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Thursday 31 October 2019

Doug Murray The K PWNED On Today Prog

The far-right and its cheerleaders love publicity. Only not the kind of publicity that involves them having to answer questions about their past utterances and sympathies. Those kinds of questions are streng verboten, and especially for upmarket racist bigot Doug Murray The K, whose appearance on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme was one of those campaigns destined to turn out not necessarily to his advantage.
Murray was being interviewed by host Nick Robinson: knowing he was going to be quizzed by a former Beeb political editor might have given him a clue that this was not going to be a softball walk in the park. But when the straightforward quote from his past came up, he was so woefully unprepared that he lost his cool big time.
Evening all

He lost it so badly that the Daily Brexit, sometimes still called the Express, found it necessary to go in to bat for him. “Political commentator Douglas Murray lashed out at BBC host Nick Robinson for raising an old quote of his where he said “we need less Islam”. Mr Murray argued this was a ‘typical BBC gang up’, to take a random quote out of context and attempt to surprise right-wing guests with it on air. He added that this quotation was off-topic as they were intending to discuss former US President Barack Obama's speech regarding woke and cancel culture”. What a wuss.
Who says it’s “off topic”? Robinson wondered what Murray’s problem was. “Just to clarify, and I am directly quoting you as saying the words: We need to have less Islam. I am not sure why you are offended by me quoting you?” Well, quite. What say Doug?
I am not offended by you quoting me, lots of people would be offended by the notion … I am offended by you doing a weird typical BBC gang up thing where you decide to go one person on the right and not somebody on the left … I am very happy to defend my words”. The words are still big. It’s the interviews that got small.
The reaction told you who had enjoyed the best of that exchange, with Michael Rosen musing “Sizzling sound as Douglas Murray roasted”. Samantha Batra, meanwhile, wasn’t impressed with Doug even before the meltdown: “Douglas Murray invoking Obama. That’s rich”. Another Tweeter just found it enjoyable. "Absolutely glorious to hear Douglas Murray be totally hung out to dry on Today just now. Really, brilliant stuff”.
One commenter was prophetic in his response: “Murray will definitely get today's 'most triggered' award. He totally lost it. Such a fragile ego. He will spend the rest of the day telling everyone that the BBC was 'so unfair' to him”. Simon Thorp added “Now I’ve heard it all! [Nick Robinson] and [BBC News] accused on the Today Programme by Spectator and Sun hack Douglas Murray of ganging up on the right and not letting him have his say”.
The Tweeter known as @snigskitchen pointed out that Robinson was not “off topic”: “Today Douglas Murray said on Radio 4 ‘there should be less Islam’. He's an Islamophobe. But he's also racist: ‘London has become a foreign country. In 23 of London’s 33 boroughs “white Britons” are now in a minority,’ implying brown people aren't British”. Quite.
Meanwhile, Murray has gone running to the increasingly alt-right Spectator. “What happened when I was ambushed by Nick Robinson on the Today programme. By Douglas Murray”. No link will be provided, because Murray’s blubbering is paywalled.
Moreover, Jonathan Portes felt the need to point out “‘Ambushed’ here meaning ‘accurately quoted saying that we need “less Islam”, we should ban Muslims from migrating to the UK, black or Asian people born in the UK are “foreign”’, etc, etc”.
Douglas Murray has had two invites to the Today Programme in the past month. He’s done all right for a racist bigot, however upmarket he may be considered.

And now he’s been rumbled. Some people don’t like racists. Get over it.
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Sajid Javid’s Hugh Grant Mardy Strop

