Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Thursday, 18 August 2022

Avanti - Virgin On The Ridiculous

When Virgin Trains finally bowed out after more than 20 years running what is more prosaically known as InterCity West Coast, it handed over to a new operator called Avanti, this being a joint venture between Italian operator Trenitalia, and UK based First Group. The trains were re-liveried, but the service carried on very much as before. Until recovery from the pandemic.

An Avanti West Coast Pendolino train at Crewe

Service reductions that had been made due to reduced demand were not all restored: many trains from London to Chester and North Wales, as well as some from London to Manchester and Birmingham, are among them. Then came the claim by Transport Secretary Grant “Spiv” Shapps that Avanti’s drivers were engaging in unofficial industrial action, though they were not.

UNOFFICIAL STRIKES: Passengers using Avanti West [sic] services should expect disruption today. Archaic rules from 1919 mean working on rest days is voluntary. Unions now stopping drivers volunteering - causing misery for public & staff who won't get paid. We MUST modernise rail” he told. What Shapps did not tell is that there appeared to be a serious problem at Avanti.

Virgin Trains had sufficient drivers to maintain the full pre-pandemic service, and at first, so did Avanti. But now, there were insufficient driver numbers to cover a reduced service, so much so that the operator was dependent on some drivers volunteering to work their rest days. On top of that came news that a (further?) reduced timetable was to be introduced next month.

As Shapps’ dishonest narrative became the new received wisdom, free sheet Metro told readersShort-notice strike action has seen a train operator slash its timetables and widespread delays are expected from this weekend … Avanti West Coast … accused train drivers’ union Aslef of carrying out ‘unofficial strike action’ from Saturday”. Then came the really bad news.

Services between London Euston and Manchester are expected to be the worst affected, with frequencies reduced from three trains per hour to just one from Sunday … The company has also paused sales of train tickets to travel from Sunday until September 11 while it establishes a new timetable”.

No ticket sales? You read that right. Go to National Rail, bring up train times for Crewe to Euston for the first week of September, and look at the fare options offered. Every Avanti service shows “No fares available for this journey”. The trains operated by London Northwestern Railway are unaffected. This reduction in services to Manchester from London, coupled with increased pre-strike demand yesterday evening, led to chaos.

Journalist Hannah Al-Othman got to Euston in good time for the 2000 hours departure to Manchester, but as she later told, “We were at the station in plenty of time, but the 20.00 was delayed, and there was no platform. The platform went up and everyone ran. I was too slow and they shut the gate. For balance: I’m now on the 21.00, which is fine, and I have a seat”.

The Avanti charge sheet also includes a farcical incident at Oxenholme station, which is the main line railhead for Kendal and Windermere. As Cumbria Crack has reported, “Passengers on a delayed train had to climb over spiked fences after they discovered they were locked in at Oxenholme station. People on a delayed Avanti West Coast service from London arrived at the Lake District station to find that staff had gone home for the evening, locking up behind them”. Local MP Tim Farron was not impressed.

He told “there was the concern that passengers would be forced to cross the live tracks to find an alternative route out of the station” (trains can pass through Oxenholme at over 100mph), musing “There are clearly systematic failures going on at Avanti and we cannot let it go unchecked … Avanti have turned one of the best services in the country into one of the worst”.

But that did not just happen. Going from an operation that has sufficient numbers of drivers to run the full pre-pandemic service to one that cannot run a rather more reduced timetable, without depending on the goodwill of those willing to forego their rest days, suggests that a lot of drivers have left and not been replaced. Which brings us back to Grant Shapps’ involvement.

What did he know about the state of Avanti West Coast’s driver establishment, and when did he know it? And if what looks like a significant reduction in that establishment happened and he somehow failed to notice, what on earth is he doing still in post? Will we get an honest answer? Because, with the certainty of night following day, that information will leak.

As so often, it will be the less well paid staff on the front line who will get all the grief. But the decisions that led Avanti to this place must have been taken way above their level. Either the operator’s management is not fit for purpose - or the DfT knows rather more about this than it is letting on.

Grant Shapps must explain himself. That arrival may be severely delayed.

Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by becoming a Patron on Patreon at


Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Liz Truss - Vicious But Not Stupid

As the Tory party leadership contest rolls towards its close, it is becoming clear either that every opinion poll is wrong, or that Liz “don’t call me stupid” Truss is so far in front of the unfeasibly wealthy Rishi Sunak as to make prolonging the ordeal pointless. She will be the next Prime Minister, and still there are those wondering why anyone would want to emigrate from the UK

After poising to take note of Gordon Brown’s proposals for dealing with the impending hike in energy bills - another idea the Tories have ridiculed, but will shamelessly appropriate almost as soon as Ms Truss gets through the doorway of 10 Downing Street - it was on to the central Scottish city of Perth for she and Sunak to make their pitch to Tories north of the border.

And it was at this gathering that anyone with brain plugged in and a hole in their backside could see very clearly just what a nasty - needlessly nasty - piece of work our Prime Minister in waiting truly is. This was heightened by a revelation from Pippa Crerar, who has now taken her political editor chops from the Mirror to the Guardian, regarding Ms Truss’ view of British workers.

These are some of Ms Truss’ superior insights: “I once wrote a book about this which got mischaracterised - British workers produce less per hour than … and that’s a combination of kind of skill and application … If you look at productivity, it’s very, very different in London from the rest of the country. But basically … this has been a historical fact for decades. Essentially it’s partly a mindset and attitude thing, I think. It’s working culture, basically. If you go to China it’s quite different, I can assure you”. Ri-i-i-ght.

However, Ms Crerar points out apropos higher productivity in London, “this is widely believed to be the result of large multinationals being based in the capital, higher engagement with research and development, the size of firms and the level of exports, and the transport infrastructure”. And it gets worse.

Here’s Ms Truss again. “There’s a slight thing in Britain about wanting the easy answers. That’s my reflection on the election and what’s gone before it, and the referendum - we say it’s all Europe that’s causing these huge problems … it’s all these migrants causing these problems. But actually what needs to happen is more … more graft. It’s not a popular message”.

WORK HARDER! WORK HARDER!! Confusing productivity with how hard people work? Dmitri Grozoubinski had something to say about that. “I am begging, on my knees, for people in public life not to begin conflating ‘productivity’ with ‘how hard people work’ and productivity problems with laziness. That's not how anything works”. And Shaun Lawson had more.

Don't call her stupid

The person about to become Prime Minister DOES NOT HAVE THE FIRST CLUE about basic economics, and would fail A Level Economics miserably … Anyone who thinks productivity has anything to do with 'laziness' or 'idleness' is a bona fide idiot who shouldn't be anywhere near public life”. And he had a chilling warning for the kind of country Ms Truss wants to lead.

