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Thursday, 13 December 2018

Piers Morgan White House Job MAKES SENSE

It is the strangest of days when I have to take my proverbial hat off to former Screws and Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan. But doff my cap I must, because what looks on the surface to be a combination of rank publicity stunt and bed of nails could turn out, if he plays his hand half-decently, to be the biggest money-spinner of his career - as well as seeing him leave the country and leaving TV studios here in peace.
His pal Combover Crybaby Donald Trump, still as I type considered to be President of the United States, has just parted company with another close colleague, White House chief of staff General John Kelly. His first choice to replace Kelly, Nick Ayres, at present Chief of Staff to Vice President Mike Pence, has turned down the role. So, in his usual inimitable style, in has leapt Morgan, to make his own pitch for the job. He actually sounds serious.

Now, some may point out, and I would be one of them, that Trump may not be President for much longer, given that his former fixer Michael Cohen has just been jailed for three years for actions which, it was considered, he was put up to by The Donald himself. It is widely believed that, were Trump not President and merely an ordinary Citizen, he would right now be following Cohen into the nearest slammer.
So why bother putting in for the Chief of Staff job? Simples. To merely be there, in the White House inner circle, and with a journalist’s ability to take notes and make diary entries, would pay dividends later on. It may not pay the kind of dividends that Morgan has been suggesting, but the size of payday would, as Benny Hill said more than once in The Italian Job, be big. Big … y’know, BIG. Really big.

On top of that, people like Morgan have media connections, and even though many of them would rather not give him the time of day, the temptation of getting access to his accounts of Presidential disintegration would open many doors. Along the way, he could set up interviews with those who had been hired, and then fired, by the Trump gang. Even many critics would be happy to do a Piece to Camera for him.
Piers Morgan is now in his fifties, a time when thoughts have to turn to that last big payday before the openings stop opening, and the phone goes quiet. If Trump, as some have predicted, is sent off to prison as a result of Robert Mueller’s investigations, who else is going to get access to the then disgraced ex-President? Morgan will. Others won’t.

Doesn’t look such a daft idea now, does it? And in addition to all that, he gets to drop even more names and anecdotes every time he blags a table at the Chiltern Firehouse. He gets to rub shoulders with yet more “names”, and continue his career of being famous not through any discernible talent, or achievement, but by being around famous people, and then talking ad infinitum, and indeed ad nauseam, about them.
Also, with the prospect of a Corbyn Government resurrecting Leveson 2, who knows what past Morgan misdeeds may be unearthed? Best make that last big paycheque before his involvement in any Dark Arts ceases to be a secret.

Getting the inside track to a downfall that could put Nixon in the shade? There are worse prospective career moves for a 50-something with no known ability, other than to shoot his mouth off and promote Himself Personally Now. Neat move, Piers.
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Uber Pitch To Government - BAD NEWS

Even after driver and rider matching service Uber had been, if only temporarily, banned in London, Government could not wait to get back into bed with it, unlike the established taxi and private hire trades which their fondness of the lawbreakers from the States has done so much to damage. And now, the Government has once again met with Uber, enthusiastically welcoming the company’s plan for transport domination.
The scale of Government-sanctioned grovelling has been exposed by release of an email from Catriona Henderson, head of buses and taxis at the DfT’s Buses and Taxis division. This records the main points of a meeting between Chris Grayling, allegedly the Secretary of State for Transport, and Uber’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who is not at all like Travis Kalanick, honestly. Six of the attendees’ names have been redacted.

Khosrowshahi began with a significant admission: Uber “provides a physical service, not just a software platform”. Well, well. Remember all the protestations that it was merely a technology company? He also claimed Uber “now wishes to engage more with local authorities in which it operates”. If only the engagement included the Police as well.

But the main event was when Khosrowshahi “spoke about his vision for Uber as a full-scope transport platform, integrating public transit, with dynamic pricing and real-time travel information”. He also “spoke about Uber’s aim to have multi-modal connectivity so public and private transit are integrated”. This is flannel speak, but it is also significant, in that it hints as to where Uber would like to be allowed to make its next power grab.
Dara Khosrowshahi

And look what comes next: Khosrowshahi “spoke about UberPool and the upcoming expansion to UberPool services which includes elements of walking to streamline journeys, and that these vehicles could be larger vehicles … [he] also spoke about the hope that Uber will integrate third party services as well, including taxi services, with the aim of being a fully-integrated transport platform”. Ri-i-i-i-ight.

