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Tuesday 30 September 2014

Donald Trump – You’re A Clown

As if to show that basic common sense is not a prerequisite for getting on in business, king of the combover Donald Trump has once again taken to Twitter to demonstrate his expertise in putting his foot in it – twice. The man who is not going to run for the Presidency in 2016, or indeed ever, has been suckered by an amateur comedian – and then caught not checking his facts. Twice.
Donald, where's yer hairspray?

Trump was contacted by someone with the Twitter handle @feckhead, a name that should have put him on his guard immediately. The Tweet included a photo of a couple, along with the message “My parents who passed away always said you were [a] big inspiration.  Can you please RT for their memory?” The unsuspecting Trump did just that. He had not checked the photo.
After some 2,500 Retweets, someone had managed to tell The Donald that the photo he had Tweeted out was, in fact, of multiple murderers Fred and Rose West, whose crimes were so grisly that their former home at Cromwell Street in Gloucester was flattened in the aftermath of their conviction. Trump was not a happy bunny, not least because he had become a figure of fun (again).
I thought I was being nice to somebody re their parents. I guess this teaches you not to be nice or trusting. Sad!” he observed, having by now deleted the Tweet, before the mood darkened and he mused “Some jerk fraudulently Tweeted that his parents said I was a big inspiration to them + please RT – out of kindness I Retweeted. Maybe I’ll sue”. Sue someone else for his own idiocy? Yeah, right.
What the person behind the @feckhead Twitter account had correctly deduced was that stroking the Trump ego can cause The Great Man to drop his guard. He wasn’t about to do that when it came to documentary maker Ant Baxter: “I will be releasing the full interview with a guy named [Ant] Baxter only to show the bias and stupidity of him and [BBC World]. Clowns!
Sadly, once again Trump had not bothered to look before leaping: as Baxter, the man behind the excellent You’ve Been Trumped – the saga of how Trump got the authorities to let him build a golf course near Aberdeen while trashing the natural environment and pissing off the locals – reminded him that nothing was being hidden: the full interview was already available with the DVD release.
All that was left was for The Donald to butter up real slebs in the hope that he would be considered an equal. Any Ryder Cup winner on Twitter was fair game, such as the grovelling one sent to Ian Poulter: “Great going and almost as importantly, your clothing line is selling well!” Pass the sick bucket (and there were several examples to choose from). As Cloughie might have said, “He’s a clown, young man”.

Trump must be too tight to get a Twitter gofer. So there will be more howlers.

Mail Online Hires Morgan

While the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog go from having alienated just Labour and the Lib Dems to alienating everyone in and around the Commons after the fishing expedition that eventually netted minor Tory minister Brooks Newmark, one of their favourite targets has just shown them how Getting On (tm) in the media is really done.
Modest chap, isn't he? Er, no

Yes, former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan – who left that title in disgrace after the paper was suckered into publishing hoax photos allegedly showing British soldiers mistreating Iraqi civilians – has bounced back not just from that setback, but also his departure from the 9pm ET weekday slot at CNN, by securing a new role as Mail Onlineeditor at large” for the USA.

Morgan was clearly enthused: “I am very excited to take on the role of Editor at Large (US) at MailOnline, which has become the most successful and dynamic platform in the world of news. The site is an addictive pleasure, that offers an extraordinarily wide and diverse range of stories from all around the world. It’s become my first stop for news each morning and multiple times throughout the day”.

So that’s another cue to pass the sick bucket, then. But seriously, there is a lot of sense in the appointment: Mail Online is all about securing More And Bigger Click Counts For The Benefit Of Themselves Personally Now. The notorious “Sidebar of Shame”, going perilously near full female flesh exposure – and under-age subjects – without quite crossing the line, is all about getting more of those clicks.

And if the US operation wants to get more clicks, getting Morgan to pontificate on his pet Stateside hates – which would be Gun Control, Gun Control, and Gun Control, but not necessarily in that order – is an ideal way to garner attention, even if that attention is folks queuing up to bad-mouth him in the comments. One Gun Control piece a week and the traffic will soon build.

Morgan’s other main speciality is that he knows slebs. And this is another way of bringing in the clicks – you only have to look once at the Sidebar of Shame to see the roster of occasionally real, and often wannabe, slebs. Yes, Piers Morgan knows the Kardashians, and thank the Lord that he can tell us all about them, so we don’t suffer the nightmare of meeting them in the, er, flesh.

On top of that, Morgan has amassed a truly sleb-size Twitter following, and, even through many of them have followed him just so they can slag him off about Gun Control (again) and his support for (cough) Arsenal FC, this too brings attention. And for those who ask about his potential involvement in the Dark Arts at the Mirror, well, he can do bugger all about that now – might as well get on and make some money.

That, O Great Guido, is how you do it. Not by just pissing off politicians.

Guido Fawked – What Did I Tell You

After the all-too-obvious signs from the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, media commentator Steve Hewlett finally pitched the name behind the Brooks Newmark sting on Newsnight: it was, as I suggested two days ago, Staines’ newly anointed teaboy Alex Wickham who had been touting his story to those who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet.
A young up-and-coming political journalist. And Alex Wickham

That Staines had been silent when the Mirror titles began to pay out over a number of phone hacking cases, when he had previously gloated at the possibility that Trinity Mirror may be sent to the wall by those costs, was the initial give-away. This signalled that The Great Guido was now doing business with the Mirror. What that business was, we discovered on Sunday.