Listen to Truss highlighting China as an example. A virtual slave state in how it treats its workers … Imagine an ENTIRE COUNTRY as one massive Amazon sweatshop - and that's what the Tories' vision for Britain actually is”. Then came her performance before an audience of Scottish Tories.

Adam Bienkov of Byline Times was watching. “Asked if she still plans to ‘ignore’ Nicola Sturgeon, when she is Prime Minister, Liz Truss replies that ‘I will work with Douglas Ross in a constructive way’ … Liz Truss says she will ‘knock spots off of Nicola Sturgeon’”. And what of the Union?

Kate Ferguson of the Murdoch Sun rather liked the tone struck here. “Nice line from Liz Truss at Tory leadership hustings in Scotland … ‘To me we are not just neighbours, we are family. And I will never, ever let our family be split up'”. But Jonn Elledge did not agree. “It's a terrible line, it's something an abusive partner would say, and not for the first time I find myself thinking that the Sun politics desk is going to kill the Tory party with kindness”.

Could the not-stupidity-at-all get any more nailed on? Adam Bienkov once more: “‘I don't agree that Boris misled Parliament,’ says Liz Truss”. Congenital liar is not a congenital liar honestly, no shock horror. Plus she’s not terminally clueless and dependant on nicking Labour ideas, either.

Why would anyone worry about the future of the UK? Search me, Guv.

Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by becoming a Patron on Patreon at


Monday, 15 August 2022

Rees Mogg Speaker Vetting Hypocrisy

Cancel culture, which was never really a thing except in the fevered minds of paranoid right wingers in our free and fearless press, is one of those mythical culture war elements that is waved at Rotten Lefties™ as a means of frightening undecided voters into backing the Brexiteer death cult that is today’s Tory party. But now the Tories are doing a little of it themselves.

As the Guardian has noted, “Guest speakers at the Cabinet Office will have their social media accounts vetted to check whether they have ever criticised government policy before they can take part in events, according to new rules”. The presence behind this needlessly draconian move appears to be the right honourable member for times long past, Jacob Rees Mogg.

There was more. “The Cabinet Office policy applies to outsiders coming into the department to take part in ‘learning and development’ events. Managers are being urged to carefully check the backgrounds of such guests, including by trawling through up to five years of posts, according to an article in the Financial Times”. Rees Mogg has let it be known that he agreed the move.

The report quoted allies of Cabinet Office minister Jacob Rees-Mogg as saying the due diligence policy, which took effect this week, was ‘very sensible’ and should be implemented straight away, since ‘there have been far too many examples recently where essentially extremist speakers have been invited to speak to civil servants and staff networks’”.

What kind of trawling would be involved? “The checks include trawling through between three and five years of posts on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn to search for ‘potentially problematic or controversial material that may contravene civil service values’, including criticism of government officials or policy, strong political views and ‘behaviour that might bring the civil service into disrepute’”. Civil Service values? What they?

As is usual with what passes for our current Government, someone else has to be responsible for the move. “The Cabinet Office said the policy had been ‘introduced to ensure there is a proper process for inviting speakers to talk to civil servants in the Cabinet Office, as the public rightly expects’”. Yeah, that public, they made us do it! Bullshit. This is just authoritarian overkill.

It is also hypocrisy of the most blatant kind, as observers of Rees Mogg will know. He attended the annual gathering of the Traditional Britain Group, fronted by Gregory “Lauder” Frost, an organisation that is effectively the rump of what was the Monday Club before that was expelled from the Tory party.

The expulsion was ordered by Iain Duncan Cough during his brief tenure of the party leadership: it was too extreme even for him. The TBG advocates for repatriation for migrants, although not for “Lauder” Frost, who was born in Australia. The group called the Duchess of Sussex a “mulatto”, although this characterisation was later deleted. It is a cesspit of racist bigotry.

Rees Mogg regretted his attendance. But he had been warned beforehand and took no action. His brushes with extremism did not end there: he later met Steve Bannon, a white supremacist, a virulent Islamophobe, and a misogynist. Nothing short of ethnically pure male Whitey Power will do for him. JRM is also comfortable in the company of Nigel “Thirsty” Farage.

And all too recently, he was called out by David Lammy over his liking for the pronouncements from German far right party Alternative für Deutschland. Rees Mogg tried his best to snootily sneer his way out of that one, but did not adequately address concerns that he was linked with those calling for refugees crossing the EU’s external borders to be shot.

But now, Rees Mogg will have no truck with extremists. The thought enters that this may be a highly selective search: what will ultimately prove revealing is not how many of those considered to be leaning too much to the left get speaking bans, but how many out there on the right. And the problem he has is that, now he’s laid down the rules, the world will be watching.

Of course, this could be more wasteful Tory hot air. No change there, then.

Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by becoming a Patron on Patreon at


Sunday, 14 August 2022

Olaf Scholz And The Iberian Pipeline

While politicians in the UK begin to face up, with varying degrees of reluctance, to the prospect of imminently higher energy prices, and how the problem might be alleviated, if not averted, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is facing up to the prospect of his country’s energy supply being severely curtailed, whatever the price, and despite all the warnings.

Now on the same page: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz ...

His country’s dependence on gas supplies from Russia had been known about, and his predecessors warned about, for some years, especially given the, shall we say, unpredictable behaviour of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and his gangsterist régime in the Kremlin. One way of alleviating that problem would have been to interconnect the French gas grid with that of Iberia.

This, with some strengthening of the pipeline grid between Portugal’s western Atlantic coast and north-west Spain, would enable liquified natural gas to be offloaded at the deep water port of Sines (that’s pronounced Sin-esh) and piped across Europe - rather faster than other permutations of sea routes and pipelines. But the Germans were not bothered. So the inevitable happened.

As energypost dot eu told back in 2016, “The French energy regulator has recently said that a long-awaited gas interconnector between Spain and France, which the European Commission says would help reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian gas, is not needed and too costly in the current market environment”. The Pyrenees were a barrier. Or were they?

The Pyrenees, which are the natural border between France and Spain, were not a barrier to the railway system, even if Spain had decided to use a different gauge than the rest of Europe, for the unjustified fear that France would steal their hardware. Cars and trucks also go freely across the many highways that today crisscross the range between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. The boundary literally disappears”. Indeed.

Russia had made supply cut-off and restriction noises in the past; it had then failed to follow through, most likely because it needed the money. The country’s economy was increasingly dependent on extractive industries - in other words, oil and the by-products that came with it. Like gas.

... and António Costa, Prime Minister of Portugal

Also, the French regulator CRE appeared to be engaging in creative accounting: “It states that the cost of the pipeline would be around €3bn; but Enagas, the Spanish system operator, has reported that the capex for the 222 km to the French border, and on to Carcassone, would be a total of €471mn”. All the while, Germany sat on the sidelines. Until last week.