So let’s strip away the bullshit babble and get to the point. There are two seriously disturbing elements to Khosrowshahi’s pitch. One, “elements of walking” and “larger vehicles” means parking his tanks on the lawn currently occupied by London’s buses. But, given Uber’s dislike of regulation and constant lobbying for its own version of it, would mean bringing a chaotic free-for-all into London’s bus services.

That is potentially disastrous, and not just for the companies who have contracted to operate bus services in and around the capital, but TfL, who would stand to see their income decimated by such a move. And the second disturbing element is worse still.
Behold the ritual washing of the hands

Any move to “integrate third party services” means handing some measure of control to whoever is doing the integrating. It also means handing that party the ability to use - and potentially abuse - huge amounts of data, perhaps personal data. And we’ve seen, with recent revelations about Facebook and those who profit from that company’s data, just where that can lead. It would hand control over the cab trade to a rogue insurgent.

Dara Khosrowshahi does not have Travis Kalanick’s brash and intemperate nastiness, but his objectives are just as insidious. And what is worse, he is being allowed to go over the heads of TfL and other transport authorities and pitch to Government. Bad, bad news.
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Far Right Terrorism Increasing AGAIN

Why, some wonder, do those out there on the far right maintain their pretence that all those Scary Muslims™ are out to get us? After all, the number of terror-related incidents that can be attributed to followers of The Prophet have actually fallen of late, so why the continued focus on them? Ah well. This serves the far right well, because the real terrorism growth industry is happening on their own doorsteps.
Earlier this year, the Guardian reported thatThe number of people referred to a UK government counter-extremism programme because of concerns about rightwing extremism has risen by more than a quarter, official figures show … In the year to March 2017, 968 such individuals were referred to Prevent, an increase of 28% from the previous year”. So what about referrals for suspected Islamist extremism?

The majority of referrals … continue to relate to Islamist extremism, for which 3,704 of individuals … were referred. This was a 26% decline from the previous year”. These were a majority, but were in serious decline. Also, “In the year to March 2017, 6,093 individuals were subject to a referral owing to concerns that they were vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. This was a decrease on 7,631in the previous year”. Another overall decline.

Far right terrorism was the growth industry. This growth has now been revealed to have not merely continued, but accelerated. The Guardian has now reported that “The number of people referred to the UK government’s counter-extremism programme over concerns about far-right activity has risen by more than a third, official figures show … In the year to March 2018, 1,312 individuals were referred to Prevent, an increase of 36% on the previous year, and accounting for 18% of all referrals”.
Also, “For the first time, a similar percentage of individuals received support from the Channel scheme for concerns related to Islamist and rightwing extremism. Channel … provides specialist support to people who are at risk of being drawn into terrorism … Of the 394 individuals who received Channel support, 45% were referred for concerns related to Islamist extremism and 44% for concerns related to rightwing extremism”.

This news comes hard on the heels of the Independent’s article headedNumber of far-right terror attacks increases as overall deaths from terrorism fall, report finds”, which goes on to tell “statistics revealed the number of far-right terrorists imprisoned in Britain has more than tripled in a year, rising from nine to 29 in custody by the end of March”.
But the Indy also notes “However, the yearly report found global deaths from terrorism had decreased by 27 per cent, with the largest falls occurring in Iraq and Syria as Isis continues to lose territory, manpower and resources”. Terrorism on the whole is in decline. But the far-right variety is on the increase, here and in the USA.

Small wonder that all those out there on the far right keep on targeting Muslims, despite the decline in Islamist terrorism. Anyone might conclude this is mere deflection.

Do not lose sight of the far-right appetite for terror. Because their hunger is growing.
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Dominic Raab GCSE Maths Fail

Should Theresa May resign, or be caused to resign, the Tory leadership in the near future, a number of hopefuls will be lined up ready to make their pitch for the job. One of them is the former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, whose potential candidacy is being taken seriously by Tories themselves, even if most people would rather have none of it.
Raab, who was one of the co-authors of Britannia Unchained, the book which achieved notoriety by making the claim “Once they enter the workplace, the British are among the worst idlers in the world”, has not covered himself in glory elsewhere. He famously told a Victoria Derbyshire live show, in the run-up to the 2017 General Election, that those using food banks were not poor, but merely experiencing “cash-flow problems”.