Outgoing Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid discovered, at the London première of Martin Scorsese’s film The Irishman, that politicians’ actions can have consequences. And what happened when he met actor and campaigner Hugh Grant clearly had more force than all those victims of press abuse whose lobbying he had so contemptuously dismissed some time earlier. It carried such force that he’s still whining about it.
Javid, who has previously been Culture Secretary (he preceded John Whittingdale), saw Grant at the première, approached him, said “lovely to meet you”, offered his hand, and discovered that the feeling was not mutual. He has now bleated ad infinitum, and indeed ad nauseam, to the Evening Standard magazine about the incident.
As a result, our free and fearless press, which loathes Grant with a passion because of his involvement with campaigning group Hacked Off, became insufferably righteous about the whole business. The increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph was especially severe on him, claiming “Hugh Grant is ‘part of the elite’ and ‘looks down on working class people,’ says Sajid Javid, as he revealed the actor once refused to shake his hand”.
The elite, as any fule kno, are the ones like Javid and the rest of his City pals. Anyhow, how about the Daily Brexit, still sometimes called the Express? “OXFORD-educated actor Hugh Grant looked down his nose at British Pakistani Sajid Javid and refused to shake his hand, the Chancellor has revealed”. “Deutsche Bank Managing Director”, they mean.
And the Mail? More of the same: “The Chancellor said he was 'completely shocked' by the rebuff at a film premiere over his failure to support Grant's pressure group, Hacked Off, five years ago”. And to that I call bullshit. Grant was defending not the elite, but ordinary people who have been systematically screwed over by the press.
As he put it today, after noting that the press “faithfully copied out the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s version”, “Freely available to them as they wrote was my side of the story … Which was, in case anyone is interested … ‘If you don’t mind, I won’t shake your hand because you were rude and dismissive to the victims or press abuse when you met them as culture secretary’”. And those victims of press abuse?
Hugh would like to point out that the victims in question were not celebrities … ‘They were people with personal family tragedies who had been abused by sections of the press’ … He said Grant was referring to a meeting between Mr Javid and “the victims of press abuse… (who) reported back that his attitude in the meeting was ‘borderline contemptuous’”. Like the meeting between victims and his successor Whittingdale.
At the latter meeting, Whittingdale’s SpAds, one of whom was Carrie Symonds, sat together in a corner of the room giggling. That, Sajid Javid, is the level at which Tory response to the press abuse of ordinary people operates. It is highly doubtful that the attitude of Javid and his advisors would have been any different.
Far from being elitist, Hugh Grant has selflessly campaigned for the little people, the ones who the press trample over because they can. Because they expect no comeback.

And politicians take no notice until it affects them personally. I’ll just leave that one there.
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Katie Hopkins Naked Stunt Imminent

Promising to strip naked as a way of inferring that the likelihood of an event happening is vanishingly small does not have a happy recent history. Anyone doubting this assertion needs only to consult Iain Dale or Dan Hodges to be disabused of any notion to the contrary. But one individual not in favour of consulting anyone except Herself Personally Now is pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins. Yes, she has gone there. Repeatedly.
Viewers may still want to look away now

Hatey Katie was so certain that alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson was a man of his word (ho ho ho) that she believed his claim about Britain leaving the EU at the end of October “come hell or high water”. The reality is that Bozo The Clown cannot be trusted any further than he can be usefully chucked. What will she do now?
She was certain enough to sneer at Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. “We are out on 31 October ‘come hell or high water’. Deal with it you shrivelled little grandpa”. Charming, isn’t she? And in case anyone didn’t get that, here is was again. “Clear message from the British PM Ignore Grumpy Grandpa (Corbyn) and Dreary Deidre (Swinson) and other over-inflated ego maniac QCs (Jolywhopper) … WE ARE OUT ON 31 OCT”.
Later came yet more gratuitous abuse. "Try and filter out the noise from the Remainers and those who lost the Referendum. Keep the faith with Boris. We voted to Leave. We are leaving on 31 October. Monkeys screech loudest when they know they are in trouble”. Fast forward to the Tory Party conference, and there she was, cheerleading once more. “We are out of the EU on 31 October come what may #CPC2019 … Yaaassss Boris”.
Some are all too easily conned, it seems. So easily, in Ms Hopkins’ case, that she was now recycling Tory propaganda. “Excellent work by [BorisJohnson] It’s this way or the highway. Either way we are OUT on 31 Oct. Fantastic news for Great Brits. We now need to come together and #BackBoris #PeoplesPrimeMinister”.
And then came the promise, or maybe that should have been threat. “We are out on 31 Oct. If I am proved wrong I will drink a pot of tea naked in the Apprentice losers cafe with Farages face on each nipple”. Look on the bright side - it could be the pot of tea that’s naked. And maybe they won’t let her in, which would not be a surprise.
Because it looks like she’s serious. “Excellent work by the [Conservatives] Comms Team. Regular Brits wanting a decent country for their kids. We are OUT on 31 Oct. or I am naked in the Bridge Cafe with a picture of Nigel on each nipple”. Barbara Windsor she isn’t. But she is serious. “Re articulating my pledge to the nation … We are out on 31 Oct. If I am proved wrong I will drink a pot of tea naked in the Apprentice losers cafe with Farage’s face on each nipple”. Well, today she is proved wrong.
So will Hatey Katie go where Messrs Dale and Hodges decided not to, or not in the literal sense of “naked” in the latter case? Or will there be, after a pause for the Hopkins logic circuits to reset themselves, a swift deletion of offending Tweets accompanied by an implicit hope that no-one out there noticed? Because they did.

