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Sunday 31 May 2020

Polecat Barnard Castle Fib UNRAVELS

For around ten days, chief Downing Street polecat Dominic Cummings has failed to shape the story, because the story has been about him, and is out of his hands. This result, which demonstrates what happens when a weak leader dependent on the likes of Polecat Dom fails to take action against him, means that an attempt by today’s Mail on Sunday to rubbish one eyewitness’ testimony has had no effect; it has failed to dampen the flames.
Worse, Cummings’ claim regarding his lockdown-busting jolly to Barnard Castle is now under scrutiny. Remember, he had asserted “We walked about 10 to 15 metres from the car to the river bank nearby. We sat there for about 15 minutes. We had no interactions with anybody. I felt better. We returned to the car” at his presser last week.
And there has already been pushback from the likes of local resident Lisa Westcott Wilkins: “I live in Barnard Castle. He was here. The whole town knows it. He parked on our street and was seen at leisure right where we walk our dogs. Infected, he touched the gates we all have to touch to move through that area. People have died here from the virus”. So there’s already doubt over the “10 to 15 metres from the river bank” claim.
Now, the Sunday Times has done its own digging. Jim Pickard of the FT has read the story and concluded “New witnesses in Barnard Castle contradict the Cummings account”. And indeed they do: apart from Robin Lees, who has been aggressively doorstepped by the Mail on Sunday in an effort to discredit his account, there are two other witnesses.
Rosalind Evans … says she spotted Cummings in Market Place - a partially cobbled street of shops and Barnard Castle’s main thoroughfare. She claims he was with ‘a group of people’” … "Alan Gowland … claims to have walked past Cummings on a narrow path that runs alongside the Tees, known as Scar Top walkway, in the early afternoon”. Lees claims to have seen him on The Sills, which runs parallel to the Tees.
Adding the annual event which Cummings’ wife would have been celebrating in her own way that day, Geoff Wilton observed sceptically “Man accidentally drives to beauty spot on wife’s birthday to test eyesight, and accidentally then strolls round said beauty spot further testing eyesight. It’s entirely plausible”. The Polecat has lost all credibility.
But he is gaining notoriety, and as a result, more people are becoming emboldened to put their claims of sightings and further lockdown breaches out there on social media platforms, one of these being Facebook, where one North London resident has told “It is apparently well known among certain people that he had people over during lockdown, and even more importantly that a lady (who some people think is either his mother or mother-in-law) was with him and travelled in the car up to Durham”. There is more.
This absolutely negates all his defence re childcare. Why has this not been covered by the media?” Well, maybe it will be now: while the likes of the MoS deploy their resources to aggressively intimidating witnesses, yet more media outlets will now be following up leads. And so the Flight of the Polecat remains where Cummings and his boss, alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, don’t want it: high up the news agenda.

For such a master media manipulator, Cummings is really pretty crap. Sad, really.
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Dominic Raab - Terminally Useless

As the succession of supposedly leading Tories presents themselves for viewers’ inspection on the Sunday politics shows, the impression of ineptitude is inescapable, not least from de facto deputy Prime Minister Dominic “cash flow problem” Raab, who this morning appeared before the inquisition of both Sky News’ Sophy Ridge, and the BBC’s Andrew Marr. He was, let us not forget, running the country recently.
That was because alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson had been whisked away to the intensive care unit at St Thomas’ Hospital, the moment when many in his own party began to realise that the welter of propaganda being pumped out, telling that Bozo was just in for observation, could not mask the inconvenient fact that their figurehead came perilously close to pegging out. So Ms Ridge had a rather obvious question.

Given the dependence placed by Bozo and his pals on chief Downing Street polecat Dominic Cummings, did Raab know that Dom had piled off to Durham? After all, he’d need to keep in touch, wouldn’t he? Not according to the Ridge show’s Twitter feed: “Dominic Raab says he was not aware that Dominic Cummings was in Durham whilst he was acting Prime Minister and says he found out ‘when the story broke’ in the media”.
When did he know Dom had left London for Durham? “I’m not sure”. Ms Ridge tried again. “While you were de facto Prime Minister, did you know Dominic Cummings was in Durham?” Come on Cash Flow! “I just knew he was out of action”. Like some kind of robot, perchance? She had another go. “Was the first time you knew that he went to Durham when you read it in the media, then?” The Raab evasion wasn’t making it.

