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Saturday 18 May 2024

Kemi Badenoch Sells The Pass

Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch represents the constituency of Saffron Walden, sitting on a majority of more than 27,500. As such, she is one of the few Tories likely to survive even the most serious swing away from her party come the General Election. This means she can afford the occasional lapse into serious stupid territory, such as her latest “Brexit Freedoms” whopper.

Kemi Badenoch

This has come via the obedient recycling of a press release by the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker, where readers were toldPavement dining to become a 'permanent feature of the high street' as Business secretary Kemi Badenoch announces plans to remove red tape for pubs, restaurants and cafes to make the most of 'Brexit freedoms’”. Ri-i-i-ight. Do go on.

Kemi Badenoch yesterday announced a package of reforms to boost businesses. Plans unveiled by the Business Secretary include proposals to remove regulations that make it hard for pubs, restaurants and cafes to get permission to serve customers outside”. And given the by-line of the Mail’s political editor Jason Groves. Billed as “Brexit freedoms”.

There was more. “Pubs could also be given the automatic right to sell takeaway pints. Temporary allowances were granted during the pandemic but are due to expire next year”. Is this another of those “Brexit freedoms”? Whatever. “Small firms like cafes and corner shops could be permitted to 'self-certify' for some functions, meaning they would not be 'subjected to needless inspections or mandatory training courses' before they can serve customers”. But there is a problem with this meaningless drivel.

Despite quoting Ms Badenoch (or “Mrs” Badenoch in last-Century Mail speak) more or less verbatim, telling “This Government is seizing the benefits of Brexit by reducing burdens on business, pushing down the cost of living, and driving growth in every corner of the economy”, someone doesn’t get it.

One problem Groves did not have with his article was finding photos to illustrate the idea of “pavement dining”. Because - especially in big cities, like, er, London, within walking distance of Parliament, and indeed the Mail’s offices, there is rather a lot of “pavement dining”. And it gets worse.

There is also a significant amount of “pavement drinking”, as anyone who has visited places like the Euston Tap will know. This is on account of most drinking space at such places not being inside the building that dispenses the beer. Outside tables, tall ones for standing, and a more normal height for sitting and eating, are an established feature of many outlets.

For starters, that allows those who cannot manage without a smoke to visit and enjoy the food and drink on offer. And the idea that this is a “Brexit freedom” is bunk. From where I live, a trip across the river to Lisbon brings home the reality that in many of the city’s streets, there is so much outside seating that just walking has become a veritable obstacle course.

Indeed, I can think of one craft beer outlet where all the seating is outside on the street (AMO Brewery on the Rua Bernardim Ribeiro, for those asking). One of the most recommendable Bifanas (look it up) in town, from the hole in the wall at Afonso’s just off the Rua Madalena, has to be consumed standing up, or sitting under the big tree nearby. This is not a rarity.

The demand for seating at the legendary A Brasileira café is for the outside kind. Because guidebook and people watching. And seeing how many punters you can cram on to one of those passing trams (officially 58, which is grim enough, but unofficially rather more). Portugal is an EU member state and likely to remain so. This claimed “Brexit freedom” ISN’T.

But such is the grovelling subservience of the Mail, part of its desperation to prop up the rapidly-eroding credibility of the Government, that it is prepared to have its political editor put his name to this slice of baloney, mainly because Ms Badenoch is seen as a rising star of the Tory party. This is thin gruel to put before the readers. Which just enforces the sense of impending wipeout.

The voters know what pavement dining is like. They’ve visited the EU.

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Thursday 16 May 2024

Labour Tells Press - Please Kick Us

Whatever our free and fearless press does, the Labour Party will not lift a finger against it. That’s now their policy. Think about that for a moment: no more the promise that Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry will be given the green light by a future Labour Government, no commitment to press accountability, no regard to all the victims of press misbehaviour. No bugger all.

Can we play nicely, press people?

That less than optimum situation has been spelled out by Professor Brian Cathcart in an article for Byline Times, with the sub-heading giving us the all-important context “Days after four more current national newspaper editors were accused of having acted unlawfully, the party’s media spokesperson rules out future action on press accountability”. There is more.

Four current national newspaper editors are among dozens of journalists named in claims against the Mail papers as having engaged in unlawful information gathering … Tony Gallagher (editor of the Times of London), Ben Taylor (Sunday Times), Victoria Newton (Sun) and David Dillon (Mail on Sunday) stand accused of having broken the law, … by a group of people including Baroness Doreen Lawrence, Sir Simon Hughes, Prince Harry and Elton John”. And the Labour response to this state of affairs?

Thangam Debbonaire, Labour’s shadow culture secretary and thus its spokesperson on media affairs … was asked to confirm that Labour would not ‘seek to revive the second stage of the Leveson Inquiry (which was cancelled by the Tories in 2018 and which was supposed to investigate criminality in the media). And she replied ‘Yes’”. Do go on.

We have to make sure that, no matter what, we do protect our free press. When I say “no matter what’, I don’t mean: they’re not allowed to break the law, they’re not allowed to harass people - that’s already a criminal offence. So there are plenty of things that are covered by criminal law” she claimed.

And that wasn’t all: “There is already media regulation, there is already the criminal and civil law. We don’t have plans to do anything, any new legislation in that area, no.” We know just how effective the current regulatory environment is regarding the press. It isn’t. IPSO is not fit for purpose.

Here's your answer

As Professor Cathcart notes, “the timing is appalling” for Ms Debonnaire. With a General Election only months away, she is telling a press cohort overwhelmingly hostile to Labour that the party all that distance out there in the lead in every opinion poll will not so much as say boo, whatever the press does. Why that is a supremely unwise decision is not difficult to see.

Whatever dirt the right-wing press has on senior Labour figures can be dished with no fear of any comeback. This means that Peter Mandelson, for some reason brought into Keir Starmer’s inner sanctum, will find the guns opening up on him from day one of the campaign, his friendship with the late Jeffrey Epstein likely to be front and centre. And it gets worse.

Remember the pack of lies pushed by the Mail titles about deputy leader Angela Rayner? The claim that she flashed the Tory front bench at PMQs? And the claim that she and Starmer had broken the Covid laws, which was also untrue? All that will be dug up and put out there. Ed Miliband is still a front bench figure. They got away with kicking him last time, and will do again.

The press will howl “Anti-Semitism” while recycling the anti-Semitic smear of Miliband’s late father. Labour won’t lift a finger, so desperate is the party to play nice with the press. Which will get them nowhere, because there is no such thing as playing nice when it comes to the press. The Murdoch and Rothermere press will kick Starmer and his pals black and blue.

Some of the dirt to be thrown at Labour, and plenty already stored up ready for the off, is likely to be the product of unlawful information gathering. But if Labour is to take such a relaxed approach to such mere details, who is going to prosecute the perpetrators? By the time anything happens, the circus will have moved on - even if Labour won. The press would rather they didn’t.

