claims about Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and what he might have done during a visit to Tunis four years ago, the last thing they need is being reminded of their own problems, and especially the virulent Islamophobia that has infested The Blue Team to such an extent that an MP like Bob Blackman feels it is OK to host an anti-Muslim hate preacher at a meeting in Parliament.
Lord Sheikh

But the Islamophobia question will not go away. So a new tactic has been hit on, and that is to try and discipline or even expel one of the Tories’ Muslim peers. Bigots like London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson are fine, but someone who complained about Bozza’s bigotry are not: such is the twisted logic at work here.

Lord Sheikh, who founded the Conservative Muslim Forum, has been under attack for some days now by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog. But the news that he had attended the same conference in Tunis as Jezza sparked howls of denunciation - and the opportunity to rid the Tories of a turbulent priest.
Zac's back on the Muslim attack

As Politics Home has reported, “Zac Goldsmith said Lord Sheikh should be dumped for heading to the Tunisian get-together or the Tory attacks on Jeremy Corbyn over alleged anti-Semitism would appear ‘cynical’ … Yesterday [Lord Sheikh] admitted he attended the same International Conference on Monitoring the Palestinian Political and Legal Situation in the Light of Israeli Aggression as Jeremy Corbyn in 2014”.
And look who else is troughing at this table

In addition to Goldsmith reprising his London Mayoral campaign role of Muslim politician basher in chief, the denunciation was supported by MP Robert Halfon, who has toldIf this is true, re Lord Sheikh, in attending this conference alongside Mr Corbyn - and  if it is true extremist anti-Semites  and Hamas were in attendance and speaking, there needs to be an investigation by Conservative Party/inquiry re codes of conduct”.
No comment

But Lord Sheikh’s attendance at the Tunis conference is merely a convenient excuse to go after him, and the vehemence of Goldsmith’s attack is easily explained. In June, as the Independent reported, he “called on [Theresa] May to look into the issue [of Islamophobia], describing it as a ‘matter of grave concern to the many Muslim members and supporters of the party’”. And what was the first example he gave the PM?
Sayeeda Warsi - another messenger the Tories shot

In his letter to No 10, Lord Sheikh highlights Zac Goldsmith’s London mayoral election campaign in 2016”. Oh, and there was one more reason for the attacks on the peer, as that Politics Home report lets slip: “Lord Sheikh … hit the headlines this month after he attacked Boris Johnson over his comments about the burqa”.

As with the campaign - also with The Great Guido in the vanguard - to demonise Sayeeda Warsi, this is just another tone-deaf attempt to silence those telling the Tories that hey have a problem, but are unable or unwilling to admit it.

The Tory Party increasingly resembles a sad alcoholic, unable to admit its problems, lurching from one embarrassment to another … and about to finally fall over.
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Rachael Swindon Stalker REVEALED

[Update at end of post]

Yesterday, the right-wing press once again sent an emissary to harass the Labour activist known as Rachael Swindon. The Daily Mail had already visited; this time it was a creep called Alex Shipman representing the Murdoch Sun. That much was intrusive and had no justification at all; there is no public interest in harassing someone merely because they support one particular party. But something far nastier was to come.
Rachael has what can only be called a stalker. This term is not used lightly, but the obsessive behaviour he exhibits towards her, the attempts at control and manipulation, the encouragement of others to join the pile-on, and the perverse pleasure at seeing his work rewarded, all point to one conclusion. He is called Simon, and is otherwise anonymous.
A selection of Simon's encouragements

