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Sunday, 28 May 2017

When Terrorism Is NOT Terrorism

A double fatal stabbing took place in Portland, Oregon two days ago. As the BBC reported, “Two men have died in the US trying to stop a man abusing two women of Muslim appearance, Oregon police say … The abusive man turned on the two men and fatally stabbed them in the city of Portland, police said … Police have identified the suspect as Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35. He has been charged with offences including aggravated murder, attempted murder, intimidation and being a felon in possession of a restricted weapon”. What did the Mail make of this killing?
Jeremy Christian

White supremacist 'kills two Good Samaritans by slitting their throats as they try to defend woman in a hijab after he started yelling anti-Muslim slurswas their first headline, followed soon after bySecond Portland train stabbing victim was Army veteran father-of-four, 53, who was heading home when he was 'killed by white supremacist for trying to protect Muslim woman in a hijab’”. And where did this happen?

The attack happened on a MAX train in Portland, Oregon, around 4.30pm Friday … Christian was arrested after he ran off the train at the Hollywood transit station”. MAX stands for Metro Area eXpress, and it’s not what we would call a train service. It’s more like the Manchester Metrolink - a medium distance light rail operation. So the “stations” and trains are pretty much open to anyone; there are no barriers, for instance.

All of which means the attacker did not have to pass any kind of security check before boarding a service. That attacker had posted this on Facebook: “All Zionist Jews, All Christians who do not follow Christ's teaching of Love, Charity, and Forgiveness And All Jihadi Muslims are going to Madagascar or the Ovens/FEMA Camps”. Nice guy, eh?
Two MAX cars in downtown Portland

The Mail concedes “The suspected murderer Jeremy Christian is known for hate-speech, and is a self-identified white supremacist who was pictured on April 29 referring to himself as the 'Lizard King' and giving Nazi salutes at a free speech rally with an American Revolutionary War flag tied around his shoulders like a cape”.

Now have a pause and a think about that. Had Jeremy Christian been a follower of The Prophet, and abused two overtly Christian or Jewish women before fatally stabbing two blokes who interceded, he would have been immediately labelled a Terrorist. No matter that he was acting alone - so was the Westminster attacker.
But the Westminster attacker was labelled a terrorist. Far-right pundits lined up to promote their Muslim-bashing narrative, telling us that there had to be controls on such people. Hell, if we’re talking train stabbings, the bloke involved in the Grafing Bahnhof incident wasn’t a Muslim, but that was the way media outlets like the Express framed the story. There was a fatal stabbing, so he became a Muslim and the incident a terrorist one.

Well, now there has been another terrorist incident in the north-western USA. Two men have died and another has been injured. But as there are no Muslims involved, it is not terrorism. Would the press be practising double standards? Perish the thought!

Hello Tories - Phone Hacking’s Back

While everyone the Tory Party can muster does the rounds of the broadcasters this weekend, telling anyone who will listen that Labour’s manifesto commitment to 10,000 more Police officers means there would be more terrorism, there is one item in the Tory manifesto - and I’m not talking about social care this time - that those talking heads would rather no-one talked about. Because it might be very awkward for them.
A commitment has been given to not only repeal Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013, which was a key component of the post-Leveson press regulation overhaul, but also to scrap Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry, which would have looked at the relationship between press and Police, and the potential for such relationships to become corrupted. For this to look credible, the press has to look like it’s keeping its house in order.

The problem for both press and Tories is that an increasing number of people know full well that the press has not been keeping its house in order, and that there are a number of variously embarrassing revelations either out there already, or in the pipeline and with a delivery timescale in the imminent category. On top of that is the steady procession of court cases, the subject of one of those being phone hacking.

Hacking never really went away, like all the other “dark arts” described in Flat Earth News, Nick Davies’ go-to book on the workings of the Fourth Estate. And hacking not only by the now defunct Murdoch Screws, but also the still-extant Sun, is now the subject of legal action which has been joined by a lengthening list of well-known individuals.

That much is bad for the press: what is also bad for the Tories is not only that they are prepared to do the ultimate Faustian deal and look the other way in exchange for the support they hope will carry them back into power, but that the hacking revelations on the way will show that they made a most unwise decision in cosying up to the tabloids.

The revelation that shows just how unwise the Tories have been has been made by the investigations team at Byline Media, who have testimony from former Screws hack Paul “privacy is for paedos” McMullan. He claims that the twinkle-toed yet domestically combative Rebekah Brooks (or Wade as she was then) was, despite claiming otherwise in the Hacking Trial, well aware that stories were coming from hacked phone messages.

