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Sunday 30 June 2019

Toby Young Backs Actual Fascist

Such is his passion for boldly searching out bad news about Rotten Lefties™, and his woeful lack of ability when it comes to telling truth from fiction, that it was only a matter of time before the loathsome Toby Young came unstuck - and got conned rotten. I have to tell you that this moment has now arrived, leaving Tobes covered in rather more than confusion, after he decided to champion the cause of one Andy Ngo.
Taking what he was shown as fact - forgetting that what looks too good to be true probably is too good to be true - Tobes told his followers “If you were ever in any doubt that so-called anti-fascists are in fact fascists, take a look at this photo. A gay Asian man (@MrAndyNgo) beaten up by Antifa thugs in Portland because he disagrees with their politics [sic] views”. But not everyone was convinced by Ngo’s show.
Andy Ngo - not a blameless victim

Observing that video of the incident only started at the point Ngo was struck, Matt Binder mused “Weird you can see all these photographers and journalists snapping pics in this video, completely unharmed, and Antifa only takes issue with right wing provocateur Andy Ngo. Also interesting the video starts right at the moment he gets smacked. I wonder!
Ah, so Ngo is not a mere bystander, but an agent provocateur. Did Tobes miss that? Perhaps he also missed Ngo’s recent involvement in violence coming out of the far-right, as one Tweeter told: “Here's Andy doxxing a victim of the Cider Riot attack. Her vertebrae was fractured when one of Andy's chums hit her with a metal baton from behind”.
Not blameless at all, it seems

It gets worse: a more detailed account of that attack tells “Andy Ngo was a key participant in a filmed Nazi attack on a Portland bar on 5/1/19 in which an antifascist had their neck broken … Andy, after meeting with the group of attackers ahead of time, arrived first with a group of Patriot Prayer affiliated videographers. They set up and waited for the fighting members of the group to show up and create viral content for Andy and themselves”.
Do go on. “Patriot Prayer videographers partner with the group to capture viral footage for themselves while promoting the fascist organization. Everyone who has experience with Portland rallies knows that Andy Ngo is a key player in the violence that Patriot Prayer has brought to Portland”. Not quite the victim Tobes is suggesting, is he?
And Libcom Dot Org let us know “Just a reminder that Andy Ngo was the author of the massively Islamophobic WSJ article which claimed there was Sharia law in Tower Hamlets because he saw an 'alcohol restricted' sign”. The article, “A visit to Islamic England”, was little more than far-right propaganda. This is Tobes’ latest pal.
We didn’t get to see what happened before Ngo was apparently struck. But we do know that Andy Ngo is a neo-Fascist provocateur given a veneer of respectability because he’s an editor for Quillette. He sides with groups like the Proud Boys, whom the anti-Fascist counter-demonstrators were protesting in Portland yesterday.
The Proud Boys promote political violence. Not the anti-Fascists. Toby Young could have found that out by no more than a couple of minutes’ Googling. Instead, he took Ngo and his pals at their word and made himself look an even bigger fool.

He’s called Captain Bellend. Because he’s a Bellend. I’ll just leave that one there.
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Boris - Press Sitting On Affair Story

Once again, our free and fearless press finds itself under scrutiny, not just for what it does publish, but for what it does not. And when the subject of what it does not publish concerns London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, the man who would be Prime Minister, it matters to all of us.
After the well-documented Domestic between Bozza and his partner Carrie Symonds was read, inwardly digested and thoroughly analysed last week, rumours began to circulate that the row as published was only the tail end of a rather longer exchange of views between the less than totally happy couple. And the subject of the opening salvoes from Ms Symonds are believed to concern Bozza’s lack of fidelity towards her.

Perhaps it did not occur to her at the time, but the very fact that she began a relationship with The Great Man when he was supposed to be married to second wife Marina Wheeler should have told Ms Symonds that her new man had a tendency to be distracted by women other than his current partner. But as she is well connected in the media world, it was never going to take long for her to get up to speed on the subject.
So it was no surprise when Nick Tolhurst told “2 UK newspapers have info on an additional Boris Johnson affair which was the source of argument with Carrie Symonds but have yet to publish”. The press knows, and indeed, anyone who subscribes to Popbitch knows. Heck, just spending a few minutes searching on the browser of your choice and at least one illicit Bozza liaison will be revealed. Maybe more than one.

