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Friday, 20 January 2017

Westmonster - Fascist Fake News

As if the right-leaning part of the Web, that part of the political spectrum from centre-right through to partisan cheerleading to downright fake news and on to the ranting and paranoid conspiracy mongers, were not already full enough with sources claiming to be offering information, but instead providing nothing more that a variety of propagandising, yesterday brought yet another site vying for its place in the sun.
The new entrant is called Westmonster, and is bankrolled by Arron Banks, dodgy salesman of no discernible principle and provider of serious amounts of money to UKIP, especially when the party was being used as a self-publicity vehicle by Nigel “Thirsty” Farage. Banks is clearly unhappy with all those websites serving up information in a way that shows the Kippers in a less than favourable light.

That, of course, may be not unconnected to the inconvenient fact that many in UKIP are bigoted, racist, misogynist, intolerant and serially dishonest, this last certainly being true of Farage, as Zelo Street regulars will know. And the Kippers already have the convocation of the terminally batshit otherwise known as Breitbart to shill for them. But for Banks this is not enough: he wants his own hands on the throat of editorial control.

And while Banks’ co-creator Michael Heaver has claimed he is not going to peddle Fake News, that is exactly what they are doing from the get-go: “‘Anti-establishment’ site is being edited by Nigel Farage’s former press officer and will mix aggregation and some original contenttells the Guardian. “Arron Banks launches anti-establishment website” claims Amol Rajan at the BBC, even dispensing with the quote marks.
So, for all those who have been taken in by this slice of blatantly Fake News, let’s take this nice and slowly: Farage, Banks and Heaver cannot by their very being be “anti-establishment”. They are an integral part of the establishment. So if the rest of the media circus can’t see that one, they are unlikely to hold this shower to account.

It’s not as if the Fake News offered by Westmonster is difficult to spot: stories of “Jihadists” in Germany (Breitbart knows all about sourcing its Fake News from there), claims of non-existent post-Brexit trade deals, smearing of those the Alt-Right (for which read the far right) don’t like, propagandising for Nige and his pals, all are present.

And that logo looks vaguely fascist, with its W and M on a white background. All it needs now is a red background with a white circle in the centre and it will be a genuinely fascist one. Westmonster does no more than tread the same path as Breitbart - slavish adoration of Combover Crybaby Donald Trump, delusional promotion of Kippers, self-promotion (as if anyone cares), and selecting the bits of real news it approves of.

The difference is that this is Banks’ vanity project. But there is not going to be room for all the ranters, and something is going to have to give. My feeling is that Breitbart, as the incumbent in this area, will take some dislodging, which is why Raheem “call me Ray” Kassam for once appears intensely relaxed about the new competition.

Still, if Arron Banks wants to spray his money up the wall, he is free to do so. And others are free to tell him he’s a total prat while they laugh at him. You’re welcome, Arry.

Paul Dacre - Shame On You

The Daily Mail, under the less than benign editorship of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, is always ready to take a stand on issues that it claims affect its readers. One of these is the nanny state, which is A Very Bad Thing. Hence headlines likeCheers Mrs May, the odd drink is all right! PM set to water down nanny state alcohol advice”, and a warning  not to vote Labour, as “Ed Miliband is facing a Labour revolt over secret plans for a ‘nanny state’ crackdown on drinking, smoking and junk food”.
Morevoer, that “Nanny Stateshould not interfere with what parents get up to in front of their children: “If we let the Nanny State hound parents who smoke in cars, I dread to think who it'll pick on next” mused obedient Dacre doggie Stephen “Miserable Git” Glover. Yes, the Mail is hot on the Nanny State. And it’s hot on Council Tax, too.

Hence headlines likeYour super-sized council tax bill: Double-digit increases planned to fund growing social-care crisis”, followed byCouncil tax bills in Philip Hammond and Jeremy Hunt's backyard could soar by £200 after Tory-run Surrey proposes a 15% hike to cover funding cuts and social care”. This is not a new editorial stance: the “Council Tax bombshellwas also being used to frighten readers more than a decade ago.

Other forms of taxation are also Streng Verboten at the Northcliffe House bunker: taxing benefits in kind is A Very Bad Thing, as is Ordinary Hardworking People making a little money on the side from eBay. But the Mail also deals in rank hypocrisy, so when the inevitable results of lower taxation, and the wariness of Government agencies to get involved in what parents get up to, come to pass, this too is A Very Bad Thing.

So it is that we arrive at today’s Daily Mail front page, which has added the bullying of those who cannot fight back to its righteousness and hypocrisy, with readers told “Social workers knew Poppy, who died age 4, was at risk before her addict mother gave birth. So why ARE they still in jobs? BETRAYED BEFORE SHE WAS EVEN BORN”.