After telling “She tricked a jury into believing she was far too above the nitty gritty of day-to-day journalism to know that phone hacking had ever gone on and certainly she had never sanctioned it and she was let off scot-free”, Mc Mullen added “I was made Deputy Features Editor … It means that now I know exactly what Rebekah was told about every story that came from every illegal act, either by a private investigator we hired or by journalists themselves”. That’s most interesting. Do go on.

When anybody walked into the newspaper office on Tuesday morning conference when Rebekah was Features Editor and put up a story idea her first question was, ‘where did you get it?’ … And the journalist would then tell her, and she would demand to listen to the tape and quite often that tape would have to be transcribed and sent down to legal (department) or at least locked away with the tape in the reporter’s drawer”.

There is also talk of mass email deletion, attempts to pervert the course of justice, and news that a whole host of those involved with the last days of the Screws are being investigated to see if any or all of them have evidence linking them to hacking.

This comes on top of the revelations about the Mail titles’ continued use of PI Steve Whittamore, even after he was busted in the raid which we now know as Operation Motorman. The Tories are promising to ignore all of that, should they win next month.

So Theresa May and her team would no doubt hope that there are no more of those nasty revelations to come. Well, let me put it this way. The raft of stories has come from Byline Media. Next weekend is the Byline Festival. What better way to showcase independent journalism than to have that festival make another of those revelations?

What that might be I do not know. But neither do the Tories and their pals. And by next weekend, it will be close to the General Election, but not so close for the electorate to be unable to take it on board before they vote. I’ll just leave that one there.

Labour Sterling Scare BUSTED

Amid the deluge of knocking copy frightening readers about Labour’s alleged softness on terrorism, it has been hard to find any Tory-supporting media outlet with anything else to contribute to the General Election campaign. But for once, the Telegraph has ridden to the rescue, although in the process has shot itself firmly in the foot.
Bank of England, London

The story being pushed in today’s Sunday Tel is, unsurprisingly for a title now edited by Allister Heath, who forged his editorial career at City AM, on potential market reaction to a Labour victory, and especially the money markets. “The pound is in for ‘a rough ride’ if the Conservatives lose the general election, currency traders and analysts believe, after a number of strong polls for Labour sent the currency into a tumble late last week” tells Tim Wallace’s article. And how rough might this ride be?

Sterling could fall by another 5pc on a Labour victory, forcing the currency down to $1.20 against the dollar, which would be the lowest level since the 1980s … Against the euro the pound could fall to as low as €1.08 to $1.09, a level not seen since the depths of the financial crisis”. Er, sorry to pour cold water on this, Telegraph people, but Sterling went lower than that against the Euro at the end of 2008 - close to parity, in fact.

But the talking heads kept on coming: “‘Looking at how much we have moved since this election was called, it is pretty clear the response would be negative and if I had to put a figure on it, I would say a kneejerk sell-off of 5pc or a bit more,’ said Adam Cole, head of FX strategy at RBC Capital Markets … ‘At least for now, if the [poll] numbers keep closing then it suggests the pound is in for a rougher ride,’ said Craig Erlam at Oanda”.

So Sterling falling to $1.20, or to €1.09, would not only be A Very Bad Thing, but it would only happen if we elected a Labour Government. Everyone got that? OK, now let’s look at what the Telegraph - yes, the same paper - said last October, in an article titledFTSE 100 hits new record high but pound drops below $1.21 as Brexit hard-landing fears rattle City”, one of whose authors was none other than Tim Wallace.

That article concluded with the line “WRAP: Footsie soars but Pound drops below $1.21 against dollar and €1.10 versus pound amid warnings that sterling could fall further”. Last October. Under a Tory Government. Led by Theresa May. The same Theresa May that the Telegraph, and the rest of the Tory-backing press, wants its readers to vote for next month.

And this is how the Tel reported comments from Michael Saunders, one of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee: “‘Given the scale and persistence of the UK’s current account deficit, I would not be surprised if sterling falls further, but I am fairly agnostic as to whether any further depreciation is likely,’ Mr Saunders told MPs on the Treasury Select Committee in a written submission yesterday … The former  Citigroup economist added that the drop was not necessarily bad for the UK economy”.

Not necessarily bad for the UK economy. A statement approvingly reported by the Telegraph when a Tory Government under Theresa May is presiding over the fall in Sterling. But if Labour were to be in power, a similar fall would be catastrophic.

We know the Tel wants the Tories to win. And now we know they’re a bunch of hypocrites.

Top Six - May 28

So what’s hot, and what’s not, in the past week’s blogging? Here are the six most popular posts on Zelo Street for the past seven days, counting down in reverse order, because, well, I have shopping stuff to do later. So there.
6 Katie Hopkins Calls For Genocide Hatey Katie responded to the Manchester bombing by calling for afinal solution”. The remark ultimately cost her her LBC show.