Worse, as it is more than likely that Ms Symonds confronted Bozza with evidence of his wanderings at the start of that Domestic, there are now worries among The Great Man’s cheerleaders not only that she named names, but also that she named them loudly enough for the recording of the argument to contain them.
That concern has clearly got to Bozza’s pals at the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph, and there is no more desperate hack there than Christopher “No” Hope, who has tried to discredit any audio evidence by offering “Carrie Symonds' flat builder breaks silence as he claims walls are so thick neighbours could not hear motorbike revving”. The outside walls, maybe. But not the internal ones. Nice try, but still no hope.
Hope has no hope of keeping l’affaire Bozza (or maybe that should read les affaires Bozzas) out of the news. The names being circulated are well-enough known that no amount of that legendary press Omertà will hold back the news. One bip on the social media throttle and it’ll be out there. And once one paper summons the courage to run the story, it will be like the Domestic - the herd instinct will take over.

The Bozza story the Murdoch Sunday Times has offered up today - something from 30 years ago that can be brushed off as another of those Mere Youthful Indiscretions - is just a smokescreen. It’s mere damage limitation, a distraction to con the public into thinking that the press really is on The Great Man’s case. Don’t fall for it.

Those who said Bozza was a potential security risk were right. You can’t have a Prime Minister wandering off because he can’t keep his trousers zipped up. More to come.
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Top Six - June 30

So what’s hot, and what’s not, in the past week’s blogging? Here are the six most popular posts on Zelo Street for the past seven days, counting down in reverse order, because, well, I have domestic stuff to do later. So there.
6 Boris Moves Out - Where’s Carrie? A week after the Domestic between London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds, and no sign of the allegedly happy couple together. Come on, press people!

5 Tommy Robinson Gives The Game Away Stephen Yaxley Lennon boasted how he was going to get off his Contempt of Court rap - a whole week before his court appearance.

4 Boris Carrie-On - Don’t Believe A Word Much of the post-Domestic spin has come from Ms Symonds, who has serious form for invention, as she showed when she worked for John Whittingdale.

3 Jewish Activist Attacked For Supporting Corbyn Andrew Feinstein found himself the victim of some highly creative abuse after choosing, of his own free will, to declare his support for the Labour leader.

2 Allison Pearson In Deep Shit The Telegraph’s increasingly wayward pundit wanted the neighbours who called the cops on Bozza and his partner to be doxxed. Then they had to move out following a series of grim threats. Hello Allison.

1 Arron Banks Fouls Up His Own Legal Threat The alleged “Man who bankrolled Brexit” said he didn’t do what he claims the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr says he did. Except the available evidence suggests he did.

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

Saturday 29 June 2019

Tory Fringe Group Welcomes Anti-Semite

After Turning Point UK was launched - it was more of a damp squib than a successful launch - investigations began into its links, and indeed the US original. Those investigations can only have been redoubled after Turning Point US founder Charlie Kirk rocked up at the group’s first anniversary dinner at One Great George Street earlier this month. Kirk, a total shit of no known principle, had questions to answer.
Taki - the bigot's bigot, the racist's racist, the anti-Semite's anti-Semite

As I pointed out at the time, Kirk “slagged off Taylor Swift for endorsing a Democrat, claiming she hadn’t written her endorsement. She had. He claimed the French Gilets Jaunes protesters had chanted ‘We want Trump’. They hadn’t. He claimed life expectancy in Cuba was 15 years lower than in the USA. It is actually higher in Cuba”.

Then there was the matter of Kirk’s, and Turning Point’s, tendency to bigotry, as I noted: “Hopefully Kirk will also explain why, in May this year alone, two TPUSA officials were caught using the N-Word, one of whom also freely indulged in blatant anti-Semitism”. What I did not expect was that TPUK would have invited a vicious and indeed self-confessed anti-Semite to that anniversary bash. Can you guess who it is yet?

