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Friday, 22 June 2018

Airbus And Brexit - We Have To Talk

It has happened. After all the deniable job losses - financial services to Frankfurt and other European centres, Land Rover Discovery to Slovakia, for instance - has come one great big wake-up call to the Brexiteers. Airbus, which employs 14,000 people directly in the UK, principally at Filton, near Bristol, and Broughton, in north-east Wales, and supports 110,000 further jobs, has warned a no-deal Brexit will see it leave the UK.
According to the BBC, “The European planemaker said the warning was not part of ‘project fear’, but its ‘dawning reality’”, also telling “Last week, the outgoing president of the CBI said sections of UK industry faced extinction unless the UK stayed in the EU customs union”. Looks like the CBI was right. And there is more.
The customs union “brings together the EU's 28 members in a duty-free area, with a common import tariff for non-EU goods … Prime Minister Theresa May has ruled out staying in the customs union. The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019 … The UK government is considering two other options … Michel Barnier, the EU's Brexit negotiator, has said that both options are unrealistic”. And the result of this?
While Theresa May and her pals are fartarsing about, businesses are looking at the looming timescale, assessing the ability of the Government to get its collective heads out from up its arses, and concluding that the only way is across the North Sea from Essex.
And what Airbus has done is to present a statement of reality, no more, no less - with the sure and certain knowledge that if they up sticks, many more companies will follow.
So what has been the reaction from all those who said it wasn’t going to happen? How are all the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed Kool-Aid drinkers promoting “Global Britain” and “Freedom” reacting to the chill wind of the real world this morning?
Tory MP Stephen Crabb says this news is “A wake-up call”. Jonathan Lis had little time for that, reminding him “Which is why Crabb voted against the single market, customs union and a meaningful vote to prevent a no-deal”.
Anna Soubry was more forthright: “#Airbus is far from alone raising v real & serious concerns about lack of clarity from Govt about our future trading relationship w #EU As a former Bis Minister this is verging on a dereliction of duty from a Government & party that has always traditionally been party of business”. If only she’d been a real rebel.
Tory MP George Freeman declared the news “Seriously worrying” and claimed he would be “seeking urgent reassurances from Cabinet ministers”. Steve Peers told him where he got off: “Airbus had to warn of the threat posed by a ‘no deal’ outcome precisely because you and your ‘rebel’ colleagues failed to take sufficient steps to prevent it. If jobs are lost you will not escape your major share of the responsibility with ‘crocodile tears’ tweets”.
Freeman also garnered Nul Points from David Allen Green: “‘I didn't realise businesses would prepare for “no deal”,’ sobs MP who voted for amendment providing that government could keep 'no deal' as an option”. Quite.
Jonathan Freedland of the Guardian considered the sheer idiocy of it all: “‘The company directly employs 14,000 and supports a further 110,000 jobs in the UK.’ Still, we must keep jumping off this cliff. It’s the will of the people”.
The ever-reliable Faisal Islam of Sky News (see his full thread on Airbus HERE) put it directly: “Airbus on ‘severe disruption/ unrecoverable delays/ billions in lost turnover’ sign of disbelief of exasperated businesses on direction of travel on Brexit, finally going public, not with threats, but with logical consequences of political choices”. It’s not a threat.
Meanwhile, Tom Jamieson looked on the bright side of that Times front page: “Peak Brexit front page - yes your high skilled engineering job might be disappearing but on the bright side you'll have a right old laugh out in the fields all day picking fruit”.
And then came those pretending it wasn’t really happening. Now, Zelo Street does not often venture into the realm of what the official BBC announcer calls Very Strong Language, but the counter spin was sheer, unadulterated fuckwittery. And Primus Inter Pares when it comes to being a fuckwit is Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies, who has called the Airbus announcement a “threat” and told “Clearly Airbus is an important company to the United Kingdom and to Wales - but it’s worth remembering that it’s the dynamic highly skilled UK workforce that has made Airbus the success it has become”.
Stuff all use blustering about that when 124,000 jobs are about to pile off across the Channel, is it, numb nuts? Former UKIP Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage had also sunk to the Davies level: “Hardly surprising Airbus are threatening us today when they've taken billions in EU funding”. Like he gives a shit when he’s in the USA courting the  alt-right and the management of Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse).
And the pinnacle of Airbus fuckwit counter spin came from the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, who have proclaimedAirbus Fearmongering” and carped “This is Project Fear 2.0 from big business and a Remoan comic”. Wrong, clowns, it’s what is going to happen if we carry on over the cliff edge.

