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Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Brexit Party Gets £2.5m Headache

If only SNP MEP Alyn Smith had known today’s news before he made his fateful decision to cave and apologise to Brexit Party chairman Richard “Smiler” Tice for claiming that his party was “shell company that’s a money laundering front”. Because now Tice and his pals have their work cut out ensuring that a whopping £2.5 million of donations really are permissible - that they’re not from foreign nationals. And not money laundering.
Richard Tice

Strangely, this has so far only been reported by the Mirror - the right-leaning part of the press keeping quiet is a coincidence - putting Nigel “Thirsty” Farage’s latest self-promotion vehicle on the spot. The headline says it all: “Nigel Farage's Brexit Party ordered to check EVERY £25 donation for foreign cash … The Electoral Commission recommended the party make changes to their website to prevent overseas donors funding the party”.

And money laundering, not that there’s any of that, though. So what’s the deal? “The Party will be required to satisfy itself that every single £25 'supporter' fee was not from an impermissible source. If they can't, they'll have to either return it to the donor or hand it over to the Treasury”. And there was more.

Nigel Farage has said that the majority of the party's funding has come from individual 'supporter' fees of £25 a time. But parties are only required to collect information on the source of donations over £500, so there’s no way of knowing whether someone has done that using PayPal. And there are no regulations at all governing cash given to political parties as ‘membership fees’, such as the £25 payment to register as a Brexit Party supporter”. So the Electoral Commission have made another recommendation.
The Commission also recommended the party revamp its online system to require donors to provide addresses and contact details and only accept payments from cards that match the payer’s address … The report also include a lower-risk recommendation to separate the £25 supporter fees from other donations. This should be in place, the Commission say, within six months”. And the Farage Falange has no option but to comply.

If they don’t demonstrate that their donations are legitimate, the next time Tice reaches for his lawyers, he’ll get laughed out of court. The Brexit Party will, unless it proves there is no dodgy money, become a byword for dodgy money. He will have to do better than churn out dishonest drivel for the Murdoch Sun claiming that MEPs can’t do anything about proposed EU laws. Hello Richard - they can vote them down. It’s called democracy.
Squeaky burden of proof finger up the bum time

Meanwhile, the Mirror signs off by letting readers know “Electoral Commission Chief Exec Bob Posner told the Committee that any money that the party couldn't be sure is permissible should be returned - and any money that could not be returned would be handed to the Treasury. A spokesperson for the Brexit Party said they would be implementing the recommendations in full ‘to the best of our ability.’”

Well, mateys, if you don’t carry out those recommendations, you’re going to have to give part or all of that £2.5 million back. Or the next time someone uses a broadcast media appearance to accuse you of money laundering, you won’t have a leg to stand on.

What was that about suing all and sundry for dissing the Brexit Party? Yeah, right.

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Suzanne Moore’s Labour Feminist Faux Pas

Sometimes, even the soundest of pundits have a bad day, make a clumsy mistake, take one of those mis-steps that they come to regret. Their number has been joined by Suzanne Moore of the Guardian, normally the safest pair of journalistic hands, who has apparently engaged output device before activating CPU.
Suzanne Moore

