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Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Sun Pundit Demands Critics Are Censored

The Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun are the first to howl in outrage at the suggestion that they should be prevented from routinely stirring up hatred against others, especially if their targets are not white. The deeply unpleasant Rod Liddle is a prime example, last year protesting about the possibility that Islamophobia could be made a hate crime. The headline was a supreme example of faux victimhood.
Olivia Utley - not posh, not elite, not using a keyboard

Madness, a politically correct madness ... a denial of truth and logic”. The truth being that the Sun wasn’t peddling any if it could get away with it, and the logic being that the press can stir up the mob as it likes, accepting no constraints on its actions. Which brings us to the magnificent hypocrisy of Liddle’s stand-in, Olivia Utley.

Ms Utley recently used her Sun column to stir up hatred against people of her own age group, asserting that they were “Remainers” who should be made to take their holidays in the UK. She, of course, was not so constrained, and was duly called out. Now she has returned to the fray to demand she has freedom of speech, but her critics do not.

Under the headlineTrolls who whipped up lockdown frustrations are to blame for anti-Dominic Cummings mob”, she whines plaintively “LAST week I became a national hate figure”. But do go on. “An opinion I expressed in these pages attracted the wrath of the keyboard warriors”. Doesn’t she use a keyboard? Perhaps she has already graduated to becoming one of those who has people to do that sort of thing for her.
But do go on. “And before I knew it, my name was trending on Twitter and my boyfriend was fielding death threats”. Yes, anyone who criticised her caused her to get death threats. From this exercise in extrapolation, it was on to defending Polecat Dom.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the vast majority of that posh mob were not actually driven by personal grievance” she says of those taking exception to Cummings’ comings and goings. Dom and his wife paid £1.68 million IN CASH for their Islington pad, then had a six-figure sum of work done on it, but they are not the posh ones.

And, sadly, there is more. “In fact, I’d happily bet good money that their anger was whipped up by pondlife keyboard warriors who dedicate their lives to cultivating rage”. Sun pundit who dedicates her life to cultivating rage calls “Pond Life” on others. So what’s her remedy for the ability of her critics to express themselves as freely as she does?
You’ll love this: “it’s time for the Government to step in. The draft law on online communications has the right idea. It promises to get tougher on online hate speech, clean up the internet for children and impose tough sanctions on social media companies who fail to keep users safe. It must not be delayed”. Censor those who dissent!

Only in the world of the Murdoch press, which howled “Censorship” at the Leveson proposals, because it would have made papers like the Sun properly accountable for its spreading of hate speech, could we see calls for others to be censored.

Dominic Cummings brought public revulsion upon himself. Because he doesn’t care. The only difference with Olivia Utley is that she does - but only about Herself.
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Turning Point UK - Utter Scum

The exposing of people like Dominic Cummings, flagrantly breaking the lockdown while his political masters tell the rest of us not to, has led not only to public revulsion against the Tories, but has also engendered a spate of desperate whataboutery from those out there on the right, the assertion that the Rotten Lefties™ were at it too.
And in one case, the desperation has spilled over into deliberate defamation of a Labour MP by a right-wing fringe group wanting to score a little attention for themselves. The result is not going to be a good one for them, not when their claims could have been easily disproved merely by engaging in the mystical art known as Five Minutes’ Googling.
Tony Lloyd MP

To no surprise, the attack has come from Turning Point UK, a spin-off from the US parent headed by the slick, leering, repellant, overbearing racist bigot Charlie Kirk. TPUK got off to a bad start with a monumental gaffe by Candace Owens, whose claims about Adolf Hitler would have failed a modern history GCSE. The organisation was so poisonous that even Fawkes teaboy Tom Harwood disassociated himself from it.
Now they have gone after Labour MP Tony Lloyd, who is recovering from a lengthy hospital stay after becoming infected with Coronavirus. In a “look over there, not at Dom” move, they have told followers “Labour MP Tony Lloyd travelled from London to Manchester with Coronavirus symptoms … Where’s The Media Witch-Hunt?
Sadly, someone at TPUK failed to do their research. So let’s put this shower straight.

One, Lloyd lives in Manchester, and represents a Greater Manchester seat (Rochdale).

Two, travelling from London, where MPs work, back to Manchester is part of his job.

Three, his last such journey before entering hospital was on Thursday March 19th - four days before the lockdown was ordered.

