Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Friday, 21 July 2017

Tim Montgomerie Launches Another Flop

Some journalists tend to think rather a lot of themselves, imagining that what they say and write shakes the political establishment” wrote Roy Greenslade of the serially clueless Tim Montgomerie recently. Greenslade is one of the few commentators to have, like me, seen through Monty’s faux, overhyped pundit expertise.
He concluded his appraisalyou have to admire the man for rising from nowhere to become a media ‘star.’ Then again, you have to wonder at journalists for giving him so much unwarranted attention”. Then, it was Monty leaving the Tory Party in a huff over its stand on the EU. Now, he is again being feted, because he has launched, along with some others, a brave new website called Unherd.

Unherd comes hard on the heels of Monty’s failed The Good Right, which was an attempt to put a human face on the Tories in particular, to campaign for social justice. The project fizzled out, not least because most of his pals out there on the right couldn’t give a crap about those at the bottom of the pile, save to use beggars for kicking practice.

And Zelo Street regulars will need no reminding of Monty’s ultimate wrong call, when in response to the news of phone hacking at the Murdoch Screws, he claimedThis is about revenge, not phone taps”, and said the story was a Labour attempt to get payback for Damian McBride. The Screws was being run as a borderline criminal enterprise, and was later closed down as part of the Murdoch’s original failed bid to takeover 100% of Sky.

Still, on he goes, seemingly following in the footsteps of the likes of Piers Morgan, and failing upwards: now he is launching Unherd. And sadly, what is being produced there does not inspire confidence. Take, for instance, Monty’s article “Biased. Negative. Remote. News industry gets low marks from Brits and Americans”. This is no more than the recycling of old news where the UK is concerned.
Two months ago, Press Gazette reported on the EBU’s research on trust in written press, and showed Britain at the bottom of the pile on a lousy -51 trust score. But Monty’s worst howler is to suggest that the news industry - in which he has been a willing participant for several years, unlike those of us out in the New Media world - is somehow “not working”.

To enable him to progress his inquiries, he has turned to the kinds of people in, er, the same industry he is investigating and criticising. Terms like Pointless Waste Of Time And Space do not adequately describe this poor, yet predictable, move. Nor does employing the dubious talents of Doug Murray the K to pass adverse comment on reporting of terror attacks. And then there is the controversy over who is paying the bills.

Unherd has offices in The Shard; no slumming it in the cheaper and less well appointed parts of the capital for Monty. Rumours are circulating that Paul Marshall, a Brexit backer who bunged Vote Leave £200,000, has opened his wallet for the cause. Just how independent can Unherd be, if it’s dependent on hedge fund bosses for its existence?

A few “names” have agreed to talk to Unherd. Others have agreed to contribute, in order to generate More And Bigger Paycheques For Themselves Personally Now. But the result is a mish-mash that is as confusing as it is pointless. Nevertheless, I wish Unherd well, and look forward to celebrating its first birthday. If there is one.

Katie Hopkins Pals Money Cut Off

While the C-Star languishes in Port Suez, having been intercepted by the Egyptian authorities en route from Djibouti to the Sicilian port of Catania, all those who thought they had gone out to the Mediterranean to join the ship are now left kicking their heels. That includes pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins, who has been reduced to Tweeting the movements of search and rescue vessels and snarking about them.
Viewers may want to look away now

