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Saturday, 20 October 2018

Sajid Javid Asian Smear Hypocrisy

After reporting restrictions were lifted sufficiently for the world to know that 20 men had been convicted and sentenced for their part in a grooming gang operating in and around the town of Huddersfield, it was inevitable that some of what Robin Day memorably and rightly called “here today and gone tomorrow politicians” would use the trial for their own own ends, especially those who had nothing to do with securing the convictions.
So it was that our already devalued Home Secretary Sajid Javid decided that, having seen the ringleader sent down for life, and several others get a double-figure number of years behind bars, he would claim credit for it, having taken no part in proceedings. “These sick Asian paedophiles are finally facing justice. I want to commend the bravery of the victims. For too long, they were ignored. Not on my watch. There will be no no-go areas”.
Ri-i-i-i-ght. “Sick Asian Paedophiles”. Coupled with “no-go areas”. Stigmatising entire communities and pandering to the far-right, much? Securing the abolition of “no-go areas” would be the easiest of wins for Javid, of course, because they do not exist. Also, the suggestion that “Asian” aligns with “Paedophile” not only plays into the hands of the far-right, but also trivialises abuse by anyone else - in other words, most of it.
Small wonder that Sayeeda Warsi, a member of his own party, and someone who knows the West Yorkshire area rather well, was not backwards in coming forward to pass severely adverse comment. “‘No go areas’ ‘Asian paedophiles’ This should not be the language of a Home Sec . The victims of these appalling crimes deserve better - they need to be protected, believed & supported. This issue is too serious for political posturing. You are better than this Sajid”. Some advised her that he wasn’t. And this may be true.
Worse, as Peter Walker of the Guardian has observed, this feeds a narrative of falsehood and misinformation: “A Hope Not Hate report this week found that 30% of British people wrongly believe there are ‘no go areas’ in the UK ruled by sharia law, where non-Muslims cannot enter. When the home secretary uses the phrase in tweets it’s perhaps no wonder”.
Moreover, Javid would not have used “whites”, “blacks”, and certainly not any other religious or ethnic term. Yet this was the politician who sniped at Jeremy Corbyn “If Corbyn had said ‘Asians’ or ‘Blacks’ instead of ‘Zionists’ he’d be gone by now. The fact he’s still there, tells us all we need to know about what the Labour Party has become”. Well, Javid did indeed say “Asians”, which shows, er, what the Tory Party has become.
Small wonder that Michael Rosen - who may still be trying to get Tory chairman Brandon “Barrow Boy” Lewis to come clean on how much of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism his party has adopted, mused “Could the Sajid Javid who brought ethnicity into his description of a crime be the same Sajid Javid who wrote a tweet where ‘Zionist’ was equivalent to ‘Asian’? (Yes.)” It could also be the Tories turning sharp right.

That Javid is still Home Secretary, in his own words, tells us all we need to know.
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Huddersfield - Tommy Robinson’s Shame

Yesterday, after three trials lasting several months, twenty men were sentenced for their participation in a gang which groomed and sexually exploited girls as young as 11. The judge, Geoffrey Marson QC, had earlier told 16 of those men “The way you treated these girls defies understanding; this abuse was vile and wicked … As cases of sexual abuse with which the courts have to deal, this case comes top of the scale”.
As the BBC has reported, “At Leeds Crown Court, the ringleader, Amere Singh Dhaliwal, 35, was jailed for life with a minimum of 18 years … the judge told him: ‘The extent and gravity of your offending far exceeds anything which I have previously encountered … Children’s lives have been ruined and families profoundly affected by seeing their children, over months and years, out of control, having been groomed by you and other members of your gang’”. And the whole case could have been collapsed by one act of selfish idiocy.

That was the self-publicising intervention by Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, who rocked up at Leeds Crown Court and filmed several of the defendants. This could have collapsed the trial and let at least some of those now sentenced walk free. It would have been a monstrous disservice to the victims.