Four, there is no evidence he was symptomatic at the time of that journey.

It’s just attention-seeking drivel. And although TPUK has shown that it is of less than perfect courage by deleting the Tweet and hoping no-one took a snapshot, the Internet never forgets, and nor do the eagle-eyed, like John O’Connell of Far Right Watch.
Source for this, please? When did it occur? Where does it say he had symptoms? I can find nothing … NB: He works in Manchester and works in London so if this trip even happened I imagine he was going home, not a 560 mile ‘jolly'. Just more Right Wing BS?
And Evolve Politics has put them straight: “The far right ghouls at Turning Point have just libelled a Labour MP who almost died of Coronavirus. Tony Lloyd never travelled from London to Manchester whilst symptomatic. He clearly states he was in Manchester the entire time he was ill in an interview with The Guardian”.

Maybe TPUK should quit pretending and wind up their ill-advised foray into UK politics. That’s after they’ve had their arses sued off them for that deliberate libel. What a shower.
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Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Boris No Longer Popular

The lockdown-breaking antics of chief Downing Street polecat Dominic Cummings refuse to be pushed off the news agenda. Try as he might, the man ultimately responsible for this, alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, cannot influence matters. His attempt to deflect attention away, on to the possible reopening of non-essential shops sometime next month, was lost in the mayhem. And then it got worse.
During the first few weeks of the lockdown, Bozo The Clown’s handling of the Coronavirus pandemic scored well with the public. That he had dithered, that the UK was almost certainly weeks late in locking down, that there were many thousands of excess deaths, well, voters shrugged, he was doing his best. But they saw Cummings flouting the rules, saw that he didn’t care, saw that Bozo backed him, and that did not go down well.

As the Independent has reported, “Boris Johnson’s approval rating has plunged by 20 points in four days, amid the ongoing Dominic Cummings scandal, according to new polling … Public opinion on both the prime minister and his government has turned rapidly after Mr Cummings admitted to having driven to Durham despite the coronavirus lockdown”. And it wasn’t just his personal approval rating.

Overall government approval turned negative, to -2 per cent, according to data from polling group Savanta ComRes. That represents a drop of 16 points in just a single day”. How bad is it? “Mr Johnson’s approval also turned negative as the scandal continued. it dropped from +19 per cent to -1 per cent since Friday, the same data showed … Public opinion of individual ministers such as Matt Hancock, the health secretary, and chancellor Rishi Sunak also fell. Both ministers publicly backed Mr Cummings over the weekend”.
When the scandal hit, Bozo’s approval rating was +19%. Now it’s -1. His “approval rating has dropped more than 35 points since the start of May, and is down by 48 points from its peak on 8 April. In that same time period, Sir Keir [Starmer]’s approval rating fluctuated between 21 per cent and 3 per cent. It is currently at 12 per cent - nearly double its previous figure of 7 per cent”. And there was worse news for Bozo.

The New European had results from an Opinium poll: “47% of people surveyed by Opinium now approve of Labour’s leader, an increase of five points, compared to 17% disapproving (down one point). By contrast 45% of those surveyed approve of Boris Johnson, down one point, compared to 39% that disapprove of Johnson (up three points) … [Starmer] is on +30 points whereas Johnson is on +6 points in the net approval ratings”.

Bozo wants more than anything else to be loved, despite much of his behaviour precipitating rather different emotions in those who interact with him. But his problem is twofold: Polecat Dom is central to his Downing Street operation and the PM cannot countenance losing him. But if he fails to lose him, and soon, voters will cease to love him, perhaps permanently. They have made sacrifices; Bozo and his pals don’t have to.

And all the while, a succession of Tory MPs joins the growing list of those dissenting from the Polecat fan club. That revolt, and public dissent, could be headed off by simply bowing to the inevitable and sacking the SOB. But he has to not only do it, but do it soon.

Otherwise he’s just another lame duck PM, sitting there and waiting for electoral defeat.
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Reasoned UK - Who Funds You?