Pretending to understand the terminology, she Tweeted “Rescue boats now in holding pattern over in zone 1 (the Heathrow of the Med). Vos Hestia eta at holding point 0600hrs 22.07.17 … Vos Hestia progressing to the 'Heathrow of the Med' - (Libyan rescue zone 1) & into holding pattern. Pick up date est 22 July”. The Vos Hestia is the ship she didn’t get anywhere near. They, like so many others, saw her coming.
Moreover, she won’t be going anywhere near the Search and Rescue area for several weeks, if at all, after the C-Star got nicked in Suez. This boat is slow enough for it to take several more days from when the Egyptians release it to get to Catania, and even then, it may not be allowed into port. And what is worse - much worse - for Hatey Katie, some of her pals have been summarily cut off from their funds.
Joe Mulhall told his Twitter followers “Great news @Patreon have taken the principled stance to remove @Lauren_Southern and @Martin_Sellner from #DefendEurope from their website!” So that’s another way of getting paid that the Defend Europe stalwarts can’t use. Ms Southern simply commented “Patreon just deleted my account”, while Sellner owned up as to why Patreon had taken their action.
It appears that you are currently raising funds in order to take part in activities that are likely to cause loss of life. We have therefore decided to remove your page from Patreon, and paid out your final balance of $441.05 to you … Please know that we have come to this decision after a long review process and will not consider an appeal” was the verdict handed down by Patreon. Note “Activities likely to cause loss of life”.
And these are the people with whom Katie Hopkins is teaming up. Not only that, because she’s been advertising this jaunt via Mail Online - and the latter’s Twitter feed advertised her most recent dispatch from the Med, before someone at Northcliffe House saw sense and pulled the piece - these activities impact directly on the reputation of the mainstream press. Did they realise what they were getting into?
Whatever knowledge the Mail Online people did or did not have, they have no excuse now. They were told that Ms Hopkins was joining a motley convocation of Nazis, white supremacists, Holocaust deniers and other specimens of forthright bigotry. The C-Star then got arrested in Port Suez. Now Patreon has distanced itself after concluding that what this group is doing is “likely to cause loss of life”.

Mail Online now has no choice. It cannot continue its association with Katie Hopkins until her contract expires, most likely in November. They must dispense with her services, and do it now. Otherwise they are as guilty of promoting this deadly charade as she is.

Nigel Farage - Euro Pants On Fire

[Update at end of post]

Already in trouble over his on-air claim thatSweden have taken more young male migrants than any other country in Europe [not true] And there has been a dramatic rise in sexual crime in Sweden, so much so that Malmo is now the rape capital of Europe, and some argue, perhaps the rape capital of the world, and the Swedish media, frankly, just don’t report it”, former UKIP Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage is at it again.
Squeaky lying on air again finger up the bum time

Nige once again used the platform inexplicably given to him by broadcaster LBC to expound on his favourite prejudice, the EU, and in particular, Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. He had decided that, as he believed Britain did not need to make any payments to the EU as part of the “divorce settlement”, there must be something in Article 50 to back him up. Sadly, there was not. So he made it up anyway.
This is Article 50 ...

Farage could be seen holding up a piece of paper, which did not bear the signature of himself or the German Chancellor. It bore the words “Article 50 … The rights and obligations deriving from the Treaties would therefore extinguish”. Here, he concluded, was his evidence that Britain would not have to pay anything to the EU after 2020. He Tweeted out “Even Article 50 claims we would have no obligation to pay anything to the EU after 2020”. Take that, cheese-eating surrender Europhiles!
... and this is NOT Article 50

But, as Captain Blackadder might have observed, there was only one thing wrong with this idea - it was bollocks. One, that wording does not come from Article 50 (no surprise there). Two, the wording, which comes from a February 2016 European Parliament briefing paper on Article 50, has been taken out of context. It actually reads “The rights and obligations deriving from the Treaties would therefore extinguish, at least to the extent agreed between the EU and the withdrawing state”. Subject to agreement.
So it was no surprise that Mr Thirsty later decided to delete the Tweet he had sent out, in which he held up the piece of paper with his fraudulent “Article 50” statement on it. Sadly for him, the assembled Twitterati were on the ball, and wasted no time in passing adverse comment on yet another pack of lies from the former head Kipper.
Davide Denti, over in Brussels, pointed out “1. That's not what [Article 50] says, you just made it up … 2. Nobody can see that piece of paper, Nigel, you're *on the radio*”. Minor point, eh? Nige probably saw the late Ian Paisley do something similar in the European Parliament once and thought it might be cool to emulate him.
Steve Peers was also on Nige’s case: “No such words in Article 50. Check for yourself” he replied, giving a link for Article 50, rather than a highly selective form of words from something that was not Article 50. He added “Put another way: he's lying to you (h/t @SebDance)”, tagging the Labour MEP who called out Farage in the European Parliament for lying. Which he seems to do rather a lot.

