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Saturday 31 October 2020

Lockdown Leak - Who Gove The Game Away?

Alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is furious. Someone has leaked, or caused to be leaked, details of a national lockdown. So furious is Bozo that a leak inquiry has begun. Someone has stolen his thunder: only he, The Great Leader, should have told his adoring public what was to come.

Something fishy going on here

As the Guardian has reported, “The Times reported on Friday night that the prime minister was considering imposing a national lockdown early next week. According to the report, Boris Johnson met with the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, the health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock, and the Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove to discuss the steep rise in infections, and was expected to hold a press conference on Monday”.

So only four people knew, and the Murdoch press found out. Any other papers? “Other newspapers, including the Daily Mail and the Sun, also wrote that a national lockdown was expected to be announced next week, which reportedly led Downing Street to launch a leak inquiry to uncover the source of the story”. So we’re looking at leaks to the inmates of the Baby Shard and Northcliffe House bunkers. Who might that involve?

The people at Evolve Politics did not take long to figure out Who Done It. “In terms of the source, only four people are believed to have had knowledge of the decision: Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak, Matt Hancock and Michael Gove - meaning the leak must have come from one of them”. And which of them is the protector of chief Downing Street polecat Dominic Cummings? And to whom is he married?

While that one is sinking in, this is what Ben Wallace said about one of those present. “From the minute Michael Gove came on board with Boris’s leadership campaign, things started to go wrong. There was a leak a day in the press, starting with the camera crews at Boris’s house in Oxfordshire on the first day and ending with the infamous email from Sarah Vine, Michael’s wife, ‘accidentally’ finding its way to the papers”. There was more.

For me this wasn’t new. When I was a government whip and Michael was the chief whip, the office leaked like a sieve. Important policy and personnel details made their way to the papers. Michael seems to have an emotional need to gossip, particularly when drink is taken, as it all too often seemed to be”. The man can’t hold his liquor!

Worse, the Lady Macbeth-like figure of Gove’s wife, Sarah “Vain” Vine, is also known for her propensity for drink, recently telling Daily Mail readers “In a culture so devoid of fun … there has to be some release … And besides, wine is the opium of the middle classes … And it’s not as if we’re drinking ourselves into a stupor night after night. Just enough to take the edge off the day. Two glasses. Maybe three if it’s been a stinker”.

If those are 25cl glasses, three means a whole bottle. Add to that Gove’s confession of a friendship with Charlie, and you have a couple who are reliably Slippery When Pissed. Gove is beholden to the Murdoch mafiosi, and Ms Vine to the Rothermeres. That’s where the story ended up - that is where my Occam’s Razor is pointing right now.

Forget the leak inquiry. The Macbeths are at it again. No surprise there, then.

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Polecat Prosecution May Proceed

Alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has become highly dependent on a coterie of unelected advisors since last year’s General Election. And at the top of this particular pyramid sits chief Downing Street polecat Dominic Cummings. Without Dom, Bozo would be in trouble. And if he has any sense, that is a scenario which he would do well to anticipate - because there is a move to prosecute Cummings.

In the early days of the Coronavirus pandemic, and the subsequent national lockdown, it was revealed that while many were obeying the rules, Polecat Dom, wife Mary Wakefield and their young child were flagrantly breaching them. Instead of self-isolating at home in London after contracting Covid-19 symptoms, they had got into their reassuringly expensive SUV and driven 250 miles north to Durham.

Only when the Mirror and Guardian put witness evidence before the public did Cummings come clean. Now it seems he may not have come clean enough: former regional chief prosecutor Nazir Afzal, who lost his brother to Covid-19, has been gathering witness statements and picking apart Cummings’ excuses. As a result, he has complied a significantly-sized dossier of material which is now in the hands of the Police.

As the Guardian has reported, “Afzal said Cummings’ claims during a press conference in Downing Street’s rose garden on 25 May affected the course of justice as they were made as Durham police’s investigation into his behaviour was already under way … Afzal’s lawyers … claimed the legal test for such a prosecution had been met. The dossier also accuses Cummings and his wife, Mary Wakefield, of multiple alleged offences under the coronavirus regulations for leaving their primary home in London and their second home in Durham without, it says, a reasonable excuse”. And there was more.