As CNN Portugal has reported, “[last] Thursday, the German chancellor [Olaf Scholz] asked for the construction of a gas pipeline from Portugal, passing through Spain and France, and reaching the centre of Europe to reduce energy dependence on Russian gas. António Costa [Prime Minister of Portugal] took less than 24 hours to say yes”. I’ll bet he did.

There was more: “[by] Friday, the Prime Minister guaranteed that the Portuguese route of the gas pipeline to the centre of Europe has already been defined, with the ‘work being very advanced’, and assured that the Iberian Peninsula can replace ‘a large part’ of gas imported from Russia”. The new pipeline would run from Celorico da Beira, crossing the Spanish border at Vilar de Frades, and continuing on to Zamora in north-west Spain.

Completion should be just 30 months away. The cost would be between €150 and €244 million, to which would be added the cost of the interconnecter between the Spanish and French gas grids. All of which shows which country needs to be on board to drive forward EU-wide projects (that answer could have included the UK, but our politicians think we’re above such things).

The German Chancellor has spoken. The French are no longer indifferent, making excuses, accounting creatively or objecting. A route to reducing European dependence on Russian gas will be opened up. And a lot of pundits are going to have to learn how to pronounce Sines correctly.

But British politicians need not worry. They no longer have any influence.

Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by becoming a Patron on Patreon at


Saturday, 13 August 2022

Nigel Farage Speaks Too Soon

After the FBI arrived at Mar-A-Lago, the Florida retreat of Combover Crybaby Donald Trump, armed with a search warrant, and proceeded to execute it, there was the now customary sight of all those Trump cultists out there on the right pretending that The Great Man had been the victim of a politically motivated witch hunt, and that there was Nothing To See Here.

One of those sounding off the loudest was former Brexit Party Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, whose initial reaction to the FBI search was to combine the pitching of a batshit conspiracy theory and a little self-promotion: “Shocked to wake up and hear about the raid on Trump's Mar-a-Lago home. The deep state truly does exist” was his first reaction.

Having pitched the conspiracy theory, the self-promotion followed: “I will be on [GB News] at 9.20am to respond to the appalling raid on Mar-a-Lago. Is America becoming a Banana Republic?” And so it came to pass that he rocked up at Gammon Broadcasting News (“Bacon’s News Channel”) to say something he may soon come to regret. Because he was talking crap.

Utterly appalled. Shocked … there’s been a witch hunt against Donald Trump ever since he was elected in 2016 … they’re scared of Donald Trump … to any fair minded person [!], they’re going to say, how on earth can this be happening in 21st Century America”. And then he dropped the clanger.

Might Trump have hung on to papers he shouldn’t have had? Mr Thirsty laughed at the thought. “The idea that Donald Trump would take documents from the White House and keep them in Mar-A-Lago is utterly ludicrous … there was no plan for this [the storming of the Capitol] to happen on January 6th and therefore those documents won’t exist .., and do you honestly think that if he had taken documents, that they’d be stored at Mar-A-Lago?

This conceit was repeated on Farage’s own GB News show. “Overnight, the FBI have raided Mar-A-Lago, they’re seeking documents from the Oval Office, that they somehow think Trump has kept … well, had he ever planned a coup, on the 6th January, I doubt he’d have been stupid enough to keep the documents, and certainly not take the documents back to his home”.

As recently as last night, he was doubling down on the ridicule. “The idea that Donald Trump would keep top secret documents from the Oval Office at Mar-a-Lago is laughable. This is a set-up and people won't believe it”. So, as regards what the FBI found at Mar-A-Lago and took away with them, as Cilla used to say on Blind Date, shall we have a look and find out?

We get a flavour of what was discovered by the “Receipt for Property” given to Trump by the FBI following their visit. This noted such items asInfo re: President of France … Various Classified TS/SCI documents … Miscellaneous Secret Documents … Miscellaneous Top Secret Documents … Miscellaneous Confidential Documents”. The Washington Post had more.

FBI searched Trump’s home looking for nuclear documents and other items … Experts in classified information said the unusual search underscores deep concern among government officials about the types of information they thought could be located at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club and potentially in danger of falling into the wrong hands … People familiar with the investigation did not offer additional details about what type of information the agents were seeking, including whether it involved weapons belonging to the United States or some other nation”. So is this as bad as it sounds?

Brian McBride’s observation suggests it is: “CNN analyst says the intel Trump stole are so sensitive that FBI agents will begin FINGER PRINTING each document to find out who actually touched them”. And what was that about “Various Classified TS/SCI Documents?” Asha Rangappa had that covered.

The former FBI Special Agent mused “Unpacking the Espionage Act, 18 U.S.C., Chapter 36. We are concerned here with Section 793 - Gathering, Transmitting, or Losing Defense Information … [S.793 concerns] info which the person who has them has reason to believe could a) be used to the injury of the U.S. or b) to the advantage of a foreign [Government]”. Do go on.

Trump has claimed he unilaterally declassified some material, which he could as President, but not as an ex-President. However, “it appears that nuclear secrets cannot be unilaterally declassified…which makes sense, [because] you can imagine that we might not want to leave secrets that could involve blowing up the entire planet in the hands of one individual”.

Whether or not Trump was allowed to retain such information, “it is a violation of the Espionage Act to wilfully retain such information and fail to turn it over to an official who is lawfully entitled to receive it … That is, it appears, what Trump has done … If he affirmatively conveyed it to a foreign government … it would be a violation of Section 794…which … can carry the death penalty”.

And there is Nigel Farage blustering away in defence of The Donald, but managing to miss all those inconvenient facts. Why would he do that so readily, so willingly? You might wish to ask that - I couldn’t possibly comment.

Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by becoming a Patron on Patreon at


Friday, 12 August 2022

Liz Truss Anti-Semitism FAIL

As the Tory leadership debate continues, the candidates seemingly oblivious to the impending mayhem over a cost of living crisis that includes steepling energy bill rises coming on down the track, so front runner Liz Truss blunders from one exhibition of tone deaf politics to the next. Today has not disappointed, as she has arrived at the subject of anti-Semitism.

Another day, another horrendous gaffe

Earlier this week, demonstrating a less than impartial stance on the matter, Adam Cannon, head of legal for the Murdoch Sun, told his followersGood to hear from [Liz Truss] at the [Conservative Friends Of Israel] hustings tonight. She rightly says that Iran must not be able to get a nuclear weapon. She says she will stand up for Israel and attack antisemitism. Emphasising Israel as a true beacon of freedom and democracy”. Fast forward to this morning.

Sophia Sleigh of the Huff Post told that “In her latest campaign release, Liz Truss says that woke civil service culture ‘strays into antisemitism’ as she vows support for British Jews”. WHAT? Once again, let us consider the actual definition of the term Woke: “alert to injustices in society, especially racism”. Ms Truss is just spraying the word around as a pejorative dog whistle.