Today, we have seen the future of the UK outside the EU. We have also seen the inability of many of those here today and gone tomorrow politicians to face up to that prospect honestly and openly. And we have seen just what the most enthusiastic Brexit proponents are really like. But the worst thing is - we were warned, and many just waved it away.

Airbus has told us that Shit Just Got Real. Sadly, the politicians and pundits haven’t.


We know of the lawbreaking antics of Leave EU, which comedy millionaire Arron Banks is still trying to bluff his way out of. And we know that Vote Leave indulged in all manner of questionable activities. What we now know in addition to all that is that Vote Leave also broke the law. And what should concern all who care about this country’s democracy is that the BBC is trying to spin the news as if it were nothing of much import.
That the news was coming was known last week, when Jolyon Maugham at the Good Law Project asked “Has Vote Leave broken the law?” before telling “The Electoral Commission thinks so”. There was more: “We know that the Electoral Commission reopened its investigation into Vote Leave, Darren Grimes and Veterans for Britain after the Good Law Project initiated judicial review proceedings”. So what did they find?
Dominic Cummings - contempt for Parliament

We can tell, from the reference to ‘in accordance with statute they have 28 days’, that the Electoral Commission is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Vote Leave, Darren Grimes and Veterans for Britain have broken the law”. Maugham notes “if you win an election in breach of the rules, if you win it by cheating, then you cannot be said to have been democratically elected”. The corollary is in the realm of the bleeding obvious.
Laura Kuenssberg - is she spinning?

Fast forward eight days, and Beeb political editor Laura Kuenssberg has told “Watchdog expected to find Vote Leave broke rules”. Only “rules”. Not “law”. Nothing to see here, it’s only a little rule breaking. Not lawbreaking, which would be rather more serious. At which point one has to ask from whom Ms Kuenssberg has been getting her talking points.
Take this part of her report: “The latest investigation comes after allegations were made by the whistleblowers Christopher Wylie and Shahmir Sanni that the official Brexit campaign broke the law by colluding with a smaller group, BeLeave … It is understood that the commission did consider this new evidence, but it is not thought that the new information was decisive in proving a breach of the law”. See, no lawbreaking at all!
Why this matters, and why suspicions have been raised as to who Ms Kuenssberg has been talking to, has been set out by the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr. “New from BBC: ‘Watchdog expected to find Vote Leave broke rules.’ And misleading from BBC. Because, they’re not ‘rules’ they’re ‘laws’. Let me help you here: ‘Watchdog expected to find Vote Leave broke LAW’”. Correctamundo. And there was more.
They’re LAWS. Rules are what schools have. They’re laws which are the foundation of our entire electoral system. And this is an investigation into major electoral fraud directed by Theresa May’s special advisor & overseen by 2 cabinet ministers, so it’s a pretty important point … But do remember it's @theresa_may's advisor, Stephen Parkinson, who oversaw this - the biggest overspending scheme in British history. And that we've now established that @Nigel_Farage's Leave campaign lied about [their relationship] with [the] Kremlin. & there's no investigation into this. Nothing”.

Did Laura Kuenssberg just take Vote Leave damage limitation spin and serve it up as if it were reality? Vote Leave have been caught breaking the law. The BBC owes it to all of us to relay that fact, free from the spin of the culprits. So let’s hope that’s what they’ve done.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Raheem Kassam Fails French Class

