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Friday, 20 September 2019

EU Rejects Cat Licence Brexit

The depths to which UK diplomacy has sunk were laid bare today, as the best efforts of Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay resulted in nothing more than a re-run of the Monty Python Fish Licence sketch, but without the laughs. For weeks, EU negotiators asked for the UK to come up with actual proposals for an alternative to the so-called Irish Backstop, and today was the day that one was finally ponied up.
But here a problem entered: all that Barclay had on offer was the previous Withdrawal Agreement, with the Backstop crossed out. Sam Coates of Sky News had noted this earlier this month: “A source says draft legal text is just the existing protocol with the relevant articles on the backstop crossed out”. The ridicule was quick to arrive.

Paul Bernal of the UEA countered “‘That’s not a cat license, it’s a dog licence with the word ‘dog’ crossed out and “cat” written in in crayon’. We’re living in a Monty Python sketch”. Yet on ploughed Barclay, no doubt as instructed by alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and his chief polecat Dominic Cummings.
So it was that Rowena Mason of the Guardian told earlier this weekBoris Johnson’s Brexit negotiators have so far only presented the EU with a draft of the withdrawal agreement with the backstop scrubbed out, UK government sources have confirmed”. They were still pushing that Cat Licence. Why would they do that?

Ah well. According to Ms Mason, “Johnson’s team are refusing to put forward a written proposal to Brussels at this stage for fear it will be rejected out of hand or publicly rubbished … There have been reports that David Frost, the UK’s lead negotiator, is keeping a plan locked safe in his briefcase but the wording has not been shared with Brussels”. We have a plan, but exactly what it is, we’re not going to tell anyone.
Now, though, the EU side has had enough, as the Independent has reported. “The European Union has rejected a request from the British government for a Brexit deal without an Irish backstop in”. Worse, it was revealed that Barclay had wanted to move the goalposts, too: “Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay on Thursday said the UK should be given until the end of 2020 to come up with a replacement for the policy - instead of the end of September deadline set by EU leaders”. Having cake and eating it. Again.

So let’s recap: the UK side knows that it either agrees to the Backstop, or puts forward a credible alternative. It’s hasn’t, and it hasn’t. The proposals must be put forward by the end of the month. They haven’t been, and now we are asking the EU to sign up to our version, with the vague suggestion that we’ll have that alternative in place by December next year.
Our Government, or whatever passes for one right now, is either collectively naive, collectively stupid, or just not bothering - while the cliff edge of a No Deal Brexit comes ever closer. All they have to offer right now is “a dog licence with the word 'dog' crossed out and 'cat' written in in crayon”. Except without the laughs. Again.

And they, along with the media establishment, wonder why voters don’t take them seriously. Perhaps they ought to give their collective heads a shake. And very soon.
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Teaboy Tom’s Climate Strike Panic

Today sees a global climate strike: millions of school-age children, more often than not with the support of their parents and teachers, are rallying in protest at the lack of action on climate change. Many businesses are also supporting the strike, with employees taking time out to attend protests. But out there on the right, there is still kudos to be gained - and money to be made - by pretending it isn’t really happening.
Or, if it really is happening, well, there isn’t anything that can be done about it, and in any case, hey, look how environmentally unfriendly all those smartphones are! And look how many of the protesters used air travel in the past year! And when it comes to spreading the disinformation, there is no finer convocation of exponents than the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog.
Here, replacement teaboy Tom Harwood has tackled the subject in the same way he does any other: that is, talking well, but lying badly. Added to the usual dishonesty has been a dash of blind panic, starting with the nudge-nudge of his telling “When teachers are advising students to bunk off lessons something is very wrong” yesterday.
By this morning, Teaboy Tom was eagerly propagandising, promoting a School Strike Climate Quiz. His “friends at the Global Warming Policy Foundation have produced a handy fun quiz for the kids skipping school to ‘strike’ over climate change today”. Pushing the Daily Mail-friendly “skipping school” line. And promoting another of those phoney “think tanks” dedicated to pushing the idea that It’s Not Really Happening.
This, though, was not enough: there had also to be attacks on environmental groups, and especially Extinction Rebellion, because it scares the shit out of the media establishment. After Sam Knights told that “The police have decided to ban me from the Labour Party Conference, despite the fact I am an elected delegate. I suspect this is because of my work with Extinction Rebellion”, Harwood became especially righteous.
XR is an extremist organisation that undergoes illegal activity, costs millions in damages, and puts lives at risk. All to pursue the perverse political ends of ending liberal democracy and pushing 'de-growth', using climate as cover. You're lucky the police didn't go further”. Would Sir care to scream and stamp his feet as an encore? And there was more.
Read more about the reality behind the greenwashed extremist Extinction Rebellion campaign here”. With a link to someone called Policy Exchange. That’s an embarrassing name. It sounds just like the outfit that sprayed its credibility up the wall by telling people in Liverpool their city had failed and they should all move to London.
All that was left was for Teaboy Tom to go into low moaning mode: “Lots of slow moving cars in traffic jams across Westminster this morning pumping out unfriendly emissions. Thanks, #schoolstrike4climate” … “Hey kids, seeing as you presumably know it all, not having to go to school and everything, which G20 country has cut their CO2 emissions by the biggest percentage since 2010?” Only by fiddling the figures.
See how frightening Extinction Rebellion isn't