Nazir Afzal

The most serious allegation in the documents is the claim that Cummings perverted the course of justice in his account of his journey to Barnard Castle on 12 April and his denial of a claim that he made a second lockdown trip to Durham. If such a charge were proven, Cummings could face a prison sentence”. Other papers have picked up on the story.

To no surprise, the Mirror is one of them. “The CPS will usually bring a prosecution if the legal criteria for doing so - known as the CPS ‘Full Code Test’ - are satisfied … In the submission, Mr Afzal’s lawyers claim eye-witness accounts and the explanations given by Mr Cummings show he was responsible for six breaches of lockdown regulations … It calls for police to obtain phone and CCTV records and licence plate tracking to more firmly establish the sequence of events around the trip”. Even the Mail is running it.

Their report tells usMr Afzal's dossier is based on new eyewitness claims said to be 'wholly inconsistent' with the account that Mr Cummings gave when he admitted travelling to the North East during the lockdown … Mr Cummings faced fury when it emerged that he drove from London to Durham, and then took a separate 60-mile round trip to a local beauty spot despite having Covid symptoms”. Why are they running it? Simples.

Mail readers had to obey the rules. They, like those buying the Guardian and Mirror, were just as outraged when Cummings was caught breaking them and pleasing himself.

So now it’s over to the cops and CPS. Is it still one rule for us, and another for Polecats?

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Bozo And Carrie Present Blue Peter

Hello children. Hello there. Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin. Today, Blue Peter is coming from 10 Downing Street. That’s a big house in the middle of London with lots of people in it, but that’s not important right now. We’ve got two really brilliant guest presenters today called Bozo and Carrie. He’s a lazy fat bastard, and she isn’t.

Hellay Cheeldren!

One hates not to take alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson seriously, but what he and fiancée-for-the-time-being Carrie Symonds served up in a cringe-inducing, and potentially nausea-inducing, video yesterday cannot be other than taking the piss. There they were on a sofa, telling us how wonderful NHS workers are.

The video, with a noticeable gap between the happy couple, was recorded for the Pride of Britain awards ceremony next Sunday. This Daily Mirror and ITV bash told “Our Prime Minister Boris and fiance [sic] Carrie Symonds have a message for our wonderful NHS workers and those who saved his life. Join us this Sunday at 9pm on ITV for the biggest celebration of our nation's heroes!” to a backdrop of audible projectile vomiting.

For some reason, the Great British Public was less than totally receptive to this faux show of unity and sincerity. And Matt Carr was one of them. “I have to say that Carrie Symonds and Johnson couch video is one of the most fake, patronising and vomit-inducing things I have ever seen. How dare these clowns inflict this on us in the midst of this mayhem? How can people not see how deeply repugnant the pair of them are?

Nick Harris wasn’t a fan, either. “OMG that Boris and Carrie video in full is soooooooooo tone deaf. Absolutely everything about it is woeful, patronising, insincere, crass, grating and awful. How anyone in PR who signed off on that remains in a job: God only knows”.

David Schneider reminded us “WHAT BORIS JOHNSON WILL GIVE NHS STAFF: Pride of Britain nomination … Some claps … WHAT HE WON’T GIVE THEM: A proper pay rise”. For Labour, Rosena Allin-Khan, who you can tell as she’s a doctor, added “This is an insult. Johnson should be pleading for forgiveness for inadequately protecting NHS staff and for refusing to give them the pay rise they deserve”.

What say health professionals? Nicki Credland, who is Chair of the British Association of Critical Care Nurses, suggested instead of an award “How about we respect their expertise, listen to their voice and pay them accordingly?” And Victoria Brookes knew what was coming next. “I’ll just be over here waiting for Janey Godley’s voiceover of that disgustingly fake Boris and Carrie video”. Och SHITE! Where’s ma clicky pen?