Former chief prosecutor Nazir Afzal, who was instrumental in getting the Rochdale grooming case to trial, told “Restrictions lifted so you can learn about the latest grooming trials in Huddersfield …  My interviews will be broadcast … This was not the work of Tommy Robinson & his cohorts, his lot nearly derailed it again … It was the bravery of victims & professionals”. Quite. And many actual journalists had something to add.

Free sheet Metro reported[Lennon] claimed the activities of the gang were being covered up because the offenders were of Asian origin. In reality, reporting of the case was only being postponed for …  legal reasons … The restriction was put in place because the defendants were being dealt with in separate trials … reporting is sometimes postponed until the final case so jurors cannot be prejudiced by reading accounts of previous trials”.
And Yorkshire Post editor James Mitchinson devoted a comment item to Lennon’s ill-judged intervention titled “Why Tommy Robinson owes Huddersfield grooming gang victims an apology”. He pulls no punches: “As the accused faced their days in court, Yaxley-Lennon, who goes by the name Tommy Robinson, took to Facebook to broadcast live content which could have caused the trial to collapse. He did so under the auspices of being a champion of the people, effectively duping those who follow him into believing editors like me were covering up these repugnant crimes”. There was more.

His narrative was that newspapers like The Yorkshire Post were too scared to tell the truth because the perpetrators are all Asian men. Now, as reporting restrictions are lifted, the truth stands there for all to see: Yaxley-Lennon put his own notoriety ahead of any thought for the only people that matter in this; the victims”. And more.

In flouting the reporting restrictions he absolutely jeopardised their right to see punished the men who abused them in the most inhumane way imaginable. This newspaper has committed a journalist to proceedings every step of the way … knowing that the right time would eventually come to responsibly break the news. Now these men are jailed, the time is right to publish. It is also the right time for Yaxley-Lennon to apologise to the victims”.

And Matt Carr put it yet more directly. “This point can’t be made enough. It was made again and again when Robinson was arrested, and was totally ignored by his hero-cultists, who despite what they proclaim, have no interest in justice or in the victims, but only in using these vile crimes to whip up hatred”. He wasn’t finished.
This shameless unscrupulous bastard nearly derailed the trial. He didn’t care. His followers didn’t care. His Fox News/Info Wars supporters didn’t care. Gert Wilders didn’t care. Katie [Hopkins] didn’t care. None of them gave a flying fuck … Instead they had the gall to present this self-aggrandising, publicity-seeking grifter as a martyr and a political prisoner. They compared him to Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi. In doing this they waded into the same sewer that he already inhabits”. Dead right.

He had this observation to add: “It’s a sewer where facts no longer exist, where truth is what they say it is, where justice does not depend on evidence but only on (their) opinion, where entire communities are tainted with the crimes of a few, where depraved criminality is presented as ‘jihad’ … It’s a sewer in which even survivors of sexual abuse like Sammy Woodhouse are attacked by those who supposedly care about them if they don’t blame these crimes on Muslims; where violations of the rule of law are presented as a state-directed conspiracy to silence the ‘truth’”. Got it in one.

Stephen Lennon also feeds off mistrust of the press - much of which is the fault of national titles which routinely propagandise, misrepresent, and when they feel the need for it, deal in wholesale falsehood. They, too, have contributed to Lennon’s rise.

But what the national titles do not do is to endanger criminal trials in the cavalier and reckless manner Lennon did in Leeds, and has been on the verge of doing elsewhere. As to his defence - that he was only reading out what the BBC had already reported - well, if that were true, what was he “exposing”? Nothing. Zilch. Zip. Bugger all.

Stephen Yaxley Lennon is not heroically trying to expose something that is being covered up. His actions could have denied justice to victims of the most vile abuse. Yet when he rocks up at the Old Bailey next week - no doubt with his faithful followers in tow - he will claim the mantle of heroic truth-seeker and victim of establishment crackdown. Nothing could be further from the truth. He is neither, and nor will he ever be.