The climate strike is having a real impact. We know this as the right-wing media elite are experiencing involuntary bowel movements over it. Keep up the good work, everyone.
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Piers Morgan Attacks Father Of Sick Child

Today’s cult of celebrity by association - which means those who are Slebs because they know other Slebs - has one supreme exponent, and that is former Screws and Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan, still labouring under the pretence that only he is responsible for increasing the ratings of ITV breakfast offering Good Morning Britain, and labouring under the further pretence that he can ever get those ratings above the BBC competition.
Morgan wants the world to know that he is so famous, and indeed so disgustingly rich, that he can justify telling the organisers of I’m A Celebrity that he will only go on the show if they pony up five million used notes first. He is so well-connected and loud with it that he not only secured an interview with Cristiano Ronaldo, he filled his Twitter feed with plugs for the interview, and otherwise banged on about it ad infinitum, and indeed ad nauseam.

On top of all that, The Great Man is never backwards in coming forwards to not only offer his opinion on any subject that he knows nothing about, he also wants the world to know that his opinion is, more or less, equivalent to absolute fact. So it is that he has weighed in on the Whipps Cross University Hospital row from earlier this week.

That row kicked off after alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson was confronted by a concerned parent whose seven-day-old daughter had been admitted to the hospital after falling gravely ill. Omar Salem did not make any secret of his political affiliation, but that did not discount the fact of the matter: his daughter was very poorly and he was not happy about the hospital’s clear lack of resources.

But what mattered to Morgan was setting up a diversion. And so it came to pass that he told his adoring followers “This ludicrous sack Laura Kuenssberg campaign just about sums up the pathetic, fact-devoid, hysterical tribalism that now infests political debate. You can’t get more impartial, or superbly professional, than [Laura Kuenssberg] - so leave her alone, you ignorant bug-eyed bullies”. No thanks, I don’t want to look over there.
Ms K has recently been carpeted for her lack of impartiality, and her pointing out Salem’s Twitter handle, which resulted in him receiving all manner of abuse, much of it racist, is a matter of record. But on went Morgan: “Strident pro-Labour anti-Brexit activist (by his own bio admission) grandstands with Boris to score cheap political points rather than be with his sick child. Pathetic”. If Morgan had been in that position, he’d have been strident, too.

Does being “pro-Labour” discount the fact that his child is unwell? Does “anti-Brexit” do likewise? No and no. Salem has been “with his sick child”, as Morgan puts it, for some time. His taking a couple of minutes to make sure someone who could do something about the state of the NHS got the message is hardly desertion.

Piers Morgan is being far more “strident”, as he puts it, in his partiality than Salem. He is prepared to back any fellow journalist, no matter how badly their standards slip, and no matter how far he drifts off to the right - and drift off to the right is where he’s at right now.

Condemn a Prime Minister who just suspended democracy? Advocate for better NHS resourcing? Nah. He’s all right Jack. He goes private, and he don’t care.