Simon Retweets others obsessed with Rachael; you can see a selection of their observations as endorsed by him above. Her having to resort to crowdfunding because of benefit delays is the fuel in their obsession; the evidence-free conclusion that she is on the fiddle is universal to them all, as is their search to do a little harm.
Simon’s motivation is, as with so many out there on the right, an irrational fear of the Labour leadership. Hence his weighing in over Wreathgate: “Great to see these lefties having their leader shown for what he really is”. He Retweets UKIP representatives like Peter Whittle, and Islamophobes like Richard Kemp. But Rachael is his true obsession.
I do wonder why anyone would listen to rachael_swindon when even her own local council voted tory. She can't even convince her own so called townsfolk let alone the rest of people” he sneered, rather missing the point. And he’s watching her PayPal donors.
Same time same place tomorow. 13 months, then 18 months what next. The last page was closed down nearly a year ago, don't throw your money away...... #benefitcheat … Another idiot parts with her hard earned money. This money grabbing scam is a great way to earn untaxed income.. Poor Tracy fell for the lies”. Then came the doorstepping.
Here we see the truly creepy side of Simon. “Great to see the sun @alexjshipman following up on my lead. Have no fear, there are lots more coming. Playing football with kids and needs full time care. Nice car getting valeted. Amazing what paypal money gets you. The net is closing in.. We are coming for you”. You and who else, saddo?
He's not a stalker, but ... OH WHAT A GIVEAWAY

Then, for all those who thought calling Simon a stalker was excessive, came “Neither weird gutless or stalker. Happy to meet in Swindon fave [sic] to face and tell you to your face what your [sic] doing is wrong. Given you won't do that or answer questions, who is the gutless one”. He’s not a stalker but he wants to meet his prey.
And remember, he’s made his pile, right? “#ARSMCI Being away doesn't stop me watching the #Arsenal need a good performance today though”. Yeah, look as this exclusive setting somewhere sunny and warm. He’s got LOADSAMONEY!

What the Sun did to Rachael Swindon was nasty. But the stalker who sent them is far nastier. Social media encourages all sorts of obsessives. I’ll just leave that one there.

[UPDATE 1050 hours: Stalker Simon has changed his Twitter handle. But his tendency to braggadocio, combined with an inability to understand that these things have a habit of cutting both ways, may not serve him well.
He wants everyone to know he's still in Singapore, because he's dead important, and then threatens Rachael with more doorsteppings.
And then he talks of there being "more and more journalist attention", without realising that he has left enough clues for some of that attention to rebound on him.

The stalker need not always have his brain engaged. And this one certainly hasn't]

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Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Dan Hodges Goysplaining FAIL

Although, as I pointed out earlier, Labour poll ratings are holding up whatever our free and fearless press slings at Jeremy Corbyn, there are plenty around the media establishment ready and willing to smear the Labour leader every which way they can, not least the Mail on Sunday’s not even slightly celebrated blues artiste Whinging Dan Hodges.
He's desperate, Dan

Desperate Dan may not be going through many cow pies, but he’s certainly shipping plenty of bull right now, telling anyone who will listen “Up until tonight, Labour's anti-Semitism has been a matter of national shame. Now it has become the focus of international shame. The whole world is watching now”.
Given his propensity to make the wrong call, it should surprise no-one that the next opinion poll published after Hodges’ consultation of the I Ching showed Labour gaining two percentage points and leading the Tories. Also, he was being subjected to routine and justifiable ridicule, as one Tweeter quipped “I see Dan and Katie Hopkins are in sync”.
Worse, Hodges’ wayward punditry was not finding him many friends among those Jewish voices for whom he was, at least by inference, claiming to speak. Michael Rosen was one of many voicing dissenting as he concluded “Loving Dan Hodges’ deep concern in behalf of Jews today. This is the guy who racialises his abuse by calling people ‘useful Jewish idiots’. He opposes antisemitism with…antisemitism”. What say Dan to that?
Well, he wasn’t going to listen, that was for sure, replying “Tweet whatever you like Michael. I'm going to keep standing alongside the Jewish community on this issue. Sorry that offends you”. Er, Dan … you do know Michael Rosen is … oh, forget it.
Meanwhile, the Hodges attempts to call racism on others were rebounding, as Jews Sans Frontières confirmed. “You're saying the Jewish community is a corporation which exists independently of Jews in general. You're being racist on 2 counts. Your approved Jews support the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians as you do & you're abusive to Jews as Jews who oppose all forms of racism”. Or, in other words, Ouch!
Michael Goldman was not keen on having Hodges standing anywhere in his vicinity, thanks. “I'd rather somebody, who refers to somebody as a useful Jewish idiot, not stand alongside me, thank you. Have you apologised yet?” To which the answer is, no he hasn’t. Being Dan Hodges means never having to say sorry for anti-Semitic lapses.
And Goldman was not the only Jewish voice not impressed by having Desperate Dan standing alongside him: Harry Tuttle retorted “Stop seeking to speak for me. You are the antisemite here. Stop abusing my ethnicity for your factional games”. Quite.
Hodges’ latest failure was taking on the look of a total clusterfuck (no change there). So it was no surprise when Kerry-Anne Mendoza rocked up to put the lid on the whole mess. “Non-Jewish Dan Hodges attempting to goysplain the feelings of the Jewish community to Jewish Michael Rosen. Neoliberals haven’t so much jumped the shark as launched it into fucking space”. “Neoliberal” being a kind way of saying “clueless floor-crosser”.
Dan Hodges’ interventions are an outstanding success. But only for Jeremy Corbyn.
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MyTaxi Sacks Whistleblower

