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Sunday, 24 March 2019

Whatever The Question, Gove Is NOT The Answer

Still Theresa May staggers on, lurching - along with her party, and indeed her country - from one avoidable crisis to the next, but the vultures are beginning to circle. And despite the admonishment handed out to those plotting to dispose of the PM by former Tory leader Iain Duncan Cough on The Andy Marr Show™, telling that there isn’t going to be a change of leader, well, if the knives are already out, then there probably is.
Besides, whenever Duncan Cough says something definitely isn’t going to happen, the possibility of it happening, and soon, increases dramatically. So it is only fair to consider who might succeed the joint worst Prime Minister ever, a title Ms May shares with the equally disastrous David Cameron, who talked the talk, but when it came to walking the walk, dropped the UK in the mire and then ran away.

Some media outlets are suggesting that the likeable - well, for a Tory, anyway - David Lidington may step in on what is being described as a caretaker basis. The only problem he has is that Leave backers in the Tory ranks wouldn’t have another Remainer. Which brings us to the other option being touted around the press today, and that is Michael “Oiky” Gove. And whatever the question, Gove is never the answer.
There are many reasons why Gove is not fit to shovel human by-product from Heap A to Heap B, let alone occupy 10 Downing Street, but Zelo Street will home in on just three (you can see an alternative take from Chris Henry HERE).

One, Walking Around With An Offensive Wife, to quote the Not The Nine O’Clock News sketch. Mrs “Oiky” Gove, the appalling Sarah “Vain” Vine, is not only a Daily Mail columnist of no known tactfulness, she is a schemer in the Lady Macbeth Premier League. She also has a habit of incautiously Tweeting after what might be termed Wine O’Clock.
Two, Gove wreaked havoc at the Department for Education during his term as Education Secretary, mainly by failing to keep control - perhaps deliberately - of his two polecats Dominic Cummings and Henry de Zoete. Cummings, believed to be the hand behind the infamous @toryeducation Twitter feed, was not fit to be let loose in Whitehall, or, indeed, as we now know, to run a referendum campaign. Unless cheating is allowed.

But the very worst aspect of Gove’s background is Number Three. He is not merely close to Rupert Murdoch and his fellow mafiosi, he is in effect a wholly owned subsidiary of their empire. Gove is the finest cabinet minister money can buy. Murdoch has bought him.
The reason Gove broke with his now former friend, London’s very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson - who is even less well suited to high office - is believed to be because he was informed that the Murdoch mafiosi had sufficient dirt on Bozza to end his political career, and so decided to run to succeed Cameron himself. I’ll go further: it is also believed that he got that tip-off from Rebekah Brooks herself.

And it is for that reason alone that Michael Gove should not be even considered for the Top Job. If Rupe and his fellow mafiosi want to dabble in politics, they can stand for elective office and subject themselves to public scrutiny. Otherwise they can shove off.

That is why, whatever the question may be, Michael Gove is never the answer.
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Breitbart “Journalist” IS A DISGRACE

After Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, made a number of highly creative claims in his efforts to win back the moral high ground following his aggressive doorstepping and doxxing of Mike Stuchbery, some have found themselves unable to resist the temptation to jump on the same bandwagon. One of those thus tempted is Chris Tomlinson, who claims to be a journalist.
Tomlinson’s problem is that he is one of those working in the service of the coalition of the irredeemably batshit otherwise known as Breitbart. This appears to have caused a significant dislocation in his reality circuit, resulting in his believing Lennon’s obviously untrue claims and even embellishing them for good measure.

As Zelo Street told yesterday, Lennon has sat down for an alleged interview with Carl Benjamin, the lame propagandist who styles himself Sargon of Akkad. During this session of fawning softball, The Great Man claimed that those who visited the area near the Lennon household were actually a delegation from Antifa. He then claimed that the Police had warned him they had armed themselves - with guns.