So why did they go to the Mirror? Simples. The story, as the Sun’s non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn told, had been offered to that paper first: the Fawkes folks have a Sunday column there. However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, the caution of Rupe’s downmarket troops after the Fake Sheikh controversies meant that they passed on it.

There may also have been ethical considerations. The story was then pitched to the Mail On Sunday, who also turned it down. Only then did the Fawkes rabble fetch up at the Mirror. This pecking order was probably dictated by the amount of money they could have extracted for the story: the MoS would pay more than the Mirror, and the only other alternative, the Daily Star Sunday, may have paid very little for it.

So far, so routine, but now we encounter two key points: firstly, as Sunday Mirror editor-in-chief Lloyd Embley has conceded, “We thought that pictures used by the investigation were posed by models, but we now know that some real pictures were used”. My information is that Wickham may not have lied to the Mirror, but that there was, shall we say, less than full disclosure.

And secondly, the motive for the sting may not have been explained truthfully. When the Mirror’s Kevin Maguire appeared before the inquisition of Andrew “Brillo Pad” Neil on the Daily Politics yesterday, he explained the targeting only of (then) Tory MPs as purely down to information received that they may have been using social media to approach young women.

Neil was right to have been suspicious: the targeting of seven then Tory MPs (Mark Reckless has since jumped ship to UKIP) was, I’m told, down to The Great Guido going after them as an act of spite. What provoked this will almost certainly be made public in the very near future, but what can be told now is that this, too, was not revealed to the hapless Mirror management.

Anyone doing business with the Fawkes rabble: be warned. And don’t go there.

Monday 29 September 2014

Dan, Dan The UKIP Inclined Man

As the Tories attempt to find something to cheer in the thoughts of the Rt Hon Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the seventeenth Baronet, who has regaled their party conference with more ideas to bribe rich pensioners and screw the poor, one figure out there on the right is making friendly noises in the direction of Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and his fellow saloon bar propper-uppers at UKIP.
One serving MEP, what am I bid? It's with you over there Sir, yes you, the one already on his third pint

And that figure, unlike such less than distinguished beings as the loathsome Toby Young, who has espoused the idea in the past, has actually been elected to serve as an MEP, which means it has to be Dan, Dan The Oratory Man. Hannan is widely believed to be the next prominent Tory to jump ship and join the Farage fringe, so perhaps his call is a last act of reconciliation before doing so.

Fair play to Hannan, though, he has at least got his ideas into the Daily Mail, which at present is highly supportive of Young Dave and his jolly good chaps. He begins by telling readers “Seeing my old friend Mark Reckless in another party is sad. A devoted and patriotic MP, he has just taken the difficult decision to leave the Conservatives for Ukip”. And, as the man said, there’s more.

But the real sadness is that there should be two such parties in Britain, their rivalry retarding their shared objectives”. We might know what the Kippers’ objectives were – apart from paranoia over the EU – if they didn’t adopt and then junk policies on the fly, as Mr Thirsty was doing at the weekend. Hannan’s real fear is “as things stand, Ed Miliband is likely to become Prime Minister with around 35 per cent support”.

And you can tell that this is pointless waffle when he tells “Still, the values of Ukip and the Tories are not so very different: patriotism, freedom, family, enterprise, dislike of the European Court of Human Rights, support for our Armed Services, resentment of the power-crazed EU”. So draping oneself in the flag, xenophobia, and a list of woolly concepts that can be defined to suit, then.

Then he lets readers know that what Reckless and Carswell did was perfectly honourable: “both men wrestled with a decision they found incredibly difficult, risking their careers for reasons of conscience”. So leaving the Tories and joining UKIP is not unacceptable in the right circumstances. Perhaps it is also acceptable if the person departing has proposed a pact and been rebuffed.

Hannan has proposed some kind of pact with UKIP, and he must know his proposal will be swiftly rebuffed: that would give Farage the credibility he craves, and Cameron is not about to do that. He would then be able to say he had exhausted his options and join Mr Thirsty for the obligatory pint of Landlord. His article merely underscores the rumours of his impending defection.

Iain Dale just said the next departure isn’t an MP. Hannan fits that bill.

Grant Shapps – Reckless Hypocrisy

The departure of not at all charismatic MP Mark Reckless from the Tory Party – and into the sweaty embrace of Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and his fellow saloon bar propper-uppers at UKIP – has drawn a swift response, much of it aggressive and condemnatory. Sadly for Tories, the presence behind the retaliation is Grant “Spiv” Shapps, who has no room to call anyone out for, well, anything.
Would anyone buy a used car from him? Probably not

Shapps, with rows of not totally excited looking young people from Road Trip 2015 behind him, wanted everyone to know he was really angry: “in his opening speech to the Conservative conference, Mr Shapps went further, telling members: ‘I share your deep sense of betrayal and anger. We've been repeatedly let down by someone who lied to his constituents and you. He lied, lied and lied again’”.

And there was more: “‘We have been betrayed,’ Mr Shapps told Conservative activists. ‘We all know individual MPs don’t succeed on their own. They do so by standing on the shoulders of others. Your shoulders. People who volunteered for Mr Reckless, they supported him as a Conservative. People who pounded the streets, they supported him as a Conservative’”.

Sadly, Shapps is not exactly squeaky clean on the truth thing, having tried to pass himself off as at least two other people in the past. He also got into deep water with a get-rich-quick piece of software that was ultimately outlawed by the likes of Google. And the way in which he garners Twitter followers cannot be done by manual intervention alone, not that he’s owning up to it.

