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Monday 30 November 2020

A Partial December Sabbatical

This is one of those troublesome public service announcements.

All things, as the Buddha and Hari Georgeson have observed, must pass. Zelo Street is not yet over, but there has to be a lull in proceedings occasionally, given the production rate of blogposts has been maintained for a whole decade, even continuing during holiday breaks, usually with a pause only over Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

That pace cannot be maintained indefinitely, and especially as next month sees a significant increase in my personal workload elsewhere, something has to give.

So there will be blogposts in December, but not very many. I may be back, though

Mandelson, Corbyn, And Party Discipline

The Labour Party has clearly embarked on a voyage to become more disciplined in its behaviour, its messaging and its pronouncements. The problem it encountered yesterday was that the consistency which it applies to disciplining those who fart out of turn was being sorely tested by someone who gave the impression he would get away with it.

While CLPs are being told not to express solidarity with former leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has been readmitted to the party but not given the Labour whip back, under pain of action against them, and the word has gone out that nothing the EHRC has said in its report on allegations of anti-Semitism is negotiable or up for argument, one dark presence from Labour’s past has decided it is. Whatever will the new General Secretary do with him?

But then, the ghost of Labour Christmas Past is Dark Lord Mandelson, so maybe David Evans will have to stop and think before striking the suspension button with the kind of vehemence applied with Jezza. And what he said was captured by Sienna Rodgers of Labour List. “Peter Mandelson says: ‘I’m worried about one thing. That is this recommended approach by the EHRC of an independent process.’ He says the NEC should ‘take ownership’ of process and ‘an independent process can’t do that’”.

There was more. “Obviously we don't yet know exactly what shape the independent process will take but I think we can be sure that it can't involve the ultimate control of the NEC. The fact that the EHRC recommendations are legally mandated hasn't been mentioned”. So Mandelson is trying to argue against the EHRC report.

Which should mean he gets kicked back into line, no? Meanwhile, Murdoch hack Gabriel Pogrund smelt a split. “Peter Mandelson just told me this at [Jewish Labour Movement] conference: in short, he said, Labour can't allow the left to legalise party management as it did in the 1980s. So ERHC recommendation of an independent disciplinary process cannot stand”. But what the EHRC said is non-negotiable, remember?

Owen Jones remembered all right. “This is a repudiation of the EHRC's recommendations which the Labour Party is supposed to be uniting around. If it is unchallenged, then it becomes a free for all to oppose the EHRC's recommendations. Peter Mandelson needs to retract and apologise in full”. Ah, but there are party members, and there are other party members. And some party members are more equal than others.

One observer did not hold back. “That's Mandelson rubbishing the recommendations of the EHRC report, isn’t it, when can we expect to hear of his suspension from the party … Mandelson gives the lie to what the Blairites want, a process that can be said to be independent, while in reality being run by by the party machine. Starmer has shown that he wasn't above interfering in the disciplinary process that should have been of no concern to him”. It is true that Mandelson made his pronouncement. And there was no action.

What allows someone to give party discipline the finger so blatantly? That they were once something important in that same party, in a senior position? But so was Corbyn.

Whose lawyers will now have had their job made a whole lot easier. What a total farce.

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Laurence Fox - Party Off, Wayne

The number of Covid-19 infections, hospital admissions and deaths around the UK has begun to decline. But the potential for the virus to take hold once again is ever-present, and especially during the winter months. So the last thing we need is the denial brigade distracting the public and peddling misinformation about empty hospitals, then kicking off about freedoms and rights. Which means one thing.

And that is that the denial brigade is doing just that, in one case with the level of total irresponsibility that has occurred to everyone else except him. Yes, increasingly minor thesp, not very good musician and dead-on-arrival politician Laurence Fox wants to encourage onward transmission of the virus. Because Himself Personally Now.

So it was that he proclaimed yesterday “Just had a large group over to lunch and we hugged and ate and talked and put the world to rights. It was lovely. You’ll never take that away from people. Stay out. Protect your rights. If the [NHS] can’t cope, then the [NHS] isn’t fit for purpose. Compliance is violence”. The stupidity was strong with this one.

He wasn’t finished with the stupid, either. “The [NHS] isn’t my church and salvation. It’s employees aren’t my saviours. If you can’t deal with a 99.9% survival rate virus, you aren’t fit for purpose. You don’t need protecting, my elderly relatives do. I also love your emergency care and will continue to pay for it. For now”. His elderly relatives cannot be protected if those who look after them interact with enough people to transmit the virus.