Leaving aside that possession of a firearm without a licence is an illegal, and indeed arrestable, offence, and that had the cops really had that intelligence, they would have nicked the supposed Antifa members before they got anywhere near the Lennon residence, it should have been obvious that Lennon was lying. Again.

Tomlinson did not allow this thought to enter. “New video from Tommy Robinson shows footage of UK police allegedly warning that Antifa members were coming to kill him and had procured AK-47 rifles and had made bombs. Tell me how they are not a terrorist group”. Woah! The guns are now AK-47s! And there are bombs too!
One hates to dismiss his concerns out of hand, but this is total crap. No matter: it was, for Tomlinson, on with the conspiracy theory. “To those asking where [the] video is, it is on his YouTube channel. I would link it here but social media censorship leads me to believe I'd be forced to remove it anyway”. Baloney. Someone in his replies did, and it’s still there.

The derision was not slow in arriving, with responses like “Hey Chris you missed out the Challenger 2 battle tanks and ICBM's aimed at the gnomes in his garden in the mistaken belief it was him” being typical. Tomlinson was being appallingly irresponsible, and he should have known it. Another not believing his spiel sniped “Did he also mention the little elf shoemakers are coming to make him shoes while he sleeps or any other fairy tales”.

And one Tweeter had the whole idiocy figured out. “AK-47's, home made bombs. If there was any truth in that the police would have made arrests. I think you'll find who ever SYL was talking to in that video was probably one of his mates”. It was. The end.

Breitbart is expected to peddle batshit rubbish. But for its alleged “journalists” to recycle and amplify wacko and dangerous conspiracy theories is totally out of order.
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Labour, That March, And Reality

Yesterday, around a million people descended on central London in support of the so-called Peoples Vote campaign. It was the largest demonstration in the capital since that against the Iraq War in 2003. Many who were there then were there yesterday. The Iraq War was a ghastly mistake. It was what tarnished Tony Blair’s reputation - permanently - and its effects are still being felt today. Now has come the spectre of Brexit.
The botched negotiations to secure a withdrawal agreement with the other EU member states, hampered by Theresa May’s intransigence, have left the UK a laughing stock on the world stage, a nation willing itself to become poorer and weaker. Yesterday’s march shows that there is a genuine and growing popular feeling out there in the country in favour of rethinking the whole Brexit business - including the Revocation of Article 50.

From my Twitter feed, it was a strange bipolar world that was reflected as the marchers assembled, the march progressed and speeches were made. On the one hand, there was great enthusiasm at the coalition that had been assembled - as it was in 2003 - but on the other, a show of derision and sourness from some on the left, sniping at those from the Lib Dems, and indeed some in Labour, who were addressing the crowds.

The only feeling at seeing this unfortunate dichotomy was one of sadness. Sadness that so many on the left were unable to even go as far as the likes of Owen Jones, who did not attend the march but gave those participating his best wishes. Sadness that instead of reaching out to those in the centre, and the centre-right, there was simply recycling of how many times they had voted to cut benefits and services.

What is being forgotten by so many on the left is that for Labour to get into power, the party cannot merely sit there and refuse to make common cause with others because their politics may differ. Let us not forget that at the Iraq war protest, Jeremy Corbyn spoke alongside then Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy. There are occasions when those with different political stances can come together. Yesterday should have been one of them.
Labour was represented, by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, and by deputy leader Tom Watson, the latter being subjected to yet more disdain by many on the left, some of whom seem not to understand that yes, Corbyn’s proposals for a Brexit deal are way better than anything Ms May has managed, but that the best deal for the UK is not to leave at all. There is no better deal available than the one we have now, with EU membership.

And all those other parties represented - this, Jezza supporters, is the broad church you need to tap in to in order to ensure the fool’s errand of Brexit does not end up screwing over the country. Do not dismiss lightly the wisdom of Michael Heseltine, who grew up during World War 2, and spoke so movingly about the role of the EU in keeping Europe at peace. Remember his role in beginning the regeneration of the City of Liverpool.

