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Monday, 20 September 2021

Gas Price Hike - Another Brexit Bonus

In yet another exhibition of unintended consequences, the UK - but maybe not Northern Ireland - is facing hikes in the price of gas, with smaller energy suppliers either seeking bail-outs, or even going to the wall. And once more, the exposure of the UK to the full force of the free market shows every sign of being not unconnected to Brexit.

The promise ...

Not that the BBC is yet prepared to mention that particular B-Word, as it tellsThe government is considering offering emergency state-backed loans to energy companies as firms battle to stay afloat amid surging gas prices. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng will hold crisis talks with industry bosses including Centrica and E.On on Monday”.

There was more. “High demand for gas and reduced supply are behind a surge in wholesale prices”. There is, though, reassuring news: “Consumers are protected from sudden hikes through the government's energy price cap, a maximum price they can be charged on a default tariff”. After that, however, is a but. “But that also means energy firms are unable to pass on higher wholesale costs to their customers”.

... versus the reality

And so “Four small energy companies have ceased trading in recent weeks, including Edinburgh-based People's Energy, which supplied gas and electricity to about 350,000 homes and 1,000 businesses, and Dorset-based Utility Point which had 220,000 customers”. In addition, “The UK's sixth largest energy company, Bulb, is seeking a bailout, while four smaller firms are expected to go bust this week, as a result”.

So how big is that surge? “Industry group Oil & Gas UK said wholesale prices for gas had increased by 250% since January - with a 70% rise since August”. What might have been driving such an increase? This from the EU gives a hint: “On 1 January 2021, the UK left the EU's internal energy market. Energy trading through electricity interconnectors between the EU and Great Britain is no longer managed through existing single market tools, such as EU market coupling, as these are reserved for EU countries”.

In case anyone thinks the two are not connected, consider what energy prices look like for EU member states, and those countries that are part of the Energy Community (Norway has observer status). Ian Fraser has had a look: “Once again, Britain has the most energy in Europe, at €207.15 / MWhr (day ahead price). That’s more than twice what electricity costs in Norway (€95.8 / MWhr) #energycrisis Source: LCP Energy”.

Moreover, the day-ahead spread for EU member states has a maximum upper bound of €209.40 per MWh. That for the UK has an eye-watering upper bound of €1083.78, or more than five times as much. Contrast that with the Murdoch Sun telling readers before the 2016 referendum “Boris promises cheaper household gas bills if Brits back Brexit”.

Once again, alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, who lies more or less as he draws breath, and his pals in our free and fearless press, can be seen to have lied to get the referendum result they wanted. None of them will be among those having to choose between more expensive food and far more expensive energy this winter.

The only unknown now is how long the electorate will tolerate the attempts to claim that the dastardly EU is behind all the misery before they realise they’ve been had. Brexit was a con job and is, as predicted, proving a disaster for the UK. No surprise there, then.

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Sunday, 19 September 2021

AUKUS - Goodbye NATO, Hello EUDF

Those pretending that the move to European monetary union, which led to the single currency, was some kind of aberration, an unnecessary act, maybe even grandstanding and overreach, ignore that it was the USA that - inadvertently - began the process, when the Vietnam war needed lots of money, as well as bodies, throwing at it.

What was then West Germany, probably with encouragement from the French, suggested to Washington DC that the US Dollar should be devalued. As the response was not unlike that given by the defenders in the Bastogne Pocket, the authorities in Bonn reluctantly decided to revalue their currency upwards. Not even the mighty Deutschmark could hold a candle to the US Dollar. But a Europe-wide currency might just. And it now has.

That memory should be borne in mind today as the repercussions from the AUKUS deal, struck between the USA, UK and Australia, are examined. Sadly, it does not appear to be on the radar of new Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who has instead declared “Read my [Telegraph] piece on how we are putting at the heart of a network of economic, diplomatic and security partnerships. This will drive growth and jobs in the UK and across the world and help make us safer”. She ends with the sad and meaningless #GlobalBritain hashtag.

Maybe we should consider the reality here. John Lichfield, writing for The Local France, certainly has, and has concludedThe nasty row which has broken out between Paris, Washington, Canberra and (to an extent) London, is about more than a €60bn French contract to build 12 submarines for the Australian navy”. There is more.

It is about France as a Pacific and Indian ocean nation; it is about France’s desire to play an important role in Indian-Pacific affairs, containing China without antagonising China; it is about America’s willingness to treat allies as allies, not vassals; it is about honesty and openness in international affairs”. And he offers an ominous coda.

