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Saturday, 31 October 2015

Philip Davies’ Unreported Hypocrisy

The propensity of the right-wing press to ignore inconvenient features of Parliamentary life was on view earlier this week, when Young Dave’s latest skirmish with Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs turned out not necessarily to the Tories’ advantage. On this occasion, Corbyn’s besting of the PM was mainly ignored. Even the appalling Quentin Letts (let’s not) did not pretend that Dave had won, instead choosing to snipe at Tim Farron.
Or even "against carers", it seems

And so it went yesterday, as most of the Tories’ cheerleaders managed to miss one of the worst exhibitions of rank, stinking hypocrisy that The Blue Team has mustered for, oh, a week or so, despite every non-partisan or left-leaning paper covering it. The occasion was a debate on proposals to give carers - many of whom are not exactly well-off - free car parking at hospitals. The measure was talked out.

In the vanguard of this shameless filibustering was Tory MP Philip Davies, who represents the unfortunate voters in the West Yorkshire town of Shipley. Davies’ own website proclaimed back in June thatPhilip Davies MP today pledged his support to carers across the Shipley Constituency as part of the national Carers Week 2015 awareness campaign, which runs from 8-14th June”. There was a suitably self-promoting quote, too.

Carers make a hugely valuable contribution to society and they need support to carry on the work they do. That is why I am supporting this initiative to encourage services in my community to think about the needs of carers and reach out to carers across the Shipley constituency and help ensure they don’t miss out on support”. His “support” clearly did not extend to allowing them to park for free at hospitals.

This slice of hypocrisy was immediately picked up on by the Labour supporting Mirror: “A shameless Tory MP has blocked a law to give carers free hospital parking by droning on for 90 minutes … Philip Davies drained valuable Commons time today in a cynical bid to oust a Labour backbencher's campaign”. The Guardian had the photo from Davies’ website. The Independent also carried the story.

But what of those champions of our free and fearless press that explicitly back Davies and all the other variously unsavoury right-wingers? Ah well. Somehow, the Times, Telegraph, Express, and Daily Star did not seem interested in his antics. And the Mail has relegated the story to an item in Mail Online (which may have been sanctioned because of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre’s dislike of Young Dave).

The Sun has an item on SunNation, but Davies gets away with just a mention, and more prominence is given to Labour’s Khalid Mahmood because he help up a Sun front page during the debate. The impression is given that the Tories’ supporters would rather their readers did not know that the party they are backing takes such a signally callous approach to helping the less well-off.

As Wilde might have put it, to lose track of one Commons event may be regarded as a misfortune - to lose track of two looks like carelessness.

Sun MP Pay Rise Claim Busted

Back in July, the piss-poor SunNation website ran a particularly lame story on this year’s controversial MPs’ pay rise. “NOT A SINGLE MP DONATES ANY OF £7K PAY RISE TO CHARITY DESPITE PLEDGES … A scheme was even specially introduced to encourage donations” screamed the headline, not telling readers that the pay rise had only been given 11 days earlier, and it was during the summer holidays.
So it should surprise no-one to see that not only has the Super Soaraway Currant Bun returned to the story, it is once again a total crock of crap being served up to those unwise enough to shell out good money for the paper. The headline, “Exclusive Sun investigation … SURPRISE! SURPRISE! Just 25 out of 650 MPs have given £7k pay rise to charity”, is unequivocal. And the claim is unequivocally wrong.

This should not “surprise” anyone, though, as the name on the by-line, that of the odious flannelled fool Henry Cole, formerly tame gofer to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines at the Guido Fawkes blog, is the epitome of rank dishonesty. So how long does it take Master Cole’s claims to fall flat? Er, not very long at all, sadly.

A MEASLY 26 out of 650 MPs have given their jumbo £7,000 pay rises to charity, a Sun probe reveals … Pledges to donate the controversial ten per cent hikes were made by 69 members in May” claims the article. Do go on. “The extra money — which took their salary from £67,060 to £74,000 — has been paid automatically into their bank accounts since July … And instead of being channelled into a variety of worthy causes as promised, most of it appears to have vanished”. APPEARS TO HAVE VANISHED?

So Master Cole DOESN’T KNOW. It gets worse: “we contacted the 69 pledgers to ask where their extra dosh has gone and only a third were willing to tell us”. So he STILL DOESN’T KNOW. Try again. “Last night No10 would not reveal what Mr Cameron had done with his share”. You STILL DON’T KNOW. And there’s more. A lot more.

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband, who had vowed to scrap the pay rise had his party won the General Election, was not available for comment last night”. So you DON’T KNOW. “Dozens on both sides of the House refused to say if they had given it away or pocketed it themselves”. So you STILL DON’T KNOW.

Not a single SNP MP who publicly pledged to donate the money to worthy local causes responded to questions from The Sun”. They saw the flannelled fool coming, which means he STILL DOESN’T KNOW. “[Tory MP Andrew] Percy said last night: ‘It isn’t really any business of yours what I do with the salary of the job I am paid to do’ … But he confirmed he has added new charities to his monthly donations”. THAT DOESN’T MEAN HE GAVE THE PAY RISE AWAY. This is truly lamentable “journalism”.

