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Thursday, 20 July 2017

Katie Hopkins Ship ARRESTED

As if pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins were not in deep enough doo-doo already, with the patience of Mail Online long having run out, her contract not being renewed when it comes up, probably in November, and her latest article for the site having been pulled in controversial circumstances, her latest adventure has turned out to be a campaign that has progressed not necessarily to her advantage.
Viewers may want to look away now

Hatey Katie had travelled to the Sicilian port of Catania to join a ship called the C-Star, which had been chartered by a motley convocation of Nazis, white supremacists and sundry hangers-on under the banner of Defend Europe. They would patrol the Mediterranean Sea and tell the world about how countries like Italy were just inviting in thousands of Scary Muslims (tm), when they should be sent back. Somewhere.
So it was that she told her adoring Twitter followers “Looking forward to meeting the crew of the C-star in Catania tomorrow. Setting out to defend the Med. All this week @MailOnline”. But then the problems started, mainly because she was caught lying. “Good to spend time with the crew of @SavetheChildren yesterday, getting themselves ship shape for their next mission” she Tweeted. She had spent no time with them. At all.
It got worse: soon after Tweeting “Suddenly I am backstage, behind the agreed lines. And I wonder, are these children really being saved at all?” and giving a link to a Mail Online piece, her article was pulled, this being picked up on by the HuffPost. And now has come even worse news for Ms Hopkins: her ship has been nicked.

Hope Not Hate has the story: “Defend Europe's ship, the C-Star, has been stopped in Port Suez after its captain could not present a satisfactory crew list, resulting in the ship being ‘arrested’ and forced to anchor”. Whoops! What could have happened?
Unconfirmed accounts indicate the ship may have been halted in dramatic circumstances, with the navy surrounding the vessel and taking over responsibility”. Oh goody, that will give all the far-right contingent the excuse to play the victim.

There was more: “an employee at the Suez Canal Authority confirmed that the detaining of the ship had nothing with the Canal Authority but rather ‘it was arrested by the security authorities,’ as it was ‘a matter of security due to the lack of documentation and papers’”.
Hope Not Hate reminds readers “Of course, this comes as no great surprise considering the deeply worrying evidence we have produced in the past week, including the criminal past of the ship’s owner and the terrifying prospect of an armed crew being on board being provided by a company that has lost its certification in the UK”. Anyone thinking of joining this dubious enterprise had ample warning. So what of Ms Hopkins?
Oddly, the Hopkins Twitter feed has not been active today. Whether she actually boarded the C-Star is not clear; what is very clear, though, is that if she was on board, and those on board all get nicked, she could find herself in a most inhospitable penal environment in very short order. And most likely not occupying a single en-suite cell.

Will Mail Online wait until November? Katie Hopkins is no longer worth their candle.

New Corbyn Student Debt Lies BUSTED

The desperation of the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, to not only provide story lines for their real bosses - the right-leaning press establishment - but also explain away the General Election result in ways that make the Tories look less bad, has meant newly anointed teaboy Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham once more living up to his nickname to take another pot at Jeremy Corbyn.
Claims to be a journalist. Allegedly

This entails, once again, trying to peddle the idea that Jezza somehow promised to write off student debt before the poll, which he did not do. Wickham has already been called out for lying, with his only response being not to take on the accusation of dishonesty, but to say that he’s right, because the claim is getting lots of hits. In this way, no doubt, he aims to follow the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole into the tabloid media.

Sadly, as before, when Wickham posts anything without a reliable citation, it’s all too obvious that his pants are on fire. After claiming that debt write-off “Jeremy Corbyn’s crystal clear pledge to students at the election”, he goes on to assert “It was written up by all media outlets as a pledge to write off debts. Not once during the election did Labour contest that interpretation of Corbyn’s words”. And thus the latest pack of lies.
Let’s see exactly what all those media outlets said at the time, shall we? The closest to backing up Wickham was the Mail, which told readersCorbyn vows to axe £30bn student debt”. Note use of “vow”, rather than “promise”. But the Mail also admits it is not sure what was promised: “Jeremy Corbyn pledged to reduce or even write off £30billion of student debt”. The article went on to report that “he wanted to 'ameliorate' the debt owed by thousands of students who paid fees of £9,000 a year”.