I wouldn’t be able to say with any precision, I want to give you a really accurate, reliable answer, but I hadn’t at the time, I wasn’t aware of it, other than as I said, that he was unwell, he was out of action, and to be honest with you I didn’t inquire as to his own personal circumstances, I was just getting on with the job”. Waffles for breakfast.
Ms Ridge summed up. “So you didn’t know, did you?” Raab agreed that, at the time, no he didn’t. Then, from being grilled outside the BBC, he entered New Broadcasting House to see if he could do better on The Andy Marr Show™. This turned out to be another campaign which developed not necessarily to his advantage.

Marr mentioned the unrest which is developing in many cities across the USA, and the infamous Tweet from Combover Crybaby Donald Trump, who was called out by Twitter for inciting violence with his assertion that “When the looting starts, the shooting starts”. Would Mr Cash Flow care to offer BBC viewers his thoughts on that incident?
Stewart Wood summed up the response. “Dominic Raab on #Marr when asked about Trump's comments on the #GeorgeFloydProtests: ‘I've long kept to the self-imposed guidance not to comment on what President Trump says ... It's not really what my job is’. That's the UK Foreign Secretary”. Or, put another way, it is what his job is.

Dominic Raab, the best the Tories could manage today. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
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Mail On Sunday - Pants On Fire

Such is the blind loyalty that some in our free and fearless press are prepared to show to alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson that they are prepared to peddle propaganda on his behalf, even if it is not true. And one of those prepared to go that extra mile is the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole, at present pretending to be a real journalist, and deputy political editor of the Mail on Sunday.
But they tried anyway ...

Master Cole’s is the first name on the by-line of today’s MoS front page lead, the headline thundering “As PM tells Cummings he’s on his ‘last chance’, we reveal witness who alerted Police broke lockdown rules HIMSELF - and another admits he INVENTED story … YOU COULDN’T MAKE IT UP!” But here a series of problems enter.

One, the witness who “admits he invented story” was merely echoing what had already been reported. His admission does not invalidate the fact that Cummings went for a day out to Barnard Castle, and has admitted it. Two, a claim that the information about Dom’s trip to Durham was “passed on by a Remainer peer” is irrelevant. At this rate, we’ll be reduced to “Which way to the station”, followed by “Yeah but did you vote Remain?
... Courtesy of Guess Who ...

Three, Cole and his pals are flat-out lying with his claim of lockdown breach. Here’s what the article says: “A retired teacher who reported Dominic Cummings to the police for allegedly breaking lockdown rules has admitted driving 250 miles to collect his daughter … Robin Lees drove from his home in Barnard Castle, County Durham, to pick up his student daughter, Elizabeth, who had been self-isolating at her boyfriend’s home in Ascot, Berkshire, after returning from an extended study trip to Canada”. There is more.

The Mail on Sunday can reveal that just days before speaking to the police, Mr Lees broke lockdown regulations himself by making a 526-mile round-trip to collect his daughter”. Straight accusation of breaching lockdown. But, as Pippa Crerar of the Mirror has pointed out, this isn’t true, and she quotes Government guidance.
... and he had a homework fail (again)

If a student is opting to change their primary residence for the purpose of the emergency period to live back at their family home, this is permitted”. The MoS was lying. Worse, the paper has clearly undertaken an aggressive and bullying act of doorstepping on Robin Lees, for which he should be contacting lawyers. Then come Four, Cole’s Polecat claims.

Bozo gave Dom the hard word. Well, allegedly. “A No 10 insider said: ‘The Prime Minister has made it absolutely clear Dominic cannot be the story again. He will not tolerate it. If it happens again, he’s out.’” That’s either Cole taking dictation, or making it up himself.
There is more. “According to one official, the PM ‘unsurprisingly had more than a few words to say to Dom behind the scenes’ … Another added: ‘I don’t expect there’ll be any blog posts or media appearances by Dom for a very long time. He’s been firmly put in his place.’” And that’s just Cole taking dictation. Which is the extent of his abilities.

