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Thursday 30 April 2020

Daily Mail NHS Hypocrisy

The level of public trust in our free and fearless press has, according to the latest poll from the Eurobarometer poll published by the EBU, fallen to a level of -60. It is the least trusted press of any European country, and that includes many states that in living memory have been totalitarian dictatorships. But at least the Daily Mail is trying to restore some faith in the print media with its campaign to bring much-needed equipment to the NHS.
Or rather, that is the impression the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker would like to portray, today’s front page proclaiming “Pictured: first NHS nurse in Mail Force’s PPE gear … SHE’S SAFE … THANKS TO MAIL’S £1m AIRLIFT … STANDING delightedly in her new overalls, nurse Vicky Burns voiced the sentiments of all her colleagues yesterday, declaring ‘Can we just say a big thank you’”. Heartwarming stuff.
Gone were all the NHS-bashing hit pieces, not least those that followed the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics. No more scare stories about hospital superbugs. No more stories claiming that parents are having to take sick children out of the country for treatment. No more hatchet jobs on numbers of managers. The only problem was that, even now, the Mail was speaking with forked tongue.
Guy Adams (Toby Young's ideal job share)

Turn to Page 13 of today’s print edition (the story, with slightly different wording, is online) and you see the Mail playing the other side of the field. “How WAS flagship BBC show infiltrated by the Left? When Panorama turned its guns on the PPE crisis, five medics savaged the Tories' approach. Yet they ALL had Labour links”.
Guy Adams, retained by the Mail for an obscene amount of money so he can hatchet to order, has told readers “The deadly shortage of PPE in our hospitals and care homes is a national tragedy that the Mail - and its readers - are working tirelessly to fix through the charity Mail Force … But our duty to hold the Government to account is tempered by realism … And the Mail’s criticism has been levelled fairly”. As opposed to, er, what?
A different attitude seems to prevail at the BBC Panorama programme … all five of the doctors and nurses Panorama chose to interview were longstanding Labour Party activists or supporters. This was not shared with viewers, in what appears to be a flagrant breach of BBC guidelines”. Quite apart from Adams being so desperate he cribs from the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, there is a problem here.
And that is the proclamation of front line workers as national heroes on the front page, while on inside pages kicking the crap out of them for daring to have their own views. Yiannis Baboulias was unimpressed. “Are we pretending that Labour is now some sort of illegal group? Why does it matter otherwise?” It doesn’t. The Panorama revelations, not made by the interviewees, stand on their own. Adams is an unprincipled shit.
Rachel Shabi mused “Apart from anything else, I don't get the cognitive dissonance that allows for: NHS staff are our heroes, champions and let us clap for them, but also: the ones that complain about PPE are awful lefty activists”. And campaigning group Hacked Off pointed out “If the Mail is so concerned it can write to Ofcom: if the individuals named and attacked in the Mail’s coverage have concerns, they may as well write to Santa”.

The Daily Mail is right behind the NHS. Providing staff vote how the Mail tells them to.
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Panorama - Fawkes Teaboy Keeps On Lying

After their crude and dishonest hatchet job on this week’s BBC Panorama edition, which highlighted problems with resourcing the NHS response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog might have been expected to stop and think, after they were caught lying yet again.
What time is it, Eccles?

But that thought would have been misplaced, as replacement teaboy Tom Harwood decided to emulate his predecessor Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham and lie a little more, especially after the BBC Media Centre issued a statement in response to criticism of the programme, which effectively demonstrated that the Fawkes hit job was a sham.

The Beeb has asserted “The sources for the new revelations were not the doctors who appeared in the programme”. So their political affiliation was irrelevant to those revelations. Moreover, “Some of those interviewed are members of a political party and some are not. We believe that if the doctors featured in Panorama feel their lives are at risk due to lack of proper PPE it is valid, and indeed in the public interest, for them to reflect on that experience, regardless of the political views they may or may not hold”.
Also, “with the exception of a nurse who we identified as a union representative, none of the interviewees were sourced through trade unions”. So along has come Teaboy Tom to tell “this bizarre statement that skirts around key points is released. It also confirms, and tries to excuse the fact that *every single doctor they interviewed was a labour activist*”.