5 Mail’s Sick Bomb Death Intrusion The inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker wanted their readers to know that the youngest victim of the Manchester bombing had called out for her Mum before she died. Their readers were unimpressed.

4 Katie Hopkins Manchester Smear BUSTED Hatey Katie’s follow-up to her “final solution” demand was to try and kick Channel 4 News for interviewing members of Manchester’s Libyan community. That didn’t work, either.

3 Manchester Attack - Mail Blames Corbyn The legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre and his attack doggies made sure their readers knew that Nick Clegg had enabled the Manchester bombing, and that Jezza was the one wot done it.

2 Sun IRA Witness IS PROVEN LIAR Sean O’Callaghan, the one inside source for the Sun’s hit job on Jeremy Corbyn, was known to be a liar and a fantasist. It didn’t stop the Murdoch goons putting his claims on their front page.

1 Manchester Attack - Sun Blames Corbyn The Sun’s Tuesday front page splash was bad enough, but the hacks would not have known of the bombing beforehand. They did know, though, when the incendiary editorial attacking the Labour leader was published more than four hours after the attack took place.

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

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Breitbart Bullshit Bubble Bursts

There is no finer example of the Alt-Right’s attempt to carve out its own alternative reality than the convocation of the terminally batshit otherwise known as Breitbart, which in the UK means the presence of such luminaries as Raheem “call me Ray” Kassam and of course James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole. Climate change? Not happening. Terror? All down to Scary Muslims (tm).
Along with this comes fawning support of Combover Crybaby Donald Trump, and the likes of Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, plus the sneering, triumphalist dismissal of anyone and everyone of differing view. So it was that Breitbart told last yearLeft-Wing New Media Bubble Bursting”. The prime target was BuzzFeed News, but “From Gawker to Salon to the Huffington Post, they all seem to be in trouble”. Sad!

But Breitbart was successful: “Breitbart News smashed company traffic records in July, generating 192 million pageviews, 31 million unique visitors, and 89 million sessions. Last month’s metrics pushed the conservative news giant to over one billion pageviews so far in 2016–a 28% jump in 30 days from last month’s previous record high … A core driver of Breitbart’s growth remains its commitment to delivering content in myriad formats that give news consumers what they want, when they want, and how they want” they claimed.

By last month, Breitbart was even attacking Facebook: “In a post on Medium, Tribune deputy editor Kurt Gessler revealed that the paper had seen a rapid decline in its median Facebook organic post reach after November, with the number of articles being read by fewer than 10,000 readers ‘skyrocketing’ according to Gessler’s analysis of the data”.

But at the end of last year, as Zelo Street noted at the time, advertisers were signalling their distaste at the incessant outpouring of hatred coming out of Breitbart, and by mid-February, a thousand ad deals had upped sticks and left. Towards the end of the month, that figure had increased to 1,250. And now traffic is deserting Breitbart in droves.
As Vanity Fair has told, “As of May 26, 2017, according to alexa.com - the same web-ranking analytics company that Breitbart drew its numbers from in January - Fox News is the 64th most-trafficked site in the country. Huffington Post is at 60. Buzzfeed is at 50. The Washington Post, on the strength of a series of eye-popping scoops, is at 41 … Breitbart is in 281st place”. It had been ranked as high as 29th place.

What happened? Simples. When the Trump presidency began to hit trouble, Breitbart tried to pretend it wasn’t happening. The same problem hit Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse), which has lost viewers: people know that Trump is in the mire, so if they aren’t going to get the story from Fox, they’ll switch to CNN or MSNBC.

And the Breitbart campaign to get readers to boycott companies that won’t advertise with them? That’s been a failure, too. With this level of success, Breitbart will be heading for the obscurity it so richly deserves. Hopefully that will include the demise of Delingpole and Kassam. It couldn’t happen to two more deserving useful idiots.

Corbyn On Terror - Press Out Of Touch

The speech given yesterday morning by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, where he linked the UK’s adventures abroad - mainly Iraq, but also bombing in Libya and Syria - to the heightened risk of home-grown terrorism, has predictably set the Tories off on the mother of all displays of righteousness. How dare this ghastly socialist chappie tell us that it’s all our fault? Except he didn’t say that, and the public sees it differently.
What the Tories have clearly decided to do in response to Corbyn’s speech is to tell anyone who will listen what they say he said, even though it may not actually bear any relation to the Labour leader’s words or meaning. So the increasingly downmarket and desperate Telegraph has told readers “Corbyn is making excuses for terror attacks, says May … Furious PM accuses Labour leader of justifying atrocities by linking them to British foreign policy”. He didn’t say that, either. But you get the drift.