Do not dismiss those from the Lib Dems, merely because they entered into a disastrous coalition with the Tories. They have been more than sufficiently punished for that wrong turn. Do not dismiss those who may not be ideologically committed as you on the left are. You need many of them on your side to get Corbyn into Downing Street.

At times of crisis, narrow ideology must be set aside for the greater good. That is all.
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Top Six - March 24

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 places to go and people to see later. So there.
6 Theodora Dickinson - Pants On Fire Behold the new Tory right - utterly clueless and appallingly dishonest. As well as bigoted.

5 737 Max Crashes - Boeing In Big Trouble They knew about the potentially deadly problems with the new Max 8 four days before the Ethiopian Airlines crash. That may just take some explaining away.

4 Rod Liddle Disabled Attack REPEAT The occasionally mobile amateur human being attacked sufferers of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or ME, in his Times column. But the worst thing about his going after the disabled was that he had done it before - six years earlier, in the Sun. Murdoch and targeting minorities, eh?

3 Tommy Robinson Excuses BEYOND DESPERATE The apologia of Stephen Yaxley Lennon, as he counters the backlash of his doorstepping and doxxing Mike Stuchbery, has now gone from exaggeration and dishonesty to downright fantasy.

2 James Goddard Martyrdom Attempt FAILS The de facto leader of the UK’s “Yellow Vests” movement, aka the Amateur Comedy Sturmabteilung, tried to provoke the authorities into making him a jailed martyr when appearing at Westminster Magistrates Court. But all he got was due process.

1 A50 Petition Fake News FAWKED The perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog claimed the petition urging the Government to revoke Article 50 was being stuffed full of dodgy foreigners. But it wasn’t. Another fine mess.

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

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Tommy Robinson Excuses BEYOND DESPERATE

The behaviour of Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, in twice doorstepping historian and campaigner Mike Stuchbery was bang out of order, and for a whole variety of reasons. Now it turns out that his campaign has developed not necessarily to Lennon’s advantage, and as a result he has tried to excuse his actions in a discussion with Carl Benjamin, who styles himself Sargon of Akkad.
Lennon’s apologia is so ridiculous as to be obviously untrue - and if he doesn’t like that assessment, he can pony up the evidence to disprove it, which he will not. Here’s The Great Man trying to wriggle out of his Bad Publicity Hole.

Bearing in mind when you think of fear, on a Sunday afternoon my children were playing on the drive and my wife gets a phone call saying Antifa are coming to the house … my wife gets the kids in the house, and let me tell you why she’s more panicked than … most people would be. The Police have come into my home [the one he said he didn’t live in] twice now … they name Antifa as an organisation”. Do go on.

Who are going to murder us. They say they’ve armed themselves with weaponry, with guns [my emphasis]. So my wife’s been told all of this. I’m not in the country. Then she gets a phone call saying six of them [are] on their way to the house. She’s terrified. She’s locking herself in the house, she rings the Police. The Police come.” There is more.

There’s been a big deal made on their part, that ‘we didn’t even go near his wife’s house’. No, because the Police were there. If they hadn’t been there [they] would have walked up, live streaming my children’s faces, and my wife, who they are all fully aware is under a death threat and an Osman warning from the Government”. Then comes the wriggle.
Mike Stuchbery - threatened and doxxed

Mike Stuchbery, who was one of the people who encouraged this and financed it”. Right. Let’s take that apart nice and slowly. One, Antifa is stuff all to do with this. The people who went not to Lennon’s house, but stopped nearby and entrusted one person - that’s one person - with serving a legal letter on Lennon’s address - were NOT Antifa. Lennon knows this. But he also knows he is losing the propaganda war.

Two, if the cops named Antifa, let’s see the evidence. Until then, that’s just another Lennon lie. Three, possession of a firearm is, in this country, strictly controlled and policed. If Antifa, or anyone else, was on that day in possession of firearms in the vicinity of Lennon’s house, they would, and should, have been nicked. They were not. QED.

