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Thursday, 23 November 2017

IPSO Approves Nazi Hate Speech

Ever since it was dreamed up by our free and fearless press as a means of pretending that they had moved on from the bad old days of the discredited PCC, sham press regulator IPSO has demonstrated time and again that it is not fit for purpose. As I told Al-Jazeera’s Listening Post strand almost two years ago, IPSO is the same PCC fluid in a differently labelled bottle. It is the press’ poodle, fetching and carrying for them.
Why did Kavanagh cross the road? Because he realised it was in his interests to do so

No episode has shown this more clearly than its latest judgment, which follows a complaint about a Sun column by faithful Murdoch retainer Trevor Kavanagh from August, which, after running the gamut of dog-whistles about Scary Muslims (tm), concluded “One day soon … we will be back in charge of immigration. What will we do about The Muslim Problem then?” That last remark was as deliberate as it was loaded.

In Nazi Germany, it was “The Jewish problem”. Now, for the Murdoch mafiosi, it has been updated as “The Muslim problem”, following on the same pundit’s vicious attack on Channel 4 News presenter Fatima Manji, because she was on duty when news came through of the Nice truck attack. The Murdoch agenda then was that Channel 4 had deliberately used a Muslim presenter to report an alleged Islamist attack.

Soon afterwards, Kavanagh, realising he’d been rumbled peddling Nazi hate speech, tried to worm his way out of it: “My mistake, apparently, was to describe this as ‘the Muslim Problem’ … I can honestly say it never occurred to me that this could be interpreted as a play on ‘the Jewish Problem’ and I will happily apologise to anyone who is thus offended”. The Board of Deputies of British Jews was not impressed.

So it was no surprise when a complaint was made to IPSO. It was also no surprise when IPSO threw it out. There could be no complaint under Clause 1: Accuracy, as it was “only an opinion column”, otherwise known as the “Littlejohn Defence”. And a complaint under Clause 12: Discrimination was also bound to fail.

And so it came to pass: IPSO said on the subject of discrimination that “The Committee noted the complainant’s concern that the article discriminated against Muslims. Clause 12 of the Code protects identifiable individuals from discrimination; it does not relate to discrimination against groups or categories of people. The complainant’s concern that the article discriminated against Muslims in general did not breach Clause 12”.

Yes, our free and fearless press can shit all over followers of The Prophet, providing they treat them as a group. Because the Editor’s Code allows groups to be shat on. The Editor’s Code is clearly unfit for purpose, but hey ho. And there was more.

The Committee acknowledged that the question posed at the end of the column - ‘What will we do about The Muslim Problem then’ - was capable of causing serious offence, given it could be interpreted as a reference to the rhetoric preceding the Holocaust. The Committee made clear that there is no clause in the Editors’ Code which prohibits publication of offensive content. It was clear that many, including the complainant, were offended by this aspect of the article, but there was no breach of the Code on this point”.
You'll have to speak up, I'm a bit Mutt and Jeff

It’s not in the Editor’s Code, so Kavanagh and his pals can get away with it. Once again, the Editor’s Code is unfit for purpose. But nothing will change.

Trevor Kavanagh, to use his own vernacular, knew exactly what he was doing when he wrote that column. To claim otherwise is the most blatant and deliberate lie, and if he wants to take issue with that assertion, he is free to sue me. He won’t.

Also, Kavanagh’s position as a board member of IPSO remains unaffected, a clear “Up Yours” to all victims of press intrusion and misbehaviour over the years.

The reaction to another IPSO ceremonial wiping of the Press Establishment Arse has been less than favourable, as Mark Di Stefano at BuzzFeed News has reported. Marie van der Zyl from the Board of Deputies of British Jews noted “This decision suggests that the IPSO code is unfit for purpose … It is incomprehensible that the committee could at once acknowledge that the article 'was capable of giving serious offence, given it could be interpreted as a reference to the rhetoric preceding the Holocaust', and yet conclude that there was no breach of the code … The IPSO code clearly needs to be reviewed to protect minority groups, not least from comments that echo the tone of Nazi propaganda”.

Miqdaad Versi from the Muslim Council of Britain responded “What is truly astonishing is that regardless of the specifics of the code, IPSO does not seem to have any concern that one of its board members used this Nazi-like phrase about Muslims … One has to wonder what it would take for IPSO to act and remove [Kavanagh] from their board”. That, though, will not happen without the personal approval of Rupert Murdoch.