And it gets worse still: “IPSA declared 18 MPs have told them to donate directly, but refused to reveal which due to data protection laws”. So you STILL DON’T KNOW. The headline claim is total bunk. But then, if you employ pretend journalists, you shouldn’t be surprised if they bring you pretend stories.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Rebekah Brooks’ Sun Delusion

At long last, the paywall used by the Super Soaraway Currant Bun to defend its award-winning journalism - no, don’t laugh - is being almost completely dismantled, with the final deed to be done at the end of next month. The Murdoch faithful have finally realised, long after everyone else did, that the exercise was a failure, and that the Sun is so far behind the competition that its website traffic hardly registers.
How bad is the situation? The Sun is not only behind Mail Online, the Guardian, the Telegraph, and even the Express, it is now behind even freesheet Metro. It was this reality that prompted the creation of the SunNation site in the run-up to May’s General Election, although, despite all the resources and promotion thrown at it, it made so little contribution to the Sun’s pro-Tory campaign as to be effectively irrelevant.

So today the twinkle-toed yet domestically combative Rebekah Brooks has circulated an email to her singularly unfortunate staff telling them of the Brave New World that awaits them beyond the paywall. And behind the management speak is the clear sign that she is becoming utterly delusional about the reality of her situation.

I recently shared with you the future priorities for the company and am excited today to tell you more about our plans for the first of these: growing the Sun’s audience. This will mean setting the Sun predominantly free in the digital world from 30 November. By happy coincidence, this is also Cyber Monday, one of the best-performing days of the year for online retail” she tells, and to which I say big deal. Do go on.

Recent months have been filled with experimentation at the Sun. The standalone political site SunNation won plaudits at election time”. Won plaudits? I might have been tempted to say more like brickbats, but so few were looking in, and there was therefore very little feedback (see the Zelo Street take HERE and HERE). It was only in the very last days of the campaign that SunNation’s Twitter feed gained more followers than this blog’s.

Yet on wibbles Ms Brooks: “Entering this new chapter for the Sun, we are in a strong position thanks to the many learnings we bring from the paid-for era”. Like realising the “paid-for era” was a flop, perhaps? And that re-launching, when she admits many potential readers’ attention will be on buying Christmas gifts, might not be such a clever idea? But let me put Rebekah straight on the scale of her challenge.

The Guardian has amassed its reader base by embracing the Web from the word go - while the Sun was trying to frighten readers off using it. Mail Online has taken years to elbow its way to the front - and a lot of money. The Sun is now at the back of the queue, and Ms Brooks has a limited amount of time to make News UK digitally worth the candle.

How long? News Corp has only one devout backer of print media, and that is Rupert Murdoch. Rupe is a print man at heart. His sons and the rest of the board aren’t fussed one way or the other - making more money is where their heads are at. So Rebekah has until Rupe shuffles off to make it work.

Rupert Murdoch is 84 and has just started dating Jerry Hall. I don’t want to sound callous, but that combination suggests she needs to move fast. And leave her delusions behind.

Mail Muslim Migrant Scare Exposed

Today sees the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre and his obedient hackery at the Daily Mail mine the same seam of hatred that the paper exploited so callously in the 1930s: whipping up fear or otherness, with Jews now being replaced by Scary Muslims (tm), although the M-word is carefully skirted around, as the issue is couched in terms of the strain on resources, on schools, hospitals and housing.
Migrants and swearing together - BINGO!

Official: Migrants set to make us Europe’s most populated nation … UK POPULATION SET TO ROCKET” thunders the front page headline, under the by-line of Steve Doughty, who is the paper’s “Social affairs correspondent”. You see, it’s not about religion, culture, beards, headscarves or spicy food, but about “housing and public services”, and, clearly, how busy Oxford Street gets at this time of year.

So what is the problem? “The ONS forecasts that between 2014 and 2039 the UK population will rise by 9.7million – from 64.6million to 74.3million … The increase will be the most dramatic over the next ten years when the ONS predicts that Britain will have to find room for an extra 4.4million people … It means that between 2014 and 2024, numbers will grow by 440,000 each year – more than the population of Dorset every 12 months”.
Graphs as misleading ...

We are then told that 51% of the population increase will be from “immigrants”, before a little sleight of hand is deployed to round that figure up to, er, 68%, not that this is to make it scary, oh no. Nor is the use of Migration Watch as the first cited “source”, or graphs with the Y-axis starting at over 50 million. Nor, no doubt, is the parallel deployment of an article warning of more Syrian refugees - a whole million of them!

ONE MILLION more migrants could head for Europe over the winter because of the Syrian war, warns Turkey, as official says the EU risks 'disintegration' if it fails to tackle the crisisscreams the headline, as we hear “Turkey could find itself harbouring between three and four million displaced people … It could place even more pressure on countries later receiving them in the EU”. The Mail could stop demonising refugees, too.
... as they are unsubtle

The intention to frighten readers at the prospect of More Scary Muslims (tm) is rather more obvious here: an unnamed “source” accuses Turkey of “blackmail”, there are photos of refugees on the move, and to put the lid on it, we get Nigel “Thirsty” Farage ranting for all he’s worth, but having nothing useful to say (as usual). That the two articles are part of a single campaign to whip up fear is confirmed by the last paragraph of today’s editorial.

