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Friday 31 May 2019

Dominic Raab - Pants On Fire AGAIN

While yet more Tories emerge blinking into the daylight and tell the waiting world that they are running for the party leadership, one of those already declared is encountering a little local difficulty of his own. To no surprise at all, that candidate is Dominic “cash flow problem” Raab, whose briefing of his supporters, and indeed his supporters, are proving utterly inept. Worse, his back catalogue is coming back to bite him.
Raab, an appallingly immodest man with much to be modest about, had let it be known after last night’s shocker of a YouGov poll, which put both Labour and the Tories behind the Lib Dems and the Brexit Party, “On the back of the Times poll tonight we need to Tweet: The Times/YouGov poll clearly demonstrates that NO Conservative leader/PM can win a General Election. We have to deliver Brexit. The man with a plan to do this is Dominic Raab”. Sadly, Andrea Jenkyns forgot to take off the first bit before Tweeting.
Then came the lookalike Tweets, for instance from Nadhim Zahawi. But this was the least of Dom’s problems, as his slippery dishonesty was being recalled by the Telegraph’s Europe Editor Peter Foster (see thread HERE). Raab has gone to the increasingly alt-right Spectator magazine and told them of the “window of opportunity” he had to solve the seemingly intractable problem of the Irish backstop.
He observes “So @DominicRaab tells @katyballs he was ‘on the brink’ of a #Brexit breakthrough on Ireland, but was thwarted by @DLidington - this is a gross distortion of the truth. It mustn't stand … I broke the story of Raab using his dinner with @simoncoveney to demand a unilateral three-month time-limit to the backstop”. A WHAT?
Foster goes on to “consider the likelihood of a three-month, or six month maximum time limit succeeding at that point, as the Withdrawal Agreement was on the cusp of being agreed. It was clearly nonsense … as was clear from talking to both Irish, British and EU officials, @DominicRaab would have absolutely known that it was nonsense”. Quite.
Why do it? Foster is in no doubt. “The answer is that he was free-lancing, and doing it for his own ends: namely to burnish his credentials for this precise moment. The leadership contest … the adjectives used to describe Raab's dealings as Brexit secretary span from ‘disingenuous’ at the kind end of the spectrum, to ‘dishonest’ at the more frank end”.

This is echoed in Denis Staunton’s Irish Times London Letter, where he tellsEU negotiators initially welcomed Raab as a smarter and more focused interlocutor than his predecessor David Davis. Nobody in Brussels doubted the former lawyer’s intelligence but they soon concluded that he was short-tempered, insecure and unreliable”.
There is more. “‘He would say one thing inside the room and say something else outside two minutes later. Nobody trusted him,’ one senior EU official said … What Tennessee Williams called ‘a powerful and obnoxious odour of mendacity’ also surrounds Boris Johnson, Raab’s chief rival for the Brexiteer vote in the leadership contest. So Raab’s dodgy account of his negotiations with the EU may not prove fatal to his chances in a contest where everyone appears willing to suspend their disbelief”.

But being just as dodgy as Bozza is not much of a USP when you have to face reality from day one. Raab is unfit for high office. Which means he has a good change of achieving it.
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Tracy Ann Oberman - Shame On You

One might have thought, given she is party to a legal action being taken against people who have allegedly cast doubt on her character, that minor Sleb Tracy Ann Oberman would, how shall I put this, tread carefully when it came to tackling sensitive subjects on an open social media forum. But, it seems, that thought would have been misplaced.
Tracy Ann Oberman