It’s time for the Tommy Robinson myth to finally meet reality. And that reality is that he is a cheap thug and career criminal who has exposed no wrongdoing, secured no convictions, but used others’ suffering to enrich himself. He should hang his head in shame.
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Friday, 19 October 2018

Arron Banks - Whose Money Was It Then?

There are times when even those with rather less common sense than usual realise that they should have kept schtum: as the saying goes, better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt. And removing all doubt yesterday was the alleged “man who bankrolled Brexit” Arron Banks.
Nigel “Thirsty” Farage’s erstwhile sidekick had been quiet of late, until a string of Twitter events let him to open mouth and insert boot. Worse, it was Farage who started the ball rolling, the subject as so often being Brexit, about which Mr Thirsty talks well, but lies badly. He is yet another of those who, as I told yesterday, moans about the entire process but offers no expertise, no assistance, no solutions, and no credibility.
Squeaky string of consequences finger up the bum time

To deflect from this cretinous inadequacy, Farage Tweeted “The problem is not Brexit, the problem is Theresa May … RT if you agree”. The Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr wasn’t having any of that. “The problem is not Brexit. The problem is the people who sold it to us cheated, lied & broke our electoral laws … RT if you agree”. And 6,600 did just that.
And she wasn’t finished. “The problem is not Brexit. It’s that we don’t know who paid for it. We don’t know where Farage’s mate @arron_banks got his money from. And we don’t know why the government is refusing to say if the authorities are investigating”. Tagging the appallingly gobby Banks had a most unfortunate effect - for Banks, that is.
In he went with both feet, opening mouth some time before the brain followed. “I made my money from insurance, so why don’t you say Arron Banks was funded by the Russians and then I can sue you. Meanwhile , It seems you and @peterjukes went to extraordinary lengths to steal my emails and I don’t think that’s going to end well for you both”.
Banks tagging Jukes also had an unfortunate effect - but only for Banks, as Jukes was ready and waiting. “A. Who are you lawyers now Mischon have gone? Byline has a letter for them … B. They [the emails] weren’t stolen … C. Where’s that police investigation you promised nearly 6 months ago? … D. The British don’t like attempts to intimidate journalists. Try your friends in Russia”. Ouch!
From this we can conclude that Arron Banks, who is once again threatening legal action against his detractors, does not have a lawyer ready to take his instructions. That is most unfortunate, given that Byline Media would rather like to talk to him or her.

Worse, the Police investigation appears to have gone quiet, and given the time lapse, will more than likely be concluded with No Further Action - as there is no credible evidence.
Worse still, Banks has given his opponents the juiciest of bones to chew over. When he said “I made my money from insurance, so why don’t you say Arron Banks was funded by the Russians and then I can sue you”, the obvious corollary came up in flashing neon lights: was it, then, not his money that got thrown at Leave EU and Co?

That would answer the question put by Zelo Street some time ago - about whether Banks had been indulging in money laundering. His Tweet fits that theory like a glove.

Arron Banks really should have kept quiet. And then got himself a lawyer.
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Thursday, 18 October 2018

Brexit Press Moaning - THE SOLUTION

Our free and fearless press is once again reporting selectively on what has been happening at talks in Brussels this week on Britain’s departure from the EU. And as usual, those who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet do plenty of moaning, while providing no solution of their own. What has set them off this time is the prospect of Theresa May needing an extension to the so-called transition period.
This news has been received in the style of the sky falling in, as the Mail has whined “PM ‘could make UK wait even longer’ to avoid no-deal cliff edge (but we’d have to keep paying EU billions) … ANOTHER YEAR IN BREXIT LIMBO?” and the Murdoch Sun has gone yet lower with “Is This The Kiss Of Death? UK could be under control of EU for one more year … BREXTRA TIME!” The pejorative language just never stops.