New official figures suggest Britain’s population will grow by 10million in the next 25 years, largely because of migration. Yesterday, Turkey warned that Europe could see a million more Syrian refugees this winter alone, with many heading for Britain. Is this paper being unduly apocalyptic to worry that the ONS forecasts are desperately conservative?

They’re all coming here! We can’t cope! We’re being overrun by foreigners! They talk and dress funny! And they breed! What the Mail cannot being itself to admit is that migration is what has shaped the UK, and will continue to shape it. And the paper should pack in demonising refugees. Because they are people too, even if they don’t read the Mail.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Simon Danczuk And That Book - 2

THE WALKER-DANCZUK EMAILS

Just how keen was Rochdale’s nominally Labour MP Simon Danczuk to take John Walker up on his idea of a book about Cyril Smith? Zelo Street can now show exactly how, as the email correspondence between the two men - suitably redacted - is exclusively revealed in this post. The thread begins just before Christmas 2012, and ends just before the end of the year. Walker and Danczuk met twice during this period.
Walker kicks things off on December 19, telling “Just a quick e.mail to say thanks for seeing me last night. Most enjoyable, and plenty of food for thought … There is certainly plenty of scope for pursuing things in the Smith case, and not letting the various threads of it drop through the cracks of other stories - mainly Savile”.
Danczuk replies “Hi John, it was good to meet last night, I thoroughly enjoyed the chat, very useful … Don't hesitate to contact me at any time if there's something I should be aware of”. And there it rests until after Christmas.
Now it gets rather more serious, as Walker sets out his stall. “I've had a chat with a few people and think a book on the Smith story looks on.  I've got a small independent publisher lined up who is very keen … I’ve put together a document - a bit long, but I'd appreciate you having a look.  It spells out: why a book, what its contents could look like and a pretty ambitious (but doable) publications schedule … I assumed from our chat that you would be very supportive of a publishing project and believe that with your active co-operation it could be a considerable success …

As you'll see, I'm suggesting that you write a foreword to the book (which I am happy to ghost for you); which would paint you very clearly as the good guy in all of this, lifting Rochdale's reputation from the mire and helping the town move on positively and constructively, from the bad publicity it has received over child abuse, over the last few years” [My emphases].
From this point, Danczuk is clearly more interested. “That looks really interesting. Yes, let's meet up. I'm in London tomorrow afternoon until 1st January - more than happy to meet up during this time. You're welcome to come to our flat, it's in [redacted] ([redacted] from [redacted] stations). Is there a good day/time for you? You're right about the need to move quickly on this”.
Walker duly steps up to the plate. “I could be free any time on Sunday 30 Dec, [redacted], or anywhere in central London.  If that's ok for you.  Sorry it's a Sunday, but if you can make it, I'd be very pleased to pop over”.
Despite the short notice and it being a Sunday, Danczuk readily agrees. “Sunday 30th Dec is good for me. How about you come to our flat at 10am or soon after? The address is [redacted] (please keep this address confidential). If you confirm I can get it in the diary. We can have a thoroughly good chat about it all - sounds very exciting” [My emphasis].
Walker confirms that the meeting has gone satisfactorily later that day. “Glad that we agree the book has legs, and needs to be published as quickly as poss (preferably on eve of Lib Dems conf in Sept). As I said this a.m., I'm more than happy to have it ‘co-authored’ with you, and me doing bulk of research and writing, and letting you take the spotlight on publication” [My emphases].
Danczuk agrees the following day that the meeting went well, and proposes Walker visit Rochdale. He also reveals that he is working to find an agent, reinforcing the idea that he is both serious and supportive. “Yes, a really good meeting … let's make arrangements to meet up, are there good days for you to visit Rochdale?

Yet John Walker’s presence in this saga was about to come to an end, but not until he had done a considerable amount of work on Simon Danczuk’s behalf. Just how much work was entailed will be revealed very soon - exclusively on Zelo Street.

Guido Fawked - Tory Bullying Hypocrisy

As the row over alleged bullying within the Tory Party and its youth wing rumbles on, and Ray Johnson, whose son Elliott apparently took his own life, has demanded that the internal inquiry will not be good enough and all material should be turned over to the Metropolitan Police, one most unexpected source has decided to publicise the matter, albeit arriving rather late in the day.
Feared and principled. Allegedly

There perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog have told their readersCCHQ insiders and young Tory activists believe that a police investigation is inevitable - particularly given that the names of the original complainants against Mark Clarke were leaked to Mark Clarke from within CCHQ - leading to him exerting intense pressure on the very people who had accused him of wrongdoing”.

And there’s more: “Ray Johnson accuses Emma Pidding - now Baroness Pidding - of being complicit with Clarke. With tragic consequences”. This might, on the face of it, seem like a most public-spirited gesture by the Fawkes folks, but the reality is that what we are seeing is the most brazen hypocrisy - and that would be brazen even by the Fawkes rabble’s lamentably low standards.

Why so? The reasoning is all too straightforward. When Clarke was adopted as Tory candidate to fight Sadiq Khan in Tooting, they were there, eagerly relaying the news. Then, when Clarke kicked off the so-called Trade Union Reform Campaign (TURC), which has become effectively moribund, The Great Guido eagerly disseminated the news of the enterprise that also featured Clarke’s pal AndrĂ© Walker.