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn - not known to be a favourite of Ms Oberman - had Tweeted “Deeply saddened to hear that my old friend Walter Wolfgang has died … Walter escaped Nazi Germany and has campaigned for peace and socialism ever since, including his passionate opposition to the Iraq War … Yesterday, we said our goodbyes. He will be greatly missed”. Wolfgang had been a Labour member for over 70 years. He was 95.
Moreover, he was a co-founder of CND, and will be familiar to many as the man who was bundled out of the 2005 Labour Party conference for heckling Jack Straw, who had been extolling the virtues of post-invasion Iraq. He and Jezza were on the same, socialist and pacifist, wing of the Labour Party. It was a genuine and heartfelt message.
For some reason, this was lost on Ms Oberman, who quoted Jezza’s Tweet and added “#Vulture let the man die in peace”. It was crass, it was callous, it was just plain nasty. And, although she deleted the Tweet later, it was Out There. And the Internet never forgets.
One observer mused “Oberman has been shamed into deleting this. I thought she was incapable of shame”. The Tweeter known as Jews Sans Frontières added “This orgy of hatred against Corbyn is disgusting. I never heard of Oberman before but see this. Apparently Corbyn has no right to mourn the passing of a friend. Not only that, Walter Wolfgang was a supporter of Jews for Justice for Palestinians so Oberman would have hated him too”. Others were swift to issue their own condemnations.
One who was aghast at what they saw responded “Good grief. I've just seen that obscene tweet by Tracy Anne Oberman calling Jeremy Corbyn a ‘vulture’ for posting up a tweet about the sad death, yesterday, of his decades-long friend #WalterWolfgang She's sick in the head. What sort of ogre thinks that's acceptable discourse?
Another Tweeter who was unimpressed added “Oberman is a genuinely sick woman. And nothing puts it into sharper focus than this tweet. Just imagine how Walter's family and friends would feel if they stumbled across this...? #Twisted”. One also has to wonder what Ms Oberman’s lawyers thought when they saw that. Which they will have done by now.
Moreover, the response of folks like Mike Sivier and his legal team will be interesting. Sivier is, as Zelo Street regulars will know, involved in combating a legal threat issued on behalf of two individuals, one of whom is Tracy Ann Oberman.

Think before you Tweet. No matter how rich, famous and lawyered-up you are.
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Question Time - Another Dodgy Panellist

After the elections to the European Parliament, it was inevitable that a representative of the Brexit Party, latest vehicle for Nigel “Thirsty” Farage to advance the cause of Himself Personally Now, would appear on the next edition of BBC Question Time. And so it came to pass, as viewers were introduced to one Alexandra Phillips, now an MEP, and another candidate whose CV remains unexplored by our free and fearless press.
Alexandra Phillips - innocent face

Ms Phillips trotted out the usual soundbites, telling the audience that leaving the EU meant leaving every last institution of the EU, and pointing the way to the entirely fictional sunlit uplands of No Deal Brexit. She also told that she had been close to Farage for the past ten years, a connection he may come to regret in view of her own track record.

Alexandra Phillips is a former employee of Cambridge Analytica, the firm that so many across the various Leave campaigns claim they had nothing to do with. CA has, in turn, been involved in a number of electoral contests in the recent past, notably in Kenya, where the 2017 Presidential Election was later declared invalid by the country’s Supreme Court.
Here’s what Privacy International had to say about CA’s involvement. “Cambridge Analytica, a British data analytics firm … has serious questions to answer about its work in Kenya … [CA] gathered survey data on Kenyans to aid the campaign and managed the president’s image”. So where does Ms Phillips come in?

Alexandra Phillips, former head of media for the UK Independence Party, was employed by Cambridge Analytica to brief media on behalf of [Uhuru] Kenyatta, in a document seen by Privacy International. Phillips denied working for [the] Jubilee [Party of Kenya], even after publishing photos on Instagram of her with the Jubilee team. Nevertheless, an employee at Cambridge Analytica speaking to Privacy International confirmed that Phillips had worked for the company”. She was there. And there was more.
After noting that CA had been investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Office, and had faced scrutiny from a US House of Representatives committee (the company has since been wound up), Privacy International concludes “The fact of these investigations does not inspire confidence that Cambridge Analytica behaved ethically in its collection and use of Kenyans’ personal data to benefit their Presidential client”.

It was not, though, merely about ethics, but a further demonstration of actions having consequences: as the Guardian noted later that year, “So far this year, 44 people have died in election-related violence since the August poll”. A lot of people died. Cambridge Analytica was a party to the electoral process. And Alexandra Phillips was there too.
After Ms Phillips was elected as an MEP, the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr, who knows a thing or two about CA, mused “Shame she wasn’t asked a single question about her valuable work subverting Kenya’s democracy”. And Tom Scott reminded us that CA was “a company that boasted of the dirty tricks it used to subvert democracies around the world”.

