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Saturday 30 September 2017

Katie Hopkins School Tour FALTERING

After it became widely known that pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins was proposing to tour schools and dispense her questionable wisdom to their pupils, reservations surfaced. Ms Hopkins’ tendency to defame individuals and groups, and voice opinions repellent to many, did not help her cause. Now the resistance is becoming organised, helped by her being unable to demonstrate a coherent grasp on reality.
Viewers may still want to look away now

The promotional material for the tour, which contained a generous smattering of grammatical and spelling howlers, was not a good start. Nor was the assertion that “there are no right or wrong opinions”. Added to those is her ignorance of what teachers actually teach, which might be thought a handicap when proposing a school tour.
I think it’s really important that we encourage our young people to open up the debate, to listen to both sides of the argument and then decide their own opinions. I think it’s a great pity these days that teachers seem to tell their children what to think, not how to thinkshe told ITV News yesterday. Note use of the word “seem”. Doesn’t she know?

That would have been enough to set alarm bells ringing across the education system, but there was more to come, as Hatey Katie decided to pontificate on Government expenditure: “There is no such thing as government money. There is only money taken from the pay packets of the responsible few”. That is complete tosh.
According to the IFS, there were, in 2016-7, just over 53 million adults in the UK, more than 30 million of whom paid Income Tax - over half of them, not a “few”. In addition, VAT is paid by almost the whole population at full or reduced rate, but does not come “from the pay packets”. Nor does the duty paid on fuel, or that paid on alcoholic drinks. And then there are duties on property transactions, insurance premiums, and shares.
That level of ignorance is only going to switch head teachers across the United Kingdom off the idea of allowing Ms Hopkins near their pupils. That is what will decide her presence, or more likely the lack of it, not taking to Twitter to claim “Looking forward to joining @ITVWales to discuss why 77% of respondents are supporting The Strong School Tour” or “If your friends don't like your opinion, don't change your views, change your friends”.
Her delusion is completed by claiming “Many call me an extremist. I am extremely British. Deal with it”. Being “extremely British” does not explain backing a group of neo-Nazis in their Mediterranean jaunt to disrupt the rescue of refugees. It doesn’t justify calling such people “cockroaches”, or demanding that Muslims be subjected to a “final solution”.
There has been opposition in Scotland to the idea of Ms Hopkins fetching up at schools there. The brother of a Manchester Arena bomb victim has declaredIf you are a school that rightly said no to Katie Hopkins, I will come and speak to your pupils for free about the real effects of extremism”. And Nesrine Malik at the Staggers concludedIf my child still cannot spell by the time they are 42, that would be a bigger impediment to their career than any poorly thought out attention-seeking ‘opinions’”.

The Katie Hopkins school tour is not yet dead. But it’s already on life support.

Boris - Go Home, You’re Drunk

When London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson launched his alleged vision for Brexit a fortnight ago, Zelo Street noted “he’s only trotting out this drivel because he’s been leaned on to do so”. And when he told the Telegraph of his “red lines” a week later, I pointed out the interest of the Murdoch mafiosi in The Blond’s manoeuvres, concluding “The empire that is leaning on Bozza strikes again”.
An absolute Muppet. And Elmo from Sesame Street

Some may have wondered about the Murdoch connection: not any more. The pretence that Creepy Uncle Rupe and his pals are nothing to do with brave Bozza’s hankering for the Top Job has been abandoned, as the Super Soaraway Currant Bun has splashed an “exclusive” where readers are told “Boris Johnson reveals his four Brexit ‘red lines’ for Theresa May”. So the same red lines that were in the Tel last week, then.

Through the less than totally august offices of the paper’s non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn, we learn that thesered lines” are “The transition period post-Brexit must be a maximum of 2yrs.. & not a second more … UK must refuse to accept new EU or ECJ rulings during transition … No payments for single market access when transition ends … UK must not agree to shadow EU rules to gain access to market”.

Who might have decided upon these conditions is not told; that is not the point of the article, which is to destabilise Theresa May. She has fallen out of favour with the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker and incurred the Murdochs’ displeasure by allowing her culture secretary to refer the Sky bid on broadcasting standards grounds. Bozza is a convenient front man; his fitness for office is irrelevant to those working him.