Under the headline “Why is it so hard for Labour to find a woman to be leader?” and sub-heading “The Tory leadership is just men talking among themselves, and the opposition has no one to counter it” she tells “We all know Corbyn is very concerned about having more women in the Labour leadership. But not concerned enough to actually have many”.
Eh? She didn’t actually say that and get it through the Guardian’s editorial process, did she? It seems she did. And there was more. “Emily Thornberry couldn’t be called on to do PMQs as she made the terrible faux pas of telling the truth about the European elections. In the US, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden feel entitled enough to lead despite all the great Democrat women who are running against them”. Ri-i-i-ight.
Yes, Emily Thornberry did not deputise for Jezza at PMQs recently - but Rebecca Long Bailey did. Because there is a significant number of women at Labour’s top table. And Ms Moore needs to mug up on someone called Elizabeth Warren. Like very quickly. And after getting up to speed on Senator Warren, she needs to Google AOC.
But still Ms Moore digs that hole: “Labour has a shortage of women, not on its benches but in its inner circle”. Some Labour women have taken exception to that, not least Kate Osamor, who has fired back “As everyday sexism and racism manifests itself in black women’s lives creating intersecting forms of oppression. This faux pas toxic white feminist article comes as no surprise! When will white feminists stand in solidarity with black women & stop this targeted abuse?” When indeed. And there was more.
Faiza Shaheen, looking to defeat Iain Duncan Cough in Chingford and Woodford Green, recalled “This article reminds me of a conversation I had with an irate Labour member who said ‘I support women in the party - Stella Creasy, Yvette Copper and Jess Phillips’ I smiled & asked how about ‘Diane Abbott, Dawn Butler & erm, me?’ She turned red”.
That prompted Brent Central MP Dawn Butler to add “I just read it ... how offensive but not surprising is it? We spend our whole lives fighting for equality and we are still invisible. Unless they want to attack us. If only they realised they were part of the problem we might finally make progress”. Kerry Anne Mendoza of The Canary was also unimpressed.
Suzanne Moore & her Grauniad pumpkin spice latté sisters only recognise women in their own clique. They’re anti-feminists”. Also, to her list of names which includes Diane Abbott, Angela Rayner and Ms Long Bailey as well as those noted above, she could usefully add Crewe and Nantwich’s representative Laura Smith.

Ms Moore has had a shocker with that article. Hopefully it’s only an isolated occurrence.
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Katie Hopkins’ Wrong Kind Of Jews

Even though three venues in Israel refused to screen her Islamophobic “documentaryHomelands, which claims erroneously that Jews and Christians are being forced to flee Europe because of the Scary Muslims™, pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins is not downhearted. She’s now in the USA - as ever, we don’t get to find out who’s paying - hawking her propaganda around any and every venue that will let her in.
Viewers may still want to look away now

But Hatey Katie has encountered a problem: her delusion was that she spoke for anyone who was Jewish. But many Jews are horrified at her intolerant and bigoted behaviour, calling her out for pretending to speak in their name. This has presented a problem. And after a little thought - sadly, not enough thought - she has decided that anyone who is Jewish but does not approve of Herself Personally Now is the Wrong Kind Of Jew.
So after telling her audience about “HOMELANDS - The documentary the Muslim mafia don’t want you to see … ‘Our people - sick of feeling like second class citizens in their own countries - looking for a new place to call home’” (there is no Muslim mafia, just as there is no Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist or Sikh mafia), she looks for justification.
And after seeing a Times of Israel headline telling “French Jews face trinity of hate from left, right and Islamists, says author”, she creatively reinterprets this as “The greatest threat to our Jewish communities is not just from Islamists, but certain ‘Jewish’ Agencies and leftists who have chosen them as bed-fellows”. Which the ToI didn’t say. But she leaves her followers in no doubt that some Jews are the Wrong Kind Of Jews.
It gets worse, if unintentionally hilarious at the same time. “So proud of Bibi and Netanyahu for creating #TrumpHeights … The fight back for Israel is on. We are many and we stand strong … This clip is me in Palestine. Where the leftist media and Soros NGOs stir hate”. Yes, “Soros” is the Wrong Kind Of Jew. Also, Bibi and Netanyahu are the same person.
In fact, she goes on to suggest that those Jews who are Rotten Lefties™ are not really Jews at all! “Leftist Jewish Agencies and organisations in bed with the Islamists starting to be called out by their own … Well done my lovely Jewish friends. These apologists and appeasers are working against you. They see the next Holocaust coming but refuse to speak its name #NotJewish". Those Wrong Kinds Of Jews again!
The Hopkins mantra even extends to suggesting that the former Israeli ambassador to France is the Wrong Kind Of Jew: in a TV debate, she was told that, contrary to her assertions, it was not Islamists who were the greatest source of anti-Semitic prejudice in France, but the nominally Christian far-right - just as in the 1930s.
Hatey Katie was apoplectic. No-one, not even the former Israeli ambassador to France, knew better than she did. She was right, and he was wrong. Hate crimes against Muslims in the UK could not possibly account for more than 50% of all hate crimes. White people could not possibly be the source of anti-Semitic attacks. She would not allow these rotten so-called “facts” to stand. It was the Wrong Kind Of Jews again.