Still, if the Brexit Party can get a terrorist sympathiser and genocide denier (Claire Fox) elected to the European Parliament and on to the BBC, why not Alexandra Phillips?

Politicians being held to account by the Beeb? Not on this occasion.
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Thursday 30 May 2019

Nick Monroe - The Twitter End At Last

The Banned of Twitter have a habit of not taking the hint. Their accounts permanently suspended, they somehow reappear, as poltergeists at their own funeral, hanging around under the pretence that they are not really there. Then Twitter catches up with them, brandishes the garlic and crucifix, and they are gone for good, to the great relief of those who wished they had never returned in the first place.
Nick Monroe - trying not to let the door hit him on the way out

One such ban-evading spirit was Nick Monroe, who has finally become sufficiently honest to admit that his real name is Nicholas Tomasheski. From his perch somewhere in the USA (we won’t go any further, unlike some of those Munroe befriended) he would snuggle up to the Muslim-bashing far-right, wanting to expand his horizons after Gamergate, about which, like so much else, he is unable to be entirely honest.

Sadly - if only for him - Twitter has now caught up with him and banned him for good. Cue wailing and gnashing of teeth, or at least a long, rambling, self-justifying and, one has to say, tedious post at Human Events. “I’m Nick Monroe. Banned on Twitter Because I Mourned A Death” is the title. And it’s a crock of crap. He was banned for ban evasion.

Here, he tells “I’ve never sparked a riot over a speech. I’ve never chained myself to Twitter’s corporate offices. I do not make a daily spectacle of myself. But for some reason, everyone is up in arms about my ban from Twitter … Unlike Milo, [Laura] Loomer, and Alex Jones, those who followed me on Twitter saw me as a stabilizing force in the chaos of social media. But now I am banned, I suppose I have a story that needs to be told”.
I am just a poor boy though my story’s seldom told, I have squandered my resistance for a pocketful of mumbles, such are promises … er, I’m sorry, where was I? But seriously, this is total crap. Nick Monroe may have been well-regarded out on the far-right, but he was a poisonous creep whose reckless behaviour could have seriously endangered others.

Take, for instance, his attack on TellMAMA, where he asserted that, because the group was advising Police on Islamophobic behaviour, “2 + 2 = TELLMAMAUK has access to police data. That's not really an ‘independent’ thing for a group to have at all”. He stood in solidarity with Lauren Southern and Brittany Pettibone after they were banned from entering the UK. And he unequivocally supported Stephen Yaxley Lennon.

That, though, was a mere hors d’oeuvre for a much more pungent entrée, as Monroe went after historian and campaigner Mike Stuchbery, suggesting that Lennon doxxing Stuchbery was merely payback for Stuchbery doing it to him. This was a flat-out lie. But Monroe had the effrontery to berate two journalists at the Guardian until he was rumbled for deliberately falsifying a screen shot. Potential endangerment right there.
Now, though, Nick Monroe is weeping his way through his valedictory post, sniffing “You’re reading this because I’m gone now” and “I ran a YouTube channel with over 25,000 subscribers”. No doubt he ranks as high as any in Rome. Or perhaps what he is trying to tell us is “I could have been a contender, I could have ben somebody”. Or perhaps he’s still big, and it’s Twitter that got small. Perhaps he could get himself a guest spot at InfoWars.

Another far-right creep gets his just desserts. Just rejoice at that news.
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Esther McVey - The Section 28 Candidate

The Tory leadership contest, quite apart from showing the world the dearth of talent in what is still the party of Government, has let everyone know just how determined some in The Blue Team are to turn back the clock to a world of prejudice and ignorance. And there is no candidate who better combines those qualities than Esther McVey, gifted a safe Tory seat after the people of Merseyside bid her good riddance.
Ms McVey has waded into the arguments over teaching children about the existence of people who are not heterosexual: this follows protests outside a primary school in Birmingham against the teaching of LGBT relationships. Although most of the pupils at Anderton Park primary school are Muslim, the protests have been joined by religious conservatives from other faiths, especially Christians.

