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Thursday, 15 November 2018

Brexit - Tory Rats Jump Out Of Aqueduct

Yesterday the great deal, today the grim reality: a marathon five-hour Cabinet meeting ended in grudging backing for Theresa May’s allegedly historic Brexit deal, but there were rumblings of discontent. Today the Tory fissures burst open and brought the eruption: ministers are resigning, letters going in to the 1922 Committee, and it is looking more and more as if yet another Tory PM is to be deposed over the issue of Europe.
First rat out of the aqueduct was Shailesh Vara, a junior Northern Ireland minister, who many may not have heard of, but that is unimportant: his departure was the starting signal, and before long came the farcical sight of the minister who oversaw negotiations with the EU saying that what he negotiated was so rubbish, he would resign over it.
Yes, Dominic Raab, the amateur human being who famously told a live Victoria Derbyshire show in the run-up to last years’s General Election that those who had to visit food banks were not poor, but merely had a cash-flow problem. He could not support an “indefinite backstop arrangement”. Thus Raab brought us a superb example of Liebling’s Law.
[For those unfamiliar with this concept, here is how J K Galbraith interpreted Liebling’s Law: “A J Liebling of the New Yorker magazine formulated what he called Liebling’s Law. It held, roughly, that if a man of adequately complex mind proceeds in a sufficiently perverse way, he can succeed in kicking himself in his own ass out the door into the street”]
So it should be no surprise at all that after Raab had lodged his boot in his own jacksy, there would be more derangement of the rat-aqueduct interface. This has come with the resignation of the deeply unpleasant Esther McVey from the Cabinet. Sadly, she will not yet be facing the humiliation of having to apply for Universal Credit.
But what the McVey resignation does show is that there is some premeditation behind the exercise. So when Matt Chorley of the Times mused “I can’t seem to find the second page of Raab’s letter where he sets out, based on his experience in four months of negotiations, what deal he would have got that would have been better”, this was perceptive, but the point of the walkouts was not tied to anything as mundane as constructive reason.
As the ever-alert James Chapman pointed out, “Esther McVey's resignation letter is the third of the morning to state that the withdrawal agreement is a threat to the integrity of the Union. This puts Ruth Davidson and David Mundell in an extremely difficult position”. Mundell might be next? Who will be able to tell? Will anyone care by then?
Chapmen had already pointed out “Raab's resignation means May's withdrawal agreement is dead - no prospect of it getting through Parliament unless Corbyn backs it. No majority for no deal either. So: fresh negotiations which probably mean request to extend Article 50, or #PeoplesVote”. Chapman, to no surprise at all, backs the Peoples Vote campaign.
Theresa May may carry on. But her party, and indeed her Government, is disintegrating. At least she is still on the bridge, unlike Young Dave, who precipitated this mess and then ran away when it all went wrong. But her future as PM can be measured in days, not weeks.

Meanwhile, the country is getting screwed over. Time for the Tories to go.
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Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Nick Ferrari - You’re A Hypocrite

LBC presenter Nick Ferrari, an appallingly immodest man with much to be modest about, is not backward in coming forwards to tell anyone who will listen that he is a Proper Journalist, a man of the highest professional principle, and not at all like these ghastly New Media outlets which he dislikes with a passion. Especially those on the left.
Gammon in the morning

So it was that when The Great Man found himself on the same BBC Question Time panel as the Canary’s editor in chief Kerry-Anne Mendoza, he regarded it as the gravest possible insult, telling Ms Mendoza, in a newsroom diversity discussion, “It would be an unpalatable fact for you that the reality is that the people who were involved in the brutal racist killing of Stephen Lawrence would not be behind bars without the power of the Daily Mail, and that’s a fact, and the editor took a great risk and could have gone to jail”. Ri-i-i-ight.
Kerry-Anne Mendoza

Last year, in an article titled‘MURDERERS’ - of myths, Macpherson, and the Daily Mail”, Brian Cathcart concluded “while the paper’s actions involved editorial brilliance and probably had positive consequences, its principal claims are at best exaggerated and at worst unsupported by evidence”. Also, Paul Dacre was never in danger of being jailed.

Ferrari’s Question Time rant then continued “Never has the mainstream media been more important, because while I respect what people like that are doing [gestures dismissively at Ms Mendoza], and it’s great, and it gets kids involved … don’t forget, when you go to these sorts of utterings, which many times are like the mad ramblings of the man on the top deck of the bus, speaking into his hand, they have no journalistic backup whatsoever”.
There was more. “That is why we need to keep journalists, like the people who work on this show, on Question Time, who work on my radio show on LBC, because when you hear it from us, it will be true [my emphasis], or to the best of our endeavours it will be true, not just made up because …” By this time, many in the audience were booing him.