Earlier this year, the flaws in the MyTaxi app passed before my inspection: it was possible for someone with multiple convictions to get on to their system, to the point of receiving a statement of earnings. But, it seems, MyTaxi is not for listening to those pointing out problems with this app. And one cabby found recently that his insistence on observing regulations meant being sacked from the platform altogether.
Chris Johnson pointed out that MyTaxi was offering app jobs to drivers outside the Greater London area - drivers could lose their licence if TfL concluded that the driver was plying for hire using the app. He asked if drivers were plying for hire on the app, or if an instant hire was a pre-booking (drivers can accept a pre-booking anywhere in England and Wales, but can only ply in their licensed area). He received no reply.

His TfL Taxi licence expired on the MyTaxi system, although he had renewed with TfL. But MyTaxi were sending him instant app jobs on an expired licence, so he complained that this was a public safety risk, as revoked drivers could still operate on MyTaxi on a potential expired TfL licence. No word from MyTaxi.

These are basic safety and regulation issues. And it gets worse.

MyTaxi tells the driver to charge a minimum fare of £10 at certain times of the day, but taxi drivers are not allowed to charge more than the metered fare - as it is an offence. Johnson explained to MyTaxi that MyTaxi could charge the customer more than the metered fare but that would mean that they are the principal in the contract, making him potentially a worker for them. Still no word from MyTaxi.
Johnson blew the whistle on MyTaxi after they persistently declined to engage with him. As he points out, MyTaxi could be benefitting from the proceeds of crime, if drivers were illegally plying on the app outside of their licensed area. After all, MyTaxi would have been facilitating that - so not only would drivers be committing an offence, but MyTaxi would have facilitated the offence and benefited from the proceeds of crime - as they charge a 10% procurement fee. These are all questions that need answering.

But instead of answering and engaging, MyTaxi terminated Johnson’s presence on their platform - allegedly for whistleblowing. The thought enters that the difference between MyTaxi and driver and rider matching service Uber is not so great. Chris Johnson is therefore taking action, and taking out an employment tribunal case.

Playing by the rules, and observing regulations put in place for the protection of both drivers and passengers, should not be a matter for dispute. Not doing so is, after all, what caused TfL to revoke Uber’s London operating licence. And knowing that everyone is playing by the rules is all that Chris Johnson is looking to do.

He is now looking for a pro bono lawyer to support him. And he is not alone in expressing concern at MyTaxi’s behaviour. We all want to see a safe taxi service, that operates in accordance with the law. And for TfL to do its job. That is all.
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Corbyn Attacks - We Have To Talk