What has happened here is that IPSO has said that it’s OK to use the language of the Nazis, and indeed of the Holocaust, in order to whip up the mob against Muslims - or, indeed, any group that may in future be selected as a target by our free and fearless press. This, we are assured, is in the spirit of press freedom.

The only hopeful and positive aspect of this whole sorry business is that the Muslim community is no longer alone in tackling the vicious hate speech of the Fourth Estate. After all, the Board of Deputies, as well as Jews across Britain, know that once they finish with the Muslims, they will come after them. It is in the nature of the beast.

Zelo Street has been saying that IPSO is a sham for well over three years. And every time anyone doubts that analysis, the opposition comes riding to the rescue. On the Kavanagh use of Nazi hate speech, they came galloping.

Corbyn Ageism Smear EXPOSED

As Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn responded to Spreadsheet Phil’s Greyest Ever Budget (tm) yesterday in the Commons, something or someone disrupted proceedings to such an extent that there had to be a pause so that order could be restored. And then Jezza let rip at the Tory benches in some style. What might have irked him was not clear at first, and there were some who would rather it have stayed that way.
Those people, to no surprise at all, included the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, who claimedCorbyn Goes Shouty Crackers” (mental health smear: check!) and told readers “Jezza looking a little stressed as he struggled to come up with a response to the Budget”. Mandy Rice Davies Situation there.

What The Great Guido probably knows by now, but isn’t going to let on, is that the cause of that response was a typically sly and vicious smear engineered by the Tory whips. While Corbyn was speaking, Andrew Griffiths, who represents Burton and is a Government whip, was crouching on the gangway steps, hidden from view by the Speaker’s chair by those on the front bench. His position there was clearly not an accident.
Andrew Griffiths MP

When Jezza got to his comments on care homes, Griffiths, knowing the Speaker would not be able to see him - thus avoiding the fate of Dennis Skinner when he very clearly and deliberately called David Cameron “Dodgy Dave” and got chucked out of the chamber - made his move. According to one senior Labour source, Griffiths said “‘you should be in care,’ while another said the remark was ‘put you in a care home’”.

So Corbyn’s response - “Over £6 billion will have been cut from social care budgets by next March … I hope the honourable member begins to understand what it’s like to wait for social care, stuck in a hospital bed, while other people are having to give up their work to care for them! The uncaring, uncouth attitude of certain members of parliament needs to be called out” - was entirely understandable. And there was more.
Caught bang to rights

The Mirror noted thatAfter the Mirror published this story, Tory whip Andrew Griffiths admitted he heckled the Labour leader over his age” before observing that Griffiths thought it was all terribly unfair: “But he said quotes attributed to him by Labour were ‘wrong, misleading and inaccurate’”. It was jolly rotten because he got caught.

Griffiths’ problem is that not only did Jezza’s colleague Richard Burgon describe exactly what he was up to, but then someone called Matthew Long took to Facebook to show very clearly how the Tory whip had positioned himself so as to keep out of sight of the Speaker. It’s as if he knew that, had he been caught, he’d have been ejected from the chamber, and as a result would probably have lost his job as a Government whip.

Now all can see the nature of the Tory smear operation: the jeering, sneering, abusive and belittling behaviour is clearly not subject to any restraint, such is the desperation to put Corbyn off his stride. Except this time they got caught. Andrew Griffiths is a nailed-on, 24-carat, copper-bottomed shit of the lowest order, and therefore not big enough to resign.

The dirtier they play, the easier they are to catch out. No surprise there, then.

Dan, Dan The Look Over There Man

Another day, another crack appears in the edifice of the Leave campaign, as an attempt to get observers to “Look over there” ends up being another “Oh what a giveaway” moment. All those involved in the various campaigns to persuade voters that leaving the EU was A Very Good Thing know that they are in trouble. And, despite the bravado, none knows it better than Dan, Dan The Oratory Man, who has been writing at ConHome.
What am I bid for my latest lame article? It's with you, sir, yes, you with the gob and your fifth pint of Spitfire

Hannan lets rip from the word go: “What do you suppose was the biggest problem faced by Brexit campaigners last year? The fact that we were up against the entire government machine? The funding imbalance? The inertia bias of a cautious electorate?” Perhaps it was a man with a pointed stick? Do tell us more, O wise one.