Currently touring the broadcasters in his efforts to prop up the rapidly crumbling reputation of chief Downing Street polecat Dominic Cummings, Darren Grimes, who admitted he was so inept he couldn’t fill in a form properly (a variation on the “Rebekah Brooks Defence”) had news at the beginning of last month about his latest career move.
Darren Grimes

Some news: I'm leaving [the IEA] this month to seek out new opportunities (I know, great timing, eh genius?). I've made friends for life during two of the toughest years of my life. That small, mad but wonderful and brilliantly talented office has taught me so, so very much”. So, moving right along from the sick bucket, what’s Dazza now up to?
Two days ago, he brought us the answer. “Tomorrow I'm launching [Reasoned UK]. I want you to join us in thinking for yourself and not following the online mob. I want you to join us in standing against the tide and in helping to bring a reasoned fightback to this madness. I want you to join us”. So what does Reasoned UK offer us?
Its mission isTo challenge the pervasive left-wing bias in online content, much of which originates from the UK’s mainstream media and activist groups”. That’s the bias which doesn’t extend to Himself and all the other right-wing shills who infest the airwaves right now. And he fails to explain that most of the hated MSM leans to the right.
Any more groundless assertions he wants to pitch? “Many people - and particularly younger people - don’t have a view on the merits of conservative values simply because they haven’t been exposed to them”. Bullshit. They get exposed to them every time he, or Tom Harwood, or Kate Andrews, or any of the other right-wingers, pops up on TV.
His solution? “Reasoned provides a mix of entertaining and informative content to help viewers reach their own informed opinions on a range of political and current affairs topics. Our content includes short films, animated monologues with special guests, and longer-form interviews with people from across the political spectrum”. Yeah, right.
The latest efforts from the Reasoned UK Twitter feed promote the views of Melanie “not just Barking but halfway to Upminster” Phillips, and Brendan O’Neill of Spiked, so called because it should have been long ago. It’s not original, it’s not entertaining, and it’s just the same tired old right-wing rubbish. And then another question enters.
Who’s paying for it? Well, among all those pointing out his hypocrisy over Polecat Dom - another of those occasions where someone wasn’t quick enough deleting the incriminating Tweet - one voice has claimed to have the answer. The Tweeter known as Loki has claimed “Just so everyone knows Reasoned UK is just the youth arm of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) right wing think tank set up to basically carry on Thatcherism”.
Perhaps Dazza would like to address this point. He is, after all, a stickler for detail, even if it is only what people say about him, rather than the accuracy of what he says about others. Did he leave the IEA, but then not really leave the IEA after all?

Who’s paying for Darren Grimes’ latest doomed venture? We’ll find out. Sooner or later.
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Cummings Pandemic Prediction? ANOTHER LIE

Today’s papers will not make for happy reading in Downing Street: at yesterday’s daily briefing, alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson announced a move to ease lockdown further, and to open non-essential shops by the middle of next month. This, he most likely believed, would claim today’s headlines. Instead, it was once again his chief polecat Dominic Cummings who took centre stage. And there is worse to come.
Not only did Polecat Dom try to explain away his trip to Durham (and to Barnard Castle), he also claimed that he had always been pro-lockdown: “there had been numerous false stories in the media about my actions and statements regarding Covid, in particular there were stories suggesting I had opposed lockdown and even that I didn't care about many deaths. For years I have warned of the dangers of pandemics. Last year I wrote about the possible threat of coronaviruses and the urgent need for planning”. He did?
BBC economics editor Faisal Islam picked up on that. “Cummings today: ‘Last year I wrote about the possible threat of coronaviruses and the urgent need for planning’.. appears to be reference to this blog... actually about biolab accidents and giving a ‘Red Team’ £1m to test security including honey traps”. But there was a problem with Dom’s claim.
Jens Wiechers had been perusing the Internet Archive, and warned “Cummings said he warned about i.a. corona virus in 2019. Thing is, he didn't. References to SARS and corona virus were added to his blog post on pandemic risks sometime between April and May of this year”. Whoops! And Wiechers’ search had continued.
I've been spending quite a while now (essentially since he said this at the start of his statement) looking in other media, things where he can't edit, for any mention of SARS or corona virus and so far I'm coming up empty”. Henry Mance of the FT added “Woah, this seems far-fetched. But I have checked on the Wayback Machine and get the same result. What else could explain it?” Any more Cummings watchers care to comment?
Peter Jukes of Byline Media would. “I did go through a lot of Cummings writings in early April and found multiple references to Pandemics, and one to Herd Immunity. But never found one about SARS or Coronavirus. So yes, it looks like this was added recently. And he cited it today … Don’t fake evidence”. Charles Arthur confirmed the later addition.
So back came Faisal Islam to have another look. And this is what he found. “MORE: info on Way Bank machine internet archive corroborated by info on actual blog sitemap - hat tip [Martin Brown], [Aron Moore] and [Jon Williams] … edit that added ‘coronavirus’ quote made ‘2020-04-14 T20:55:20’ … So same day he returned to work, after Durham”.
He added “To be clear - I was genuinely interested in how prescient he had been on coronaviruses, and expected to be impressed. Perhaps that writing is elsewhere ... I’d be interested in reading it and happy to link to it, if anyone can show it me”. He’ll be waiting a long time. Jukes looked for it too, but also came up empty.
What that looks like is Dominic Cummings drove back from Durham, and was so tired that he sat down and edited history to give himself a get-out clause. Now he’s been rumbled.