But his angling for becoming the successor to Ms May is obvious from Newton Dunn’s article: this covers not just the EU, but kicking the “tech giants” (a favourite Press Establishment subject), student debts and public sector wage rises, the latter two being winners for Labour and losers - so far - for the Tories. Bozza is pitching for the Tory leadership, and the Murdoch mafiosi are the ones backing him.
Look who's driving this particular car

The problem is that he couldn’t supervise an act of alcoholic derangement in an EU wine lake. Bozza is not only an habitual liar, he is terminally inept, as Londoners are beginning to find out, with his eight years in City Hall gradually unravelling. Worse, revelations regarding his recent conduct merely underscore his uselessness.

Bozza is facing calls to go after beingaccused of breaching the Ministerial Code by arranging a launch event on government property for the Institute for Free Trade – a new eurosceptic think tank being led by Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan”. He was caught on camerainside the Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist site in the capital Yangon, when he started uttering the opening verse to The Road to Mandalay”. Myanmar’s colonial past is a highly sensitive subject.

He’s acutely aware that this is his last chance to become Tory leader before the next generation of Tory pretenders elbows him aside. But that skeleton cupboard is still full, and no amount of Brexit exhortation can be convincing when a known liar is peddling it.

Bozza is only going through the motions for the Murdoch mafiosi. Sad, really.

Tommy Robinson Takes His UKIP Bat Home

Yesterday, the remnants of that motley convocation of saloon bar propper-uppers otherwise known as UKIP elected a new leader - the fourth in little more than a year. The party’s poll ratings are down in the noise floor, it did not manage to contest scores of seats in June’s General Election, and its previous leader, “Bad Bootle meff” Paul Nuttall, was widely regarded as a comedy turn. Who would want to lead this rabble?
Stephen Yaxley Lennon aka Tommy Robinson
Anne Marie Waters - UKIP runner-up

Well, several hopeful contenders did want to lead UKIP, and Henry Bolton was one of them. He was the chosen candidate of the party’s former Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, and this carried him over the win line, to the disappointment of the Muslim bashing fringe who backed Anne Marie Waters. One of those supporting Ms Waters was former EDL head man Stephen Yaxley Lennon, aka Tommy Robinson.
He wanted Ms Waters to win, not that there had been any movement of like minded people joining the Kippers just to get her elected, you understand. So yesterday there he was with the encouraging “Good luck for today @AMDWaters”. This was later tempered by his observation that the BBC’s report had told “UKIP set to unveil new leader amid resignation threats”. Ms Waters was not flavour of the month with the party’s MEPs.
Sadly, his encouragement was to no avail. And rather than get behind Bolton, Lennon became very sour very quickly, making one wonder whether this was about UKIP, or using the party as a Trojan Horse for that virulent Islamophobia which he and his pals deploy so well. “So ukip's new leader thinks we should stop Islam bashing & thought that if @AMDWaters won the party would be the uk nazi party” he snapped.
Surprise, surprise, the new UKIP leader wanted his party to be about Brexit first and foremost, which was what the Kippers were always about. Lennon was not amused. “Ukip R now irrelevant when it comes to the biggest threat our country faces.We need a political voice to oppose Islam like wilders & le pen” he asserted, seemingly unaware that neither Geert Wilders, nor Marine le Pen, are in a position of power, and are unlikely to be so.
And then, to no surprise at all, came the effective admission that this was about entryism, as Lennon Retweeted this nugget: “Supporters of Anne Marie Waters, new party coming soon - stay tuned”. The Islamophobes were unable to hijack UKIP through the candidacy of Anne Marie Waters, and were now proposing to start a new party. The delusion on view was remarkable, the idea that their prejudice was popular clear to all.
Lennon revealingly Retweeted two more in the same vein. One told “I no longer support UKIP I supported @AMDWaters and I'm gutted” (only backing UKIP because of the prospect of Ms Waters becoming leader), while another deluded hopeful mused - wrongly - “Everything @AMDWaters stood for still valid … If starts new party simple to join & take part … She’d win back UKIP vote & many Labour seats”. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

It looks very much as if the enthusiasm for UKIP from the likes of Tommy Robinson was about nothing more than entryism. And it failed. Not even the Kippers are prepared to see their party hijacked by the Muslim bashing fringe.