As for “betrayal”, one wonders how candidates like Maria Hutchings, whose attempt to take Eastleigh from the Lib Dems last year was scuppered not just by UKIP, but also shambolic local party organisation – in a seat held by the Tories from its creation in 1955 to 1994, they had little idea where to find their own voters for photo-opportunities with visitors like Bozza – feel about that.

And what “Spiv” is not about to tell everyone is how he’s going to make all those Road Trip 2015 volunteers go round hundreds of constituencies come the run-up to the General Election. It’s all very well flooding places like Newark-upon-Trent, where it was a one-off by-election; when the Tories are defending scores of marginal seats, he and his pals will have to do rather better.

That task will not be helped by some of the behaviour around the departure of several figures from Conservative Future, as I observed recently, which can be traced back to Shapps and those around him. One also wonders how those people feel about the use of words like “betrayal”. Young Dave may come to rue the day he allowed Shapps to become party chairman.

Sadly, by then it will be too late. Tomorrow may not belong to them.

Guido Fawked – Protesting Too Much

As the fallout from the crude sting operation that entrapped Tory MP Brooks Newmark continues – both he and fellow Parliamentarian Mark Pritchard are taking the matter to new press regulator IPSO, and Pritchard is contacting the Police – there remains one corner of the commentariat that found out about the affair rather earlier than everyone else, and has been defending it rather too strongly.
Yes, despite silence from the Sunday Mirror over their freelance source, emerging from the traps the earliest were the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog: as I noted yesterday, their newly anointed teaboy Alex Wickham Tweeted out the news of the splash at 1805 hours, a whole hour before either of the hacks whose name appeared on the by-line.
And the Fawkes blog followed up with a post just 14 minutes later: at 1819 hours, getting Brooks Newmark’s resignation statement, along with a photo of the model used for part of the sting, whose permission was apparently not given before her image was used. Then came the over-zealous defence of the story, undertaken mainly by the odious flannelled fool Henry Cole.
He was also rather too quick on the draw, observing “No surprise that Brooks Newmark has gone. Details tomorrow” at 1812 hours. Then, as Cristina Odone mused “Come on, is sexting more than a minor sex scandal”, Cole aggressively fired back “It’s a little more than that though isn’t it?” This was backed up with a Cole speciality: the lying and smearing combo.
You can either be the back channel to Assad, or you can be the kinda guy who trawls the net for girls to send dick pics to. But not both”. But, as any fule kno, Newmark did not trawl the net. He was targeted. As were six other MPs. Cole’s crude dishonesty, a clear effort to make Newmark look a lot worse, again shows that the Fawkes rabble is protesting rather too much.
And why should they make so much noise, if they are not involved? Ah well. Consider Cole’s reaction to someone Tweeting “Marr glosses over ‘minor sex scandal’ with Cameron”. Then look at Wickham’s response: “why might Andrew Marr not want to talk about sex scandals”. The Great Guido and his followers never do get onto The Andy Marr Show (tm) sofa, do they?
What we have here is a group of unsavoury characters who believe that the media owes them rather more respect than they are at present obtaining. The Fawkes rabble craves recognition and status: most right-thinking media folks, sadly for them, think the diametrical opposite. And they have still not explained why they were so well informed about the Newmark sting, while not being involved, honestly.

Somebody is protesting too loud and too early. Another fine mess, once again.

Sunday 28 September 2014

Sun In Panic Mode

Rupert Murdoch loves to back a winner. And time was that the paper said to be his voice on earth, the Sun, would unfailingly do so. It backed Mrs T., it famously backed “Shagger” Major in 1992, and it switched effortlessly to support Tone in 1997, remaining behind him through three elections, even after the Iraq adventure. But then things started to go wrong.
That's what I think of youse bladdy electoral system, you whingeing Pommie drongoes!

The Sun threw the lot at the last General Election, and backed Young Dave to the hilt. It wasn’t enough: the Tories came up short of the win line. Then came the Scottish independence referendum, and Murdoch’s initial enthusiasm for the Yes campaign cooled. The Scottish Sun ended up not backing either side. Now another General Election looms large on the horizon.

What Murdoch wants to do is back a party that will (a) favour his interests, such as taking over the rest of BSkyB and weakening EU regulations, while (b) being socially and fiscally conservative – basically, giving folks like him More And Bigger Tax Breaks For The Benefit Of Themselves Personally Now. He doesn’t want to back Nigel “Thirsty” Farage. So he’s stuck with Cameron.
But, as the editorial in today’s Sunday Sun shows, Murdoch is now signalling that Dave has not done enough, and Mil The Younger may end up in 10 Downing Street. “Miliband could be Mickey Mouse and Labour diehards would vote for him” it protests, before suggesting “They and ex-Lib Dems are all he needs next May under our biased election system”.

It wasn’t “biased” in 1983 when it delivered Mrs T a landslide on 42% of the popular vote, was it? But then, that was a result of which Rupe approved. “Now, normally the economy decides elections” asserts the Sun, while forgetting that we had an improving economy in 1997 – Ken Clarke was a not half bad Chancellor of the Exchequer – but that Major’s sleaze-ridden administration was done for.

Then comes the Murdoch wish list: “Cameron’s weak on immigration, the NHS – and trust. This week he must make a positive pitch on all three”. He can’t do any more than at present on the first two, and his chances of delivering on the third, with another defection yesterday, are slim. The Sun, by implication, knows this, and instead seeks to frighten readers away from UKIP.

Farage supporters aim to trash, and rebuild, the system. What pain will they inflict on Britain first?” And, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here. The first sentence, to be fair to the Kippers, is speculation. And the second ain’t going to happen. But good of Murdoch to let us know he’s scared shitless of having a Government in Westminster that may not be keen on doing his bidding.