Former prosecutor Nazir Afzal has been brought in to mediate, but has so far been unsuccessful in reaching a resolution. Cue the intervention of Esther McVey. “I believe that parents know best for their children. Whilst they’re still children, and you’re talking … they’re in primary schools, then really parents need to have the final say in what they want their children to know”. Bad news for maths, perhaps.

And just in case anyone didn’t get that, she said it again. “I’m being very clear. The final say is with parents. And if parents want to take their children - primary school children - out of certain forms of the sex education, relationship education, that is down to them”. So parents can prevent their children finding out about the real world, and that’s OK with Ms McVey. That sounds like a blast from the past. Because that is what it is.

It takes us back to the days of Section 28 (of the Local Government Act 1988, passed at the height of Thatcherite righteousness), which “stated that a local authority ‘shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality’ or ‘promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship’”.
It followed on from the Thatcher Government’s vindictive abolition of the Greater London Council and the six metropolitan county councils, for no other reason than that they were Labour controlled, and in the case of the GLC, run by someone Mrs T personally despised (Ken Livingstone). The GLC had also been attacked for “promoting homosexuality”.

Now we have a candidate for the Tory leadership advocating what is, in effect, the reintroduction of Section 28 by the back door, under the cover of “parental choice”. That’s the choice, often at the urging of religious conservatives, to enforce ignorance upon their children. And ignorance breeds prejudice. It takes us to a very bad place.

Still, good of Esther McVey to confirm that Section 28 never really went away. One can only wonder what might be next - climate change, perhaps? Not clever. Not at all.
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Boris Trial - Tories Get Paranoid

London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson appears to be in a spot of bother, according to the BBC: “Boris Johnson has been ordered to appear in court over claims he lied by saying the UK gave the EU £350m a week. The Tory leadership candidate has been accused of misconduct in public office after making the claim during the 2016 EU referendum campaign.” And who is behind this move?
It is a private prosecution launched by campaigner Marcus Ball, who crowdfunded £200,000 for the case … The preliminary hearing will take place at Westminster Magistrates' Court and the case will then be sent to the Crown Court for trial”. Bozza having to account for his dishonesty in a court of law? Well, well.
This, though, was merely the signal for the spin machine to be fired up, triggering a tsunami of misinformation and deflection, and as so often in the vanguard were the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, who decided to play the man and not the ball. Or rather, they played the Marcus Ball.
Campaigner To ‘Stop Lying In Politics’ Is Lying About His Political Campaign” howled The Great Guido yesterday. Ball was dismissed as “smarmy” (two thirds of the Fawkes team having a self-awareness fail there). It’s all down to “the establishment and dodgy bandwagon hoppers”, which describes the Fawkes massive very well. They even have a quote from “A source close to Boris”, or, as it is usually called, Boris.
But the story had been framed in the way the Tories wanted: it was a political prosecution. The law was being used for political purposes. From there it was not hard for the Tories to claim that it was an attempt to curtail their FREEZE PEACH.
Cue the faux knowledge of the Member for Times Long Past Jacob Rees Mogg, who sniffed in typically superior style “Politicising justice is a really bad idea and it's actually what happens in totalitarian regimes”. The idea that the judiciary is not independent, something our free and fearless press likes to do when they get a decision they don’t like.
Bozza’s fellow leadership hopeful Rory Stewart was also in the deflection game. “It’s completely ridiculous to try to take Boris to court in the middle of the leadership race - let’s talk policy - not personalities and prosecution. Let’s get this done”. Irrelevant. As was the intervention of Michael “Oiky” Gove: “Whatever view you take on Brexit, we must not try to close down debate. Contending opinions and vigorous argument are the essence of democracy. We should trust the public to decide on the merits of a political case. We should not try to criminalise free speech”. No-one is closing down debate.
Still, Gove’s pals in the press have been given their cue, and the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph knew what that meant - invent something. “Stop ‘politically motivated’ prosecution over Johnson’s Leave campaign claim, DPP told”.
And the Mail went even more screamingly batshit, with Stephen “Miserable Git” Glover telling readers “Putting Boris in the dock isn’t just dotty. It’s a deeply sinister attack on our freedoms”. What complete crap. No freedoms have been attacked.