After doing the business of reporting the trial of the girl’s mother and her partner: “Michala Pyke, 38, and her dealer boyfriend John Rytting, 40, were both jailed for 13 years for forcing little Poppy Widdison into ‘the mire of drugs’ and a life of ‘utter degradation’ … As the judge sentenced the pair, he said Poppy’s life was ‘tragic from the moment she was conceived to the moment she died’”, the bullying and demonisation kicks in.

Social services were responsible for Poppy from birth, and three times closed investigations believing she was safe in her mother’s care … Social workers were called in just six months before her death, but found out only after her death that Poppy was living in a drug dealer’s den … Relatives criticised social services, and the local MP hit out at agencies for allowing Poppy to ‘slip through the cracks’”. Yes, They Done It.

But despite the little girl’s uncle saying the family “didn’t blame social services” and “We couldn’t have foreseen what happened and we don’t believe social services could have either”, once again, there is the Mail baying for social workers, the over-stretched, under-resourced workers who tried their best but were unable to summon their crystal ball and non-existent rapid response team, to be sacked.

That’s the Daily Mail, whose senior staff denigrate the NHS but never lower themselves to using its services, as they go private. The Daily Mail, whose hacks and pundits want less taxation, but can’t see the obvious flip side. The Daily Mail, which kicks the proverbial crap out of anything they can call the “Nanny State”, while howling for intervention in the next breath. The Daily Mail, which has the luxury of “Power without responsibility”, demanding career-ending action against those with responsibility, but no power.

Paul Dacre is, as Nick Davies recalled one journalist’s claim in Flat Earth News, the go-to book on the workings of the Fourth Estate, the biggest bully of all. Cushioned by his million pound plus remuneration package, luxury lifestyle, private health cover, chauffeured travel, and a generously paid, but fearful and obsequious staff, he can sit in judgment on those at the bottom of the pile and somehow feel better at the end of it.

Shame on you, Paul Dacre. Why ARE you still in a job?

BBC Gets Sun Kiss Of Death

After the BBC Trust ruled that the Corporation’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg had fallen short of maintaining its high standards during one broadcast in November 2015, in the way she had presented Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s response to the Paris attacks, and the Beeb’s director of news James Harding had waved the judgment away as if he were still working for the Murdoch mafiosi, what they needed was a period of reflection.
Does Laura Kuenssberg really need the backing of ...

That would be reflection as in realising that anyone and everyone can get it wrong on occasion, having a think about how Jezza gets reported in future - holding the leader of the Opposition to account while remaining accurate and impartial - and most of all, not attracting any more publicity that is going to draw attention to them. Sadly, the publicity has come looking for them. And it has come from the most embarrassing quarter.

Who, of all the press pack, would be the ones whose endorsement the BBC would find the least useful and most embarrassing? Yes, the Murdoch Sun has gone in to bat for the Corporation in its editorial today. Under the headline “Trusted Hack”, and a photo captioned “It was utterly wrong of the BBC Trust to rule Laura Kuenssberg misreported Jeremy Corbyn’s views on taking out terrorists”, readers are told “WE often highlight BBC bias. We wouldn’t include political editor Laura Kuenssberg”.
... this singularly unpleasant individual, especially as ...

There was more. “It was utterly wrong of the BBC Trust to rule she misreported Jeremy Corbyn’s views on taking out terrorists … She asked Labour’s pacifist leader if as PM he would order a shoot-to-kill policy if a massacre was under way here … He could just have said Yes, like a sane politician. Instead he waffled and ­ultimately seemed to decide against … Kuenssberg rightly took that as a No. So did we”.

And as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here. One, “taking out” people is not about going on a date. It is about killing them - deliberately. This may not bother the Murdoch goons, so long as someone else is doing the killing, and someone they don’t like gets killed, but it should be called for what it is. And two, saying that the BBC’s political editor’s standards are good enough for the Sun is damning with the faintest of praise.
... we all know who's working him behind the scenes?

On top of that, note that the Sun editorial has to resort to telling readers that Corbyn “seemed to decide”. That’s because, had they come out and said he had decided, that would have been defamatory. Moreover, at the BBC you don’t just “take that as a No”. And there is something else that might cause problems at New Broadcasting House.

The bid by the Murdochs for the 61% of Sky that they do not yet own will be coming back into the news very soon. The last thing the Beeb needs is the Sun playing mind games with them - “see, BBC people, we can go easier on you if you play nicely, so don’t you forget that, eh?” - or otherwise intervening in the Corporation’s internal affairs.

Rupert Murdoch never does anything other than for the purpose of advancing the cause of Himself Personally Now. That editorial item is not the result of some exercising of personal initiative by an inmate of the Baby Shard bunker.