This line of instant condemnation had clearly been handed down from on high, and had some unintentionally hilarious results, such as Michael Fallon being quoted a speech by Channel 4 News host Krishnan Guru-Murthy which the Tories’ dead cat deployer in chief instantly denounced, before being informed it had been made by Boris Johnson.

More reliably for the Tories, the Mail has also weighed in against Jezza, claiming “Theresa May lashed out at Jeremy Corbyn tonight for making 'excuses' for terrorists after he linked UK foreign policy to the Manchester bombing … The Prime Minister accused the Labour leader of saying terror attacks are 'our own fault' and condemned him for delivering the controversial speech just four days after the atrocity”.

But when she says “There can be no excuse for terrorism. There can be no excuse for what happened in Manchester”, Corbyn would most likely agree with her, indeed, he was careful to stress “The blame is with the terrorists”. He also said “But we must be brave enough to admit the war on terror is simply not working”.

And there was bad news for the Tories and their cheerleaders: they are significantly out of touch with public opinion on this issue. YouGov yesterday asked this question: “In a speech today, Jeremy Corbyn will address ‘the connections between wars our Government has supported or fought in other countries and terrorism here at home’. Do you believe that wars that the UK has supported or fought are or are not in part responsible for terror attacks against the UK?

The response was to show 53% of those expressing an opinion agreed that those wars had, at least in part, been responsible for terror attacks against the UK, with 24% disagreeing. 23% of respondents did not express an opinion either way.

So by a majority of more than two to one, the public appears to side with Corbyn, not Theresa May. And then doubling down by saying Jezza said something he didn’t will only increase voter distrust and cynicism - but only towards the Tories.

The imperial progress of the great Empress Theresa isn’t going too well. I wonder why.

Uber London On The Way Out

Where London leads on the game-changing public transport decisions, the rest of the UK invariably takes note and ultimately follows suit. It was the decision by the newly-formed London Transport in the 1930s to abandon tramways that sealed the fate of big city tram operations after World War 2. Many cities replaced trams with trolleybuses; when London threw in the towel there in the early 1960s, that was the end for that technology, too.
These major precedents may not yet be weighing on the mind of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and his fellow modern-day transportation robber barons, but the decision this week by Transport for London not to wave through a renewal of Uber’s five-year operator’s license really does mean that the tide may have finally turned. The new Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has not been afraid to make the tough decisions which his predecessor ducked.

Under the occasional presence of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, wasteful vanity projects such as the Cable Car, all those buses that are not Routemasters, and of course the Garden Bridge, were waved through. Not any more: Khan has effectively killed off the Garden Bridge fiasco, and now Uber has been given a renewal of its license - but only for four months. And it may not be renewed beyond that point.

While TfL has told “Uber London Limited has been granted a four-month private hire operator licence. This will allow us to conclude our consideration of a five-year licence”, the Guardian noted “Another factor in TfL’s deliberations is its consultation into private hire vehicles. The proposals could see the licence fees for Uber and other large private hire operators rise dramatically, from about £3,000 over a five-year period to more than £2m”.

This would be peanuts for Uber, which has a war chest measured in the billions of dollars, but their operations are losing money at a worrying rate. If they have to devote more resources to ensuring the health and safety of drivers and riders, and also treat their drivers like employees, those losses could multiply.

On top of that, many Uber drivers are not even managing to bring in the minimum wage, often meaning this apparently private enterprise is being subsidised indirectly by the state through tax credits and other benefits. That is not good enough.

Worse, Uber’s weasel words - “Millions of Londoners rely on Uber to get a reliable ride at the touch of a button and thousands of licensed drivers make money through our app. We look forward to continuing to help keep London moving” - are jaw-dropping dishonesty. The over-supply of private hire vehicles within the capital, which is mainly down to Uber, is clogging up already congested roads and slowing traffic to a crawl.

Uber never was about technology. It was about driving out established taxi and private hire providers and replacing them with a monopoly that can then be used to screw over the travelling public. As such, it belongs in the same place as all the other unsuccessful such attempts - in the dustbin of history. TfL may just have helped it on its way.

Uber’s media cheerleaders have fallen silent. And as losses mount, regulators and Governments are finally acting. The brief age of Uber was for a time, but not for all time.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Tommy Robinson Escapes Jail

For those at Rebel Media, which isn’t a far-right media outlet, honestly, the succession of alleged exposés led by former EDL head man Tommy Robinson and featuring his pet creep Caolan Robertson came to a shuddering halt outside Canterbury Crown Court recently when Robinson and his pal turned up seeking to put some of their polite questions to four men standing trial for the alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl.
Tommy Robinson ...

