Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Murdoch, Sky … And A Rape Claim

Why Culture Secretary Karen Bradley suddenly stopped looking as if she was going to green light the bid by the Murdoch mafiosi for the 61% of Sky that they do not yet own, and instead decided to refer the bid on the twin grounds of media plurality and broadcasting standards, has, as I noted recently, much to do with the effectiveness of behind the scenes lobbying - especially from Media Matters for America.
MMFA has a lot to teach those of us on this side of the North Atlantic when it comes to holding power to account, and they have had access to plenty of material from which to learn. That is down to the activities of Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse), which, since the ousting of its founder Roger Ailes - again, for persistent bad behaviour - has been under the personal control of Rupert Murdoch himself.

FNC has seen top-rated host Bill O’Reilly follow Ailes out the door, with professional loudmouth Sean Hannity looking like he may be next in the firing line. But now has come another accusation of not just bad behaviour, but the criminal kind: FNC offshoot Fox Business Network has been the target of a rape accusation.

As Axois has reported, “Scottie Nell Hughes, a conservative political commentator, sued Fox News Monday alleging Fox Business host Charles Payne raped her and the network retaliated against her following her allegations … Payne, host of ‘Making Money,’ was suspended in July pending an investigation into Hughes' allegations. He returned to the air earlier this month. He has denied the allegations”.

The report helpfully tells “Why it matters: Fox has been rocked by sexual harassment allegations have have led to millions of dollars in legal settlements and the departure of Chairman Roger Ailes and host Bill O’Reilly”. What it does not tell, but what is all too obvious to UK media watchers, is that the allegation impinges on the Sky bid.
And the detail is as unseemly as the claim suggests: “Hughes claims in the suit that Payne forced his way into her hotel room in July 2013 before sexually assaulting her, and says she was coerced into having a sexual relationship with him for the next two years in order to secure opportunities at Fox … She further alleges that after she ended the relationship she was blacklisted from the network, and after she raised the allegations Fox leaked a story about her to the National Enquirer”. Will Ms Bradley find out?

More to the point, it is certain, with the inevitability of night following day, that Karen Bradley will already have found out: MMFA will make sure of that. She can then add this latest disturbing incident to the catalogue of FNC disturbing incidents and note that Rupe is now the man who is presiding over this sad organisation.

That will mean the Government will be more determined to stand firm in the face of Murdoch machination and bluster. And unless FNC stops the torrent of bad news, it is going to become the nail that seals the Sky bid coffin.

Piers Morgan Attends Spanish Class

It is one of those observations that confirms many a true word is spoken in jest: that all too many English people believe that they can best make themselves understood by those who don’t speak their language by speaking English very slowly and very loudly. They therefore have no need to bother learning another language.
Don't we know who he is? Unfortunately, yes we do

Coupled with the slightly paranoid belief that those who speak another language only do so in order to say things about the English without them understanding, and you have the mindset of all too many people, whose number it seems includes former Screws and Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan. The Monday to Wednesday co-host of Good Morning Britain has found his latest attempt at social climbing foiled - because he doesn’t speak Spanish.
After English, Arabic and French, Spanish (also called Castilian Spanish of Castellano), is one of the world’s most widely-spoken tongues, and the de facto language of 31 countries, including many in Central and South America. This was brought home to Morgan when he fetched up, bad penny style, at Tate Modern for the GQ Men of the Year awards.