And for BBC News to get the Sun’s stamp of approval really is the kiss of death.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Tony Gallagher - You’re A Moron

Nothing better illustrates the detachment from reality afflicting the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker than the fantasy world inhabited by the Sun’s singularly unpleasant editor Tony Gallagher. Obedient propagandist for the Murdoch mafiosi, cordially detested by those who have to suffer his professional company, ridiculed by media observers, taking solace in amateur gastronomy and expensive season tickets, that’s our Tone.
And nothing better illustrates Gallagher’s grovelling to Creepy Uncle Rupe, and his tin ear when it comes to realpolitik, like today’s edition of the Super Soaraway Currant Bun. His front page lead makes no sense at all, and a much-trailed bonus, which Tone might have thought was incredibly clever, but serves only to show his crass insensitivity and historical ignorance, has put the lid on it in no style at all.

Splashed on today’s front page - alongside Amanda Holden’s nipples - is “Exclusive: PM’s Rallying Cry To Every Sun Reader … Back my Brexit plan … and I’ll back YOU”. Under the by-line of the paper’s non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn, who claimsTHERESA May vows to use Brexit to rip up the privileges of the elite and make Britain work for ordinary people again”. Like privileged Sun hacks would know.
What else might the PM offer us? “She will unveil her flagship new industrial strategy next week to start her mission to make the country ‘more equal’”. Yeah, we’ll all be in the shit. As the real elite will be largely insulated from the coming increases in inflation and interest rates - because, being elites, they don’t need to mortgage themselves to the hilt and take out loans for cars and household stuff - this is nothing more than hot air.

That much is bad enough, but then comes Gallagher’s swipe at German newspaper Die Welt, which characterised the attitude of the UK Government to comedy series Little Britain. Tone couldn’t let that pass, and so he’s had a mock-up front page produced in the style of the one that appeared on the day of the 1992 General Election.
This time, instead of then Labour leader Neil Kinnock being lampooned, it’s German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with the headline “Would the last country to leave EU please turn out the lights”. Quite apart from the association with the paper’s disgraced former editor Kelvin McFilth, Gallagher’s ill-advised slice of braggadocio manages to forget that it is echoing one of the most chilling observations on The Great War.

It was Edward Grey, then Foreign Secretary, who remarked on the eve of Britain’s entry into what became known as “The war to end all wars” that “The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime”.

What was a crude jibe at Neil Kinnock 25 years ago has been turned into a crass, insensitive, swaggering, warmongering screw-you to the very people from whom Britain needs that deal to secure its future outside the EU - if it has one.

Tony Gallagher, you’re moron. And here’s your arse on a plate. You’re welcome.

Simon Danczuk Encounters Reality

Denial of onrushing reality can only go on for so long. And for still nominally Labour MP Simon Danczuk, the moment he had to face the music came yesterday, as the party he claims to love (no, don’t laugh) declined to welcome him back with open arms. Worse, although the decision on whether to expel him was officially deferred, he was left in no doubt that being sent through the trapdoor was still very much on the cards.
The aftermath of Spanker Si’s moment of truth was captured by the Evening Standard in its Londoner’s Diary column, although what the MP for Rochdale has to do with those out and about in the capital - unless they are unfortunate to encounter him - is unclear. “Simon Danczuk left in limbo by Labour” is the headline.

Readers are toldTo the Stranger’s bar in Westminster last night, where The Londoner shared a Coors beer or two with a very downhearted Simon Danczuk. The MP for Rochdale was suspended from the Labour Party a year ago after a bout of sexting. A disciplinary panel of the National Executive Committee met yesterday to discuss his case and came back to say they were delaying judgment”. There is more.

Danczuk, who has technically been an independent MP for the past 12 months, was even beginning to wonder if he might defect. He said he has been interviewed by party officials ‘and  believed the matter would be settled satisfactorily. I’m disappointed that this committee has chosen to delay’ … Danczuk has never been on good terms with the Corbyn gang - indeed, he’s said the leader has ‘a profound lack of judgment and naivety’ and he told us he suspected the NEC decision was politically motivated”.

In other words, the usual Danczuk excuses - blame Corbyn, although Jezza has been careful not to involve himself in the disciplinary process. Then, after reporting that Danczuk is once again trying to get anyone who will listen to “look over there” at Keith Vaz, we are told “The Londoner tried to draw Danczuk on whether he would now defect to another party - he didn’t say yes and he didn’t say no: ‘I’m weighing up my options at this point’”.

Yeah, right. But let me put Spanker Si right. He can blame Corbyn all he likes - the cause of his predicament is staring back at him every time he looks in the mirror. It was Danczuk who “sexted” a 17-year-old girl. It was Danczuk who over claimed his expenses, had to pay them back, and is still being investigated by the Metropolitan Police. It was Danczuk who had the violent bust-up with ex-wife Karen in Spain.