Under control of EU”? What next? Oh yes, I forgot. WHO WON THE WAR?!?!? What pain there must be for the paper’s non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn, a Remain supporter who has to write up this formulaic drivel, in which readers are toldAddressing the 27 national bosses at a tense summit in Brussels last night, the PM told them she is ‘ready to consider’ extending the 21 month transition period after the UK leaves the EU next March”. “National busses”? Crude and patronising to Sun readers, much?

But then came the warnings. “The potentially incendiary move has been drawn up by the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier to try to end a bitter impasse over the Irish border.” Barnier? Baddie! BOO! HISS! Er, do go on. “It would mean abiding by all Brussels rules until December 2021 at the earliest, 12 months longer than No10’s current transition plan”.

Rules made by people who talk foreign! BOO! HISS! Oh, and guess what else it would mean? “And that would include continuing free movement of all migrants, as well as the UK having to fork out another £9bn into EU coffers in fees, while having no say in any Brussels decision making”. Migrants! BOO! HISS!
Worst of all, “The PM's high stakes play runs the risk of infuriating hardline Brexiteers who have long opposed keeping any ties to the EU beyond Brexit day on March 29, let alone for almost three more years”. So up pop Nadine Dorries, who doesn’t like the idea of a Customs Union because she doesn’t understand it, Andrea Jenkyns, John “Live Long And Prosper” Redwood, and Nigel “Thirsty” Farage to whine a bit more.

Well, guess what, moaning MPs and MEPs? I have news for you all - yes, you four, as well as Jacob Rees Mogg, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, Peter Bone, Philip Davies and all the other professional whiners. There is a solution to your problem.

It’s a very simple solution. You don’t like what is happening in Brussels - you do better. You all know more than anyone else - well, in your dreams, perhaps - so go right ahead and show us all how you’d square the Irish Border circle, avoid the M20 car park, save the economy from tanking, and keep all those decently paid jobs in the UK.

Go on, Nige, Nads, Bozza, DD, Moggster and your press pals. You’re all so sodding clever, you fix it. And without screwing over the country even more.

Oh look, it’s gone quiet. Anyone might conclude they’re all wind and piss.
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Daily Mail Anti-Semitism Attack WASN’T

The inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker have been in especially creative mood in their appetite for smearing the Labour left, as a still available article at Mail Online shows. Here, we encounter two names that may be familiar to Zelo Street regulars, Sharon Klaff and Ambrosine Shitrit, who turned up to protest at a meeting in North London.
Sharon Klaff (left) and Ambrosine Shitrit with their pal Eric

Police probe attack on two Jewish protesters outside 'pro-Corbyn' meeting that left woman in hospital ‘after being repeatedly kicked in the head’” screams the headline, with the article tellingA Jewish protestor was 'pulled to the ground and kicked repeatedly in the head' outside a pro-Corbyn antisemitism meeting in London this evening … The female victims were recording the doorway to the event in Islington, north London, on Tuesday when they were attacked by two women, video footage has shown”.
Associating “pro-Corbyn” with “anti-Semitism”? Check! And there was more. “Ambrosine Shitrit, who was on Facebook Live when the incident started, said the pair had been talking to security guards, after passing through iron gates outside, indicating they were heading into the meeting via the front entrance … The protesters were shouting 'shame on you' when the two women turned and approached them”.
No, he wasn't involved, and nor was his party

And more. “The victims said they believe the women were linked to Momentum, the grassroots groups, which had many members in attendance, they said”. Except they weren’t. They weren’t anything to do with the meeting.
After Labour Left Voice Tweeted “Sharon Klaff and Ambrosine Shitrit were beaten up outside this event tonight by two random passers by.. All through her video and the drama, all she can do is say they had tickets (but didn't go in strangely) and guess what.. It's Corbyn's fault!” Derek Hands confirmed “They were residents who are trying to get their children to bed and tried to ask them to stop but they refused”.
LLV showed why residents might not be able to get their children to bed: “Usual far-right disruptors.. lying through their teeth again.. residents complained about the megaphone all night”. Far-right? Well yes, Ms Klaff was identified as one of those who attacked socialist bookshop Bookmarks recently. Ms Shitrit has in the past praised the EDL.
Worse, Ms Klaff describes Jews who support Corbyn as “useful idiots”, compared Corbyn to Hitler and likens Jews who support Corbyn to “those that helped the Gestapo”. Ms Shitrit has attacked MPs Ruth Smeeth and Luciana Berger for remaining within the Labour Party. These are the people the Mail is backing by framing the story in this way.

