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Saturday 31 March 2018

Trojan Horse Claims LIBELLOUS

The claims from 2014, brought to light by Andrew “transcription error” Gilligan, that there was a “Trojan Horse” plot to “Islamise” schools in Birmingham, turned out, after several schools were turned over by Ofsted and some that had been rated Outstanding were suddenly placed in Special Measures, to have been largely baseless. But papers like the Sunday Times, Telegraph and Mail were not put off by this mere inconvenience.
Indeed, the Telegraph was back on the case in 2017, this time under the by-line of Henry Bodkin, claiming “Second Islamist 'Trojan Horse' scandal feared after Oldham headteacher reports death threats”. There was more. “Fears of a second wave of Islamist plots to take over schools have been raised after a teachers’ union revealed it was dealing with a ‘variety of apparent Trojan Horse issues’”. And who might be involved this time?

A head teacher in Oldham has reportedly said she has started working at home having been subjected to a campaign of ‘death threats’ and verbal abuse by people determined to introduce an Islamic agenda … In an email to Oldham council, seen by the Sunday Times, Trish O’Donnell said she had ‘very strong reasons to believe...a “Trojan Horse” agenda is being played out’ at Clarksfield Primary School”. And the perpetrators?

The Oldham Council document reportedly refers to the activities of Nasim Ashraf, a former parent governor and the brother of Shasta Khan, who is serving an eight-year prison sentence for her part in a plot to target Jewish targets in Manchester … The report states that Ashraf organised ‘Islamic teaching sessions’ on the school premises and that his wife, Hafizan Zaman, ‘made remarks to Asian staff members that they should, as Muslim women, be wearing a veil and covering their heads’”.

These claims pressed all the usual dog-whistle buttons - characterising Muslims as extreme, violent, threatening, conspiratorial, and even anti-Semitic. But when the story is stripped back, it’s guilt by association, someone arranging RE classes, and someone else allegedly having an opinion. In other words, a very thin brew indeed.

And although the Telegraph claimed “a counter extremism expert claimed to the Sunday Times there was a ‘significant problem’ of Islamist infiltration in Oldham”, and reminded readers “The revelations have triggered concerns of a repeat of the Birmingham scandal, where Ofsted found evidence of an organised attempt to target 21 schools by Islamists, involving efforts to force head teachers out of their jobs”, the story was total crap.
We have had this confirmed this week as the Mail has issued one of those all-too-rare “Clarifications”, telling “Our reports on 19 and 20 February last year suggested that Nasim Ashraf and Hafizan Zaman were involved in a suspected 'Trojan Horse' plot involving an Islamist campaign of intimidation to take over Clarksfield primary school in Oldham with the aim of imposing an aggressive and separatist Islamic agenda on the school. We accept that such allegations are unfounded. We apologise to Mr Ashraf and Mrs Zaman for any distress caused and have agreed to pay them substantial damages and costs”.

In other words, this was another speculative pack of lies. And what is worse, the story was live for a whole year before being taken down. That kind of shoddy journalism encourages Islamophobia and fuels ignorance. And it’s not good enough.

Brexit Data Scandal - Enter WESS

Although I’m sure that Carole Cadwalladr and her colleagues at the Guardian and Observer have plenty to keep them busy right now, all the claims and counter claims made about the involvement of Cambridge Analytica in the Brexit referendum seem to have missed one important link, one precursor in the field of harvesting personal data for purposes which one of those involved admitted could be for negative effects.
A particularly nasty collection of villainy gathers in the prison exercise yard

Back in March 2013, PR Week told “Campaigners target political parties with ambitious data plans … Data on the supporters of issues-based campaigns is being used to help amass a trove of information available ahead of the next general election”. Do go on. “Details from campaigns run by groups as diverse as Amnesty, the HS2 Action Alliance and pro-smoking group Forest are being used to build up the databank, available to political parties in 2015”. HS2AA was a stridently anti-HS2 group.