A grateful public responds

But enough. Bozo and Carrie may have thought that this was a jolly wizzo idea, which merely shows the yawning gulf between the ruling elite and the reality beyond the Downing Street gates. Like his hero Churchill, Bozo doesn’t mix with the hoi polloi. He has no idea what a heap of crap his New Bus For London is, because he doesn’t use public transport. He probably thinks all pubs are like the ones his pal Tim Martin runs.

All that is left is for the rest of us to try and keep our last meal down. Pass the sick bucket.

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Friday 30 October 2020

Labour - Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Let me take you back to 1983, a year which for many will not have any special significance. There was a General Election; the Tories’ vote fell by 700,000 nationally, the three parties standing in opposition to them polled 53% of the popular vote. And with unemployment at around 3 million, the Tories, who had presided over that eye-watering rise in the jobless total, romped home with a majority of 144.

Much of the UK’s manufacturing base, smaller firms especially, had gone to the wall during a failed and painful flirtation with monetarism. Yet the Tories still won. How could it happen? Simples. There had been a split in the Labour Party.

On that occasion, it was a move to the left under Michael Foot’s leadership that had caused the schism. Many Labour moderates, led by the so-called Gang of Four, had broken with the party to form the SDP. This new party had formed an alliance with the then Liberal Party; later, the Liberals and most of the SDP would become what is now the Liberal Democrats. First Past The Post does not reward splits.

What happened many years before that to the old Liberal Party was yet worse: returned to power in a landslide victory in 1906, largest single party in the Commons in 1910, they were reduced to a mere 40 seats in 1924 after the Asquith-Lloyd George split. The lesson keeps on repeating itself. So what do disaffected Labour supporters do in 2020?

There has been talk of walkouts, a new left-wing party and lawsuits from those on the left, with those on the right, along with their allies in our free and fearless press, ratcheting up the calls for more suspensions and even expulsions, although on what grounds we are not told. All this after former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was suspended yesterday.

But here’s why walking away would be wrong: Unite’s head man Len McCluskey has been generating headlines like the Independent’s “Corbyn suspension: Unite boss Len McCluskey warns of ‘chaos’ in Labour if former leader is not reinstated”, but when you drill down into the body of the report, there it is leaping off the page. “Mr McCluskey … warned that failure to reinstate the former leader would leave a split party ‘doomed to defeat’ at the next election”. A split party would be doomed to defeat. Again.

He also told “I therefore call upon Keir [Starmer] to work across the party on a fitting and unifying way forward, to unite our party behind the implementation of the EHRC's important recommendations … I also appeal to members angered by this suspension not to leave the party but to support moves to find a better way through”.

John McDonnell is not upping sticks and leaving. Nor are Richard Burgon, Rebecca Long Bailey, Diane Abbott, Dawn Butler, or indeed any MPs on Labour’s left. Labour and its supporters must hang together, or they will surely be hung separately.

Many will remember the Tory cheering and hooting from their overmonied and uncaring fans in 2015, and especially last year. Some of us remember the same thing in 1983, and don’t want to have to hear it ever again. That means electing a Labour Government.

It means working together. It means no splits. It means calm heads must, and will, prevail.

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Shaun Bailey Doesn’t Have A Scooby

He wants to become Mayor of London. But Tory hopeful Shaun Bailey’s attacks on Labour incumbent Sadiq Khan have got him nowhere and embarrassed his own party, such has been their crass ineptitude. Now he has hit on the idea of throwing money at a project that is outside London. Yes, he wants Transport for London to pay someone else’s bills.

Shaun Bailey - not so hopeful

Not surprisingly, this is proving to be a campaign destined to develop not necessarily to his advantage, especially after he echoed the dishonest Tory claim that TfL was “effectively bankrupt”. Now he wants that same TfL to find the odd hundred million or so to help out one of his fellow Tories outside London, by paying for some new railway infrastructure.

As any fule kno, railway infrastructure is not cheap. But Bailey was not downhearted, putting together a video where he told “I’ve just been hosted by Dean Russell, who’s the MP for Watford. He and his constituents are very worried about the closure of Watford station … When Boris Johnson was the Mayor, he left the money behind to make sure this station, and the extension, actually happened, so that Watford and London would be closely linked, as lots of people commute”. And there was more.