Small wonder LLV has now confirmed “Dear @dailymailuk Nice spin.. The 2 assaulters were passing by. The whole street had been kept awake by their illegal protest and megaphone which the police failed to control”.
The assault on Ms Klaff and Ms Shitrit had nothing to do with anti-Semitism, and everything to do with their making a nuisance of themselves to the extent that some local residents lost patience with them. The two protesters were just being inconsiderate.

Still, it allows the Mail to link anti-Semitism and Corbyn. So that’s all right, then.
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Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Sun Foreign Aid Lies BUSTED

As if to show that our free and fearless press talks well, but lies badly, and press non-regulator IPSO does not unadjacent to stuff all about it, the Super Soaraway Currant Bun has served up a pack of lies about Britain’s foreign aid spending, and just to add insult to injury, has declined to retract or apologise when faced with reality. Meanwhile, IPSO has not raised so much as a peep. And they’ve had six days to act.
The article screamedFury as £4billion of Britain’s foreign aid budget goes towards fixing POTHOLES abroad … Campaigners said the news 'beggars belief' while councils at home face a £14billion bill for repairing our own pothole-plagued roads”. A photo was very clearly captioned “The Government has spent nearly £4billion of foreign aid money on fixing potholes around the world”. And there was more in the same vein.

Other spending included £700 million fund to provide transport, water and electricity on an island the size of Birmingham on Lake Victoria in East Africa. The project included building an ‘all-weather road’”. And then came the all too predictable protests.
Motorist campaign group FairFuel UK said it ‘beggars belief’ that taxpayers are paying for roads to be fixed around the world … Tory MPs demanded ministers prioritise sorting out the chaos on Britain’s railways before spending any more on foreign transport networks”. Rent-A-Quote Philip Davies moaned “Surely the Government should be spending money on those before sloshing it around the world to boost the infrastructure in other countries”.

But there was a problem with the story - it wasn’t true. As the DFID has told, “DFID invested £3.9bn in 57 separate transport and infrastructure programmes that were operational during 2015 and 2016, although many of those projects will have started before this time. Not one of these programmes was aimed in any significant part at fixing potholes”. But what about that island in Lake Victoria?
The Sun also claims that DFID’s other spending included a ‘£700m fund to provide transport, water and electricity on an island the size of Birmingham on Lake Victoria in East Africa. The project included building an all-weather road’ … This is false. The entire project, funded by a range of different organisations of which DFID was just one, has received $49m of investment, so around £37m”.

And it got worse. “DFID’s total contribution, both directly and through our contribution to the Private Infrastructure Development Group, was £8.7m”. So the Murdoch goons are the thick end of 100 times out on that spending. How about a correction, then?
You jest. The DFID talks of “DFID’s response to The Sun, which they did not publish at all online and only in part in the print version”. Indeed, the online version has no mention of the DFID reply, or indeed of the correct figures. So the Sun lied, and continues to lie. Moreover, publishing part of the DFID’s letter separate to the article, and with no kind of correction, just makes sure the paper gets away with it.

As for IPSO, it has said and done nothing. The Sun knows foreign aid is a way to rile up the readership. It should be extra careful to get its facts right. It doesn’t bother. So it spreads falsehood and misinformation. The conclusion? Don’t Buy The Sun.
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Tommy Robinson IGNORES Child Abuse

One thing comes clear from the justifications given by Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, for his campaigning - that he takes child abuse very seriously indeed. So he should not be surprised if his critics test his pronouncements against what he has actually achieved in exposing and preventing it.
And that is where the problems arrive: Lennon has exposed very little, if anything, in this area, and has prevented even less. His filming outside courts serves only to endanger trials that are the result of painstaking and costly investigation - which exposes nothing, other than his appetite for self-promotion and disregard for the law.