So no unequivocal pledge to write off debts, then. And it gets worse for the Fawkes teaboy: the Evening Standard was also uncertain. “Jeremy Corbyn ‘could write off student debt for graduates who paid £9,000’” was its interpretation. Could. No promise.

It was the same at Politics Home: “Students who have already paid £9,000 a year in university tuition fees could have their debts cleared under a Labour government, Jeremy Corbyn has revealed”. Could. No pledge. No promise.

The Independent told readersJeremy Corbyn ‘looking at ways’ to reduce tuition fee debt of former university students”. Still no promise.
The i gave some hope to Wickham with a headline agreeing with him - “Jeremy Corbyn: Labour will write off graduate debt” - only for the first paragraph of the supporting article to explain “Jeremy Corbyn has suggested Labour would write off or reduce thousands of students’ existing tuition fee debt”. Suggested. May just “reduce”.

Not once during the election did Labour contest that interpretation”? Because no such promise had been made. Still, Wickham just carries on lying, claiming that young people only voted Labour because they were given a “cast iron guarantee”. But there was no “cast iron guarantee”, no “crystal clear promise”, and no “pledge to write off debts”.

The more the Fawkes rabble lies, the more ridiculous they look. Another fine mess.

Sun Brexit Exclusive UNTRUE

While our free and fearless press is getting all righteous about BBC salaries - while not having to tell the world about the obscene amounts they bung their hacks and pundits, and whether their gender pay gap is worse than that at the Beeb - the Sun’s non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn has been creatively reinterpreting goings-on in Brussels in order to produce a story that meets with his bosses’ requirements.
It's painful when your trousers catch light

NO EU-TURNS ALLOWED EU says Britain cannot back out of Brexit in bid to heap pressure on negotiating stance … Brussels document claims other EU members would also have to agree any change of hearttells the headline, followed by the claim “THE EU has said for first time that Britain cannot reverse Brexit, in a bid to heap pressure on the UK’s negotiating stance”. This is a bold statement. It is also totally untrue.

But that inconvenient fact does not deter Newton Dunn, who goes on to tell “Europe’s treaties are unclear on whether member states who want to leave are allowed to change their mind during two years of exit talks … But The Sun can reveal that the European Commission quietly slipped out its own declaration on the Article 50 process last week”.
And he continues to dig that hole. “The Brussels document claims other EU members would also have to agree any change of heart, saying: ‘Once triggered, it cannot be unilaterally reversed … Article 50 does not provide for the unilateral withdrawal of the notification’ … The move is being seen by ministers in Whitehall as a bid to turn the screw on our negotiators by closing down any back door route to win more time for talks”.

There was, as Captain Blackadder might have observed, only one thing wrong with that idea - it was bollocks. As Jolyon Maugham pointed out to Newton Dunn, this has been public knowledge since March this year. In a brief summary titledWhat does Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union say”, all is et out clearly.
Once triggered, can Article 50 be revoked? It is up to the United Kingdom to trigger Article 50. But once triggered, it cannot be unilaterally reversed. Notification is a point of no return. Article 50 does not provide for the unilateral withdrawal of notification”, it tells.

Newton Dunn is not only being dishonest, he is flagrantly misrepresenting the way the EU works. Nothing, but nothing, is “quietly slipped out”. The EU is open and transparent, concepts that are clearly alien to the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker.
Worse for the Sun’s political editor, he appears not to have researched his article before committing it for publication: after Maugham pointed out that the news claimed to have been “quietly slipped out” had been known about for months, Newton Dunn snapped back “Written down? Where? That's news to DexEU”. So did he take a Government source as gospel without bothering to check his facts? If so, that’s just inexcusable.
The result, though, is not subject to question: Tom Newton Dunn has effectively lied to order, further diminishing his already minimal credibility and demonstrating to anyone and everyone that he and his piss-poor “newspaper” are not fit to be trusted.

Once again, the advice is clear: Don’t Buy The Sun.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Sky - Murdoch Bullies Tories

While the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press is conveniently urging its readers to “look over there” at the hated BBC and its disclosure of how much its talent pool is paid, the Murdoch mafiosi are reverting to type and trying to make Culture Secretary Karen Bradley an offer she can’t refuse, as they ramp up the pressure on Theresa May’s beleaguered Government to wave through the Sky takeover.
One might have thought that, given the past behaviour of Rupe’s troops and the well-documented bad behaviour at the late and not at all lamented Screws, the still emerging revelations about the Sun’s phone hacking activities and those of “Fake Sheikh” Mazher Mahmood, and the recent meltdown at Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse), that Don Rupioni and the rest of the Cosa Rupra would stop and think before acting.