These, Robinson had already concluded, were “Muslim Paedos”. The repeated assertion - Robertson also made the claim - that the four were already guilty was in retrospect not a wise move. It may have been a contributory factor in Robinson being subsequently arrested in a dawn raid at his home in the Luton area, taken to Kent, and then bailed on charges of contempt of court. Robinson returned to court on Monday.

This time the former EDL man had donned a suit and tie, and there had been plenty of advance publicity suggesting he was the victim in all of this. A photo showing him “behind bars”, and with the caption “SAVE TOMMY”, had been widely distributed. The thought that it would have been easier for him and his side-kick to learn the basics of the contempt law, and then abide by its provisions, was not allowed to enter.

Now, thanks to the people at Kent Live, we know what happened on Monday afternoon, when Caolan Robertson made great play of his pal Tommy being freed after his court appearance and going home to his family. The reality is that he had pleaded guilty to contempt of court charges - he had little option, given he was caught in the act trying to film within a court building, in violation of signage telling him it was forbidden.

As Kent Live explains, “He was looking to photograph or confront the defendants who included a juvenile which is against the Contempt of Court Act of 1925 - which makes it illegal to photograph witnesses, defendants or jurors within the court precincts”.
... and friends (Caolan Robertson at centre right)

And his excuse? You’ll love this: “Robinson claimed he had only been working for an internet TV company for six weeks and hadn't been taught media law”. A big boy did it and ran away. He could have been arguing in his spare time.

Judge Heather Norton was unimpressed: “Your intention beyond any doubt was to film the defendants but you were not able to do so … This was a deliberate action on your part … Your intention was to seek out the defendants. It is abundantly clear you were on a mission to film the defendants.This is not about free speech or freedom of the press, legitimate journalism or political correctness”. And it got worse - a lot worse.

This is about justice. It is about being innocent until proven guilty … I find clear evidence of contempt. I take a dim view of your actions. If you commit further offences this sentence will be activated”. That sentence was three months in jail, suspended for 18 months.

His lawyer claimed the Scary Muslims (tm) were out to get him: “He is a marked man. This is not fanciful. He will be put in jeopardy if he goes to prison. Today could be a life changing event”. Well, there’s a straightforward remedy for that.

And that’s to stay the right side of the law. Like most of the rest of us do.

New Corbyn Terror Smear BUSTED

As hostilities resume in the General Election campaign, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has wisely decided to take the initiative on a subject which might just be at the top of many floating voters’ agendas: keeping people and communities safe and secure in the face of a variety of threats, especially that posed by terrorists. Needless to say, this has resulted in Tories and their cheerleaders tutting and sneering. But Jezza does have a point.
Here’s what he said: “An informed understanding of the causes of terrorism is an essential part of an effective response that will protect the security of our people. That fights rather than fuels terrorism … many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed out the connections between wars that we have been involved in, or supported, or fought, in other countries and terrorism here at home”.

There was more. “That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children. Those terrorists will forever be reviled and implacably held to account for their actions … The blame is with the terrorists, but if we are to protect our people we must be honest about what threatens our security … We must be brave enough to admit the 'war on terror' is simply not working”. He also said “Do not doubt my determination to take whatever action is necessary to keep our country safe”.

So far, so reasonable, but for those out there on the right, Corbyn had to be rubbished before voters started to get ideas about voting Labour. So overnight, the Murdoch Sun lifted a previously paywalled Times article from Iain Martin which trowelled on the scorn: “Almost without fail, Corbyn has expressed support for this country’s enemies, opposed British military deployments overseas or sided with assorted fringe elements who say we deserve what we get … The man is by no reasonable ­definition a patriot”.
Martin claims - wrongly - that Corbyn supported the IRA, then tells anyone still reading “Jeremy Corbyn must not become Prime Minister … He is a risk to national ­security”. I have no doubt Martin was well paid for this formulaic abuse. And abuse is all it is.

Name calling is not going to cut it with the electorate, and nor is claiming that Theresa May, who showed every sign of falling apart over the Tories’s social care plans, is a “steady leader in a crisis”. Others on the right fare little better, notably the loathsome Toby Young, who is also alert to Jezza’s latest move. He has responded via Twitter.

Twitter 77 years ago: Lord Haw-Haw is right you know. If we hadn't declared war on Germany they wouldn't be bombing us. We'd all be safer”. Where does one start? One, had we not declared war on Germany, it is more than possible they would not have bombed us. Two, which part of the world had Britain just invaded and destabilised prior to World War 2 kicking off? There wasn’t one.
And three, Tobes, remember what Eliza Manningham Buller said about the Iraq war: “Whatever the merits of putting an end to Saddam Hussein, the war was also a distraction from the pursuit of al-Qaeda. It increased the terrorist threat . . . [and] spurred some British Muslims to turn to terror”. I’ll take the word of a former MI5 head over Captain Bellend.