What I also could not have envisaged is that routinely dishonest Spectator editor Fraser Nelson would not only admit this individual’s presence, but advertise it freely. And so he has, telling “Nice men make terrible leaders, says Taki”. Ah, Taki Theodoracopulos, racist bigot and self-confessed anti-Semite. Was he at the TPUK bash? It seems he was.

Not only that, he kicked off his article with a blatant slice of anti-Semitism. “The Duke of Marlborough gave a toast last week that brought the house down during a Turning Point dinner for those of us resolved to end the threat of Cultural Marxism for good”. Bang to rights: “Cultural Marxism”, as Zelo Street regulars will know, is an anti-Semitic trope. The Board of Deputies called out Tory MP Suella Braverman for using it recently.
The BoD’s spokesperson told “Suella Braverman may not have been aware of it, but the term ‘cultural Marxist’ has a history as an antisemitic trope … We would ask for her to clarify the remarks and undertake not to use the phrase in future”. Now, a known anti-Semite has used the phrase, while confirming that a group whose US parent carries the whiff of anti-Semitism invited him to their bash the other week.

Turning Point UK was backed by several Tory MPs, people like Priti Patel, Bernard Jenkin and Steve Baker. Now we know it gives invites to Taki, who back in the daywas criticised by the then-editor [of the Spectator] Boris Johnson for a series of racist and antisemitic articles”. Too racist for Bozza. He’s supported Greek neo-Nazis Golden Dawn. He recently penned a piece for the Speccy titled “In praise of the Wehrmacht”.

And now he’s brought the rank stench of anti-Semitism to Turning Point UK. It’s not a racist endeavour, you understand. It just happens to invite racists to its gatherings. And if you believe that, you’ll believe anything.
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Murdoch Corbyn Age Smear TOTALLY UNTRUE

As if to confirm the claims made by Brian Cathcart and Paddy French this week, in their report “UNMASKED - Andrew Norfolk, the Times Newspaper and Anti-Muslim Reporting - A Case To Answer” (read it HERE), that editorial standards at the Murdoch Times have declined significantly in recent years, the paper has this morning embarked upon a smear campaign against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. A totally fictitious campaign.
Under the pretentious banner of “Times Investigation”, a contradiction in terms if ever there was one, the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker tell readers “Corbyn too frail to be PM, fears civil service … Concern Labour leader ‘propped up’ by advisors”.

So let’s see what the Murdoch goons have to say. “Senior civil servants have become increasingly concerned about Jeremy Corbyn’s health and warned that he may be forced to stand down as Labour leader because he is not up to the job ‘physically or mentally’ … the future of Mr Corbyn, 70, was openly discussed at an event attended by mandarins this month amid suggestions that he has become ‘too frail and is losing his memory’”.

Ho yus. Do go on. “They say they are increasingly worried about the prospect of him becoming Prime Minister because he is being ‘propped up’ by his advisers , and lacks a firm grasp of both foreign affairs an the domestic agenda … one senior civil servant said ‘When does someone say [he] is too ill to carry on as leader of the Labour Party let alone Prime Minister? There must be senior people in the party who know that he is not functioning on all cylinders’”. “Functioning on all cylinders”, eh? There is more.
Another said: ‘There is a real worry that the Labour leader isn’t up to the job physically or mentally but is being propped up by those around him. There’s growing concern that he’s too frail and is losing his memory. He’s not in charge of his own party’”. And to that I say bullshit. This is a cheap and crude smear with zero basis in fact.

But how does the Times get those quotes from “Senior civil servants”? Simples. The term “Civil Servant” is one that can be used in a highly elastic manner. It can, indeed, refer to career civil servants. But my suspicion is that, under John Witherow’s editorship, the Times is also prepared to stretch that definition to include political appointees - like SpAds working for, oh I dunno, the Tory Party. Hence the quotes provided to order.