But under Sadiq Khan’s poor management of TfL’s finances, this station is now under threat. It’s just another example of how Sadiq Khan has failed to deliver transport across London and the wider region … I have a plan to fix transport in London and stations like this will be rescued wherever possible. But I want to make a challenge to Sadiq Khan. It’s time to stop blaming the Government and deliver transport”. Ready for the fisk?

Here we go. One, there are at present no plans to close Watford station (the Metropolitan Line terminus). Two, the extension - to Watford Junction - would almost certainly mean that station WILL close. Three, Watford and London are already connected by a more direct and faster link between Watford Junction and Euston. Four, Khan’s management of TfL’s finances has little to do with any threat to that station. COS IT’S NOT IN LONDON.

And Five, the money Bozo left assumed the project to link the Met to Watford Junction - with a short stretch of new track and re-using the disused Croxley Green link - was way short of what will be needed. Hertfordshire County Council have declined to make up the shortfall. Because, like all councils, they too are strapped for cash (hello again Tories).

All of which makes Bailey’s trip to Watford a singularly pointless one. Parts of the London Underground - especially the Metropolitan - extend outside the Greater London area. That means it’s not for the Mayor to throw money at them. If he did, the Tories would be down on him like the proverbial tonne of bricks. That’s why Bailey is such an embarrassment.

And that’s why many Tories are already writing off his chance of winning next year. You don’t impress voters by prioritising someone else’s problems. And then lying about them.

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Amanda Milling - Famous Last Words

It takes a brave individual to start throwing stones from within a glasshouse, and the bad news for the Tory Party is that the latest exponent of this singularly pointless pursuit is their own chairman, Cannock Chase MP Amanda Milling. Backed up by Michael “Oiky” Gove, the minister rather closer to the seat of power than his nominal boss, alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, she has been attacking the Labour Party.

Amanda Milling MP

Sir Keir Starmer loyally served in Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet as antisemitism ripped through the Labour Party. It’s time for Sir Keir Starmer to hold those responsible for this sorry period in Labour’s history to account” she sneered, managing to miss that had anti-Semitism “ripped through the Labour Party”, the EHRC would have said so. They didn’t.

What she also missed is that the EHRC investigation into Labour was set in train after a series of complains were made to it. A series of complaints could just as easily be laid at the Tories’ door - and not just on anti-Semitism. Tories from Bozo downwards have been indulging in racist behaviour, and getting away with it, for many years now.

Moreover, if the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, with its sometimes less than appealing hangers-on, can get the attention of the EHRC, groups like the Muslim Council of Britain can do it too. The latter could bundle in the anti-Semitism with their complaint, to save the CAA and other Jewish voices the trouble. There is, after all, a lot of Tory racism out there.

On anti-Semitism, there was Suella Braverman’s unrepentant talk ofCultural Marxism”, which came hard on the heels of a group of Tory Brexiteers calling themselves “The Grand Wizards”. OKKK? The Board of Deputies of British Jews were not happy about that, and said so. Later came Jacob Rees Mogg’s crossing the anti-Semitism line when he called Oliver Letwin and John Bercow “Illuminati who are taking the powers to themselves”.

Soon after that, we were treated to Priti Patel channelling her inner Viktor Orbán as she told “This daughter of immigrants needs no lectures from the North London metropolitan liberal elite”. Robert Peston suggested she should have phrased that differently - as in taking out the word “North”, which makes it into an anti-Semitic dog-whistle.

The use of anti-Semitic tropes continued as Rees Mogg suggested in the Commons that George Soros had been funding the Remain campaign in the EU referendum. And to top it all came Gove lecturing Aaron Bastani with “our Jewish friends and neighbours fear a Corbyn Government - time for you to stand with them and Israel”. Conflating “Jews” and “Israel” - a clear breach of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.

That much is bad. What is worse is the incidence of anti-black racism and Islamophobia in the Tory Party, as pointed up by the Tweeter known as Mates Jacob. They highlighted many serving Tory Councillors openly indulging in racist hate speech online. A dossier was sent to James Cleverly, who did precisely nothing about it.