As the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press - for which, read most of it - continues to stamp its collective feet, demand that the electorate accept their attacks on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as unvarnished truth, and thereby condemn Jezza as guilty of whatever crimes they have conjured up overnight, it is becoming clear that the monstering is not having the desired effect, maybe even becoming counterproductive.
How could this be? Simples. Of all EU and EEA countries, it is the UK’s press which enjoys - if that is the right word - record low trust ratings, and has done for a number of years. The press screams at Corbyn; voters compare the demon described with what they see; they don’t see a demon; distrust in the press merely intensifies.
This has been picked up by Sunny Hundal, who has put together a short Twitter thread on the phenomenon (see HERE). He points out “The press has been so vicious to Corbyn from day one, cried wolf so many times, people just don't trust it to treat him fairly. And I don't mean just his core supporters. I don't think the wider public does either”.
Distrust in press is compounded by the mismatch between the press’ demon and reality. And on actual policy? “Much as I hate Corbyn's reluctance to fight Brexit, he has triangulated successfully enough to keep Labour Leavers on side while hanging on to Remainers. And thanks to Tory incompetence, time is on his side”.
Alternatives on Brexit? That’s the problem for Jezza bashers: “Also, people don't seem to appreciate how much Brexit has polarised opinion. It doesn't matter what Corbyn does, Labour is the only viable party opposing it. So why would Remainers vote for anyone else? The LibDems are so hopeless, their leaders are plotting new parties”.
And what is driving Labour support? “I don't think Westminster appreciates how much anger at the economy and growing inequality drives Corbyn's support. Is anyone else talking about it? No. Not even Labour 'moderates'. Meanwhile, Tories are hemmed in between their ideology and reality”. This is part of a wider London-centric media problem.
In the old days, national press would have been informed by local press. So they would know (for instance) that £80k was way above an average annual income, or that the poor and elderly use buses, even if the Westminster bubble sneers at them. But local press has been decimated; it is as if the body of journalism had lost its outer limbs, been detached from its nervous system. Plus national press is top-heavy with poorly informed pundits.
Then we come to the $64k question on Labour support. “I see people saying 'oh how can anyone support Labour after this (latest Corbyn story in media)?' Sorry but have you looked at the alternatives? They're a complete shower of shit. They couldn't inspire a wet paper bag. The best they have is Trump-style populism. No thanks”. The press might love Bozza, Rees Mogg and pals - but ordinary people would rather have Jezza.
And Sunny had a warning for another of those press assumptions. “You say: yeah but his base is bonkers. I say: If this was just about his base, we wouldn't be having this conversation. But Labour is staying steady at ~38-40% in polls. This is more than just about his Twitter base. People need to start asking why that is”.
But that part of the press which is going after Corbyn is not listening. It is not asking those questions. It has already decided on its particular version of reality. It is taking its lead not from the world outside the Westminster bubble, but the closed clique of lobby groups, partisan pundits, spin merchants, PR pushers, and other like-minded hangers-on.

The received wisdom for the screaming banshees of Northcliffe House and the Baby Shard is that all they need to do is to keep kicking Corbyn, and all will be well for their chosen politicians. It worked in 1992; it must surely work now.

Sadly, those days are gone. The lack of trust has taken hold, and is spreading to the broadcast media - because there is, even with newspaper circulation in freefall across the board - far too much reverence paid to the press by broadcasters. So the misinformed press misinforms TV, and lack of trust is reinforced.

It happened in the USA, where the press is, generally, far better informed and better at straight news presentation. Now it is happening here. But the comfortable of the London-centric media are not for listening. More fool them.
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Monday, 13 August 2018

Trojan Horse Libel EXPOSED

After Andrew “transcription error” Gilligan claimed there was a “Trojan Horse” plot to “Islamise” schools in Birmingham, this turned out, after several schools were turned over by Ofsted and some that had been rated Outstanding were suddenly placed in Special Measures, to have been largely baseless. So the press pack moved on to Oldham, where they discovered another “Trojan Horse” plot by Scary Muslims™ that didn’t exist.
The result of failures in journalism ...

So it was that last year, the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph, under the by-line of Henry Bodkin, claimed “Second Islamist 'Trojan Horse' scandal feared after Oldham headteacher reports death threats”. There was more. “Fears of a second wave of Islamist plots to take over schools have been raised after a teachers’ union revealed it was dealing with a ‘variety of apparent Trojan Horse issues”. Do go on.

A head teacher in Oldham has reportedly said she has started working at home having been subjected to a campaign of ‘death threats’ and verbal abuse by people determined to introduce an Islamic agenda”. And the alleged culprits? “Nasim Ashraf, a former parent governor and the brother of Shasta Khan, who is serving an eight-year prison sentence for her part in a plot to target Jewish targets in Manchester”. Guilt by association, then.