The Red Team now has a sticker on its back. It says KICK ME, PRESS PEOPLE. Unwise doesn’t even begin to cover it.

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Tuesday 14 May 2024

France Has A New Fash Hero

The Right Wing Excuse Me Site otherwise known as UnHerd has ponied up another fash hopeful, this time from France. Cole Strangler (crazy name, crazy guy?!?!?) tells “Can Jordan Bardella seduce France?” followed by the claim “He is detoxifying the Le Pen brand”, which is interesting, as Bardella’s domestic partner is the grand-daughter of, er, Jean-Marie le Pen.

Jordan Bardella, the new fash ...

But let’s hear more of the excuse note. “The MEP and head of the party’s ticket for June’s elections to European Parliament is young and handsome. He hails from an emphatically non-elite background. And most important, perhaps, his surname isn’t Le Pen”. “Non-elite”, in this case, meaning he attended Paris-Sorbonne University, but failed to graduate.

But do go on. “Gone are the references to Frexit or leaving the eurozone. Such promises have been replaced by a string of grievances over the EU’s agricultural and energy policies, framed in terms of restoring French sovereignty”. Like André Ventura in Portugal, who has made leaving the EU subject to so many conditions that he wouldn’t do it, even if he got to power.

There is more: “the credo that unites the delicate cross-class coalition … is a deep hostility to immigration … Invoking the old-time religion, Bardella fired out a list of ills supposedly caused by foreigners: crime, Islamism, terrorism, declining public services and the loss of French identity … ‘This election will also be a great referendum on mass immigration’”. It’s the Forrins’ fault!

What helps Bardella is the rightward lurch of the media. “This is partly thanks to ultra-conservative billionaire Vincent Bolloré who, since 2016, has acquired prominent media outlets and transformed them into vehicles for Right-wing commentary: radio station Europe 1, newspaper Journal du Dimanche, and most famously, TV channel CNews, often likened to Fox News”. Go on.

The network’s most famous pundit, Éric Zemmour, went on to run for president in 2022 and now heads a party even further to the Right of the RN: Reconquête, which polls at around 5% for the European elections and boasts Marine Le Pen’s niece, Marion Maréchal, at the head of its ticket. Compared with figures like these, the RN can come across as somewhat moderate”. Yes, the increasingly alt-right Spectator likes Bardella too.

... not unconnected with the older fash

Despite him saying “he didn’t like the term ‘Great Replacement’ … but nonetheless ‘it points to a reality that’s correct’”. And, oh look, “In 2021, he posted statements of support for Génération Identitaire, a far-right organization that had been dissolved by the French government

Any hate crime in the CV? “After Ali Rabeh, a Muslim, was re-elected as mayor of Trappes in 2021, Bardella described the city as an ‘Islamic republic’ on the radio station Europe 1. He then announced on 2 February 2022, that he was indicted for this statement, saying ‘I am disappointed that the French justice system pursues the same goal today as the Islamists, to silence those who denounce real issues and those who oppose the transformation of countless neighbourhoods in France’”. Europe 1? See above.

But Bardella’s party is, meanwhile, trying to clean up its image in other ways. “Ever sensitive of their image, RN leaders have tossed to the wayside an impressive number of former idols and allies: Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are no longer celebrated for obvious reasons”.

Which may look like A Very Good Thing, but this is all with a singular purpose: to achieve power. As with criticism of Germany’s own chapter of the fash, AfD, because the latter is claimed to be too close to Moscow. This enables the RN (the new and cleaner FN, honestly) to appeal to more voters.

But the fash is still the fash, whether it’s the RN, Reform UK, AfD, Vox in Spain, or Chega in Portugal. It claims to be mainstream, in touch with the public mood, listening to the concerns of those that other politicians have allegedly ignored. It arrives as your friend. But in reality, it has no more idea of how to improve the electorate’s lot than anyone else.

So why the media interest? You may ask that. I couldn’t possibly comment.

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Sunday 12 May 2024

Buckland Elphicke Attack BACKFIRES

As if seasoned media watchers needed reminding, the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press shills shamelessly for the Tory Party - no matter how corrupt, inept or dysfunctional it gets - while failing to do its homework, so desperate is it to take its readers for mugs. Today has brought an excellent example from both the Murdoch and Rothermere empires.

Natalie Elphicke has crossed the aisle and joined Labour. Therefore she has become disloyal to the cause, a turncoat. As such, all the dirt the press has accumulated on her can now be dished. This analysis is not supporting her - her views are particularly distasteful - but her attackers are lower still. Worse, they and their main source have missed something rather important.

Still, let’s consider the press offerings, however lame they are. The Sunday Times claims “Elphicke ‘asked lord chancellor for favour over husband’s trial’ … Defector MP wanted case moved to lessen publicity”. Looks like those all-important quotation marks are doing some rather heavy lifting there.

Over at the Mail on Sunday, we get “As Starmer faces backlash over Natalie Elphicke’s defection, another bombshell … TURNCOAT MP ASKED MINISTER TO PULL STRINGS FOR HUSBAND’S SEX ABUSE TRIAL”. TURNCOAT! TRAITAH!! Telling readers what to think once more, and remember, the Mail titles were the ones that refused to be persuaded of New Labour’s case back in 1997. They were Tory then, and will be next time.

So, predictably, we also get “The claims are likely to prove embarrassing for Sir Keir, a former Director of Public Prosecutions”. What the merry fuck has his time as DPP got to do with it? Over to the BBC: “Natalie Elphicke, the new Labour MP for Dover, has been accused of lobbying ministers over her then-husband Charlie's sexual assault case”. Yes? Yes yes? Yes yes yes?

Ms Elphicke is accused of asking Sir Robert Buckland, the then Justice Secretary, to help move the date of the case, apparently to avoid publicity. A spokesman for Ms Elphicke, who defected from the Conservatives last week, said the claims were ‘nonsense’". And then the $64,000 question. “Labour questioned why they were not raised earlier”. I’ll bet they did.

Let’s have a little more detail on that question. “A Labour Party spokesman had said: ‘Natalie Elphicke totally rejects that characterisation of the meeting … If Robert Buckland had any genuine concerns about the meeting, then he should have raised them at the time, rather than making claims to the newspapers now Natalie has chosen to join the Labour Party”. Quite.

Darren Guy was one of those not persuaded by the timing of this allegedly exclusive piece of allegedly investigative journalism. “Its amazing how the tory press ignored her while she was sitting on the ‘correct’ bench but turned on her the minute she was sitting on the ‘wrong’ bench. Makes you wonder what else they have on current tory MPs but are keeping quiet about it”.

Liz Gerard musedBuckland and the Tories now have questions to answer. He may have acted properly, but they shielded her”, and John Crace was on the same page: “Curious that Robert Buckland didn’t remember Natalie Elphicke had lobbied him over her husband’s court case when she was still a Tory MP”. LBC host James O’Brien was yet more unimpressed.