The Great Man shared a table with Arsenal footballer Héctor Bellerin, who is Spanish. But when fellow Arsenal fan and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn - whose wife in Mexican and who therefore speaks fluent Spanish - came over to chat to Bellerin, and did so in a language Morgan could not understand, he was deeply miffed.
Later, fellow Arsenal fan Jeremy Corbyn came over to speak to him. When I tried to interrupt, the Labour leader … promptly switched to fluent Spanish to shut me out of the conversationhe whined in his Mail Online diary, in which he drops lots of names in order to tell readers about the importance of Himself Personally Now.
The idea that Corbyn and Bellerin had conversed in Spanish not because they didn’t want Morgan to understand, but because Jezza was being courteous and putting the player at his ease, does not appear to have entered. But the opportunity for both men to wind up the appallingly self-important mouth artist was too much for them to let slip.
And so it came to pass that after Bellerin was alerted to Morgan’s whining, he Tweeted “Come on mate, don't take it personally”. Then Corbyn identified the opportunity to troll the self-promotion artist by switching to Spanish. “Fue un placer conocerte. Es mejor que no le digamos de lo que estábamos hablando, no lo entendería. Muy buen juego en el partido el domingo” he replied. Bellerin took the hint immediately.
Muchas gracias señor Corbyn y por supuesto, todo queda entre nosotros! Fue un placer conocerle!” he chipped in. Rachel Swindon compounded Morgan’s misery by taking the opportunity to add “para muchos, no para los pocos - Señor Jezza”.

That last one means “for the many, not the few”. As for Piers Morgan, no, I’m not translating the other Tweets - do it yourself or enrol in a Spanish class. This will banish the twin evils of ignorance and paranoia simultaneously. Then get a life.

Brexit £350m Claim DECLARED DEAD

The campaign by London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and his gullible pals in Parliament and the media to resurrect the idea that leaving the EU will give the UK another £350 million a week to “control” has had a pretty good second innings - until today. This is despite the head of the UK Statistics Authority effectively telling Bozza that his trousers were well alight.
A total Muppet. And Elmo from Sesame Street

And the reason that innings has come to a close is because, as so often with anything to do with the EU, the claim comes up against the unyielding wall of reality. Despite Bozza blustering that he was right all along and deserved an apology (as if), and his pals at the Guido Fawkes blog claiming the UKSA head had messed up (he hadn’t), the fact is that we will not be “taking control” of any more money come Brexit day - quite the opposite.

How so? Well, to answer that question, we need look no further than the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the one body that is beyond reproach when it comes to pitching the numbers on Government finances. The IFS has considered the Government’s own estimates, and concluded that allowances are already being made not for more money as a result of Brexit, but less - a lot less. Their deputy director Carl Emmerson has spelt it out.
The Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts the outlook for the UK economy and the public finances; these forecasts have been adopted by the Chancellor as the Government’s own. They contain an allowance of almost £250 million a week - not £350 million - for funding that could go in principle to the NHS rather than the EU. But this would involve no state support for any other activities, such as subsidies for agriculture, that are at present funded in the UK by the EU”. And there was more.

The bigger picture is that the forecast health of the public finances was downgraded by £15 billion a year - or almost £300 million a week - as a direct result of the Brexit vote. Not only will we not regain control of £350 million weekly as a result of Brexit, we are likely to make a net fiscal loss from it”. So what of Bozza’s bluster?

Those are the numbers and forecasts which the Government has adopted. It is perhaps surprising that members of the Government are suggesting rather different figures”.

What Emmerson is suggesting is this: the public finances are likely to suffer a loss of almost £300 million a week, while almost £250 million a week will be available from not paying EU contributions. So we lose around £50 million a week from Brexit.
And that’s before the job losses, the next run on Sterling, the likely fall in the stock market, the looming problem of Northern Ireland and the Irish border, and years in limbo as we try to replace all those EU trade deals we already have with something British.

Bozza’s whole pitch was a pack of lies. Anyone who backed him probably knew it - which makes the shameless cheerleading yet worse - or they were too blinkered to check their facts. Brexit will be a shambles - and it will be very bad indeed for the UK.

Maybe now Bozza and his pals will try sticking to the facts. But then again, maybe not.