Nope. Speak to almost anyone from Vote Leave HQ and they’ll tell you that by far their worst headache was Leave.EU, the wrecking operation set up by Arron Banks. It caused them ten times as many problems as Downing Street did. By the end, they were convinced that Banks wasn’t interested in winning, only in using the campaign as a vehicle to promote himself and Nigel Farage”. Yeah, Leave EU are poo! And there was more.

What undecided voter, at that stage in the campaign, was suddenly going to be swayed by the image of immigrants in Slovenia? As a way of helping Leave across the line, it was plainly counter-productive. As an attempt to keep Banks and Farage centre-stage, on the other hand, it worked a treat … Banks and Farage were the Leavers Remainers loved”.

Well, I hate to bring a little cold reality to Hannan’s efforts to divert attention, but (a) he’s taken more than a year to lay into Banks and Farage, and (b) the real reason for this diversionary tactic is that Vote Leave - that would be the organisation with which Hannan is closely allied - is now in the mire big time.

As the BBC has reported, “The Electoral Commission has reopened an investigation into Vote Leave's EU referendum spending. The campaign paid £625,000 to clear bills allegedly run up by university student Darren Grimes with a digital agency days ahead of last June's vote. A separate group, Veterans for Britain, received £100,000 from Vote Leave. The campaign denies attempting to get round spending limits - the Electoral Commission initially accepted this but now says it has new information”.

The Guardian addedWatchdog has ‘reasonable grounds to suspect offence was committed’ by Vote Leave and student campaigner who received £625,000 from group” and then made this telling observation: “Grimes told Vote Leave on 13 June last year he would like to use a donation offered at an unknown date the previous week on a digital campaign with Aggregate IQ”. Aggregate IQ. Ring any bells?

Carole Cadwalladr at the Observer showed the closeness of the relationship between Aggregate IQ, which Vote Leave used, and Cambridge Analytica, which Leave EU chose. The two firms had a no-compete agreement. The two campaigns worked more closely together than they admitted. And, as Ms Cadwalladr noted, “The law states that different campaigns must not work together unless they declare their expenditure jointly”.

Vote Leave and Leave EU didn’t do that. Daniel Hannan is demonstrating the first signs of panic by trying to shift the blame elsewhere. But it is already too late.

Stamp Duty - Press Lies BUSTED

After yesterday’s singularly dreary Budget, our free and fearless press had to latch on to something in order to cheer for Theresa May’s beleaguered Government. There had to be one scrap of optimism for them to take and run with, to try and persuade a few of those floating voters back to The Blue Team. And they found it in Philip Hammond’s decision to scrap Stamp Duty for first time buyers on house purchases up to £300,000.
The Mail, in a rambling and self-justificatory headline, told of Hammond’s “boost for housing” and claimed “A MILLION first-time buyers were offered a lifeline yesterday as Philip Hammond brought austerity to a screeching halt with a £25 billion spree”. The increasingly downmarket Telegraph agreed: “Helping half for first-time buyers - Hammond sells ‘dream’ of home ownership with stamp duty cut in optimistic Budget vision”.
And the Murdoch Sun brought readers such not even slightly side splitting gems as “HOUSE ZAT”, “Hammond’s aid for young”, and “Stamp Duty axe to help 1m”, backed by a fantasy editorial claimingChancellor Philip Hammond has at last delivered a Budget for Sun readers … the Budget WAS packed with measures we called for and which will put more cash in our readers’ pockets”. Do go on.
His fuel duty freeze is a victory for our campaign … Booze is frozen too … There were decent hikes to the minimum wage and tax-free allowance … The Chancellor’s railcard for 26-30s is a great boost for Millennials. So is the abolition of stamp duty for first-time buyers on homes up to £300,000”. Yes, Vision And Boundless Hope And Optimism in spades.

Well, I hate to pour cold water on this love-in among those who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet, but the idea that Spreadsheet Phil’s Stamp Duty cut will bring another million first time buyers onto the property ladder is complete crap. I can say this with some confidence as the Office for Budget Responsibility’s assessment says so.
As the ever-vigilant Jo Maugham has pointed out, the relevant paragraph of their Budget analysis includes this nugget: “The costing assumes a small number of additional first-time buyer purchases (around 3,500)”. And how much will it cost? The Government’s own figures show that, between 2017/18 and 2022/23, the measure will generate a cumulative cost of £3.19 billion. Or more than £900,000 for each additional first time buyer.