The AUKUS affair, coming so soon after the debacle of America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, proves that [Emmanuel] Macron is right. Nato is brain dead. Washington doesn’t have allies, only junior partners. Britain has willingly accepted that role. It is time that for the European Union to consider how (to coin a phrase) it can take back control of its own security and prosperity”. There are other issues in play, too.

As Mutjaba Rahman has noted, “Macron's decision to escalate IS partly an electoral calculation. He remembers Chirac gained popularity not just by refusing to invade Iraq, but by taking initiative & publicly disputing US strategy”. But France, the UK and US are part of NATO, aren’t they? Founder members, too. But Mike Galsworthy has that one covered.

Another fine mess, son of Stanley

Lord Ricketts, a former UK ambassador to France said: ‘French diplomats have told me that America lied about what they were doing and they will be releasing documents to show that America lied.’ Well that's NATO royally screwed then”. What became NATO originated in the UK, and more importantly, mainland Europe. What may supplant NATO in the face of US indifference could also originate there.

It could simply be called the EU Defence Force. It would provide a countervailing power to the US, enable the EU and its pals to look after themselves, work constructively with the likes of China - and would leave “Global Britain” out in the cold. Another Brexit triumph.

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Saturday, 18 September 2021

Brillo GB News Departure WASN’T

After his appearance on last Thursday’s edition of BBC Question Time, viewers may have got the impression that former Murdoch editor Andrew Neil and Gammon Broadcasting™ News (“Bacon’s News Channel”) had gone their separate ways, never to be reconciled. The reality is that nothing could be further from the truth.

Here’s what he told the audience. “I had always made it clear it wouldn’t be a British Fox News, and I think you can do something different without going anywhere near Fox. Fox deals in untruths, it deals in conspiracy theories, and it deals in fake news. That’s not my kind of journalism, and I would never have set out to do that”. There was more.

Was that why he left, asked Fiona Bruce. “I’ll let you draw your own conclusions as to why I’m here tonight, and not with GB News”. She then restated the assumption of his leaving, asking “Why have you quit?” Had Brillo not quit, he could quite easily have corrected Ms Bruce, but he did not. Instead, there was more rambling self-justification.

In the run-up to the launch, through the launch, and in the aftermath of the launch … you couldn’t file the launch under ‘startling success’ … more and more differences emerged between myself and the other senior managers … and rather than these differences narrowing, they got wider and wider, and I felt that it was best that if that’s the route they wanted to take, that’s up to them, it’s their money … it wasn’t for me”.

And on three counts, I call bullshit. One, Brillo’s past track record - AIDS denialism when he was editor of the Sunday Times, climate change denialism disseminated using his platform at the BBC, and his continuing chairmanship of the alt-right Spectator magazine, shows he apparently has little problem with untruths and fake news.

Two, he was one of those senior managers at GB News who hired the deeply unpleasant Dan Wootton, Neil Oliver, and Mr Angry Autocue reader himself, Colin Brazier. He did not, it seems, find the hiring of former Brexit Party Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage a resigning matter - and Farage’s show is the epitome of untruths and fake news.

Moreover, Three, Andrew Neil - with the assistance of Fiona Bruce - gave Question Time viewers the impression that he had parted company with GB News. He hasn’t. Last week, he was a “contributor” to Farage’s show; later in the week, he was wheeled out to bump up the otherwise dire ratings of former Brexiteer politician Alex Phillips.

And he’s back contributing next Monday. Perhaps he needs the money, as he allegedly received no payoff from GB News following his resignation as Chairman, one of many nuggets of information served up this morning by the Guardian’s Jim Waterson, his article noting the sense of fear at GB News at the imminent launch of Murdoch’s TalkTV.

Indeed, when he tells “While Neil ultimately agreed to remain as a twice-a-week pundit as part of his exit package, this is a temporary measure for the next few months and was designed to limit the public relations damage caused by his departure”, what he does not say is that in a few months’ time, TalkTV will be here. And GB News may not.

Meanwhile, observers will see the BBC wiping Brillo’s arse for him. No change there.

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Friday, 17 September 2021

Imperial Dead Cat BUSTED

The first rule of dead cat hurling is that the story being pitched needs a little basic credibility: the last thing the hurler needs is to elicit the response “Oh fuck off, that’s the most obvious and lamest dead cat ever”. But that is what Christopher “No” Hope from the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph has delivered to his readers.