It does not. What part of “Some of those interviewed are members of a political party and some are not” does Harwood not understand? Worse, membership does not equal activism. Harwood has no evidence to back up the “activist” claim. So he just lies.
Have another go. “The BBC also confirms that a nurse they interviewed for the programme was sourced through trade unions”. So what? Seriously, so what? Trades Unions are concerned for the safety of their members. The programme was investigating, er, the safety of those same people. Or does Harwood not care about such niceties?

On he drones. “They are still not commenting specifically on the *communist* trade union organiser who is claiming to have helped producers recruit participants”. Who does Harwood think he is, a real journalist? If he does, why not try doing some actual journalism, rather than expecting the BBC to spoon-feed him so he can kick them?
The revelations in the programme - “That the billion plus items of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that the government has supplied included cleaning products and individually counted gloves”, “That gowns, visors, swabs and body bags were not included in the pandemic stockpile”, “although 33 million FFP3 respirator masks were specified in the stockpile procurement list, only 12 million have been distributed”, and “steps to remove Covid-19 from the High Consequence Infectious Diseases (HCID) list were taken by the DHSC on 13 March” all stand. Harwood has failed to address any of them.

That’s because he’s trying to deflect from Government failings - by lying for his supper.
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Spoons In June? NO CHANCE

Since March 20th, almost all pubs in the UK have been closed, as part of Government mandated restrictions in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. That has included all 867 outlets run by the J D Wetherspoon chain, much to the chagrin of its chairman, tone-deaf Brexiteer Tim Martin. who claimed that keeping his business open would have no effect on transmission of the virus. Now it seems he is itching to reopen.
Back in your box, Mr Greedy

As the Guardian reported yesterday, “at the start of its half-yearly results, Wetherspoon said: ‘The company’s immediate priority is to manage the business during the current “lockdown” period. It is also starting to plan for a reopening of pubs and hotels in or around June’”. However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, “Any reopening of pubs would have to be permitted by the government, which has not yet given any guidance about when it will start to ease restrictions”.
That has not stopped Spoons readying itself to jump the gun, claiming “Wetherspoon pubs are substantially larger than average, and most have outside facilities … The company is likely to make some changes to its operating model, assuming increased social distancing, and anticipates a gradual recovery in customer numbers”. Can’t wait to see how social distancing extends to the toilets late on a Friday or Saturday evening.
The pointlessly upbeat mood has even extended to the front page splash of today’s Daily Star, proclaiming “12 PINTS OF LAGER AND A PACKET OF CRISPS, PLEASE … Joy as Spoons gets set to reopen in June”. To which James Ball of The Bureau of Independent Journalism retorted “Tim Martin does not get to decide when the lockdown ends”.
Moreover, the Spoon Strike Twitter feed is already on the case: “The Coronavirus pandemic is far from over and Wetherspoons are already putting wealth before health. Any return to work must come with full protections for staff and full accountability by the company. These are our 10 questions to Tim Martin”. And there was more.
Tweeters mused “Wetherspoons CEO Tim Martin: ‘There's hardly been any transmission of the virus within pubs and I think it's over the top to shut them’ (20th March) … Photo (20th March) - 177 dead by then … 14 days later 3600 dead” and “Tim Martin has never cared about his staff. Recent events have just brought it to more people’s attention. His customers don’t care, cheap booze will always be the decider over employee rights”.
Worst of all, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has used an early morning LBC interview to spell out to Martin exactly where he stands (apart from on one of those sticky carpets so typical of his pubs): “I think it would be a mistake for different businesses or individuals to go off at a tangent and do their own thing … That just creates confusion for the public. It blunts the effectiveness of any measures we are taking and it endangers all the progress we have made in containing this virus”. So that’s a no, then.
How can Spoons staff maintain social distance from one another, let alone from the punters? How can Martin and his fellow directors tell, without full contact tracing in place, how many of those staff may already be infected? Who’s going to pay for all the extra staff needed to restrict the numbers allowed through the doors? This story is going nowhere.