So what of the mythical million? Sure, over that period there may well be another million first time buyers - but what the Government’s own figures, and the OBR analysis, show is that the vast majority would have entered the housing market anyway. The right-wing press has seen something that looks too good to be true, and guess what? Yes, it once again was too good to be true. And once again they fell for it.

On top of that, the OBR has admitted “It is also possible that non-first-time buyers will abuse the relief. The measure is expected to increase house prices”. But will it cause more houses to be built? As if you need to ask. The guaranteed addition to the housing stock is, sadly, a big round Zero. This measure is a money-wasting gimmick.

What you will not read in the right-wing press. No change there, then.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Tories Present Budget For Themselves

And so it came to pass that Philip Hammond, the true successor to John Major in the greyness league, stepped up to the Dispatch Box to deliver the Budget, the first by a minority Government since Denis Healey delivered the 1978 version for Labour. It soon became clear that Spreadsheet Phil was not quite in the same league as Healey. And it was about rather more than the bushiness of the eyebrows.
What will change? There are much-trumpeted changes to Stamp Duty, but the headline cut is only aimed at first time buyers. Tobacco duty rises; that on beer and wine does not. There are adjustments to the tax-free personal allowance and the National Minimum Wage. The higher-rate tax threshold rises. Money is being set aside for Brexit. But the GDP forecast for the next five years is estimated to be well below 2% growth per annum.
And already the Budget is, in the tradition established by the Rt Hon Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the Seventeenth Baronet, unravelling at some speed. As Sky News’ Faisal Islam has pointed out, “Uh oh... OBR assumes that the stamp duty cut will simply up house prices 1:1 ‘Thus the main gainers from the policy are people who already own property’”. Look for the right-wing press to have the spin machine fired up on that one.
Islam’s colleague Ed Conway noted “This is the first time in modern history that the official UK GDP growth forecasts are below 2% every single year over the forecast horizon”. Joel Hills of ITV added “Chancellor boasts economy growing but performance poor relative to other advanced economies. The gap between us and them likely to widen”.
Stephanie Flanders, now at Bloomberg, riffed on the same theme: “Quite an achievement for small open economy like UK to be slashing growth forecasts when global economy enjoying most synchronised recovery since 2007 and our biggest trading partner is seeing best growth in a decade”. Not much Vision And Boundless Hope And Optimism there.
Then Labour MP Stella Creasy - not known as a screaming leftie - observed “Just to be clear then, government planning to spend more on brexit than the NHS - £3bn to £2.8bn. Look forward to seeing the bus with that on driving around”. It was worse than she thought: as the detail from the Budget shows, the £2.8bn for the NHS is not new money, but will be raised by selling off NHS land. And it gets worse.
Although wages have increased since 2010, rather a lot of other items have increased at a far faster rate: gas bills, water bills, private sector rents, rail and bus fares, and food bills, just to mention a few of those. Food poverty, homelessness, food bank usage, child poverty, zero hours jobs, and indeed debt have all risen dramatically.
And for nurses, doctors, teachers, Police officers, and firefighters, there has been effectively no pay rise for the past seven years; in fact, they have suffered an effective pay cut over that time. But if they so much as utter a peep of protest, the right-wing press is on hand to shout them down, but only in the name of free speech, you understand.

This Budget will be cheered by the rich, secure and otherwise comfortable. Tomorrow’s papers will be generally favourably disposed towards it. But for millions at the bottom of the pile, it will continue to be jam some years beyond tomorrow. No change there, then.