It also, let us not forget, involved disgraced and now former Tory MP Aidan Burley, he of Nazi uniform stag party infamy, as well as Staines’ former tame gofer, the odious flannelled fool Henry Cole. More support from the Fawkes blog for Mark Clarke then came when he contested a by-election for the Farringdon Within ward of the City Of London, although the attack was focused on his opponent Bryn Phillips.

The knocking copy aimed at Phillips was incessant (see HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE), although for some reason, Clarke’s name was left off the posts. It was left to the Fawkes friends at the Young Britons’ Foundation to let slip the reason for the attack. Donal Blaney and his pals went one further than the Fawkes crowd - they shortlisted Clarke for an award! That would have looked nice alongside the one they already gave him.

But now it seems that Staines and his entourage are considering throwing Mark Clarke under the bus, demonstrating that loyalty may be one of those flexible concepts, just as Staines sympathised with Burley over his decision to quit as an MP, while praising Simon Walters of the Mail On Sunday, whose dogged pursuit had finally driven Burley’s resignation. What high principles The Great Guido has on display.

The stench of hypocrisy is unmistakable. Another fine mess, once again.

Times Spook Support Busted

The spooks are back in the news, and despite an unseemly outbreak of grovelling support from the Murdoch empire - as confused as it is misplaced - the end result is as before: the public ends up becoming more unsettled over time. That is because all the soothing words from their press cheerleaders cannot paper over the overreach, the intrusion, and the impression that this is more than is needed to keep us all safe.
The Times has gone on a pro-spook PR offensive, telling readers of “a crisis of confidence for the intelligence services”, going on to talk of “the fallout from the revelations of Edward Snowden … two years ago”. And here the spin goes totally wrong, as the editorial continues “Quite apart from the damage done by the leaks themselves”. This remains totally unproven. It is a classic false assumption.

It gets worse: “Despite the fact that almost no concrete instance of a misuse of surveillance powers was disclosed”. Where does one start? The US intelligence agencies had been snooping on the Brazilians. They had been snooping on EU leaders. And they had specifically snooped on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who, being an “Ossie”, did not take kindly to being reminded of life in the DDR.

And there’s more: what about the raid on the Guardian newspaper, which was forced to destroy two laptops in the presence of yet more spooks? Ah, but of course the Guardian does not count, does it? They ran stories based on the Snowden material, so they are ignored, relegated to the status of un-persons. Then, to really put the lid on the Times’ craven grovelling to authority, has come the raid on BBC Newsnight.
Reporter Secunder Kermani had communicated with someone in Syria who identified himself as part of ISIS, or whatever they’re calling themselves this week. As the Guardian has reported, “Journalists and press freedom campaigners criticised the seizure of the laptop, which is understood to have taken place earlier this year”. Quite. And the Times manages to miss something in its latest propaganda offensive.

The UK’s intelligence services had information on the July 7 bombers - gathering it was not the problem. The Spanish authorities admitted they had taken their eyes off the ball in the wake of the March 11 Madrid train bombings, and soon identified the perpetrators once they had re-focused their efforts. Worse for the Times is the recent use of its Sunday sister paper to blatantly provide a conduit for spook propaganda (HERE and HERE).

Back at the Times editorial, it ends by selling the pass in no style at all: “It may be ten years since the London bombings, but it is scarcely four months since 30 of our citizens were murdered in a Mediterranean resort by an Islamist gunman who was trained in Libya”. So now we’re doing the intelligence work for Tunisia as well?

Rupert Murdoch has been in with the spooks for more than 30 years. His papers’ peddling of spook propaganda is therefore as predictable as it is pointless. The Times and Sunday Times are no longer credible on this issue. End of story.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Simon Danczuk And That Book - 1

[Update at end of post]

JOHN WALKER SETS THE SCENE

Regular Zelo Street readers will already know about the dubious veracity of at least part of Smile For The Camera, the book fronted by Rochdale’s nominally Labour MP Simon Danczuk, but probably written by his then side-kick Matt Baker, about Cyril Smith. The claim that Northants Police had pulled Smith over on the M1 with a stash of child porn in his car fell through after neither Danczuk, nor Baker, could stump up any evidence.
But there are parts of the book that are at least based on fact, and that may be explained by seeing how it came to be written. Until prompted by John Walker, formerly of Rochdale Alternative Press, the paper whose revelations were more widely publicised by Private Eye in 1979, and Paul Waugh, who, with Walker’s assistance, ran a piece "Cyril Smith - some justice at last?" on 27 November 2012, on PoliticsHome, Danczuk had not been involved.

How that involvement began, and progressed, can now be revealed, after John Walker made available a number of emails and documents which have now arrived on Zelo Street. As he personally devised the idea of writing a book, and drove the project forward until Matt Baker became involved, it is only right that he set the scene.

This is what John Walker has to say about Simon Danczuk, and his dealings with him.

[The House of] Commons was holding a debate on current child abuse and grooming on that day [27 November 2012], and … Simon Danczuk - because of the on-going position in Rochdale - had preferential speaking rights in the debate.

Prior to Paul's publication that day, out of courtesy, he contacted Danczuk to forewarn him of his article about his predecessor as Rochdale's MP..