It was Danczuk who was involved in the lurid goings-on involving a series of young women, some of whom have since seen sense and dumped him. It was Danczuk who tried to score another £9,000 in expenses. My information is that Labour has decided that it would rather not have the SOB back in the fold, and that it is only a matter of time before the party has amassed sufficient evidence to justify kicking him out for good.

Simon Danczuk should stop feeling sorry for himself and man up. The mess he is in is his own fault. He is facing political oblivion. And it couldn’t happen to a more deserving chap.

Laura Kuenssberg - BBC In Denial

Those who look in regularly on Zelo Street will recall the occasion when the BBC’s Daily Politics was involved in the live on-air resignation of a junior member of the Labour front bench team. That this had been a pre-planned event was given away by a blog published by one of those involved: worse, the resignation had been timed in a way that would give the Tory leadership an advantage over Labour at the following PMQs.
The programme’s editor Robbie Gibb robustly defended Daily Politics, but his defence, as I subsequently pointed out, had been undermined by that blog, which had been taken away from public view, although not before a cached copy had been made available. Moreover, the whole exercise called into question the impartiality of the Corporation’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg. It was not the first time her standards fell short.

Coverage of local elections in May last year brought further adverse comment on Ms Kuenssberg’s coverage, and then, only last month, came her singularly ill-judged comments on the Sun’s speculative “QUEEN BACKS BREXIT” story, giving the Murdoch goons an ideal get-out clause for one of their most notorious interventions of the referendum campaign. And now has come yet worse news.
The BBC Trust has also passed adverse comment on Ms Kuenssberg’s output - the problem for the presenter being that they have upheld a complaint over Jeremy Corbyn’s response to the Paris shootings in November 2015. Although no deliberate intention to mislead audiences was found, the conclusion was that the complaint be “Upheld as breaches of accuracy and therefore as a breach of impartiality”.

So how has BBC management responded to this finding? Have they acknowledged the mistakes made, and suggested to their political editor that she consider her coverage of the current Labour leadership more carefully? Not a bit of it: “James Harding, the director of BBC news, rejected the Trust’s ruling … ‘While we respect the Trust and the people who work there, we disagree with this finding,’ he said … The process is now concluded and BBC News formally notes the Trust’s findingreported the Guardian.
The similarity between the response of Harding, a former Murdoch editor, and that of current Murdoch editor Tony Gallagher to admonishment by IPSO, will not be lost on many observers. Nor will the upcoming change of regulator from the BBC Trust to Ofcom. Harding may find shrugging his shoulders and suggesting they shove off less easy.

This blog is not an uncritical backer of the Labour leadership. There are times Jeremy Corbyn and his team get it wrong and Zelo Street does not shy away from saying so. Likewise there is no free pass for the BBC, the Guardian, or any other trusted media organisation. The impression that Laura Kuenssberg is not upholding the standards of her predecessors is inescapable. The Corporation has thus far failed to address this.

James Harding might have got away with his arrogant dismissiveness at the Murdoch Times. He may find the BBC’s audience less forgiving. It’s not good enough.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Brexit Euphoria - A Warning From 1925

After Theresa May gave her much-anticipated speech yesterday on the manner of Britain leaving the EU, the response in the right-leaning press was rapturous. All the hype had been worth it, the Prime Minister could no longer be regarded as weak or indecisive, the rotten foreigners had been told where they got off, and they could tell their readers that Britain was once more a great, independent and sovereign nation.
This only served to add euphoria and delusion to the preventive incantation which I described recently. Once again, the lesson from history is there to be leaned, but the press is too taken up with its adoration of Ms May to take any notice. So unlike those who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet, I will once more consider reality, and turn to the late economist and commentator J K Galbraith to remind us what happened in 1925.

[Winston] Churchill presided over the most dramatically disastrous error by a Government in modern economic history. It was [John Maynard] Keynes who made it famous … The mistake was the attempted return to the gold standard at the pre-war gold and dollar value of the pound … 4.86 dollars to the pound … Churchill was Chancellor of the Exchequer”.

Why did Churchill make the move? “To go back to the old exchange rate of pounds for gold and dollars was to show that British financial management was again as solid, as reliable, as in the nineteenth century. It proved that the war had changed nothing. It was a thought to which Winston Churchill, historian and professional custodian of the British past, was highly susceptible” [my emphasis].
Then, as now, the reaction of the press was little short of euphoric. “The country responded well to Churchill’s House of Commons statement. The New York Times said in its headline that he had carried ‘PARLIAMENT AND NATION TO HEIGHT OF ENTHUSIASM’. Keynes wrote instead to ask why Churchill did ‘such a silly thing’”.