Brillo Backup Also Gets Pwned

After Andrew Neil, host of BBC Daily Politics and This Week - as well as, with his other hat on, being responsible for the Spectator magazine - came off second best in a Twitter exchange with Berlin-based Brit Jon Worth on the subject of the supposed political crisis in Germany, some might have thought the best course of action was to concede defeat, and if possible, do it with good grace. But that thought would have been sadly misplaced.
Yet more for The Great Man to chew on
Iain Dale - pointless intervention

Not only did Neil keep on digging, in petulant defiance of Healey’s Dictum, the exchange sucked in another supposedly upstanding member of the Pundit Establishment, who to no surprise at all also fared less well than his star billing. What that tells you about Neil’s Sunday Politics claim that “We’ll be talking to … the commentators who count”, when so many of their number can’t cut the mustard, I will leave to others.
Neil began by dismissing Worth’s credentials, loftily declaring “I’m sure you’ll forgive me if, despite your clear qualifications, I pay more attention to the German President and experienced commentators like Der SPIEGEL. Will watch this week’s developments with interest”. It was not, in the circumstances, the best available gambit.
This was demonstrated by Worth’s riposte: “Andrew - you said this was the most serious German political crisis since the 1940s … Keep digging by all means, but it isn’t. And neither Spiegel nor Steinmeier has said it is [my emphasis] … Oh, and maybe check a person’s Twitter profile before firing off your missives next time?
Still, if at first you don’t succeed, well, just suck a bit more seed instead. Back came Neil: “I’ve just discovered you’re the numpty who encouraged The Economist’s Berlin correspondent to start a new anti-Brexit centrist party. From Berlin! Closed down in hours. But you want me to take you seriously!” If in doubt, switch to abuse.
Worth dismissed this feeble attempt to get Neil’s followers to “look over there” by noting “One gains the impression I have got under Mr Neil’s skin. Now resorting to personal attacks. One might wonder whether calling someone a numpty is appropriate for someone in his position”. Neil did not respond. But someone else did on his behalf.
That someone was LBC host Iain Dale, also an ostensibly respected member of the Pundit Establishment, who snapped “If you really are offended by @afneil calling you a 'numpty' a) you need to get a life and b) be grateful it wasn't me calling you a name. I'd have called you something far worse”. Worth clearly wasn’t offended, and it would have moved Neil’s argument forward not one jot if Dale had decided to use stronger language.
Still, onwards and, er, onwards, eh? But one onlooker had had enough of the bluster being marshalled in Neil’s defence, and was prepared to use what the Official BBC Announcer might have called Very Strong Language From The Start in saying so. J Clive Matthews, aka Nosemonkey, simply asked “Have you just spent two days finding out that Andrew Neil and Iain Dale are clueless, partisan, arrogant fuckwits?

This is, it has to be conceded, a little OTT. But only a little: Neil had lost the argument, his bluster had not changed that fact, and Dale might as well not have bothered, for all the good his intervention did. The “commentators who count”, eh? Maybe not.

Uber Data Breach Cover-Up EXPOSED

The lawyers acting for driver and rider matching service Uber in its efforts to overturn the decision by Transport for London not to renew the firm’s licence to operate in the capital might wonder if they have accepted the impossible gig, following recent revelations about the firm’s behaviour. News of a massive data breach suggest the Uber London licence campaign may be progressing not necessarily to its advantage.
That is because what happened to Uber was not just a loss of data, but the kind of cover-up which might have made Richard Milhous Nixon blanch. As Bloomberg has reported, “Hackers stole the personal data of 57 million customers and drivers from Uber Technologies Inc., a massive breach that the company concealed for more than a year”.

It got worse. “Compromised data from the October 2016 attack included names, email addresses and phone numbers of 50 million Uber riders around the world, the company told Bloomberg on Tuesday. The personal information of about 7 million drivers was accessed as well, including some 600,000 U.S. driver’s license numbers”.

And worse still: “Here’s how the hack went down: Two attackers accessed a private GitHub coding site used by Uber software engineers and then used login credentials they obtained there to access data stored on an Amazon Web Services account that handled computing tasks for the company. From there, the hackers discovered an archive of rider and driver information. Later, they emailed Uber asking for money, according to the company”.

Now, under (for instance) California law, as the Guardian has pointed out, “companies are required to notify state residents of any breach of unencrypted personal information, and must inform the attorney general if more than 500 residents are affected by a single breach”. That law encourages firms to be open about any data breach.

So what did Uber do? They paid off the hackers to delete the data that had been hacked. You read that right. Uber, under the aegis of its then CEO, the deeply unsavoury Travis Kalanick, bunged the hackers $100,000 to cover it all up. That means Uber is in line to have the proverbial book thrown at it - certainly in California it is.