Four, the only reason the group went to the area of Lennon’s house was because The Great Man had ignored all previous communications from the lawyers concerned. And none of them were Antifa (did I mention that?). Five, they were not going to approach the house under any circumstances, because unlike Lennon, they don’t do doxxing. Six, Stuchbery did not “encourage” any form of action. Seven, to claim he had “financed” it is a ridiculous exaggeration. He contributed to the crowdfunding to start legal action against Lennon for the alleged defamation of a teenage Syrian refugee.

Stephen Lennon is now reduced to making up excuses to justify his aggressive doorstepping and doxxing of someone just because they’re a convenient target. He was wrong, and he knows he was wrong. He just isn’t big enough to say sorry. End of story.
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Andrew Pierce - You’re A Genius

Never say that the art of investigative journalism is dead: at the Daily Mail, one brave and fearless voice has shown that it’s not just about churnalism, but real discovery of solid, hard evidence, and the ability to speak truth to, er, something. From the Northcliffe House bunker has stepped the figure who may even in future become a legend in his own lunchtime, the room-clearing presence that is Andrew Pierce.
Stop Brexit? Ooh, I never thought of that!

The Wolf Cub Bluebottle of today’s hacks has been studying the machinations of those dastardly people at the so-called Peoples’ Vote campaign, and has made a groundbreaking discovery. “#peoplesvote now argue in favour of revocation of Articke [sic] 50. the mask slips. the truth outs. They want to stop Brexit”. Electric lightbulb lights up above head, flish flash flash it goes! What an intellect!
Or perhaps that should read “What, an intellect?” Jolyon Maugham was in awe of this revelation. “Your forensic skills are truly matchless. Do they call you Andrew 'Sherlock' Pierce in the office?” No, they call him Shithead, but hey ho. James West was also impressed. “Really? Wow. Who’d have thought. Blow me down with a feather”.
Or maybe not. Paul Logan was in the “maybe not” category. “Don't you just love it when the penny drops with these so called political pundits”. Another Tweeter put it more directly. “In other news, the sky is up, coffee is a hot beverage, and the Pope maybe Catholic”.
Then came the memes, typical being a Friends one telling the world “That is brand new information”, and yes, a Sherlock one responding simply “You don’t say”.
Elsewhere, the tone became slightly mocking, which Pierce totally deserved. “Wow. You’re SO clever to have worked that out all by yourself”. Another responder agreed. “My but you're sharp! There's no hiding from you!” In Pierce’s defence, for a Daily Mail pundit to actually display the ability to think, without being told what to think, is truly exceptional. During the terror of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, no-one dared commit any copy to print unless they had first had the Line To Take handed down from on high.
Still, on with the mockery.  Andrew Katz asked “You mean the mask that had STOP BREXIT printed in 200-point neon-highlighted block poster type, with an ode-to-joy klaxon going off every five minutes? That mask?” while another overawed Tweeter (no, not really overawed) said simply “My god. We have Colombo among us”.
We do? Just one more thing, then. John Dougherty had to ask why anyone should want to stop that wonderful Brexit that the likes of Pierce spent so much time extolling. “Gosh. I wonder why? I mean, it all seems to be going so well”. But he wasn’t taking the Mail pundit seriously, either. And another Tweeter was on hand to administer the Coup de Grace: “No flies on you.......but you can see where they’ve been”. Ouch!
Andrew Pierce is almost totally devoid of original thought. Most of what he says when allowed on to the airwaves is a product of his engaging waffle autopilot. Yet his opinion is sought out by broadcasters. Now you know why TV punditry is so badly broken.
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Julia Hartley Dooda Petition Fib BUSTED