They might start up the booing once more when they see just how faithful Nick Ferrari is to his commitment that “when you hear it from us, it will be true … to the best of our endeavours”. And we now have an excellent example of just how true those endeavours can be, after The Great Man’s Sunday Express column from October 28th.
Javid dares tell us truth about abuse, says NICK FERRARI” screams the headline, with a diatribe on so-called “grooming gangs” telling “Study horrific abuse stories in places such as Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxford, Bristol and Telford. It seems everyone from the police to the NHS to social services is frightened of standing up” and then claiming “One study says 84 per cent of those convicted for child grooming since 2005 are Asian”.
Two things here. One, the claim is for “grooming gang offences”, not “child grooming”. And two, this is the Quilliam “research” which has recently been shown to be, at best, seriously suspect, and at worst, not worth the paper on which it has been published.

After a complaint from Miqdaad Versi of the Muslim Council of Britain, the Express conceded the first point. They are yet to move on the second. But from Nick Ferrari, there has been nothing. So when he says “when you hear it from us, it will be true … to the best of our abilities”, he’s just being another Old Media hypocrite. No surprise there, then.
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Nigel Farage Nears Mueller Time

For those who sailed a little too close to the golden glow from those tasteless lift doors in that New York tower block, the moment of truth is fast approaching, as is the answer to anyone who doubted this blog’s previous assertions that some who had sucked up to Combover Crybaby Donald Trump might find themselves the subject of enquiries by law enforcement agencies Stateside - people like Nigel “Thirsty” Farage.
Squeaky felony indictment finger up the bum time

Because Nige is most certainly the subject of enquiries from those Stateside, and the kind coming from Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller and his team. Worse for Mr Thirsty, those enquiries have also touched on the small matter of Julian Assange, the Wikileaks man who is still holed up in London’s Ecuadorian embassy.
Seemed a good idea at the time, eh lads?

As the Guardian has reported, “Robert Mueller is seeking more information about Nigel Farage for his investigation into Russian interference in US politics, according to a target of the inquiry who expects to be criminally charged … Jerome Corsi … said prosecutors working for Mueller questioned him about Farage, the key campaigner behind Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, two weeks ago in Washington”.
Guess who's throwing a paddywagon party?

That’s in addition to Farage already being a “person of interest”. And there was more. “Corsi said investigators for the special counsel also pressed him for information on Ted Malloch, a London-based American academic with ties to Farage”. Why is Malloch important? “Last March, Malloch said he had been stopped by Mueller’s investigators when he arrived in the US from the UK”. That’s why.
Remember him, Nige? You will eventually

Also, “Malloch told the Guardian he had been issued a subpoena and interrogated by the FBI at Boston’s Logan airport. He was questioned, he said, about his involvement in the Trump campaign and his relationship with the Republican strategist Roger Stone, and asked if he had ever visited Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks chief, at the Ecuadorian embassy in London”. And what did Mueller’s team ask Corsi?
Corsi said Mueller’s questioning focused on the theft of emails from Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee, which were published by WikiLeaks. US intelligence agencies concluded the emails were stolen in a Russian intelligence operation … He said: ‘The issue they went to over and over and over again was: who was my source with Assange?’” Assange again. The bloke who Nige visited, and was caught doing so.
So perhaps it was no surprise when Farage’s predictable response to Theresa May’s claimed Brexit deal “Theresa May’s Brexit agreement is the worst deal in history” (and no, he hasn’t read it either) provoked Tom Jamieson’s response “You might want to see who's named in Michael Cohen's plea bargain with Mueller before calling that”. Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen is expected to be indicted imminently.
And with that in mind, Jasna Badzak, who has first hand experience of Mr Thirsty, added “Sorry to disappoint you but no plans for any plea bargain for #UKIP #Farage. Charges followed by Supermax!!! #MuellerTime #BrexitRussia #TrumpRussia (Kassam and Wigmore on the other hand…)”. Ray and Wiggy too? Not to be missed!
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Boris - The Thousand Year Brexit Lie

As in the magician producing a rabbit from a hat, after all those months of negotiations Theresa May announced she has the text of a deal with the EU on Britain’s departure from the European Union. She would be calling her cabinet in for a series of one-on-one meetings, and then the deal would proceed to Parliament. But there were some who knew, without bothering to read that text, that this was A Very Bad Thing indeed.
An absolute Muppet. And Elmo from Sesame Street

The DUP said No, but then the DUP always says No. Saying No is what defines the DUP. Sadiq Khan wasn’t impressed. David Davis said he’d told us so, and headed off to the nearest watering hole. Nicola Sturgeon suggested this was a way to get “better options” considered, which meant getting Scottish independence back on the table. But the star turn was London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.