And the campaign release that Ms Sleigh mentions confirms this. “Liz Truss has today put in place a comprehensive plan to boost links between the UK and Israel, and protect British Jewry from creeping anti-Semitism and wokeism”. To protect British Jewry from those who are alert to injustices in society, and especially racism? But there was more. Maybe too much more.

Speaking from a Synagogue in Manchester, Liz Truss has said … she will change woke Civil Service culture that strays into anti-Semitism … Talking about Civil Service wokeism, Liz said ‘Every organisation has its culture, but it’s not fixed, it can be changed … That’s what ministerial leadership is about: it’s about making sure the policies we represent, the values we stand for, are reflected in what we do”. Like inventing “wokeism” and then lying about it?

But do go on. “I’ve been very clear with our officials about the positions we take on Israel, and that will continue of I become Prime Minister”. And, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here. One, she ponies up no evidence to back up her anti-Semitism claim. And Two, if she’s conflating “Jews” and “Israel”, that is in itself anti-Semitic. The IHRA definition says so.

It got worse: Adam Bienkov of Byline Times noted the civil service claim and added “A Truss campaign source also accused Labour under Keir Starmer of being ‘a talking shop for antisemitism and antizionism’”. And he added this.

No evidence provided for either of these charges”. What she seems to have missed is that Keir Starmer’s wife is Jewish. The couple’s two children are being raised in the Jewish faith of their mother. So, the message to Liz Truss is, to paraphrase what Major Dalby told Harry Palmer, “the next time you cite evidence of Labour anti-Semitism, just make sure you have it”.

Moreover, it would be interesting to hear confirmation from Ms Truss that she is going to be equally tough on anti-Semitism when it is real, and emanates from those within her own party. Like, oh I dunno, a report from earlier this year in Jewish News, telling “Five Conservative councillors in [now former] party chairman Oliver Dowden’s Hertsmere constituency have been formally reprimanded over their involvement in an election smear campaign waged against a Jewish Labour Party candidate”. And there is more. A lot more.

Like Suella Braverman deploying the anti-Semitic “Cultural Marxism” trope, being told what it meant, and still using it. Her colleague Ben Bradley also pitched theCultural Marxism” line. Like Priti Patel talking very pointedly about the “North. London. Metropolitan. Liberal. Elite”. And yet more.

Jacob Rees Mogg, member for times long past, smearing John Bercow and Oliver Letwin as “Illuminati”, another old anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, and claiming that George Soros bankrolled the Remain campaign. Then there is soon formerly alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.

As the Guardian pointed out in late 2019, just before that year’s General Election, “Boris Johnson has invoked some of the oldest and most pernicious antisemitic stereotypes in a book he wrote when he was a Conservative shadow minister. He describes ‘Jewish oligarchs’ who run the media, and fiddle the figures to fix elections in their favour”. Could it get worse?

Don’t ask. “He portrays a Jewish character, Sammy Katz, with a ‘proud nose and curly hair’, and paints him as a malevolent, stingy, snake-like Jewish businessman who exploits immigrant workers for profit … Johnson has form when it comes to anti-Jewish hatred [Taki is mentioned] … Even now Johnson continues to cosy up to Donald Trump, despite his rhetoric about Jewish disloyalty and support for neo-Nazis”. Oh dear, Ms Truss!

I give you Liz Truss: hot on anti-Semitism, especially the kind for which she doesn’t need to pony up any evidence, while saying nothing about incidences of it in her own party. A worse PM than Bozo? It’s looking that way.

Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by becoming a Patron on Patreon at


Thursday, 11 August 2022

Suella Braverman - That Woman Is An Idiot

While some are actively trying to get what passes for a UK Government to do something about the looming escalation of the cost of living crisis, those out there on the right have been indulging themselves in acts of not merely partisan, but viciously disingenuous, deflection. Which beings us to the latest excursion of supposed Attorney General Suella Braverman.

Suella Braverman

Ms Braverman has been addressing Policy Exchange, the so-called think tank which was a favourite of Young Dave, until one day it went totally gaga and told anyone not yet asleep that cities like Liverpool had failed, and their population should therefore all up sticks and move to London. They all nodded along with Ms Braverman. Not many outside the room did so.

Those outside included Jolyon Maugham, who picked up on her all too predictable attack on transgender people, noting “Suella Braverman is now encouraging children to misgender their trans peers and undermining schools who wish to treat them with respect. Quite, quite wicked”. There was more.

What Government is doing, encouraged by so much of the media, is alarming. Trans people are portrayed as degenerates, would-be rapists, who should be publicly humiliated … In demonising trans people, Braverman has common cause with fascists abroad. We know the historical precedents. And can see her attempts to undermine Parliament, the judiciary, regulators, protest, universities. I hope we do not see fascism here but I do not feel complacent”. Deepti Gurdasani, who you can tell as she’s a doctor, agreed.

Promoting hate against marginalised groups seems to be their only area of 'competence'.... first it was immigrants, ethnic minorities, eastern Europeans ... and now the trans community. It'll never end … and of course the disabled, the poor, the unemployed ... they just hate anyone who isn't a privileged corrupt Tory donor”. How do Genderqueeer people feel about this?

Owen Hurcom has set out their thoughts on Ms Braverman’s speech HERE, and had made this observation: “She says that the fights for rights are undermining democracy and then goes to criticising the 2010 equality act and as she puts it - our ‘rights culture’. This is hugely dangerous rhetoric, but on brand for her and the Tories. Rights ensure equality, they want that gone”.

Where Ms Braverman is heading is a very dark and dangerous place. All people have rights. There is nothing wrong with a “rights culture”, indeed, that should be the default position. Perhaps the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press will cheer her on, but any minority group will not.

Down with this sort of thing

The idea that existing laws should be interpreted to discriminate against trans people is the first step down the slippery slope. What other marginalised and vulnerable group would Madam care to pick off next? Would Ms Braverman like to answer that without assistance, or will she need the help of her press cheerleaders first? And, talking of rights, we then arrived at the ECHR.

As Peter Walker has told in a Guardian article, she “said the European convention on human rights (ECHR), to which the UK is a signatory and which is interpreted by the Strasbourg-based court, limited action vital in areas including stopping protests and deporting overseas offenders”, claiming “a culture where fringe campaign groups, purporting to champion rights, have claimed a moral high ground and have adopted an attitude of intolerance”.

It got worse. “Often with vastly inflated salaries and armed with a Newspeak dictionary, they have created mighty citadels of grievance across the public sector and made huge inroads into the private sector … Equality laws have been misconstrued and weaponised to fight those who challenge their views as perpetrators of hate speech, calling for them to be swiftly no-platformed or cancelled”. This is, whisper it quietly, total bullshit. But the press will love it.

So she wants the UK out of the ECHR. However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, Walker points out that “Removing the UK altogether from the ECHR, the rights of which were incorporated into UK law in 1998 with the Human Rights Act, is viewed as notably difficult, not least as the ECHR was an integral part of the Good Friday deal that brought peace to Northern Ireland”. The signatories to which include the USA.