So he’ll have to get in the queue with the rest of us. Welcome to reality, Rupe.

Brooks Newmark – A Nasty-Tasting Sting

[Update at end of post]

So the era of “Shagger” Major appears to have returned: along with splits over Europe is what, in the early 1990s, we used to call “sleaze”. It began soon after Major was returned to power in 1992: at the same time as Sterling was making its ignominious exit from the ERM, David Mellor was in the process of an equally ignominious exit, after being caught literally with his pants down.
And there was more, much more, but the latest Tory departure, minister Brooks Newmark, who represents Braintree, is not in the same mould as Mellor. The then MP for Putney did not have to be persuaded to engage in extra-curricular discussions of a Ugandan nature (which reached Kampala with such regularity that he confessed to being “absolutely knackered”) with Antonia de Sancha.

Newmark has, let us put this directly, been stung. He believed he was exchanging messages, and latterly photos, with a young female Tory Party activist. It was, in fact, a male freelance reporter who then handed over the material he had gathered to the Sunday Mirror. Both the names on the by-line – Vincent Moss and Matthew Drake – are staffers. They just wrote it up.

Yes, Newmark was a grade A fool, a complete jackass. He made no checks on the identity of “Sophie Wittams”; had he done so, he would have found that this person did not exist. And, if the photos he received were just culled from stock photography, or a model’s portfolio, he’s an even bigger fool. But the knowledge that someone is deliberately targeting MPs with a view to stinging them is more worrying.

As the Sunday Mirror prepares to plead a Public Interest defence to the inevitable accusation of entrapment – rather as the Murdoch press did on so many occasions when Mazher Mahmood stung all those slebs – the question is going to be asked: who is the freelance reporter? The press is not telling. But careless Tweets, and poorly chosen false names, may go some way to telling us the answer.
Consider this Tweet from Alex Wickham, newly anointed teaboy to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines at the Guido Fawkes blog: “Exclusive: Tory minister Brooks Newmark resigns over sex scandal. Read all about it in tomorrow’s Sunday Mirror”. How come Wickham knew about it so early yesterday, unless of course he had something to do with it?

Alex Wickham is technically a freelance – he also contributes to Breitbart London. The Great Guido, far from crowing when the Mirror titles paid out to hacking victims last week, was silent for a whole day. And that name – Sophie Wittams, Alex Wickham – yes, well. Guess where my Occam’s Razor is pointing me right now.

On top of all that, to perform this kind of sting, you need to be totally without principle. In other words, low enough to be one of the Fawkes rabble.

[UPDATE 1620 hours: For those still not persuaded that Alex Wickham was a little previous in letting the world know about the Sunday Mirror story, the timing of his Tweet should be noted: 1805 hours yesterday.
Compare that with the first notification from Vincent Moss, whose name is on the story's by-line: he does not Tweet out the news until 1905 hours - a whole hour later than Wickham.
And Matthew Drake, the other name on the by-line, does not Tweet it out until 20 minutes after Moss: 1925 hours. So how come Wickham knows all about it, and so early in the evening, if he had nothing to do with it? No pressure]

UKIP – Who’s Defecting Next

After the defection of the probably the Tories’ least charismatic-sounding MP, Mark Reckless, to UKIP was announced yesterday, there was a short intermission as the assembled pundits digested the news, before the 24-hour Speculatron was fired up once again and the question asked: who’s going to be next? Nigel “Thirsty” Farage was unusually tight-lipped this morning. But that convinced nobody.
Farage claimed on The Andy Marr Show (tm) that he had been talking to a number of Labour back-benchers. That, too, convinced nobody: attention is firmly focused on the Tory Party, where Young Dave, later on the same show, wanted to make it clear that he had been absolutely clear about his absolute clarity on the subject of his being absolutely clear. About something.
To no surprise at all, the name in the frame right now is not an MP, but an MEP, and one who would probably have no problem getting re-elected providing UKIP retains its popularity in the next European Parliament elections, and he’s given a high enough place on the party list: step forward Dan, Dan The Oratory Man, friend and collaborator of Douglas “Kamikaze” Carswell.
James Forsyth did nothing to dampen the speculation when he told “Senior Tories now regard [Dan Hannan] defection as a question of when not if. Word is he’s gone dark since Reckless quit”. Hannan countered this with the observation “I have immense regard for [Mark Reckless] as an MP and as a friend. I wish him all the best, but I won’t be following him to UKIP”.

With most politicians, this would be sufficient to quell suspicions. But, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here. One, Reckless was sounding loyal right up to last Friday, only to jump the very next day, and two, Hannan has, shall we say, a propensity to dishonesty. Anyone wanting to see the sheer shamelessness of his lying need look no further than his healthcare discussion with Sean Hannity.
Yes, going on Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) is bad enough; going on and blatantly telling whoppers is worse. And, talking of those in the Tory Party whose relationship with the truth is merely coincidental, Mid-Bedfordshire MP (yes, it’s her again) Nadine Dorries Tweeted yesterday “My new BlackBerry is kaput – message to whips, please stop panicking – it is broken, not switched off”.

Ms Dorries, as I noted yesterday, has made UKIP-friendly noises in the past, and this intervention was truly bizarre. Why would the Tory whips want to talk to her at 1800 hours on Saturday, when the House was not sitting? There may be more to come from the fragrant Nadine, and as for Hannan, Forsyth is most likely on the money. This defection can be timed to suit Farage: no by-election is needed.