But it seems that thought would have been misplaced, as the contents of an emailed letter from lawyers Allen & Overy to the DCMS have been made public. This is headed “Proposed acquisition byTwenty-First Century Fox, Inc. (21CF) of the remaining shares in Sky plc (Sky)”, and passes forthright adverse comment on a letter from former Labour leader Mil The Younger to Ms Bradley on the proposed takeover.

In particular, Ed Miliband MP has published a letter sent to the Secretary of State and co-authored by Sir Vince Cable MP, Kenneth Clarke MP and the Lord Falconer of Thoroton  (the Miliband Letter) that urges the Secretary of State to refer the transaction in relation to  the broadcasting standards public interest consideration (the Broadcasting Standards PIC)”, they observe.

Then comes the bullying: “A reversal of the Secretary of State’s decision that she is minded not to make a CMA reference in relation to the Broadcasting Standards PIC would be irrational. Bowing to the political pressure of the Miliband Letter would constitute the most blatant form of political interference, and would critically undermine the integrity of the quasi-judicial nature of the Secretary of State’s role in this process”.
And a little more bullying: “The Miliband Letter presents no new, let alone substantial, evidence in relation to the Broadcasting  Standards  PIC … one of the co-authors of the 
letter – Sir Vince Cable – was reported to have stated ‘I have declared war on Mr Murdoch’ when he was … in charge of ruling on News Corporation’s proposed acquisition of Sky in 2010 and before receiving the initial Ofcom report at the time, thereby displaying one of the most egregious examples of bias in decision making in recent years”.

And a little more yet: “21CF trusts that the Secretary of State will dismiss these flagrant  political attempts to interfere in the regulatory process and its timing … By doing so, 21CF  is confident that the Secretary of State should be able to reach a final decision on a reference to the CMA in the coming days, thereby avoiding any further delay to the timetable for concluding the regulatory review of the proposed transaction”. And so ends the lesson in sheer brass neck.

How dare these politicians interfere in the decision making process of the DCMS, say the appalled Murdochs. That, as any fule kno, is their job.

Piers Morgan Embargo Stunt FAILS

Despite the frequent lapses of our free and fearless press, British journalism still manages to uphold some standards of decency, so when the BBC released details of the kinds of salaries it paid its top talent, and clearly marked the pages as embargoed until 1100 hours today, most observed that caution. But there had to be one self-promotion expert wanting to make the whole exercise about Himself Personally Now.
And don't forget who he's backed to the hilt

And to no surprise at all, that self-promotion expert was former Screws and Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan, no longer a CNN host, but now three mornings a week co-presenter of ITV’s Good Morning Britain, who took time out from telling his adoring public how wonderful he was to break the embargo, and thereby earn an industrial-size raspberry from those journalists who can still understand words like “professionalism”.
Morgan, no stranger to talking without listening, decided to break the embargo - by less than an hour - and then call it a scoop. He then proceeded to patronisingly lecture anyone passing adverse comment upon his idiocy. So when Janine Gibson of BuzzFeed pointed out his lack of principle, he sneered “I understand the word 'scoop' better”. Ian Prior of the Guardian got “Aww...somebody got scooped and is feeling very, VERY angry”.
The “scoop” was worth next to nothing - except to fuel the ego of another of those Clever People Who Talk Loudly In Restaurants. Still, onwards and, er, onwards, eh? For Beth Rigby of Sky News, he added cheap sexism: “Oh settle down, petal. I just scooped you. Be better next time”. Kaya Burgess of the Times objected, little good that it did him or Ms Rigby: “What's sexist about the word ‘petal’?" The problem in one.
Meanwhile, there was an opportunity to double down on his sneer at Ms Rigby: “Why don't you stop whining & start reporting?” This manages to miss that Ms Rigby was doing the genuine reporting, rather than being a self-promoting opportunist who then patronised Sky News producer Nina Saada. She concluded Morgan was a misogynist, which prompted The Great Man to crack a joke: “Flowers are gender-fluid. Relax”.
Laugh? I thought I’d never start. Still there was more patronising, especially when Alastair Stewart at ITN opined “Breaking an embargo, with stuff we've all been sitting on for hours, is not a 'scoop', it is naff, delusional & unprofessional”. “You snooze, you lose mate” was the hugely unfunny response, followed by “I'd like to apologise to all fellow journalists I scooped on BBC salary story. I can't help being this good at my job, unfortunately”.
After that came the faux bragging, pretending he was earning rather more than he actually is: “I'm also truly shocked at the size of these BBC salaries. They get out of bed for THAT?” But Morgan had by now inflated his self-promotion soufflé well behind the limits of its viability, and all that was needed was Natasha Loder of the Economist to fire back “How much would we have to pay for you to stay in bed? #askingforafriend”.