Quite rightly, Danczuk seized on this and mentioned it in the Commons debate. This lead to a great deal of press attention. I contacted Danczuk, to see if he was interested in co-authoring a book on the subject (me to write - him to front). He was very enthusiastic, we had at least two meetings in the Commons, and one over the Christmas break in his [redacted] flat. He set about finding an agent and I wrote a lengthy synopsis. Danczuk was keen for me to travel to Rochdale to meet his press officer, Matthew Baker, who he said would be a key contact, locally.

Meanwhile, we met the agent and two days later I traveled to Rochdale to meet Baker. Baker was totally unco-operative and Danczuk turned up, embarrassed, shuffled about and I left - smelling a rat. A few days later, I got an e.mail from Danczuk saying that he's changed his mind and wanted to go down another (unspecified) route. In the event, this was ditching me, with Baker to do the writing (using much of the material I supplied). Danczuk skilfully skirts over this in the book, by simply crediting me for encouraging him to write the book, in its introduction!

Danczuk thanks the same agent that we met for her assistance in the publishing process, in the introduction to the book” [My emphases].

Walker concludes “So, incredible as it may seem, 35 years after we first named Smith as a sexual abuser of young men, we and Private Eye still remain the ONLY publications to have named ANY living politician with regard to child sex abuse.

There's lots of high-minded indignation and moral outrage spewed over acres of newsprint on almost a weekly basis, by newspapers, and others, who claim to be the guardians of the public, seekers of the truth, uncoverers of scandal, abuse etc. BUT, not one of them has exposed a single living politician, over what all are agreed is a major scandal!

Danczuk parades as a campaigner, battling against child abuse in high places.  Yet he has not named a single living person - lots of allusions, but no names.  And he has the weapon of Parliamentary privilege at his disposal”.

So how keen was Simon Danczuk to have John Walker help him write that book? We can see that by perusing the emails that passed between them in the period immediately following that November 2012 Commons intervention.

Zelo Street will publish exclusive extracts from that correspondence very soon.

[UPDATE 29 October 1250 hours: Les May of Northern Voices has advised he is sure the Commons debate took place on November 13, not 27 as in John Walker's account]

Flannelled Fool Murdoch Grovel Shame

[Update at end of post]

Many who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet begin their careers with hopes and dreams still intact, the belief that their contribution to our free and fearless press might someday change the world for the better. But for many, any such hope is swiftly knocked out of them as the discovery is made of their true purpose: to prostitute themselves obediently to the demands of their proprietors and editors.
Behold the rictus grin of the flannelled fool

For one aspiring hopeful, the moment that reality intruded into his world came last night, as the dictates of Creepy Uncle Rupe showed just how free and fearless that press really is. The odious flannelled fool Henry Cole, formerly tame gofer to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines at the Guido Fawkes blog, fell from bringer of “exclusives” to inflating the CV of a sad has-been, but Murdoch favourite, very swiftly indeed.
The occasion on which Master Cole had reported was the annual Margaret Thatcher lecture, given in the memory of the Prime Minister whom they all knew, and to whose thoughts they were all privy, honestly. This year’s lecture was given by former Australian PM Tony Abbott, whose brief period in the limelight was engineered largely by the endorsement of the Murdoch press - and has now passed.
Cole’s Twitter feed sets the grovelling tone: “Former Aussie PM name checks ‘fine Australian export Lynton Crosby’ at the Guildhall. He's going to give v punchy speech on migrants … ‘Will gnaw at consciences’ but ‘tide of humanity surging through Europe and quite possibly changing it forever’ … Quite extraordinary intervention by former Oz PM Tony Abbott at Guildhall tonight. Bombshell warning on immigration”.
And to that I call bullshit. Migration that changes a country forever is what was done to Australia in the period between the end of World War 2 and the 1970s - the only difference between that and refugees from wars in the Middle East is that the migration to Australia was deliberately engineered - and those who went were all white. Because, although even the Sun is too polite to say so, English speaking white migration is OK.
Moreover, while Cole blusters hopefully “Not sure Abbott will be getting a job at the UN after that”, no leading European politician with head screwed on and a hole in their backside will care a rat’s arse about what Tony Abbott thinks. A job at the UN? He’d be damn lucky to get a job at Poundland. “Bombshell”? “Punchy”? “Intervention”? He’s a bigoted, sexist, misogynist gobshite with less credibility than Skippy.
Yet still Master Cole persists with his pretence: “Abbott speech hits P1 of @TheSun”. Yes, because it’s run by Rupert Murdoch, he supports Abbott, and wants his man and his shitty, repellant views pushed up the news agenda. Perhaps it has not yet dawned on the flannelled fool that he has been reduced to writing what is effectively proprietorial drivel to order. It is screamingly obvious to any disinterested observer.

Nobody gives a flying foxtrot what Tony Abbott thinks. Even with Murdoch’s support.

[UPDATE 1535 hours: just to show what Master Cole really thinks about Tony Abbott, here is his Tweet from just before noon today.
"Tony Abbott won't be going to the rugby on Saturday and sung Jerusalem last night. No wonder the Aussies booted him out". That's as near an admission that his Sun article was done to order as makes no difference.