Cameron can be quite clear about this one: he’s quite clearly in the shit.

Top Six – September 28

So what’s hot, and what’s not, in the past week’s blogging? Here are the six most popular posts on Zelo Street for the past seven days, counting down in reverse order, because, well, I have house DIY stuff to do later. So there.
6 Guido Fawked – Wrong On Mirror Hacking Three years after the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble tried and failed to pin phone hacking on Piers Morgan, they fouled up again on the Mirror’s payment to former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson. Another fine mess.

5 Dan Hodges Reaches Peak Whingeing The carping from the former Colonel Nicholson of the Labour Party reached fever pitch as Mil The Younger was still party leader, and no Mark 2 Tone was in sight.

4 Toby Young’s Seven Weirdest Moments The loathsome Tobes has no room to call anyone else “weird”, and here’s why.

3 GamerGate – Breitbart Clickbait Desperation Anyone thinking that James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole was on the side of gamers should think again. Because all he’s interested in is More And Bigger Clicks For Himself Personally Now.

2 Don’t Menshn Nick Davies Latest target for (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch was Phonehackgate man Nick Davies. Twice she challenged him, twice she hadn’t done her homework, and so twice she lost.

1 Mail Miliband Bashing Hits Rock Bottom A week-long barrage of petulance and spite from the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre directed at Mil The Younger, for the heinous crime of standing up to him, reached its nadir with a “Gay Dogging” smear from Richard Littlejohn. Stay classy, Mail people.

And that’s the end of another blogtastic week, blog pickers. Not ‘arf!

Saturday 27 September 2014

So Farewell Then Mark Reckless

Tomorrow, Young Dave and his jolly good chaps convene in Birmingham to soak up the plaudits at the Tory Party conference. Cameron has been jolly tough on those ISIS chappies, he’s kept the Union together (and don’t anyone mention Pa Broon), and with Chris Grayling’s help, he’s going to show those European legal bods who’s the boss on human rights. What can possibly go wrong?
Well, Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and his fellow saloon bar propper-uppers at UKIP can pull another defection out of the hat, that’s what: Mark Reckless, famous for once living up to his name and entering a state of alcoholic derangement so advanced that he was unable to stagger from the Commons terrace back to the chamber to vote, has jumped ship to the Kippers and taken his hangover with him.

Reckless, like so many on the right, has developed a peculiar obsession with migration, although he appears to favour it from Commonwealth countries, but not from other EU member states, or at least some of them. He is another who believes the UK will automatically be better off if it leaves the EU, though, like the others, he is short of a credible economist to back up his contention.

But, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here. One, since Cameron demoted Michael “Oiky” Gove from the Department for Education and sent him to lead the Whips’ office, his party has shipped two MPs. As Wilde might have said, to lose one may be regarded as a misfortune, but to lose two looks like carelessness. With Gove as chief whip, the Tories have an operation that really stands up. And then walks out.

And two, UKIP are claiming they have at least one more potential defector. So now the speculation starts: who might be the next to jump, and will they, like Douglas “Kamikaze” Carswell and Reckless, trigger a by-election as they do so? The remaining two Tories not to have been opposed by UKIP last time because of their anti-EU stance may now be on watch by Gove and his pals.

These are Philip Hollobone in Kettering, and Philip Davies in Shipley, both of whom have the problem that UKIP have never made much of a showing in elections within those constituencies. Davies, who is usually not backward in coming forward to sound off on a range of issues, has been rather quiet of late. In the current febrile climate, you would not bet against one or both of them jumping.

Who else might fancy a little rightwards waltz? Hardened Eurosceptics like Bill Cash, who represents Stone, have never shown much enthusiasm for the Farage fringe. But there’s always (yes, it’s her again) Nadine Dorries, who has made UKIP-friendly noises in the past. If she could carry the local association with her, she might be persuaded. But don’t bet on a by-election: she’d probably lose it.

25 years on and the Tories are still self-destructing over Europe. Sad, really.

Farage Gets A New Spinner

Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and his fellow saloon bar propper-uppers in UKIP have been holding their party conference at Doncaster Racecourse, subjecting assembled hacks to the horror of a pay bar, and generating deserved yet unwanted quips such as “A Day At The Racists”. At the same time, word has emerged suggesting that Farage has cursed himself by taking on an exceptionally clueless spinner.
Asa Bennett of the HuffPo reported “Hearing Nigel Farage has hired Raheem Kassam for ‘something senior’ in a comms role”, then followed that with “Re rumours of going to work for Farage, Raheem Kassam tells me ‘it’s the first I’ve heard of it’. Adds that he is ‘open to helping’”. Yes, as ever, Raheem “call me Ray” Kassam is open to anything that benefits Himself Personally Now.
What Kassam did not let on was that he was already spinning in favour of UKIP, as befits anyone from the batshit collective that is Breitbart London. The shameless pandering extended to telling “I’m told Douglas Carswell is a big fan of McFlurries and makes his own jam”. The sensitive soul even passed adverse comment on a mild quip made in response by Christian May.
May is, I believe, a friend of Kassam: goodness knows how he would have reacted to anyone else. Meanwhile, he was admiring the attendance at a UKIP rally: “At [a] Douglas Carswell and Nigel Farage rally in Clacton. There’s an overspill room. Over 1000 people, I’m told”. Yes, he’s already doing the Kippers’ bidding by taking their propaganda as fact (and ignoring those empty seats at left).
There was more: “‘Come and join the Clacton battalion of our People’s Army’ says Farage at 1000-strong rally” enthused Kassam. What next, invading Poland? Anything is possible, given the anti-foreigner and militaristic rhetoric: that kind of line would not have been out of place in the 1930s world of Oswald Mosley. One has to wonder if Kassam has thought this one through.
Call me Ray” does not appear to let that thought enter as he then obediently helps Mr Thirsty and his pals kick both the two major Westminster parties. A photo of Douglas “Kamikaze” Carswell is annotated with “The sign (surely “sight”? – Ed) of Carswell at [the 2014 UKIP conference] no doubt makes David Cameron gag”. As if Young Dave is going to have time to look in.
Mil The Younger is also in Farage’s sights, and this too is dutifully reported: “Farage in Doncaster: one party Labour state responsible for Rotherham child abuse and postal voting fraud”. Local authorities are now the state? Who knew? But good to see UKIP getting its excuses in first, before not unseating any Labour MPs. And good to see Raheem Kassam finding his true vocation at last.