Which means one peep in the direction in which Ms Braverman says she wishes to travel, and along will come the administration in Washington DC to tell her to desist. And her idea that the law will allow discrimination against a vulnerable minority will most likely not survive the first legal challenge. So, as what she appears to want isn’t going to happen, why is she proposing it?

Simples. It’s what the right-wing press wants to hear, and will provide them, and indeed her, with an endless stream of grievance opportunities. While telling her audience that someone else is creating “citadels of grievance”. It is a pointless waste of time and resources, it will encourage hate mobs, and will get us precisely nowhere, except to see her name in the news headlines.

This shows a certain low cunning. But ultimately, it is merely a show of idiocy.

Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by becoming a Patron on Patreon at


Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Energy Bills - Tories, Press, And £85k

It was the unintended giveaway moment of the 2017 General Election campaign: all those hacks and pundits sniping and sneering at Labour plans to make those earning more than £85,000 a year to pay more tax, and justifying the welter of derision by asserting that such a figure did not put people in the top 5% of earners. Except that is exactly what it did do.

That showed, for those still unaware of the fact, that those hacks and pundits were not only obscenely overpaid, but also massively out of touch with all the ordinary hard-working people they claimed to champion. But if the lesson was taken on board, it was thus taken only briefly. Because, five years on, the media establishment is once again showing how out of touch it is.

This time, the issue that has exposed their ignorance of the reality facing millions of their fellow citizens is that of rising costs, most notably for food and energy. We already had the Tory MP looking down his nose at the lower orders and telling them there were things called Value and Essentials ranges that they could buy to lower the cost of their food shopping.

As if the less well-off didn’t know that. Also, for those who shop at discounters like Lidl and Aldi, that is where they are already. This patronising behaviour was compounded by the likes of Lee Anderson, who somehow has been elected as an MP, claiming that meals can be prepared at a portion cost of 30p. As a result, he was deservedly derided as “30p Lee”.

The right-leaning part of our free and fearless press took very little notice of all this: when campaigners like Jack Monroe forced their way onto the radar of public consciousness, it was usually through broadcast media or papers that were not signed up to the adoration of soon to be formerly alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and his coterie of ineptitude.

But steeply rising food bills were merely an hors d’oeuvres for a much more substantial entrée, that being energy costs, which have already been allowed to rise significantly, and will rise again, by a whopping 81% in October, and a further 19% on top of that come next January. Many families have already faced a winter of heating versus eating. Now it’s set to get a lot worse.

How much worse? Former PM Gordon Brown has urged action to ensure the least well-off get help, stressing that any changes to Universal Credit (for instance) will take several weeks to implement. He has talked about recalling Parliament. But Bozo and Co are doing nothing. The right-wing press are more concerned about the Tory leadership contest. And the War On Woke.

Meaningless deflection - the Mail is today whining about a majority of babies being born OUT OF WEDLOCK (the shame! The ignominy!! The sheer irrelevance!!!) - is the order of the day for them. The Express is telling the world that it backs Liz Truss for Tory leader, as if anyone cares what the joke newspaper usually called the Daily Brexit thinks about such matters.

How bad are things going to get? On matters like this, Martin Lewis is the man. His warnings are dire. “The latest [Cornwall Insight] prediction, based on Ofgem's new methodology, is an 81% price cap rise in Oct (taking typical bill to £3,582/yr) and a further 19% in Jan (so £4,266/yr) … Action & planning is needed now. The zombie govt needs wake up sooner than 5 Sept”.

There was more. “The leadership debate must not ignore this portentous national cataclysm any more … They can't say they weren't warned … The excuse ‘we need to wait for Ofgem figure’ doesn't wash. In May govt asked Ofgem for forward guidance & made plans based on that. It can do the same now … An action plan is needed TODAY”. And he had this reminder.

They are all in the same party, let's call on them to come together for the good of the nation rather than personal point scoring … People’s livelihoods, mental wellbeing & in some cases very lives depend on this”. He has urged immediate action, echoing Brown’s earlier call. But all Bozo has done is claim his chosen successor, Ms Truss, will deal with the problem on taking office.

The problem is that Johnson is a congenital liar and few will believe his claim - because he most likely made it up on the spot to get through that particular news cycle. Ms Truss appears beholden to Astroturf lobby groups like the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance, whose modus operandi consists of misleading with the objective of demonising Government. They will be no use at all.

Because they, and the right-wing press, along with the Tory politicians, cannot understand the problem: they are all so comfortably off that they cannot comprehend a world where people can’t afford to eat out regularly, can’t afford long haul holidays, can’t afford designer labels, have to be careful with their food shopping, and still have to work all the hours God sends.

The £85,000 a year question has come back to haunt them. If they look carefully, they can see it coming on down the track towards them. But it is inconvenient to them, and so they do nothing about it. Britain faces a grim autumn and a potentially unspeakably bad winter. But the Tories and their press pals are too rich to understand, too flush with cash to care.

And they don’t know what to do about it. Welcome to basket case Britain.

Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by becoming a Patron on Patreon at


Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Trump And Bozo NOT Above The Law

One disturbing aspect of the New Conservatism is the idea that the rule of law should apply asymmetrically, that it is fine for opponents to have their collars felt, but not their own. The reaction to their own side being on the receiving end of investigations is remarkably consistent between the UK and the USA, as events from the past week show all too clearly.

Donald, where's yer hairspray?

Overnight, news has emerged that the FBI turned up at Mar-a-Lago, Florida retreat of Combover Crybaby Donald Trump, with a search warrant which they proceeded to execute. Brian Entin of News Nation noted thatsearch warrant at Mar-a-Lago was related to retention of classified docs … FBI only took documents specifically related to search warrant - they knew what they were looking for”. Hugo Lowell of the Guardian had more.

Sources close to Trump trying to tell me tonight the FBI search was outrageous [because] White House records at Mar-a-Lago were declassified - seemingly forgetting that still doesn’t mean Trump just gets to keep official records as souvenirs, and it’s still potentially a crime”.

And then came the asymmetric part: the former President, no stranger to sounding off about Hillary Clinton, and whipping up the crowd into chants of “Lock her up”, was most indignant at the thought that the boot could possibly find itself on the other foot. He blamed the raid on “Radical left Democrats”. But Aaron Rupar notedTrump personally picked the current FBI director”.

This did not stop Trump whiningThese are dark times for our Nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege (it wasn’t), raided (it wasn’t a raid) and occupied (no. Just no) by a large group of FBI agents. Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before”. But he is no longer the President.

Nor did it stop him calling what happened “prosecutorial misconduct” (no prosecution has yet been made) and “weaponisation of the Justice System”. This may give Westminster watchers a sense of déjà vu, after the weekend’s events concerning soon to be former alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and his potential misleading of Parliament.