Hope Not Hate commissioned polling that showed the Tories are in denial about Islamophobia. The party has promised an inquiry. There hasn’t been one. And there won’t be one, not while one of the worst offenders is in 10 Downing Street.

So it’s high time someone pitched a complaint to the EHRC. Hello Amanda Milling.

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Thursday 29 October 2020

Murdoch Host - Dog Ate My Emails

Many of those who look in on Zelo Street will already be familiar with the Murdoch mafiosi and its propensity for dishonesty, coupled with slavish support for right-wing politics. But what newspapers like the Sun, and broadcast outlets like TalkRADIO, produce is as nothing when put alongside the tsunami of falsehood, misinformation and propaganda that spews daily from the hosts at Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse).

Yeah, we put them in the mail, er, I think

And FNC is the template for other operations: TalkRADIO is drifting inexorably in that direction, Sky News Australia (now 100% Murdoch owned) has already arrived there, and the people at Ofcom will no doubt be looking nervously at a start-up “news” channel which is being planned by the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker.

In the run-up to this year’s US Presidential Election, FNC has, to no surprise at all, been shilling shamelessly, and almost continuously, for Combover Crybaby Donald Trump. This has involved pushing some truly wacko conspiracy theories, including a claim that Democrat challenger Joe Biden’s son Hunter, or someone on his behalf, dropped off a MacBook at a repair shop, and that something on the hard drive was seriously incriminating.

Dodgy emails! The thing that, in the retelling, did for Hillary Clinton in 2016! Off went the whole roster of FNC’s “opinion” hosts, including one Tucker Carlson. He is the one who inherited the 2000 hours weekdays Eastern slot after the departure of Bill O’Reilly. Tucker Carlson Tonight is FNC’s highest-rating show. And Carlson pushed the Biden email story.

But here a problem entered: all those hosts talked about the emails, but no emails were ponied up. This sowed seeds of doubt, even in the minds of loyal FNC viewers. So now, we are told that there are more damning Biden documents. And FNC has them. Or, rather, FNC did have them, but, er, they got lost in the post. You read that right.

So it was that Carlson, earnest manner, straight face and all, told his viewers yesterday evening “On Monday this week we received … a collection of confidential documents related to the Biden family”. But the documents were in New York, and Carlson was in LA. So a producer in NYC “shipped those documents overnight to California with a large national carrier”. And guess what happened then? You’ll love this one.

The Biden documents never arrived in Los Angeles. Tuesday morning we received word from the shipping company that our package had been opened, and the contents were missing”. Sorry Tuck, but this is complete crap. One, the producer in NYC only needed to scan them, or use their phone camera, and then use that gizmo called email.

And Two, how did the people who allegedly intercepted the package know what to look for? Was it marked “Fox News Channel - incriminating Biden documents en route to Tucker Carlson”? if they really had been dynamite, someone would have gone to JFK, EWR or LGA, got on a plane, virus risk or no, and delivered them personally.

The Hunter Biden email claim didn’t work. Now it’s been replaced by “A Registered Democrat Dog Intercepted My Homework And Ate It”.

But don’t laugh too loudly. This standard of con artistry will be here in the UK very soon.

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Labour, EHRC, And Quality Street

Christmas is coming. And Christmas means that, despite the routine over-indulgence in anything remotely edible, someone during the afternoon will open the Quality Street. This provides an excellent opportunity for those present to be highly selective, to pick out their favourite chocs or toffees. The Purple Ones vanish quickly. The Green Triangles follow soon afterwards. So it is with the EHRC report into alleged Labour anti-Semitism.

Right on time at 1000 hours this morning, the EHRC report was officially published: there had already been some trailing of its main points. This, too, had been highly selective: those who have backed former leader Jeremy Corbyn to the hilt had their own favourite bits. Those who have spent the past five years denouncing Jezza had other faves.

As an example, let’s see which Purple Ones human rights lawyer Adam Wagner has picked out of the family size tub. “Unlawful Acts” is one of them. Labour “breached the Equality Act 2010 by committing unlawful harassment through the acts of its agents in two of the complaints we investigated”. One of those two was the Ken Livingstone case.