As the petition calling for the UK to revoke its invocation of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty closes on four million signatures - despite all the outages on the Government website hosting it - so a variety of dishonest and blatantly malicious anti-EU actors continues its efforts to rubbish the exercise. The problem they all have is that it is all too easy to pick apart the smears and lies. But still they keep on coming.
Which brings us to the latest dishonest and malicious anti-EU actor in the shape of self-promoting TalkRADIO host Julia Hartley Brewer, who wants the hardest Brexit known to humankind to be inflicted on the UK for the benefit of Herself Personally Now. That this might not be to the benefit of 99% of the population at large is not allowed to enter. She voted to drive off the cliff edge, and is determined to have her lemming moment.
Oh, this is going to be a fun afternoon. You can sign any name you want to the Revoke Article 50 petition and use the same email address repeatedly. Let the games begin! #RemoanerMcRemoanface” she trilled. There was, though, as Captain Blackadder might have observed, only one thing wrong with that idea - it was bollocks.
Steffan Harries was on hand to put her straight. “Not true. You can only confirm using unique email addresses. Secondary attempts to confirm an address already used will get rejected. Stop spreading nonsense”. But what would Ms Hartley Dooda do for a living if she were unable to spread nonsense? And Harries wasn’t finished. “Further to this: here's the source code showing tests that check for duplicate signatures”. Source code? Goodness, that’s way beyond her intellectual capacity.
And before she starts up about people signing the petition from outside the UK - the angle tried, unsuccessfully, by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog - Blair McDougall had bad news for her. “Seen a few people talking about how the revoke petition is compromised because someone signed it from Kyrgyzstan. That was me. I’m here for two weeks for work. People move around the world. Imagine that”.
Meanwhile, Ms Hartley Dooda’s attempt to diss the petition was clearly destined to be a campaign that developed not necessarily to her advantage. After Mike Galsworthy sighed “Hi Julia. How old are you again?” (51 next May), Stephen Ralph asked “Does she not understand that yes you can sign with any details but the petition is only signed official when you've verified your address via an email?! And, due to demand, the verification process is heavily delayed but not broken”. Quite so.

The final confirmation that Ms Hartley Dooda was, once again, talking out of the back of her neck was provided by the House of Commons Petitions Committee, which told “We don’t comment in detail about security measures. We use different techniques - automated and manual - to identify and block signatures from bots, disposable email addresses and other sources that show signs of fraudulent activity. We also monitor signing patterns”.

Not for the first time, Julia Hartley Dooda is in need of the nearest extinguisher. Because that flash of light from her general direction signifies that her pants are on fire.
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Friday, 22 March 2019

BBC - Brillo Under Fire Yet Again

Some in the media diaspora have thought it sad that the BBC is axing This Week, the late night politics vehicle for Andrew Neil and his favoured panellists, concluding that the Corporation should have sought to find a way to accommodate both him and Question Time, which airs just beforehand. Others shrug and point out that Brillo turns 70 this year, and that there comes a time when even the Beeb has to trust in youth.
Those others have also been given ammunition not only by Owen Jones’ recent ambushing of The Great Man on his own show, but also yesterday’s attempt by Neil, Michael Portillo and Alan Johnson to rubbish the efforts of historian Rutger Bregman, who had just seen off Mark Littlewood of the IEA on the Jeremy Vine Show. One hopes there was no element of payback in Brillo’s treatment of him.
Bregman observed “When you arrive at the studio, you quickly find out that nobody has actually read your book. The producer, the presenter - they all couldn’t care less. They don’t even have a copy … The show starts. They play the badly edited video, after which three right-wing dinosaurs - two of them politicians from the Stone Age - start teaming up on you. Clearly, not one of them has read a page of your book”.
There was more. “They make up facts about inequality (‘hasn’t grown’) and the economy (‘never been better’). They change the subject every 10 seconds. They hardly let you finish a sentence. Then it’s over”. Sounds like a blatant attempt to frame the debate, rather than ask questions, discover information, and then debate it.
But Bregman did find someone in the UK media who wanted to actually find out what he thought - and had read his book. “The good news: there are new media in the UK filling the gap. Smartest questions (and best criticisms) I got this week were from Aaron Bastani of @novaramedia … And to clarify - I think my politics are quite different from those of @novaramedia. I'm not a fan of Corbyn … But they actually read the book”.
Rutger Bregman