Piers Morgan might think he’s been incredibly clever. And, as he doesn’t front GMB on Thursdays, he won’t have to face his co-presenters or production team tomorrow morning. But for a large number of more serious journalists, his reputation just jumped from gutter to sewer. He’d better hope ITV bosses still think he’s worth the aggro.

BBC Pay - Mail Hypocrisy

The sound of baying and slavering from within the Northcliffe House bunker can probably be heard all over West London by now, as the obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre anticipates the news that will precipitate yet more knocking copy, more sales and clicks, and all on the back of kicking the hated BBC.
As the Beeb itself has reported, “The pay received by the BBC's biggest stars is to be revealed in the corporation's annual report later … It is the first time this information will be made public … The review, to be published at 11:00 BST, will list the 96 stars who earn more than £150,000 a year. Altogether, their earnings total almost £30m … Only one third of the names on the list are women. BBC director general Lord Hall said it highlighted a need to ‘go further and faster’ on gender issues”.

But the entreaties of Lord Hall-Hall will do nothing to stem the tide of bile building up among the Dacre doggies, as today’s Mail front page demonstrates: “PAY PANIC AT THE BBC … Meltdown as dossier names 100 staff on more than PM … Only a third are women … Bosses tried to have report delayed … Top names warned they face public backlash”.

Where, pray, might that backlash originate? As if one needs to ask. There is no panic, and no meltdown, plus the “on more than PM” is so misleading as to be irrelevant (Theresa May receives so many other easily quantifiable benefits, apart from her salary, for instance). But this does not deter the Vagina Monologue and his shock troops, who show they aren’t sexist, honestly, by having one male and one female name on the by-line.

For the first time, the corporation will have to say which of its household names are on more than £150,000 a year. One is paid up to £2million” they tell, managing not to mention that their own editor’s total remuneration package exceeds that top figure. Also not mentioned is the obscene £800,000 paid to unfunny and talentless churnalist Richard Littlejohn. Or any of the many more six-figure Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday pay deals.
No I'm not f***ing telling you what I earn, c***. Er, with the greatest of respect, Mr Jay

But there is a superb example of the Pot and Kettle here as the article continues “There will also be allegations of sexism - only a third of the high earners are women”. The Mail will also not be telling how much the likes of Glenda Emeritus Amanda Platell, Glenda Cattia Maxima Jan Moir, and Sarah “Vain” Vine are taking home in their generously proportioned wheelbarrows. Or their male counterparts.

Instead, the Mail has resorted to making it up: “In a sign of further panic, stars have been told they can defend their pay on social media - breaking with normal BBC protocol”. If pay details have not been published in this way before, there is no existing protocol. But we know who this is aimed at: “Presenters such as Match of the Day host Gary Lineker and News at Ten anchor Huw Edwards are already well known for their Twitter rants”.

Well, there’s a surprise. Do go on. “Mr Lineker - thought to be one of its highest paid stars - has 5million Twitter followers and a reputation for inflammatory remarks … Last year, he called those who questioned the age of refugees coming from Calais ‘hideously racist’”.