This is an incredible illustration of how completely bent the Tories are & how completely commonplace it is now. Here, they’re saying, is a ‘scandal’ we have kept secret for four years - please use it to attack Labour, who knew absolutely nothing about it”. The potential blowback for Buckland is worse.

If Ms Elphicke has broken the law, he has potentially broken it too - for covering up her alleged misbehaviour. And with the Tories 30 points behind Labour in the opinion polls to add to a shockingly bad series of local and Mayoral election results (plus another of those Parliamentary by-election upsets), all that an already weary electorate is going to see is yet more Tory Sleaze. The same thing that did for John Major all those years ago.

Crap politics, meet crap journalism. The electorate has stopped listening.

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Saturday 11 May 2024

Israel - Isolated And Friendless

Tens of thousands of innocent civilians dead, many of them women and children. A healthcare system systematically and gratuitously trashed. Apartment blocks reduced to rubble. Allegations of torture. Signs of some dead having been summarily executed. And not a flicker of regret from those doing the killing, but increasingly angry defiance and smears.

Israel’s conduct in its widespread flattening of Gaza has not merely been exposed as a potential genocide, it has ended the era when the country got a free pass by default. A small and young state, a democracy too, surrounded by so many hostile, and less than democratic neighbours. Whatever happened, Israel was the good guy and all the rest were bad guys.

So when Adolf Eichmann was lifted from his bolthole in South America, yes, that was OK. Hunting down those responsible for the Munich Olympic Games massacre was also nodded through. Those were understandable and arguably justifiable actions. Even the lifting of Mordechai Vanunu, still forbidden from leaving Israel, generated little in the way of complaints.

But the treatment, especially the recent treatment, of the Palestinians, has become a running sore for Israel, one that has progressively tarnished its reputation. Talk of a “two state solution” is meaningless while more and more settlements, in violation of international law, are built on the occupied West Bank, and Gaza has been, for decades now, an open air prison camp.

Worse, the arbitrary arrest of Palestinians across the West Bank, together with allegations of torture, and high rates of death in custody, accompanied by excessive use of force against those not deemed to be yet suitable for arrest, long ago took the shine off the supposedly “most moral army”. So now that free pass is no longer on offer to Israel. Its supporters are not happy.

And so the fight back has gathered momentum, but sadly, has had little success. Smearing peaceful protests as “hate marches” has not worked, nor has any attempt to deflect from the large and growing Jewish contingent within those marches. Recently, a Green Party councillor has been called out for anti-Semitism … for saying Allahu Akhbar. He said God Is Great.

Worse for the complainant, this was someone in the Jewish Labour Movement. I say, Green Party people, pay attention, do as we say, don’t get uppity with us, or else. Someone is displaying their assumed entitlement just a little too obviously. And getting ridiculed for it: Israel and its supporters are increasingly being judged on the merits of their behaviour. Or lack thereof.

We can now see what the Israelis are up to. Like the sickening attempt to stop aid getting through to the Palestinians. Like the deliberate bombing of residential areas, even those where the only protection is a tent. Like the refusal to accept responsibility - any responsibility - for the carnage.

The responses have shown how that free pass is a thing of the past: Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, who you can tell as she’s a doctor, put it directly. “Israel’s persistent, pervasive, cruel, genocidal collective punishment on Palestinians is with deliberate intent and depraved indifference to life & liberty. Israel wants Palestinians completely & utterly destroyed. This is genocide”.

And now has come an intervention from a previously unexpected quarter, Match of the Day lead presenter Gary Lineker, who, in conversation with Mehdi Hasan, has told “The minute you raise your voice against what [the IDF] [are] now doing [in Gaza], you get accused of being a supporter of Hamas … So there is … a lot of heavy lobbying on people to be quiet. So I understand why most people refrain.” And there was more.

But I’m getting on a bit now … I’m fairly secure, and I can’t be silent about what’s happening … I think it’s just so utterly awful. And now they’re talking about ‘Oh, it looks like it’s happening, going into Rafah’, when they’ve sent everybody down there … It’s not anti-Semitic to say that what Israel is doing is wrong”. He is right. And the entitled of the JLM are plain flat wrong.

Plus the UN General Assembly has, despite all that lobbying, voted in favour of granting full membership to Palestine, granting the state new rights and privileges, by 143 votes to 9, with 25 abstentions. The Guardian noted that the vote signalled “Israel’s growing isolation on the world stage”. Many EU member states are moving to recognise an independent Palestine.

Sadly, the leadership of the Labour Party, and in an election year most likely, has been caught out. Excusing the inexcusable shows a lack of empathy from shadow cabinet figures. It drives yet more voters away from the fold. It may not lose the party the General Election, but it will shrink its majority. Over time, this will only go one way. And not the way those heavy lobbyists want.

Israel has lost its free pass. Maybe for ever. Maybe not what they wanted.

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Thursday 9 May 2024

Natalie Elphicke And The Murdoch Goons

As if to underscore their ability to hold politicians, and others, to different standards depending on the political party they support, the inmates of the Baby Shard Bunker have gone after Dover and Deal MP Natalie Elphicke, after she unexpectedly defected to Labour yesterday, which they had somehow managed not to do when she was a Tory.

Natalie Elphicke ...

After Ms Elphicke had made her defection, those parts of our free and fearless press still clinging on to hope that the Tories could do better than be all but wiped out at the next General Election had, by the iron code of the media mafia, to let the world know that she had incurred their displeasure, and, as such, had to be given one of Mr Bridger’s Good Goings Over.

Steven Swinford, political editor of the Murdoch Times, was the first to carry out his instructions. “Natalie Elphicke has never publicly addressed her decision to defend her former husband Charlie Elphicke after he was convicted of two counts of sexual assault … She said in The Sun that he was 'attractive' and 'attracted to' women”. Is there a point to all this? But do go on.

She castigated his victims, saying they were obsessed with him. She said he was the victim of a miscarriage of justice … The Court of Appeal found that he was not and upheld the conviction, describing him as a sexual predator … Elphicke has to this day still [not?] said whether she still thinks her former husband is innocent. Nor has she apologised for her comments or her decision to stand by a convicted sex offender”. But here a problem entered.

Ms Elphicke was elected, under the Tory banner, to Parliament in 2019. The press has therefore had four and a half years to put their questions to her. It has failed to do so. Nor has the Tory Party, and its chairmen, let the world know of its disquiet about her. Until she defected to Labour.

So now she has been forced to offer an apology. “My decision to join the Labour Party is not one I have taken lightly but one I made because I am convinced that this country needs a new government led by Keir Starmer to fix the problems we see from housing to small boats”. Oh aye. Do go on.