Piers Morgan is a disgrace to his profession. But you knew that already.
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Thursday, 19 September 2019

Tommy Robinson - Back To Intimidation

No more than a few days out of jail, Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, is back to his old habits. He needs to turn the eyes of all those potential donors back in his direction - grifters gonna grift - and so he has returned to his old trick of picking a soft target on a premise that turns out to be effectively false, then turning up at their house in order to intimidate them and impress the folks prepared to give him money.
The problem for Lennon was that his visit to a man called Abdul Basir might impress the easily persuaded, but we have been here before. He went after Basir last year: in a video from February 2018 - we can date it easily as Lennon mentions the start of Darren Osborne’s trial for the Finsbury Park terror attack - he talks at length about Basir. He also claims the killer of an 85-year-old woman beheaded in her garden was a Muslim. Untrue.

Lennon went after Basir, despite knowing full well that his target had mental health issues and was not a serious threat to him, or indeed to anyone else. As with all his other doorsteppings, he managed to find Basir’s address (how?), then turned up in the dead of night to confront him - another of those allegedly “polite conversations”.

So he knew Basir was not a threat. It was therefore pointless to go after him again. But go after him again he did last night, telling in a video “I have to turn up, as the Police wouldn’t come to this house. He’s made a video, a very clear video, claiming he’s going to shank and kill any English person he finds today, cos Allah’s blessed him to do it”.

There was more. “He’s made threats against me, he’s made threats against my wife. Why can’t the Police just come round and get him?” And why doesn’t Lennon just play back his video from February last year, so he can get the answers without leaving home?
Ah, but that would not give him the opportunity to tap his adoring flock for a few quid. So there has to be the full posse turning out - including amateur comedy kidnapper Daniel Thomas, still under investigation for that gratuitous violence in Warrington - and the obligatory dead of night door-knocking exercise. Along with the inevitable video.

This has come with the equally obligatory fawning account from semi-professional idiot Jordan James at far-right fan site Politicalite, where he tellsTHERE’S A JIHADI ON THE LOOSE! Tommy Robinson Forced To Confront JIHADI Who Threatened His Family”. But no Jihadi was involved. Although Abdul Basir is one of those Scary Muslims™.

Then James sells the pass in no style at all as he blusters “This is not the first time Police have failed to protect Robinson and his family. In February 2018, the activist was forced to find a Muslim man who was threatening his family after UK authorities failed to act”. Very good Jordan. The Muslim man you’re talking about was the same one as yesterday.

But Lennon does want us to “Imagine a white bloke making racist comments”. That is also not difficult, as Lennon himself has been caught doing just that. Remember him describing a taxi as a “Little Paki in a car”? And that he admitted it “could have been worse”?

All we have here is Stephen Lennon once again playing to his fan base, pretending to be in danger when he isn’t, and staging a doorstepping on a false premise. The cops have Abdul Basir figured out. He won’t be attacking anyone. But Lennon clearly needs the dosh.
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Telegraph Platforms Actual Nazi

The increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph is not only desperate with much of what passes nowadays for its news coverage, it is desperate when it comes to selecting the pundits who are permitted to contribute opinion pieces for the paper. So desperate, in fact, that the paper had no problem giving a platform to one individual which it had, only last month, called out for using the kind of language used by the Nazis.
Jaak Madison ...

Why Jaak Madison should use that kind of language was because he is an actual Nazi, someone who has downplayed the Holocaust and effectively shrugged that “well, there might have been camps and all that, but unemployment in late 1930s Germany was low, so what’s your problem?” Any reputable newspaper should go nowhere near that kind of “opinion”, but the Tel did. And now the paper is in deep trouble.

Madison’s article, “By keeping the UK hostage, the EU is becoming the architect of its own downfall”, has this morning been pulled from the Tel’s website and the Tweet advertising it delated. But the very fact that a supposedly reputable media outlet was willing to give house room to someone who used terms like “Final Solution” is worrying.

As Far Right Watch has pointed out, Madison has in the past said that “In my eyes, fascism is an ideology that consists of quite a few positive and necessary nuances to preserve the nation state”. Jackboots, brownshirts, racist violence - mere nuances.
... and someone he likes to praise

He said “that the Holocaust had 'positive aspects' 'freeing up jobs for real Germans' and called for a similair 'Policy of National Purification' to take place in Estonia". The phrase he used was “the final solution is required”. Subtle, eh?

He has made this assertion: “It is true that there were concentration camps … games with gas chambers were being played [!], but at the time such a ‘strict’ order brought Germany … out of a thorough shithole, because development … brought the country only within a couple of years to one of the most powerful in Europe”.