I’m not saying Katie Hopkins is stupid. Because she just said it for me.
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Wednesday 30 October 2019

Spiked To Write Tory Manifesto

They started as self-styled Revolutionary Communists, although they were neither revolutionary, nor communist. They then morphed into crude libertarianism, adopting sympathy for paedophiles and terrorists. From there it was a short hop to denying genocide, then denying climate change. But then the people who inhabit the world of Spiked, so-called because it should have been long ago, found where the money was at.
So it was that the likes of Brendan O’Neill became pundits for hire, and especially for hire by our free and fearless press, or at least the right-leaning part of it. Some of his colleagues, people like Claire Fox, who supported the Armed Struggle of Irish nationalists, fetched up at the Brexit Party. Others entered Tory political circles, like Munira Mirza, who served under alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.

Ms Mirza has now moved with Bozo The Clown from City Hall to 10 Downing Street, where she is director of the Policy Unit. Some may find having one of the Spiked alumni in that role a frightening prospect, but now has come the news that will fall as manna from heaven for anyone opposed to the Tory Party: she is to co-author its election manifesto.
Her co-author is Rachel Wolf, who has lobbied for fracking companies like Quadrilla, and for gig economy exploiters like Deliveroo. Ms Wolf is a Free School advocate. She helped front a campaign which last year claimed “most workers in the gig economy are highly satisfied with the form of the work” as they struggle to stay awake on the job and make ends meet. Her husband used to be a director of the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance.

So, given that the Murdoch press has such a liking for the Spiked crowd, and given its hatred of the EU and any kind of regulation, look forward to the Tory manifesto having plenty to say about workers being more “flexible” in their pay demands, their conditions, their entitlement to paid leave, their safety in the workplace, and the hours they work.
Look forward to no more criticism of firms like Amazon and Google and the pittance in corporation tax they pay in the UK. Look forward to an embrace of more “flexible” food standards, under the cover of “freedom”, away from the comparative safety of EU rules and in the direction of rather less strict US ones. More dodgy chicken all round!
So it was understandable that Otto English responded “The RCP/Spiked bunch shouldn't be allowed near a hamster let alone government policy. But there you go - Mirza is writing the manifesto”, with Matthew Dalby adding “The rise of the Revolutionary Communist party influence over the Tory party is one of the weirdest and least talked about aspects of recent events”. And Charlie Kennaugh mused “Should be fun then when they accuse Jezza of being an IRA sympathiser”. Because the Spiked crowd are, and he really isn’t.
The RCP defended all the IRA bombings in London. Claire Fox, when given the opportunity to disown the RCP’s sympathy for the Warrington bombing in a phone call with Colin Parry, whose son Tim died after being caught in the blast, doubled down andrepeatedly refused to disavow her comments supporting the IRA bombing”.

Terrorist sympathising, genocide denial and child porn excuser meets corporate free-for-all, tax minimisation and worker rights bonfire advocate. What can possibly go wrong?
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Hancock’s Half Breakfast

At breakfast time, politicians have a choice of how to be lightly grilled: they can be put through the fire of the Radio 4 Today Programme, or enjoy a more moderate heat on one of the early morning TV offerings. It was the latter choice made by alleged Health Secretary Matt Hancock, when he appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
Looks like he is

After all, this was an easy one, right? It was Wednesday, there would be Mail Online’s editor at large Piers Morgan, a Tory supporter in all but name, and it would not matter what his co-host said. Sadly, it all went wrong from the start: there was no Piers Morgan, and co-host Susanna Reid had a very straightforward line of questioning.