Likewise with the claims that the paper “spoke to dozens of Labour figures including members of the shadow cabinet”. The quotes actually come from “A former cabinet minister” (note: not a former Labour cabinet minister), “Another leading figure”, “Another Labour source”, “One ex-official” (note: not necessarily a Labour ex-official), and “A recent visitor to the Leader’s office”. Recent visitor? Recent Murdoch hack visitor, perhaps?
Times editor John Witherow - overseeing another turkey

See how it can all be cobbled together to look authentic, while being nothing more than a cheap hatchet job produced to the editor’s order? That this is an organised smear is confirmed by the Sun running the same story, although is is not signposted on the paper’s front page. which is given over to Dan Wootton inventing another Royal “exclusive”.

Worse for the Murdoch mafiosi, this story is a prime example or rank hypocrisy. Remember that the Murdoch press enthusiastically backed the Presidential campaigns of Ronald Reagan, almost 70 on inauguration, almost 74 on re-election, and whose memory was most definitely failing him before the end of his first term. And there is more.

As Private Eye magazine has told in its latest issue (#1499), under the heading “Fox Flap”, all may not be well with Rupe himself. “DARK murmurings from News Corp suggest that while 88-year-old executive chairman Rupert Murdoch is still with us physically, his mind may be increasingly semi-detached”. What has caused this concern?
The murmurs took on a new significance last week after filings with the US Securities & Exchange Commission revealed that on 14 June the Dirty Digger personally spent more than $20m buying 600,000 shares in his company Fox Corp - only a week after he had bought exactly the same number but then promptly sold them”.

The filing explained that Murdoch had bought the first lot of shares by mistake. As the Eye muses, “If, while having a senior moment, Rupert can absentmindedly spend more than $20m on shares he didn’t mean to buy, what eight-figure errors will he commit next?

So when Rebekah Brooks and her editors play the “look at the doddery old bloke who’s losing his marbles” card, they are standing in an increasingly draughty glasshouse.

The Times was once a paper of record. It isn’t any more. Sad, really.
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Arron Banks BEGGING For Lawsuit Donations

The threatened lawsuit from alleged “Man who bankrolled Brexit” Arron Banks against the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr appears to be a campaign destined to develop not necessarily to his advantage. Not only has Banksy chosen a distinctly sticky track on which to bat, he has once again shown that he is not as rich as he would like his fans to believe - and, most likely, not rich enough to bung millions to the Leave campaign.
Banks’ latest lawyers Kingsley, Napley had sent Ms Caswalladr a letter marked “Private and Confidential” and “Not for publication”, but had bust that by tipping off the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, who told readers “Banks says he took no money and he has no covert relationship”. Ms Cadwalladr didn’t say he did take money (from the Russians), merely that he was offered it.
Worse, the Banks attack has the disadvantage that the Commons DCMS Committee has already concluded “Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore have misled the Committee on the number of meetings that took place with the Russian Embassy”, and speaking of his pal Wiggy, “Mr Banks seemed to want to hide the extent of his contacts with Russia, while his spokesman Andy Wigmore’s statements have been unreliable - by his own admission - and cannot be taken at face value. Mr Wigmore is a self-confessed liar and, as a result, little significance can be attached to anything that he says”. Ouch!
Could it get worse? As if you need to ask. The supposedly super rich Banks is now passing round the begging bowl to fund his legal action. I kid you not: Ron Hopeful (for it is he) has told the Brexiteer headbanger faithful “as a result of our huge success, we have acquired some powerful enemies in the political establishment”. Do go on.

Leave.EU has been under constant attack by the Establishment, the media, and from organisations funded by the likes of George Soros”. Whiff of anti-Semitism there. So what’s he driving at? “At a convention earlier this month, the Guardian’s Carole Cadwalladr made direct claims that I had been offered cash by the Kremlin to campaign for independence”. Offered cash full stop. Independence my arse.
There was more. “Legal letters have gone out demanding an apology and any damages will be donated to the Brexit Party”. Yes? Yes yes? Yes yes yes?