Bozza had not been party to the negotiation, so it was all rubbish. “This has been ‘Chronicle of a Death Foretold’ for some months. We are going to stay in the customs union, we are going to stay in large parts of the single market. It’s vassal state stuff as for the first time in 1,000 years this parliament will not have a say over the laws that govern this country. It is utterly unacceptable to anybody who believes in democracy”.

Yikes chaps! And he just had to put the boot in on the Irish. “For the first time since partition, Dublin would have more say in some aspects of the governing of Northern Ireland than London. So I don’t see how you can support from a democratic point of view”. Bozza, for some reason, had forgotten the Good Friday Agreement (again).

So let’s pick the bones out of that one, and show how Bozza is once more all wind and piss, a busted flush, and a shameless liar of the lowest order.
One, the SOB had not even read the text. HE HADN’T READ IT.

Two, “for the first time in 1,000 years, this Parliament”. Ri-i-i-i-ight. We have not had a Parliament for 1,000 years. In 1018, there was no UK, no Great Britain, and England was ruled not by Parliament, but by a Danish King called Cnut, which sounds not unrelated to what many people say when discussing Boris Johnson.

Three, following on from Boris the Cnut, the UK as now constituted (the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) has existed for less than 100 years. Even if you start from the Act Of Union in 1707, you do not get one third of the way to “1,000 years.

Four, “for the first time [my emphasis] … this Parliament will not have a say over the laws that govern this country”. That means we DID have a say over the laws that govern this country for those 45 years during which we have been a member state of the EEC, then EC, and now the EU. Putting Bozza in one of those Very Difficult Positions.

Five, the whole pretext under which he and his fellow Brexiteers advocated leaving the EU was that we wanted to take back control. Their referendum USP was that we did not have control over making our own laws. Now he says we did.
Boris Johnson is a liar, the worst Foreign Secretary in living memory, the worst-yet Mayor of London, a shyster, a spiv, a bully, a thug, an unfeasibly vain mound of blubber unable to engage brain before mouth, and indeed unable to keep his trousers zipped up. Yet his is the voice the media seeks out on occasions such as these.

That speaks volumes to press and broadcaster deference to the Old School Establishment. It explains why they will swarm around creeps like Bozza rather than listen to the Labour leadership. It explains how the media gets clogged up with the outpourings of the loud yet intellectually bankrupt at the expense of all others.

And it explains why the country is so utterly and totally screwed.
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Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Brillo Tweet Gaffe - No BBC Apology