... being given her BA cabin crew Employee of the Month award

I always knew that this decision would put a spotlight on the prosecution of my ex-husband and I want to address some of the commentary around this head on … The period of 2017-2020 was an incredibly stressful and difficult one for me as I learned more about the person I thought I knew. I know it was far harder for the women who had to relive their experiences and give evidence against him”. And there was more. Rather a lot more.

I have previously, and do, condemn his behaviour towards other women and towards me. It was right that he was prosecuted and I'm sorry for the comments that I made about his victims … It is vital that women can have confidence in the criminal justice system and our rates of prosecution and conviction are far too low as a country”. The Murdoch goons approved.

Gabriel Pogrund, Whitehall Editor for the Murdoch Sunday Times, clearly approved of Ms Elphicke’s display of contrition. His Tweet/X/Whatever was Retweeted/Reposted/Whatevered by the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole, still pretending to be a real journalist by succeeding the non-bullying Tom Newton Dunn as political editor of the Murdoch Sun.

None of this is offered in approval of Ms Elphicke, who has supported a whole series of cruel and callous policies in her time as a Tory MP, and whose arrival on the Labour benches merely confirms that Team Starmer is playing the same kind of cynical Westminster Village game as the Tories, and indeed the deeply unpleasant convocation of Leave campaigners.

What it is about is the press’ ability to go after politicians of whose actions they disapprove, force them to repent, remind them that they have dirt on those politicians, kick those defecting for not giving said press an exclusive, and to deflect from bad behaviour not by politicians, but that same press - including phone hacking and other illegal acts happening well after it was claimed they had stopped. Ms Elphicke will not be standing for election again.

Had she been so inclined, the punishment would have been rather harsher.

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Tuesday 7 May 2024

Hung Parliament - My Arse

The combination of wanting the Tories to remain in power - goodness knows why - and the waning ability to interrogate sources, meaning Government lines to take get recycled as if they were fact, has caused our free and fearless press to move effortlessly from one unconvincing dead cat to another, but convince no-one with brain plugged in and a hole in their arse.

Last week, we were treated to the farcical claim that London Mayor Sadiq Khan could be beaten by the Tories’ latest challenger Susan Hall. The batshit Ms Hall, who had taken a favourable stance on Combover Crybaby Donald Trump, and indeed on the memory of John Enoch Powell, was never going to get within striking range of Khan, who won by more than 11%.

Where the claim originated cannot be told with complete certainty, but it is most likely that the idea of a race too close to call was to distract Tories from inconvenient ideas like changing leader yet again. That means someone not unadjacent to Rishi Sunak pitched the dead cat as a means of giving him another couple of days free of speculation and other turbulence.

That the right-leaning press, and to her shame Laura Kuenssberg of the BBC, ended up looking mightily foolish for being taken in by this drivel, should have caused them to stop and think when the next amateurishly concocted Look Over There was, with the certainty of night following day, waved before the assembled hacks and pundits. But that is to reckon without the desperation.

Here we encounter not just the desperate wanting for the Tories to be doing better - as if - but also the hollowing out of journalistic resources over the years. Investigative journalism is mostly out of the question; shovelling it on is the name of the game. Even the Mail titles, best resourced of all, only do the investigative stuff when it wants to dig up dirt on its current targets.

And so it came to pass yesterday that the Murdoch Times slung the next in what is going to be a long and tedious procession of dead cats on the table. “UK heading for a hung Parliament, says Sunak … PM warns Starmer would be ‘propped up’ in No10”. Ah, the old “frighten voters shitless with the spectre of the SNP” ploy. This is, to no surprise, total tosh.

But do go on. “Sunak seized on a projection by the elections expert Michael Thrasher that suggested if Thursday’s results were replicated in a General Election, Labour would fall short of enough seats to win power”. Two things here. One, it will not be a local election that bins the Tories. And Two, one result from Thursday suggests that the Hung Parliament claim is still tosh.

But for the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph, this is a credible line to take. Hence today’s paper telling readers “Sunak: Election race is closer than polls show” (you don’t capitalise after a colon, Tel people. That howler wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t binned all those subs).

But enough. The one result that shows this dead cat is another dud is the by-election in Blackpool South. Labour did not only win the seat from the Tories, they achieved a swing of over 26%. This is not just up there with the kinds of swings achieved by Labour in the run-up to the 1997 General Election, but beyond them. And we know what happened to the Tories in 1997.

Another recent by-election that shows the Hung Parliament dead cat to be a phoney is that in Mid Bedfordshire, where (yes, it’s her again) Nadine Dorries scored a majority of over 24,500 in 2019, only for it to be overturned by Labour. This was a solidly safe Tory seat. It had returned a Tory MP since Alan Lennox-Boyd took it from the old Liberal Party in 1931.

The whole idea of trying to extrapolate from local election results to predict a General Election outcome is what Sir Humphrey would have called “brave”. It might also be termed “unwise”. Add to that the potential for tactical voting against the Tories from an electorate that knows it’s been screwed, and you get results like Tiverton and Honiton, where the Lib Dems achieved a swing of almost 30% to take the seat. The Tories are facing wipeout.

And that will happen no matter how many dead cats are deployed. That is all.

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Sunday 5 May 2024

Tory Losses - Media In Denial

They lost 472 council seats. All bar one of the elected Mayoral elections were lost: despite the presence of an independent candidate in the West Midlands, who took votes from Labour, the Tories still lost the Mayoral poll, and in London, Sadiq Khan recorded his largest winning margin in the teeth of a hostile right-wing press. There was also a Parliamentary by-election loss.

Even with the host of negatives facing Labour - hostility among Muslim voters to the party leadership’s stance on Gaza, Keir Starmer’s flip-flopping in the face of press hostility, the welter of bad faith knocking copy aimed at deputy leader Angela Rayner, and fiddling of electoral system in a vain attempt to hobble Khan - the Tories were trounced across the country.

In London, a last-minute attempt to sow doubt among the public, claiming that polls were tighter than predicted, and some even claiming that Tory Susan Hall might even win, was exposed as a sham. The worse news is that a supposedly senior BBC figure - Laura Kuenssberg no less - had joined in this momentary voyage down the rabbit hole. That was bang out of order.

The offending entry on Twitter, X, or whatever Muskrat’s calling it this week, is still there: “What's going on in the London Mayoral race? No votes have been counted yet, so hold on to your hats.. but it is clear tonight that the race is much much closer than some polls had suggested”. No votes have been counted, but “it is clear … that the race is much much closer”.

That’s what you get by promoting someone who appears to prioritise getting sources to actual analysis, to filter out the wacko crap. Ms Kuenssberg continues to, as Peter Oborne put it, “just shovel it on”. But there will be no carpeting from Robbie Gibb, oh no. That’s just a bit more “both-sidesing”.

Also not getting carpeted is political editor of the Murdoch Sun on Sunday, Kate Ferguson, putting out prejudicial crap like “Sadiq Khan has had a strong showing in the postal votes in London....sources say”, having claimedSounds like Tory Susan Hall is ahead in the voting in Camden / Barnet patch” when counting had not started, and the pricelessSenior Tory sources saying it’s looking good for Andy Street in West Mids”. Street lost.