What Churchill had done was to make British exports around 10% more expensive. The result was to cripple the industries that depended on exporting: shipping, steelmaking, mining, motor vehicles, railway locomotives and rolling stock, and other heavy engineering disciplines all suffered. Unemployment rose significantly. For many of those affected, there was no respite until another war arrived fourteen years later.

Fast forward to 2017, and the parallels are clear. The press is once again euphoric, as today’s Telegraph, Times and particularly Daily Mail show. No-one, it seems, wants to look beneath the gloss and the froth and thereby face reality. Theresa May has painted herself into a negotiating corner. She has revealed the limitations of her ambition to the other 27 EU member states, and particularly to Germany, and Angela Merkel.
As Matt Qvortrup has told in The Staggers, “By accepting that the ‘UK will be outside’ and that there can be ‘no half-way house’, Theresa May has essentially caved in before the negotiations have begun”. He reminds his readers that in May last year, “May was still battling for access to the internal market. It is a measure of how much her position has weakened that the Prime Minister has been forced to accept that Britain will have to leave the single market”. Thus the gulf between euphoria and reality.

Theresa May’s speech was intended to show that Britain is still great, still strong, can go it alone, will surely only benefit from leaving the EU. The reality is that all it shows is the polar opposite. Euphoria and delusion have once more taken over from reality. That reality shows that ministers like London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and David Davis have been reduced to resurrecting World War 2 to somehow suggest Britain can once again stand alone and emerge victorious.

The repeated attempts to use Sterling as some kind of national virility symbol, and the subsequent failure every time - Labour unwilling to accept the political fallout from devaluation in 1948 and 1967, Tories trying in vain to shadow the Deutschmark and paying with their credibility in 1992 - have signally failed to register. Nor have other events.
Britain pretended it was a great world power in 1956 as it indulged in brinksmanship and flagrant dishonesty over the Suez crisis. That débâcle ended with the USA teaching us a lesson in reality which many in Government, and the press, are still reluctant to take on board. We were no longer a great power. And we are still not a great power.

That Mrs T put one over on a decaying South American dictatorship over the Falkland Islands has blinded many on the right to this reality. They are also blinded to the less convenient fact that Mrs T was a staunch advocate of the European Single Market. That her successor cannot muster even this enthusiasm would have driver her to despair.

Churchill was horribly wrong in 1925. Theresa May is equally wrong now. And talking up the situation is not going to change that fact. Euphoria is no substitute for reality.

Paul Nuttall - You're A Liar

Pressure is building on UKIP’s new leader, comedy turn Paul Nuttall, to put himself forward as the party’s candidate in the upcoming Stoke on Trent Central by-election, caused by the realisation of Tristram Hunt that he could make significantly more money, and avoid all those ghastly proles, by becoming the director of the V&A. There is only one problem with this move - Nuttall has also been rumbled as a shameless liar of no fixed principle.
Ullo Nige, gorra new motor?

His schtick, an amalgam of early Alexei Sayle and Al Murray’s Pub Landlord, has not been helped by the realisation that not only does he not have a better than snowball in hell’s chance of getting elected on his native Merseyside, but also that his fellow Scousers despise him with a vengeance. It was no coincidence that when Nuttall was nicknamed a “Bad Bootle Meff”, the characterisation quickly stuck like glue.

And then came the serial dishonesty: Nuttall has now claimed that he was in the Leppings Lane end of the Hillsborough stadium when the disastrous crush took place in April 1989. But then he appears to have also claimed that he was involved in a crush outside the ground. He cannot have been in both places at once - so which is right? The thought that he is using the disaster for his own ends will not best please anyone.
The ignorance and idiocy continued yesterday as Nuttall attempted to look vaguely leader-ish in replying to Theresa May’s EU exit speech, but instead fell flat on his face again, as Daphne Romney has pointed out: “Paul Nuttall betrays his ignorance, complaining that May did not mention the ECHR in Brexit speech. That's because the ECHR isn't part of EU”. You’d think an MEP would know things about, er, the EU.

Could it get any worse? It certainly could, as Strictly Sid pointed out. “Paul Nuttall: ‘Foreigners should speak English properly’ … Also Paul Nuttall: ‘Trump loves Britain. He's an Anglophobe’”. Nuttall had described Combover Crybaby Donald Trump as an “Anglophobe”. So he doesn't have a competent command of his own language.
All this, of course, comes on top of Nuttall’s claims about playing professional football for Tranmere Rovers (not true), posing for a photo with a background of books which was soon rumbled as having been photoshopped to make the number of books look greater - and Nuttall more important - and the claims of doing a PhD somewhere that didn’t do PhDs. Plus his call for selling off the NHS and then backsliding on it.