After BBC host and publisher of the increasingly alt-right Spectator magazine Andrew Neil veered over the Twitter decency line in no style at all in his still fruitless attempts to smear Observer freelance Carole Cadwalladr, the severely adverse comment was not long in arriving. So it might have been thought that someone would say sorry for his characterising Ms Cadwalladr as a “mad cat woman”.
Sadly, that thought was misplaced, as neither Brillo, nor the BBC [my emphasis] have seen fit to apologise. Instead, the best the BBC News Press Team could muster was “There has been some discussion on here regarding a tweet from Andrew Neil about Carole Cadwalladr. He has deleted the tweet and recognises it was inappropriate”. They also personalised it to selected recipients. Really big of them.
So it was that Ms Cadwalladr was told “Hello Carole. Andrew has deleted what he recognises was an inappropriate tweet” to which she quite rightly responded “This is so very inadequate”. When the Beeb tried “Hi Owen. Andrew has deleted what he recognises was an inappropriate tweet” on Owen Jones, he was rather more voluble.
So what, no apology? If your flagship politics presenter was equally as left-wing as Andrew Neil is right-wing - completely far fetched I accept - would you allow them to behave as he does on Twitter?”. He was not alone in his condemnation.
Steve Peers concluded “It may be that this retweet of a quasi-apology that the BBC made on his behalf is the only apology that @carolecadwalla will get from Mr Neil”, while Ian Dunt told “Usually admire Neil but this is dishonourable. How hard is it to say sorry? If it was inappropriate, it was worth apologising for”. Quite.
Moreover, as Liz Anderson stressed, “Strange that the BBC News Press Team has sort of apologised on Neil’s behalf and he’s RTd this. He’s deleted the original tweet, which is a start, but a delete is not an apology”. Dead right it wasn’t. Fionna O’Leary added her ninepence worth: “Further not even the BBC let alone Neil could actually say ‘sorry’. That would take character”. Why is no-one at the Beeb big enough to say sorry?
Dan Waddell was also unhappy at Dunt’s choice of words. “Why ‘usually admire’? He uses his Twitter account almost exclusively to have a go at and organise pile ons of certain women like CC and Caroline Lucas. And when he’s not doing that he’s promoting Rod Liddle”. Promoting Rod Liddle? Provocative. Worse than saying Hello.
And James O’Brien had a reminder for the Beeb. “A senior BBC politics presenter, who already publishes an aggressively right-wing, pro-Brexit magazine, has completely compromised his ability to fairly report some of the most important stories of our time. He should be fired, but won’t even be sanctioned. It’s where we are now”. He had, after all, withdrawn from the Newsnight rota because of supposed BBC impartiality rules.
Not that those seem to apply to Neil in this case. And former blagger John Ford gave us a preview of what will appear in the next issue of Private Eye magazine: “I know one or two things he's reluctant to declare too - a friend of mine was once a decorator at his Chelsea home and discovered some photographs in a wardrobe (sadly, she's an honest sort and put them back) - but here's one we all love”. The Beeb won’t live this down in a hurry.
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Brillo Tweet Means BBC Trouble

After the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance caved in to whistleblower Shahmir Sanni, effectively admitting the links to several other Astroturf lobby groups and yet more corrupt dealing in and around the 2016 EU referendum - thereby validating the investigations by the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr - the last thing the BBC needed was for one of its star names to open mouth and insert boot by slagging her off. 
But, sadly, that was exactly what they got last night after alleged political heavyweight Andrew Neil allowed himself an excess of candour on Twitter. After telling “I’ve just had the most bizarre request of my life (and believe me this is a high bar): to be the rapper on Nicki Minaj’s Starship song (nope, never heard) at (and for once caps justified) THE ROYAL VARIETY PERFORMANCE??!!” his follow-up went totally over the top and out of order.
He’d have to say yes? He couldn’t refuse Ms Minaj? No worry, it would be “Nothing compared with having to deal with mad cat woman from Simpson’s, Karol Kodswallop”. He’s not a pal of Arron Banks, honestly, he just has the same line in abuse.
Henry Porter put it mildly. “A surprising way to describe @carolecadwalla, winner of Orwell prize and Reporters Without Borders award. Last night, talking with @lindseyhilsum at @frontlineclub, we discussed how investigative journalists were facing risks similar to Marie Colvin's. This doesn't help”.  Louis Barfe did not put it so mildly.
After asking “Is this a reference to the very good, very thorough investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr?” he continued “It shows whose side Brillo's on all too clearly, doesn't it?” and completed his exposition with “Isn't it that sinister shortarse Arron Banks' nickname for CC? Cadwalladr is a better journalist than you've ever been or ever will be, Andrew. Fuck it, Neil Sean's better than you”. As Sir Sean nearly said, I think we got the point.
But, alas, no man is of perfect courage, and certainly not Brillo, as Owen Jones discovered. “He's deleted the tweet, presumably at the direction of his bosses. That's not really good enough, is it? If the flagship BBC politics presenter was as left-wing as Andrew Neil is right-wing (which would itself never happen), do you think they'd get away with this behaviour?” QTWTAIN, then. He was not alone in voicing disapproval.
Adam Bienkov of Business Insider simply said “When you're an award-winning investigative journalist who has broken some of the biggest political stories of the past year, but also happen to be a woman”. Quite. And the disbelief continued.
Jones’ friend Ellie Mae O’Hagan added “I can't believe what Andrew Neil gets away with”. But perhaps Neil did not get away with it. The Beeb is already under pressure over all those talking heads from the TPA and their pals who it allows on its airwaves. There is the real likelihood of legal action from Ms Cadwalladr and Byline Media’s Peter Jukes after Arron Banks smeared them both on The Andy Marr Show™, with no right of reply given.

Andrew Neil’s Twitter excursion says one thing: he’s above mere criticism, and can please himself who he kicks, because there won’t be any sanction. And by implication, as he’s on their payroll, he’s suggesting the BBC can do it too. And that’s not good enough.
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