Katie Hopkins has formed an opinion, which has become a belief, and then, in her mind, fact. So she can have her own facts. Except she can’t. They’re the wrong kinds of facts.
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Monday, 17 June 2019

Brexit Party And Legal Bullying

Once again, those who champion free speech become the first to reach for their lawyers: after SNP MEP Alyn Smith had claimed that the Brexit Party, latest personal vehicle for the ego of Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, was a “shell company that’s a money laundering front”, the party’s perma-tanned and perma-smiling chairman Richard Tice initiated a defamation action, which has now concluded.
Smith has backed down, agreed to donate to a charity in lieu of damages, and pay a sum in respect of legal costs. He has also issued an apology. To no surprise at all, this event has been lauded by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, another champion of free speech who, as Zelo Street regulars will know, also resorts to legal threats when he feels his “reputation” has been slighted.
Squeaky funding question finger up the bum time

And that is not the only problem with this case: as Jolyon Maugham has noted, Tice was not mentioned in Smith’s allegation, and nor was any other officer of the Brexit Party. Also, the Brexit Party as a body cannot sue, the precedent case being Goldsmith v Bhoyrul 1998. He also cites the precedent of Tilbrook v Parr 2010 as evidence that Tice would have most likely failed, had he pressed his claim against Smith.
Richard Tice

Moreover, although (for instance) I have no evidence that the Brexit Party is involved in money laundering, it’s a near certainty that the Brexit Party and/or its officers have no evidence that it is not. As the BBC reported last week, “The Brexit Party's online funding system left it open to ‘a high and on-going risk' of impermissible donations, the Electoral Commission says”. This followed concerns about possible multiple donations.
That article continues “Under UK law, donations of £500 or above must be made by a ‘permissible donor’ - someone who is listed on the electoral register or a company registered in the UK. Amounts below that do not have to be declared, but some critics - among them ex-PM Gordon Brown - have said there is no way of telling whether those smaller amounts come from British or foreign sources”.
The impression is given, especially after Tice’s comment “Others take note”, and the Fawkes rabble’s equally threatening “Carole Cadwalladr and all the Remainiacs on Twitter making unfounded allegations should take note”, that this is little more than the well-off indulging in a little legal bullying. Or, put another way, censorship of free speech.
As Maugham has put it, “In other words - despite the Brexit Party's attempt to suppress criticism of its highly dubious and I think illegal funding practices - you can safely crack on and subject them to proper scrutiny. Don't be bullied into quiet by the mega-wealthy and their libel lawyers”. This blog certainly won’t be. And nor will Ms Cadwalladr.
After all, the undue haste with which Richard Tice has reached for his lawyers only fuels the suspicion that someone not too far away from the Brexit Party may have something to hide. And no amount of legal bullying is going to make that suspicion go away.

Nor is the stench of hypocrisy going to dissipate: the far-right once again talks the free speech talk, but walks the walk directly towards authoritarianism. It was ever thus.
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Boris Rattled By Rory