Under that is the begging box, proclaiming “Help us defend Brexit and sue the Guardian’s Carole Cadwalladr for defamation … DONATE HERE”. Two things here. One, going after Ms Cadwalladr is not going to defend Brexit, or indeed anything. And Two, Banksy just admitted once more that he is either a shameless grifter, or not as rich as he pretends.
It doesn’t help that the latest Banks campaign - to get Tory minister David Gauke deselected - failed last night. “Tomorrow we claim our first Cabinet scalp as @DavidGauke is up for deselection in South West Herts … Bless! @DavidGauke asks Michael Gove to write a letter of support to his local members, begging them not to deselect him in tomorrow's confidence vote … There’s not a hope in hell of them changing their mind, David. Tomorrow we get our first Cabinet scalp!” claimed the Leave EU Twitter feed.

Gauke won that vote. And Banksy’s entryists lost. Not a good omen, eh Banksy?
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Friday 28 June 2019

Boris Moves Out - Where’s Carrie?

While most of our free and fearless press is focused now on the Tory leadership contest, and no longer on the unfeasibly loud Domestic that occurred between London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds last Friday at the flat in Camberwell she was renting, some Bozza watchers are scenting a little disharmony and dishonesty in the air.
We were told at fairly regular intervals, ever since Bozza was caused to move out of the house in North London which he and soon to be ex-wife Marina Wheeler, along with their children, had been living, that he and Ms Symonds, a former Tory HQ spinner of no known trustworthiness, were besotted with one another. She would accompany him into Downing Street. She was already informally known to friends as FLOTUS.
But since that Domestic, Bozza has been tight-lipped about the relationship, and indeed on occasion ashen-faced. The briefing of weekend papers citing Ms Symonds’ opinion that she had been “stitched up” by the Rotten Lefties™ had clearly been a solo effort by Herself. And then came the staged photo to end all staged photos.
There were Bozza and Carrie, still very much in love, sitting there at that rather cheap looking outdoor table, somewhere that hadn’t had the grass mowed for a while. It was all very romantic, sylvan, soft focus and photogenic. It was also an appalling sham: it was soon apparent that the photo must have been taken some time ago, as Bozza’s hair was of a more substantial length than at the time of That Domestic.
That matters, because it was the only photo showing Bozza and Carrie together issued since That Domestic. It gets worse: since the photo was shown to be not taken last weekend, as was inferred by its release, there has been no sign of her. Not by herself, and certainly not with Bozza. Why might that be?

And in a further development, a BBC apprentice called Emma Bentley caught Bozza on camera the other morning. “Accidental doorstep on my walk to work! Saw Boris Johnson getting out his car so ran ahead to film his arrival” she told. But whose house was that? Was Bozza just visiting, or is he shacked up there? We soon found out.
Fortunately, the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr (yes, it would be her) was able to place a few more pieces of the jigsaw: “So, we got any ideas what Boris Johnson was doing this morning? Hanging out in Westminster townhouse owned by Andrew Griffith. That's Andrew Griffith, COO  & CFO of Sky. Previously described as ‘close’ to Rupert Murdoch”.

Of course, Jeremy Hunt (the former Culture Secretary) has also been close to the Murdoch mafiosi, as we saw when the first Sky bid went in. But Bozza is widely believed to be the preferred Murdoch candidate, sufficiently malleable to ease through a change in the broadcast impartiality rules to allow TalkRADIO to become Fox News UK.
But once again - where’s Carrie? Where indeed. Will she really rock up in Downing Street if Bozza gets the Top Job, and if so, will it be as his partner, or just to get her feet under the top table? The longer she’s a no show, the louder the rumours are bound to get.

It’s starting to look as if that sham photo was a seriously bold con job. More on this later.
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No Deal Brexit - No Vauxhall

The happy Brexiteers have brushed off every bit of bad news, any revelation of job losses. So Jaguar Land Rover moving production to Slovakia was Nothing To Do With Brexit. Bad news from Nissan was Nothing To Do With Brexit. And Honda closing their plant at Swindon with the loss of thousands of jobs, with thousands more dependent on those jobs, was most definitely Nothing To Do With Brexit. So there.
Any warning concerning the disruption of all those Just-In-Time supply chains was dismissed as the mere blustering of Project Fear™. We were British, dammit, and we had survived Two World Wars. We would never surrender to Johnny Foreigner, or indeed reality. We would fight those ghastly European blighters up hill and down Iain Dale.