So you can see why Paul Nuttall might not be too keen on standing in a Parliamentary by-election campaign, during which all of his previous lies, along with any more that are discovered in the meantime, will be held up as examples of his lack of fitness to occupy any elective office. Added to that might be the possibility that being an MP could mean his opportunities to trouser lots of expenses from the European Parliament are curtailed.
Paul Nuttall is a clown. Folks on Merseyside distrust and despise him. And he’s been exposed as a serial liar. So he’s ideal material for leader of UKIP, then.

Press Pursues ANOTHER Dead Schoolgirl

It was the moment when the phone hacking scandal, which had been coming to the boil for the previous two years, finally burst open and showed the public the sheer unprincipled nastiness of the tabloid press: Milly Dowler, abducted and brutally murdered by Levi Bellfield, had had her phone hacked by the now-defunct Murdoch Screws. Moreover, the Police knew they had done it - but took no action as a result.
Part of the public revulsion was the realisation that the press were more than happy to prey on schoolgirls and their friends in order to flog a few more papers. There were, it seems, no limits to the intrusion that hacks would make, and that their editors would countenance. The thought entered that the Dowler killing would put an end to that sort of thing. And that thought would have been sorely misplaced.

We know this because after 16-year-old Leonne Weeks was found dead on a footpath in the small South Yorkshire town of Dinnington, where her family lived, the press descended and were soon up to their old habits. Social media accounts were scoured for anything about the dead girl that could be recycled as cheap and easy copy - it’s in the public domain, so none of that having to pay to use photos.

That much was bad enough for grieving friends and relatives. But then, the school that Leonne Weeks had attended until very recently put out a Facebook post warning “Please can we suggest parents and carers talk with their children about contact through social media. Some members of the press have been contacting students this way to try to get photos and information”. That is bang out of order.
Not only that, it is a clear breach of the IPSO Editor’s Code of Conduct. So where is the stern warning on the IPSO website this morning, given Dinnington High School sent its warning out yesterday? But you know the answer: the headline items have more to do with whining about Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act and Leveson Part 2.

So who is behind this intrusion? We cannot be certain. But my Occam’s Razor is pointing at just one of The Usual Suspects, because of their tendency to draw attention to themselves rather than lying low and keeping Schtum. And, to no surprise at all, that suspect is the Murdoch Sun, which has published a piece titled “MAJOR INVESTIGATION What happened to Leonne Weeks? Teenage girl found dead in Dinnington – here’s what we know so far”. And so we have another echo of the Dowler killing.

The Screws waded in to that case as if they were part of the investigating team. Now the Sun gives every impression of doing the same thing again, using headlines like “What happened to Leonne Weeks?” and most tellingly “What do her friends think?In another Sun article, social media accounts have been trawled to get comments.

Whoever prompted Dinnington High School to send out its warning, the journalists concerned know they have overstepped the line. They can also be confident that sham press regulator IPSO will wipe their backsides for them. Not much has changed in the five and a half years since the Screws crashed and burned over Milly Dowler.

The press never learns. That is why we need properly effective press regulation.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Nigel Farage Is A Liar - OFFICIAL

The persistent rank dishonesty of former UKIP Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage has been considered more than once previously here on Zelo Street: his claims regarding the 2015 assembly elections in Portugal, the idea that he had been the subject of an assassination attempt, the claim that he could not go out in the street without his own security detail and his prediction of the Austrian Presidential Election were all bunk.
Squeaky burning trousers finger up the bum time

Moreover, his ability to leave his obedient and loyal supporters in the lurch was also demonstrated when he cosied up to Combover Crybaby Donald Trump, and The Donald’s pick for commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, was revealed to have encouraged firms outside the UK to take advantage of post-Brexit uncertainty to nick jobs from Brits.
And then there was the proposed march on the Supreme Court, announced in November, but called off a month later amid alleged fears that it would be infiltrated by the BNP and EDL. First, as Left Foot Forward told in November, “Today’s Telegraph reports Nigel Farage will lead a march of 100,000 people through London for the government’s Supreme Court appeal of the High Court verdict on Article 50 … The march will be organised by Leave.EU, the right-wing anti-EU group led by Arron Banks, and see Leavers march from Trafalgar Square down Whitehall to Parliament Square around December 5”.
But then, as the Independent later reported, “A march on the Supreme Court planned by Nigel Farage and other Brexit campaigners has been cancelled, sources close to the Ukip politician have confirmed … [the event] was cancelled due to fears that it could be hijacked by far right groups like the EDL and BNP”. But now we know the truth.
Thanks to the enterprising efforts of Nick Pettigrew, we know that Farage and his pals never seriously intended to hold that march. Pettigrew has FOId the Met to ask three straightforward questions. The first of these asked “Can you confirm whether the Met Police ever received a 3175 form from either leave.EU or Nigel Farage, giving official notification of intention to hold a demonstration?
Question 2 was “Can you confirm whether any formal or informal discussions were held by the Met Police on the policing of the proposed march?” with the third question being “Can you conform whether the march was postponed on advice from the Met Police?
Nick Pettigrew has now had his reply. And it makes grim reading for those still placing some credibility in Nigel Farage. On the 3175 form (needed to give the authorities notification of a march) the Met told “We have no record of Mr Farage or leave.EU submitting a 3175”. And on the question of discussions?
The MPS contacted UKIP to establish if the march was being undertaken. No formal or informal discussions were held beyond this”.