Worse, his constant pursuit of only one small group of males - those who are Muslims - gives most child abusers a free pass. Worse still is that child abuse was going on under his nose when he was involved with the EDL and he did nothing about it. And yet worse is his excusing all of that by shouting “Quilliam”, when it is becoming clear that Quilliam’s report into so-called grooming gangs is deeply flawed.

Consider all the abuse which Lennon is ignoring. Priests, especially those in and around the Roman Catholic Church, had got away with physically and psychologically abusing children for decades until recently. Children’s care homes across the UK were home not only to vulnerable young people, but also terrible abuse. No comment from Lennon.
But perhaps this is all too abstract, so let’s look at specifics in the here and now. Like Peter Gillett: “Today he was jailed for 12 months at Hove Crown Court after he admitted possessing a Taser … But it can now be revealed that earlier this year Gillett was found guilty of a series of historic child sex offences. After a trial he was convicted of a catalogue of offences against children dating back to 1988 and sentenced to 18 years in jail”.

Or how about Roy Collins? “An ‘arrogant’ Jehovah's Witness subjected two girls under the age of 13 to years of systematic assaults and rapes … Roy Collins, 80, was branded as ‘devious, righteous and arrogant’ by a judge at Swansea Crown Court … He had spent a decade systematically grooming, abusing and raping the two girls”. There was more.

Collins, of Longford Crescent, St Thomas, Swansea, had previously been found guilty of 26 counts of indecent assault, indecency, and rape at trial when he appeared in the dock at Swansea Crown Court for sentencing”. Not a peep from Lennon on either case.

Worse, those who identify as Lennon’s followers have been targeting one victim: “Rotherham abuse survivor Sammy Woodhouse has come under attack from racists and supporters of Tommy Robinson … It follows an interview with the BBC Newsnight programme where Sammy said that abuse wasn’t just committed by Asian men”.

Has Lennon intervened and told his followers to back off? After all, Ms Woodhouse is entitled to her own free speech, and Tommy is big on free speech, isn’t he? Well, not on this occasion he isn’t. Perhaps it’s because she also said “When you get people like Britain First and Tommy Robinson saying we exposed Rotherham and other places, well no you didn’t … The people who exposed scandals are survivors”.

Stephen Lennon isn’t exposing child abuse. He’s just peddling bigotry.
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Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Referendum Cheating - Enter Murdoch Goon