Indeed, only last month the Tel told its readersAn Estonian MEP has demanded a ‘final solution’  for Syrian refugees who break the law in Europe, in an apparent echoing of the language used by the Nazi regime during the Holocaust. Jaak Madison, an MEP for Estonia’s right-wing Conservative People’s Party, made the comments in a Facebook post. Estonian politicians condemned his remarks, which were subsequently deleted”.
A paper with significant far-right previous

There was more. “In a message to the Telegraph, Mr Madison said his remarks had ‘nothing to do with Nazi ideology’ and said he was merely expressing the political view that ‘this kind of mess in Europe with migration has to stop. Asked why he used a German expression, he said ‘I can speak German’”. So that’s all right, then.

This is not the first example of far-right flirtation for the Telegraph: there was, of course, the infamous “Sorosfront page splash which the paper’s management went out of its way to stress was definitely not anti-Semitic. Except it blatantly was anti-Semitic.

That article may have been deleted. But what possessed the Tel to commission it in the first place? Small wonder the far-right is emboldened - when the press eggs them on.
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Bozo NHS Row - BBC In Fawkes Sewer

On the election trail in 2001, Tony Blair was confronted outside Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital by a woman called Sharon Storer, angry about the care her partner was receiving. As the Guardian reported at the time, “Ms Storer collared Mr Blair as he was entering the hospital earlier this week to complain that inadequate funding had affected her partner, Keith Sedgwick, who has cancer”. GPs backed Ms Storer.
There was much news coverage of the confrontation. What there was not was a leering revelation of Ms Storer’s political affiliation, or any publication of her contact details. The reporting of politicians being confronted by ordinary people, as we saw yesterday, has changed markedly in the intervening 18 years, and not necessarily for the better.
We know this after alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson visited Whipps Cross University Hospital in North London yesterday, and as the Guardian told readers, was “confronted by an angry father at a hospital who told him his baby daughter had nearly died because the ward on which she was treated was ‘not safe for children’ after years of austerity”. The father’s name was Omar Salem.
Salem accused Bozo of using the visit for a press opportunity. Bozo then claimed “there’s no press here”, which, as so often with our alleged PM, was not true. There was a camera crew filming the incident. The account added “Afterwards, a hospital doctor working on the ward, who was present at Johnson’s visit, backed up Salem’s account, telling the Guardian: ‘Obviously this was a totally contrived press opportunity - he was shown by far the nicest ward in the hospital’”. And it got worse.
The Labour MP for Walthamstow, Stella Creasy, who was in the hospital at the time of the incident, echoed Salem’s concerns”. Labour’s Jon Ashworth piled in too. But the right-wing counter-attack was already in progress: the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog discovered that Salem was a Labour activist, which was not difficult to do, because his Twitter bio says he is, er, a Labour activist.
And this is when many in the media, and mainly, to its utter shame, the BBC, not only gleefully recycled the, er, by-product from the Fawkes sewer, they jumped right in there too. It was a fact, and not a “Labour so we can discount it fact”, that Salem’s seven-day-old daughter had been gravely ill. It was a fact that the hospital was short of resources. It was a fact that Bozo The Clown had lied under pressure - again. But that no longer mattered.
Instead, the Beeb’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg Tweeted “Turns out the man who challenged the PM is also a Labour activist”. Oh well, not a problem then, eh Ms K? Quite the novel way of dealing with claims of anti-Labour bias. But then it got much, much worse, as she followed that with “This is him here”, pointing out his Twitter handle.
That’s as in pointing out his Twitter handle to her One Million Followers. In case anyone missed that, the BBC’s political editor, knowingly or otherwise, encouraged a pile-on against a bloke who nearly lost his baby daughter. The Beeb’s complaints line crashed under the weight of calls. Ms Kuenssberg was reported for targeted harassment.
The condemnation of both Ms K, and The Great Guido, was immediate. Simon Maginn responded “He's the father of a sick child. Is trying to discredit the father of a sick child one of those BBC Values I keep hearing about? Think you should delete this and apologise”.
Staines and his mob were asked “Are you suggesting his child nearly dying in hospital was just a set up so he could attack the Prime Minister who he had no idea would be visiting his daughters ward today?” The Pileus added “You guys are vile. He has a sick child and is in the hospital for his child. Furthermore his points were valid and fact he is a Labour activist is irrelevant”. Jim Felton had something to ask about this deflection.
When you see Boris Johnson doing a shit interaction and then you dig for dirt on a man visiting a sick relative in the hospital do you feel ‘yeah I'm doing good for the world here, I'm a thoroughly decent bloke?’”. Russ had words for Ms Kuenssberg. “Oh good. Laura has found the distressed man with a very sick child who didn't want a press opportunity, and advertised his whereabouts to every troll on Twitter. Responsible journalism, meet Laura Kuenssberg. Laura, this is responsible journalism. You two should talk”.
Jim Felton returned to the fray: “We did it! We managed to turn a story about Johnson lying directly to camera about there not being any cameras into a dogpile on a worried man visiting his his sick kid in hospital! Good job everybody!” And Sean O’Neill, who is chief reporter at the Murdoch Times, concluded “Journalism is vital, it does hell of a lot of good, but there are days when I am utterly ashamed of some of the behaviour in my trade”.
It was bad enough for the BBC, but then it got worse still: Rob Burley, their editor of live political programmes, and someone many of us have a lot of time for, misread the situation horribly. “Those attacking Laura K for mentioning that the man arguing with Boris Johnson was a Labour activist need to do a thought experiment: would they think relevant if the politician were Jeremy Corbyn and the member of the public a Tory activist, however sincere? Of course”. Why, though? Remember Sharon Storer.
But he wasn’t finished. “The information about their political views would be part of the picture and it’s perfectly proper for journalists to provide that information. It’s not a judgement on the person’s  sincerity or argument but a fact”. No it’s not. It really isn’t. A sick child is not a Tory or Labour sick child, but a sick child period.
Worse, Burley misses Ms Kuenssberg identifying Salem to her - note that number again - One Million Followers, enabling a pile-on. And worse still, as Simon Vessey noted, is the inexcusable closeness of the BBC and the Fawkes rabble: “Why is it acceptable that the BBC regularly use fascist gutter blog Guido Fawkes as a source? They are promoted on the BBC platform along with [Tom] Harwood, one of their nastiest employees. Why?
I wouldn’t use that F-Word to describe The Great Guido, but the point stands. Harwood was the author of the Fawkes hit job which identified Salem as a Labour activist. He might look convincing in front of the camera, but he is a congenital liar, and as to political objectivity - forget it. The BBC, through admitting people like that to its fold, has jumped in the sewer with Staines and the vicious, nihilistic right-wing. And it has to stop.
We cannot have a situation where the Corporation’s political editor precipitates a pile-on against someone whose seven-day-old daughter nearly died, and another of its staff tries to justify the whole sorry mess. This is not journalism. This is inexcusable.