But Bozza now knows that free speech may mean responsibility. Good thing too.
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Wednesday 29 May 2019

Daily Mail Pundit Shills For Lawbreaker

The BBC is not the only media outlet giving out free publicity for candidates in the Tory leadership contest: today’s Daily Mail, along with an article on Mail Online, have dedicated space to promoting one of the candidates, too. As it’s Wednesday, and it’s the Mail, that means the pundit is the appallingly tedious Sarah “Vain” Vine, and the candidate her husband Michael “Oiky” Gove. And what a pitch it is, or rather, isn’t.
Lady Macbeth speaks. Highly selectively

He can't load a dishwasher and took his driving test seven times... but there's one job my husband would do well: The Mail's SARAH VINE reveals why she thinks Michael Gove is the right man to be Prime Minister”. We are being asked to believe that someone who cannot look after himself should be allowed to look after the UK. Ri-i-i-ight.
But she’s serious, despite an attack from Michael Gove having all the threat value of a broadside from Elmer Fudd. But do go on. “My husband, Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, is running for PM. It has not been an easy decision to take. Well, not for me, at any rate. I think for Michael it's a bit of a no-brainer. As a leader of the campaign to leave the EU, he is determined to deliver the result of the referendum - not least because it's what he believes in, but also because he has invested so much in it”.
Would that be the leader of Vote Leave, which broke the law, is under investigation by the Police, and which decided not to appeal against the judgment? But she’s not finished. “Seeing the result of a democratic vote turned into little short of a civil war has driven me mad with frustration and, at times, fury”. A democratic vote where her side cheated.
Still, she is able to tell us “For Michael, this is not just about succeeding where others have failed: it's about honouring the result of the referendum. And to do that he has to persuade the party and the people that not only is he the right man to unite the Conservatives and deliver Brexit, he is also someone who can, in the long term, restore faith in politics”.
And how can he restore faith in politics, other than helping the Metropolitan Police with their enquiries? Gove, and indeed Bozza, should not be allowed anywhere near this leadership contest. Also, as Shahmir Sanni has pointed out, “As someone who spent two years with the people that work for Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Daniel Hannan, Jacob Rees-Mogg … nearly every single one of them wants to abolish free healthcare”.
That’s in addition to Sanni’s observation “Vote Leave broke the law and then failed to appeal their case so this is now an undeniable truth. So why are Michael Gove & Boris Johnson still MPs, let alone being considered as potential leaders? They always knew BeLeave was a Vote Leave campaign. They oversaw criminality”. There is more.
I would vote remain if the leave campaign was run by the same criminals as before. I will not have my values and principles stained forever by aligning with the likes of Boris Johnson or Michael Gove, Matthew Elliot or Darren Grimes … Michael Gove was the chair of the Campaign Committee of Vote Leave. BeLeave was discussed many times within their meetings. Yet Michael Gove and co have denied BeLeave was a Vote Leave project. They have [been] proven to have lied. They broke the law”.

What Sarah Vine thinks rather pales into insignificance by comparison. But interesting to see that the Daily Mail is condoning criminality. Who would have thought it?
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Far Right Leader Exposed As Woman Beater

The track record of far-right group Britain First is not an illustrious one: for starters, despite the denials, one of its followers is now serving a whole life sentence for murdering a Labour MP three years ago. Its leadership has had countless brushes with the law. Now it has been shown that its leader, Paul Golding, is a self-confessed woman-beater.
This could be the end of a not very beautiful friendship

Once again, it is BBC Northern Ireland’s Spotlight team who have uncovered the confession: BF has been increasingly active there of late. As the Beeb has reported, “Over the last 18 months, it has been seeking support in Northern Ireland and has set up its party headquarters in the Shankill Road area of Belfast. It has also carried out leaflet drops in many towns, including Bangor, Newtownards, Lisburn, Lurgan, Portadown, Portrush and Londonderry”. But it is Golding’s confession that is the main event.

The leader of the far right group, Britain First, has been secretly recorded admitting to violently attacking his former deputy, Jayda Fransen … In a secret recording, Mr Golding is heard saying he has assaulted both Jayda Fransen and another woman … Spotlight spoke to a dozen ex-members of Britain First, some from Northern Ireland, who personally witnessed or had been aware of these assaults.” There was more.