Christopher Hope: sycophantic client journalist

Brexit triumph as Crown Stamp returns to pint glasses and pounds and ounces could return to shops as Boris Johnson plans to rip up EU rules” he announced triumphantly. This was followed by the Murdoch Times: “Boris Johnson is to announce the return of imperial weights and measures, making it legal for market stalls, shops and supermarkets to sell their goods using only Britain’s traditional weighing system post-Brexit”.

Will beer now taste different? Will it buggery. Nor will fruit and veg be any different if it is weighed out using Imperial measurements. That did not stop the Daily Brexit, still called the Express, going full Chicken Paté News over the event: “Frost's Brexit bonfire of EU rules - pounds & ounces BACK in shops and Crown Stamp returns … BREXIT Britain will ditch the EU's CE mark and bring back the Crown Stamp on UK pint glasses while imperial measurements may also return”. Just in time for the shelves to empty this Christmas.

Nige tries to work out how many pints make a session

But for those inhabiting the real world, a problem enters: very few people under the age of around 60 are familiar with Imperial measurements, having learned the rather more simple and straightforward metric system. Take fluid measurements: this requires working in Base 5, then Base 4, then Base 2, then Base 4 (fluid ounces, gills, pints, quarts, gallons).

And, to no surprise at all, dry weight is different again. While there are 20 fluid ounces to the pint, there are just 16 ounces to the pound. Having kicked off in Base 16, you then have to switch to Base 14, Base 2, Base 4 and finally Base 20 (ounce, pound, stone, quarter, hundredweight, ton). Got that? Good-oh - now it’s on to distance measurements.

Lee Anderson. And another self-interested clown

Because they’re yet more different. Here, you have to work in Base 12, then Base 3, then Base 22, then Base 10, then Base 8 (inch, foot, yard, chain, furlong, mile). And you can forget missing out chains, because until relatively recently, every railway line in the UK was measured in miles and chains. Imperial measures were superseded by metric ones for a very good reason: working in Base 10 works. But ardent Brexiteers don’t like it.

Cue former Brexit Party Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage to pontificate “Great news. The Metric Martyrs case took 20 years but now we can buy goods in pounds and ounces again, not just Napoleonic measurements. We even get the crown back on pint glasses. Brexit is making us more British”. More laughed at by the rest of Europe, maybe.

Tory MP Lee Anderson, he of the private Facebook group with the sewer of bigotry running through it, declaredThis is one of the many benefits of Brexit. The first pint I have with the crown on will taste much better”. Which is complete bullshit: I have recently enjoyed the spread of the craft beer revolution to Bratislava, Genoa, Barcelona, Madrid and Lisbon, and can confirm that a stamp on the glass has sod all to do with what’s inside it.

This dead cat will not deflect from food shortages, or rising prices. And Messrs Farage and Anderson won’t be rocking up at Chinaski Lavapiés or Cerveteca Lisboa any time soon to tell them having crown stamps on their glasses will make their beer taste better. Idiots.

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Murdoch Kills GB News - Very Soon

The Murdoch mafiosi had decided not to get into the UK launch of right-leaning so-called “News” channels. News UK CEO Rebekah Brooks had made the company’s view clear - it wasn’t a financially viable proposition in the UK, unlike in the US where Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) receives significant income merely by being made available as part of the average cable news package. But now, they’ve had second thoughts.

GB Whose? It's dead, Mate

Or rather, they’ve decided to do their version of a right-wing shock propaganda channel differently. Unlike Gammon Broadcasting™ News (“Bacon’s News Channel”), which has to bear 100% of its own costs, what is being launched soon as TalkTV does not. Murdoch is no stranger to cross-subsidisation: he did that in the early days of Sky, using the then very profitable Sun and Screws to partly bale out his new satellite operation.

And that is how TalkTV can afford the unfeasibly overinflated on-air ego that is former Screws and Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan, who had told anyone who would listen that he had been “cancelled” by ITV earlier this year. He was, not for the first time, talking in a highly creative manner: his definition of “cancelled” will give him a new show on TalkTV, Sky News Australia, Fox News, and columns in the Sun and New York Post.

And what's more, Ron

This is how News UK announced The Return Of The Moron™, beneath the obligatory snap of Don Rupioni alongside his new hire: “New global TV show will air on weeknights in the UK, USA and Australia [FNC and maybe Sky Oz will pay for that] … Morgan will publish two weekly columns online for the New York Post and The Sun [like he does now for MailOnline] … HarperCollins to publish follow up to Sunday Times No1 bestseller, Wake Up [he has to spread himself rather thinly in order to get his paycheque]”.