This, though, was a mere hors d’oeuvres for the far more substantial entrĂ©e of crashing ignorance he displayed during his tenure as Brexit secretary, when telling “he ‘hadn't quite understood’ how reliant UK trade in goods is on the Dover-Calais crossing”.

As the BBC had reported, “The Brexit Secretary's remarks came at a technology conference as he discussed the ‘bespoke arrangement’ the UK sought with the EU after it leaves the bloc … Shadow Brexit minister Jenny Chapman suggested Mr Raab ‘doesn't even understand the very basics of Brexit’ … Conservative pro-Remain MP Nicky Morgan tweeted: ‘Gulp.’” So his latest faux pas should not have come as a surprise.
Tweeting out a graph showing average wage levels in the UK since 2008, he proclaimed “ONS data showing real wages rising at fastest rate in 10 years ... is good news for working Britain”. Except it wasn’t, because it didn’t.

Jonathan Portes, who, as a Professor of Economics at KCL knows a thing or two about sums, was unimpressed. “Can @DominicRaab genuinely be that innumerate? This graph shows nothing of the sort. This would be a relatively easy GCSE maths question … This is a graph showing *real* wages. Real wage growth was considerably faster in 2016 than now. This isn't hard”. Raab had goofed. But where had he received his bum steer?
Ah well. As with so much in the field of politics, it is never a good idea to trust borderline Fake News propagandists to tell the correct story. And the prompt for Raab’s maths fail came from one of the least reliable borderline Fake News outlets going.

The day before he issued his Twitter proclamation, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog had postedEmployment Highest Since Records Began”, which contained this nugget of Iron Pyrite: “Wages are also up by 3.3%, the fastest rise in a decade”. The ONS actually said “Total pay in nominal terms increased by 3.3%, the annual growth rate has not been higher since May to July 2008”.
But nominal and real wages are not the same thing. Raab had posted a graph showing real wages. As Portes pointed out, their rise was considerably faster in 2016 than now.

And this man is considered Prime Ministerial material. Be afraid, voters. Be very afraid.
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Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Cameron Gives May The Kiss Of Death

One of the less unappealing aspects of today’s Tory Party is that Young Dave, despite occasionally resurfacing and telling that, being a little bored, he’d rather like to be appointed Foreign Secretary, has left the scene. No more of the streamlined, chromium-plated bounder from the Bullingdon at PMQs. No more zero substance PR.
JOLLY BED SHEOW!
But Cameron has not stopped giving out advice to anyone and everyone, whether they have asked for it or not. Nor has he ceased giving out encouragement that, soon afterwards, is shown to be horribly misguided. Yes, calling the 2016 EU referendum was not the only shameful episode in his back catalogue, as his Twitter history shows.
True, Dave has some way to go to match his May 2015 offering, “Britain faces a simple and inescapable choice - stability and strong Government with me, or chaos with Ed Miliband”. What have we had? Three and a half years of rolling clusterfuck, and no end in sight. His party’s Government, to use his own bon mot, has been “weak, weak, weak”.
In September last year, the Curse of Cameron struck again as he responded to news about free schools from the loathsome Toby Young with “Delighted to see the continued success of this great Conservative reform”. Soon after, Tobes not only stood down from an appointment to the board of the newly created Office for Students, he then departed his role as Director of the New Schools Network.
Never mind, there was more of that foreign policy to commend. “I firmly support the military action taken in Syria. The barbaric & intolerable use of chemical weapons should never go unchecked. As we have seen in the past, inaction has its consequences - so PM right to join forces with our allies to take targeted & appropriate action”. Syria was screwed. Our action just screwed it a bit more. It was utterly ineffectual.
Still, there was always politics for him to cheer on. “It's Polling Day. Make sure you have your say on the things that impact your day to day life - things like bin collections & roads. Vote Conservative today for lower taxes & better services”. In that round of local elections, the Tories’ vote share was down 3% and they lost a net 35 Councillors.
Well, what about the World Cup? He couldn’t curse that, could he? Er, I have to confirm this, but … “What an incredible result - well done @England; huge congratulations! Bring on the Semis for #ThreeLions... We’re all proud and cheering you on!” England lost the next match. And they then lost the 3rd place play-off.
OK then, back to politics, and this time the London Mayoral variety. “Many congratulations to @ShaunBaileyUK, selected today as the @Conservatives’ candidate for London Mayor. I’ve known Shaun for many years. He’s a great campaigner, a passionate advocate for our capital city & will provide a strong voice for Londoners. I wish him well!” Two months later, polls show Sadiq Khan with a 27% lead and set for a win on the first ballot.
Undeterred, Dave has now backed Theresa May in tonight’s confidence vote: “I hope Conservative MPs will back the PM in the vote today. We need no distractions from seeking the best outcome with our neighbours, friends and partners in the EU”.