How many lies have to be exposed before Bozo sacks him? Asking for the whole country.
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Monday, 25 May 2020

The Polecat Speaks - Badly

Having busted the lockdown rules that he was instrumental in devising, chief Downing Street polecat Dominic Cummings has decided to keep right on and break a few more. He refuses to be shackled or defined by mere rules. These are for losers, and he is a winner. So it was that he first shredded the unwritten rule, that advisors who become the story must depart the scene. Then came the SpAds’ code of conduct.
Special advisers must not take public part in political controversy, through any form of statement whether in speeches or letters to the press, or in books, social media, articles or leaflets”. This rule was also for losers; he would take the controversy over his lockdown breaches by the horns and hold his own press conference. In the style of a visiting head of state, he would hold that conference in the Downing Street Rose Garden.
In addition to his recent conduct, there was the matter of a Police complaint logged yesterday about his travel within Durham, in contravention of the lockdown rules. Added to that is request from Alastair Campbell to cabinet secretary Mark Sedwill to clarify “1. Why is [Press Conference] being held there [Downing Street]? 2. Assurance no civil servants involved in support of the event. 3. Any staging and other costs not borne by taxpayer. 4. Investigation of clear breach of special adviser rules on political controversy”.
Polecat Dom was, in accordance with the lack of rules that apply to Himself, fashionably late. More than half an hour late. Lewis Goodall of BBC Newsnight mused “I’d really like to get on with my picnic now”, while LBC host James O’Brien was merely irritated. Very irritated. "This is insane. The lateness is deeply offensive”. And probably deliberate.
The statement was clearly prepared, with David Allen Green concluding “This has been lawyered”. Jon Worth spotted a problem for Dom. “Vomiting statement contradicts what Wakefield has written”. It wasn’t going well, Peter Jukes noting “Oh my god. He's blaming the media for distracting and social media attacks for his behaviour”.
Sympathy? Ross McCafferty was unimpressed. “This is Cummings' big gamble and he seems to be holding a 2 of spades and an expired rail card”. Chris Atkins was aghast. “‘Nobody in London could possibly help us with childcare’ … YOU RUN THE FUCKING COUNTRY … He went to a 2nd home because someone said a nasty thing in the paper”.
He didn’t stop on the way to Durham? Jane Martinson was sceptical. "Minor point but i defy anyone to drive that far with a child in the car and not stop somewhere”. Meanwhile, Paul Waugh of the HuffPost had heard enough. “There we go. Cummings confirms he broke lockdown rules, repeatedly. First at Barnard Castle, then in some woods. He surely has to resign or be sacked over this. He's admitted breaching lockdown. Repeatedly”.
And Owen Jones noticed something else: “Dominic Cummings has so far provided yet another break of lockdown rules - that he went to see his wife who had come down with coronavirus and then returned to work!” Dom blamed the Rotten Meeja again. Waugh noted “No apology from Cummings. Quite extraordinary given what he has just admitted to”. Ian Fraser was there too. “Cummings not apologising or showing any contrition. That's where it's all falling down for him. He insists he has ‘behaved reasonably’”.
Yes, he went to Barnard Castle, after that had been denied. It then got worse, as Jim Pickard of the FT noted: “so unless I’ve misunderstood this the child ended up briefly in a Durham hospital where - if he had had COVID - he could have spread it to patients and staff there?” And Covid-19 may have affected his eyesight. “I’m worried my eyesight is impaired so I’m off for a drive. What can go wrong?” wondered Brian Cathcart.
Then came questions. Jon Worth noted “[Gary Gibbon] again … asking why Johnson had not been concerned about where he had been ... Cummings has no answer. Johnson knew for weeks and weeks”. Peter Jukes added “Boris Johnson knew Mr and Mrs Cummings were deceiving the public for six weeks. See the Mail article that says they went into lockdown in London. The whole of Number 10 would have known the 'Thought for the Day' on BBC Radio 4 hid the truth”. It wasn’t going very well.
Jukes also noted “Cummings admits to telling Johnson about his trip back in April”. Adam Boulton had heard enough. “By his own account Cummings broke the rules (for whatever reason). 2 Other officials involved in lockdown policy did similar and resigned”. But Dom did not even consider resigning. Well, not yet, anyway.