Demonstrating that when it comes to being full of wind and piss, he is ready to take on all-comers, Raheem “call me Ray” Kassam, the Walter Mitty of the alt-right (who has still not carried out his repeated threats to launch a legal action against Zelo Street - we’ll be waiting a while for that one), has decided he knows more than the rest of the world about France and its recent history. Which, to no surprise at all, he doesn’t.
Kassam has decreed he does not like French President Emmanuel Macron, and would like to use this to boost a public profile which has been in decline since he left Breitbart. So it came to pass that he leapt on an exchange between Macron and a younger member of the citizenry, in which the President had chided a young student not to call him “Manu”, but Monsieur le Président. Which figures, cos it’s French.
Ray” expressed faux outrage at this news, scoffing “Jumped up little accountant lectures a kid for failing to bow to his fake title (the monarch is the legitimate head of state in France)”. And what monarch would that be, O not so wise one? After one Tweeter had put this question to The Great Man, he sneered “Um, the one they had before the leftist revolution? Read a book, babes”. It’s become a “leftist revolution” in the retelling!
Sadly, this gesture did not serve to make Kassam any more newsworthy that he wasn’t in the first place. So he decided to exhume the argument, such as it wasn’t, in order to have another go. “I tweeted this earlier and a bunch of leftists jumped in screeching, ‘REEEE FRANCE DOESNT HAVE A MONARCHY!’ Yeah I got that, geniuses. The point is French conservatives want their monarchy BACK from the constitutional vandals”.
Anyone following that? He says he got something wrong (talking about a French monarchy in the present tense) in order to inform some kind of superior argument, which for him is a contradiction in terms. But even having a second go did not do him any good. After another bored Tweeter asked “Are you saying the left are the only ones smart enough to work out you were talking bollocks?” he fouled up yet again.
Gosh you’re dumb. Spent any time in France recently? Try it. You’ll like them. The FN are excellent”. The FN are so excellent that they are no longer the FN. In any case, there is no discernible movement in France to return any kind of monarchy to the country.
Observing this spectacle of self-imposed car crash, Mic Wright mused “It appears that Raheem has decided to relitigate the French Revolution”, pointing out along the way the lameness of the claims to a French throne (thread HERE) before putting Kassam straight.
It’s almost as if Raheem only believes in democracy when elections favour the brand of tinpot dictator that gives him a woody. Almost as if Raheem is a bag carrier for fascists and all round piece of shit.” Throwing his weight around on social media - chucking out insults and threats he can’t back up - certainly gives that impression.

And this is someone who claims to be a contender for Mayor of London in 2020. No, don’t laugh. He’ll only chuck a few more toys out of the pram.

Arron Banks Passes The Begging Bowl

Leave EU’s main man Arron Banks, so the accepted wisdom goes, was “The man who bankrolled Brexit”. He had loaned and donated millions of pounds to the cause. He was, we were assured, a billionaire in his own right, and probably ranked as high as any in Rome. Moreover, he was able to call on the services of the most prestigious, and indeed expensive, lawyers when it came to defending his reputation.
So it was that when MEP Guy Verhofstadt Tweeted “Europe has a fifth column in its ranks: Putin's cheerleaders who want to destroy Europe & liberal democracy from within: Le Pen, Wilders, Farage, Orbàn, Kaczynski, Salvini use Kremlin money & intel. Like Farage's friend Arron Banks, who colluded w/ Russians to deliver #Brexit”, Banksy got Mishcon de Reya to fire off a reassuringly expensive missive aimed at securing retraction.
But there was a problem: the letter did not follow pre-action protocol for defamation. Then, when lawyers for Byline Media, which has threatened legal action of its own against Banks and his sidekick Andy Wigmore, contacted Mishcon de Reya as part of issuing a Letter Before Action, they were told, on the personal advice of Anthony Julius himself, that they were not instructed in regards to those complaints.
That meant they were not representing Banksy and Wiggy. What was the problem? Had there been a falling out? Well, maybe the problem is a more fundamental one - money, or in Arron Banks’ case, the lack of it. You think I jest? Check this out.

Leave EU’s Twitter feed has told its followers “It's never easy forcing the Establishment to implement something they don't believe in. We knew they'd fight back - this is why we've stuck around! To keep up the fight, we need your support! Will you help us ensure that a true Brexit is delivered?” They want donations? What for? What role do they have in “delivering Brexit”, apart from none at all? And there was more.
The Leave EU website, under the heading “DONATE TO HELP FIGHT THE INTRUSIVE ATTACKS ON LEAVE EU”, has toldIt has been a momentous week for the campaign. On Tuesday, Leave.EU’s chairman Arron Banks was in Parliament for a three-hour interrogation by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports committee … The now notorious hearing was just the latest move by the Remainer Establishment to undermine the reputation of the independence campaign and spread doubt over the legitimacy of 2016’s historic referendum … They must not succeed. Even the smallest donations will enable us to fight back. Thank you”. What did attending that hearing cost, apart from nothing?

The Brexit legislation is now passing through Parliament. Banksy, Wiggy and their pals have no part in that at all. What Leave EU really means, although it is not admitted, has been enunciated by the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr: “‘Millionaire’ @Arron_banks is now begging for money. Those legal letters must be starting to add up”.
Arron Banks supposedly gave millions to the Leave EU campaign. Now he’s been hit with a legal action for blatantly defaming Byline Media, the millions seem to have vanished and he’s reduced to crowdfunding his defence, under the dishonest pretence of campaigning.

So tell us all again, Banksy, where did all those millions come from? No pressure, now.