Mail Ryanair Hypocrisy

Budget air carrier Ryanair is back in the news, and as so often, it’s for all the wrong reasons. CEO Michael O’Leary has for once opted not to brazen this one out, but to consume a generously sized portion of humble pie, after hitting punters with scores of flight cancellations, often at very little notice. This has hit the airline’s share price. It has also incurred the displeasure of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre.
The Daily Mail is not the only paper putting O’Leary on its front page - Metro, also owned by Associated Newspapers, has the headline “It’s a flight old mess”, and the Mirror simply says “THE SHAMING OF RYANAIR” - but the Vagina Monologue has clearly ordered an all-hands-on-deck hit job. “FLIGHTMARE … 400,000 passengers hit by Ryanair cancellation fiasco … £500m wiped off airline’s value … Boss admits ‘it’s a mess-up’ … weeks more misery to come” screams the front page today.
Michael O'Leary offers passengers a traditional Ryanair customer service greeting

The supporting articles come thick and fast: Mail Online wheeled out its “Chief UK Reporterto tell readers'It's not even my biggest cock-up': Ryanair boss insists 'only 2 per cent of customers' have been affected by mass flight cancellation as it's revealed 250,000 passengers WON'T get compensation”. Why oh why oh why?!?!?
Ryanair? F*** off, I wouldn't touch the c***s with a bargepole

Meanwhile, City Editor Alex Brummer whines plaintivelyThe sight of Ryanair’s egotistical chief executive, Michael O’Leary, waving his arms around and admitting the cancellation of up to 55 flights a day for six weeks is ‘clearly a mess’ will not reassure passengers … As many as 400,000 people are likely to be affected, their autumn breaks, business trips or visits to family overseas thrown into chaos because Ryanair has spectacularly mismanaged its pilot and crew rota”. And there was, unfortunately, more.
It’s an appalling state of affairs for travellers who booked in good faith and have a perfect right to expect their flights to take off on the day they were advertised”. And there was the inevitable human interest story: “They would have left us stranded for a week: Ryanair refuse to help family-of-four after cancelling their flight from Spain to Manchester leaving them with nowhere to stay”. So the Mail is avoiding Ryanair like the plague, right?
Wrong.

A little application of the mystical art known as “five minutes’ Googlingbrings you to Mail Online’sRyanair vouchers for September 2017 … Save with these Ryanair discount codes - 11 active vouchers”. And just to confirm that this is an encouragement to book flights with the carrier the Mail is slagging off as it plays the other side of the field, there are tips on Mobile Boarding Passes, Special assistance … and “Excellent Customer Service”!
Yes, the Dacre doggies want you to be horrified about Ryanair so they can flog a few more papers … and then they encourage you to book flights with them. The stinking hypocrisy from the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker was never so blatant.

And unlike Michael O’Leary, being Paul Dacre means never having to say you’re sorry.

Monday, 18 September 2017

IDS’ Allegiance Problem

Today, arch-Brexiteer Iain Duncan Cough appeared before the inquisition of host Jo Coburn on the BBC Daily Politics, to be lightly grilled on the subject of Britain and the EU. Here, he pontificated on the subject of allegiance, telling “If you get confused about where your allegiance lies, I think it confuses your attitude towards how you govern”. Duncan Cough knows all too well about confusion over allegiance.
For starters, his allegiance to the truth, which has for some years now been the subject of constant ridicule. As any fule kno, as soon as the tell-tale cough starts up, it signals the often invisible smoke emanating from Duncan Cough’s blazing trousers. So it was with his appearance today: the Twittersphere was swift to call him out.

#IDS lying through his teeth as usual … IDS lying on @daily_politics and being called out by @Jo_Coburn Wonderful to watch.  #Brexit … @IainDSmith_MP IDS lying on Daily Politics again … How does the electorate not see through this lying, duplicitous & awful specimen of a man? #bbcdp #IDS” were some of the more charitable responses.

Duncan Cough’s indifferent allegiance to the truth also caused him to creatively embellish his CV to suggest he had attended the University of Perugia in Italy (he hadn’t), and that he had been educated at Dunchurch College of Management. Dunchurch was the staff college of GEC Marconi, for whom he had worked in the 1980s. He’d been on a few training courses there. And then came his allegiance to the Tory Party.