Jeremy Corbyn has cut through with the public. That the Tories and their pals are hurling abuse first, and debating second, tells you who is scared. No surprise there, then.

Katie Hopkins SACKED By LBC

She was “only telling it like it is”. It was all about free speech. People had a right to say the unsayable. All those who passed adverse comment were little more than armchair censors. To exclude these views was no more than political correctness gone mad. This was not a sign of division and hate, but the healthy result of a free society. It was all about challenging accepted norms and speaking up for the underdog.
Viewers may want to look away now

But in the case of pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins, there was, as Captain Blackadder might have observed, only one thing wrong with this idea - it was bollocks. Ms Hopkins may be revered by those out on the far right, where paranoia is never far below the surface whenever anyone so much as mentions the Scary Muslims (tm), but her loudly paraded ignorance and bigotry is little short of hate speech and incitement.
So it was the day after the Manchester bombing, when Hatey Katie took to Twitter to tell the world that she was right, and everyone who disagreed with her, er, wasn’t: “Politicians. Do not insult us with your platitudes. Do not tell us we stand shoulder to shoulder. The dead never carry on as normal”. Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham was ridiculed.
Disgusting. Business as usual. Tell that to the mother of the child felled by nails and bolts” she scolded. And then she not only veered towards the decency line, but drove very directly straight across it: “22 dead. Number Rising. Schofield. Don’t you even dare. Do not be part of the problem. We need a final solution”. One could almost imagine her as a female Dr Strangelove, holding down that twitchy right arm.
It was clear that Ms Hopkins knew she had messed up when she changed the offending words to “We need a true solution” and then tried to explain it away as a “typo”. From that point on, she was in deep trouble. The fateful Twitter excursion was reported to the Police. Yet more people complained to broadcaster LBC, where she had been inexplicably given a weekly show. And it was the latter complaints that have now yielded results.
LBC have this morning told “LBC and Katie Hopkins have agreed that Katie will leave LBC effective immediately”. No show next Sunday, no more shows, and most importantly for someone with a six-figure legal bill hanging over her head, no more money.
Others in the media have not exactly been rushing to her defence: Rupert Myers Tweeted “Katie Hopkins is no longer a broadcaster for @LBC - well done @global”. Myers, who features in GQ and the Telegraph, is not exactly a raving lefty. Giles Dilnot, formerly of the BBC’s Daily and Sunday Politics, summed up the Hopkins problem: “It was so transparently calculated to keep a gravy train going. Outrage artifice, cash contrarianism …. gimme gimme TV I'll say ANYTHING”. So she did. And this is where it led.
Katie Hopkins was too much even for the Murdoch Sun. Now she has proved too much for LBC. It is not outside the bounds of possibility that she will prove intellectually incapable of taking that on board sufficiently to ever mount a comeback.

The age of Katie Hopkins was for a time, but not for all time. Just rejoice at that news.

UKIP Farce Endangers Tories

The dwindling and increasingly desperate convocation of saloon bar propper-uppers otherwise known as UKIP proved their genteel sensibility over the Manchester bombing by being the first political party to resume campaigning yesterday, when comedy party leader Paul Nuttall, aka the Bad Bootle Meff, stood before the press - and some of his more vocal supporters - to remind the world that Kippers were toughest on Scary Muslims (tm).
As ITV News observed, UKIP “has put public safety and immigration issues back to the top of the political agenda … The main focus of the manifesto launch was security and the threat from radical Islam … Paul Nuttall promised an extra 20,000 troops and 20,000 extra police”. He also claimed that the manifesto had gone to press before the Manchester attack. It certainly plays on voters’ security fears.

After Nuttall “said he favoured a ‘far more muscular approach to social integration’, wants to ban the burka and said he made no apology for repeating his claim that radical Islam was ‘a cancer that needs to be cut out’”, he had more pearls of wisdom to dispense. “‘It is not good enough to light candles and proclaim that extremists will not beat us,’ he insisted … ‘Action is required on multiple fronts’”.

And with that, he and manifesto author Suzanne Evans tried to play down the suggestion that they were somehow blaming Theresa May for security failings which may have made the Manchester bomber’s task easier, while making it clear that they really did blame Theresa May for what happened in Manchester - well, perhaps.