But now has come a potential upheaval that cannot be dismissed as Nothing To Do With Brexit. Because the news has Brexit front and centre. It’s right there in Very Big Letters Indeed. And it comes, once more, from the car industry - that’s a manufacturing industry which employs lots of people, with lots more employed in those supply chains.

As the Guardian has reported, “French carmaker PSA Group has warned that it will only build its new Vauxhall Astra at its Ellesmere Port plant if the UK avoids a no-deal Brexit, in a stark indication of the importance of trade with the EU to the British car industry … The Astra is the bestselling model under the Vauxhall and Opel brands and will be built in Germany as well as at Ellesmere Port, near Liverpool, if severe Brexit disruption is avoided, PSA said on Thursday”. Note the very large IF there.

What did PSA actually say? “The decision on the allocation to the Ellesmere Port plant will be conditional on the final terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union and the acceptance of the New Vehicle Agreement, which has been negotiated with the Unite trade union.” The Guardian adds “The warning underlined the urgent calls from across the British car industry for a Brexit deal that avoids delays or tariffs at the UK border”.
So how many front pages have featured this news? There was a small item at the foot of the Times front page today. How about those ardent Brexiteers? No Twitter mention of Vauxhall from Nigel “Thirsty” Farage or his smiling sidekick Richard Tice. More importantly, given she represents North West England in the European Parliament, no word either from terrorist sympathiser and genocide denier Claire Fox.

The people at PSA are yet to meet London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, favourite to become the next Prime Minister, and who has committed himself to leaving the EU by the end of October, even if it means not striking a deal with the remaining 27 EU member states before then. It’s almost as if Bozza and his party aren’t fussed about the Vauxhall brand departing the UK for good.

Perhaps if PSA made similar noises about the van plant in Luton which employs around 1,100 - that makes it rather closer to London - the Tories and their press pals might start to wake up. This is exactly the kind of potential job loss they were warned about time after time, but chose to ignore. It would never happen. Well, now it just might.

It was never Project Fear, but Project Reality. Grim Reality. You have been warned.
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Tommy Robinson Gives The Game Away

Rather quieter of late, but still out there somewhere, Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, has been mulling his upcoming appearance at the Old Bailey, on Thursday next week, on contempt of court charges. Gone is the cocksure demeanour of recent times: instead, a more serious note has been struck. Perhaps Lennon realises that there is a significant chance that he will be sent to prison.
But he and his lawyers have a plan. A cunning plan. A plan so cunning that he has decided to tell the world, and therefore those representing the Crown next Thursday, all about it, just in case they hadn’t got all the angles covered and the meat van booked to take him off to the kind of hotel run on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen.

Here’s what he has to say about his team’s tactics. “The … charge, that I breached Section 4 reporting restrictions, you will be shown evidence, in court, that the court did not follow any of the procedures they have to follow. The Judge made a reporting restriction, but at no point was it put into the court system. Which means it was never put on the court door, never put on the court system - all the places where I would have gone to look”.

So he’s going to try and get that charge thrown out - Crown lawyers take note. Also, his team will cite a Law Commission report as another way of getting that charge thrown out, as he went on to explain. “The Law Commission made a six-month investigation into Contempt of Court laws in 2014. I’m using this paper [my emphasis]”. Do go on.

In their study, they said that Contempt of Court laws are unfair on the public … it’s an open book for mistakes and errors … they advised, at the end of their … investigation, they gave one recommendation … [to] provide a national website - the Attorney General was asked to provide a national website - that all reporting restrictions will go on to, so people can check. They didn’t do that”. Crown lawyers take note once more.
Could he make the Crown even more prepared? He certainly could. “Another law, everybody needs to understand, which I’ll be citing in my court case [my emphasis], the Judge has no power to put reporting restrictions on information that’s already in the public domain. He can’t do it”. So what is Lennon’s conclusion?