His only problem now is making sure none of Rupe's key mafiosi see it. Good luck with that one]

Tory Bullying - Victim’s Father Speaks

While those at the top of the Tory Party will be hoping the fallout from the death of young activist Elliott Johnson can be made to go away, his father clearly has other ideas, and has voiced his concern in an open letter which has been reproduced by the Blue Guerilla blog today. Ray Johnson is not convinced that the party’s internal Inquiry, headed by Edward Legard, will properly solve the problem of bullying. I agree with him.
Independent Inquiry over there, is there, Dave?

The letter, addressed to Lord Feldman, now the sole Chairman after the departure of Grant “Spiv” Shapps, himself no stranger to indulging in a little bullying, makes clear Johnson’s concerns at the outset: “Your proposed investigation … can in no way be recognised as independent or free from party interference … [Legard’s appointment] will raise issues of lack of independence due to his close personal connections within the party”.
Ray Johnson's letter to Lord Feldman

He was particularly scathing on the behaviour of Mark Clarke: “[his] alleged behaviour had apparently been known of for some time - I am led to believe that complaints of his treatment of young activists (some of whom were minors) go back at least a year … yet nothing was done to remove him … the Conservative party allowed him to continue as director of RoadTrip 2015 and had, I understand, re-appointed him to lead RoadTrip 2020, which clearly suggests that he has political support at a higher level”.
In happier times - Elliott Johnson at left, Mark Clarke rear centre

I am shocked to be informed that other young activists were too terrified to complain and kept their concerns hidden, or made their complaints anonymously - such was the extent to which they were in fear, or felt let down by a party to which they were freely giving their time and energy in the General Election campaign”.

His conclusion is put directly: “That this is the case is a damning indictment against the Conservative party, which blatantly failed in its clear ‘duty of care’ towards young people. Did it see them as mere ‘fodder’ in the pursuit of electoral victory? … The party’s belated attempt at an internal Inquiry is too little, too late. The correct process would be to now hand the investigation and all the evidence over to the proper authorities, the Metropolitan Police, for a full criminal inquiry”. I agree with that 100%.
Mark Clarke, India Brummitt, Grant Shapps, Emma Pidding. That's how close they all are

Ray Johnson also said this to TBG, regarding Mark Clarke and his backers: “I believe that Clarke had powerful backers. I don't know for certain who Clarke's backers are, but the names of Emma Pidding and Grant Shapps keep cropping up”. The mention of Emma Pidding matches my information. He concludes by talking of “not merely try to cast Clarke out and cover-up the rest”. Indeed - it goes much further than Clarke.

So, David Cameron, Lord Feldman and pals, how about it? Anyone seeing their sons and daughters taking an interest in Conservative politics right now will take one look at the claims made about what went on, and keep those sons and daughters well away from it all. It’s in your own interest to come clean, no matter how uncomfortable the revelations. And better for the Tories to admit them, than the press to do it for them.

An independent Inquiry, and a criminal one if necessary. Nothing less will do.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Don’t Menshn Wasting Police Time

One story that seems not to have made the national press this week is that of someone who has made a name out of complaining about alleged improper behaviour in others, while making a name for opening mouth and inserting boot in such as way as to render their credibility redundant. Yes, (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch is in the news because one of her most high profile complaints has failed.
(c) Doc Hackenbush 2014

It has been left to the Bradford Telegraph & Argus to tell “Two senior Bradford solicitors cleared of any wrongdoing after complaint they leaked confidential information on child sex case”. Do go on: “Police and prosecutors have decided no action will be taken against Alias Yousaf and another, unnamed, solicitor at Chambers Solicitors”.
And then it got interesting: “Greater Manchester Police held an investigation after former MP Louise Mensch made a complaint to the force earlier this year, alleging the two solicitors had shared the names and ordeals of victims of a child sex ring”. Ms Mensch confirmed this at the time, as the Twitter screengrabs show - as well as her bizarre act of claiming that one Twitter user she disliked was actually Alias Yousaf.
After claiming “Raymond is the solicitor Alias Yousaf, an aide to George Galloway”, Ms Mensch went on a bizarre tirade. “Your client raped a 12 year old, Alias Yousaf, and you leaked her name to a political ally … did George Galloway have, or does he have, any idea that you, Alias Yousaf, leaked the names of child victims of rape? Do you still, Alias Yousaf, have any formal position within the Respect party?
She tried to rope in George Galloway: “Is Alias Yousaf a part of Respect Party, George? Did you know he leaked the name of a child rape victim?” before declaring “I should add that my criminal complaint is not only about Alias Yousaf but also the unnamed senior solicitor at the firm who agreed to this … I want to state that I have already, pre-dating this action, reported Alias Yousaf of Chambers Solicitors to the SRA”.
Well, it now seems that she had made a complaint to the Police. As the T&A has explained, “Mr Yousaf had represented a defendant in a high profile grooming case heard at Liverpool Crown Court in 2012. His client was convicted and jailed for eight years. Mrs Mensch alleged that an unredacted case summary had been emailed to a member of the public before the case came to trial. She asked the force to investigate under the Children and Young Persons' Act and the Data Protection Act, as well as consider Contempt of Court laws”. But GMP - not Ms Mensch’s favourite force right now - did not proceed.
On Monday, 16 March, 2015, Greater Manchester Police received a report relating to an alleged leak of confidential information. The matter was linked to the prosecution of a number of men in a high profile exploitation case in Rochdale in 2011 … A full investigation was carried out into this matter. Following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service, no further action will be taken”. So that’s another glorious failure.