With an endorsement like that, how can she fail? Probably very easily, actually.
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Mail Phone Hacking Denial UNTRUE

The denial was as unequivocal as it was vehement: the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, as the BBC reported at the time, “When asked if he could be ‘100% certain’ the story was not based on information obtained from voice messages, he said: ‘I can be as confident as any editor... that phone hacking was not practised at the Mail on Sunday or the Daily Mail’”. So what was the story in question?
Ah well. Actor and campaigner Hugh Grant had claimed, in his evidence to the Leveson Inquiry, that, as the Guardian also reported, “an article about Grant's love life might have been obtained by phone hacking”. The Vagina Monologue was incandescent. “Hugh Grant was obsessed by trying to drag the Daily Mail into another newspaper's scandal”.

Dacre was filled with Whataboutery on that day: “Dacre claimed that the opening testimony in the Leveson inquiry had made it ‘an extraordinary day … a unique occasion’. Grant was the ‘poster boy for the Hacked Off campaign’ who had deliberately brought out his allegations. ‘He knew the damage it would cause.’” Pretty poor reason for dodging the question, though - he supported Hacked Off, so his evidence didn’t count.
But that denial - claiming “phone hacking was not practised at the Mail on Sunday or the Daily Mail” - is now exposed as mere sophistry. There may not have been hackers in the building, but there were beneficiaries. We know this as Byline Media has secured access to former hacker Glenn Mulcaire’s notebooks. And the evidence is damning.

It also follows the same path as both the Murdoch and Mirror Group hacking stories: first it was the Sunday paper - the Screws and Sunday Mirror - that were implicated. Attempts were then made to pretend it was only the Sundays. Then, slowly but surely, the evidence built, and it it then revealed that the dailies - the Sun and Daily Mirror - were at it too. The first title to be named is the Mail on Sunday. Will the Daily Mail be next?
The Byline investigation revealsNotes, hand-written by Mulcaire - twice convicted of intercepting voicemails for Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World - suggest he also targeted an author and his ex-wife for Britain’s biggest mid-market Sunday newspaper”.

There is more. “Notes originally seized by Scotland Yard in 2006 … show what Mulcaire himself describes as evidence of a £600 agreement to unlawfully obtain voicemails and private phone data - the intended destination for which was … the Mail on Sunday … The evidence, say Mulcaire and his former Fleet Street handler Greg Miskiw, who have both spoken to Byline, includes an instruction spelt out in the private investigator’s spidery biro on a discoloured piece of plain white note-paper”. And the specifics?
Alongside the page title ‘Mail on Sunday’, Mulcaire has recorded the personal private phone numbers of author Benedict Noakes and his family, numbers which Mulcaire says were illegally obtained by deception … Byline has dated the note to July 10, 2006. At the time, the paper was intensely interested in Noakes’s friendship with Heather Mills as her marriage to Sir Paul McCartney was in difficulties”.

Perhaps Paul Dacre would like to revisit the evidence he gave, with such confidence, to Sir Brian Leveson. After all, he wouldn’t want to be remembered as yet another editor who told the Inquiry a pack of lies, would he? Decisions, decisions.
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Tommy Robinson Intimidation OUT OF CONTROL

Anyone who has studied the machinations of Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, knows where he lives. The house number. The street name. The locality. How to get there. But that address does not get revealed. Even those viscerally opposed to Lennon and his particular brand of thuggery, dishonesty, bigotry, intimidation and the rest grants him and his family their privacy. To do otherwise is out of order.
Sadly, the same cannot be said for Lennon’s behaviour towards those who incur his displeasure, as Zelo Street regulars know all too well. When he turned up on my doorstep in the dead of night - two nights running - he deliberately revealed enough details to effectively identify my house. Do as Tommy says, not as he does. He’s a hypocrite.