As Zelo Street told at the time, “The main man is software architect and developer Andrew Whitehurst. But of greater interest than the W are those making up the ESS, first of whom is Matthew ‘Gromit’ Elliott of the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA). He is listed as a ‘Co-founder’”. Elliott was one of the main men in the Vote Leave campaign.
There was more. “Also lending an initial to that acronym is Jag Singh, an alleged entrepreneur of no fixed principle, who co-founded MessageSpace, and who in his potted bio claims to have worked on the US Presidential campaigns of Wes Clark, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton. And bringing up the rear of this less than totally wonderful line-up of ‘Co-founders’ is the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines of Guido Fawkes notoriety”.

Staines and his rabble at the Fawkes blog have been among the most strident practitioners of angry denunciation in response to Ms Cadwalladr’s exposés. They have dismissed her work asa conspiracy theory by a tin foil hatted journalist”. The ranting emanating from the Fawkes massive has given the impression of someone protesting just a little too much. And Staines’ claims for WESS bear repetition.
After the Spectator cited WESS’ database, telling of “The mighty Metis machine that could save Cameron’s bacon in 2015”, Staines gave this example: “Unfashionable view I know, but screening recruits, so-called ‘blacklisting’ of Marxist union militants, safeguards jobs and firms”. Put directly, the intention was not to enthuse voters, but to put them off. Exactly the kind of accusation now levelled at Cambridge Analytica.

Moreover, what was being harvested by WESS - “Other sources being fed into Metis include aggregated census records, social media profile data and online political advertising response data” - looks not unlike the kinds of data used by CA. Some still wonder why Staines and his rabble devote so much energy to either rubbishing Ms Cadwalladr, or saying “look over there at what the Guardian is harvesting”.
Whenever the Fawkes mob starts drawing attention to itself, that is a dead giveaway. The Great Guido shouting a little too loudly is the kind of tell-tale denoting a little too much knowledge of the subject at hand. And there are just too many connections here.

What happened to WESS and its Metis database? No pressure, chaps.

Lord Sugar - You’re Fired

[Update at end of post]

The claims of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party have disappeared from the front pages today, but there are still those trying their best to keep on about it. And one man who might have been best advised not to keep on about it is Alan Sugar, who has become embroiled in a most unseemly row over his Twitter activity.
Now should I send this Tweet or not? Decisions, decisions

Sugar is not shy when it comes to politics. Nor is he the backer of winners one might have imagined. He told Londoners not to vote for Sadiq Khan. Khan won. He backed Theresa May in last year’s General Election. She lost her majority. He hasn’t used the London Underground for decades, but moans about the capital’s traffic.
And he dislikes Jeremy Corbyn intensely. After last year’s election result, he dismissed many of those voting Labour, claiming “those people who voted for him are quite bright and educated, but also not very experienced in life”. So it should have been no surprise when he went in to the tackle with both feet on the latest Jezza row.
Posting a crude Photoshopped image showing Adolf Hitler and a figure with Corbyn’s head superimposed on it, he snarked “Many a true word spoken in jest Corbyn”. This must have seemed amusing to someone. But it went down like the proverbial cup of cold sick with many who saw it, the ensuing row even making the BBC news.
Kailash Chand, Honorary Vice President of the BMA, expressed his disgust at Sugar’s crude mockery. Would The Great Man reconsider posting the image? “Shut up” came the typically abrupt reply. Was it really some kind of joke? “It is a joke, but the angry brigade like to moan”. The problem was that the angry brigade was rather large this time.
Even Corbyn’s most vociferous critics condemned Sugar: John Mann responded “The use of Hitler/ Nazi comparators is demeaning, unwarranted and dangerous. You damage the fight against anti Semitism with this @Lord_Sugar. Withdraw this and apologise please”. But if he assumed Sugar would think again, he was wrong.
Instead, he went into “Look over there” mode, Tweeting “Suggest you look at who Jeremy Corbyn posed with for a picture yesterday. A Labour Party councillor for Milton Keynes who is the former second in command of the Milton Keynes Neo Nazi League”. The picture he used was actually taken two years ago, and the local party had satisfied themselves that the person concerned had renounced any kind of extremism.
Even shadow chancellor John McDonnell got the brush-off: “I am not the originator it has been doing the rounds. You need to get Corbyn to make a firm statement about antisemitism. There is no smoke without fire in Labour”. Jezza has been making “firm statements” all week, including a Passover message where he “said it was easy to denounce anti-Semitism abroad but sometimes harder to see it closer to home.”
Meanwhile, the verdict on this particular episode of the Twitter Apprentice is clear. Lord Sugar - You’re Fired.