The sum total of this series of aggressive and confrontational doorsteppings, lies about the lockdown rules, and creative retelling of quotes handed down by Downing Street spinners is that a ham-fisted attempt to make Bozo look less bad has fallen flat.

All that has been achieved is that we now know the press is prepared to lie for Bozo.
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Top Six - May 31

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 am still trying to find maybe even more domestic stuff to do later. So there.
6 Cummings Pandemic Prediction? ANOTHER LIE To no surprise at all, the claim by chief Downing Street polecat Dominic Cummings that he had predicted the Coronavirus pandemic in an article last year was not true. It was shown that he’d edited it later to make it look that way.

5 Sun Pundit Demands Critics Are Censored Olivia Utley wants Government intervention to silence her critics - but the freedom to carry on attacking them. No change there, then.

4 Turning Point UK - Utter Scum Deliberately libelling the MP who nearly died from Covid-19, just for clicks. No-one is surprised.

3 Attorney General - Pants On Fire Suella Braverman blatantly abused her position by supporting Dominic Cummings. Then she lied to cover her tracks.

2 Sarah Vine Crosses The Libel Line Attacking the wrong target and then missing it? What a surprise.

1 How Poor Is Dominic Cummings? A re-entry on the Top Six from last September - Polecat Dom likes to smear his critics as “Rich remainers”, but he and his wife paid more than a million and a half in cash for their London pad.

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

Saturday 30 May 2020

Sarah Vine Crosses The Libel Line

[Update at end of post]

Demonstrating that it is not only late in the evening that she makes ill-advised use of her social media presence, the Lady Macbeth-like figure of Sarah “Vain” Vine, better known as the wife of Michael “Oiky” Gove and Daily Mail pundit of no known usefulness, has staged a Twitter intervention that could become horribly expensive. And unlike her totally forgettable Mail columns, it will be her footing the bill if it does.
Ms Vine went after Mic Wright, on the grounds that the latter had said something about her daughter. What was said is not specifically known, but Wright has said in his defence that the substance of his remarks has already been aired both in Tatler magazine, and also by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog.
That suggests it has to do with Ms Vine’s daughter allegedly revealing a fondness for grass, and not the kind that one mows of a weekend. Strangely, there was no snappy comeback when The Great Guido mentioned it, but perhaps I blinked and missed it.
Still, off the end of the pier she went. “I see that [Mic Wright] describes himself as ‘100 per cent deviant’ which perhaps explains why he likes to obsess about teenage girls with teachers like [Alom Shaha]”. That’s rather close to the defamation line. Wright sighed “This was inevitable. I’m not obsessed with teenage girls. Nor have I written about any children in my care in a national newspaper. Also, I didn’t describe myself that way, my friend did. Libel me and I will sue you”. And he had a follow-up to that response.
The wife of a cabinet minister, also a columnist for a major newspaper, is now engaged in trying to cast serious aspersions about my character. I don’t have much money, but I do have self-respect and strength. I’ll raise the money to sue her if she continues to do this”.
Go on Sarah, let’s have a bit of the old wit, then. “At least [Mic Wright] has the balls to stand by his vitriol about my daughter. [Alom Shaha] has protected his account”. Maybe something to do with wanting to keep his job and avoid having the moralising spite of the Daily Mail come down on him like a tonne of bricks? Just a thought.
But, as Wright said in response, “I said nothing vitriolic. I stated facts. Something that, as an employee of DMGT, you are not terribly familiar with. Retract the implications you have made about me … I have not messed with your kids. I stated a fact. Facts that have been published not only by you, but by Tatler and Guido Fawkes. So why might I be the one you’re going after … I’d really recommend leaving this now”.
Sarah Vine could be batting on a very sticky track here, and for several reasons. One, her daughter appeared to claim that she smoked what she called “Ouid”, and talked about having a dealer. Two, her husband has admitted to having a cocaine habit. Three, the paper for which she writes takes a strong moral line on currently illegal drugs, although, fortunately for her, not alcohol. Four, repeating what two other sources already published is not “Obsessive”. And Five, the Mail and teenage girls? Where does one start?