How does it get broadcast in the UK without all that studio gubbins that GB News had to set up? Simples. TalkRADIO already broadcasts video from existing studios in the Baby Shard Bunker. Also, TalkTV will be available as a streaming service. Almost all of the cost will be borne by existing Murdoch assets. And there may be other advantages.

Like the arrival of this new “global TV show”, let’s call it The All New Percy Moron Show™, tempting other media people to come on board, which in turn would enhance the profile of TalkRADIO, maybe even replacing no-marks like dribbling bigot Mike Graham, and the appalling self-promotion verbal diarrhoea-fest that is Julia Hartley Dooda.

Ominously, Ms Brooks has confirmed the Murdoch modus operandi: “Taking advantage of modern technology, we can produce high quality shows at low cost”. The studios are already in place. So is the technical backup. There will be none of the farce that dogged the launch of GB News. So where does the latter broadcaster go now?

The short answer is that it doesn’t. Like the clash between Sky and BSB, and the price war between the Times and Independent, this is a battle Rupert Murdoch intends to win. GB News is already suffering from a shortage of advertising and Very Few Viewers. TalkTV is its Nemesis. It may make it to the end of the year, but next year it will be stone dead.

GB News has reacted to the news by welcoming TalkTV and claiming “We welcome competition. Bring it on!” But what Rupert Murdoch means by competition is where he gets to bury it. Don Rupioni needs to prove he is still strong. That means crushing GB News.

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Thursday, 16 September 2021

Nadine Dorries - A Nation Laughs

Not since Roman Emperor Caligula proposed to make Incitatus, his favourite horse, a Consul has there been an appointment to high office so risible as that made yesterday by alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. Bozo has promoted (yes, it’s her again) Mid Bedfordshire MP Nadine Dorries to the cabinet, as Culture Secretary.

Nadine Dorries. That’s an interesting name. It’s the same name as the MP who said that her blog was “70% fiction”, but later said that it wasn’t. The MP who claimed that her selection panel had a majority of men, except it hadn’t. The MP who was in favour of all-women shortlists, but then attacked Labour for, er, all-women shortlists.

Dead right it's fishy

The MP who told Bedfordshire Police she had four stalkers, then named her Lib Dem opponent as one of them. The MP who claimed her front door had been removed while she’d been away (you try removing a front door from outside the property). The MP who attacked David Cameron and George Osborne for being posh, but fawned over Bozo.

The MP who joined the pile-on against Labour over allegations of anti-Semitism, while managing to forget that she had been a party to an anti-Semitic campaign against a Jewish (now former) Lib Dem MP. The MP who attacked Piers Morgan for using the word “mad”, because Mental Health. But she’d previously used that same word multiple times, as well as “bonkers”, “insane”, “window lickers” and “barking”.

The MP who was caught (along with two others) disseminating defamatory far-right claims about Labour leader Keir Starmer. The MP who wasn’t happy with the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement because “This deal gives us no voice, no votes, no MEPs, no commissioner”. The MP who criticised wearing of the Burqa because “No woman in a liberal, progressive society should be forced to cover up her beauty or her bruises”. Yes, that MP.

So what was the reaction to this momentous occasion? For some reason, that reaction was less than 100% positive. Former Tory MP Anna Soubry was on the case: “The appointment of Nadine Dorries actually says everything that is wrong and rotten about this Prime Minister's stewardship of this country. She never made it even as a bag carrier. She was not in government at all and for very good reason, she's not up to the job”.

Miqdaad Versi of the Muslim Council of Britain noted she had “Shared tweets by Tommy Robinson … Asked Sadiq Khan about grooming gangs (what's it got to do with him?) … Said vote rigging is ‘commonplace’ in Muslim communities”. Femi Oluwole recalled that she “wanted the police to arrest someone for expressing an opposing view towards a government minister”. Also, Ms Dorries claimed Steve Bray was called Dave.

And Alex Andreou reminded us of Ms Dorries’ claim to cultural fame. “Nadine Dorries, a woman who took off on full MP pay, without even telling her party whip or constituents, to go eat ostrich arse on reality TV, is now a Secretary of State in charge of Culture, and every single TV journo is treating this as a TOTALLY NORMAL THING that happened”.

As for the “digital” part of her brief, it should not be forgotten that Ms Dorries once proclaimed “All my staff have my login details”. So she’s hot on security, too. Perhaps.

Why might the public not take our political class seriously any more? Search me, Guv.