[UPDATE 1515 hours: Alan Sugar, despite his previous bravado, has now deleted the offending Tweet. Jeremy Corbyn is still waiting for the apology, delivered in the same way as the attack - via an open Twitter feed. Just a thought]

Friday 30 March 2018

Gove Guardian Leak BACKFIRES

Desperate times bring desperate measures, and nowhere has this been better demonstrated than in the scrabble among those out there on the Europhobic right to distance themselves from the misbehaviour in the various Leave campaigns following the revelations concerning Cambridge Analytica and its dubious activities.
And while some have tried to bodyswerve the issue, others are trying their damnedest to rubbish the work of all those at the Guardian and Observer - not to mention the whistleblowers who have put their reputations on the line in order to help bring the affair to a wider audience. Sometimes, both bodyswerving and rubbishing have coincided.

This coincidence had its latest and most high-profile example earlier this week, after the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr put a series of questions to Michael “Oiky” Gove, the minister for Murdoch. Gove, an appallingly immodest man with much to be modest about, knew that this was normal journalistic courtesy that was being extended to him.
Cummings. Or perhaps that should be Goings

After all, Gove is a journalist by profession. So to show his grasp of professionalism, he promptly leaked Ms Cadwalladr’s email, or caused it to be leaked, to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog. Whether he did this directly, or via his former chief polecat Dominic Cummings, is immaterial.

There was only one reason to leak the email - to rubbish the next instalment of the Observer’s story, which will be hitting the streets this weekend. The problem with this course of action, though, is that what Ms Cadwalladr did not tell Gove, and what the Fawkes mob therefore have to guess, is exactly what is coming down the track.
Under the headingCadwalladr Sunday Scoop: Top Remainer Paid AIQ”, The Great Guido tells readers “Guido hears Carole Cadwalladr has another big scoop lined up for Sunday about money paid to the Canadian digital marketing firm AggregateIQ. Carole has emailed Michael Gove asking what AIQ did for his leadership campaign in the summer of 2016 … It turns out AIQ was paid £2,720.46 in July 2016 to set up the campaign website. The payment was put through by campaign manager Nick Boles, a prominent Remainer and Stronger In campaigner. Which slightly throws a spanner in the works for Carole’s next sinister Brexiteer flow chart”. It throws nothing into anything, sadly.

The Fawkes rabble can see the card which Ms Cadwalladr has turned face up. The rest of her hand remains hidden from view. And those Chez Fawkes have a lamentable record for guesswork. What is worse is that Cummings, the probable conduit for the leak, has in the meantime gone full conspiracy theory wacko claiming that the Fair Vote campaign is “the vehicle for Blair and Osborne to attack Vote Leave and campaign for a second referendum”. There is no Blair and/or Osborne connection to Fair Vote.
Worse for “Oiky”, Cummings and the Fawkes massive is that Gove’s latest not-at-all-accidental indiscretion has landed him with a complaint to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner. Who does not answer to Rupert Murdoch and his mafiosi.

And on top of that, none of the occupants of this clown car are any nearer to knowing what the Observer is going to hit them with this weekend - or stopping it. Another fine mess.

Uber - It’s Still Illegal

While London’s taxi and private hire trades wait for the appeal from driver and rider matching service Uber to be heard, the PR onslaught has continued. Uber has told anyone who will listen - mostly its cheerleaders at the piss-poor Evening Standard - that it has reformed itself. Gone are the bad old days of modern-day robber baron Travis Kalanick, and in has come a desire to work with laws and regulations, not disregard them.
This sounds most constructive and appealing, until one realises that Uber may have changed the mood music, but nothing else. And that means the whole show is still about an illegal operation. Anyone who has spent time studying the way the Uber app works knows this. But, for those inclined to believe the latest propaganda, a straightforward example of Uber’s legality problem has been provided.