The BBC must stop excuse making, and start taking action. As in corrective action.
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Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Gareth Thomas Nails The Sun

Like Ben Stokes, it was his parents that were doorstepped first: former rugby star Gareth Thomas, who has just revealed that he has been living with HIV for some time now, has also described how an unnamed tabloid newspaper made threats to publicise his condition. No title has been named as the source of this particularly shabby blackmail attempt, but the trail is already leading back to the Baby Shard bunker.
Gareth Thomas

As the BBC has reported, “Former rugby player Gareth Thomas has said a journalist spoke to his parents about his HIV status before they had discussed it. He said he would ‘absolutely not’ have made his diagnosis public if a tabloid had not made threats to publish it … And he criticised the fact a reporter approached his parents before the family had discussed it properly”. Yes, his parents heard the news not from him but from the press.
Thomas was not impressed. “Imagine what position that puts me in. I can never, ever, ever have that moment back with my mother and father of sitting down and telling them something so personal to me … They took that right away from me … I’m lucky that I have parents who love me and will support me through anything, but I deserved to have that moment with them”. It was, like the Stokes story, uncaring and shabby.
And Thomas dropped one hell of a heavy hint. “I've been living in fear of it being published … The tabloids will create their own law … You’ll send them a letter and all they'll do is ignore it. I haven't got the money to be able to fight a giant tabloid in court … When they do it they'll somehow find justification for doing it. They'll say it's OK, a family member told us something”. Giant tabloid. And the Sun used the “family member” defence with Stokes.
Worse for the Murdoch goons, as Private Eye magazine has observed, the Sun on Sunday told readers last month that “a British sports star is set to publicly announce they are HIV positive … A source said: ‘the star has given this a lot of thought and plans to make the announcement on Twitter. It will cause a sensation but they are prepared for that’”. Note use of “British” instead of “English”. And the Sun staple “a source said”.
On top of all that are the questions as to how the Sun - if indeed it is the Sun - got hold of Thomas’ medical records, or otherwise knew for certain that he was HIV positive. That information is not available to hacks, or should not be. As Brian Cathcart has concluded, “Thomas was initially cagey about the identity of the tabloid in his case, but today he hinted at the [Sun]. 'Everybody will know [which paper it was]', he said, 'especially of late'. You might read 'of late' as a reference to the [BenStokes] affair”.
They'll do nothing ...