The Mail calling out someone else for “inflammatory remarks” as it tries to whip up anger against the BBC. We are truly through the looking glass.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Dan, Dan The Communist Fibs Man

Fresh from his continued failure to convince Britons that Brexit is A Very Wonderful Thing, MEP and occasional Tory Dan, Dan The Oratory Man has dashed off a piece for the International Business Times making a number of highly creative claims about Nazism and Communism, as he once more pretends that the Labour Party is in thrall to not just the socialist left, but a clique of unreconstructed Commies.
What am I bid for this whopper? It's with you sir, yes you, the man with the moustache and twitchy right arm

Sadly, Hannan goes wrong at the start, as he tells “We wouldn't celebrate a statue of Hitler. So why Engels? … Nazism killed 17 million people; Communism 100 million”. Warming to his theme, while also displaying his flair for talking well, but lying badly, Dan adds that “Marx [was] a notorious cadger who never properly worked for a living”. Marx, although terrible with money, was paid well for his writing, notably by the New York Tribune. One wonders how Hannan would manage without his MEP’s salary.

Still, back to the tiresome comparison of Engels and Hitler: “As far as we are aware, neither Hitler nor Engels personally murdered anyone”. Wow, David Irving must already have put the cheque in the post. Hitler was the head of a brutal, genocidal and racist régime which systematically murdered and subjugated its opponents.
My dog's got no nose

Engels, on the other hand, was a political theorist who looked for ways in which ordinary people would do rather better than their mid-19th Century lot, which, more or less, consisted of back-breaking toil, poverty, disease, squalor, an early death, and of course no say in the way their society progressed. All those at the bottom of the pile did not have the vote, and the poorest would not have it in Britain until after The Great War.

But let’s return to Hannan’s assertion that Communism killed 100 million people: this may have several flaws, not least that it is one of those suspiciously round numbers, but we can deal with one of them directly. Those killed in Russia during World War 2 are put down in the “Communist Deaths” column. Who kicked off World War 2, and especially Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the then Soviet Union? Clue: not Communism.
Statue of Marx and Engels in Berlin

Moreover, Hannan can’t get his head round the fact that while Hitler was there at the time, and very much in charge of what the Nazis did, all those deaths he ascribes to Engels (and to Karl Marx) were down to régimes they had no influence over, having both been dead for decades beforehand. All he can manage is “Marxism is somehow judged as a textbook theory, unrelated to its real-world outcomes”.

Duly emboldened, he continues “In fact, every Marxist regime ends up being homicidal”. No, some régimes which claim to govern in his name imprison, enslave, torture and kill. But, guess what? So do many other régimes which make no such claims. And when Hannan claims “Marx and Engels taught that the end justified the means”, no they didn’t. But when you truly believe they did, that’s not a big problem.

Daniel Hannan’s numbers are deeply suspect, his comparison of Engels and Hitler is preposterous, and his analysis typically dishonest. So no change there, then.

Corbyn Vote Fraud Claim FAILS

Ever since last month’s General Election showed that the right-leaning part of the press was losing its cutting edge, churning out page after page of abusive knocking copy making all manner of creative allegations about Jeremy Corbyn and the rest of the Labour leadership, that same press has been searching for something, anything to confirm that they were right and something underhand must therefore have been going on.
And today, to no surprise at all, the obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre at the Daily Mail has brought forth its magic bullet, with the screaming front page accusationPROBE INTO STUDENTS WHO ‘CAST TWO VOTES FOR CORBYN’ … 1,000 complaints force watchdog to act”. But there is only one problem with the claim - the Mail has had to use quote marks, because it cannot stand it up.

This is clear from the body of the supporting article: “Thousands of students may have voted twice to try to put Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street”. And then again, they may not. But do go on. “Tory MPs believe thousands may have taken advantage of this opportunity - lured by Labour's promise to scrap tuition fees and cancel their debts”. Tory MPs “believe”. Maybe some of them “believe” the earth is flat, but it ain’t.

Typical of the “belief” fringe was Tory rent-a-quote MP Peter Bone: “The Electoral Commission and the police need to look at this very seriously … I fear this happened more than people think, not by chance, but by design. I fear that it was organised … There were a number of students on social media boasting that they had voted in more than one place”. Suddenly social media becomes evidential standard proof.

There was also the occasional instance of sour grapes: “Former Tory MP Karl McCartney, who lost his Lincoln seat to Labour last month, said: 'We have screenshots of students on Facebook saying that they voted twice … Potentially, this was a factor in my defeat’”. Ho yus. He was defending a majority of less than 1,500, and lost by more than that. He’ll have to dig out a hell of a lot of double voting to make any difference.