We know the private hire rules: a booking must be accepted by a licensed operator and the details recorded. Only then is a driver allocated the job. Both origin and end point of the journey must be known at time of booking. And a fare is quoted and accepted when the booking is made. Now let’s see how Uber works in practice.

A punter wants to go from Kensington High Street, just east of High Street Ken Underground. The destination is the northern part of Portobello Road. The real time log shows that at exactly the same time the booking is requested - to the second - it is despatched. A driver then accepts - whoops, accepting isn’t down to the driver for private hire - seven seconds later. That’s at least one illegal action.
And that, I would submit, isn’t going to change any time soon. If Uber want to pretend otherwise, then TfL must have a software architect go through the code and insist on the operator demonstrating exactly where the “new” app differs from the “old” one.

On top of that, who is taking the booking? Who is doing the despatching? Sure, doing everything in real time, using suitably powerful servers, you can get a fast turnaround. But zero seconds? No delay at all in taking the booking, recording the details, quoting a fare to the punter, having that accepted, confirming the booking, and getting a driver on to it?

No. Just no. In any case, we know that Uber calculates the fare in real time too - so any quote given before the journey can be invalidated by traffic conditions (for instance). And yes, that too is illegal. So unless that just got sorted, it’s another no-no.
Then, finally, we get down to who takes the booking. Uber London Ltd is the licensed operator. But there is also Uber BV in the Netherlands, which has in the past appeared to take bookings - which, you guessed it, is illegal. Because Uber BV is not a licensed operator. Again, TfL must have it demonstrated to them that the booking is being taken by Uber London Ltd. No satisfactory demonstration, no licence, no argument, game over.

One trip along Kensington Church Street, past Notting Hill, and up the Grove is all you need to show clearly all the areas where Uber operates illegally, and that unless their appeal can show things have changed, they should not be allowed on the capital’s streets.

It’s now down to TfL to do their job - and be prepared to say no.

Breitbart Supremo’s Anti-Semitism Shame

Anyone and everyone out there on the right is taking full advantage of the story claiming that the Labour Party has a problem with anti-Semitism. Even organisations with direct connections to white supremacists have been jumping on the media bandwagon, including the convocation of the irredeemably batshit otherwise known as Breitbart, ruled over for so long by the intolerant bigot’s intolerant bigot, Steve Bannon.
"Gay marriage" ... "Global warming" ... "Bird-slicing, bat-chomping eco crucifixes" ... "red meat Conservatism" ... "Hate speech endorsement" ... "Holocaust mocking" ... "Bang to rights"

In the UK, that means Breitbart London, where James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole has wasted no time in putting the boot in to The Red Team. He happily Retweeted the wibblings of Julia Hartley Dooda’s pretence - “Can someone explain to me why @toadmeister wrote some tweets about women’s tits & lost 2 jobs but @jeremycorbyn wrote a Facebook post defending a vile anti-Semitic picture yet he’s still in *his* job? Answers please” - and there was more in that vein.
Del Boy also Retweeted Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham, teaboy to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines at the Guido Fawkes blog, claiming “The mural is not a one off. These are the times Corbyn has personally and actively supported anti-Semites. If a Labour councillor had done any of this, they would be immediately suspended”.
Jezza has not personally and actively supported any anti-Semites, but hey ho. The nickname “Billy Liar” was not acquired for nothing. In any case, Delingpole had his own contributions to make, such as “‘BBC news consistently pro-Brexit and pro-Farage.’ This is insane. It's like a Corbynista saying: ‘At the heart of our project is love of Jews.’ Genuine red crayon written in a straightjacket stuff”. But then the mask slipped.
First came his endorsement of the loathsome Toby Young’s claim that he might emigrate to Israel, as he mused “Very envious. Surely I must qualify somehow. I'm at least as Jewish as most Jews I know”. He won’t be qualifying for anything - check out the next Tweet.