He also selected “Political Interference”. Here, “we found 23 instances of political interference by LOTO staff and others. These included clear examples of interference at various stages throughout the complaint handling process, including in decisions in whether to investigate and whether to suspend”. Livingstone was one of those too.

Why home in on Ken? Because the interference, such as it was, was to try and get the suspension decision made, to expedite it. Livingstone ultimately saved his now former party the trouble by resigning. And there have been other selective interpretations.

One of those is the picking out the Green Triangles by Corbyn supporters. Rachael Cousins has been quick on the draw there: “Waiting for someone, anyone, from the mainstream media to confirm the EHRC *did not* find Labour to be institutionally antisemitic”. But the EHRC did find shortcomings, and said so.

Not surprisingly, the Purple Ones and Green Triangles fans do not agree with one another, as Mike Sivier has shown: “[Ruth Smeeth] talking nonsense about the #EHRCReport - the people she's praising were causing the problems, not trying to fix them - as the EHRC report shows”. Selective partisanship is obscuring some of what should be made clear.

For that clarity, we need to go over to Mic Wright, who has taken the time to actually read the report, and as a result is left with the Toffee Pennies. His conclusions are to be commended. “Labour had a significant number of members who were antisemitic (as the Tories also do), the Corbyn team didn’t take that seriously enough to begin with and were too close to people who held those antisemitic views”. And there is more.

Labour HQ was poorly run and acted deliberately to make the antisemitism crisis more serious. The EHRC is ruling that the Party is responsible for the actions of individual members … Labour HQ appears to have exacerbated the problem of antisemitism by creating a backlog of cases. Corbyn was not remotely strong enough in his leadership and the party ‘machine’ was a mess”. The myth of Jezza the Stalinist purger.

There has been far too much selective partisanship on view this morning. So some uncomfortable facts are being missed. Corbyn was not decisive or strong enough in his leadership. Action was taken, but the party HQ’s staff do not come out of this smelling of roses. The criteria to which the EHRC have operated should make uncomfortable reading not just for Labour, but any other political party which might face investigation in future.

Matters improved when Jennie Formby arrived on the scene, but by then the damage had arguably been done. However, in not finding that Labour was institutionally anti-Semitic, the EHRC report suggests that this is more cock-up than conspiracy.

Big tubs of Quality Street are already in your nearest supermarket. But don’t over-indulge.

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Farage The Brown Nose Cowboy

When a family trying to cross the Channel in an inflatable boat earlier this week drowned after it capsized near the French coast, pundits were out in force, trying their best to concentrate on people traffickers and not blaming the poor souls who had just lost their lives. But one foghorn of hatred was missing: there was no sign of Brexit Party Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage. Had he overslept after a long session?

We did not have to wait long to find out. Although there are still restrictions on entering the USA due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Nige has managed to not just enter the country, but make his way to Arizona, where Combover Crybaby Donald Trump was holding another of his no-mask potential superspreader rallies, although this one was out in the open, reducing the virus transmission risk. Yes, Mr Thirsty was there too.

Not only was he there, he gave a speech. And in the competition to kiss arse, he out-brown nosed Piers Morgan by a country mile. “I’ve come to America, to bring the Brexit message, that you can beat the establishment [like Trump isn’t the establishment] … that is what Donald Trump did. He beat the pollsters, he beat the media, he beat all the predictions, and here’s the worst bit, they’ve never forgiven him for it”. There was more.

Rather a lot more. “They have spent four years trying to delegitimise him. Four years of the Russia hoax [wasn’t a hoax], four years of a false impeachment [not false]. Most human beings, under that barrage, would have given up. This is … the most resilient, the bravest person I have ever met in my life”. Brutus Moriatus, this man is a bit of a crawler.

Could it get worse? Don’t ask. “When you vote next week, you are not just voting for who the President of the United States of America is, vital though that question may be, you are voting for the leader of the free world”. Bloody hell, is Angela Merkel on the ballot?