But enough. While the Mail claims “The 2017 election result has been attributed to a record turnout of young people under the age of 34”, many of those were not students, and those who turned out for Labour were not just the under-34s, but the 35 to 45 age group, too. Moreover, the groups who turned out in far greater numbers - those over 55 - still voted by a significant majority for the Tories.

Moreover, as the Guardian has cautioned, the Mail’s headline claim is at the least overblown: “The electoral watchdog is investigating up to 1,000 complaints about people illegally voting twice at the general election on 8 June”. And the Mail has admitted “The watchdog said it lacked evidence of 'widespread abuse’”. Meanwhile, there is, to no surprise, not a mention of the Tories busting the rules in 2015 to effectively buy votes.

Still, this kind of story makes the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker feel a little less useless, and they won’t feel so bad about trousering their obscene salaries while the homeless doss down in nearby doorways, so that’s all right, then.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Arron Banks - Bigot And Hypocrite

While former UKIP Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage tells anyone still not asleep that no-one should support leadership hopeful Anne Marie Waters, as he believes she will turn the Kippers into a single issue party, that issue being Muslim Bashing, his old mucker and lover of all things Russian Arron Banks has been saying more or less the same thing, and Mr Thirsty has thus far not said a dickybird about it.
Nige has happily been Retweeting prompts from Banks’ piss-poor Westmonster propaganda site, but, as the Bristol Post observed, his best buddy in the Leave EU cause has been causing some disquiet: “UKIP donor Arron Banks likened to National Front after calling for Muslim immigration ban and 'levelling' of mosques … The Bristol businessman who 'bankrolled Brexit' was likened to the National Front - by his own supporters”.
The Post was putting it mildly. And it was Ms Waters’ prompting that set him off: “I'm in favour of a Muslim ban into the UK until we deal with the issue we have. I get it perfectly well thanks”. So what was the difference between her and her critics? There didn’t appear to be very much. And what there was, was about to get rather less.
Prompted by one Tweeter who suggested that the only way to fight fanatics was with fanaticism - whatever that was supposed to mean - Banks volunteered “If banning Muslim immigration and levelling all Saudi/ Qatari funded mosques isn't strong enough for you , I'm not sure what is!” So that’s arbitrary demolition of peoples’ property, arguably approval of collective punishment, as well as stinking hypocrisy in his attack on Ms Waters.
No doubt Banks’ stance would have found favour with the motley convocation of Eastern Bloc leaders he appears to pine for, as well as the Greek Colonels, Francisco Franco, and António de Oliveira Salazar. But we have a thing called a functional democracy, and arbitrary confiscation of property is Streng Verboten. So it vigilantism, collective punishment, and anything resembling kangaroo courts.
This did not deter Banks, who did not object to being called a “Fascist” and added “The actual quote is ‘mosques funded by Saudi and Qatari money’, presumably you are happy to leave them as centre of excellence for Terror” [no citation]. We also have a thing called due process of law, but this too does not deter The Great Man, who simply doubled down on his ranting: “Mosques funded by Saudi / Qatari money dopey”. He’s all class.
Did he want Parliament to pass some sort of legislation? You jest. He’d probably just line them all up against the wall and empty his Uzi into them, but the first step would indeed be curtailing freedom of movement and arbitrary property confiscation: “I'm clear mosques funded by Saudi / Qatari money should be demolished and Muslim immigration halted under we have the issue under control”. He’d probably proscribe al-Jazeera as well.

Arron Banks is a bigot. He is also a hypocrite to attack Anne Marie Waters and then come out with more or less the same policies. And Nigel Farage scores high on guilt by silence, RTing his pal’s lousy website while keeping schtum about his bigotry.

UKIP is fast becoming an irrelevance. Just rejoice at that news.

Doctor Who - Mail Sexist Moans

So the thirteenth actor to play the fictional Doctor Who, the role first played back in 1963 by William Hartnell (in black and white), is to be a woman. Jodie Whittaker will take over the part from Peter Capaldi at the end of the year. For many people, this is not the biggest of news stories, but for those who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet, it is an ideal way to score lots of free clicks and sales.
The Mirror is more than happy to see a woman play the Doctor, telling readers “About Time, Lord … After 12 male Doctor Who stars we finally get a woman”. The Murdoch Sun even makes the story its front page splash, telling “Regenderation Shock … Jodie is first woman Doctor … Kept big role secret for months … DOCTHER WHO”. So they’re just sore that nobody let them in on the secret.