So it was the other night when Lennon, in a routine display of thuggery and intimidation, made a six hour road trip to lean on the parents of someone who had taken the piss out of him. His excuse was that this person had revealed his address. His address has not, repeat not, REPEAT NOT, been revealed. This I have checked and double checked.

Worse, Lennon, as usual, did not turn up on his own. He rocked up on his target’s doorstep with THREE pals in tow. One, thus far unidentified, videoed the whole thing. Another, identified as Kevin Carroll, had, it is believed, driven the car, and spent some time shooting his gob off, when a Police Officer arrived, about what he would have done if it had been his son revealing someone’s address. Which had not been revealed.

And as Lennon was live streaming the event, his band of followers began to share details of his target, along with the usual welter of sneering, leering abuse. Lennon knew this was happening, but did nothing to stop it. Not until later, when he posted on Facebook saying that his followers should not share those details. After they had shared them.

Lennon also revealed that his target was at University. Thus, he made his identification easier. Likewise when he said he and his pals had to undertake a six-hour drive, and a longer return journey, in order to perform their act of intimidation. On someone who had dome nothing to harm him, or his family. Just to gain leverage on someone else.
This is where Lennon's behaviour will lead ...

Then, Lennon announced on the return journey, during a routine exercise in self-pity - telling his followers how shattered he was, which was the result of his own choices - that he had got his target’s father to “sort his son out”. Who the merry fuck does he think he is - the law? He also struck a threatening tone, letting everyone know that he had all the addresses, and all the videos. But he wasn’t going to use them. Not yet, anyway.

And as if it could not get worse, into this display of amateur vigilantism stumbled free sheet Metro and a hack called Adam Smith. “Tommy Robinson forced to evacuate family home after address shared onlinetold the headline, which contained two non-trivial mistakes. One, Lennon’s home had, as far as is known, not been evacuated, and Metro had no evidence that it had. And two, his address, for the umpteenth time, had not been revealed.

But do go on. “Tommy Robinson has had to leave the home he shares with his wife and children after his address was shared on the internet. The former EDL leader then travelled for six hours to confront the student who posted his personal details to the public”. Wrong twice, once again. His personal details were not posted (again). And Lennon did not travel to “confront the student”. He travelled to threaten and intimidate that person’s parents, who had no part in what their son had, in fact, not done.

At least Metro relayed Lennon’s admission: “Please don’t share his address, pictures and name. I have come to his house and spoke to his parents, who live at the address. His mum and dad got hold of him for me at 7am, and I have video footage of me speaking to him. His mum and dad have had an awful night. So do me a favour and don’t share anything. He has an innocent mum and dad in that home who would have had a terrible night”. They had a terrible night because Lennon and his pals went and threatened them.
... and this is where it will end up

Oh, and “I know he has put my family at risk”. No he hasn’t. And if Lennon had been so concerned about his family’s welfare, why did he go off for a six hour drive and leave them at [address redacted]? As with everything else, it is all about him. That he has screwed up the lives of a young man and his parents - ON A LIE - means nothing to him.

Stephen Lennon was bang out of order in what he just did. Totally, utterly, unequivocally, absolutely out of order. And it isn’t the first time: when someone who worked at a solicitor’s firm in Luton gave out the name of the general area where Lennon lived (not his address, though) - because of yet another claim that he still lived in Luton - Lennon and his heavies rocked up at that office and kept coming back until they lost that man his job.

And he didn’t care. Because it was all about him. Now he’s an advisor to UKIP. What kind of message does that send out? Don’t diss the Kippers or Gerard will send the boys round to fuck up a few lives and maybe lose someone their job? There’s a catchy election message. This went beyond a joke a long time ago. It’s time it stopped.

Stephen Yaxley Lennon and his wild west show is now out of control. He is behaving as if he is not only above the law, but that he is the law. And that’s not good enough.
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Tuesday, 11 December 2018

IEA - Still Economically Illiterate.