While “Shagger” Major was struggling to hold the Tories together in the wake of Sterling’s ejection from the ERM, with a series of party figures caught misbehaving and thereby giving The Blue Team a reputation for sleaze, Duncan Cough was a serial rebel, something that did not help his cause during his brief tenure as party leader.

And, like his fellow Brexiteer Bozza, Duncan Cough has form when it comes to allegiance to statistical accuracy, or in both their cases, the lack of it. Andrew Dilnot called him out for breaking the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. After IDS tried to flannel his way out of that one, Jonathan Portes also called him out - this time for going beyond the usual Government “cherry-picking” of stats to just making them up, ie lying.

Then there is IDS’ allegiance to the rest of the human race, summed up by all those desperately sick and disabled people who were forced to seek employment during his time at the DWP. In addition, Duncan Cough’s department even had a week of celebrations, marking the impact of enhanced benefit sanctions.

On top of that was his lying about food bank use, claiming - just as Jacob Rees Mogg has recently - that the increase in people using food banks was because they knew about them, and not because of any increase in hardship. Yes, Duncan Cough has form when it comes to questionable allegiance - he’s full of it.

But one allegiance is unquestionable: after the man who advocated pre-paid cash cards for the unemployed had his expenses credit card suspended after running up a four-figure debt, Iain Duncan Smith’s allegiance to Himself Personally Now is unshakeable.

We need take no lectures from this dishonest phoney on allegiance. End of story.

Statistics And 1984

The closing of ranks among supporters of London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has continued this morning, as the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog have, by complete coincidence you understand, gone in to bat not just for Bozza, but in support of the Murdoch mafiosi who have been shamelessly exploiting the divisions in the Tory Party.
Would you buy a used statistics guide from HIM?

While the Murdoch Sun has wheeled out faithful retainer Trevor Kavanagh to tell any readers not yet asleep “His words will be music to the ears of millions who voted for Brexit - and have been waiting with increasing frustration for a Downing Street sign that they had done the right thing”, and blame any adverse comment on the BBC, the Fawkes massive has deployed Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham in unswerving support.

Teaboy Wickham, who lies more or less when he draws breath, started his defence of allegedly brave Bozza yesterday, claiming “There was nothing in Boris’ article which went against current government policy - as Fraser Nelson says it doesn’t contradict policy, it articulates it better”. We know exactly how far Fraser Nelson can be trusted - no further than the SOB can be usefully chucked. And Wickham was at it again today.

Claiming “Boris Article Wasn’t Wrong About £350 Million”, he asserts “Boris-hating journalists have reported the row between BoJo and Sir David Norgrove with such glee that they have neglected to mention that Boris’ article was correct and Sir David has cocked up” and then has the brass neck to talk of “The supposedly independent UK Statistics Authority chief”. And, sad to say, there is more.

Sir David has made a pretty major error” continues Wickham. How so? This is where a little smoke and mirrors is deployed. “Boris doesn’t say there would be £350 million extra money available for public spending. He talks about ‘control’, because half of how this money is spent is currently controlled by the EU, and he wants it to be controlled by the UK”. Who is this “half of how this money is spent”?
The problem for Wickham and his ultimate masters at the Baby Shard bunker is that, however one slices it, there is no £350 million in the first place. Even if the gross EU weekly payments are used, last year’s figure was £230 million, and the highest possible number for two years in the future is £310 million. Is someone trying to pretend that the EU somehow controls items outside its budget? Bozza was wrong. He got caught. End of.

This lame spin, which piles in on behalf of not only Bozza, but Spectator editor Fraser Nelson, whose magazine occasionally features Wickham’s highly creative take on the term “journalism”, is bunk. But it does have one purpose: excusing a career liar while trying to demonise the head of the UK Statistics Authority. Sadly, the best the Fawkes rabble can do in backing this up is to quote (yes, it’s her again) Nadine Dorries. No, don’t mock.