Yes, there he was supporting Mark Meechan, who was recently convicted of publicising a video which was judged to be anti-Semitic. It might have been the constant use of the phrase “gas the Jews” that gave a clue as to why Meechan got guilty. And there is Del Boy giving Meechan his endorsement. Cos it’s free speech, innit?
No, it isn’t. And that isn’t the only debit point against Delingpole’s name. While his pals at the Fawkes blog are kicking someone in the Labour Party who thought using the phrase “Arbeit Macht Frei” would be a bit of a hoot (wrong), he’s done exactly that for years - Holocaust mocking with the endorsement of the Telegraph, no less.
You think I jest? Zelo Street caught Del Boy using the not even slightly funny “Komment Macht Frei” to mock the Guardian back in 2012. He was still at it two years later. Heck, his use of the phrase is still there at his modestly-titled Delingpole World site.

Yes, there goes James Delingpole, berating Labour for alleged anti-Semitism, while backing someone making videos with “gas the Jews” in them, and then mocking the Holocaust. Because free speech. Unless you don’t agree with him. What a hypocrite.

Thursday 29 March 2018

Toby Young Loses ANOTHER Job

The appointment to the board of the new Office for Students of the loathsome Toby Young may have caused dismay among all those who wondered why he was even considered for such a role, but it now seems that the shining of the light on Tobes’ past, and his less than perfectly formed character, has had a beneficial effect in the longer term.
After all, he soon stood down from the board of the OfS, and more recently departed from his mainly taxpayer-funded £90,000 a year role as Director of the New Schools Network. The trajectory of Tobes’ publicly-funded career was now firmly downward. And it now seems that there is another success to add to that list.

The Knowledge Schools Trust is the new name for the company previously known by the name The West London Free School Academy Trust. That’s The West London Free School, which Tobes co-founded back in the heady days when Michael “Oiky” Gove was in charge at Education and his polecats Dominic Cummings and Henry de Zoete were running around the DfE pretending to know what they were doing.

Tobes had previously stepped down, or perhaps that should be caused to have stepped down, as the main man at the WLFS, but he had remained on the board. Not any more: the Companies House records for the KST show that he resigned from the board this week - in fact, just two days ago. That means Toby Young has rather less of a formal connection to the school he so publicly co-founded and championed.

To no surprise at all, there has been no word yet of this further reduction in the Tobes employment portfolio in the right-leaning press which devoted so many articles to eulogising his great success as co-founder of the WLFS. Nor has there been a word about it on the Tobes twitter feed, although he has dutifully devoted plenty of time to kicking the Labour leadership, and pretending to know his educational onions.

Perhaps it’s no longer news that Tobes loses a job, as he’s lost two this year already. Perhaps he really is getting ready to emigrate, although which country would volunteer to have him is not known. Perhaps he was eased out and would rather no-one start telling the world about it. Well, stuff that one for a game of soldiers.

There have been no appointments to the board of the KST since December 2016. It’s not as if Tobes has been replaced by someone else. It looks as if the grownups have finally wrested control of the WLFS from the amateurs. And they’ll have plenty of work to do in the future world of less state handouts for Free Schools.

What will be the next job Toby Young loses? Perhaps someone should open a book on it.

John Woodcock - On His Way Out

The accepted narrative on still nominally Labour MP John Woodcock is that he is a principled man, frustrated by the inexorable leftward drift of the party he joined, who only remains in Parliament to give service to the voters of the Barrow and Furness constituency. In this, he is supported by many in the Press and Pundit Establishment. But like so many Establishment narratives, this one is utterly false.
Don't let the door hit you on the way out

Woodcock, who has been such an effective MP that he has turned a majority of over 5,200 in 2010 into one of little more than 200 last year, backed Liz Kendall for Labour leader in 2015. And when Jeremy Corbyn won the contest, rather than accepting that he should at least accept the result, Woodcock embarked on a very public show of petulance.