The questionably argued presentation then descended beneath farce as the assembled media representatives pitched their questions. Nuttall and Ms Evans were more than happy to field them - the problem was that the UKIP supporters in the room did not approve of anyone suggesting that their manifesto, and their great leader, were anything less than Very Wonderful. The heckling spilled over into direct abuse.

So that might have been that, except that later in the day the first post-Manchester poll, a YouGov one for the Murdoch Times, showed that the Tories’ lead had come down to a mere five points. Their vote share was now 43%, with Labour up to 38%. That would translate into an overall majority for The Blue Team of just five seats - in other words, if accurate, the Tories would actually lose ground compared to two years ago.

Why should UKIP have any influence on voters after such a farcical manifesto launch? Simples. The Tories’ numbers have been reckoned to have been swelled by voters deserting the Kippers. If enough of those voters now conclude that Theresa May isn’t as serious as Nuttall and his pals about security - with their promise of more Police and troops - then they might think about moving back to UKIP.

That means the Tories and their press pals could end up fighting a war on two fronts - continuing the barrage against Jeremy Corbyn on the one hand, while having to fend off UKIP on the other. Politics, as ever, remains excellent spectator sport.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Katie Hopkins Manchester Smear BUSTED

As the Manchester bombing was claimed by ISIS, or whatever they’re called this week, there was the inevitable parade of Islamophobia masquerading as Proper Journalism  following on behind. The Scary Muslims (tm) done it! So, with the predictability of night following day, there had to be an intervention from pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins, who at least attempted to be cordial this time. Perhaps her clock had stopped.
Viewers may want to look away now

Ms Hopkins contacted Ben de Pear of Channel 4 News after seeing an item on Wednesday’s edition from the vigil in Manchester. There was a live debate featuring people from the city’s part of the Libyan diaspora, which appeared to displease her.

Her email asked “Can you help me understand three points for a column I am writing … why did you allow the interview with the Libyan community - including a woman with a T shirt featuring weapons, and a man who was a proponent of sharia - on Channel 4 News when the country has been hit by tragedy … do you regret your editorial judgment on this … and if not, why have [you] deleted the link to the clip. Was this a response to the content or complaints”. Questions mark absence courtesy of Dan Hodges there.

So there you have it - interviewing anyone with Libyan heritage when one of their number was the suicide bomber should bar them from being interviewed. Hatey Katie is always good for a bit of collective punishment and guilt assumption.
But it was over the woman and her “guns” T-shirt that Ms Hopkins came badly unstuck. As Channel 4 News said in reply to her, “On Wednesday Channel 4 News broadcast this live debate at a vigil for the Manchester bombing victims. When it was brought to our attention that the woman being interviewed by Krishnan Guru-Murthy was wearing a gun-themed T-shirt, we removed the online versions to investigate”.

Then came Katie’s bad news. “We are now satisfied that the intention of that image is to subvert weaponry and is an anti-violence protest T-shirt … The image was made famous in 2013 when the singer Jennifer Hudson was pictured wearing a very similar design, which spelled out the word ‘love’ in guns and other weapons. She told fans ‘It’s time to turn all of that into this LOVE’”. Not a good assumption, Katie.

The statement also noted “members of the local Muslim community gave their reactions to the bombing … several spoke of their devastation and also took the chance to speak out against extremism … It is now available to view online”.
Strangely enough, there has not yet been a response from Hatey Katie. How she will spin the Channel 4 News item to show that the rotten MSM is in league with the Scary Muslims (tm) who are all hell-bent on feeding us Falafel and stopping right-thinking Brits from venturing down the Rub-A-Dub so they can become Elephants Trunk and Mozart will no doubt be a joy to behold. But her suggestion of improper behaviour is totally wrong.

Still, she needs to keep those trashy Mail Online columns, and appearances on Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse), after that libel loss earlier this year. So there will be more of this playing to the Muslim bashing gallery. What a waste of time and money.

Mail’s Sick Bomb Death Intrusion

After the Manchester bombing, with the sad inevitability of night following day, has come the continuing spectre of press intrusion, the grotesque invasion into the privacy of grieving families, relatives and friends by the Fourth Estate, newly emboldened in their plumbing of even greater depths by the knowledge that they have Theresa May in their pocket and can carry on behaving as they like.
Who f***ing says we're intrusive, c***? Er, with the greatest of respect, Mr Jay