The received wisdom on the Tory leadership contest is that the party’s MPs, and indeed its members, are prepared to disregard his lack of suitability to even shovel shit from Heap A to Heap B and award the Top Job to London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. All other participants in the contest, therefore, may as well pack up and run along. That was, until Rory Stewart rocked up.
Stewart, who represents the sprawling constituency of Penrith and The Border, submitted himself to a light grilling by the host on The Andy Marr Show™ yesterday morning, and made a significant impression. He then went on the Channel 4 leadership candidates’ debate yesterday evening and once more acquitted himself well. Brave Bozza, by contrast,  turned tail and ran at the prospect of Krishnan Guru-Murthy prodding him.
All of which has raised Stewart’s profile, with some senior Tories opting to back him, and the prospect of others rallying to his cause if he makes it through the next round of voting. This has spooked the Johnson campaign, and spooked it very obviously, the result being that Bozza’s cheerleaders, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, have begun a series of attack pieces against him.
After the Marr Show appearance cameRory’s Bizarre Marr Interview” where it was claimed of Stewart “his core big idea is to bypass parliament” (it isn’t). There is the obligatory Fawkes mental health smear as readers are told “He’s in danger of joining the Brexit-driven descent into derangement”. Staines only knows one form of derangement, and that is the alcoholic kind (example with video HERE).
This morning has brought a Fawkes follow-up claiming50% Of Tory Members Think Rory Would Make A Poor Leader”, making sure readers know “77% of Tory members think Boris would make a good leader … MPs backing Boris will be pleased to see that Tory voters agree with members. In fact Boris is the only candidate who commands a positive net approval rating … Rory is the only candidate who has a negative approval rating from Tory members”. All of which has led others to conclude that The Great Guido is rattled.
After the Fawkes Twitter feed declared “Rory tells #Marr he won't serve in a Boris cabinet, an hour later he tells Nigel Farage he wants to reach out to Nigel and ‘bring him in’. My working thesis is that Rory is crazy” came the pushback, with Jaki McCarrick responding “That’s nasty & transparently nasty too … What’s ‘crazy’ is allowing Boris Johnson to be PM”. Rob Stewart added “My hypothesis is you're a little scared”.
And Peter Oborne, who has some experience of observing leadership contests, was in no doubt not only about Staines’ status in the Johnson campaign, but also the reason for his attack on Stewart: “Boris Johnson's social media manager targeting Rory Stewart. Rattled?” Rattled is right: the worst case scenario for Bozza is that Stewart becomes the challenger and the membership ballot ends in a close finish.
Then he’d have a popular challenger refusing to serve in his cabinet, and all the while, as a back bencher, able to tell the world how he’d have done right all the things that Bozza was getting wrong. And he will get a lot wrong. Because he’s not up to the job.

But good of The Great Guido to admit he’s frit. Another fine mess, once again.
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Piers Morgan Amanda Knox Attack UNRAVELS

Our free and fearless press has scored reams of cheap copy from the story of Amanda Knox, falsely accused of murdering her flat-mate Meredith Kercher in 2007, and incarcerated in an Italian prison for four years as a result. She was finally and definitively acquitted of the murder in 2015. Much of the UK press coverage of her has been negative to the point of prejudicing opinion. And it hasn’t finished yet.
Ms Knox and her family were left insolvent from the years of supporting her in Italy - including her legal bills - and she has taken up journalism as a way of getting back on her feet. She is also an activist for those wrongfully accused. This, though, is of no interest to former Screws and Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan, who has attempted to intervene in her life in his usual brash and clumsy style - as in no style at all.
Amanda Knox