And whether the march was postponed on Police advice? “Police did not give any advice to postpone the march and we do not know why the march did not take place. Why it did not take place can only be in the mind of those who wanted to hold it”.

Once again, Farage has opened mouth before engaging brain. He sounded off for effect and got caught with his pants on fire once more. Nigel Farage, you’re officially a liar.

Sun Oxfam Smear BUSTED

The Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun are never satisfied with just demonising foreigners, brown people, black people, followers of The Prophet, celebrities who express concern for the less fortunate, refugees, and anyone who declines to vote in the manner dictated by Themselves Personally Now. There must always be that search for more people to dump on, more little people who can’t fight back.
Thus today’s Sun editorial has alighted on a new source of hate campaigning by the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker - charities. These organisations show compassion for the less well off, and in the perverse world of the Murdoch mafiosi, giving a beggar a helping hand, rather than kicking the crap out of him, is somewhere near the top of the list of unforgivable sins. So it is that Oxfam has today been given both barrels.

Oxfam attacking the world’s richest shows just how little they understand the global economy and poverty” is the rant of choice. So Oxfam is attacking the world’s richest, is it? “OXFAM’S complaint that a few ­billionaires are worth more than half the world shows how little the charity understands the global economy or how to reduce poverty”. Ah, so now it has been downgraded in the retelling to a mere complaint. But there’s more.

These self-made tycoons are its champions. Their vast companies and others like them have created jobs and wealth for untold numbers of people … And the world’s richest man Bill Gates is also the most generous. The Microsoft founder has so far donated £30billion to charity - a sum Oxfam would take almost a century to raise”. So has Oxfam been attacking Bill Gates? I missed that one. Still, back to the rant.

Oxfam has become a foghorn for the sort of chippy lefties … A green-eyed war on wealth creators is the fastest way to increase poverty”. Sun readers might really believe that Oxfam had indeed declared war on the richest in society from that. But, as so often with the Murdoch doggies, the reality is somewhat different. We can see this by actually reading what Oxfam said (a statement to which the Sun’s website has declined to link).

This is what they actually say: “Eight men own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity, according to a new report published by Oxfam … Oxfam’s report, ‘An economy for the 99 percent’, shows that the gap between rich and poor is far greater than had been feared. It details how big business and the super-rich are fuelling the inequality crisis by dodging taxes, driving down wages and using their power to influence politics. It calls for a fundamental change in the way we manage our economies so that they work for all people, and not just a fortunate few”.

That isn’t an “attack on the world’s richest”, it’s a statement of fact. That is underscored by the report’s recommendations: “Governments end the extreme concentration of wealth to end poverty … Governments should work together to ensure workers are paid a decent wage … Governments support companies that benefit their workers and society rather than just their shareholders … Governments ensure economies work for women”.

Of course, that would mean all those Governments not being swayed by greedy billionaires like Rupert Murdoch as a result. And that would never do. So the order has gone out to kick the crap out of Oxfam instead. What you will not read in the Sun.

May’s Bargain Basement Brexit Baloney

So today brings Theresa May’s much anticipated and heavily trailed speech on Britain’s future relationship with the EU, an exercise that is as much about appeasing the Europhobic tendency on the right of her own party as it is about practical politics. Even before she has spoken, the EU-bashing usual suspects in the press have spoken rapturously about the event. But what it may presage does not get a look-in.
While the Murdoch Sun - which had to admit it was part of the Leave campaign - announces “May’s ‘Global Britain’ Vision … PM to set 12 demands … Clean EU break vow … Great Brexpectations”, the UKIP-backing Express bawls triumphantly “At last, the news we’ve been waiting for … WE WILL GET CLEAN BREAK FROM EU” and the Mail continues Paul Dacre’s embarrassing schoolboy crush on the PM with “THERESA’S NEW FREE BRITAIN” (yes, we’ll be giving it away), a worrying reality awaits elsewhere.
The ever-alert Adam Bienkov, now at Business Insider UK, was among the first to call out the back-up plan in the May negotiating strategy: “Theresa May is ready to turn the UK into a low-tax, low-regulation haven after Brexit, her spokesperson confirmed today”. There was more. “Asked whether the prime minister backed comments made by the Chancellor Philip Hammond that the UK could be forced to abandon its ‘European economy with European style taxation’ her spokesperson said she ‘stands ready to do so’”.
Hammond had told the German newspaper Welt am SonntagMost of us who had voted Remain would like the UK to remain a recognisably European-style economy with European-style taxation systems, European-style regulation systems etc … I personally hope we will be able to remain in the mainstream of European economic and social thinking. But if we are forced to be something different, then we will have to become something different”. Bienkov has now been backed by ITV political editor Robert Peston.
Peston has been working his contacts around Westminster and has now toldwe will be out of the customs union … [Ms May] will ‘grudgingly’ allow for a short period of [transition] to a new trade deal”. And then came the sting in the tail.