Friday 29 September 2017

Uber - There IS An Alternative

After Transport for London declined to renew the operating licence for driver and rider matching service Uber, many customers, and some drivers, were bereft: who would provide the convenient service and pay the wages? It was as if the capital’s inhabitants had not managed to get around until the last five years, which they clearly had. Moreover, all was not lost, because there is life after Uber.
Even the previously sycophantically pro-Uber Evening Standard has admitted that other apps are available. Telling readersLuckily, Uber isn’t the only ride-hailing app out there, and there are plenty of alternative options out there for Londoners who don’t want to revert to taking three night buses home”, the paper highlights Gett, MyTaxi, Addison Lee and Kabbee. And there might just be another app on the streets very soon.
Imagine all the convenience of an app, without the overbearing aggression of a corporate like Uber. As John Lennon observed, it’s easy if you try. In the wake of the TfL licensing decision, Nick Srnicek mused “TFL should be creating their own taxi app, worker-run, gov't regulated, and integrated with Oyster & the rest of the London transport system”.

Alice Martin at the New Economics Foundation was way ahead of him: “We're working on an idea for a mutually-owned, publicly backed version of #Uber. Boris Bikes, so why not #KhansCars?” Why not indeed? So Khan we? It seems the answer is Yes We Khan.
The Foundation believes that now is the moment for TFL and the Mayor of London to go further to provide better working conditions for drivers and higher safety standards for passengers”, asserts the NEF. “The Mayor’s next step should be to start the job of creating ‘Khan’s Cars’: a mutually owned taxi platform for London which would share benefits with drivers and users. Just as with ‘Boris bikes,’ this is an opportunity to improve transport for Londoners and could be developed in partnership with drivers and users”.
But who would hire and vet the drivers, set fares, enforce safety standards and promote the service? Actually, this is not such a difficult ask. TfL would promote the app - as they do buses, Tubes, Overground, and all the rest of their product range. The enforcement would come from the same source - TfL is the regulator.
Prospective drivers would know what checks they needed to pass, and what licenses and insurances they need to hold. It would be up to them to sign up - there would be no corporate body trying to flood the market. Fares could be set by groups of drivers acting as  co-operatives, with TfL maybe monitoring fare levels. The app could also be used to call up a Proper Black Cab - and the rates for those are already set, and publicised.l
There would then be a free market - with TfL keeping watch, as any diligent transport regulator should. Users of the app would pay a licence fee to use it, and in return would be part of London’s surface transport infrastructure, able to serve the capital’s travellers and earn their crust doing so. There would be no need to Uber to exist.

It’s that simple. Out of the chaos of Uber’s rise and fall can come something useful to all Londoners, including the Taxi trade. Over to you, Mr Mayor.

Sun Cricket Hypocrisy

The Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun have been after England cricketer Ben Stokes this week, but have only belatedly realised that this is a campaign which may turn out not necessarily to their advantage. As so often with our free and fearless press, the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker have been caught playing both sides of the field in their latest lame attempt to shore up the paper’s falling sales.
Ben Stokes correctly identifies a Sun reporter

This latest dilemma for the clowns on the 12th floor started earlier this week, when the Sun told readers that Stokes had been involved in a brawl outside a Bristol nightclub with fellow England player Alex Hales. This, though, was not sufficient exposure: the paper then released video footage of the altercation in which Stokes could be seen apparently brawling with one man, before decking another with a punch.

Only after this did the cricketing authorities take action. As the BBC has reported, “Ben Stokes and Alex Hales will not be considered by England for international cricket until further notice after they were involved in an incident near a Bristol nightclub … The all-rounder and Hales, who was with him when the incident happened, will miss Friday's final one-day international against West Indies at Ageas Bowl, Southampton”.

There was more: “The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced it is investigating the pair and will not consider selecting them, after the governing body saw footage published by The Sun newspaper which allegedly shows Stokes throwing punches at two men … But no timeframe has been given on their potential availability, with England due to play their first Test against Australia in Brisbane on 23 November”.