Bozza was caught bang to rights. But now we have to endure a Nineteen Eighty-Four level of Newspeak: truth is lies, ignorance is strength, freedom is slavery, and as the head of the UKSA has committed thought crime, he is dealt with by The Great Guido’s thought police.

Sadly, the Fawkes idiocy exists in a real world where few believe them. Another fine mess.

Spectator Editor Says Lying Is OK

Those who follow the pronouncements of Spectator editor Fraser Nelson know that he talks well, but when he deems the occasion demands it, lies badly and shamelessly. This is particularly noticeable when the subject of press regulation - or, in this country, the lack of it - is raised, and he praises sham regulator IPSO, telling anyone in earshot that it is the “toughest press regulator in the Western world”, which it definitely isn’t.
Fraser Nelson: polished, upstanding ... and appallingly dishonest

And after his predecessor, London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, did a little lying of his own at the weekend courtesy of the increasingly downmarket and desperate Telegraph, there was Nelson again, defending not just another of the Barclay Brothers’ properties, but Bozza too. Even when The Blond was called out by the UK’s chief statistician for lying, this too was defended as just fine.
When Bozza’s ill-judged and unnecessary intervention appeared in the Tel, there was Nelson to praise it, whatever it said. He made sure to comment approvingly upon it. “Boris Johnson has finally overcome his stage fright. My blog on his long-overdue Daily Telegraph article”. Oh, and just for good measure, “And here's my Daily Telegraph column, printed yesterday, on how we need to hear a lot more from Boris”.
Yes, in the hermetically sealed world of the right-leaning Pundit Establishment, we need to hear more from an habitual liar whose only concern is the promotion and enrichment of Himself Personally Now. And just to make sure his followers got the message, Nelson Tweeted out an image of the Tel’s front page with the comment “That's more like it”.
But then, David Norgrove, head of the UK Statistics Authority, passed severely adverse comment on Bozza’s creative use of figures, or as most people call it, lying. The £350 million figure was a prize whopper when emblazoned on the side of the Vote Leave bus, and it was no different now. Torn between bothering to do some proper investigative journalism, and saying what was needed to defend Bozza, Nelson did not hesitate.
The Spectator’s piss-poor Steerpike column was duly commanded to back The Blond, and Nelson duly Tweeted “Why is the UK’s supposedly independent statistics watchdog joining the Boris-bashing? Steerpike”. Very good, Spectator people - Norgrove was intervening on the misuse of statistics because that is his job. Clearly, not a lot of people know that.
Meanwhile, Norgrove’s intervention was gaining traction, and the thought that Bozza had once again been caught with his trousers well alight clearly distressed Nelson. Also, his predecessor had come out fighting in his own defence. So the Spectator editor personally took up the cudgels, recycling Bozza’s bilge into a blog of his own. This was duly relayed to his Twitter followers thus: “For once, the £350m figure was used accurately - the UK Statistics Authority misjudged its intervention. Here's why”.
Here’s why the Spectator’s editor is prepared to lie shamelessly, rather than admit that, sometimes, it is better to own up and tell the truth - or keep mouth well shut.

And remember, Fraser Nelson is a respected member of the Pundit Establishment. Now you know how far you can trust all those TV talking heads. As in, you can’t.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Mail Climate Change Smears BUSTED

All the great newspaper con jobs get their comeuppance eventually, and for the Mail on Sunday and its climate change denial specialist David Rose, the moment of reality came when not even sham press regulator IPSO was prepared to wipe their backsides over yet another article which had stretched the available facts well beyond the limit of elasticity.
David Rose

Last January, Rose had told MoS readers all aboutClimate of Hate: His children are urged to kill him, he's compared to Adolf Hitler and labelled a 'denier' - even though he's Jewish. Disturbing article reveals what happens if you dare to doubt the Green prophets of doom”. The idea thatClimate Change Denial” has Holocaust overtones is ridiculous, and another stock right-wing technique to play the victim and blame the rotten lefties.