Many Bozo allies, with the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker in the vanguard, wanted the full force of the law to be brought to bear on Labour leader Keir Starmer for a post-canvassing gathering which did not break the pandemic rules. But when the Commons Privileges Committee turned its attention on Bozo potentially lying to the Commons, all was changed.

He had “paid the ultimate price” told a Mail on Sunday editorial. Yesterday, this had been escalated to front page lead as the Daily Mail thundered “TORIES ‘MUST QUIT’ BORIS WITCH-HUNT … Minister tells MPs to resign from ‘rigged’ Partygate probe”. Those quote marks are doing some seriously heavy lifting. There is no witch-hunt, and nothing has been rigged.

Although the Mail’s legendarily foul mouthed editor-in-chief, and the minister being quoted, do share one thing: Paul Dacre and Nadine Dorries have both allegedly been lined up for peerages in Bozo’s resignation honours list, and if he were to be found to have misled Parliament, he could be slung out of the Commons and his honours list therefore rendered null and void.

Even so, this shows the similarity between UK and USA: the conservative side, whether Republican or Tory, should not be subject to due process, and if it is, that is an affront to it and its supporters, but its opposition, whether Democrat or Labour, should be prosecuted and if necessary convicted on the say-so of the conservative side and its media allies.

If Trump has broken the law, then he should be subject to due process and if found guilty, should be handed the appropriate penalty. And if that includes a custodial sentence, so be it. Likewise if Bozo is found to have lied to Parliament - and, it seems, the omens are not good, as Naomi Smith of Best for Britain has told: “Not 1, not 2, but 3 Downing Street staff say they are prepared to give evidence to MPs claiming the PM misled parliament over what he know about the Partygate scandal”. Bring it on.

Throwing staffers under the bus can come back to bite you, eh? Trump has the added prospect of Alex Jones’ text messages to come. Either way, those defending this less than dynamic duo are on a hiding to nothing, whether they appear on the alleged resignation honours list or not.

No-one should be allowed to be above the law. Here or Stateside. That is all.

Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by becoming a Patron on Patreon at


Sunday, 7 August 2022

Farage Channels Hitler

Those Tories telling anyone who will listen that all the country’s ills are someone else’s fault did not just happen upon this lame excuse: they learned it from a master of the art. Step forward Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, former Brexit Party Oberscheissenführer and now mouth artist for hire, who might have disappeared from the political radar in the UK, but not in the USA.

There, he has been continuing his support for Combover Crybaby Donald Trump, who still claims he won an election which he did not. Despite law enforcement agencies closing in on The Donald after he signally failed to promptly intervene and get his supporters to stop the insurrection of January 6, 2021, Mr Thirsty is backing him for another run at the Presidency.

So it was that Nige rocked up in Dallas, TX, to address the second CPAC gathering of the year, where freelance journalist Laura Jedeed summarised what The Great Man had to say. And what Farage had to say bears close comparison with what a disillusioned and sociopathic former Corporal in the Imperial German Army had to say as his public profile grew in the 1920s.

He opened as he meant to go on. “Ladies and Gentlemen, we are under attack! The threat is not external! The biggest threat we face is from within. The biggest threat we face is the fifth column in all our countries that is attempting to destroy the family unit”. And who might comprise that fifth column? How might the great and the good recognise the threat?

Keeping that twitchy right arm under control, he declared “Attempting to destroy our constitution! Attempting to destroy our pride in who we are and what we are … The way that They are doing it … is primarily through the educational institutions. Our children are being indoctrinated … Our universities have become Madrassas of Marxism and it's got to change!

What might those educational institutions be teaching that he finds so unpalatable? “Our kids are being told from a young age if you are Black, you are a victim. If you're white, you're an oppressor … none of this is aimed at harmony. This is not accidental”. It is, however, bullshit. So what is he going on about? The villain of the piece, it seems, is Critical Race Theory.

And he doesn’t like that one bit: “this terrible virus, worse than anywhere else in the world. This is a Marxist attempt to break Western civilization! A Marxist attempt to destroy everything we are. And we are going to fight back hard against it!” Do we get Cultural Marxism next? But the CPAC did get all the building blocks that, when assembled, made up A Stab In The Back.

You'll have to speak up, I'm a bit Mutt And Jeff

Starting with “Part of the problem is that our conservative parties, our conservative movements, have allowed all of this to be done. basically through cowardice … Through fear. People do not want to be called nasty names”. Ms Jedeed noted that “Farage says a lot of ‘conservatives’ aren't actually conservative [and] lists several insufficiently conservative international leaders, including Boris Johnson and Scott Morrison”.

So they’ve been stabbed in the back. By “Marxists”, by Critical Race Theory. And by insufficiently conservative leaders. So now came the rallying cry. “This is the battleground If America falls, we all fall. But I know I'm talking to perhaps the most important group of people that have ever assembled in one room. Because you are the footsoldiers!” Tomorrow belongs to them.

It certainly didn’t belong to the hated MSM, which Farage lost no time in loudly denouncing as Fake News. All that was left was for the great saviour to be introduced. “To stand up against the establishment, to stand up against the Deep State, the globalists, all the things, takes man or woman of exceptional courge. And I believe that you in this country are very lucky to have [such] a man”. It could have been a warm-up for a Nuremberg Rally.

Mr Thirsty brought his audience the spectre of Lügenpresse, the bogeyman of Marxism, the paranoia of that Stab In The Back, the idea of youth unable to speak their minds through indoctrination, weak politicians unwilling to challenge this terrible new orthodoxy, with only one strong leader waiting on the horizon. He had gone full Third Reich. And his audience loved it.

Nigel Farage courting The Fash around Europe has not been an accident. He is comfortable in their company, because he is one of them. The only difference is that, even when elected as an MEP, he chickened out of actually doing anything. It was all about sounding off, then collecting his expenses. And now he’s got a career enabling The Fash elsewhere in the world.

The far right is attempting another comeback. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by becoming a Patron on Patreon at


Saturday, 6 August 2022

Your Conspiracy Bill, Sir - It’s $49 Million

InfoWars front man Alex Jones, the wacko’s wacko, has got away with peddling batshit conspiracy theories for years. He had “repeatedly argued that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax orchestrated by the government to strip Americans of gun rights, and that the parents of the dead children were ‘crisis actors’”. 20 children and six adults died in the mass shooting.

He had got away with that one, too - until the lawsuits began to rain down on him, and had even made money out of his wacko conspiracy theory, in what a lawyer for the Sandy Hook parents called “the monetisation of misinformation and lies”. But for Alex Jones, the moment of truth was at hand, and arrived in a Texas courtroom last week. If only it had happened rather earlier.

The parents of one of those dead children brought a defamation suit against Jones. They had not merely suffered distress: they, and others, had to hire their own private security detail. As a result, they sought as much as $150 million from Jones in damages. Their goal came that bit closer last week after the Parents’ lawyers brought the InfoWars front man bad news.