Then the Sun doubled down on its attack with today’s front page. “Cricket Ace In New Shame … Sick Stokes pokes fun at Katie’s disabled lad Harvey … HE’S GOT NO BOUNDARIES”. But then a thought was clearly allowed to enter the Sun newsroom, a newsworthy event in itself. What if Stokes’ absence meant England lost the Ashes series down under and fans took out their anger on their paper?
So it came to pass that this morning’s editorial showed the blind panic that had descended on the Murdoch mafiosi. “Robbing England’s cricket team of Ben Stokes’ talent isn’t the right punishment … Ben Stokes was rightly suspended after we revealed the punch-up video, but do not punish every English fan as well … THERE are suitable punishments for Ben Stokes … Leaving him out of the Ashes, and robbing England of his talent, isn’t one”.

Yes, they had taken out their largest onion. “He was rightly suspended after the punch-up video we had a duty to reveal. He must lose the vice-captaincy and be fined heavily … He should also now be urged to give to a disabled charity … But it will punish every English fan too, and compromise the series in Oz, to lose our most gifted match-winner”.

Yeah, right. The Murdoch goons should have thought about that when they put that video out there and then scoured the Web for the material which produced today’s story. They can’t score a few more sales and not cop for the consequences.

Meanwhile, cricket fans know what they need to do here - Don’t Buy The Sun.

Press Sneers At Grenfell Victims

Few would envy the lot of Kensington’s Labour MP Emma Dent Coad, whose constituency includes the Grenfell Tower, and whose responsibilities therefore include advocating for survivors of the fire, trying to maintain the public profile of their plight, and get them all re-housed. In these duties she is a tireless campaigner, not that you would know from a perusal of our free and fearless press this week.
Emma Dent Coad, MP for Kensington

She highlighted the desperate situation for many of the former Grenfell residents in a statement yesterday. This has not been covered by the press, but it will be here.

The government has recently found £.3bn to restore Buckingham Palace, a palace with 52 Royal and guest bedrooms and 188 staff bedrooms. It is lived in by just three members of the Royal Family. In addition, the Government finds £.3bn a year in total to support the Royal Family, including millions to refurbish apartments for their use in Kensington Palace” she tells, before contrasting this with the lot of the Grenfell survivors.

Meanwhile, a short walk away, survivors of the Grenfell Tower in pokey hotel rooms for 15 weeks because there are no homes available for them. One woman is heavily pregnant and is heading for a Caesarian any day now. She has nowhere to go after birth to recover apart from back to her room which is so small there is no room for a cot and baby clothes - which have been begged from Mothercare by a volunteer”. There is more.
Her constituency - from the privilege of Buck House ...

Another survivor, who is disabled, has been moved six times, and was forgotten by her carers, so she spent a day lying in bed in her own excrement … Many are refugees, and some are former soldiers. I have total respect for them and the sacrifices they have made for their home countries and for ours. Army veterans are treated very poorly by the Government; a close associate served in Iraq and Afghanistan and returned suffering from shock and PTSD. It took years to get a diagnosis, the system is punitive and he suffered unimaginably”. And then she gets to the reason the statement had to be made.

On Monday night I made a joke. It has been taken the wrong way. Can we look as the real issues facing us now?

That her joke - a swipe at Prince Harry, who, regardless of all the good work he undoubtedly does, is not about to face the hardships of the Grenfell survivors - was taken the wrong way is one of the great understatements.

The press went over the top in no style at all in response. The Murdoch Sun was quick off the mark. “A LABOUR MP is facing demands to apologise to Prince Harry over slurs about his Afghan war record … Emma Dent Coad, 62, wrongly told an anti-monarchy event at Labour’s conference that Harry could not fly an Apache helicopter, adding: ‘He just sits there going, “Vroom vroom”’”. And there was more in the same vein.
... to the despair of the Grenfell Tower survivors

After Ms Dent Coad declined to grovel before the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker, the paper ranEmma Dent Coad today refused to apologise for her comments after they were revealed by The Sun”. Good for her. But the obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre at the Daily Mail went further.