Corbyn, whose opposition to nuclear weapons is well known, was challenged as to what he would do if the town of Barrow were to lose its submarine-building facility, which is where the UK’s Trident fleet was built, and from where a replacement fleet would probably be launched. Jezza declared that he would not want to see any outcome which caused jobs to be lost, even though he maintained his anti-nuclear stance.

But instead of graciously accepting this olive branch, proffered by the hand of friendship, Woodcock viciously kicked his party leader in the teeth. Corbyn had been insufficiently bellicose. The debating tactics of Jezza’s colleagues Emily Thornberry and Clive Lewis were denounced asbogus”. Woodcock moaned about “CND and its advocates on the front bench”. He was deliberately and loudly disloyal.

Only last week, Woodcock pointedly intervened in a response by his own party leader to gainsay Jezza’s record on Russia. He could not make his sulky tantrums more obvious. Accepting that he was re-elected to Parliament under Corbyn’s leadership, and on that leadership’s manifesto, was not allowed to enter. And now has come news that he is to make a political martyr of himself by resigning the Labour whip.

As Politics Home has told, “The Barrow and Furness MP has told friends that recent rows over Russia and anti-Semitism, as well as Owen Smith's sacking and moves to unseat Dan Jarvis have pushed him to breaking point”. No word, of course, on pushing his party leadership to breaking point. Because it’s all about Himself Personally Now.
The report goes on “If he does give up the Labour whip, it is understood that Mr Woodcock would continue to sit in the Commons as an independent MP … When approached for comment, Mr Woodcock said: ‘The last few weeks in particular have been pretty awful but any suggestion that I have made up my mind to leave is not true and not helpful to have it played out in public’”. So he has not denied the claims.

That should come as no surprise. Woodcock is a favourite of the Westminster media bubble, many of whose occupants for some reason consider him as a credible politician and worthwhile source. He is at home in the world of lobbyists and think tanks which occupies a world far to the right of today’s Labour leadership. But all that resigning the whip would do would be to create one mock heroic moment. It would not hurt Corbyn.

But then, that is perhaps not the point: like others before him, John Woodcock would find the transition from centrist MP to the world of press commissions, lobby groups and media appearances no problem at all. And that is where my Occam’s Razor is pointing right now.

Should he resign the Labour whip, Woodcock would not be considered as Labour’s candidate to fight Barrow at the next General Election. He would not stand a chance as an Independent candidate. It would come as no surprise if news were to emerge that he had already been pencilled in as an “Honorary Fellow” of one or other centre-right think tanks. Nor would his appearance as a columnist at one or other right-leaning papers.

When he asserts “My loyalty is to my constituents and local party members and anything I say in future will be to them first”, this is so much cant. After all, when Labour had another leadership contest in 2016, his own CLP voted overwhelmingly … for Jeremy Corbyn.

You read it here first: John Woodcock to abandon his constituents for an easy life among the London media set. There, he could rub shoulders with all the has-beens, which would be quite a step up. After all, at the moment he’s only a never-was.

Tory MP’s Anti-Semitism EXPOSED

When it comes to putting the boot in on the Labour Party over claims of anti-Semitism, there is no Tory back bencher more fervent that Mid Bedfordshire’s MP (yes, it’s her again) Nadine Dorries. This week, she has been letting everyone know how The Red Team is overrun with it. What she has seemingly forgotten, though, is her own less than distinguished - and unrepentant - record on the subject.
Seizing on the claims made against Labour, the fragrant Nadine lost no time in claiming the moral high ground. “Read this powerful thread if you want to understand Labour antisemitism and just how deep it runs in the Labour Party” she told her followers. Soon after, she berated Chuka Umunna “As testified by your own members, anti-semitism runs deep in the veins of @UKLabour and it always has”.
Would Madam care to pony up the occasional shred of evidence for this claim? But then, it would not be Ms Dorries if she were to concern herself with mere facts. Best stick to the attack line. So she did with another snark at the opposition: “Anti semitism runs deep in Labour and it always has, a nasty truth at the core. Time it was exposed”.