She began on that line of questioning, and stuck to it. “20,000 more Police? Under a Tory Government, 20,000 Police Officers were lost”. What say Hancock? “Well, we’re putting 20,000 more Police on our streets, and I think that’s incredibly welcome to people”.

Back came Ms Reid. “That doesn’t even cover the cuts, Mr Hancock”. Come on Matt! “Well, this is about what we’re going to do in the future, and in the future, we’re going to have more Police on our streets, and tackle crime”. Police tackling crime? Nowt gets past Hancock. His problem was that nowt gets past Ms Reid, either.
Susanna Reid - deceptive smile

No, sorry. We won’t even have as many Police officers as you cut”. This is correct (21,000 were cut, and 20,000 are promised). Hancock, now looking moderately uncomfortable, resorted to bluffing it out, or, as most people would call it, lying. “Yes we will, we’re having 20,000 new Police officers and the first 7,000 are already being recruited”.

Interruption from Ms Reid. “You cut 21,000 Police officers”. Go on Matt, have another go. “We’re going to have more Police on our streets, as I say, it’s about focusing on people’s priorities”. No, that’s the wrong answer. “Only because you cut the number of Police officers”. Try again, Minister. “Well, Boris Johnson has only been Prime Minister for just under six months”. Thank goodness for small mercies. But do go on.

In that time, he’s already successfully got an agreement with the EU which we didn’t think he was going to be able to [it was effectively dictated to him by the EU]. He’s committed to the biggest hospital building programme in a generation [not true, it’s mainly seed funding only]. That wasn’t happening until he became Prime Minister [and it still isn’t]. He’s committed to 20,000 more Police, and to increasing standards in schools and levelling up the spending on schools”. None of which answers the question.
He doesn't look happy. Good

Which meant Ms Reid had to pull him up once more. “Yes, and unfortunately … but under austerity, Mr Hancock, you know that really all you’re doing is trying to fix the things that you caused”. Ouch! What will Hancock’s excuse be? That she was wearing red, and so must be some kind of Rotten Leftie™? Nope, that won’t work either.

The questioning isn’t going to get any easier for Hancock and his fellow Tories. Worse, the alleged Prime Minister he has been eulogising was a compliant part of those Police cuts, especially during his tenure as Mayor of London. The Tories have been rumbled.

Plus the BBC and Sky News will have seen that performance. Or the lack if it.
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End Press Abuse - Vote Labour

Yesterday marked not only the day when MPs voted to hold a General Election - the first December contest since 1923, one which didn’t go so well for the Tories - but also the fifth anniversary of sham press regulator IPSO. The non-regulator, which has not levied a single fine in its five-year tenure, nor insisted on a front page correction, had the brass neck to hold a party yesterday to celebrate its complete lack of achievement.
IPSO, as I told al-Jazeera’s Listening Post back in December 2015, is merely the same, er, fluid as the old Press Complaints Commission, but in a differently labelled bottle. The PCC was disgraced, a sham. It had been absent elsewhere when the phone hacking scandal unfolded. IPSO is in the same mould. The abuses have not stopped, and IPSO has been central to wiping the press’ backsides. To let them carry on abusing.

Well, now that election has been called, voters have a choice when it comes to press abuse. Because, of the two main parties, only one seeks to continue the Leveson Inquiry, with its second part, which would examine “Who did what to whom”. That second part would touch on stories like the Daniel Morgan murder, in which the Murdoch press was heavily implicated. It would also consider the activities of Mazher Mahmood.

Maz’ rampage of entrapment ruined many lives, all for one thing: to sell more copies of the late and not at all lamented Screws. Leveson 2 would also consider the continued use of the Dark Arts, which were not confined to phone hacking, and have continued since Part 1 was published, along with its recommendations, which the press duly ignored.