Following their sighting shot telling “A Labour MP has refused to apologise after sparking fury by mocking Prince Harry's Army career and accusing Prince Philip of cheating on the Queen … Kensington MP Emma Dent Coad abused the senior Royals at a fringe meeting at Labour's party conference in Brighton”, the Dacre artillery really opened up.

First came “Heroes rally to defend Harry: Wounded veterans fire back at MP who ridiculed the prince's Army record … Kensington MP Emma Dent Coad attacked Prince Harry's service record … She wrongly told the Labour conference that the prince cannot fly helicopters … Veterans and friends of Harry have lined up to defend his Army service record”. And then came the routinely spiteful hatchet job.

Under the headline “The sneering MP who's to the left of Corbyn: ANDREW PIERCE profiles Emma Dent Coad after her distasteful jibes about Prince Harry”, readers were toldMiss Dent Coad’s loathing for the Royal Family borders on the obsessional. But the recently elected Labour MP for Kensington has plumbed new depths with her distasteful jibes at the party’s conference in Brighton this week”. She’s 62. “Miss”?
Ms Dent Coad's statement yesterday

It gets worse. “So who is Emma Dent Coad and what exactly is driving her? Her background was undoubtedly privileged and on the Spanish side her family is descended from explorer Christopher Columbus and the Borgias, notorious aristocrats who produced two Popes - it is an ancestry she takes great pride in”.

And what relevance does that have to her work for the Grenfell survivors? You know, Dacre doggies, the constituents who elected her? While the Sun and Mail are draping themselves in the nearest available flag and coming over all righteous - and the resident idiocy at the Express is even pushing stories such as “Labour MP urged to resign after Harry remarks ’betray’ vow of loyalty to the Queen”, what are they doing for survivors?

Whatever your view of the monarchy, the contrast between their life of guaranteed comfort and security, and the plight of the Grenfell survivors nearby, is a stark and indeed jarring reminder of the grotesque inequalities in society, and not just in the capital.

Worse, that the press ignores those survivors, even when they train their guns on the MP who is working hard to try and improve their lot, is unforgivable. Those who wrote the hatchet jobs on Emma Dent Coad do not have to worry whether they will have a roof over their heads tonight, or food to put on the table. They will not be driven to the despair experienced by those who escaped the Grenfell Tower blaze.

Ms Dent Coad also told yesterday “We heard last night at the council meeting about some survivors who have given up hope and are contemplating suicide”. That is the grim reality which the MP has to face in her everyday work.

This filth masquerading as journalism should hang its collective heads in shame. It will not. Our free and fearless press will carry on ignoring the weakest and least fortunate in our society and sneering openly at those who champion them, its conscience numbed by the reassurance of regular and generous paycheques and the demands of management.

If anyone ought to say sorry, or even resign, as a result of this episode, it should be the editors and executives of the papers lambasting Emma Dent Coad. Shame on them for ignoring the poor and needy, while worshipping money and privilege.

Thursday 28 September 2017

Katie Hopkins School Tour BUSTED

With the prospect of her Mail Online contract ending and not being renewed this coming November, pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins is facing winter with the prospect of fewer opportunities - in the UK at least - of chasing More And Bigger Self-Promotion Opportunities For Herself Personally Now. She may have to hope for a growing market for her own special brand of bigotry across the North Atlantic.
Viewers may still want to look away now

After all, she has in that country the opportunities awarded by Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse), as well as the array of shock jocks and conspiracy artists, some with their own video outlets, like Alex Jones at InfoWars. But here, after being binned by the Sun, and Mail Online about to cut her loose, the news is less good. So she has hit on the idea of promoting her message through our school system.

Hatey Katie’s excuse is that this is no more than her exercising her right to free speech, and so whenever she is turned down or refused the opportunity to pollute young and often impressionable minds with her brand of hate speech, she can work this to her advantage by playing the victim. This ignores her freedom to speak not automatically entitling her to lecture the rest of the population, and the equal right not to invite her.