He went on “If it was - and evidence is accumulating - then it would make a remarkable double alongside [BenStokes] - not one but two sports stars horribly abused on [Tony] Gallagher’s watch without a shred of public interest, and in both cases their parents gratuitously subjected to suffering”. Quite. It’s now time for the Sun to come clean.
... so perhaps we should have Part 2 of this

Gareth Thomas has dropped sufficient hints. So has Private Eye. Do Tony Gallagher and Rebekah Brooks have the spine to come clean and own up? Or do they leave it to the target of this latest shabby exposé to do the deed for them?

There is, of course, one simple solution to this problem: Don’t buy the Sun.
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Sarah Vine - A Nation Fails To Mourn

Who will be judged to have suffered the most as a result of Young Dave’s time in 10 Downing Street? Will it be the hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people, many with disabilities, who had their benefits cut or even removed completely? Will it be those at the bottom of the pile forced to take jobs on zero hours contracts, who now get no paid holidays? Or perhaps it will be those reduced to living on the streets.
Sarah Vine

Many people have good reason to look back on the Cameron premiership as a dark period in our recent history, not least for his disastrous mistake of thinking he could subject the UK to six years of grim austerity and then win a referendum on EU membership - given that his opponents were all too ready to (wrongly) blame that austerity on Brussels.

But one poor soul wants us to know that the greatest casualty of the Cameron era is Herself Personally Now. Sarah “Vain” Vine (for it is she) has taken out her king-sized onion and blubbered her way through two pages of today’s Daily Mail to make sure anyone not yet asleep knows that she suffered greatly. And so did her husband.

We are told of “Two families utterly intertwined. Holidays, triumphs and crises shared for 20 years - until Brexit”. This means Ms Vine is a really, really important person. Because she goes on holidays with really, really important people. Like her husband.

She says of Young Dave’s memoirs (out this week, apparently) “In particular, he has laid bare his disappointment with Michael's decision to follow his heart on the EU referendum, instead of sticking to the party line”. By “follow his heart”, she means “follow the instructions from that nice Mr Murdoch who has him by the short hairs”.

There is more. “Dave's feelings, like many of those who argued for Remain, are all the more powerful because, I suspect, he and others didn't appreciate how strongly many people, including my husband, felt”. Or how strongly Rupe put the arm on “Oiky” Gove. But do go on. “That once the referendum question had been put to them, they had no choice but to do what they thought was right”. Or what they’d been told was right.
JOLLY BED SHEOW

We see this priceless paragraph: “I myself struggled with the decision to back Leave [until she realised that being a Daily Mail pundit demanded it], not least because my own family is firmly rooted in Europe: my parents live there, my brother is in Spain and I grew up in Italy. Europe may not be in my blood, but it is very close to my heart, a deep and indelible part of my cultural DNA [not as deep as keeping the paycheques coming in, though]”.

And although it is clear that the Camerons have effectively ended their friendship with the Goves, Ms Vine really, really wants to be let back in to that particular fold. “DC's anger is understandable and he is entitled to express it however he sees fit. That said, I still believe it should be possible to disagree fundamentally on political issues and remain friends”.

She sniffs about “the last time I saw Dave, back in February 2016. But, by then, it was already too late. Politics and its corrosive influence had driven a wedge between us … It was not always that way. Dave and Samantha were guests at our wedding in France in 2001”. It’s not her fault. She had sincerely held opinions, honestly. It’s all so unfair!

Sadly, taking the Murdoch and Rothermere shillings has consequences. Get over it, Ms V.
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