But it is the Mail where a low moaning sound can be heard emanating from the Northcliffe House bunker. Teased on the front page by the why-oh-why “As Dr Who changes sex, why ARE male TV heroes being zapped?” The paper’s dinosaur TV critic Christopher Stevens has his instructions - kick the Beeb, and kick them hard.

From the start, women have to know their place: “Perhaps it’s my age, but there are some things I don’t feel happy discussing with a female doctor, and saving the world is one of them”. Poor Daily Mail. Still anally retentive, and still stuck in the 1950s.

The announcement of Jodie Whittaker as the new incarnation of Doctor Who, replacing Peter Capaldi, has dealt another politically correct blow to a TV show that was once simply a children’s favourite”. See, it can’t be a children’s favourite with a woman playing the lead! And having a woman is just PC! Oh, and there’s a sneer at Ms Whittaker: “The new protector of the galaxy dyes her hair, apparently”.

Strewth, this is lame. It can’t get worse, can it? Maybe I shouldn’t have asked. “To the BBC’s embarrassment, top salaries across the organisation will be published later this week, and the numbers are expected to reveal a serious discrepancy between the earnings of its top male and female presenters”. Just the 100% irrelevant.

And it gets worse: “The Doctor spent much of the last series campaigning for gay rights across the solar system with his short-lived lesbian companion … Don’t expect this to stop now a woman is in charge. Never mind a police box - this new Doctor’s Tardis should be a soapbox. And that means Doctor Who, which has been steadily shedding its audience, is speeding towards its own doom - and the black hole of cancellation”.
That’s a newspaper that has been losing readers and advertising revenue for years lecturing the BBC on how to score ratings. Stil, back to the moaning sexist nostalgia.

The move heaps pressure on other TV and movie producers to be ostentatiously feminist. Already it’s rare to see a British detective show with a male lead … In almost every new British drama, men are relegated to sidekick status or else cast as moral weaklings with a vicious streak. Characters fall into two distinct categories: women good, men bad. Switching the Doctor’s gender is just another example of this endemic sexism in TV fiction

Sexism? Who’s doing the sexism? But Stevens is just getting warmed up. “Even in telly’s most unlikely fantasies, the women rule while the men crawl. Game Of Thrones returns today with a woman on the Iron Throne, and another coming to claim it. The world of Westeros is now a femocracy … All this forces TV into narrow alleyways of story-telling, constrained by what is politically acceptable. Imagination is stifled when drama is forced to conform to ‘socially appropriate’ ideals”. Aw, never mind. Here’s an onion to hold.

Meanwhile, guess what’s coming next? Yes, it’s the rotten social media Wot Done It (that is, the megaphone over which the Mail’s legendarily foul mouthed editor has no control): “TV writers and film-makers who defy the trend will be condemned as sexist dinosaurs - and in this era of Twitter hate-mobs, that can be deeply unpleasant. Many will simply give in, and submit the same pre-approved plots about dauntless single mothers beset by psychopathic males”. Sob! Sniff! Snot fair!

But Stevens is not so far gone that he can’t slip the odd blatant lie into his copy. Watch carefully: “as every parent knows, children are a deeply conservative audience. They cannot abide changes to much-loved characters … children need positive role models - male as well as female … Transforming the Doctor into a woman will not please a single viewer under the age of ten”. Bullshit detector overload!
All those little girls thrilled that the new Doctor will be a woman were clearly figments of the imagination, then. But on Stevens whines: “Sadly, Doctor Who has been ravaged and wrung out in the name of political correctness for too long to be salvageable … It’s a miserable decline for a much-loved TV treasure … At least you know where you are with a Dalek (or maybe they’ll soon be female, too, with little metal tutus)”.

Is Christopher Stevens a real person, or just a Paul Dacre-activated phrase generator? I mean … “When the series was first conceived in the early Sixties, starring William Hartnell as the irascible First Doctor, the BBC had a more patriotic agenda”.