Hopefully one thing will be different when Spoons does reopen. The company Chairman.
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Wednesday 29 April 2020

SAGE - Cummings Gotchas Himself

Those of us who remember Dominic Cummings from the time he was dispensing gratuitous abuse via the infamous @toryeducation Twitter feed know all too well that the chief Downing Street polecat tends not to think further than the next bout of “winning”. He’s not quite as bad as former US President Gerald Ford, of whom Lyndon Johnson once said “He can’t fart and chew gum at the same time”, but you can see it from there.
So when a story appeared on Bloomberg telling “Boris Johnson’s most powerful political aide pressed the U.K.’s independent scientific advisers to recommend lockdown measures in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus, according to people familiar with the matter”, and went on to claim “According to two people involved, Cummings played far more than a bystander’s role at a crucial SAGE meeting on March 18, as the panel discussed social distancing options to tackle the Covid-19 outbreak”, many folks’ interest was piqued.
And there was more. “Speaking on condition of anonymity because the meetings are private, the people said Cummings asked why a lockdown was not being imposed sooner, swayed the discussion toward faster action, and made clear he thought pubs and restaurants should be closed within two days. They then were”. Well, well.

Was this merely confirmation that Polecat Dom had been an active participant at SAGE, after all the denials? Or was it Cummings trying to play the heroic saviour, cutting through all the political and procedural inertia to win the day and force the lockdown?
Well, it appears it was the latter, which suggests the story was planted by someone not unadjacent to him. We can figure that one out because the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, fully invested in The Adoration Of The Boris, have been in dead giveaway territory, spinning the Bloomberg story in Dom’s favour.
Here’s the key Fawkes excuse paragraph. “The news, however, that will infuriate the conspiracy theorists who revelled in last week’s Guardian story about Cummings being ‘on’ the [SAGE] committee, is that he was the voice asking ‘why a lockdown was not being imposed sooner’ [allegedly]. This corroborates with what Number 10 insiders [like Dominic Cummings] have reported the Prime Minister’s senior adviser’s attitude to have been through most of this pandemic [no citation]”. Also, Cummings’ claims don’t add up.
As Stephen Bush of the Staggers noted, “Hang on, I don't understand the timeline here. On 18 March Cummings said to be urging Sage about why we weren't in lockdown yet. But the UK government had already announced tougher guidelines & we were waiting on stronger economic measures from HMT”. Paul Lewis of the Guardian had more.

Downing Street’s claims [Cummings] was a mere passive observer in meetings are falling apart … Right from the opening story we reported that Cummings was not simply an observer. BBC and others were quick to circulate Downing Street’s colourful denials, insisting he the PM’s chief advisor was mostly just listening in on meetings”. Quite.
Bloomberg has confirmed the Guardian and Sunday Times stories, except that the claims made for Dom’s intervention don’t add up. Cummings appears to have Gotchad himself.

He’s managed to fart and chew gum separately. And don’t mention herd immunity.
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Look Over There - It’s A Boy!

Criticism of alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and his less than 100% attendance record - even before he was laid low with the Coronavirus - has not gone away; indeed, with Government handling of the pandemic also coming under fire, the critics were becoming yet bolder. How could some kind of diversion be fashioned, to get our free and fearless press to Look Over There, away from the Bozo Balls-Ups?
Carrie Symonds

But of course, there was Bozo The Clown’s partner Carrie Symonds, in the advanced stages of pregnancy. If only she could be delivered of her child, then the critical gaze of the voters would be diverted. Moreover, there would be another opportunity for the happy couple to pretend that they loved the NHS. And so, with the kind of timing only a former Tory Party spinner could deploy, Ms Symonds was indeed delivered of a child.