He’ll defend any ranting bigot. That’s providing he gets paid for it, of course.

Daily Mail Declares For Tories

The legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre told one journalist on the eve of the 1997 General Election, as “Shagger” Major and his hapless crew were about to go down to the heaviest electoral defeat of modern times, that he could not go against the will of the voters. That will was to eject Major in favour of Tone. Dacre then about-turned and told his readers to vote Tory, which many of them did not.
Not a mention of Iraq and airstrikes ...

The instinct of the Mail is deeply conservative, in many ways far more so than the Tory Party. But, unless it joins the Express in backing UKIP, the most conservative option open to it is Young Dave and his jolly good chaps. Today the paper has shown that it will indeed back Cameron, and therefore Dacre has confirmed what was being discussed at that Downing Street lunch the other week.

So how has the Mail declared its support for the Tories? Ah well. Every other paper has put the decision, following a debate in the Commons, to join the coalition executing airstrikes on ISIS (or whatever they’re calling themselves today) in Iraq, on its front page. Not the Mail: its headline, “20% Off Your First Home”, along with “Tories offer first-time buyers under 40 special discount” is blatant propaganda.
... unlike the Telegraph ...

Why no mention of the Iraq airstrikes? Simples. These have also been backed by Mil The Younger and Corporal Clegg, and in the world of Paul Dacre no credit can be allowed to accrue to their accounts. Instead, the Mail has taken one of its key obsessions – home ownership – and used it in a crude and dishonest way in order to persuade younger voters to back the Tories.

Dishonest? Yes, and one would expect nothing less from the Mail: the whole scheme depends on developers being effectively gifted cheaper land, then agreeing to sell what they build at that all-important 20% discount, and only to those younger buyers (another untried and therefore theoretical wheeze, then). Market distortion is the way in which the party of free markets engineers extra votes – with the Mail’s help.
... and even the Express

That this is propaganda is given away by such gems as “Housebuilding under Labour fell to levels not seen since the 1920s. The number of first-time buyers also collapsed, falling 60 per cent from 501,500 in 1997 to just 185,000 in 2009” before letting slip that housing starts are far lower under the Coalition. And there is an admission that the policy is a deliberate attempt to shore up support.

As well as helping struggling young people wanting to buy a home, Tory strategists believe the policy will appeal to parents and grandparents worried about their families’ prospects” declares the article. Yes, forget about spraying billions up the wall on another Middle East adventure, and vote for that nice Mr Cameron. In this way Paul Dacre will demonstrate that he is still strong.

It will be a terrible pity if his readers fail to play along. Like they didn’t back in 1997.

Friday 26 September 2014

Thatcher Era Child Abuse Redux

The excellent Exaro News site continues to delve into the murky world of historic child abuse in the UK, and especially that involving public figures. Today, former Sunday Mirror editor Paul Connew talks of “stories that got away, and especially that of former Thatcher confidante Peter Morrison, whose career ended abruptly on Platform 12 at Crewe station in late 1990.
Still no blue plaque, unfortunately

He recalls a Police officer telling his crime reporter that “Peter Morrison, former Parliamentary Private Secretary to Mrs Thatcher when she was Prime Minister, had been arrested after sexually molesting under-age boys in a public lavatory, but it was ‘covered up’ and no charges were brought”. Well, one of Morrison’s arrests may have been, but the one at Crewe was certainly not.

Gyles Brandreth, who succeeded Morrison as MP for the City of Chester, recalls canvassing there in 1991 – as Morrison was already on his way out – and finding “the word on the street was that Peter was ‘a disgusting pervert’. Out canvassing, knocking on doors in the large council estates, we were told that Morrison was a monster who interfered with children”.

Moreover, although Morrison “told me he knew he wouldn’t make it to the cabinet, so he was giving up politics for business. ‘I’m going now while I’ve got time to start another career,’ he told me. ‘I want to make some money’”, Brandreth added “I believed him. But my wife Michele, whose instinct is always good, said she thought he was jumping before he was pushed”. She was probably right.

Although Morrison, a barrister by training, had made what Connew described as “dire legal threats” when confronted by one of the Mirror’s reporters, his habit of going cruising in the Sussex Gardens area of London was well-known. What was described by the late Simon Hoggart in the Guardian would have surprised no-one.

Hoggart was told “After the 1987 general election, around 1990, I attended a meeting of Chester Labour party where we were informed by the agent, Christine Russell, that Peter Morrison would not be standing in 1992. He had been caught in the toilets at Crewe station with a 15-year-old boy. A deal was struck between Labour, the local Tories, the local press and the police that if he stood down at the next election the matter would go no further” by the former head of Chester Trades Council.