That’s not all: as the BBC has also reported, “Drivers have been offered free credit monitoring protection, but according to Uber's statement, affected customers will not be given the same”. That’s anything up to 50 million highly pissed off individuals.

And while “Uber's new chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi appears to be starting as he means to go on. In his statement regarding the data breach, he said the company needed to be open and honest if is to ‘repair our past mistakes’”, just who is going to trust an assurance from a firm that has made its name taking such a cavalier approach not just to operating regulations, but every part of the law?

TfL should take a long look at this latest Uber fiasco - and show the firm the door. This is one little Wild West Show that the capital can easily manage without.

Sun Hack’s Boycott Hypocrisy

The collective mardy strop exhibited by those in our free and fearless press towards retail chain Paperchase over its decision to bow to consumer opinion and end its association with the Daily Mail shows no sign of coming to an end any time soon.  Nor does the alternate reality, where a number of hacks and their sympathisers claim that Paperchase is in terrible trouble as a result of its actions, whatever the reality.
David Wooding - far less pleasant than he looks

And nowhere has this idiocy been shown more clearly than by the Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun, who are desperate - which you knew anyway - and also want to show solidarity with the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre in his latest hour of need. So it was that editor for the time being Tony Gallagher, who has stopped telling his followers how many expensive restaurants he visits following Zelo Street calling him out for being out of touch with his readers, endorsed the actions of one of his colleagues.

That colleague was the singularly repellent Sunday political editor David Wooding, who, by complete coincidence you understand, agreed with the rest of the press establishment that the Paperchase action was A Very Bad Thing Indeed. “Here's my opinion. I don't buy goods from firms who are easily intimidated. I am cutting up my loyalty card, will never enter your stores again and will encourage friends and colleagues to do the same”.
This will be a great relief to all those staff and customers who wish he had done that rather earlier. But it also puts him in what Spike Milligan might have called A Very Difficult Position. Because Wooding has twice been associated with organisations that have been successfully targeted by advertising boycotts - indeed, he works for one of them.

You think I jest? Wooding was associate editor (politics) at the late and not at all lamented Screws, which the Murdoch mafiosi closed down in 2011 after the phone hacking scandal burst open and the paper was vilified for hacking a dead schoolgirl’s phone. Advertisers fled. The Screws became the Siberia of Fleet Street - everyone knew where it was, but no-one wanted to go there. Advertiser pressure partly did for the paper.

Yet the supposedly principled Wooding did not leave the Murdoch fold in disgust: indeed, he was soon back in harness at the Sun, then in 2013 he became the political editor for the Sun on Sunday, or Son of Screws. He had no problem buying goods from firms who were “easily intimidated” on that occasion. Nor does he do so when it comes to football.
Wooding is a fan of Liverpool FC. Have a think about that. The Sun trashed the reputation of those who died in the Hillsborough stadium disaster in 1989 thanks to the routinely bad judgment and entrenched bigotry of then editor Kelvin McFilth. The paper has been the subject of a sales boycott across Merseyside ever since. And on top of that, LFC has now decided not to allow Sun hacks into their ground.

Yet stinking hypocrite David Wooding continues to do business with the club. That’s because, like so many of the press establishment and its hangers-on, he’s full of crap, and devoid of any genuine principle. Don’t Buy The Sun.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Brexit Bill Reality Spooks Sun

For those propagandists spinning Britain’s departure from the EU as some great act of liberation, the ultimate answer to the yearning of a people to be free of the bureaucratic straitjacket of the elite, and the start of a new era of Vision And Boundless Hope And Optimism, the moment of reality, where they have to come clean and admit they were deceiving their audience, was never very far away.
He's going to get his way ...

And for the Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun, that moment arrived this week as they were exposed not just as propagandists, but shameless and habitual liars. First, the the relocation of the European Medicines Agency and European Banking Agency was confirmed, to Amsterdam and Paris respectively. Now has come news that Theresa May and her cabinet had admitted it must increase the “divorce settlement” offer.

No more championing London’s former very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson in claiming the EU could “go whistle”. No more of the dishonest pretence the Sun peddled back in April when it told readersEU’RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE Two major London-based European agencies could stay post-Brexit despite EU claims they must be moved, Government insists”. They couldn’t, and they won’t be.
... but she isn't ...