Oh, and his wife was in on it, too. “The report states that Ashraf organised ‘Islamic teaching sessions’ on the school premises and that his wife, Hafizan Zaman, ‘made remarks to Asian staff members that they should, as Muslim women, be wearing a veil and covering their heads’”. But, as Captain Blackadder might have observed, there was only one thing wrong with this idea - it was bollocks. Libellous bollocks, in fact.
... and failures in judgment

We know this as the last papers to settle defamation cases brought by Nazim Ashraf and Hafizan Zaman, whose children had in fact finished at Clarksfield Primary school in 2013, have now done so. Press Gazette has toldThe Times and Express newspapers have settled a libel case brought by a husband and wife who were wrongly named in reports as being responsible for an Islamist ‘Trojan Horse’ plot at a primary school”.

There was more. “Both newspapers have apologised to the married couple, who have already settled separate defamation and data protection claims against four other news groups. They comprise News Group Newspapers, publisher of the Sun, Telegraph Media Group, Mirror Group Newspapers and Associated Newspapers, publisher of Mail Online, which were all settled earlier this year”. And more.

Each paid damages and costs and published statements apologising to the pair and accepting any suggestions of involvement by the couple in an alleged Trojan Horse plot were unfounded”. And then came the icing on the cake. “The Times settled on undisclosed terms and also agreed to remove an online article by Times columnist Melanie Phillips headlined: ‘Soft-pedalling won’t quash Islamist extremism.’

Yes, Melanie “not just Barking but halfway to Upminster” Phillips had, as is her wont, gone in with both feet without bothering with such trivial things as facts, It’s almost as if the modus operandi of the press right now is to smear Muslims and ask questions afterwards.

Which suggests the print media has a racism problem. I’ll just leave that one there.
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Julia Hartley Dooda Omagh Smear Shame

Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing, one of the last and most bloody atrocities in the recent history of what is euphemistically called The Troubles. A Republican group opposed to the peace process, the Real IRA, had left a red Vauxhall Cavalier packed with explosives in the centre of Omagh. Telephone warnings had been confusing; the area had not been cleared. 29 died and 220 were injured.
We know who you are, thanks

It goes without saying that using such an horrific act for cheap humour is not merely tasteless, but the height of stupidity. So it will surprise no-one that self-promoting has-been Julia Hartley Brewer chose to do just that yesterday, as a means of smearing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn over sympathies he does not hold.
Including in her Tweet a photo showing the aftermath of the explosion - just to show her sensitive side - Ms Hartley Dooda told “BREAKING: @jeremycorbyn makes statement on the 20th anniversary of the #Omagh bomb today, paying tribute to the many dead and injured, including the Real IRA bombers who may have snagged a nail while planting the explosives”. Laugh? I thought I’d never start.
This was disgraceful, even by her piss-poor standards. And Jim Devlin was not impressed. “Disgusting and inappropriate. Imagine politically point scoring with this horrific tragedy. Not an ounce of shame or decency in you”. It might have played well with the London media elite, but outside the sealed world of the Pundit Establishment, it fell flat.
The Irish media establishment was also unimpressed, as David Blevins of Sky News showed. “Julia, how long did you spend thinking about the dead and their incredibly dignified families before deciding that the 20th anniversary of Northern Ireland's worst single atrocity was the stuff of satire?” Ms Hartley Dooda wasn’t replying to that, thanks.
But Jim Devlin certainly was. “Well put David. Such an insensitive, crass and hugely insensitive tweet from her. She is using innocent victims for political point scoring and should apologise. Failing that her employer should take some action. Totally unacceptable”. Her employer is TalkRADIO, though, so they’ll probably give her a raise.
That would help with the upcoming tax bill, no doubt. Meanwhile, Ms Hartley Dooda decided to combine shrugging off her crassness with another smear of the Labour leader. “The fact that some people - even journos - can believe this tweet is true, and not satire, shows just how low our expectations of @jeremycorbyn are. He has repeatedly paid tribute to dead terrorists so why should today be any different?” she trilled.
Don’t think he has, Julia. And Matt Black was seriously unimpressed by her pitch. “The fact that many journalists are too thick to realise it’s bullshit, is Corbyn's fault? #HartleyBrewerLogic PS Using the Omagh bombing to (try and) score cheap points is pretty grim. Even for you”. And she won’t be saying sorry any time soon.

Julia Hartley Dooda is a disgrace to journalism. No change there, then.
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