After it was revealed that the Metropolitan Police, far from investigating the clear evidence of cheating by the two Leave campaigns in the run-up to the 2016 EU Referendum, was sitting on the evidence and doing nothing, there was significant disquiet among politicians that 74 MPs, MEPs and peers have now written to the National Crime Agency and the Met asking for reassurances that they are now investigating.
Today, therefore, it was no surprise to see Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw telling “I’ve coordinated another letter from MPs & MEPs to @metpoliceuk & @NCA_UK about law breaking by the Leave campaign after reports they weren’t investigating them because of ‘political sensitivities’”. He was not the only one going public.
David Lammy, Labour’s representative for Tottenham, wanted everyone to know “Pleased to have signed this letter. Authorities cannot simply look the other way when handed ‘clear and substantial’ evidence of crimes against our democracy”. And then, totally unexpectedly, a flannelled fool hove into view bearing news.
Responding to Lammy’s Tweet, the odious Master Harry Cole, who still claims to be a real journalist, proclaimed “Police say they [are] waiting for political pressure to calm down before rushing to a decision on whether launch full investigation. So those wanting them to do so launch a fresh wave of political pressure. Doh”.
Strangely, no-one else seems to have been privy to this apparent briefing. But unless Master Cole has lapsed into the kind of mode he was in so often during his days as tame gofer to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines at the Guido Fawkes blog - talking well, but lying badly - this intervention suggests two corollaries, neither of them happy ones.
One, the Bad Old Days™ of the Rozzers briefing Murdoch goons on that good old non-attributable basis may never have really gone away. And two, this carries a yet more disturbing message along the lines of “back off or the investigation gets it”.
Small wonder the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr responded “If this is true, it’s an even bigger scandal than what’s already been reported. Harry is Sun’s political corr & privy to briefings other press won’t get. Looking forward to reading your full report on this in tomorrow’s Sun, Harry. You’re not going to sit on it, right?”.
Actually, Master Cole is the Sun’s alleged “Westminster Correspondent”, until such time as he piles off to the Mail on Sunday. But the point is well made. And Green Party co-leader Sian Berry was following up: “Can @MrHarryCole clarify that police actually said the word 'pressure' to him? It would be incredibly concerning if they have been asked to delay prosecution of leave cheats rather than just self-censoring”. Quite.
Jolyon Maugham, meanwhile, had two observations to make. “Not sure it's appropriate for the Police to be using The Sun to tell civil society that unless it backs off the Police won't investigate criminality”. And as to “rushed”, “The Electoral Commission referred Leave EU's skullduggery to the Police over five months ago”. Got it in one.

Master Cole, will of course be letting us know the full story in tomorrow’s Sun. And if he doesn’t, rather a lot of people will want him and his editor to explain why.
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Thatcher Banknote - No, No, No, No, No

The Bank of England’s plastic banknote drive will soon include the £50 note, and the people at Sky News have reportedA new more secure version of the £50 note is set to enter circulation, with added features to prevent forgeries … The money will be printed on thin, flexible polymer that is cleaner and more durable than paper”. There was more.
The Bank of England has announced the public will be able to nominate British figures to appear on the note”. And what kind of figures might be nominated?

First suggestion is Diana, Princess of Wales: “The Princess of Wales would be a controversial choice owing to the difficult relationship she had with the Queen (who will appear on the other side of the note). But her legacy of extensive charity work, which included fighting against the use of landmines, means many will believe she deserves a place on the new £50”. Another is Stephen Hawking.

Or how about Emmeline Pankhurst? “The leader of the suffragette movement which helped win women the right to vote. She set up the Women's Party which worked to achieve gender equality in public life”. Those who work in and around IT might favour Ada Lovelace, or indeed Alan Turing, “widely recognised as the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. He worked as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park during the Second World War”. But then the right-wing has had to stick its oar in.
Yes, someone has suggested Margaret Thatcher, friend of totalitarian dictatorships, seller-off of so much of the public sector, squanderer of North Sea Oil revenues, bringer of more than 3 million unemployed, despised by whole regions of the UK, but revered by the right, and especially those who never experienced her leadership.

And who might be in the vanguard of the movement to effectively canonise the woman Norman St John Stevas once called “The Blessed Margaret”? As if you need to ask: step forward the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines of Guido Fawkes infamy. Yes, Mrs T is just the kind of leader favoured by a peddler of borderline Fake News whose CV includes running guns to aid and abet murderous rĂ©gimes, backing Apartheid South Africa, a series of alcohol related convictions, a willingness to lie for his supper, and propensity to sell his services to the dodgiest of buyers (including the Russian Government).
The deeply unpleasant Staines has even started a petition on his increasingly piss-poor blog. But his choice is not shared by many others, with disquiet and even horror at the idea voiced across social media this morning. But there would be one advantage.
As columnist Gary Bainbridge mused, “I suppose if they put Thatcher's face on the £50 note it'll stop young Conservatives from burning them in front of the homeless”.

Seriously, though, there are more deserving candidates for the new Fifty than Mrs T. And any choice favoured by shysters like Staines just has to be opposed. End of story.
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