Brillo, on reading this exculpation, went postal. “You think it ‘brilliant’ to dismiss legitimate questions because they’re from ‘old’ people. Try ‘black’ or ‘gay’ in the same context. And to call us dinosaurs when he’s the one dredging up polices from Eisenhower’s 1950s and Friedman in the 1960s?!”. And, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here.
One, Bregman said “dinosaur”, which refers typically to a mode of thought, rather than age. And two, his dismissal of “policies from … Friedman” seems so dismissive of his earlier steadfast backing for Margaret Thatcher - “her struggle was our struggle” - whose adherence, at least at first, to Friedman’s ideas is well known. Moreover, when Neil talks of “Eisenhower’s” policies, what does he mean? Does he mean a Keynesian approach, as enacted by the Eisenhower administration? Was Ike a secret economist?
Kicking off like that and justifying his behaviour by Retweeting sympathetic voices from the right - David Jack and Iain Martin, for instance - is not going to help either the BBC, or those wanting the Corporation to somehow accommodate Brillo, rather than just bin his late night show. And it won’t help The Great Man himself.

The age of Andrew Neil at the BBC was for a time, but not for all time.
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Boeing 737 Max - Safety Costs Extra

The Cockpit Voice Recorder from Indonesian Lion Air flight 610, which crashed soon after taking off from Jakarta Airport with the loss of all 189 on board, has now been analysed. It shows that the commander and co-pilot were reduced to examining the flight manual for the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, in order to figure out why the plane’s nose was pitching downwards, despite their efforts to keep it straight and level.
What had happened was that one of the two sensors that feed information to the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, was feeding it erroneous information, and that bad information was causing MCAS to believe the plane was pitching nose-up to a dangerous enough angle as to induce a stall. So it pitched the nose down. Those on the flight deck would have been better informed if they had known this.

And they would have been better informed if their aircraft had been fitted with what is called a “disagree indicator”, which lights up when the sensors disagree with one another. From there, the pilots would have been able to deduce that they had what is termed a “runaway trim problem”, which has a straightforward solution.

As one former pilot has told an online forum, “It is very quick and easy to arrest a runaway trim condition on the Boeing 737 MAX 8: switch the two guarded stabilizer cutout switches to the off position. These two switches are located immediately next to each other behind the #2 fuel cutoff switch and the flap handle … The pilots could have disabled the stabilizer trim to end the emergency”. But how would they have known about the condition?

Boeing claims that this procedure is documented under runaway trim”. Only there was clearly not enough time for the pilots to locate that part of the flight manual. As another contributor to that forum, a former avionics engineer, added: “Of course, before you do that, you have to be certain where the problem lies”. Which is where the light comes in.

So why didn’t the Lion Air plane have a “disagree indicator” in the cockpit? Simples. Because it was in the list of optional extras, for which Boeing charge, well, extra. Many low cost carriers - like Lion Air - operate on tight margins and therefore don’t choose any of those optional extras. After all, safety shouldn’t mean paying more. Or should it?

This from the Guardian: “Boeing reportedly sold the 737 Max planes that crashed in Indonesia and Ethiopia without two safety features that the US aircraft manufacturer offers airlines for an additional cost … The two safety features in question were an ‘angle of attack indicator’ and an ‘angle of attack disagree light’, both of which were not included in the aircraft by Boeing as standard safety features, according to … the New York Times”.

There was more. “Reports on Thursday night suggested that Boeing will make at lelast one of the safety features - an indicator light - standard on the 737 Max 8 aircraft, according to unnamed officials cited by Associated Press”. The “disagree indicator”. As aviation analyst Bjorn Fehrm has told, “They’re critical, and cost almost nothing for the airlines to install … Boeing charges for them because it can. But they’re vital for safety”.

That’s coming on top of Boeing marking its own homework on certifying the 737 Max as good to fly. The pilots of Lion Air Flight 610 could have been given the vital clue as to what was causing their problem. But for Boeing, until now, safety costs extra.
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