Jayda Fransen has confirmed the allegations are true … She said she and Paul Golding were a couple for a short time when she joined Britain First in 2014 … After that personal relationship ended, she and others have said the violence continued over a period of roughly four-and-a-half-years, while she was with her party”. What a nice chap.

Nor is it the first allegation of assault against Golding: as the Observer reported in December 2017, “Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of the far-right group whose posts were retweeted by US president Donald Trump last week, is accused of trying to dissuade the victim of an alleged sexual assault from making an official complaint”.
Any condemnation from his pals here?

And who is alleged to have carried out the assault? “The 31-year-old deputy leader of the anti-Muslim group Britain First is said to have tried to persuade the victim not to complain after she alleged she was sexually assaulted by the group’s leader, Paul Golding, in July … Former Britain First member Graham Morris, in the hotel that night, says he witnessed Fransen encouraging the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, to stay quiet”.

There was more. “Morris … then alleged that the Britain First deputy told the victim that she should go back to the hotel bar where other members of the group were drinking … He added: ‘Jayda said: ‘You’re going to have to come back to the bar and let everyone see you with Paul [Golding] so it looks like a misunderstanding. I was disgusted that a woman could try and encourage another woman not to report what happened.’

So that’s alleged coercion as well as assault on yet another victim. And ultimately the attempt to pass off Golding’s behaviour as a “misunderstanding” failed: “The alleged victim did eventually report Golding to police in early September”. So where is the chorus of condemnation from the rest of the far-right? As if you need to ask: there isn’t one.

Violence, for the far-right, is not only something they mete out to others. They do it to one another. And as for condemning sexual assaults … hypocrisy, much?
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BBC Tory Leadership Specials WRONG

A concept much beloved of Professor Milton Friedman of the University of Chicago, and with which his economics meisterwerk Free To Choose is liberally adorned, is that of “Taxation Without Representation”, the idea that if one should not be paying taxes when one does not have the vote. It is a thought which comes to mind when browsing the BBC’s announcement of its coverage for the upcoming Tory leadership contest.
BBC News will be hosting a series of special programming on BBC One covering the contest which will decide the next UK Prime Minister” we are told. There is more. “At the heart of the schedule will be a TV debate moderated by Emily Maitlis between the Conservative leadership candidates. This will take place in mid June, and all remaining candidates in the leadership race will be invited to take part in the hustings event”.

And that’s not all. “The final two candidates who remain after the voting by Conservative MPs will then be invited to put their case to an audience, in a single special edition of BBC One’s Question Time with Fiona Bruce … The same two candidates will also be invited to take part in one-on-one interviews with Andrew Neil, both individual, stand-alone programmes, and to take place within the voting period for Conservative Party members, who will decide the UK’s next Prime Minister”. Well, well.

This may give the Beeb’s management, and not least Director General Lord Hall-Hall, a nice warm feeling, but someone has not thought this through. We licence fee payers are effectively stumping up for these programmes, but very few of us get to vote.

I’ll go further. The Tory leadership contest is already being covered - by all broadcasters, every newspaper and newspaper website, and a plethora of new media outlets. That’s quite enough coverage for those of us who aren’t party members.
Lord Hall-Hall: wrong call, Tony

Choosing between the contenders is for Tory Party MPs, and then members. The former get to whittle down the list of contenders to just two, and the latter then get to choose one of the two. No-one else is involved. So no-one else should be paying.

In case no-one had noticed, the Lib Dems, who have just scored four times more MEPs than the Tories, are also having a leadership contest. Where is the wall-to-wall BBC coverage of that event? Where are the televised debates? There aren’t any.

This is an internal Tory Party matter. If the electorate - all 100,000 to 120,000 of them - requires any assistance in making their minds up, then the party can commission its own series of debates, for which the BBC and other broadcasters may tender, to be paid for at normal commercial rates. We The People should not be footing the bill.

After all, this is a clear case of Taxation Without Representation. Should independently funded outlets like Sky News and ITV want to give more attention to the contest, that is up to them. But it is not what licence fee payers should be paying for.

The BBC has made a shockingly serious error. Its management should think again.
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