Over at Gammon Broadcasting™ News (“Bacon’s News Channel”), an idiot called Ben Leo musedIs today when Sadiq Khan is finally toppled in London? Are the whispers, the rumours, the sources correct that the Labour man has been run to the wire by Susan Hall? Is this the day England reclaims its capital city from Net Zero chief zealot mayor Khan? Let’s see”. Let’s not.

There was much talking up of Reform UK, who scored, er, two council seats. As opposed to the Greens, who gained 73 seats to leave then with a mere 179. Or the Lib Dems, whose gains totalled 105 seats, to give a total of 520 councillors, more than the Tories - for the first time since 1996. And we know what happened at the General Election after that.

Still the media is obsessing about the Tories, and looking even further right to speculate whether con-man and congenital liar Nigel “Thirsty” Farage will return to become Reform UK Oberscheissenführer. The BBC is once again not covering itself with glory, as Ms Kuenssberg persisted in asking Labour’s Pat McFadden about the party’s problem with the Muslim vote.

While she allowed the appallingly wacko Suella Braverman to smear Labour as “hard-left maniacs” who would “open our borders” and “indoctrinate our institutions and schools with PC madness”. Meanwhile, losing West Midlands Mayoral candidate Andy Street has reminded anyone listening that the way for the Tories to win is from the centre ground (now occupied by Labour).

Our free and fearless press, and too many in the broadcast media, are yet to understand one very straightforward fact: the wider electorate is not listening to them. They’re sick of being told how wonderful everything is, how the Tories’ cunning plan is working, and how all will be well as soon as a few of those horrible brown people are dispatched to Rwanda.

What was it that LBJ said “seems hot to you, but it never does to anyone else”? That was Pissing Down Your Leg. Hello media people.

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Saturday 4 May 2024

Laurence Fox - A Complete Shit

Was he, one wondered, just an amiable eccentric who wasn’t really a racist bigot, but merely misunderstood? Former minor thesp, didn’t-even-get-started musician, multiple failed litigant - as in loser of lawsuits - and appallingly bad at politics politician Laurence Fox has now provided the answer in no style at all. There is nothing amiable or merely eccentric about him.

Dear Larry. Dear Dear Larry. Dear hopefully nicked Larry

The Great Man got himself into an argument with broadcaster Narinder Kaur. Sadly for Dear Dear Larry, he couldn’t just leave it at the stage of agreeing to disagree, and posted an explicit upskirt photo of her on Twitter, X, or whatever Muskrat’s calling it this week. He shouldn’t have posted it, and the platform should have taken it down sharpish. Neither event happened.

Which means that both Fox and Twitter could be in serious trouble: as Ms Kaur has now told, “Police are involved now”. Posting material like that is potentially illegal, and potentially punishable by a custodial sentence. Fox’s recent conduct makes him eminently well-qualified for being banged up for a few weeks down The Scrubs. Even the right-wing press is unimpressed.

So it was that the Mail told readersBroadcaster Narinder Kaur has thanked people for their support amid the ongoing police probe into Laurence Fox over an 'upskirt photo' he shared of her online … Former actor Laurence Fox posted the explicit image of Ms Kaur on X, formerly Twitter, without her consent on Wednesday evening amid a spat about their political views”.

What say the Rozzers? “A spokesperson for the Met Police told MailOnline: 'We have been made aware of a post on social media regarding an up-skirting offence and we are currently investigating the circumstances.’” Also, “There was outrage after Mr Fox posted the photo, which was taken and shared online without the consent of Good Morning Britain contributor Ms Kaur, to X. He has since deleted the post”. Mighty courageous of him.

And the potential offence? “The Voyeurism (Offences) Act 2019 applies to anyone operating equipment or records an image under another person's clothing without reasonable belief of their consent, to view their genitals or buttocks. It is a criminal offence where the purpose is to obtain sexual gratification or to cause humiliation, distress or alarm. The maximum sentence if found guilty is two years in prison”. And there is more.

His next hotel stay?

'Revenge porn', the sharing private, sexual photos or videos of another person without their consent with the purpose of causing embarrassment or distress, is a sexual offence under the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015”.

Larry having to sign the Sex Offenders Register? So did those possibilities make him stop and think? Sadly, neither event occurred. Instead, Dear Dear Larry has since issued a rambling non-apologia. He’s honestly very very sorry. But he isn’t actually sorry at all. Because he’s a total shit.

Here’s his schtick. “I would like to apologise to [Narinder Kaur]. Although it’s not my fault she forgot to wear any pants with a load of paps about, I shouldn’t have sunk to her level. She doesn’t deserve mockery for being a nice woman seeking fame. And she is just that. A nice woman. Seeking fame … She gets away with it because she is a woman and she is brown. Those are the woke rules; that if you are brown or a woman, you can do no wrong”.

How very North Minehead By-Election of him: “I am not a racialist but, and this is a big but …”. On he rambled. “Her motivation seems to me to always try to say anything which will get her some attention and approval. As you may have noticed, I’m not here to seek approval or to make friends. I’m here to expose the terrible ideas and virulent hypocrisy which are wrecking the social fabric”. Disagreement is now “wrecking the social fabric”.

But enough already. At the very minimum, Fox should be given a Police Caution for what he’s done, and thereby become the owner of a criminal record. Or maybe a couple of months’ porridge. Especially as he’s signed off with the creepy suggestion that he and Ms Kaur meet for a coffee.

The time of Laurence Fox was for a time, but not for all time. Just rejoice at that news.

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Tuesday 30 April 2024

Hainault Stabbings - Enter The Ghouls

At around 0700 hours today, a car was apparently driven into a house in the Thurlow Gardens area of Hainault, in north-east London. Soon after this, a number of people were stabbed by a man brandishing what looked like a Samurai sword. One of those stabbed, a 13-year-old boy, has since sadly died. The Police attended, Tasered the suspect, and detained him.

Greg Hands - cheap opportunist ...

They accomplished that, it seems, in just over 20 minutes of being called to the scene. This swiftness of response has not been enough to deter the ghoulish convocation of political opportunists and other bad faith actors, who have seen “stabbing” and “London” together, seen that there is a Mayoral election on Thursday, and put the boot into Labour incumbent Sadiq Khan.

So who would like to set the ball rolling? Greg Hands would. His majority in safe Chelsea and Fulham was just over 8,000 in 2017, and the way the Tories are going, or not going, he could lose the seat come the long-awaited General Election. “What has our great capital city come to when a 13 year old boy is killed in a sword attack?he blustered, to universal condemnation.

... Richard Tice - more of the same ...