Rose’s outburst was described by the long-suffering Bob Ward at the LSE, who has been on the end of plenty of climate “sceptics’” abuse, as “Hilarious self-pitying nonsense”. But what was not realised at the time was that this was a deflecting tactic: the following weekend he was back with a real whopper. And it is this that has landed him in trouble.

Exposed: How world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data … The Mail on Sunday can reveal a landmark paper exaggerated global warming … It was rushed through and timed to influence the Paris agreement on climate change … America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration broke its own rules … The report claimed the pause in global warming never existed, but it was based on misleading, 'unverified' data’” read the headline. It was total bunk.
Zeke Hausfather of the Berkeley Earth project dismantled Rose’s claims in detail over at Carbon Brief, describing the MoS writer’s claims as “extraordinary”, and his claim about the NOAA’s information as “patently incorrect”. Rose’s “evidence”, he concluded, “in no way changes our understanding of modern warming or our best estimates of recent rates of warming”. Ward, meanwhile, complained to IPSO.

The complaint was under Clause 1: Accuracy of the Editor’s Code, and Mail Online now carries the IPSO judgment, which concludes “the newspaper had failed to take care over the accuracy of the article, in breach of Clause 1 (i) and had then failed to correct these significantly misleading statements, in breach of Clause 1 (ii)”. And on a graph in the article, and its footnote “'0 represents 14°C’”, there was yet more.

The graph … had provided a visual illustration of the newspaper's contention regarding the difference between the 'flawed' NOAA data and other, 'verified', data. The newspaper's failure to plot the lines correctly represented a breach of Clause 1 (i), and there had been a further failure to correct the significantly misleading impression created as a result. There was a further breach of Clause 1 on this point”. BUSTED.

And it has to be concluded that either the MoS’ editors have been negligent in not noticing that Rose was coming up with more and more tosh, or … he was allowed to get away with it, because it chimed with the previously decided editorial line. The Daily Mail and MoS both have form for the latter. I’ll just leave that one there.

Tory Civil War Erupts

Sadly for all those who wanted this morning’s headlines to be dominated by terrorism, even the fifth attack in London this year could not stop the veritable tsunami of coverage for the undeserving, but still newsworthy, figure of London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. And most have missed the point.
A complete Muppet. And Elmo from Sesame Street

While it’s true that the Tory civil war, for so long, like most of the iceberg, mostly concealed below the surface, has well and truly erupted into open view, what the press is so far not homing in on is who has their hand up Bozza’s back. Because, as ever, it is never about high principles with Johnson, but following the money.
So while Simon Walters at the Mail on Sunday generates the shock horror headline “TORIES AT WAR OVER BORIS’S MOVE ‘TO OUST PM’ … Johnson in open revolt over soft Brexit as he ‘lobs hand grenade into No10’”, he’s right that, despite polite support from the likes of Damian Green, wheeled out for Sky News, and Amber Rudd, appearing on The Andy Marr Show (tm), Bozza is not flavour of the month in the party right now - but what he does not tell us is Why He Done It When He Did.
Nor does the increasingly downmarket and desperate Telegraph, although its headline, “Gove and Patel back Boris vision for Brexit … Cabinet ministers support calls for bolder approach, but May allies react with fury”, gives us a clue (as well as the ridiculous idea that the UK approach to Brexit can be bolder than something yet to be defined).

Priti Patel is one of Bozza’s cheerleaders, as well as being utterly vacant when it comes to enunciating an original thought - big deal. The Tel’s clue is when it pitches the name of Michael “Oiky” Gove, whose loyalties are first and foremost to Rupert Murdoch.
You think this is not significant? Stay with me here. While the Observer reflects the view that Bozza should, for once, keep to the occasional “yikes” and “crikey readers”, by telling “Boris Johnson ought to be fired, angry Tories tell May”, the Murdoch Sunday Times relegates The Blond to a more minor from page role, while giving readers the approving headline “Boris revives Brexit ‘dream team’”. And Tim Shipman, obediently, has more.
Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have rekindled their Brexit partnership in a high stakes attempt to force Theresa May’s hand on European Union talks as a new civil war erupted in the Conservative Party last night … The Brexit heavyweights have told the Prime Minister to boost NHS spending by £30bn a year when Britain leaves the EU”.
Oh look, guess who's here?