One has to hope the rozzers have retained their sense of humour and don’t come after Ms Mensch for wasting their time. And remember, they allowed her to become an MP.

Toby Young Tax Credit Spin Fail

The attempt by Young Dave and his jolly good chaps to take the axe to millions of workers’ tax credits - a redistributive measure instigated by Pa Broon, and one that therefore the Tories hate with a passion - went before the Lords yesterday evening, where this particular campaign progressed not necessarily to the Government’s advantage. On two Labour amendments, they were defeated. This was not taken well.
More grown-up debate from Captain Bellend

The Tories’ next Great Hope, the Rt Hon Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the seventeenth Baronet, was revealed to be not the great master strategist, but a blustering, spiteful and child-like busted flush, ranting about what he and his next-door neighbour were going to do to the Rotten Lords, that their intervention was somehow unconstitutional, and that in any case it just wasn’t fair.
What Cameron and Osborne did not address was that, before May’s General Election, they had very deliberately given the electorate the impression that working tax credits were not going to be cut. Nor did they address the obvious point that, had they put the measure in the Finance Bill - which is off limits to the Lords after David Lloyd George’s “people’s budget” - rather than using a statutory instrument, all would have been well.
And it was not only at the top of the Tory Party that the witless spin was being undertaken, as shown in no style at all by the loathsome Toby Young as he strove valiantly to convince anyone prepared to listen that Dave was right all along, honestly. Before the vote, Tobes told that Cameron had not ruled out cutting tax credits “in general”, which may come as news to those who watched the BBC Question Time leaders’ debate from Leeds.
Did Dave give the impression he wouldn’t cut tax credits? “No he didn't. And Labour claimed the Tories would cut tax credits in its campaign -- correctly”. No thanks Tobes, I don’t want to look over there. How did he answer Owen Jones’ charge that the Tories had no mandate for their cuts? The same way: “Did Blair and Brown seek a mandate to increase welfare spending by more than 100% under the last government?
Yes, the Tories lost in the Lords and it was Tone and Pa Broon wot did it. Would Tobes like to admit Labour successfully ambushed his team? “One of the consequences of Labour giving up job of being Her Majesty's Opposition is that opposition to the government emerges elsewhere … I wonder if Corbyn will finally abandon his LBC chat show host routine at #pmqs now that an open goal yawns before him? Too dumb I expect”.
Corbyn and his party win, so Tobes says that makes them rubbish. But he’s sure what happened was not constitutional. Or is he? “Anyone seen a detailed analysis of the constitutionality of the House of Lords' rejection of tax credit cuts?” The Tories lost in the Lords. Much of the right-leaning press has been registering its disquiet of late about the proposals. But the loathsome Tobes is unmoved.

They don’t call him Captain Bellend for nothing.What a total and utter bellend.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Simon Danczuk Disrespects The 96

Such is the desire of Rochdale’s nominally Labour MP Simon Danczuk to put the boot in on his own party’s leadership that he has resorted to endorsing someone whose reputation for less than total honesty puts his own in the shade. He has Tweeted appreciatively about none other than former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie, now rehired by the paper, just to let you know how sorry they are about their Hillsborough coverage.
Sadly, the article that Danczuk so shamelessly endorses is a little short on veracity, and with Kelvin McFilth one should always be on one’s guard when that is concerned, given his track record on truthfulness, or all too often the lack of it. The flagrant dishonesty starts with the headline, “Jezza quiet on migrants … Labour leader wants an open door to UK”, which is, shall we say, not supported by the following text.

HAVE you noticed how quiet Jeremy Corbyn and his colleagues have gone about the unfolding migrant disaster spreading across Europe” asks Kel. Anything approaching “quiet” in Kel’s world means They Done It, whatever it is. And there’s more: “Germany has taken in 409,000 migrants in 40 days … I saw the other day that the daily numbers going through Greece heading our way were even higher”.
The “daily numbers” that you just made up, Kel. After all, who’s going to sue the SOB for that one? It’s an easy slice of scaremongering. But do go on: “Corbyn … stays schtum … Surely he couldn’t be in favour of German-type numbers coming here but declines to say anything as he fears he would do worse at the polls than right now? … He gave a clue to his views during a fascinating meeting … with Simon Danczuk”.

That’s another selective single source, eh Kel? So what about this meeting? “Danczuk, who I admire, says that Corbyn doesn’t see the sensitive issues of social cohesion that come with massive migration … I suspect that Corbyn would have an open door policy to Syria and beyond. He should have the courage to say so”. So the headline really was made up, and Kel’s pants are once again well alight.
That, folks, is the kind of dishonest shyster whose lies have Simon Danczuk Tweeting “Endorsed by Kelvin McKenzie, my life is complete!” And had he bothered to do his homework, he would know that last week Kel sneered “David Cameron is threatening to create dozens of new Tory peers to push his tax credit cuts through the revolting House of Lords. I’m available. Lord Kelv of Anfield has a ring about it, don’t you think?

So not only has Danczuk blatantly and repeatedly disrespected his present and former party leaders, he has now disrespected the Hillsborough victims and their families. That’s on top of whining about multiculturalism, and by doing so disrespecting Rochdale’s Bangladeshi community, some of whom might think that they are being taken for mugs by a shameless opportunist. And they may be dead right.