Nigel Farage Endorses Child Abuse

Over in the USA at the moment - one can only hope that there is some kind of problem with his return ticket - former UKIP Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage has been doing what he knows best, and in the States that means giving his unequivocal endorsement to whatever Combover Crybaby Donald Trump has inflicted on that great nation, however draconian and inhumane it might be.
Squeaky uncaring sociopath finger up the bum time

And the most draconian and inhumane measure to come out of the Trump gang for some time has concerned those attempting to enter the USA, who are deemed illegal migrants by the authorities there. Parents have been separated from children, the latter being locked up often in temporary cages. The sounds of crying children have played across the airwaves; condemnation has come even from Trump’s own party.
The Donald, being little more than a cheap huckster, blowhard and serial liar, has previously washed his hands of the problem, saying "you can't do it through an executive order”, and insisting that only Congress could fix the policy by passing immigration reform. It was the Democrats’ fault, perhaps Barack Obama did it. That sort of dishonesty.

Into this controversy came Farage, who had been invited on to the friendly territory of Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) to pontificate on the matter. This is what he said about it: “So it’s very easy to be compassionate, but you’ve got to understand that in the case of America and these borders, many of these children are being used as a means to get other people in”. The usual pack of lies, then. And there was more.
Many of whom aren’t even their families [another blatant lie] … you’ve got to … Trump has got to stay tough on this and ignore all the screams coming from the liberal media”. This callous shyster managed not to notice that the screams, such as they were, were coming from all those poor children crying out for their parents.
And what that meant was not lost on many pundits, one of whom was Laurence Tribe: “Trump, Kelley, Miller, Sessions and Nielsen are monsters. How eagerly and proudly they abuse innocent children and desperate families for political gain is abominable. Their actions are totally unforgivable”. It was child abuse. And Farage had backed it.

Moreover, Mr Thirsty’s singularly unfortunate “screams” remark had not gone unnoticed, not least by Jo Rowling, who called The Great Man out on it: “The screams reverberating around the world are coming from terrified children in cages. What you’re saying here is that you believe child abuse should be a legitimate tool of the state.” Quite.
Strange, isn’t it, that the far right claim to be hot on child abuse, but turn out only to be really hot on it when they’re using it as a way of demonising Scary Muslims™? When a rogue President leads his country to practice institutionalised child abuse, that same far right don’t want to know, because, hey, he might be an SOB, but he’s their SOB.

The far right won’t be able to admit it, because Nige is their hero, but Farage has just endorsed child abuse. And this morning, after Trump U-turned in the face of nationwide condemnation, the former UKIP leader is left looking even worse. Because he is.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Daily Mail’s Selective Racism

In Flat Earth News, his go-to book on the machinations of the Fourth Estate, Nick Davies discussed the way in which one paper did its work: “it is a model of a certain type of reporting … a model which is particularly associated with the Daily Mail. This involves something like the work of a gardener, who digs out and throws away weeds and stones and anything else which he does not want and then plants whatever he fancies”.
What's so f***ing wrong with kicking brown women, c***?!?!?

What this meant could be put directly:  The story, in other words, is a model of the subtle art of distortion. Aggressive distortion”. And today has brought a text-book example of the genre, as the Mail has once again gone after Cambridge academic Priyamvada Gopal, but not because she isn’t white, you understand. The distortion begins with the headline.
Priyamvada Gopal