That fits with the suspicion of Gyles Brandreth’s wife: Morrison had finally exhausted even the ability of the establishment to look after one of their own. Yes, something was eventually done about Morrison’s behaviour, but of course he was shielded from what would have been a humiliating trial, and most likely a custodial sentence. He died without obtaining a criminal record. As did Jimmy Savile.

And, don’t forget, as the Mail has decreed, Mrs T knew nothing. So there.

GamerGate – Breitbart Clickbait Desperation

The Staggers’ Media Mole noted yesterday that James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole, recently appointed to the batshit collective that is Breitbart London, had changed his tune on the latest in the Grand Theft Auto series in his column for the Spectator magazine. What was merely touched upon, though, was the real reason for Del Boy’s apparently Damascene conversion.
"Gay marriage" ... "Global warming" ... "Eco crucifixes" ... "Red meat Conservatism" ... "Clickbait desperation" ... "Gratuitous trolling"

While reviewing GTA V for the Mail, Del worried about “what it says about the coarsening, the decadence and the hopelessness of our modern culture”, while in the Speccy it was “you can still act out your most politically incorrect fantasies without some professional victimhood group like 350.org or Everyday Sexism demanding you be carted off in the Outrage Bus for compulsory re-education”.

And there’s the switch: as Media Mole notes, this is about GamerGate, “an astroturfed outrage which claims to be about corruption in video games journalism, but which actually is a bunch of players railing against imaginary ‘social justice warriors’ polluting their pastime with ideologies like ‘feminism’”. Delingpole is using his Speccy article as leverage to drive traffic for Breitbart London.
Look what the cat dragged in ... Milo Yiannopoulos

Media Mole closes by telling “It is also worth pointing out that Delingpole tells his readers to search for a number of - abysmal and hateful - pieces on GamerGate by a man he employs as a columnist at Breitbart, without disclosing their relationship”. Now who might that be? As if you need to ask: step forward the singularly repellent Milo Yiannopoulos, failed “entrepreneur” and amateur human being.

This eminently avoidable presence has indeed been busy on GamerGate, as witnessHow Sloppy, Biased Video Games Reporting Almost Destroyed A CEO” (yes, there’s a “feminist activist” in there). Then he told ofa secret video game journalist mailing list” (obviously not, if he’s got it) “Some of whom attempted to bully their colleagues with it in an attempt to shape the news agenda for political purpose”.
For God's sake visit Breitbart London

Yiannopoulos tells of “ideological co-ordination” and “activists [sic] members”, so those who look in on the batshit Breitbarts know what they are meant to think. He then claimed those on his list were sayingThey’re on to us” (as if anyone gives a flying foxtrot what he thinks) and tells of “The #GamerGate hashtag, which has swept social media in recent weeks”. See, it’s really important!
We're not Astroturfing, honestly

The reality, as Del Boy let slip on Twitter as he implores gamers to Retweet his Speccy piece, and Yiannopoulos says “look, it’s gone mainstream”, is that Breitbart London is desperately seeking clickbait. This is nothing more than another lame attempt to drive traffic: the venture capitalists who shelled out for the site to get up and running are not of charitable disposition.

One wonders if Fraser Nelson is comfortable with his magazine being thus involved.

Mail Miliband Bashing Hits Rock Bottom

When Mil The Younger reminded the Labour Party conference that he had stood up to the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre and his obedient hackery at the Daily Mail, he must have known what would follow: the tsunami of spite that has been unleashed since has been unrelenting, and today has reached its nadir in a barrel-scraping slice of nudge-nudgery from Richard Littlejohn.
What's wrong with kicking f***ing leftists, c***?!? Er, with the greatest of respect, Mr Jay

Miliband would have been aware of what Nick Davies said of the Mail in Flat Earth News: “I know of nothing anywhere in the rest of the world’s media which matches the unmitigated spite of an attack from the Daily Mail”. He also now knows that Dacre and his attack doggies are prepared to suggest that a married man visits what Littlejohn calls a “notorious gay dogging venue” on spec.

The mood was set by Daily Mail Comment, the authentic voice of the Vagina Monologue, straight after that speech: “this was surely 68 minutes of the most economically illiterate Left-wing claptrap uttered by a Labour leader since Michael Foot. It is as if Ed Miliband has learned nothing from the past 50 years, living in a realm of socialist theory untouched by the realities of modern Britain”.

Just in case you missed that, the column then toldWhy Labour can't be trusted with the NHS”. That’s the NHS that the Mail rubbishes on a daily basis. Dacre and his lackeys follow up with “This is the party on whose watch hundreds died of horrifying neglect in Mid Staffordshire” just to show that they don’t understand Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratios (HSMRs).

Following this kicking wasMiliband's mansion tax will barely raise a penny, say experts: Money raised will be wiped out by plunging stamp duty and buyers offering less than £2m for homes” (note also that “could” in the article text becomes “will” in the headline). But Littlejohn’s effort today shows the arrival of the professional boot boys, as he deploys the “gay hint” card.

If you go down to the Heath today, you’re sure of a big surprise. If you go down to the Heath today, you’d better go in disguise. Otherwise, you may find yourself being accosted by a weird-looking man with a toothy grin attempting to engage you in intimate conversation. If he invites you back to his place to look at his bust of Karl Marx, run a mile” sneers Dicky Windbag. And, as the man said, there’s more.