As it continues to maintain the pretence that it is an educational charity, and not just another of those Astroturf lobby groups peddling right-wing propaganda, the Institute of Economic Affairs has once again put the ball in its own net as it brings forth an article that has an educational value not unadjacent to zero. Titled “Are capitalists afraid of socialist success?and is authored by Kristian Niemietz, IEA Head of Political Economy.
Here, he sniggers “even at its peak, Venezuelamania was always very much confined to Guardian-reading types. Venezuela was never a topic of pub conversations (unless you count the university’s in-house student bar as one). So the idea that factory workers in Sunderland would down their tools and start a revolt, because some place in Latin America (or wherever) has some success in some areas, is, to put it mildly, fanciful”. Tee hee hee!

One can almost hear his fellow IEA inmates simpering in agreement. But this picture of the world bears little relation to reality. As any fule kno, no large and successful economy is purely capitalist, and none purely socialist. Niemietz begins from a false premise; not even the USA does without a modicum of socialism. How, otherwise, would the Freeway Program have been undertaken? Or Amtrak come into being? Or the US postal service?

Did capitalism provide for the provision of money as a reliable means of exchange? Or the lender of last resort that is the Federal Reserve? Capitalism enabled by social programmes; the same the world over. Who runs the New York City Subway, and similar operations throughout the USA? So it is in London, where the Underground system was brought into public ownership in 1933 by a Conservative-dominated Government.
Niemietz talks of other European countries having “market based” healthcare systems, but misses the point: the NHS has been subjected to an amount of marketisation, but remains free at the point of delivery. He does not mention the NHS, as the IEA favours its abolition. It must therefore be A Very Bad Thing. So he exhorts us to “look over there” instead.

Did capitalism give Great Britain a national electricity grid? Sadly not. Nor, until London City Airport, which was built only after significant public subsidy - so the IEA should disapprove - did capitalism give us one major airport in the UK. Not one. All others have been the result of Government intervention, or they have origins as military facilities.

How many major roads in the UK did capitalism provide? Apart from the M6 Toll, and a number of river crossings, that cupboard is bare. Where was the market, which in the lexicon of the IEA and other inhabitants of like-minded Alphabet Soup will always provide? It wasn’t: our roads and, later on, motorway network had to be organised and funded by yet more of that Government intervention - more of that apparently failed socialism.
And who would have supported the UK’s rail network after World War 2, as the “Big Four” operators went, one by one, to the wall, if not the Government of the day, and indeed successive Governments to this day? Yet for our economy to function without all, or indeed any, of these examples is unthinkable. So Niemietz ignores them altogether.

Instead, he sits and sniggers “Venezuela tee hee hee”. Thus the lofty intellectual heights of IEA debate.
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Sun Confirms Its Football Racism

Yesterday, Professor Brian Cathcart of Kingston University turned his attention to the case of Manchester City player Raheem Sterling, and the debate as to whether the press coverage he attracts is the result of low-level racism. His article for Byline Media, “Racism in the press: lessons of the Raheem Sterling case” makes one depressing conclusion.
And that is “Calls for change from within the press are welcome but will make no lasting difference”. As if to confirm this, the Murdoch Sun has this morning gone into full dismissal mode, devoting a portion of its editorial to the subject, which is significant, given the high priority the paper is giving to whining about Theresa May and her Brexit deal.

Under the headingRace rubbish”, the Murdoch goons tell “LET’S get something straight. The racist abuse of Raheem Sterling at Chelsea is not somehow The Sun’s fault. We hope those allegedly responsible get what they deserve … We hugely admire Sterling’s talent. Our coverage of his off-field behaviour has nothing to do with skin colour. The suggestion is ridiculous and offensive - and the idea it inspired racists is baseless. His media mates should engage their brains before dishing out accusations without a shred of evidence”.
And to that I call bullshit, with the first two exhibits being the Twitter oeuvre of former Screws and Daily Mirror Editor Piers Morgan, and the Sun’s own website. After Morgan had claimed “Real bravery would be for those who believe media coverage of black players is racist to name the journalists they believe are responsible for the ‘racism’”, he added “I’ve not seen a single story about Sterling that I could not imagine being written about Rooney, Gazza, Beckham”. Well, well. Now over to the Sun.