The sub-text of the Hands attack is that Khan Done It. Except there is some plausible deniability there, which there wasn’t from Richard Tice (he’s not very nice), who at present leads Reform UK. “Appalling news about the killing of a 13 year old boy in Hainault today as well as multiple others seriously injured incl brave police officers. Our thoughts & prayers with all those affected”.

He should have stopped there. But he didn’t. “Our thanks go to those who bravely went to the attacker, to protect others. This collapse of law & order must stop. Enough is enough. [Sadiq Khan] has failed Londoners. Last week he laughed when warned of machete crisis. Now a child is dead”.

... Master Cole, setting the bar lower ...

Maybe he should have listened to someone called Isabel Oakeshott, who, the last time I looked, was Tice’s partner: “I want to know ALL about the person who murdered a 13 year old boy with a Samurai sword today. Public deserve to know who he is; where he's come from (UK born and raised or otherwise) and how he came to carry out this heinous act”. Good. But yer feller doesn’t.

Someone else sensing an opportunity, and looking as if he’s still Tory Bear at heart, was the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole, still continuing his pretence of being a real journalist by succeeding the non-bullying Tom Newton Dunn as political editor of the Murdoch Sun. “Sadiq Khan confronted over people ‘running around with machetes’ on the streets of London earlier this week: ‘I think the Tory candidate should stop watching The Wire.’

... to which Christian Calgie responds "hold my beer"

No tragedy left unexploited by the Murdoch mafiosi. And who was that Cole credited? Christian Calgie. Who he? Former apprentice sandwich monitor to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines at the Guido Fawkes blog. Cole was, of course, Staines’ tame gofer. And what has Calgie had to say?

A week ago the Tory candidate for London mayor raised the machete crisis in London. Sadiq khan’s response? ‘I think the Tory candidate should stop watching The Wire.’ He doesn’t care. He thinks it’s a big joke. These words are utterly hollow”. Mayor Khan tried and sent down in one. But Calgie, like Master Cole, is not a disinterested bystander in this case.

During his tenure chez Fawkes, Calgie slyly edited one of his posts to remove what looked like an actionable smear of former ANC MP Andrew Feinstein. He also penned an item claiming that the BBC was a Quango, which it is not. But he is desperate to bash Sadiq Khan. Another sad Tory supporter.

All the time, what these less than august beings don’t report in their respective papers (Calgie must have drawn the short straw - a berth at the Daily Brexit, still called the Express), but the Observer does, is “Tory staff running network of anti-Ulez Facebook groups riddled with racism and abuse … Investigation finds groups hosting Islamophobic attacks on London mayor Sadiq Khan, white supremacist slogans and antisemitic conspiracy theories”.

Compared to which, the attack by Hands and his cheerleaders is positively mild stuff. Tories yah-boo well, but 14 years of failure tell their own story.

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Sunday 28 April 2024

Mail, Anti-Semitism, And Hypocrisy

Opportunist to the last, the Mail titles have maximised the claims of Gideon Falter, head man at the so-called Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, that when marches in solidarity with the Palestinian people took place in central London, this made the area unsafe for Jews. This opportunism has required some highly creative writing, plus the old standby of talking well, but lying badly.

Falter had gone after the Metropolitan Police, demanding the resignation of Commissioner Mark Rowley, but after the full video of the CAA man’s encounter was revealed, Rowley not only stayed in place, but gave his backing to the cops featured in the incident, and told Mr F he wasn’t going to give him an interview. Which is more or less telling Falter to fuck off.

But those who might have thought that was that reckoned without the creativity, and indeed rank hypocrisy, that come easily to the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker. So it was that today’s Mail on Sunday brought us a package of righteousness, cop-bashing, and flat-out lying.

After officer warns campaigner for being ‘Openly Jewish’ … POLICE ARE SO COWED BY THE ANTI-SEMITIC MOB, THEY EVEN COVER UP THE HOLOCAUST … Shameful insult to the Six Million” thunders the headline, the photo helpfully captioned “NO RESPECT: An etched boulder [you don’t capitalise after a colon, Mail mutts] at Hyde Park’s Holocaust Memorial Garden was hidden by a blue tarpaulin yesterday, to protect it from pro-Palestine protesters”. Sadly, the cops had nothing to do with that.

As the Met’s feed on Twitter, X, or whatever Muskrat’s calling it this week told, “This is an inaccurate headline that will only fuel community concerns. The decision to cover the memorial was taken by park authorities, not the police. As the paper’s own article makes clear, it is a precaution Royal Parks have taken for a number of different events”. Police in no cover up shock horror.

Meanwhile, some Mail watchers may be wondering what a paper that has dabbled so extensively in anti-Semitism, and not just in the years leading up to the outbreak of war in 1939, is doing playing the other side of the field. But then, that’s all part of the opportunism and hypocrisy. It was the Mail, after all, that launched an anti-Semitic attack on the memory of Ralph Miliband.

Which f***er's calling me out for anti-Semitism, c***?!?!?

The father of David and Ed was called “The Man Who Hated Britain”, thus recycling one of the oldest anti-Semitic tropes, that of the “Disloyal Jew”. To head off the inevitable criticism, the name on the by-line was that of Geoffrey Levy - “it can’t be anti-Semitic, a Jewish journalist wrote it, see?

Miliband Père is dismissed as a mere “Jewish immigrant”. At the Jewish Chronicle, Martin Bright musedI have always been wary of calling this dark undercurrent ‘antisemitism’, but the Daily Mail’s leader about the Milibands and Marxism (headline: ‘An evil legacy and why we won’t apologise’) dripped with the nastiest kind of prejudice”. So blatant, even John Mann noticed.

Could it get more blatant? Don’t ask. The Mail, this time wanting to kick anyone not invested with the idea of the UK leaving the EU, told its readersAngry scenes as police separate Leave and Remain protesters at anti-Brexit rallies across Britain (and Eddie Izzard has his pink beret knocked off) … Typically British scenes included gentleman in tweed waving a Union Flag”.

Except anyone reading the article today won’t see the “gentleman in tweed”. The photos have been removed. But Zelo Street screen grabbed them. They featured one Jeremy Bedford-Turner. He is a rabid anti-Semite. So rabid, in fact, that the Guardian later toldA far-right army veteran has been found guilty of stirring up racial hatred after the Crown Prosecution Service was pressured to reconsider its decision to not bring charges against him”. Go on.

Jeremy Bedford-Turner, 48, called for his ‘soldiers’ to liberate England from ‘Jewish control’ in an address outside Downing Street and blamed Jews for issues ranging from both world wars to Jack the Ripper … Under cross-examination, he admitted that he wanted all Jews to leave the UK”.

The Mail. Hot on anti-Semitism. Except when it doesn’t want to be.

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Wednesday 24 April 2024

St George And The Gammon

And so it came to pass that many out there on the right told anyone not yet asleep that they were no longer allowed to celebrate St George’s Day. There were claims of “two-tier policing”, and blame was ascribed to anyone that could be labelled WOKE, and of course all those Scary Muslims™. Then, those same people, er, celebrated St George’s Day anyway.