Whenever Ed Miliband wants to meet ‘ordinary’ people, he leaves his home in fashionable North London, crosses the road and strolls on to Hampstead Heath [It’d have to be a bloody long stroll]. This vast public open space has long been a popular destination for close encounters and dangerous liaisons ... The Heath is best known as a notorious gay dogging venue”. Funny how he knows all about that, isn’t it?

But the gay smear is not. Can the Mail sink lower? Don’t bet against it.

Thursday 25 September 2014

Guido Fawked – Wrong On Mirror Hacking

As the Screws was being revealed as a hotbed of hacking, a borderline criminal enterprise masquerading as a newspaper, there were questions over whether any other titles, and especially the Mirror ones, had been dabbling in this particular Dark Art. And as I noted at the time, such things were possible, but before pronouncing, we had to see evidence. This is now being presented.
Yeah, I heard it was Ulrika as well in the middle of a pint, stuff that, no, session, bollocks no, phone conversation. About going out and getting ratarsed. Oh sod it

But yesterday, when it was shown that at least one victim suggested that the appalling Piers Morgan knew about the practice, one of those previously keenest to kick the former Daily Mirror editor and CNN host was silent. Yes, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog took a whole day to even mention the news. And even then he fouled up badly.

Two quotes from Piers Morgan after Mirror pays out compensation over Sven / Ulrika hackingproclaimed The Great Guido in his Quote Of The Day feature today. And, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here. One, the settlement reached with Sven-Goran Eriksson does not mention Ukrika-ka-ka-ka-ka, and that is because, Two, the Mirror titles did not hack the couple.

It’s simply unbelievable that, three years after the Fawkes Folks first fouled up over the timeline and dramatis personae of this one, they just open mouth and insert boot once again. So let’s take this nice and slowly: Eriksson and Ms Jonsson had both been hacked by the Screws, and probably by Glenn Mulcaire. The paper had cleared eight pages of the following Sunday’s paper for the story.

Two Screws hacks, one of whom we now know was the late Sean Hoare, let slip to someone from the Mirror, possibly James Scott, what they had done. Word got back to Richard Wallace, then Morgan’s deputy. Piers agreed, via Ulrika’s PR Melanie Cantor, to find a more sympathetic angle, and the story was then credited not to Scott but the 3am Girls, possibly to up the by-line’s profile.
And therefore wrong again

You can read all the detail on Zelo Street (HERE and HERE), the Guardian HERE, and the Independent HERE. Moreover, most of the Mirror hacking is likely to be down to the likes of Dan Evans, and he was at the Sunday title, not the Daily one. On top of that, the Sven’n’Ulrika story broke in April 2002, and Evans did not start with the Sunday Mirror until “late” that year.

This inability to distinguish between arse and elbow will come as no surprise to anyone: following their cock-up over Sven’n’Ulrika, the Fawkes rabble tried to pin the hacking of Heather Mills onto Morgan, despite the most likely time it happened being a year after he left the editor’s chair at the Daily Mirror. When it comes to assembling a few of those pesky facts, The Great Guido is soon all at sea.

A whole day just to open mouth and insert foot. Another fine mess, once again.

Toby Young’s Seven Weirdest Moments

In the wake of the Labour Party conference, the loathsome Toby Young has decided to jump on the Miliband bashing bandwagon, and has taken to the bear pit that is Telegraph blogs to bring his adoring readers (Damien and James Delingbonkers) the not at all side-splittingly funny “Ed Miliband’s seven weirdest moments”. Here, he tells “He's like a political robot from the future”.
(c) Doc Hackenbush 2014

Laugh? I thought I’d never start. But this routinely lame dirge did prompt one thought to enter: Tobes is standing in an extremely draughty glasshouse when it comes to calling anyone else “weird”. How draughty might that be? You can answer that by scanning the wreckage of Tobes’ own seven weirdest moments.
Distant relative of Cupid Stunt

1 How To Lose Clothes And Alienate People Tobes posed naked, save for a copy of his dubious tome. Alongside that, anything that Miliband does automatically ceases to be even slightly weird.
"No, no, think of my reputation" ... what reputation, Tobes?

2 Three In A Canal Boat Bed The camera caught Tobes, along with the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his tame gofer, the odious flannelled fool Henry Cole, in the same bed. That really is weird.

3 Rally Against Debt This event, promoted by the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance as a counter to the TUC’s March for the Alternative, attracted a derisory 350 souls, including speakers, hacks and snappers. Tobes said it was a must-attend event. Then he failed to turn up. Yep, that’s weird all right.

4 Praising Thomas Hacker The first Headmaster of Tobes’ West London Free School (WLFS) was given his full and unequivocal backing. He lasted just over a year, was briefly kicked upstairs, and then was gone. Weird or what?

5 Praising Sam Naismith The second Headmaster of the WLFS was also given Tobes’ unequivocal backing. He lasted a year and a half, before exiting not mid-term, but midweek. Naismith had been running his own hockey academy on the school’s time, then pocketing the proceeds. Weird cost control there, Tobes.

6 The Saga Of Palingswick House The WLFS needed a permanent home, so to great fanfare, Palingswick House in Hammersmith was nominated and a target date for moving in was set. Two years ago. They still haven’t moved in, and in the meantime We The Taxpayer have shelled out more than £9 million for an office building to ease the accommodation pressure. Weird organisation, Tobes.

7 Over-Egging The Ofsted Visit The WLFS got a “Good” rating from Ofsted. But this was no better than all those supposedly rubbish schools in Ealing that Tobes had been slagging off. Weird comparison, eh? Yep, he’s weird all right.