And at the head of those intruding on families’ grief have been the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker at the Mail titles, and most notoriously Mail Online, who want Facebook subjected to the harshest of sanctions, while protesting long and loud that they are part of our free and fearless press, and can please themselves.
The moment of truth for all those who thought press intrusion was just a ruse cooked up by the folks at Hacked Off came just before 1025 hours today when the Daily Mail Twitter feed  told its followers “First aider reveals eight-year-old terror victim cried out for her mother in her final moments … SAFFIE’S FINAL MOMENTS”. The reaction was immediate.
You utter slime bags give proper decent journalists a bad name. Congratulations on plumbing new depths … Disgusting … not OK to publish this information … Delete this … You have no shame? No dignity? The question is rhetorical … Piss poor journalism and you know it is, this has to be deleted … shame on you”.
There was more, and remember, these are people who consciously follow the Mail’s Twitter account. “Of course she cried out for her mother - she was 8, terrified and dying … Imagine the grief for her family … The Daily Mail are disgusting … Shame on you, you sick, sick people … Have some decency and respect … Somebody’s dying words should be private … You are a repulsive disgrace … why would you even print this”.
The condemnation was unceasing: “How low can you sink? Shame on you … This is disgraceful … Take this down … Do we need to know this? This was an 8 year old kid. For goodness sake, remove this story … This is not news, this is the opposite of journalism … Please take this down. Show some respect for the child and consideration for her friends and family. Journalism at its worst”. There was much more in this vein.
The Mail did, eventually, take the Tweet down. But the story is still up - this typed at 1200 hours today - at Mail Online. One wonders if the first responder whose testimony the Mail has used actually knew who he was talking to, and to what use it would be put. But once again, as has been warned so many times in the past, by press campaigners and groups like Hacked Off, the press behaves like this - because they can.
Unless the family of this unfortunate little girl complain to sham press regulator IPSO, the Mail will not even bother to apologise. Even then, because they took the Tweet down, there will most likely not even be a rap on the knuckles. And this is the kind of behaviour that Theresa May and her party is happy to see continue.

This is the kind of Strength and Stability voters are being sold - the kind that screws over the little people in order to score more sales and clicks. You have been warned.

Sun IRA Witness IS PROVEN LIAR

In among the mayhem of Monday night’s bombing in Manchester, and the immediate change of focus away from the General Election campaign, the Sun’s Tuesday morning splash, another crude attempt to try and associate Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with the Provisional IRA, has momentarily faded from view. The Murdoch goons will not mind that at all. Because it was a story built on a very shaky foundation.
The shakiness was provided by the Sun’s star witness, Sean O’Callaghan, who claimedJOHN McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn were treasured by the IRA as unambiguous supporters of the armed struggle … I know this to be true from my own experience … That support, in their case, ticked every box … Useful idiots, agents of influence and fellow travellers”. Just what the Sun and their Tory pals would have wished for.

But here a problem enters: Sean O’Callaghan is what might be termed an unreliable witness. Those less charitably disposed towards him might dispense with the niceties and call him a liar. Take the aftermath of the Omagh bombing: O’Callaghan was to have given evidence at the subsequent civil action. Mr Justice Morgan decided against allowing this: O’Callaghan, he told, was a “practised deceiver”. And there is more - much more.

Anthony Mcintyre, a former IRA volunteer turned journalist, had this to say in 2014: “Bluntly put, Sean O'Callaghan is not a credible source. Indeed, I would require substantial independent corroboration before I would accept any of his claims about the PIRA. I say this not only because his most outlandish allegations are implausible per se, but because Sean O'Callaghan is - by his own admission - an accomplished liar who has often lied to the Gardaí, the RUC, and the media”. And there was more still.

Back in 1997 in an Irish Times article, titled “Murderer served IRA and Garda but mostly himself”, Vincent Browne discussed the violent murder of one John Corcoran, noting “The killing was acknowledged by the IRA to have been perpetrated by one of its members”. The IRA “alleged that he was scheming with a named Cork Garda detective to trap members of the organisation in a bogus robbery”.
Tom Newton Dunn - the real useful idiot

Who was that killer? “The IRA murderer was none other than Sean O'Callaghan. That awful murder was done precisely at the time that O'Callaghan now claims he was acting as an agent of the Irish Government seeking to sabotage ‘violent and criminal plans’”. Implausibly, he claimed to be an informer, but murdered Corcoran … for informing.

There were other singularly creative claims: “He said he … told his handlers that he'd aborted a plan to kill Prince Charles and Princess Diana at a charity event they were attending in 1983”. But the same Belfast Telegraph article notes “A number of O'Callaghan's claims have been ridiculed by republicans, who say he's a fantasist”.

Sean O’Callaghan cannot be trusted any further than he could be usefully chucked. All of the information in this post is readily available, and had the Sun’s non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn, whose name appeared on the byline of the Tuesday morning splash, bothered to do his research, he could easily have found it out.

But that is not the point: Newton Dunn had his orders, and they were to smear Corbyn. That smear was backed up by a proven liar. He knew that. I’ll just leave that one there.