Time it was exposed, indeed. So as that time has come, let us expose the reality of Ms Dorries’ lamentable record on the subject. Here, we have to go back a few years, but not many: to the General Election campaign of 2010.
A leaflet - not from the Tories - circulating in the Oxford West and Abingdon constituency claimed “The press has reported that Dr Evan Harris has been given the nickname ‘Dr Death’ in the corridors of Westminister [sic] because of his enthusiasm for abortion and voluntary euthanasia”. Evan Harris was the sitting MP.

Cherwell told readersIt does seem that the nickname was at least somewhat widespread, and it was a particular favourite of Conservative MP Nadine Dorries, as well as Conservative Party activist and columnist Tim Montgomerie”. So what was the problem?
Total Politics spelled it out. “Writing in the Sunday Telegraph Tim Montgomerie, and Nadine Dorries on her blog, both saw fit to label Dr Evan Harris - who has been a continual critic of both Dorries and her motion - 'Dr Death’ … Neither Tim nor Nadine are known for their tact but by stoking the flames of an emotive issue and comparing one of their opponents to a Nazi concentration camp Doctor they’ve lost all rationality. The fact that Dr Harris is Jewish … such disgraceful and loaded name calling has no place in civilised debate. An apology will not be sufficient, nor I fear, forthcoming”.
Evan Harris - viciously smeared for opposing Ms Dorries

This was not an isolated occurrence: Ms Dorries Tweeted on election nightDo my eyes and ears deceive me? Has Dr Death really lost his seat?

Nadine Dorries is now telling anyone who will listen that “Anti-Semitism runs deep in Labour” and has “a nasty truth at the core”. But she manages not to tell that anti-Semitism runs deep in her own recent past. That’s the “nasty truth at the core”.

But on one thing we can both agree: “Time it was exposed”. So it has been.

Tommy Robinson’s Pointless March

After he was permanently banned from Twitter yesterday, to the great relief of many who wished it had happened rather earlier, Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, was defiant. But sadly, he was also exhibiting signs of paranoia, claiming that the Government and other agencies are part of some grand conspiracy - one that is hell bent on removing free speech. Well, his free speech, anyway.
Lennon claims that the Tweet that exhausted the patience of those who police Twitter was merely stating a fact, that it was part of what he grandly calls “The Truth”. Anyone who said otherwise was a liar, a concept with which Zelo Street regulars will be familiar. Whatever he said could not possibly be hate speech, because it was “The Truth”. That his definition of hate speech might differ from that applied by Twitter did not occur.

Nor had he been completely banned from Twitter, as he still has the @TRobinsonOnline account - for the time being. But Lennon has decided that the supposed removal of his free speech cannot go unpunished. And he has discovered that Twitter has an office in London. So he has decided to call his supporters out on to the street once more, in order to disrupt the capital and cause more grief to the Metropolitan Police.

Nowhere does it occur to him that Twitter is a commercial operation which has rules, rules that he has flagrantly and repeatedly broken time and again. Nor is he willing to take on board that his right to free speech - which remains in place - does not include the right to be allowed to abuse the T&Cs laid down by A N Other social media company.

Lennon has appealed directly to his followers. Here’s his pitch. “After they suspended my account, after the lies the media have spread [!], I have one more favour to ask” he has told. And that favour is? “I want you to join me at Speaker’s Corner on Sunday the 6th of May. But this time I’m not staying there. I’m going to march through our capital city to Twitter’s head office to make the message clear”.
That might be difficult, as Twitter’s head office is in San Francisco, in the USA, a country which has refused Lennon admission, due to his past criminal record. But do go on. “You cannot take away our right to speak”. Twitter doesn’t give the right to speak in the first place. Have another go. “So for anyone who cares about freedom of speech, will you join me on the 6th of May?” But this is just another pointless charade.

What’s he going to do when he gets to Twitter’s London office (near Piccadilly Circus)? Who’s going to come out to talk to him? There won’t be anyone there - it’s not merely a Sunday, but it’s also a Bank Holiday weekend. His gesture will change nothing.