In a miraculous transformation, headlines were rewritten, criticism was swept away, and the voice of Bob Danvers Walker was exhumed to proclaim “A new addition to the Downing Street family … Congratulations to the happy couple … Mother and Baby are doing well”. The grovelfest had begun in earnest. Look over there! Aaahh!
Crikey chaps, it's one of those baby things, they're sort of this shape

Mail Online led the advance of the crawlers with “CARRIE AND BORIS HAVE BABY BOY”, telling readers “Prime Minister Boris Johnson's fiancĂ©e Carrie Symonds today gave birth to a 'healthy' baby boy at an NHS hospital in London today - weeks earlier than anticipated. Mr Johnson is said to have been by his 32-year-old fiancee's side throughout the labour before their son entered the world in the early hours of this morning”. There was more.

The safe arrival of their child, Carrie's first and Boris' sixth*, has come as a shock because Miss [!] Symonds was expected to give birth later in the summer, although a due date was never confirmed by the couple”. Er, *wouldn’t be too sure about that.
Could anyone out-grovel Mail Online? Ah, but that would be to reckon without the Murdoch Sun: the occupants of the Baby Shard bunker are fully invested in The Adoration Of The Boris. So it was that the Sun website proclaimed “DOWNING TREAT … ‘Thrilled’ Boris at Carrie’s side as she gives birth to baby boy this morning”.

The Murdoch goons also manage perhaps the most pointless aspect of the event: “The bookies are already taking odds on Boris Johnson's son becoming a future PM. Coral have given odds of 8-1 that Boris and Carrie's boy will reach No10 one day. While the firm has Alexander as the 3-1 favourite in their name betting of the baby. James is 4-1, while George can be backed at 5-1”. Not Harry, then? I wonder why not?
More pointless news came from the Sun, with “HOLLY Willoughby has sent her best wishes to Boris Johnson on the birth of his baby boy with fiance [sic] Carrie Symonds. Within seconds of the new arrival being announced by Downing Street, Phillip Schofield revealed the happy news to This Morning viewers”.

As Sir Sean nearly said, I think we got the point. The happy news will be plastered across the right-wing press, with everyone else having to mention it to avoid being denounced as unpatriotic killjoys. Meanwhile, there were 586 Covid-19 hospital deaths yesterday.

You don’t need to ask what will be on front pages tomorrow. Buy a cup of coffee instead.
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Panorama And Guido - We Have To Talk