However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, it would not be enough just to celebrate, which had not been banned. There had to be an exhibition of the Gammonati getting aled up and kicking off. This they did, in no style at all, in central London, in contravention of a series of laws, and the agreement made in order to allow them to march.

The Metropolitan Police warned beforehand “Later today, an event to mark St George’s Day is expected to take place on Richmond Terrace, off Whitehall. We believe those planning to attend include far right groups and groups linked to football clubs travelling from elsewhere in the UK”. So it proved.

Next cameThe event is not due to start for an hour and regrettably officers are already dealing with disorder.There is an area allocated for this event in Richmond Terrace. This group went past it and continued up Whitehall. When officers formed a cordon and asked the group to turn round, they reacted by violently forcing their way through. Mounted officers intervened with horses to restore the cordon”. The ale was already talking. Again.

Addressing the gathering later was Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, wearing a loud suit in a built-up area, and telling anyone who would listen that he is going to sue the Met. Like he sued Cambridgeshire Police, perhaps? He lost that one. But being of less than perfect courage, Lennon did not hang around and made a swift exit.

Not making a swift exit was already has-been political campaigner and former not very good actor Laurence Fox. Dear dear Larry, wearing the Nike trainers he would see banned (why? Who knows. And, indeed, who cares?), churned out false equivalence after false equivalence about other protests.

Oh, look, the two tiered [Metropolitan Police] have suddenly decided to get their elbows out after months of genocidal chants on Londons streets. All because they hate our country and they hate our [flag] … So it’s important to understand the nuance in the meaning of those who call for the death of Jews week after week, but anyone with a St. George’s flag is definitely far right?” With the odd pack if lies thrown in. And then came another bad faith actor.

To no surprise at all, that actor was Turning Point UK, demonstrating their sense of victimhood by whiningSo the Met Police once again provoked peaceful protestors by unreasonably kettling them. They then charged them with police horses and are now crying victim? Shame. They would never do this with a pro-Palestine protest. Two-tiered thugs”. Followed by ignorance.

Yesterday despite persecution from Khan's thugs in the Metropolitan Police, patriots from across the country united to celebrate St George's Day”. The Mayor of London does not have operational control of the Met - that power is held by the Home Secretary. But that office is held by a Tory, and so TPUK are not going to direct their ire at him. Or come clean with their followers.

The Met gave us the real story: “Four arrests have been made outside a pub in Whitehall. One on suspicion of assault and three on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker. Officers were quickly on [the] scene and order has been restored. The southbound carriageway was briefly blocked but has now been reopened”. The real double standards were then exposed.

Louise Raw, who you can tell as she’s a doctor, musedIMAGINE IF THIS WAS A PRO PALESTINE RALLY! Imagine the political OUTRAGE. Rachel Riley and co COMBUSTING. [Suella Braverman] doing her nut. Demands to ban future rallies from the people concerned. Yet ‘for some reason’, it’s not happening”. A few thugs kicked off and the cops kept order.

What you will not find on Palestinian solidarity marches. That is all.

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Monday 22 April 2024

Gideon Falter Claims UNRAVEL

Even before the more complete footage emerged, showing the encounter between Gideon Falter, head man of the so-called Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, and senior officers of the Metropolitan Police, during the passage of a Palestinian solidarity march in the vicinity of the Aldwych on Saturday 13th April, doubts had been cast on the narrative offered to the media.

Falter claimed that he was merely going for a walk in central London. He was not, unless one counts being backed up by several others and a film crew as merely going for a walk. He claimed that he was just crossing the road, but he was not: the only conclusion that can be reached from viewing the footage is that he was trying to walk head-on at the march, provoking a confrontation.

He and his colleagues were guided back onto the pavement and told they could cross the road at a crossing point. The cops would have had good grounds for arresting Falter for assaulting a Police officer, and a breach of the peace. But the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press had already decided on its narrative, confirming its status as more bad faith actors.

Also confirmed as a bad faith actor was (thankfully) former Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who has effectively admitted that she wants Mark Rowley sacked because he will not stop the Palestine solidarity marches, which she smears as “hate marches”, despite their passing off overwhelmingly peacefully, and including in their number thirteen Jewish organisations.

What the press, and Ms Braverman, cannot or will not take on board is that the longer footage shows Falter apparently looking to provoke. The cops were taking action to stop that happening. And it was not the first time Falter had pulled this one, except this time he and his pals were on foot, and they had previously hired a van to, presumably, drive against the march.

So there arrived this morning the inevitably tedious headlines. From the Telegraph, caught doing an Anti-Semitism on its front page with its attack on George Soros, we get “PM refuses to back under-fire Met chief - Sir Mark Rowley faces questions over force’s ‘appalling’ treatment of Jewish man”.

The Daily Brexit, still called the Express, a routine source of bigotry, told “No 10 fails to back Police chief over protest row”, while the Murdoch Times, whose owner memorably complained about the “Jewish owned press” on an open Twitter feed, had “PM appalled by Jewish man’s ordeal”, and the Mail, source of a viciously anti-Semitic attack on the memory of the late Ralph Miliband, had “JEWISH LEADERS CALL ON MET CHIEF TO QUIT”.

Sadly, the cavalry has arrived too late to save Gideon Falter. He was told thatAt every single march there are thousands of Jewish people marching”. He said there were not, but the evidence is overwhelming. Rivkah Brown concludedAs suspected, this incident was a setup. Gideon Falter wasn't just passing through: he'd organised a stunt to rile protesters, and the police attempted to prevent the altercation he was clearly gunning for”.

Former Met CS Dal Babu addedI have watched the thirteen minute clip that’s on [Sky News] & it’s a totally different encounter to the one Gideon Falter … has reported …The narrative that’s been pushed is not accurate”. He also concluded that an arrest for breach of the peace would be justified.

As did former chief prosecutor Nazir Afzal: “Having now seen the longer video of the police interaction with Gideon Falter, I see that we have been misled. The officer may have been more careful with his words, but Mr Falter was provocative to the point that an arrest for breach of the peace might have been justified”. Even the BBC was standing firm.

On the Radio 4 Today Programme, presenter Mishal Husain asked Suella Braverman if she’d seen the whole footage. Ms Braverman said she’d seen enough. Ms Husain told her “I suggest you watch the whole video ... as you're basing what you're saying on incomplete information”.

Gideon Falter is, meanwhile, threatening defamation proceedings. For being found out, perhaps? This wagon has now lost its wheels. End of story.

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Sunday 21 April 2024

Campaign Against Anti-Semitism - Questions

Once again, an intervention by the so-called Campaign Against Anti-Semitism has generated the expected feedback from the usual sources, while an increasing number of observers are expressing reservations about what has been presented to media and politicians. This time, it is the regular marches in solidarity with the Palestinian people that are being targeted.