So Ms Hopkins has brought forth the Stand Strong School Tour, where she will come to your school for free (well, apart from hitting you for the travel costs). This promises “An opportunity to look at the information we are fed, to challenge the views we hold and to understand opinions are never right or wrong. We don’t have to agree to get along”. That last one explains why even the Guardian has interviewed her - more than once.
Strangely, none of her “Case Studies” talks about her calling for a “final solution” after the Manchester Arena bombing, calling refugeesCockroaches”, libelling a Muslim family who were denied boarding on a flight from Gatwick to Los Angeles, libelling campaigner and author Jack Monroe, or her recent advocacy for a failed Mediterranean jaunt to chase away all those Scary Muslims (tm) by what turned out to be a bunch of neo-Nazis.

Sadly, this campaign has already turned out not necessarily to her advantage. As Wales Online has told, “Wales' Education Secretary has urged schools not to book controversial columnist Katie Hopkins … Kirsty Williams called the outspoken writer ‘unelected’ and ‘unpleasant’ and said schools should consider other speakers … Ms Williams said that there are ‘much better’ speakers available through the Speakers for Schools scheme”.

Worse, Hatey Katie might find her previous attacks on Welsh people catching up with her. The London Economic has reported that “Earlier this month Katie Hopkins insulted Welsh school mums when a few spoke out after a Welsh high school put their children in isolation for wearing the wrong clothes. Hopkins tweeted that she was ‘outraged that they were allowed to breed at all’”. It’s Brains You Want, Katie.

There is also a suggestion that Ms Hopkins’ tour could be in breach of the Government’s Prevent guidelines on terrorism and radical hate preachers. And now that the authorities are aware of this singularly unsavoury attempted addition to the curriculum, it might be a tour which ends up without much touring taking place, if at all.

Still, she can always try to make money out of playing the victim. No change there, then.

UKIP Conference Invites Nazi

What is still left of the motley assemblage of saloon bar propper-uppers otherwise known as UKIP is repairing at the end of this week to the English Riviera, for the party’s annual Conference, to be held in Torquay, famous for Fawlty Towers, and as an occasional hidey-hole for crims on the run. This year’s gathering is unique for two reasons: the potential implosion of the party, and the invitation to the German far-right.
Much attention will be focused on the election of a new leader to succeed the brief comedy turn provided by “Bad Bootle Meff” Paul Nuttall, with the possibility that this will be won by virulent Muslim-hater Anne Marie Waters, an event which would shatter the party and, with any luck, cause it to cease to exist in any coherent form. But there is also the prospect of the invitation to Alternative für Deutschland turning up a real unreconstructed Nazi.

There are two leading contenders for the UKIP gig, one of whom is a nailed-on fascist, while the other is merely an hereditary one. So who are the names in the frame? Most likely to appear, if only returning the favour paid by Nigel “Thirsty” Farage when he went to speak at an AfD victory rally in Spandau, where Hitler’s long-time deputy Rudolf Hess ended his days, is MEP Beatrix von Storch.

Her maternal grandfather was Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk, who served as finance minister under Hitler, and was the last chief of Government of the Third Reich. Ms von Storch sits with the Kippers in the European Parliament, and they all tell what a nice person she is. But this is to ignore her views on subjects like refugees.

As EUObserver has noted, “MEP Beatrix von Storch, AfD vice-chairwoman since mid-January, was asked her via her public Facebook page if border police should use armed force to prevent women with children crossing the border illegally. She replied: ‘Yes’”. She then realised this might not be a good look: “After heavy criticism, she tried to nuance her comment, saying on Monday (1 February) that the use of firearms against children was ‘rightly, not allowed’”. But it was, apparently, OK to gun down adults.

This awakened grim memories of the action often taken by border guards in the former East Berlin and East Germany, where those deciding they had a better chance of a decent life in the West were summarily executed, or merely shot and left to bleed to death in no-man’s land, as a routine punishment. And then there is Alexander Gauland.

Gauland has said of Bayern Munich footballer Jérôme Boateng “people like him as a footballer, but they don't want to have a Boateng as a neighbour”, and more recently “If the French are rightly proud of their emperor and the Britons of Nelson and Churchill, we have the right to be proud of the achievements of the German soldiers in two world wars”. He is, it is constantly stressed, merely “concerned” about developments in Germany.