Yeah, right. And where’s she going to find that? On the side of a bus? Ah yes, you see how it’s all coming together now. Shipman is taking dictation: there is no credible way that Gove and Bozza can be described as “heavyweight” anything. This is a little creative disruption by the Murdoch mafiosi, one of many such exercises that will be undertaken unless, and until, the Government does as the Murdochs want, and waves through the Sky bid.

Bozza isn’t going to be PM. And nor is Gove. But they are useful idiots in helping an unelected foreigner to make mischief. I said yesterday that Bozza was being leant on. Now you can see who is doing the leaning. In the fullness of time you will find out more.

Milo - Too Toxic For Katie Hopkins

After getting himself banned for life by Twitter, and then losing a whole series of jobs and endorsements when a video came to light where he showed approval of paedophilia, one might have thought that the deeply repellant Milo Yiannopoulos, failed entrepreneur, serial con-man and amateur human being, might think better of pushing himself into the public eye. But that thought would have been misplaced, as last week’s events proved.
The real Milo Yiannopoulos - an empty nobody

Yiannopoulos was going to mount a “Free Speech Week”, as if this were some novel concept, rather than cover for him and other examples of the far-right firmament to indulge in legitimising hate speech. This would take place on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley. There would be speakers from across the pantheon of the right and libertarian fringe. By this device would his reputation be redeemed.
Viewers may still want to look away now

But from the start all was not well. UC Berkeley appeared not to know anything about the event. Then came the real cluster, er, thingy when the list of speakers was announced, as reported by the Daily Californian. After Charles Murray took to Twitter to denounce the report, telling “I had never heard of this event & don't know why anyone thinks that I have signed up for it. Fake news”, all hell broke loose.
Steve Bannon, now no longer anything to do with the Trump White House, confirmed he would go. The appalling Ann Coulter sort of agreed, but suggested the event wouldn’t happen. And then came examination of the British contingent: both Raheem “call me Ray” Kassam, and pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins, were advertised as participants. Both were also saying nothing about taking part.
Angus Johnston, as ever keeping tabs on the situation, noted “Nothing from Raheem Kassam or Katie Hopkins. Pamela Geller says she's going, as does David Horowitz”. Just to put those names in context, and before Bannon and Coulter confirmed, he added “Total number of confirmed ‘attendees’ so far, other than Milo? Five. And they're all from the weirdo creepo side of the list”. Was it a gig too far for Hatey Katie?
And although Yiannopoulos’ former home, Breitbart, echoed the Daily Californian list of speakers, the Hollywood Reporter suggested the likelihood of the event even going ahead was “iffy”. The East Bay Times then revealedThe student group behind a ‘Free Speech Week’ later this month has lost access to at least two of the venues it hoped to rent for the event because it didn’t come up with the payments in time”. Sound familiar?
The group had missed three deadlines to pony up the money. Milo and money - same old problem. Worse, Steve Bannon won’t be going - he’s speaking in Washington, DC at the same time Yiannopoulos claims he’ll be at Berkeley. As Angus Johnson put it, “Don't write that Milo's coming to ANY campus until you see the paperwork … He's a scumbag and a liar and a punk and he's playing you. Don't get played by a punk”.
Yiannopoulos’ event won’t happen. So he’s still a con artist. And there was never going to be an appearance by Katie Hopkins. Just think - someone so poisonous that they are too much even for Katie Hopkins. That’s proper failure for you.

Top Six - September 17

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 shopping stuff to do later. So there.
6 Mail Google Bomb Claim BUSTED The idea that terrorists could not make bombs in the days before Google was bunk. The legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre was just using the Parson’s Green attack to smear a firm that was better than he was at scoring advertising revenue.