After the Sunday Times ran “38 days when Britain sleepwalked into disaster”, detailing the serious shortcomings of the Government’s approach to the Coronavirus pandemic, and that alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson had been absent elsewhere for much of that time, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog ran a hatchet job on the article.
There was no argument advanced on the facts presented by the ST (other than to claim that others did not agree with the piece). It was a personal attack on Jonathan Leake, the paper’s environment correspondent, one of three names on the article’s by-line. So when a BBC Panorama report earlier this week found adversely on the Government’s pandemic preparations, a Fawkes hit piece should have been expected.
And so it came to pass yesterday, as readers were toldPanorama’s PPE Investigation Was Party Political Broadcast”. Did the piece take issue with any of the facts advanced by the programme? As if you need to ask: this was just another personal attack, the doxxing of five interviewees and their denunciation as “Labour activists”, although three of them are not. And the usual crap research: where is the “Wirrel [sic] CCG”?
The Fawkes Twitter feed then told “Every single interviewee on #Panorama last night was a pro-Labour activist before the pandemic. Every single one. It was a party political broadcast on behalf of the Labour Party”. Just the two blatant lies there.
Sadly, some of the easily led and already prejudiced were persuaded, even without actually watching the broadcast. Typical of these was LBC host Iain Dale, concluding “I was about to watch this on iPlayer. I don't think I'll bother now. Nothing wrong with being a Labour activist but for a serious current affairs programme to interiew them to the exclusion of anyone else is, well, an interesting editorial decision”.
He took the Fawkes liars on trust, but then, this is the same Iain Dale who called the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance “those excellent people” when they cobbled together a dishonest attack on the last Labour Government called “Taxpayer Funded Lobbying”.
But let’s allow Panorama to put a fact out there: “There were no gowns, visors, swabs or body bags in the government's pandemic stockpile when Covid-19 reached the UK, BBC Panorama has uncovered. The government said it has taken the right steps and is doing everything it can to increase stocks”. Would Fawkes fans care to address that one?
Well, no they wouldn’t. Instead, Fawkes replacement teaboy Tom Harwood declared “Did the [Panorama] producers go straight to the Labour Party for interviewee suggestions, or was it Unite? Either way, not disclosing how someone you're giving primetime airtime to is a Labour activist and former candidate is pretty staggering”.
That’s right Tom, don’t engage with inconvenient facts, just tell your audience what to think. As did amateur creep Darren Grimes. “Is it any wonder trust in our journalists and broadcasters is plummeting when the BBC put forward supposedly independent anti-Tory medical professionals; who are all either left-wing activists, trade unionists or Labour Party members or campaigners? Joke!” Was the programme factually wrong? Don’t ask.
So who would care to take The Great Guido, a source of falsehood and misinformation, at his word? Step forward Andrew Griffith, Tory MP for Arundel and South Downs. This fellow traveller told his followers “The taxpayer-funded BBC has real questions to answer about its role here. It is not to play unbalanced left-wing party politics during a national crisis”.
Any argument with those facts, Andy? Never mind, on to the cheerleaders, spearheaded by the odious Quentin Letts (let’s not): “Guido Fawkes's allegation today about Panorama today could do with a speedy response from [BBC] bigshots”. You could imagine the Dacre-era Daily Mail headline: “BBC has QUESTIONS TO ANSWER”.
Letts was backed up by Neil Wallis, aka The Rasping Fuckwit, latching on to Iain Dale’s fingers-in-ears-I-don’t-want-to-listen response: “Most importantly, without telling the viewers their background and that there may be a political bias fuelling their claims/views - it may be totally irrelevant, but that’s for the audience to decide”. Facts, Neil? Er, no.
It was left to Sky News veteran Adam Boulton to prick the overinflated Fawkes bubble: “Was anything said in [Panorama] untrue? I haven’t heard any rebuttal. Presumably NHS workers are still ‘heroes’ even if they aren’t Tories”. Well, quite.
Also, Martin O’Neill pointed out the excess mortality for England right now is way above that being experienced by Italy, Spain, France or Germany, and observed “One thing about a country having a dysfunctional media system is that its inhabitants may have difficulty recognising the full scale of the disaster through which they’re living”.
Instead, as The Trashies has pointed out, we get “Guido Fawkes doxxing for the government, and not only do our self proclaimed fearless journalists not call it out, but actively encourage it by RT’ing them and welcoming them into their newsrooms when they move from Guido Fawkes … Ex-Guido staffers are in The Guardian and Buzzfeed and nobody says anything other than to snark about Corbyn outriders”.
And the Mail on Sunday. And the Government itself. As Will Black pointed out, “People quoting 'Guido' to attack NHS whistleblowers should look into him. He made a fortune from events where class A drugs were peddled to kids. He is no arbiter of decency - he's hard right scum”. Staines is a bigot, a bully, a hypocrite and a lush.
Yet for useful idiot Iain Dale, fellow traveller Andrew Griffith, and cheerleaders Quentin Letts and Neil Wallis, this Goebbels-style propaganda operation is to be taken at its word. Thus the sickness of our media class is exposed for all the world to see.

You don’t take the provisional wing of CCHQ on trust. I’ll just leave that one there.
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