So who will turn up at the UKIP bash? Will it be hereditary Nazi Beatrix von Storch, or genuine fascist Alexander Gauland? Whatever happens, the sinking credibility of the Kippers is not going to be rescued as a result. What a total and absolute shower.

Terrorists Nicked - Far-Right Silent

Those out there on the far right are hot on terrorism. They want to see the full force of the law brought to bear on anyone who so much as thinks about involving themselves in acts of terrorism. Prison, we are constantly reminded, is too good for these people: being locked up and having the key thrown away is the least they can expect. So when the Police nicked eleven men on suspicion of terrorist acts, they should be happy.
But, sadly, not only are the far right not happy that, as Hannah al-Othman at BuzzFeed news has put it, “Eleven men have been detained under terror laws in coordinated raids across England and Wales”, they are not even commenting. For the likes of Battersea bedroom dweller Paul Watson, aka Prison Planet, and Stephen Yaxley Lennon, aka Tommy Robinson, this was a non-event. For them, it didn’t happen.

Why this might be can be explained better by Ms al-Othman’s headline: “11 Men Have Been Arrested In Police Raids As Part Of An Investigation Into A Banned Far-Right Group”. The Independent can tell us exactly who that group might be. “National Action: 11 suspected members of banned neo-Nazi terror group arrested in England and Wales”. National Action has been proscribed since last year.

The dragnet stretched over much of the country: “Officers arrested six men in the North West of England, including one who was produced for police from prison. Three men were arrested in Merseyside: a 24-year-old man from Seaforth, a 23-year-old man from Newton-le-Willows, and a 33-year-old man from Prescot”. There was more.

A 31-year-old man and a 35-year-old man were arrested in Warrington, Cheshire, and a 22-year-old man from Lancashire was produced from prison for police interview … A 28-year-old man and a 23-year-old man were held in Swansea, South Wales; a 23-year-old man was arrested in Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire; a 26-year-old man was arrested in Leeds; and a 30-year-old man was arrested in Wiltshire”.

And as Dominic Casciani of the BBC noted, “Six of them are also being held on suspicion of preparation of acts of terrorism - one of the most serious counter-terrorism offences … And five of the six from the North West are also suspected of terrorism fundraising”. What appears to have been stopped in its tracks is something organised and very dangerous.

But out there on the right, there is silence. Nothing from Nigel “Thirsty” Farage or his pal Arron Banks, not a peep from pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins, no sound from the convocation of the irredeemably batshit otherwise known as Breitbart, nothing from Doug Murray The K, zilch from UKIP leadership hopeful Anne Marie Waters.

Anyone would think that this assembly of less than totally august beings was only interested in terror threats that came from Scary Muslims (tm). Or perhaps these arrests were just coincidence, and those nicked were all “lone wolves”. Like the bloke who murdered Labour MP Jo Cox. Terrorism by white people isn’t quite the same for them.

Too many on the far right have double standards on terrorism. That’s not good enough.

Wednesday 27 September 2017

Laura Kuenssberg - Canary WRONG

Even before Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had finished giving his keynote conference speech to round off the party’s 2017 annual Conference, those who have sworn allegiance to him in the left-leaning part of the blogosphere were attacking what they perceived to be the opposition - but on this occasion, as happens so often, kicking the broadcasters and ending up covered in rather more than confusion.
The over-eager Steve Topple, writing at The Canary - a site which has garnered an appearance on BBC Question Time, to the clear frustration of many established media voices - has decided to go after the Corporation’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg, who he has decided is speaking at next week’s Tory Conference in Manchester. She isn’t.
Laura Kuenssberg