Do not take anything Nigel Farage says on Article 50, the EU more generally, or anything politics related as true unless you have a reliable second source to back it up. He’s an habitual liar and cannot be trusted any further than he could usefully be chucked.

[UPDATE 1435 hours: LBC has now come clean and effectively admitted that Farage had his trousers alight during his show yesterday evening.
Under the heading "Nigel Farage On Article 50: A Clarification", the excuse note tells "LBC can clarify that a comment made by Nigel Farage on his show last night was not accurate".

That's a most charitable way of putting it. But at least the broadcaster knows about Mr Thirsty's propensity to rank dishonesty now]

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Grayling Rail Scandal EXPOSED

A slice of PR spin that would not have been out of place emanating from the Ministry of Truth was sneaked out today by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling. This told of all the wonderful new developments which would be taking place on the national rail network. Except what it actually told was that many of the developments that had been promised for many years would no longer be taking place. It was, mostly, an excuse note.
Hang on lads, I've got a great idea

Several electrification schemes had been on the drawing board; some were actually in progress - until today. In particular, Grayling’s good news included the curtailment for the foreseeable future of schemes to electrify from Cardiff to Swansea, Kettering to Sheffield via both Derby and Nottingham, and even Oxenholme to Windermere in the Lake District.

So what happens when the shiny new electric trains from London arrive at Cardiff, or, more to the point, pass Kettering at a steady 110mph? Ah, but all will not be lost, as the great Grayling tells “New bi-mode train technology offers seamless transfer from diesel power to electric that is undetectable to passengers”. The sound of jaws hitting the deck will be audible anywhere anyone knows one end of the rail industry from the other.

There is nothing “seamless” about bi-mode technology. Yes, the train keeps moving, but on approaching the end of the wires, the diesel engines have to be fired up. The amount of power they can deliver is less than the energy that can be drawn down from the overhead wires, so the train will not accelerate as rapidly. It may slow noticeably on adverse gradients. The passengers will know there is an engine at work under the floor.

But what is worst is that this technology is a less reliable cop-out. Diesel technology is always going to be less reliable than straight electric - there are more moving parts to potentially go wrong. And the trains make less efficient use of the electrified railway, because they weigh more (the dead weight of the diesel engines and fuel tanks) and therefore draw more current. This, too, impacts on performance.
You only get electric train performance and economies ... from electric trains

For those travelling to Windermere, there is a yet greater cop-out: “The industry is also developing alternative fuel trains, using battery and hydrogen power”. The spurious concept invented by Roger Ford, technical editor of Modern Railways magazine, of the “Bionic Duckweed” powered train, comes readily to mind.

When Grayling eagerly tells “we will only electrify lines where it delivers a genuine benefit to passengers … we can improve journeys … sooner than expected … instead of carrying out disruptive electrification works along the whole of these routes”, he is talking the most disingenuous claptrap. From Oxenholme to Windermere, for instance, there would be little disruption, and the electrification could be fed from the West Coast Main Line supply at Oxenholme. Instead, there is the promise of Bionic Duckweed. Or maybe batteries.

There is a good reason all other European Railways are electrifying, and using bi-mode trains as nothing more than a stop-gap, if at all - there is no substitute for electric working when it comes to clean, energy-efficient, comfortable and above all faster and less expensive trains. We pay less money by not electrifying, we pay more in energy costs, maintenance, and other downtime. This announcement is the ultimate false economy.

But it’s the ultimate challenge for the PR wonks, so that’s all right, then.

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.