What has been claimed can be put directly: CAA head man Gideon Falter was out walking in central London on the Saturday before last, and in the vicinity of the Aldwych came across a Palestinian solidarity march. This happened by coincidence, you understand. Also purely coincidental was the presence of someone to video Falter’s encounter with the Police.

He was then given a platform by the Murdoch Sunday Times to claimI was treated like a criminal for being Jewish. The Met chief must go”. Do go on. “Being Jewish in pubic feels like a brave act. Last weekend I went to Synagogue, as I do most Saturdays. After the service I went for a walk, as I do most Saturdays. It was early afternoon … and I was with five others”.

And? “At Aldwych, we came across the pro-Palestinian protest and we started to cross the road as the front of the march got to us. Suddenly I felt hands on me. I looked around to see a Police officer, who was shoving me on to the pavement. He said: ‘You are quite openly Jewish, this is a pro-Palestinian march. I’m not accusing you of anything but I’m worried about the reaction to your presence’”. Some seriously clumsy language from the Met’s finest.

However, and here we encounter a significantly-sized however, the BBC’s account, while it stresses “Mr Falter … says he was not there to counter-protest”, also notes that the cops told him “You will be escorted out of this area so you can go about your business, go where you want freely, or if you choose to remain here because you are causing a breach of peace with all these other people, you will be arrested”. “With all these other people”.

Falter has, meanwhile, sounded off at length about his experience, and “said Sir Mark [Rowley, Met Commissioner] should resign or be sacked and he claimed ‘racists, extremists and terrorist-sympathisers’ had been ‘emboldened’ by the Met's ‘failure to curtail the marches’”. So who backs him?

Suella Braverman. R-i-i-i-ght. That’s the same Suella Braverman who, in a routine act of provocation, smeared peaceful protests as “hate marches”. Moreover, if this is to be investigated properly, the authorities need to see the uncut footage from the CAA, plus any other footage and photos. Why so?

It should be remembered that the CAA has significant previous form, from its list of Honorary Patrons including at least six individuals who have either exhibited racist behaviour, used racism for their own ends, or been singularly unwise in their choice of language in areas concerning race, through one of those Patrons hosting a hate preacher at the Commons, to appearing as if it wanted to professionally ruin one of its targets. Enough wasn’t enough.

But recently, Falter and the CAA overreached themselves, putting the boot into Labour leader Keir Starmer when the latter visited the Holocaust Memorial during a visit to Berlin. “It is a matter of decency and long-established convention in Germany that you never stoop to using the Berlin Holocaust Memorial as some kind of a prop” told the CAA. There was more.

But to incorporate the Memorial as the backdrop for a political clip that does not even mention the Holocaust is an insult”. The blowback came from … Margaret Hodge, Ruth Smeeth, and Lee Harpin. Ms Hodge told “I’m fed up of CAA using antisemitism as a front to attack Labour. Time to call them out for what and who they really are. More concerned with undermining Labour than rooting out antisemitism”. OH WHAT A GIVEAWAY.

So the CAA was out of favour, and out of time, when its head man just happened to be in the same place as a march in solidarity with the Palestinians. Now, a moment of verbal idiocy from the Met has given his organisation a new credibility which it may not totally deserve.

Let’s see all the footage, from the CAA and elsewhere. No pressure, now.

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Thursday 18 April 2024

Rayner And Cops - Who Wrote The Letter?

For people merely reporting the news, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog seem very familiar with the claims now being investigated by Greater Manchester Police regarding what Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner may or may not have done wrong. More familiar, it seems, than the Tory MP who made the complaint.

If James Daly didn't write his own letter ...

One has to wade through an awful lot of creepy and obsessive bad faith knocking copy - the thought enters that, had the target been Fawkes fave (yes, it’s her again) Nadine Dorries, she would have already have called her detractors for alleged stalking - to find that the Tory MP concerned was James Daly, who sits for Bury North (until the election, after which he won’t).

The Great Guido, in a superb example of geographical ignorance, describes him as a “local” MP, despite Bury North not only not bordering Ashton-Under-Lyne, Ms Rayner’s constituency, but also being some distance from it. But the Fawkes massive knows rather more about the complaint being made to the unfortunate cops about what Ms Rayner did or did not do.

So much, in fact, that the Fawkes blog dedicated a long-ish and tedious post to the matter last week, telling those not yet asleep that “Most commentators are focusing on the electoral roll aspect”, but “with a 12-month limit for proceedings to commence after the crime was committed - this means that the police probably won’t recommend … that Rayner be prosecuted”.

Shouldn’t that be “allegedly” committed? But do go on. “A perjury charge would also be disproportionate in isolation”. Would it now? Have Staines and his pals been taking legal advice? Carry on. “What then was her motive for pretending publicly on the electoral roll that she lived at her old house? It was almost certainly to avail [sic] of the substantial council house discount”.

Was it now? “By misrepresenting where she was living she could, prima facie, have obtained a financial benefit of £16,975”. They have been taking legal advice, haven’t they? And the conclusion from all of the above?

... then who done it?

The substantive issue for the police is nothing to do with capital gains tax, or taxes on rental income or any other of the myriad of potential HMRC related issues. This is about gaining a pecuniary advantage by misrepresenting her living arrangements. This is a more serious issue than making false declarations under PPERA, the police will in all likelihood be more interested in following the money”. Well, that’s that, then. Or rather, not when James Daly presented himself for a little light media grilling the other day.

With a little prompting from Labour’s Chris Bryant, Daly duly blustered “The matter is with Greater Manchester Police”. Bryant wasn’t having that. “What do you think she’s done wrong?” Come on James! “I’ve just answered that question”. Oh no he hadn’t. What were the concerns that he’d put to the Police? “The information that [GMP] released to the Times, and I think that those are the broad framing of the matters that they are considering”.

He still wouldn’t, or couldn’t, say what she’s supposed to have done wrong. Beth Rigby intervened. “You wrote to the Police. Did you not put concerns or allegations? Didn’t you write to them about it? Am I misunderstanding … what did you ask them? Why won’t you say?” But he still wouldn’t answer.

I asked the Police to investigate certain matters that were in the public domain … regarding certain things”. Ms Rigby tried again. “Did you ask them to investigate tax matters … electoral roll issues?”. Then we came close to an admission: “I think there are a number of matters, and I think some of the issues that you’ve raised, are included within that”. He THINKS so.

But he doesn’t want to discuss the matter because there’s a Police investigation. Why? Is anything here sub judice? Maybe he should ask the Fawkes rabble to get him up to speed, as they seem to know more than he does. Meanwhile, another Tory MP - Mark Menzies - is generating headlines for yet more alleged misbehaviour. Not that The Great Guido is telling you.

Did Daly write his own letter? And if he didn’t, who did? I doubt that the Fawkes massive done it. But they may know who did. No pressure, now.

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