It got yet worse. “You are voting for the only current leader in the free world who has got the guts to stand up and fight [how many deferments did Trump get to avoid serving his country?] for the nation state [total crap], to fight for patriotism, to fight against globalism [anti-Semitic dog whistle there]. You’ll be voting for the only leader in the western world with the real courage to stand up to the Chinese Communist Party”.

And that really is weapons grade bullpucky. When did Trump raise a finger about the treatment of Uighur Muslims? When did he say boo about Hong Kong? When did he even mention that China is a totalitarian state, as in there is none of that freedom? He didn’t.

And then it was barrel scraping time. “You’ll be voting for decency [sex pest, bully, psychopath, probably a crook], plain speaking [ranting and rambling]. and a man who in four years hasn’t just cut your taxes [he hasn’t cut most citizens’ taxes at all], hasn’t just improved the economy [seen the markets in the last 24 hours? No, thought not]”.

All that brown nosing, and d’you know what? The worst part of it is that, whatever the outcome of the Presidential Election, Trump won’t give a damn about him. Farage is just being used, like the whole of the GOP is being used right now.

Maybe he got some maximum strength mouthwash out of the deal. He’ll need it.

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Wednesday 28 October 2020

Julia Hartley Dooda SCHOOLED On Migrants

The clocks have just gone back, the weather is wet and windy, the upcoming winter looms along with the second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic, and gloom is all around. Who would have guessed that, when we needed cheering up, it would come from Murdoch property Talk RADIO? Normally a barrage of reactionary hatred, they let a knowledgeable person on to their breakfast show. It did not go well for the host.

This was doubly satisfying, as TalkRADIO’s breakfast host is the self-promoting Julia Hartley Brewer, the slightly less screamingly batshit person’s Katie Hopkins. Ms Hartley Dooda was talking about migrants crossing the Channel. She had all her talking points lined up. And on came her guest Bella Sankey, who is the Director of human rights organisation Detention Action. So she knows about migration and asylum.

Ms Hartley Dooda made her pitch. “The numbers we’ve seen across the Channel have been off the scale and incredibly dangerous”. Ms Sankey came back on that one. “Just to clarify one point, I’m not saying that people crossing the channel isn’t a problem, of course it is, because it’s a dangerous route”. “It’s also illegal” interjected Ms Hartley Dooda.

That was not only unwise, it was wrong. Ms Sankey put her straight. “It is not actually illegal, Julia, to claim asylum here and to come by an unusual route”.

Ms Hartley Dooda was outraged. And to prove it, she turned up the volume. “I’m sorry, I can’t arrive in this country without a passport [missing the point, much?] and I’m British!

Ms Sankey once more put her straight. “You could, if you were claiming asylum. So that is actually a myth”. No, Ms Hartley Dooda wasn’t buying that, and fell back on another of her talking points. “You know that, under the Dublin Convention … if you’re coming from a safe country, you need to stay in that safe country and claim asylum”. Whoops!

That was also unwise. “That’s actually wrong, in law, and I’m telling you this as someone with legal expertise [they let someone with expertise on the show - the bookers are going to get one hell of a bollocking for that one]. That’s not what the Dublin Convention says. It says that states have the right to try and return somebody to a country they pass through. There’s no obligation on someone to claim asylum in any country, other than a country where they feel safe”. So that was two TalkRADIO myths exploded.

Would Madam like to have another of her talking points exposed as worthless? She certainly would. “Whether it’s Ethiopia or Sudan or Libya or … the Bahamas, ‘I don’t feel safe here and I want to come to Britain’, and they have a right … You’ve got to understand why people listening to this think that’s absurd”. Because she didn’t understand.

So Ms Sankey had to spell it out. “That’s not what I’m saying … People have a right to claim asylum, of course then the UK Government will process their asylum claim and that’s a really tough process where not all of those who have claims will have them accepted. So it’s not a free for all at all … the right to find safety has to be a personal one, because people flee [other countries] for all sorts of reasons”. Another TalkRADIO myth bites the dust.

Had Julia Hartley Dooda done her homework, that could have been a well-informed and even illuminating discussion. But, as usual, she hadn’t. And so it wasn’t. No change there.

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