May will make clear that the UK will default to slashing taxes and regulation if we don’t agree an acceptable trade deal with the EU - in other words she will say ‘be nice or it’s commercial war’”. One can only wonder what some of those Leave voters think about that.
That our Government is so devoid of negotiating nous that it is prepared to threaten some kind of economic “scorched earth” policy should worry anyone not rich enough to care about such niceties. Any kind of trade war means uncertainty, which is anathema to any significantly sized business. It also suggests that some of those involved have allowed themselves to believe the press claims that the EU needs us more than we need them.

And any Trades Union that backed Brexit must now know they have been had for mugs. Their members are set to be royally shafted. As to all those working class voters UKIP has been targeting - they will feel the full force of being made even more flexible, even more disposable, even less protected than before. It’s always the little people who lose out.

Meanwhile, the press, who dropped us in this mess, will continue to exercise “power without responsibility” and tell their readers it’s someone else’s fault. No change there.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Helmer Schengen Reverse Ferret FAILS

The combined idiocy of the remaining hacks at Richard “Dirty” Desmond’s supposedly flagship title, the Daily Express aka Daily UKIP, and UKIP MEP and freeloader supreme Roger Helmer - so keen to show that he is giving voters value for money that he uses European Parliament sessions to catch up on his sleep - has today brought forth a magnificently inept foot-in-mouth episode.
Roger Helmer being handsomely rewarded for ... doing nothing

The Express, notorious for shonky copy ever since Dirty Des sent all the paper’s sub-editors down the road in another of his whizzo economy measures, had published a story titled “‘End freedom of movement’ Pressure mounts on May to SCRAP Schengen IMMEDIATELY”. The title uses CAPITAL letters to make sure angry READERS know exactly which WAY they are supposed to THINK.
OH WHAT A GIVEAWAY!

Helmer was all in favour of this idea, despite (a) the UK not being a participant in the Schengen agreement, (b) the UK therefore not being part of the Schengen area, (c) the Schengen area and Freedom of Movement being two different things, and (d) Theresa May not having any say in what happens to the Schengen Area. As a result of this demonstration of idiocy, Helmer attracted significant adverse comment.
What to do? Would The Great Man have to ‘fess up and admit he was the Grade A plonker many had suspected for some years? But you know the answer. For a Kipper like Helmer, he takes the same stance as with climate change - straightforward denial. So when told the UK was not in Schengen, he snapped “(1) I was accurately quoting the Daily Express (2) They never said that the UK was in Schengen. Try reading the words”.
Readers are referred to the Express headline as quoted by Helmer. It’s all too clear that the paper’s readers are supposed to at least infer that the UK is in Schengen, that Schengen and Free Movement are the same thing, and that we have some influence on the former. All of that is plain flat wrong. And in any case, his critics should look over there: “And by the way, we're also not in the €uro. But it still damages us, and we can still call for it to be broken up”. And how does it damage us? A little evidence? No, thought not.
After The New European also joined in the mockery, Tweeting “This UKIP MEP and this Brexit-loving paper think we're in the Schengen Area. We aren’t”, Helmer again demanded that they looked over there. “I think no such thing. But unlike you I see how Schengen damages Europe, and leads to mass migration and the Calais Jungle Camp”. The refugees came as a result of conflict elsewhere. Oh, and Look At All Those Brown People!
Meanwhile, the Express tried to cover its tracks by re-wording its article to tell “Pressure mounts on Theresa May to SCRAP freedom of movement IMMEDIATELY”. Two things here. One, whatever the Express says, Free Movement cannot be scrapped immediately, and two, the covering of tracks isn’t going to work if the article’s URL still has the word SCHENGEN as part of it. Dirty Des’ cheapskate press fouls up yet again.

But we knew that the Express were a bunch of clowns. Now Roger Helmer has let everyone know that he is one too. And we’re paying for his siestas.