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Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Michael Gove And Homosexuailty

As Cabinet Office minister Michael “Oiky” Gove continues to maintain an uncharacteristically low profile, so the interest in him is sated by revelations about his recent and not so recent past, not least those published by the Independent, concerning a number of comments made in speeches during Gove’s student days, and after.

The BBC attempted to be restrained. “In 1987, Mr Gove then president-elect of Oxford University's debating society took part in an inter-university debating competition in Cambridge. Speaking in favour of the motion ‘this house believes that the British Empire was lost on the playing fields of Eton’, Mr Gove used a racist term to describe black people, which was met with a shout of ‘shame’ from a member of the audience”.

He used the term “fuzzy-wuzzy”. Gove also talked remarkably frankly about Mrs T: “We are at last experiencing a new empire, an empire where the happy south stamps over the cruel, dirty, toothless face of the northerner. At last Mrs Thatcher is saying I don't give a fig for what half the population is saying, because the richer half will keep me in power. This may be amoral. This may be immoral. But it's politics and it's pragmatism”.

But it was his comments on homosexuality that had rather more people stroking their chins. Gove claimed that gay people “thrive primarily on short-term relations[hips]”. As someone who isn’t gay, and who doesn’t make a habit of asking LGBT people about the length of their relationships, I wouldn’t have the foggiest on the subject. But Gove, who praised Thatcher’s “rigorously, vigorously, virulently, virilely heterosexual” policies, did.

He also declared that John Maynard Keynes, that greatest of economists and economic thinkers, was a “homosexualist”. It is true that Keynes had close relationships with other men. But it is also true that from 1925 he was married to ballerina Lydia Lopokova - “What a marriage of beauty and brains, the fair Lopokova and John Maynard Keynes”.

Keynes - targeted by Gove

A man who had gay relationships, but was married for over 20 years? Moving right along from the Indy’s revelations, we arrive at a recent article by Mary Wakefield, wife of former chief Downing Street polecat Dominic Cummings, in the increasingly alt-right Spectator magazine, titled “My husband’s ‘gay affair’ with Gove … After this little storm, I’ll be much more cautious about the people ‘everyone knows’ are gay”. Affair? Do tell.

A few weeks ago I discovered that while he should have been focused on the fight of his life during the referendum campaign, David Cameron was instead obsessing over whether or not his justice secretary, Michael Gove, had had an affair with my husband, Dom Cummings, campaign director of Vote Leave”. Dom. More manly that Dominic, see.

After noting that “[Gavin] Williamson had, said the MoS, dashed into No. 10 ‘in the heat of the bitter EU campaign’ to deliver news of the fling to the PM”, she dismisses the idea. "It’s all just utter cobblers, isn’t it? There’s certainly nothing moral about all this fictitious ‘outing’ … The great gay rumour mill churns on”. Is she sincere? Or protesting too much?

Is Michael Gove gay? I don’t [yet] have the answer to that one. But at leat one major newspaper group does, yet has decided not to enlighten its readers.

So why not tell us? We’re in the 21st Century, after all. Unless you’re in the Tory Party.

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Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Andrew Neil - A Nation Mourns

The Murdoch Times was first with the news, but not because of any rejoicing at the downfall of someone who fell out with Rupe, you understand: “Andrew Neil’s departure as GB News’s top presenter and chairman will also be confirmed within a matter of days as the channel’s top team are reconciled to his decision”. Yes, he really WAS going.

Worse for Brillo, it wasn’t going to happen “within a matter of days”. It was going to happen right there and then. Worse still, as the Guardian pointed out, “In the end Neil was outmanoeuvred by the former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, who is now the channel’s best-known figure, along with a number of more stridently rightwing hires keen to address culture war issues”. From top dog to Mr Thirsty’s monkey in three months.

And, as the Guardian noted, things could get worse: “Many of the young behind-the-scenes staff who keep the channel on the air are believed to have become increasingly demoralised by its direction. Some joined due to Neil’s repeated promises that GB News would be a mainstream news channel with a right-leaning slant rather than a British version of Fox News. But it is continuing to lose staff as it leans into culture war topics, and several senior producers have quit in recent days”. So what now for GB News?

The Times notes that one ambition for the channel has failed: “GB News sources said that the channel had failed in an ambitious attempt to sign Piers Morgan. It is understood to have offered him a seven-figure deal, which would have been comparable to his Good Morning Britain contract”. Yes, GB News is too tacky even for Piers Morgan.