In an article headedGary Neville reveals Raheem Sterling sought his help over ‘vicious’ abuse during Euro 2016”, Neville tells “the abuse he received from fans and the media beyond that tournament was like I've never seen before … I’ve lived closely with Becks, Rooney and at Euro 96 with Gazza, but the nastiness is really there with Raheem”.
So much for the factual reliability of Piers Morgan, then. And the Sun’s low-level racism hasn’t gone unnoticed elsewhere, with Maurice Mcleod concludingWhether it’s his choice of tattoo or the variation in his spending, the message to the England footballer is clear: know your place”. Football365 carried “Mediawatch special: Sterling, The Sun and racist attacks”, an article whose title speaks for itself.

Moreover, Edward Adoo at the Independent reminded usLet's be honest: we wouldn't draw a natural connection between Raheem Sterling's tattoo and gang violence if he was white”. A connection to which the Sun devoted two front pages, and no apology.
And what was that comparison Sterling made between two young footballers, one black and the other white? Well, the white one is back in the Sun today. Under the gushing headlinePHIL OF DREAMS … Foden posts amazing throwback pictures after signing new £30k-a-week Man City contract until 2024”, the Manchester City youngster gets the full adulation treatment. While his black team-mate gets slagged off.

The more they pretend there isn’t any racism in their treatment of Raheem Sterling, the deeper they dig themselves. I’ll just leave that one there.
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Two More Cadwalladr Awards - BuzzFeed FAIL

The awards season continued last night with the 2018 Press Gazette British Journalism Awards, held at the de Vere Grand Connaught Rooms in central London. The snappers were ready to see the great and the good of the media fetch up to consume as much complimentary collapso as possible, regale others with how wonderfully they had done this past year, and otherwise bask in the promotion of Themselves Personally Now.
Carole Cadwalladr - more gongs

So what of the awards? Would we see a repeat of last year’s fiasco where the self-promoting Nick Ferrari secured the Journalist of the Year gong, despite his less than stellar track record? Fortunately, this year there was a much more deserving recipient, the Guardian’s excellent Amelia Gentleman, whose work on exposing the Windrush scandal contributed directly to the fall of then Home Secretary Amber Rudd.
And the people at King’s Place had further reason to celebrate, although the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog would not be so happy, and nor would their pals at BuzzFeed News: the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr won two more awards to go with her already significant collection of gongs. BuzzFeed will be particularly sore about that, in view of their recent hatchet job on her.
Her first award, given outright, was for Technology Journalism, which for too many papers means running knocking copy on social media platforms, without bothering to do much about the actual technology. Press Gazette has told that “The judges said: ‘This was a first class piece of investigative journalism - marrying high quality writing with revelation on a matter of real public interest’”. And there was more.
Cadwalladr used the resources of the paper to challenge non-disclosure agreement legal restrictions and pushed the envelope more than anyone else on this story. It raised a crucial issue for democracy in the digital age the ramifications of which are still rumbling on”. Except that many media outlets - hello BBC - are ignoring most of her work.
Also ignored by the Beeb is the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the reporting of which scored Ms Cadwalladr another award, this time in conjunction with Channel 4 News (remember the BuzzFeed article suggesting they fell out?). The judges’ comment won’t please the critics: “This was a fantastic example of a collaborative investigation. Both organisations showed long-term commitment to this story and both made a contribution appropriate to the genre they were working in”. BBC Panorama take note.
Not up for an award at all, Alex? Ah well, never mind - milk, no sugar, hold the smears

But what Press Gazette has not told, so I will, is that not all the judges were in favour of Ms Cadwalladr getting her gongs. At least one judge wanted her to be knocked back - on the strength of the BuzzFeed hatchet job. That’s how close Mark di Stefano and his pal Alex Wickham, formerly teaboy to Staines and his gang chez Fawkes, came to succeeding in one of the nastier, vindictive smear campaigns. But they failed.

So the woman vilified by so many in the Old Media Establishment - hello Andrew Neil - will soon need a new trophy cabinet, while most of the knockers came away empty handed. Including di Stefano and Wickham. There’s a message in there somewhere.
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