5 Brexit BBC Patriotism Idiocy Another day, another intervention from the serially clueless Tim Montgomerie, claiming the BBC was being unpatriotic by reporting the news.

4 Bonking Bob’s Baseless Bluff Tory MP Bob Stewart’s claim that his kids’ school had mocked his being a Tory encountered a problem - the school didn’t know what he was on about.

3 Rod Liddle Backs Ethnic Cleansing As hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims fled their homes in Myanmar, and the UN called the actions of the Government there, as well as extremist Buddhist monks, as ethnic cleansing, up popped Rod Liddle to obediently nudge-nudge his readers into believing that it was the Scary Muslims (tm) at fault.

2 Gina Miller Strikes Again Our Government once again gets caught out by a lone campaigner not knowing what it’s doing - or knowingly trying to by-pass Parliament in order to give the DUP its Billion Pound Bung.

1 Diane Abbott Was Right All those who thought that the Labour MP was wrong to use the N-Word live on Good Morning Britain as an example of the abuse she gets day-in, day-out - maybe you’re part of the problem.

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

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Bonking Bob’s Baseless Bluff

Former Army officer and now MP Bob Stewart knows how to get himself in the media for all the wrong reasons. This ability to end up covered in rather more than embarrassment was honed during his time in Bosnia, when he was caught having an affair and thereby came to be nicknamed “Bonking Bob”. Then, only last year, he got caught exhibiting the kind of sexist behaviour even Leslie Phillips might have bodyswerved.
Bob Stewart - beyond bonking

After Spectator assistant editor Isabel Hardman revealed that an MP had approached her with the opening gambit of “I want to talk to the totty”, it did not take long (a) for said MP to become “v contrite” and apologise, and (b) for the Super Soaraway Currant Bun to name Stewart as the culprit (while reminding the world about the “bonking”, natch). As any fule kno, the correct descriptive term for Ms Hardman is “journalist”.
So Stewart knows the perils of opening mouth prematurely. But there are political advantage points to score, and so when MPs debated the abuse to which they have routinely been subjected, and the Tories needed to show that this phenomenon affected them too, up stood Bob and claimed his kids got abuse at school because of him.
A Tory MP has revealed his 13-year-old son's teacher told classmates to shun him because his father is a Conservative … Bob Stewart, the MP for Beckenham, south London, said the teacher's action took the abuse suffered by MPs and their families to a ‘new level’”, reported the Standard. And the Murdoch Sun was outraged.
Bob Stewart, a hero vet of the Bosnian war, made the revelation during a debate on the abuse hurled at politicians, adding that all four of his children have been ‘hassled’ because of his job … Shouts of ‘shame’ could be heard in the chamber as the Tory backbencher hit out at the teacher's behaviour against his son during the last general election”. The response from the right was all that could have been expected.
Kate McCann of the increasingly downmarket and desperate Telegraph gasped “Wow. Tory MP Bob Stewart says his son's teacher told the rest of the class not to speak to him because of his Dad's job. How awful”, while Carrie Symonds, senior propaganda droid at CCHQ, snarked “Kinder, gentler politics”, and leader of the Welsh Tories Andrew RT Davies mounted his high horse to tell “Very disturbing to see a teacher ENCOURAGING bullying. No place for this whatsoever”. And there was more.
A Tweeter called Lady Durrant shrieked “Unacceptable! This teacher should be sacked as should any left wing teacher who tries to brainwash our children”, while self-confessed conservative Richard Munslow decided that “The teacher involved should be removed of their position with effect. Politics has no place in schools”.
But now the Mirror has identified the school concerned, and spoken to the head teacher. They have reported that “The headteacher of the school, which we have chosen not to name, said no complaint had been received from Mr Stewart or any of his family”. That head teacher also said “We hope to meet with Mr Stewart very soon to discuss the matter so we can establish the facts and take action as appropriate”. Well, quite.

Bonking Bob didn’t respond to the Mirror’s request for comment. I wonder why.