The Lies Of March - “REBATE FOR BRITAIN Theresa May to demand £9billion of assets back from the EU in Brexit divorce talks as ministers prepare to trigger Article 50 within days … Some EU officials have said we could face a £50 billion bill from the bloc - but Government sources say Britain is entitled to get some money back” - didn’t work, either.

July’s “BRIT OF ALRIGHT David Davis’ officials claim to have won victory against EU as Brussels gives UK more time on £85bn divorce bill … Sources claim EU negotiating chief Michel Barnier modified his address at the Commission HQ on Thursday at the last minutewas made-up crap as well, as has become clear to Sun readers today.
... and the EU doesn't care what he thinks

Now, readers are being let down gently, although the mood is still, outwardly at least, defiant.”Prime Minister Theresa May branded Santa after getting Cabinet to sign off £38bn EU divorce bill … Tory backbenchers are furious and have accused Mrs May of caving into the EUblusters an article credited to non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn and alleged “Westminster Correspondent”, the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole.

There is an equally defiant follow-up claiming “Brits will ‘go bananas’ at £40bn Brexit divorce bill which is ‘playing Santa’ for the EU, top Tories warn as Theresa May meets ministers to thrash out size of payment … Rob Halfon and Nigel Evans both said the public do not want to pay huge sums to Brussels”. Nigel Evans and credibility. Yes, well.
And all that was backed up with a ranting editorial packed with anti-EU, anti-Irish, anti-German and indeed anti-reality rhetoric, claiming “It’s the EU that’s in the grip of chaos”, a straight-A F*** right off in one. The problem for the Murdoch mafiosi is that it can no longer hold back the tide of reality. Its readers may take in the propaganda, but one switch on of the TV News in the evening and they see they have been lied to once more.

Those pundits who told us what was going to happen - that the EU would call the shots and we would have to stump up the divorce bill - were ridiculed. But they were right.

Faisal Islam of Sky News - and formerly of Channel 4 News, where they deal in those pesky things called facts - noted after the latest cave-in from the Empress Treeza “In 4 months, Cabinet Brexiteers have gone from: 1. No Transition to a 2 year transition … 2. Parallel trade talks to non-parallel talks … 3. No ECJ transition jurisdiction to No ECJ over new rules … 4. ‘Go Whistle’ to £20bn … 5. £20bn to £40bn”.
He also pointed out that his long read for the Sky News website had already, more or less, laid out this direction of travel. And Jolyon Maugham simply said “EU wants €60bn. We will pay ... about €60bn”. Ultimately, we will do just that. We’ll settle EU citizens’ rights in a way that is acceptable to Michel Barnier and his team. There’ll be no messing around over issues like the Irish border. And we’ll end up accepting the EU terms and conditions.

In other words, the Murdoch goons at the Sun have wilfully and persistently lied to their readers, and now that the moment of reality is here and the situation in which the Government finds itself can no longer be spun or denied, they are well and truly screwed.

The inmates of the Baby Shard bunker don’t like reality? That’s not the readers’ problem.

Press Paperchase Paranoia

Advertising revenues are, for our free and fearless press, a sensitive subject. This may be not unrelated to their having been in freefall for some years now, with the “web giants”, whom the media establishment despises, doing rather better at attracting advertising spend. That could explain the most unfortunate establishment reaction to the latest success by campaigning group Stop Funding Hate, which targeted the Daily Mail.
Trans people? I'll call the c***s what I f***ing well want, thanks

As the BBC has reported, “Stationery company Paperchase has apologised for a promotional giveaway in the Daily Mail after it was criticised for working with the paper … The chain offered two free rolls of wrapping paper in Saturday's newspaper … It said it was ‘truly sorry’ after hundreds of people - encouraged by campaign group Stop Funding Hate - urged the chain to end the partnership”. But that was not and end to the matter.
One does not target the Mail and get away without incurring the displeasure of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, as well as all those who pay fealty to him. So when the Paperchase promotion, and the Stop Funding Hate response to it, ended as they did, all hell broke loose. The inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker were on the warpath.

But as the Guardian then observed, the Mail had no idea who they were fighting. The Dacre doggies blustered “it is deeply worrying that Paperchase should have allowed itself to be bullied into apologising - on the back of a derisory 250 Facebook comments and 150 direct tweets - to internet trolls orchestrated by a small group of hard-left Corbynist individuals seeking to suppress legitimate debate and impose their views on the media”.
More punters on their way to Paperchase ...