Now, I’m sure some out there on the right will fire back that Zelo Street occasionally mentions Ms Kuenssberg, and this is true, but as regulars will know, my post yesterday on whether she really had the services of a bodyguard contained this caution: “Now, none of what follows excuses or otherwise defends threatening behaviour by any individual or group against anyone else”. Topple missed that. As well as his facts.
This is what he claimed earlier today. Under the headline “We need to talk about Laura Kuenssberg. She’s listed as a speaker at the Tory Party conference”, the post continues “BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg is listed as an ‘invited speaker’ at the Conservative Party conference. And the news raises questions about the impartiality of the journalist and her organisation. Again”. And why should this be?
The Conservative Party conference is taking place between 1 and 4 October in Manchester. And a fringe event organised by Iain Duncan Smith’s Centre for Social Justice thinktank and the Living Wage Foundation lists Kuenssberg as an ‘invited speaker’ … Kuenssberg has been caught in a furore over reports the BBC provided her with security during the Labour Party conference”. What “furore”? Exaggeration, much?
Yes, the Murdoch Sun ran a story based on an anonymous single source, which, as I pointed out, was contradicted by several delegates to Conference. But that’s got Sweet Jack to do with how Ms Kuenssberg does her job, or whether she is biased. And in any case, Topple’s claim is plain flat wrong. As the BBC’s PR people have told him, “@bbclaurak is not speaking at this @csjthinktank event”. End of story.
Jim Waterson of BuzzFeed UK noted “It took me two mins to call the event organiser and find out this is bollocks. She's not speaking at Tory conference. Already going viral regardless”. And Rupert Myers of the Telegraph and GQ magazine added “Canary lying for clicks is one thing, but doing it to further harm @bbclaurak is utterly despicable and shameless”. Some of the response has been yet more forthright.
It we’re going to come down like the proverbial tonne of bricks when the press establishment tells its readers packs of lies - and this blog does not hesitate in so doing - then there can be no double standards for the left-leaning new media sector.

The Canary should already have taken that alleged story down. As well as adopting a suitably grovelling position and saying sorry to Laura Kuenssberg.

Uber - Public Backs The Ban

While the Evening Standard, edited by someone whose other jobs include a six-figure wedge from Black Rock, who just happen to have a stake in driver and rider matching service Uber, runs articles telling how all those drivers are about to fall on hard times if the firm is permanently banned from operating in London, the news from the Great British Public is rather less good for the aggressive private hire company.
Sam Coates, deputy political editor for the Murdoch Times, has reported on a YouGov poll for the paper which brings less than totally good news for Uber and its band of shameless media cheerleaders, who had told anyone listening that Transport for London’s decision not to renew the company’s operating licence was out of tune with the public mood, and that the petition started by Uber was evidence of that.
Under the headline “Mayor right to ban Uber, almost half of voters say”, Coates tells “Almost half of London voters support the decision to remove Uber’s licence in the city, a poll for The Times indicates … Customers of the taxi app were much more likely to oppose the ban, and one in four was likely to think more negatively about Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London”. But the numbers did not look good for Uber.
The YouGov poll found that 43 per cent thought Transport for London (TfL) was right to take away the company’s licence, 20 per cent said it was wrong and 37 per cent were not sure. Among Uber customers, 31 per cent said that TfL had taken the right decision and 49 per cent said it was wrong … Eleven per cent of Uber’s customers said they had felt unsafe on a journey”. Overall, the public seems to have backed the ban.

Worse for Uber is that a significant percentage of its own customers agreed with TfL. And worse still was the double-digit percentage who “said they had felt unsafe on a journey”. When more than one in ten of your punters registers concern about their safety when using your product, your reputation is in serious trouble.
Not only that, the Evening Standard’s cheerleading for Uber, and the paper’s insistence on pushing the line that the public was in fact backing the company, is looking dodgy. Joe Murphy’s article only yesterday told readersLondoners overwhelmingly against TfL decision to ban Uber, analysis of social media posts reveals”.

How did he reach that conclusion? “The exclusive findings come from an analysis of more than 51,000 online conversations and postings on social media in the days after Friday’s announcement … ‘It is clear from our analysis that Londoners do not support TfL’s decision to ban Uber,’ said Impact Social which carried out the research … ‘Overall, when reading these online conversations, there is a feeling of disbelief and exasperation that this step could be taken’”. Sadly, what agreed with the Standard’s editor may be wrong.

The Times poll, carried out by a reputable polling organisation and using proven techniques, is more likely to be on the money. So that’s another jolt for the Uber PR juggernaut - and another time the Evening Standard got it wrong. No surprise there, then.