Stop digging, Sarah, you’ve reached bedrock. And I don’t mean The Flintstones.
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[UPDATE 1715 hours: Mic Wright has told me "I said nothing about drugs — I know nothing about that. The conversation was about rebelliousness. Alom suggested she should rebel more against them. I said, 'She’s only 17, and still lives at home. Give her time.'"
And right on cue, Tim Curtis has provided a screen shot which says exactly that. Which puts Ms Vine in one of those Very Difficult Positions. No obsession, no vitriol, nothing deviant, and indeed no defence against a future action for defamation.

I know Daily Mail pundits don't say sorry, but in this case she would be best advised making an exception]

Lockdown - Boris Versus The Experts

Even though he was bombarded with questions about the behaviour of chief Downing Street polecat Dominic Cummings, and had to spend some of the time stopping the Chief Scientific Officer and Chief Medical Officer from passing comment on the Barnard Castle day out, alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson did manage to use the Thursday Downing Street briefing to tell of an easing to the lockdown.
This, as could be seen from yesterday’s papers, was received as good news, and Bozo would be hoping that it might revive his fortunes; after all, even at the start of the week, a YouGov poll showed Tory support slipping four points and Labour gaining five points, cutting the Tory lead from 15 points to just six. Another poll showed Labour leader Keir Starmer with a net approval rating of +21% - as in 20% ahead of Bozo.
Worse for the Tories, those approving of Starmer’s performance include more than one in four Tory voters. What price the Red-to-Blue wall now? So easing the lockdown, including reopening non-essential shops, and the promise of pubs opening before too long, was a no brainer for the Tories. But there was a problem: the experts disagreed.
As the BBC has reported, “Scientific advisers to the government have warned of the risk of lifting the lockdown in England, as the UK begins the final weekend before rules change. Professor John Edmunds said it was a ‘political decision’ to ease measures; Sir Jeremy Farrar said the NHS test and trace system should be ‘fully working’”. Both Edmunds and Farrar are members of SAGE. And why they have concerns is not hard to discover.
The Beeb’s Fergus Walsh told that “Prof John Edmunds from LSHTM and a SAGE advisor says 8,000 current infections a day in community is high and many scientists would have preferred incidence down to lower levels before we relax lockdown measures”. Sky News added “Sage committee member and the director of the Wellcome Trust Jeremy Farrar says COVID-19 is spreading ‘too fast’ for the government to lift lockdown measures”.
Worse still is the high number of deaths attributable to Covid-19: as Derek James pointed out, “Spain has only had four #Covid19 deaths in the last three days. The UK has had well over 1,000 #Covid19 deaths in the last three days. Spain's children won't be returning to school until September. #BorisJohnson wants UK children to return to school on Monday”.
Other comparative figures looked grim for the UK, with Bryan Smith noting “Deaths yesterday across Europe: Spain 2 … Italy 87 … Germany 24 … France 52 … Turkey 28 … Belgium 42 … Sweden 84 … Portugal 14 … Ireland 6 … Poland 13 … Romania 13 … Hungary 8 … Netherlands 28 … UK ... 324 … There’s no way we are ready to ease lockdown & open schools”. At least one other country agrees with that.
Greece will receive tourists from 29 other countries when its borders are reopened next month. The UK is not one of them. Spain appears ready to follow suit. The level of infection and death is far too high for them to risk it. So why is lockdown being eased?

Simples. The experts just want to save lives. But Bozo wants to save his career.
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Where Is Laura Kuenssberg?

The BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg has not had a good press in the past week, as the Tories have become engulfed in the controversy precipitated by the lockdown-busting antics of chief Downing Street polecat Dominic Cummings. She did not help her own cause by coming to Cummings’ aid by quoting a source claiming that Dom had done no wrong. The source seemed rather too close to the Polecat.
This earned her no Brownie points at all from alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson: when several pundits tried to question the Government’s Chief Scientific Officer and Chief Medical Officer during the Thursday Downing Street briefing, Bozo didn’t allow a follow-up question to anyone - not even her. And he was equally brusque in wading in to stop them answering her question about the Polecat’s Barnard Castle day out.
But none of this appeared out of the ordinary: Ms Kuenssberg has been caught excusing the Tories before and there has been no comeback, such as the occasion when she effectively took dictation from Matthew Elliott after the Vote Leave was judged to have broken the law: the BBC then reported that they had merely “broken the rules”.
Then, with the country still locked down, and holiday opportunities strictly limited - as in, limited to one’s own home - she enigmatically and rather briefly told yesterday afternoon “Not around for a few days - keep up with [BBC News] and [BBC Politics]". Where’s she going? Is this something voluntary? Has it been forced upon her?
As with so many of these episodes, the nature of the rolling 24-hour news speculatron is that it abhors a vacuum, and so the search is now on for something to fill the void. Sadly, the best that some have come up with is a snippet from several years ago which has precisely zero relevance to Ms K’s current situation.
That snippet was her move from the BBC to ITV back in 2011, when she became the latter’s business editor. Or, as Radio Times put it at the time, “[she] will lead the channel’s analysis of the latest business stories, both in the UK and internationally - making her the equivalent of the BBC’s Robert Peston”. Now here’s a thing, Hugh.
But even without the distraction of that old story, the speculation has begun. And for every friendly Tweeter responding “Switch your phone off and have a great break”, there were several others firing back “We might get some actual reported news for a change”, or asking “You been sanctioned too?” The name of Emily Maitlis was pitched in response.
And of course her links to those inside 10 Downing Street were brought up, with Crispian Wheldon posting a photo of her and the Polecat with the pointed question “Going anywhere nice?” Peter Oborne’s criticism of her and Robert Peston got several mentions.
So what gives with Ms Kuenssberg? Taking a few days off while the country is in lockdown and in the middle of a significantly sized national crisis? Curiouser and curiouser.

There is one further problem: the BBC will manage fine without her. I’ll just leave that one there.
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Friday 29 May 2020

Guido Fawkes - Backing Gun Law

Those who have researched the past form of the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines, who nowadays styles himself Guido Fawkes and pretends that politicians are scared of him coming waddling after them, know that the great libertarian has always had a vicious authoritarian streak under the surface. Now he has come right out and reminded anyone who had forgotten that he backs those with guns against those without.
After an unarmed African American man called George Floyd was effectively murdered by over-zealous white cops in Minneapolis, there was significant disquiet. Then there was unrest; now there are riots. Police brutality, decades after the great protests of the civil rights movement, is still not just a thing, it is a constant threat to life.
At the same time, Twitter had finally got round to taking action against the incendiary behaviour of Combover Crybaby Donald Trump, whose use of their platform would have seen many a lesser Tweeter removed long ago. Trump sent out one Tweet to incitement too many; Twitter stepped in and called him out for glorifying violence. In waded Staines.
Copying out the Trump Tweet, he sneered “Wonder what [Twitter] would have done if Churchill had tweeted ‘We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender…’”. But Winshton was not suggesting shooting unarmed civilians.
That’s hardly comparable with Trump leering “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”. But perhaps it appeals to someone who once saidI was over in Washington, in Jo'burg, in South America. It was 'let's get guns for the Contras', that sort of stuff. I was enjoying it immensely, I got to go with these guys and fire off AK-47s … I never wore a ‘Hang Mandela' badge, but I hung out with people who did”.
But few agreed with his sentiments. James Felton responded “Wonder what twitter would have done if Churchill was threatening to kill unarmed civilians rather than armed Nazis?” while Madoc Roberts reminded Staines of Churchill’s unfortunate past. “Churchill has always been hated in Wales because he sent the troops in against the miners in Tonypandy”. That wasn’t Winshton’s only domestic violence minus point.
Rob Manuel countered with “Churchill is an excellent comparison. Although I'd have picked the more pointed ‘what would have [Twitter] done when Churchill ordered Black and Tans into Ireland in 1920 to kill his own (then, but for not much longer) citizens?’
And Rupert Myers reminded Staines what the Minneapolis disturbances are all about. “I guess it might have drawn a distinction between an invading force of Nazis and furious African Americans who are fed up with being murdered by US law enforcement”. To which one enterprising Tweeter added “And by the way there was looting after bombing raids in WW2, but I didn’t see Churchill ordering in the Army to shoot them!” Well, quite.
But good to see that The Great Guido is still a faux libertarian who has no problem with justice being dispensed at the barrel of a gun. Not much liberty after some of that, eh?

Something to remember when you read more of the Fawkes falsehood. Another fine mess.
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