Blagging of information, rifling through bins, illegal use of the Police National Computer, improperly accessing NHS records, getting name and address details from phone numbers, phone call records, bank account details, credit card details, surveillance, tailing targets, all unlawful, and all still happening. And then there is doorstepping.
The result? Many high profile cases of press intrusion, recently and notably including Ben Stokes, Gareth Thomas, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. But there are victims of press misbehaviour who are not well known, and do not have the means to fight back. Zelo Street has highlighted the case of single Mum Danielle Hindley, whose privacy was invaded by a Mail on Sunday hack, and whose business suffered serious damage.

Ms Hindley was assisted by the Hacked Off campaign, which advocates for a free, but accountable, press. The campaign has helped many others, including Paul Dadge, a first responder to the 7th July 2005 London terror attacks whose phone was hacked, and Christopher Jefferies, who was wrongly accused by the press of killing Joanna Yeates. The Sun and Daily Mirror were both, additionally, found guilty of contempt of court.

Remember Lucy Meadows? After Leveson Part 1, when all was supposed to be well with the press, a transgender woman was hounded into taking her own life. The Daily Mail, with Richard Littlejohn in the vanguard, played a significant part in her death. The Sun, via a column from Rod Liddle, smeared blind trans activist Emily Brothers.

The only one of the two major parties committed to Leveson 2 is Labour. Committed to giving redress to victims of press abuse. The Tories don’t care, because that same press is the shock troops it needs to pump out disinformation. Vote Labour to end the abuse.
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Tuesday 29 October 2019

Bozo Screws Up His Own Campaign

Alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson said he wanted a General Election. Today, reassured by the agreement of all other EU member states that they had agreed the UK Government’s request for an extension of the Article 50 process and that there would not be a No Deal Brexit, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn granted his wish. Bozo, sadly, seemed not to understand that he had been given what he wanted.
He therefore carried on with his prepared script: Labour was trying to spin it out until the twelfth of never! But slowly, the penny dropped. So the Tories switched tack: they would not allow amendment of their General Election bill. Labour back-bencher Stella Creasy wasn’t buying that. Her amendment, meaning that the bill could be further amended, passed by 312 votes to 295. And then came Stephen Doughty.
Bozo was on a losing roll: he had already pleaded with the EU to rule out a further extension to the Article 50 process, but they cannot do so. And on came Paul Sweeney, who represents Glasgow North East for Labour: “Proud to be co-sponsoring this crucial amendment today that will seek to extend the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds in the next General Election”. A simple amendment which could secure a majority.
And remember, the bill brought before the Commons today seeks a simple majority - not the usual two-thirds of MPs specified by the Fixed Term Parliament Act - to trigger that General Election. So amendments tacked on to it and voted through by a simple majority will be enacted along with the election part. And there was worse to come.
The SNP’s Westminster leader, the formidable Ian Blackford “refuses to back Boris Johnson election timetable & says SNP want 16 & 17 year olds + EU Citizens to get the right to vote in snap General Election”. ITV political editor Robert Peston was suddenly concerned. "Corbyn confirms that he wants 3.4m EU nationals living in the UK to be able to vote in this election. Johnson won't accept this change to UK suffrage today. Will it mean that, after all, there won't be a general election in December?
There had to be another threat! And Peston was there to spell it out. “Government is now threatening to pull the general-election bill if Labour insists on amendment to enfranchise 3.4m EU citizens. It all gets crazier”. Was this right? Lewis Goodall of Sky News confirmed that it was: “Government spokesman confirms that if amendment for extension of franchise to 16/17 year olds and EU citizens passes, the government will pull the bill”.
Maybe those amendments would not be selected. But they are highly relevant to the ground on which the next General Election would be fought. At Business Insider, Adam Bienkov has mused “We’re set for a general election in December. Here’s why it could go badly wrong for Boris Johnson”. But at least he talks in terms of the poll going ahead.
It might yet not do, and once more, this would rebound on Bozo, who said he wanted the contest. As Sunny Hundal put it, “This Labour plan to force Tories to pull their election plans after triple-daring Labour to go for it is genius”. Maybe not genius, but then, it shows that Bozo and his chief polecat Dominic Cummings aren’t as clever as they think.

Bozo has screwed up even before his campaign launches. Just rejoice at that news.
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