Cambridge University hits back at don who branded 'all white' porters 'racist' for not calling her 'Dr' as college insists there was 'no wrongdoing or discrimination' from its staff” it tells readers, continuing “Priyamvada Gopal, 49, will no longer supervise students from King's College. English lit expert said Kings' porters treat her differently because she is not white. King’s College hit back, saying it was 'matter of procedure, not discrimination’”.
The distortion? Dr Gopal did not take brand anyone “racist” for not calling her “Dr”. Yes, I know it’s there in the first line of the heading, but she didn’t. In fact, that was no more than an aside within her observations shared on Twitter two days ago.
So what’s at issue? This is all about the perceived issue of racial profiling, and indeed low-level racism, exhibited towards a wide range of individuals over many years. This is what she actually said about it: “With deep regret but with 17 years of consideration behind it, I have finally decided on my behalf & of other people of colour @Cambridge_Uni to refuse to supervise any students at @Kings_College. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH of the consistently racist profiling & aggression by Porters.” And there was more.
My attempts to raise this with Fellows & with its management verbally and in writing have failed to elicit any changes. Hundreds of stories abound over the years. BASTA! Where you are in a position to tell them: if you can't be polite to me at the gate, I can't do any work for you, you should. I apologise to any future students affected and to @CambridgeBME but it is more than time to address this long festering sore. Until and unless it is, I will not do any more work for Kings”. She also provided a student testimonial.
Some time ago, I received this from a Kings BAME student. 'I have recently heard about your awful treatment from the porters and gate staff at Kings, and so on behalf of the students of the college I would like to apologise for this unacceptable incident. I wanted to let you know that the issue of racial profiling and unconscious bias at the Kings gate is something we are aware of and are trying our absolute hardest to find some sort of resolution to this - we have collected testimonials of many other students and staff who have experienced horrible unfair treatment from the staff at the front of Kings, and the fact that I am still hearing of so many incidents makes me appalled’”.
This concluded “‘I am in the process of discussing the issue with college and hopefully there will soon be some sort of progress, but in the meantime [we are] urging students to talk about the issue, make sure such incidents are discussed and brought to people's attention, and so we also realise the severity of the problem.' Again, students speak to what their teachers and managers keep denying. I am SO sorry about this”.
The problem has clearly been going on for some years, and there is sufficient scope in what Dr Gopal has set out for the Mail to put some effort into investigating the matter. But instead, we get the usual “Dr Gopal, a vehement supporter of Jeremy Corbyn [bad] … She is a prolific user of Twitter [bad]”, and of course “She was also involved in a high profile row with eminent Oxford don, Nigel Biggar”. That’s Biggar, as in bigot.
When the Mail claims to be at the forefront of investigative journalism, and asserts that it isn’t racist, honestly, it is always useful to remember that it churns out slanted copy in support of bigots like Nigel Biggar, and rather than call out King’s College, just decides to blow the dog-whistle and kick the uppity brown woman instead.

That’s the selective distortion of the Daily Mail laid bare. It is, as Nick Davies told, an aggressive distortion. It is also a superb example of selective racism.

Under Paul Dacre’s less than benign editorship, the Mail always seems to end up siding with, and therefore supporting and empowering, the racists. No change there, then.

Alan Sugar Racism Shame

Alan Sugar, ennobled by the party he spends so much time slagging off, is no stranger to social media controversy, which for him usually means being an idiot on Twitter. He also has previous for being called for racism on, yes, Twitter. So it should have surprised no-one when m’Lord opened mouth and inserted boot in no style at all this morning with what he clearly thought was a jolly bit of World Cup fun.
Somebody take that phone off him!

Sugar decided to make what he clearly thought was a joke about the Senegal team, but not, repeat not, repeat NOT because they were black, you understand. He took the photo of the team and added images of sunglasses and handbags laid out on towels, saying “I recognise some of these guys from the beach in Marbella. Multi tasking resourceful chaps”. This duly went down like the proverbial cup of cold sick.
Babita Sharma of BBC World News was one of many passing adverse comment: “A shocking, vile tweet that you take a screen grab of because you know it will soon be deleted”. Paul Waugh of the Huff Post added “Utterly disgraceful. And the 'it was only a joke' line is even more pathetic”. What say m’Lord to that?
After Waugh also took a screen grab, Sugar sniped “why did you re tweet it ...if it is so bad”. After Hannah al-Othman of BuzzFeed News concluded “This is not an okay Tweet”, he was equally combative: “why not it is meant to be funny ....... for god sake”. The punctuation just got fired. And there was more.
Alex Barton wondered “How long before he gets told to apologise for this?” to which The Great Man did some more punctuation murdering as he snapped back “I cant see what I have to apologise for .... you are OTT ... its a bloody joke”. And almost as an aside, he decided to kick Ms Sharma, while he was on a roll. “if it so vile why have you retweeted it . You make me sick”. It’s that cold sick again. But then came the inevitable recantation.
Just been reading the reaction to my funny tweet about the guy on the beach in Marbella . Seems it has been interpreted in the wrong way as offensive by a few people . Frankly I cant see that I think it's funny. But I will pull it down if you insist” he conceded.
That was not enough for Kelechi Okafor, who asked “Why take it down if it was so funny and not racist in any way @Lord_Sugar ?? Had you even washed your bum or brushed your teeth before you jumped online to tweet such trash??” By this time, m’Lord could only manage an indignant “if its so bad why have you re tweeted it”.
By this time, the adverse comment was raining down on Sugar, and rightly so, with his “they all look the same” jest. It was left to Paul Waugh to say what many were already thinking: “Sugar clearly has more in common with Trump than just hosting The Apprentice”.

Alan Sugar has clearly forgotten Denis Thatcher’s dictum: “better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt”. Lord Sugar - You’re fired.