So who will ride to the rescue? “Insiders have said that other more sensationalist voices are poised to join the station.They include Ann Widdecombe and Martin Daubney, both former Brexit Party politicians, and Mahyar Tousi, a Conservative social media commentator”. Ann Widdecombe. A figure of ridicule. Martin Daubney. A dishonest wacko.

And Mahyar Tousi. You hadn’t heard of him? Tousi was a pal of the disgraced Tory activist Mark Clarke of Tory bullying infamy (see HERE and HERE). He’s been trying to make a name for himself recently pushing suitably edited video content. Whether he’s still in league with Clarke, or Clarke’s disgraced former pal André Walker, is not known.

No comment

What is more certain is that neither Tousi, nor Daubney, nor Ms Widdecombe, are going to light up the ratings for GB News this side of hell freezing over. As the Guardian has concluded, “the channel’s future may lie in the hands of its investors, who include Legatum, US media company Discovery, and Brexit-funding investment manager Sir Paul Marshall. One core issue is whether they are happy to subsidise the station’s losses for a lengthy period of time; another is whether they can find the staff willing to keep it on air”.

But, as the Times observes, “But GB News’s ratings continue to be a concern. Some shows register zero viewers and many others are in the low thousands … Only today, political commentator Tom Harwood launched his new show, The Briefing, with a chyron spelling his name as Tom Hardwood”. Do Discovery and Legatum want to be associated with that level of rank amateurism? Viewers watching a channel just to laugh at it?

Brillo’s ego got the better of him. Now he’s out to Grasse. Oh dear, how sad, never mind.

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Monday, 13 September 2021

Oliver Dowden Is Full Of Shit

A potential winter of discontent approaches: furlough schemes are ending, the £20 a week uplift in Universal Credit is about to be withdrawn, Covid-19 is still killing around 140 Britons every day, the benefits of Brexit have turned out to mean food shortages and price increases, and the Government of alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has just slapped a tax increase on those least able to pay it.

Oliver Dowden ...

And that’s before the possibility of protests from Extinction Rebellion, the Anti-Vax wackos, and other variously unhappy interest groups. There is also the ever-present problem with the Government talking tough on migration, then having to look on as more of those small boats rock up on the south coast. So some kind of deflection appears to have been called for. The problem is that Oliver Dowden looks like he’s the one doing the deflecting.

Dowden, a typically immodest Tory nobody with much to be modest about, represents the ultra-safe Home Counties seat of Hertsmere, where this successor to “Shagger” Parkinson garnered 62.5% of the popular vote in 2019. He appears to have taken this as a sign that his electorate approves of whatever guff he chooses to spout to the press.

The latest example of that guff came in the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph, under the headline “It’s time to get Britain’s charities back on track”, which should not be difficult, as he presents no example of them not being so. Instead, the sub-heading, “We cannot allow our fantastic philanthropic institutions to become subsumed by wokery”, tells you what this is about: Ignorant, pejorative, dog-whistling deflection.

Take this gem: “Earlier this week … the Churchill Fellowship, sparked debate with a controversial rebrand which appeared to airbrush Sir Winston Churchill from its public profile”. One, the Churchill Fellowship sparked nothing - it was Dowden’s press pals. Two, the only controversy was manufactured. Three, Churchill was not airbrushed.

... and the by-product of his latest claims

He then follows up with “The Churchill Fellowship has now stated that it is not seeking to disown the reason that they exist, which is welcome. But I found it quite extraordinary that it got to the position where this clarification was required”. ASK YOUR PRESS PALS, PAL.

Then comes another slice of stupid. “Sadly it is not an isolated case. Just last week the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation overruled legal advice to move a statue of Thomas Guy from its main forecourt”. IT’S AN NHS TRUST, NOT A SODDING CHARITY.

But he does want readers to share his concerns. “This is just another example of a worrying trend in some charities that appear to have been hijacked by a vocal minority seeking to burnish their woke credentials”. WOKE WOKE WOKE WOKE WOKE. Dowden clearly either does not know what WOKE actually means - “alert to injustices in society, and especially racism” - or is deliberately using the term as a dog-whistle pejorative.

Worse, it appears that he would rather his audience does not know the meaning of the word: all the better for to rile them up, to manufacture faux outrage at a confected culture war, rather than he and his fellow Tories being arsed to actually run the country.

Or perhaps he intends to wage war ON culture? The BBC Proms - culture accessible to all - just completed its latest season. The Tories want to pull the Beeb down. QED.

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