Chris Atkins mused “‘The doctor said I was no longer a threat to public safety’ I think we need a 2nd opinion on that”. James Doleman had coined a new term: “Catastrofuck ™”.
Today it was the Mail that broke ranks with the right-wing press and dumped on Bozo and Dom. Tomorrow, there may be more doing exactly the same thing. Cummings, the master manipulator, was revealed to be a sham, unable to do any more than blame someone else for his own repeated abuse of his own rules. This is not going to end well.

Not unless you are representing the Labour Party, of course. Roll on the next polls.
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Fawkes Teaboy In Draughty Glasshouse

As anger mounts at the shameless lockdown-busting antics of chief Downing Street polecat Dominic Cummings, with an increasing number of right-leaning pundits passing severely adverse comment on him, so those prepared to expend their credibility to make the supreme pointless gesture and defend him have come forward.
What time is it Eccles?

And making that pointless gesture this morning has been one Thomas Hedley Fairfax Harwood, replacement teaboy to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines at the Guido Fawkes blog, who has once again been allowed in front of the cameras, this time on ITV breakfast offering Good Morning Britain. He was his usual smearing and dishonest self.
King's Cross station, London. Where might one travel from here?

Sonia Sodha, one of those encountering him, was unimpressed. Quoting his denunciation of Neil Ferguson for breaking lockdown, she observed “This is Tom Harwood, who’s been on the airwaves this morning saying everyone calling for Cummings’s resignation is politically motivated (on [Good Morning Britain] he called me a Labour activist, which I was not given the opportunity to correct)”. The Guardian’s John Crace had more.
He spends his life saying things that aren't correct. It's literally his job”. Indeed. James Foster was less subtle in his assessment: “He’s an attention-seeking sycophant on the wrong side of history”. And, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here.
One, Harwood is standing in a draughty glasshouse with his campaign to denounce those of opposing view as party activists: not only is he a former Tory candidate (he sadly came a distant sixth in a council election not so long ago), but he works for the Fawkes blog, which Peter Oborne memorably characterised as “The provisional wing of CCHQ”.
And Two, Harwood is in a yet more draughty glasshouse when it comes to passing judgment on lockdown-busting, because it appears that he has been doing it himself.
One exchange on April 13 places him very firmly in London: he Tweeted “Making a list of my local restaurants etc to head to and support as soon as the lockdown is over”, and less than ten minutes later Christian Calgie, another of the Fawkes gofers, responded “There are a lot of venues for eating out in Vauxhall, I hear”. More precisely, south London.
This morning, one Tweeter confirmed that: “The only competent thing i’ve seen Tom Harwood ever do is run towards Vauxhall bus garage. And even that was a bit flimsy”. And then came an intervention from Paul Fleming. “The same Tom Harwood who was in Vauxhall early April but now seems to be in Cambridge”. Oh, hello!
And indeed, yesterday Teaboy Tom was live from … well, Cambridge. And Benjamin Butterworth noticed. “I'm puzzled. You were just on BBC News defending Dominic Cummings' travelling across the country from a home in Cambridge, but were tweeting about spending lockdown in Vauxhall, London? Have you been moving between homes?
James Armstrong saw it too: “Tom Harwood, with a solitary Union flag hanging in the background, is rolled out on the BBC to defend Dom Cummings”. That appears to be bang to rights lockdown busting. Being wheeled out to defend bang to rights lockdown busting.

Defending shamelessness by being, er, shameless. Another fine mess, once again.
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