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Friday 17 April 2020

Who’s Behind John Ashton Complaint?

[Update at end of post]

The people at the Liverpool Echo know who John Ashton is, as they told earlier this week: “A former regional public health director from Liverpool, Professor Ashton had been heavily critical of the government's slow response to the growing coronavirus crisis on the programme - warning that the lack of testing and preparation was 'complacent' and calling for social distancing measures to be brought in rapidly”. There was more.
Prof John Ashton ...

Speaking on BBC Question Time, “He was incredulous that the night before the show, 3,000 Atletico Madrid fans had been allowed to travel from the Spanish capital - which was experiencing an acute outbreak of coronavirus - to Liverpool, despite not being allowed to attend matches at their own home ground … he was pretty robust on the programme, interrupting minister Steve Barclay to proclaim that 'the politicians are believing their own rhetoric and they are wrong.’” Now Prof Ashton has disturbing news on another subject.
... the subject under discussion ...

I need to share something with you because it is causing serious stress. Complaints have been made about me to my professional body. It is hard”. The complaints have been made anonymously. But it is not hard to find out who started this particularly nasty little ball rolling, and as ever, it’s coming from somewhere out there on the right.
... and someone who wants to smear him over it

Question Time Expert Is Labour Memberproclaimed the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, in another of those routine attempts to dismiss expert opinion by smearing it as coming from Rotten Lefties™. The Great Guido clearly believes that political affiliation negates inconvenient views.
It got worse: the Fawkes massive then toldGuido has long taken it upon himself to call out broadcasters for having ‘experts’ appear, while failing to inform viewers of any party political biases they may have”. This is the blog whose staff regularly appear as pundits and do not have their party political bias notified to the audience.
What was being celebrated was that Sky News had told their audience that Ashton had been a Labour Party member. The Fawkes blog claimed he had a “long history of radical leftism”. And to that, professional creep and amateur human being Darren Grimes added “It’s refreshing to see [Niall Paterson] ensuring someone cannot cloak their hard-Left political views and activism under the guise of commentary of a supposedly non-partisan expert. More of this should take place”. “Labour” is now “hard left”.
Sure enough, out came the right wing in support, typical comments being “BBC ‘Expert’ John Ashton Furious As Sky News Informs It’s Viewers About His Hard-Left Views And Labour Party Activism” and “Professor John Ashton is a ranting, raving, hard left winger … It is absolutely right that Sky News should have outed him, so the public can see through his highly politicised, anti-government Coronavirus rhetoric”.
Yeah, don’t worry, it’s only a Rotten Lefty™ and if you ignore his advice, Covid-19 won’t get you, cos he’s only an “expert” in quotes! Tee hee! Sneer snigger smear!!

Who’s behind the anonymous complaints about John Ashton? That we do not know. But it’s clear whose smear campaign started the ball rolling. I’ll just leave that one there.
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[UPDATE 1330 hours: right on cue, the Fawkes blog has done it again.

After an A&E staff nurse appeared on the BBC sharing his concerns over a lack of available Personal Protective Equipment, The Great Guido has sneered that he is allegedly a "Socialist", a "Unite activist", "Anti-Brexit", "Anti-Israel" and "Fights the Tories hard".

None of those invalidates what he said to the Beeb. This is the level to which debate around the Covid-19 pandemic has sunk, and it's dangerous. The virus isn't going to discriminate based on political preferences, and a lack of PPE is either happening, or it's not. It's not something to be dismissed merely because the political orientation of the source is inconvenient.

Paul Staines and his pals are not credible as contributors to this debate. No change there, then]


Anonymous said...

One of the main roots of this dates back to April, 1989.

John Ashton supports Liverpool FC and was present at the Hillsborough disaster. Within days he appeared on C4 News - a reasonably honest programme at the time - to dispute the tory lies being peddled. Clearly outraged and impassioned, he pulled no punches then or subsequently. He was instrumental in following years in promoting the truth and exposing corporate media lies at the risk of his professional reputation. The man is a hero, though that's the last label he'd want.

That is why the Nastzis hate him.

It's just one more example of how British public life and its media have become so poisoned they pollute the communications ether. Our weasel-words culture is rotten with it. The shame of Britain 2020.

Bob said...

Notice on twitter the same vilification is being poured upon Dr. Rachel Clarke after her appearance on BBCQT yesterday - from all the usual sources.

Gulliver said...

Odd isn't it, how the freeze peach brigade are so quick to demonize, discredit and otherwise doxx anyone with a view contrary to theirs, irrespective of their professional credentials. It's almost as if they're using their privileged media position to warn others not to express their own views lest they themselves suffer the same fate.

Someone should inform Toby Young and his Free Speech union of this matter forthwith...........

Unknown said...

Interesting that The Telegraph have chosen to publish several articles penned by a 'ranting, raving, left-winger'. Hope they gave readers due notice of his 'hard-left views' or Guido will presumably be calling them out for allowing a so called 'expert' to indulge in'highly politicised anti-government Coronavirus rhetoric' under the guise of commentary.The Telegraph eh? Who would have thought it?

Anonymous said...

Looks like the ante is being upped with Campaign against antisemitism launching a petition to stop John Ashton being interviewed on television.