Morgan has already, effectively, condemned Ms Knox as guilty of a murder she did not, and most probably could not, commit. One look through the Twitter detritus tells you all you need to know: after “Amanda Knox found GUILTY of murdering Meredith Kercher, by Italian court” and “Amanda Knox sentenced to 28 years in prison - increase on previous sentence” comes the armchair detective meeting his own judge and jury.
I don't believe Amanda Knox”. Why not, O wise one? “Gut feeling Amanda Knox knows more than she's saying”. There was doubt over her alibi? “Like I said a few days ago, I don't believe Amanda Knox”. Add to that Morgan’s inimitable “interviewing” style, as in no style at all bar a propensity to pre-judge and shout down his targets.
Then add in his latest pronouncement: “Out of respect for Meredith Kercher's poor family, Amanda Knox should stop her self-pitying 'all about me' victim tour - and shut up”. What is behind his jaundiced attitude? Ah well. Ms Knox has revealed all. “Says the guy who's begged me to be on his show multiple times, and I've turned him down every time”.
You turn down Piers Morgan’s “invitation”, which in reality is an offer to turn up so he can indulge in grandstanding for the benefit of Himself Personally Now, he gets bitter and spiteful, as he did with Ewan McGregor. So expect him to continue attacking Ms Knox in his Mail Online column. Because she won’t assist in his self-aggrandisement.
The court of public opinion, meanwhile, has already reached its verdict on Morgan’s attempt to manipulate someone traumatised by knowing a friend has been murdered and then getting framed for it. As one Tweeter observed, “He doesn’t get to the truth. He kicks up a fuss to make sure everyone knows that everything is about him. He’s cruel and vindictive and it’s poor interviewing”. And as to Ms Knox’s put-down, yes, well.
Boooom get the Aloe Vera out @piersmorgan you’ve been burned”. And that’s before all those questions that won’t go away about how the Daily Mirror under Morgan was hacking phones on an industrial scale, but its editor somehow never noticed.

Amanda Knox was right to turn him down. And it’s Piers Morgan who should shut up.
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Sunday, 16 June 2019

Sadiq Khan - Tory Racism Kicks In

After the unwise decision of Combover Crybaby Donald Trump to endorse pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins as a means of laying into London Mayor Sadiq Khan, and suggesting that the city has an exceptionally bad crime problem, came the pushback. Many reminded Trump that in Washington DC, you are more likely to be murdered specifically with a knife than in London. And don’t even mention gun crime.
The Donald was totally out of order, and more worryingly, he was taking as reliable the kind of bigotry that Ms Hopkins, and those at the Daily Caller, choose to put out there. London is a far safer place than many US cities, including New York City. It’s even safer than supposedly peaceful San José and San Diego. And no city in the UK gets anywhere near the murder rate of Baltimore, Detroit or New Orleans.
Moreover, Trump sticking his bugle in on other countries’ affairs is totally out of order. So it might have been hoped that his blundering would attract pushback from across the political spectrum. It hasn’t happened. The Blue Team hasn’t raised a finger in admonishment after Trump quote-Tweeted Ms Hopkins (which was bad enough) and used the blatantly racist term “Londonistan”. So why not?
Ah well. Here we re-encounter the Tory problem with people who are Not White. After Sajid Javid - a senior Tory MP and cabinet minister - expressed disquiet that he alone from the cabinet had not been invited to the ceremonial dinner held in Trump’s honour at Buckingham Palace, there was no murmur from his colleagues, either.

Who would have said no to Saj? Pound to a penny that veto came from the US embassy, and that the word was given after consultation with the White House. Trump’s a racist bigot, but the Tories are riven by Islamophobia and so did nothing, even though Javid has previously said that he does not “practice any religion”.
So when Miqdaad Versi of the Muslim Council of Britain looked to see which Tory MPs had defended Sadiq Khan, he was clearly disappointed to find that there were none. “Seems like not a single Conservative MP* (/gvt/potential PM candidates) has spoken out after the Trump quote-tweeting Katie Hopkins using the Islamophobic term ‘Londonistan’ & attacking Sadiq Khan. Many say I should expect this. Yet I am so hurt & disappointed”.

Tell MAMA also registered its dissatisfaction, asking “How many of our politicians are going to stand up & be counted on what Trump has just done & amplified? How long are British Muslims going to be viewed as 'second class' citizens by some in power, like Trump. His actions today, show exactly what he thinks of British Muslims”.
Well, Labour MPs are rallying round. The test for other parties is whether they are prepared to defend London’s Mayor. But don’t expect a peep from the Tories. Because they have a problem with Muslims. That’s why the members won’t elect Javid leader, why Brandon Lewis won’t lift a finger to stop the racists in his own party, and why they had no problem running a viciously racist campaign against Sadiq Khan in 2016.

Trump has - inadvertently - done us a great service. He’s shown us not just that he’s a racist, but that the Tories have no problem with racism either. It’s still the Nasty Party.
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