Of course, Danczuk may just be identifying with someone else who doesn’t give a flying foxtrot about anyone but themselves. Surely not?

Sun’s Lee Rigby Shame Exposed

Following the appointment of Guardian writer Seumas Milne as Jeremy Corbyn’s spin chief, there has been much creative reinterpretation of his back catalogue, and none moreso than the claim that Milne had said that “[Lee] Rigby was a British soldier who had taken part in multiple combat operations in Afghanistan. So the attack wasn’t terrorism in the normal sense”. The right-wing press lapped this up with some relish.
The idea that Milne had downplayed the seriousness of the attack on Rigby, or that he was somehow excusing the killers, took hold as journalists who should have known better failed to check the (still available) original article. The quote had, after all, been set running by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, whose tendency to falsehood and misinformation is the stuff of legend.

In the meantime, the Sun on Sunday’s alleged political editor, vacuous creep David Wooding, decided to combine grovelling to Creepy Uncle Rupe with putting the boot in on the rotten lefties, and put the clearly false assertion that Milne said the attack “wasn’t terrorism” to Rigby’s mother Lyn. Understandably, she duly passed severely adverse comment, when presented with something Milne did not say.

So what did Seumas Milne actually say in the article that has been so widely - and so selectively - quoted? Let’s start at the very beginning, as it’s a very good place to start. “The videoed butchery of Fusilier Lee Rigby outside Woolwich barracks last May was a horrific act and his killers' murder conviction a foregone conclusion”. You read that right. Milne was certainly not excusing or downplaying what happened.

Milne was also clear that the attack was as pointless as it was barbaric: “The killing of an unarmed man far from the conflict, however, by self-appointed individuals with non-violent political alternatives, isn't condoned by any significant political or religious tradition. Quite apart from morality, the impact was violently counter-productive for the Muslims that Rigby's killers claimed to be defending, as Islamophobic attacks spiked across Britain”.

You will not read this in the Sun, the Fawkes blog, or any other leftie-bashing outlet. And nor will you read all of this quote: “Rigby was a British soldier who had taken part in multiple combat operations in Afghanistan. So the attack wasn't terrorism in the normal sense of an indiscriminate attack on civilians” [my emphasis]. Yes, Milne has been taken out of context - and hardly anyone has bothered to check.

So Milne did not say the attack “wasn’t terrorism”. Wooding could, and if he was going to approach Rigby’s mother, damn well should have double checked beforehand. Instead, this excuse for a journalist deliberately exploited a grieving mother just so he could claim an exclusive. He should go back to Lyn Rigby, tell her the full story, and hang his head in shame. But David Wooding will not. He isn’t big enough.

Taking the Murdoch shilling means never having to be ashamed. Pass the sick bucket.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Don’t Menshn Portugal

After yesterday’s deeply dishonest claims by the Telegraph’s resident EU naysayer Ambrose Evans Pritchard over this month’s elections in Portugal, what we need now is someone to give clarity to the situation. Instead, readers of the Sun on Sunday get a woefully misinformed rant from (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch, who has done away with mere misinformation and decided to talk well, while lying badly.
(c) Doc Hackenbush 2014

BREXIT looks more likely than ever after the EU coup in Portugal” she blusters, going seriously wrong from the off. The EU has not intervened in any way in the Portuguese electoral process. But do go on. “The Eurosceptic Left has a coalition with a majority but to protect the euro the President won’t let its leader form a government. Stuff the will of the people”. Not getting any better, is it? Let me explain.

The largest party after the October 4 elections is the grouping led by outgoing Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho, with 107 of the 230 parliamentary seats. His is a pro-EU and pro-Euro party. The main centre-left opposition party, the PS, won 86 seats. It too is a pro-EU and pro-Euro party. It is only the two left-wing parties, the BE or Left Block, and the Communists, with 19 and 17 seats respectively, who can be called Eurosceptic.

I’ll go further: the PS is in a different European Parliament grouping to the BE and Communists. The PS didn’t want to talk to the BE or Communists before the elections, and neither did the BE or Communists want to talk to the PS. The three groups only started talking once they saw the electoral maths, and even then, had not put any formal offer before the President by the time he asked Passos Coelho to continue.
Yes, she really wrote that

Moreover, any coalition between the PS, BE and Communists is going to be a very shaky one, especially given the latter group’s stated aims to leave not only the Euro, but also the EU - and, while they’re at it, NATO as well. On top of that, the BE (Bloco de Esquerda, in case you were wondering) is aligned with parties such as Syriza in Greece. These three parties have a history of not getting on with one another.

There is no “Eurosceptic left coalition”. Nor is there one politician who can claim to lead all three centre-left and left-wing groupings. So Ms Mensch demonstrates once again why she generates so much unintentional hilarity when she styles herself an “investigative journalist”, because she neither does coherent journalism, and nor does she trouble herself with investigation - especially not with Portugal’s elections.

The reality is that President Anibal Cavaco Silva has asked the largest party to try and form a Government. That has been the custom in Portugal since the restoration of democracy to the country more than 40 years ago, whatever the programme of that largest party. Louise Mensch could have found that out with no more than a few minutes’ Googling. Instead, she chose to tell another pack of lies.

And remember, folks, they allowed her to become an MP.