Jones’ own lawyers had inadvertently sent the plaintiffs two years’ worth of Jones’ phone text messages, a body of potentially incriminating evidence which is now being sought by those examining the events of January 6th last year when an attempted storming of the Capitol failed, despite Combover Crybaby Donald Trump initially declining to call off the insurrectionists.

It got worse: Jones had to be reminded that his views were not the same as the truth. He had to stick to facts in his replies to questioning, and could not pitch conspiracy theories in their place. The judge issued him a series of rebukes. He claimed InfoWars had not showed the judge being consumed by flames. He was then showed that this was exactly what InfoWars showed.

As the BBC has reported, “He has already lost a series of defamation cases filed by parents of the victims by default after failing to produce documents and testimony. But this was the first trial in which financial damages were agreed by a jury”. The damages for compensation seemed modest, at just $4.1 million. But then came the award for punitive damages.

That added $45.2 million to the bill, meaning Jones was now on the hook, as it were, for $49.3 million - plus all those lawyers’ bills. Would he be cleaned out? One opinion given at the trial was that InfoWars was worth $270 million, and it was pointed out that he had once raked in $800k in one day. But that the damages award would hurt was soon, effectively, admitted.

The admission came as the grift began: Roger Stone, who knows a little about being comprehensively discredited, went on InfoWars and told anyone watchingAlex Jones is a good and decent man. He’s a God-fearing Christian .. and right now, he needs our support”. And remember, “he’s done more for this movement than perhaps anyone you can name”. Or perhaps not.

But there was more. “There’s a place at the InfoWars store where you can go, just to make a contribution”. Without having to order BrainForce Plus™, eh? Do go on. “We’re not in the market for a book, or one of his great products”. Yes, the grift is on. And there is a good reason for that: the Sandy Hook families are not yet finished with Alex Jones. There will be more trials.

Two more trials. With Jones’ text messages most likely available to whichever plaintiffs request them. Alex Jones has at last had to confront reality - the reality of the Sandy Hook shootings which he denied for so many years, the reality of having to deal in truth and facts, rather than substitute lies as he saw fit, and the reality of having to pony up the thick end of $50 million.

Perhaps those in the UK, in the print media and elsewhere, who devise, promote and perpetuate conspiracy theory level drivel will cast an eye across the North Atlantic, then stop and think. More likely they will not: don’t worry, they will reassure themselves, the legal system is different over there, it can’t happen here, and there are still plenty of suckers to con.

Don’t you believe it. If it caught up with Jones, it could catch up with anyone.

Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by becoming a Patron on Patreon at


Friday, 5 August 2022

Inflation - Also Someone Else’s Fault

As the cost of living crisis begins to really bite, with food prices rising inexorably and energy bills set to go up even more come the autumn, we have the grotesque spectacle of a Government that has effectively ceased to function, its ministers either absent from the field of play, asleep at the wheel, or lashing out in an effort to play the blame game and distract voters.

I'll blame who the f*** I choose, c***

The deflection provided by howling about same-sex toilets (travel by rail or air not easy for those with that particular phobia), diversity training which is spuriously alleged to be “left wing”, and blaming the BBC for not loving the Commonwealth enough (broadcasting the Commonwealth Games clearly not sufficient penance for this heinous crime) isn’t providing sufficient distraction..

Inflation is taking hold. Many of those ordinary hard-working Brits who the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press claims to champion are worried. Some are getting rather adjacent to being unable to pay their bills. So is the press on the case of soon to be former alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and his coterie of ineptitude? Ah well.

Here a problem enters: the right-wing press is fully invested in keeping the Tories in power. It backed Bozo; it will back his successor. Inflation, like Brexit, chronic delays at ports and airports, an overloaded NHS, creaking infrastructure and an increasingly unhappy workforce, must be blamed on someone else. It’s about money. So it must be the banks. And bankers.

And so it came to pass that the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker, under the less than benign rule of their legendarily foul mouthed editor in chief, this morning declared that the Governor of the Bank of England was The One Wot Done It. Andrew Bailey and his Monetary Policy Committee had just raised interest rates by half a percentage point. Cue deluge of spite.

Inflation’s set to hit almost SEVEN times his official target. Critics accuse Bank Governor of being asleep at the wheel. Now we face a YEAR of recession - and soaring interest rates … BANKER WHO’S RUNNING OUT OF CREDIT” thunders today’s Mail headline. Daily Mail readers face higher mortgage bills. House prices may suffer. This cannot go unpunished.

So the punishment beating began. “Critics said Bank officials should ‘rue the day’ they decided not to raise interest rates last year. It came as grim economic predictions forced the Bank to raise interest rates by 0.5 percentage points - the largest amount since 1995 - to reach 1.75 per cent”. Missing that their hero Bozo dismissed talk of inflation last year.

There was more. “The Bank said the red-hot inflation will cause the UK to slump into a drawn-out recession, with output shrinking for 15 months from the final quarter of this year until the end of 2023. Households will see their real incomes, or how much money they make taking into account rising prices, fall by the largest amount on record, it predicted”.

And there was the inevitable comment piece, from Alex Brummer, one of those who defended the Mail’s viciously anti-Semitic attack on the memory of Ralph Miliband. “In choppy seas, does Bank of England have the right captain?” is the suitably leading question, for which he had a response ready.

Can we draw any comfort from the grim prediction that the surge in the cost of living will continue throughout next year and into 2024, and that inflation could soar as high as 13.3 per cent this winter? We can. The Bank’s blundering Governor, Andrew Bailey, has been wrong in most of his forecasts up to this point … His credibility is badly shot - and he may have overstated the problem. But you don’t have to take my word for it”. You tell ‘em!

So whose word should we take for it? “EY, the audit and consulting giant, argues that the UK ‘ecowill perform better than the Bank predicts’ and accuses the Bank’s inflation forecasts of ‘resting on limited foundations’ … Another City firm, Capital Economics, also disputes the Bank’s predictions, saying Bailey’s recession forecasts are ‘deeper and longer’ than its own”.

There is also a substantial serving of hindsight, which would be more credible had the Mail been able to point to its own warnings. But readers were left in no doubt that inflation, like all the other economic and social problems that one would normally expect Governments to address, was not the fault of the Mail’s chosen administration. Andrew Bailey had to carry the can for it.

Expect a lot more of this as a Government formerly led by Bozo, and most likely to soon be taken over by Liz Truss, flounders under the weight of its own culture war deflection, anti-minority and anti-foreigner blame gaming, and above all its towering ineptitude. The country will have to go a long way down the toilet before the Mail admits it backed the wrong horse.

You thought they cared about ordinary people? You’ve been had. Again.

Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by becoming a Patron on Patreon at


Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Liz Truss Says Don’t Call Me Stupid

Tory leadership contests are expected to be loaded with dirty tricks, trimming to the far right, intolerance in bucket loads, and other sundry unpleasantness, but the contenders would at least be able to muster a modicum of intellectual heft. Until now. And that brings us to the poll-leading, and therefore frightening, Liz Truss. Worst Prime Minister competition? Hold her beer.

How could she avoid the obvious bear traps that are unforced own goals? How could she appeal not only to party members, but reassure all those voters she needs to carry in order to win a General Election? What would a good leadership campaign have done? What would a sensible and competent leadership campaign have done? What would Nietzsche have done?

Sad to say, Ms Truss does not occupy that lofty intellectual plain. Nor can she call on the bluster and faux bonhomie of soon to be formerly alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. But she has no problem continuing one Bozo speciality - talking well, but lying badly.

Her problems began with childhood recollection: she slagged off her secondary school. But Roundhay School in north Leeds is well-regarded, and a recent Ofsted report rated it as “Outstanding”. Also, it cannot have been such a terrible school, else how would she have gone from there to Oxford?

But a PPE from Oxford did not mean Ms Truss was capable of thinking things through: perhaps it did not occur to her that what she said to an audience comprised of the Tory faithful might also be relayed to a wider audience. She made this discovery after her comment on another Scottish independence referendum - that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon should be “ignored”.

Maybe the Tories don’t want to hang on to their last Parliamentary representation north of the border. The maybe became more definite when the Member for Times Long Past Jacob Rees Mogg sneered snootily that Ms Sturgeon was “often wrong and always moaning”. How long into a Truss premiership before Scotland declares UDI? A year? Six months, maybe?

Could she out-stupid even that? Like not just alienate most Scots, but a significant proportion of voters outside the south-east? She certainly could, and did it no style at all as those voters were duly informed that a Truss Government would cut public sector pay for those not working in the London area. It would save as much as £11 billion a year. But once again, she had failed to think through an idea from the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance, that Astroturf lobby group supported by less than 0.1% of all taxpayers.

E molto pericoloso. Molto pericoloso

This idea was instantly backed by the TPA, but elsewhere it went down like the proverbial cup of cold sick. So there was a screeching U-Turn - not a good look for a candidate trying to model themselves on Mrs T - with the added smokescreen of victimhood. She had been misrepresented! Except she hadn’t. Also, we now knew she was being advised by the TPA.

As sketchwriter Tom Peck reminded her, “Someone should maybe tell the spokesperson for [Liz Truss] that this contest is only happening because the last guy just kept on lying, and his spokesperson had to apologise for deliberately lying for months”. Continuity Bozo had struck again.

Could it get even worse? Don’t ask. Maybe the TPA was behind the next gaffe: it was, after all, yet another attack on the BBC. “What I’m very concerned about on the TV licence fee is how many women have ended up in prison for non-payment, a disproportionate number”. But that number was not disproportionate in the manner she suggested: it was Zero.

By this point, many objective onlookers had seen enough, and LBC host James O’Brien was one of them. “Stupid populist policy announcement from Truss, followed by screeching u-turn followed by egregious lies. What a grimly familiar cycle. Boris Johnson’s corruption of British politics will not be fixed by his removal from Downing Street”. So how is she the favourite?

Former Sun editor David Yelland had the depressingly familiar explanation: “Few understand this, but the air cover Tories get from Mail, Sun, Telegraph, Express acts as a multiplier of lies - and a giant comfort blanket - but [Ed Davey[, [Keir Starmer] and [Nicola Sturgeon] face a battalion of bollocks daily. The gap is immense”. That’s why we have a less than adequate Government.

Power without responsibility: the patriots who made the UK a laughing stock.

Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by becoming a Patron on Patreon at


Monday, 1 August 2022

SisterBozza And Talking Shit

Still hanging on at broadcaster LBC despite the imminent departure of her rather more infamous brother from 10 Downing Street, Rachel Johnson, otherwise known as SisterBozza, turns up like the proverbial bad penny every Sunday evening and causes many in her audience to wonder what they had dome wrong to be lumbered with her less than universally held opinions.

But for how much longer?

She has previously defended the continuation in office of alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson with such assertions asPlotting a coup against the Prime Minister during a war doesn’t exactly smack of integrity”. We are, whisper it quietly, not at war. And it has not, in the past, been an obstacle to changing Prime Minister. But then came the NHS.

A number of patients miss their face to face doctors’ appointments. This has entered the Tory leadership contest, where, in the contest to see who can crack down on the proles most viciously, a charge of £10 for not turning up has been pitched. The problem is that the most readily available study of how this affects patient behaviour - from Israel - suggests it doesn’t work.

No matter! SisterBozza was on the case. As a close relative of Bozo, she was, by inference at least, party to his superior insights and therefore knew more about it than mere leadership candidates. She would be tough on missed appointments, although maybe not tough on the causes of missed appointments. She would not charge just £10. She’d charge £30!

That’s one more mouth not fed for the week, then. But here a problem enters: SisterBozza is not in the best position to empathise with the lower orders. She does, after all, have not just one person repping for her - perish the thought - but three, one for books, one for film and TV, and one for presenting and hosting. She’s FAR too busy to be bothered with the little people.

If only her brother had been fined for every Cobra meeting he failed to attend, eh? Or, more productively for money generation, every time he had flat-out lied - to the Commons, to select committees, to his fellow Tory MPs, to the Greater London Assembly, to the press and broadcasters, to his long suffering second wife, to his current wife, and to that string of mistresses.

For some reason, SisterBozza doesn’t appear to have any problem with her brother’s congenital dishonesty. Nor is she suggesting he gets fined for any of the eyebrow-raising elevations to the peerage he has pushed through, or his still unexplained excursions to the Palazzo near Perugia owned by the son of a former KGB spy. She’s cool with his behaviour. Can you smell hypocrisy?

But then, if Bozo is leaving office, maybe she will be less useful to LBC, which has already disposed of the services of pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins, and former Brexit Party Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, bringing in more mainstream talking heads like Andrew Marr and Eddie Mair. Perhaps there is to be a changing on the Sunday evening guard at the station.

We can but hope. LBC’s top-rated host James O’Brien was clearly unimpressed by her NHS initiative: “Twelve years of Tory government & the NHS is underfunded, understaffed & under enormous pressure. But if you're unhappy about the service you receive, don't blame Tory politicians or policies, blame unidentified strangers who have missed a GP appointment for undisclosed reasons”. Which begs one more question for SisterBozza.

If she’s so concerned about the NHS being underfunded, perhaps she should have a word with her brother about the £350 million a week that was supposed to be winging its way to the service as a Brexit dividend. You know, the £350 million a week that was plastered all over the Vote Leave bus.

Or was that another of her brother’s cost-free lies? That’s cost-free to him personally - not to those who depend on the service. Get in the sea.

Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by becoming a Patron on Patreon at