This article, and the miserable, mean-spirited attitude with which it is shot through, is typical of why the Mail is losing touch not just with all those social media users the paper wastes so much time slagging off, but even its own readers. Doctor Who, says someone who saw the first episode in November 1963 (twice, because the BBC screened it again the following Saturday), is a fictional character. That character can already regenerate and change all manner of characteristics - so why not have a woman playing it?

The same press dinosaurs said Doctor Who would not survive William Hartnell’s departure in 1966. Well, more fool them. Women can drive trains, they can fly airliners … and now they can make their own contribution to An Adventure In Space And Time.

Paul Dacre should have retired at age 65. It’s just been a miserable decline since then.

Labour Student Debt Lies BUSTED

[Update at end of post]

Those who know of old the falsehood and misinformation peddled by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog also know that anything coming from the diseased mind of newly anointed teaboy Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham is not to be trusted, especially if the post has no citation to back it up. So it was with Wickham’s claims about Labour’s student debt commitments yesterday.
Claims to be a journalist - that's not true, either

Under the heading “McDonnell Backtracks On Vow To Write Off Student Debt”, the Fawkes folks tellDuring the election Jeremy Corbyn vowed ‘I will deal with’ those who had the ‘historical misfortune’ of large student debts, promising he would ‘ameliorate’ their situation and write it off”. Keep an eye on the “and write it off” - that is the Wickham lie.

The Great Guido’s teaboy then asserts “Last week Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner confirmed the policy, admitting: ‘It is a huge amount, it is £100 billion. I like a challenge, but we’ve got to start dealing with this debt crisis that we’re foisting on our young people. It’s not acceptable’”. This is merely selective, rather than dishonest.

So let’s see what Jezza and Ms Rayner actually said, which, to no surprise at all, does not match the Fawkes claims. Corbyn was talking to the NME before the election, and said “there is a block of those that currently have a massive debt, and I'm looking at ways we could reduce that, ameliorate that, lengthen the period of paying it off, or some other means of reducing the debt burden”. And there was more.
I don't have the simple answer for it at this stage. I don't think anybody would expect me to, because this election was called unexpectedly … We had two weeks to prepare all of this - but I'm very well aware of that problem”. He would deal with it - but clearly made no commitment to “write it off”. And then there is Angela Rayner’s Marr Show interview.

This was her reply to Andrew Marr’s question on student debt: “Jeremy said that that’s an ambition, it’s something that he’d like to do. It’s something that we will not announce we’re doing unless we can afford to do that”. She made no commitment to write it off, either.

Thus the lie that is now doing the rounds. Predictably, the Murdoch Sun has gone along with the charade, telling readersJeremy Corbyn accused of betraying voters after Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell all-but scraps vow to write off £100 billion student debt”. There was no vow, which may be why the Mail is restricting itself to “the seemingly off-the-cuff pledge made by Jeremy Corbyn during the election campaign”.
Seemingly off the cuff pledge”. But the Fawkes lie has seeped, unchallenged, into the mainstream press, which is what both Staines and his rabble, and the right-wing part of the press establishment, wanted. Once again, had this been The Canary, Evolve Politics or Skwawkbox doing this, there would be howls of “Fake News”. But The Great Guido gets away with it, because the Fawkes blog is part of the press establishment.

Memo to any media outlet not yet up to speed on the Fawkes modus operandi: never, but never, take anything written by Alex Wickham on trust. When the Fawkes teaboy says something “was fantasy politics, a pack of lies all along”, it’s a pound to a penny that he is describing himself. Another fine mess, once again.

[UPDATE 1535 hours: tellingly, the Fawkes rabble have followed up their dishonest post on the Corbyn pledge that never was with a claim not that they were right, but that their claim has scored lots of clicks.
Under the heading "Labour's Broken Student Debt Promise Goes Viral", readers are told that "Labour's plan to double-cross students" has scored lots of pageviews at the Conservatives website, which most students wouldn't touch with the proverbial bargepole.

This was held to be a success as it scored more hits than the pre-election Diane Abbott LBC interview. But oh so revealing that "Billy Liar" Wickham still doesn't pony up a single citation to prove his claim, he just carries on lying and says it's OK because lots of people are viewing it.

So, once again, the reasoning that he and his pals in the press establishment use to rubbish The Canary, Evolve Politics and Skwawkbox.

Scoring lots of hits does not make this latest Wickham pack of lies true. And that's a fact]