Like his previous Speaker’s Corner charade, where he claimed free speech was under attack, only to then turn up and speak freely, thus demonstrating that his claim was wrong, this is just another lame publicity stunt. It will change nothing.

Twitter has banned Stephen Yaxley Lennon. And the world has moved on. That is all.

Wednesday 28 March 2018

Don’t Menshn Cambridge Analytica

While the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr, assisted by whistleblowers Chris Wylie and Shahmir Sanni and Byline Media’s Peter Jukes, continue to bring the Brexit vote scandal to a wider audience, there is, in a suitably upmarket corner of Manhattan, someone working feverishly to project her own highly creative spin on the affair. To no surprise at all, this presence is (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch.
COOEEE! It's me Me MEEEE!!
Ms Mensch has decided that Wylie has done something unlawful, and so is about to be banged up somewhere Stateside. Oh, and Russia is in there too. When you really lose that grip on reality, anything is possible. Or, in her case, perhaps not.
She was watching Wylie’s appearance before the DCMS Committee. “Don’t overlook the fact that Wylie colluded with both AIQ and Cambridge Analytica and simply wants to avoid US prison - he’s trying to save his own skin by grandstanding … Chris Wylie is describing crimes to @CommonsCMS that he himself was part and parcel of. Russia Today is live-streaming his testimony and is promoting him. Let’s hope Mueller is not as easily gulled. In fact, I know he won’t be”. What’s Bob Mueller got to do with this? Seriously?
But the logic leaps had already taken over. “Damian Collins is now asking the really important questions - excellent, my mood lifting. It was Russia behind #CambridgeAnalytica”. Wait, what? Ah, but this opens the door to even more wacko conspiracy rubbish. You think I jest? “Chris Wylie just confessed that the FSB logged everything Alex Spectre Kogan did. @DamianCollins asks the tough questions with impressive results - #CambridgeAnalytica is Russian intelligence”.
Spectre? Is there someone out there with a white cat and a bodyguard with a venom-tipped shoe? Who knows? And, indeed, who cares? In any case, by now she was off and running. “I’m delighted to see Wylie is lying that #CambridgeAnalytica was not colluding with the FSB and dodging @DamianCollins questions about Yandex trackers. Confirms for me @chrisinsilico is a Russian asset. Of course Kogan colluded with Russia! He laughably says otherwise!” Now Wylie is a Russian asset! And a pig just flew past the window!
And he’s going to be put on trial. “Russia and #CambridgeAnalytica are the same. Wylie pretends not to know of Yandex trackers and he defends Nix and Spectre Kogan because collusion with Russia is what he will be tried on”. Can you smell burning?
Then comes a new feature: another Twitter account. Ms Mensch is running two of them, the second in her maiden name of Louise Bagshawe. Does this mean anything? Is a new mood being introduced here? Whatever. “Lol now Wylie is defending #CambridgeAnalytica on Ivans for IndyRef! Couldn’t make it up” By “Ivans” she means more Russians. So the dastardly Ruskies were in there on the Scottish referendum too. Allegedly.
That much was bad enough, but then came Ms Cadwalladr’s assertion that she had some of the emails a year ago, but could not publish them. Ms Mensch demanded to know why - as well as getting it laughably wrong. “Why couldn’t you publish them a year ago? Because Wylie wouldn’t allow it?” Chris Wylie is clearly all-powerful!
Well, Ms Mensch has convinced herself that he is, even if she isn’t convincing anyone else. “We need to know if ‘Whistleblower Wylie’ stopped the Guardian from publishing these emails then. Who prevented them reporting this crucial info on Thiel for an entire year?” The answer is no. As in Stating The Bleeding Obvious.
But she was now going to tell us about Peter Thiel: “Time was I was asked not to tweet about or report on @PeterThiel, by sources linked to the intelligence community, in order that he not flee the United States. That time has passed :)”. Yeah, right. Taken her into their confidence, those security services. In her dreams.

Louise Mensch’s fantasy world of Bond villains, tradecraft, Russians everywhere, and the US security agencies banging up those she dislikes in the nearest slammer, bears no relation to the real world. But at least it keeps her occupied.