There was more: Piers Morgan was characteristically abusive towards Paperchase, thereby increasing their popularity. Julia Hartley Dooda declared that she would boycott the retailer, to the great relief of their staff who wish she had taken that action earlier. But, to no surprise at all, the basis for Stop Funding Hate’s intervention - the Mail’s appalling attitude towards trans people - remained unaddressed. What a non-surprise.

And even if other papers were keeping schtum about the ruckus, their boot boys were soon on the case: the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog decided on a mixture of dishonesty, abuse and mental health smears to attack Paperchase and Stop Funding Hate. The result was truly hilarity inducing.
... make that lots more punters

Stationery store Paperchase is facing a backlash from angry customers after bowing to pressure from anti-press freedom cranks not to offer promotions in the Daily Mail”, they blubbered, also deploying the terms “loonies”, “nuts”, and “mental”. As the writer was the Fawkes teaboy Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham, there had to be a malicious lie. And he did not disappoint, claiming “Stop Funding Hate, a group whose stated aim is to censor or bankrupt the free press in Britain”. Milk, no sugar, hold the smears, thanks.

But he did boost Paperchase sales by reassuring potential customers that they would not encounter Laura Perrins, Christian May, Iain Martin, Dan, Dan The Oratory Man, or the serially clueless Tim Montgomerie if they shopped there.

So that’s yet another media establishment own goal, then. Looks like Job Done for Stop Funding Hate and another example of the Pundit Establishment not living in the real world.

Brillo Out Of His German Depth

Our free and fearless press has once again decided to exaggerate events in another country as a means of diverting attention from the shambles that is Theresa May’s motley crew and the Brexit negotiations, the opportunity being gifted to them by the collapse of coalition talks in Germany. Recent elections meant outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party had to talk to two others in order to stitch together a majority coalition.
A little more to chew on for The Great Man

This was not helped by the centre-left SPD deciding to pass on another “grand coalition”, and so Merkel’s CDU/CSU had been negotiating with the Greens and the Free Democrats. The latter has walked out of talks, thus meaning either more talks, or more elections. It also means pundits in the UK telling everyone who will listen that they know all about German politics, even if, in many cases, they don’t know as much as they claim.
All of which brings us to Andrew Neil, now a BBC host and pundit, and who has decided that he knows everything there is to know about Germany. In this he may have been emboldened by the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph’s claim “Merkel faces battle for survival”, and the Murdoch Times telling readers “May told to exploit Merkel crisis to reduce Brexit bill”. If only he had checked out the Guardian.
Merkel hints at fresh polls after talks collapse” was their more sober assessment. Germany does things in a more measured and thought-through manner. Talks may resume; they may not. But it is as nothing when put alongside the Brexit brouhaha. That did not deter Neil, who declared “Germany tonight in its biggest political crisis since late 1940s. Bigger even than UK’s current ongoing political crisis”.
Jon Worth, a Brit in Berlin, poured cold water on the idea. “You have not got a clue. One of four parties walked out of coalition talks. It might take a while to find a solution. Big. F**king. Deal”. The Great Man set himself to pour disdain upon this upstart: “Guess you’re not reading/watching German media”. Instead, he was about to get his comeuppance.
I LIVE in Germany. I am a member of a German political party and am a delegate to its party congress. I follow German politics for my job. And, just maybe, I might know a thing or two about it?” countered Worth, clearly with some exasperation that a supposedly authoritative pundit had not taken the time to figure out who was on the other end of the conversation - or perhaps he didn’t consider such things necessary.
Nor was Neil the only one from the Beeb to be called out by Worth: after political editor Laura Kuenssberg ventured “Merkel mess about as helpful to govt as Chancellor saying ‘there is no unemployment’ at the start of Budget week”, he clearly felt the need to administer a little further education. “Misses the point. No way there was going to be a govt in Germany before December summit anyway. And there was no disagreement in coalition talks about #Brexit. UK *still* needs to get its own act together before seeing problems elsewhere”. No disagreement in coalition talks about Brexit - UK pundits take note.

There is always someone in the world better informed than you. Most of us have long ago figured that out. Sadly, this realisation is yet to reach Andrew Neil.