Tommy Robinson, not guilty, 4th of July, at the Old Bailey … if we had a just and fair system, that would be the result. If I was getting tried by 12 members of the British public, that would be the result. What we find out on the 4th of July is if we have a corrupt legal system”. So that’s the Cambridgeshire Police excuse wheeled out in advance this time.

What Lennon has not done is to dispute the claim that he was in Contempt of Court. It seems his defence will rest on trying to have the charge thrown out by claiming that the Leeds case did not follow proper procedure, and/or that the Judge exceeded his powers.

That’s not merely a high risk strategy, it’s a last ditch one. There will be the usual gathering outside the Bailey, with Lennon’s team putting up a stage and screen to show his get-out video. Some of his fans will show up. But it will not sway the court one inch.

Stephen Lennon is having to take his trial seriously. Because it could be serious.
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Thursday 27 June 2019

Times Islamophobia - Not Waving But Drowning

Murdoch editor John Witherow, it seems, is not familiar with the Streisand Effect. That is the only conclusion that can be drawn from his willingness to devote his Times editorial to a spectacularly wrong-headed rebuttal of the investigation into Andrew Norfolk’s failings in a series of articles which just happened to pass adverse comment upon Scary Muslims™.
John Witherow, editor of the Times

That investigation, which I discussed yesterday, was at a disadvantage: authors Brian Cathcart and Paddy French could not have hoped to equal the reach of the Times, and so contacted every MP, and many more, directly with copies of their analysis. By responding via an aggressive editorial - which has Witherow’s fingerprints all over it - the Murdoch mafiosi have brought the investigation to a potentially far greater audience.

Having made this all-too-avoidable blunder, Witherow then compounds his error by rolling out a spectacularly lame defence, which consists of a combination of name-calling and crude deflection. Under the heading “Press Gang” (Witherow got one thing right - that’s the name of Paddy French’s blog) he tells grandly “Politically motivated campaigners are trying to smear and suppress fine reporting”. His paper is fine - take his word for it. Er, no.

But do go on. “The attackers have form. When Norfolk revealed for the first time the systematic abuse of white teenagers by men of mainly Pakistani background in Rotherham and other northern towns, he also revealed the complicity of social workers, Police and local councillors who failed to stop the grooming. They failed for fear of being accused of racism. That fear proved deeply entrenched”. There was more.
Norfolk’s work was eventually honoured with the Orwell Prize, the Paul Foot award and with journalist of the year awards, but not before it had been fiercely disparaged by groups determined to recast the story in terms of Islamophobia. Norfolk’s critics fell silent only when overwhelming evidence emerged in the press, courts and public inquiries that forced the country to confront a deeply rooted pattern of criminal behaviour with a clear ethnic component”. This is the most magnificently crafted smokescreen. And it’s total drivel.

Note the crude linking of “The attackers have form” to criticism of Norfolk’s work exposing grooming gangs. Is there a link? Between Messrs Cathcart and French and that alleged criticism? No. Not the faintest trace of a link. It’s a dead cat. And not a very good one.

Worse, Witherow is effectively telling his audience that Norfolk got it right then, and so whatever he churns out hereafter must also be right. Honestly, Officer, I can’t have taken a wrong turn and gone the wrong way down a one way street, because for the past three years I haven’t taken a wrong turn of any kind. Would that impress a court? Maybe not.

Worst of all, Witherow fails to address even one of the many criticisms made of Norfolk’s attacks. It is almost as if he is unable to do so. He does, of course, tell readers how press non-regulator IPSO has had only minor criticisms of Norfolk’s reportage, but then, as I never tire of reminding the press establishment, IPSO is effectively the same old failed PCC, er, fluid in a differently labelled bottle. It is a sham regulator.

All that the editor of what was once considered a paper of record can say in his defence is that his reporters should be trusted. And to that I say fine - produce trustworthy journalism. Because right now, it can’t be trusted. And so it isn’t. Full stop, end of story.
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