Still, onwards and, er, onwards, eh? “Go out. Enjoy yourselves. Be happy”. Spread a deadly virus, tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight. “No more lockdown restrictions beyond the 2nd of December. None. We need a full inquiry into the governments handling of this pandemic ASAP. We must remember never give our freedom away again, under such spurious circumstances”. 66,700 deaths is now “Spurious”.

And on he went, citing anti-lockdown wacko Simon Dolan and telling his followers to pester their MPs, finally signing off by responding to criticism with “Peoples lives and livelihoods have been destroyed, our economy trashed, an entire nation forced into lockdown, all for a virus that kills 5 in 10,000 people and is about as lethal as seasonal flu”. Bullshit.

Health professionals are exhausted. Many hospitals have had so many Covid-19 patients arrive that they have had to send them elsewhere (Liverpool, Warrington and Stoke, for example). And just as infection, admission and death rates start to decline, up pops this witless clown in a brazen attempt to screw it all up. And he can’t see it.

Marcus Chown, on the other hand, can. “If Covid runs out of control no health system in the world could cope. That's why politicians all over the world have taken drastic action to stop their health systems being overwhelmed. With an infectious disease like this we can't do what we like BECAUSE IT AFFECTS EVERYONE ELSE”. Got it in one.

Laurence Fox doesn’t care. Because he’s too stupid. But you knew that anyway.

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Sunday 29 November 2020

The Labour Party’s Gentile Problem

Of all the groups whose names appear to be a misnomer, few can be so broadly based as Jewish Labour Movement. Because, put simply, one does not need to be a Labour member, or have any connection with Judaism (like enjoying the right of return to Israel), to become a member. One need just be a friend. Thus it has a truly broad potential base.

Joan Ryan

And today this group has been meeting. So who was present? Sienna Rodgers of Labour List gave us a sample of attendees and subjects discussed. “At #JLM2020, Joan Ryan called for ‘examination’ by Starmer & front bench of roots of antisemitism in Labour. Mike Gapes said Starmer had ‘been doing a good job so far - much better than I expected’ & he ‘can't back down’. Neither confirmed applying to join Labour again”.

Mike Gapes

Moving right along from what the merry fuck it has to do with Mike Gapes how well the current party leadership is doing, this appears rather strange. Ms Ryan took her bat home after being deselected by her local CLP, and joined another party. Gapes left Labour and joined the same, failed, party - the short-lived Change UK.

Moreover, the fact that neither of them is Jewish, yet appear to be attempting to tell the Labour Party how to approach allegations of anti-Semitism, and even to tell the leadership how it should be leading the party, is jarring. Nor do they intend to rejoin the organisation.

Small wonder one observer mused “Not really sure why Joan Ryan and Mike Gapes are appearing at any events held by affiliates of the Labour Party”. And one Jewish voice on the left was clearly dismayed at what he saw. “Welcome to the Labour Party where Non-Jews like Joan Ryan and Mike Gapes now decide what is Anti-Semitism and who are Anti-Semitic - while Left-Wing Jews like me are dismissed, ignored and demonised as self-haters” (he had previously been denounced as a “useful Jewish idiot” by Dan Hodges).

There was more. “One of the issues of Labour Anti-Semitism is how Jewish Labour Members suffered abuse. But the Labour-Right ignore how Jews who have supported Corbyn have been subject to the most horrific abuse for years”. And more.

“Jews who support Corbyn have been called Self-Hating Jews, the wrong type of Jew, traitors, fake Jews, useful idiots and much much more. But this abuse does not matter to [Keir] Starmer & his allies as they don't care when those committing the abuse come from their side”. Why Ms Ryan and Gapes should be driving Labour policy is bizarre.

And what is yet more bizarre is the idea of them deciding what constitutes anti-Semitism, as well as informally marking the leadership’s progress on dealing with the issue.

I always thought you joined a party in order to have influence upon it. You live and learn.

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Kassam On Cadwalladr - Pants On Fire

After the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog published a highly creative attack on the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr last week, claiming that her reporting was a “hoax”, “complete cock’n’bull” and “fairy tales”, it was inevitable that their fellow travellers would soon be along with more in the same vein.

Ray backs another loser

So it was that Doug Murray The K, still trying and failing to make bigotry a subject of intellectual rigour, demanded in the increasingly alt-right Spectator magazine that Ms Cadwalladr should be stripped of her Orwell Prize. And then came the prize specimen to end all prize specimens, Raheem “call me Ray” Kassam.

Kassam’s rant has been keenly promoted by the inmates of Leave EU, which figures, given that the lawsuit that prompted The Great Guido’s attack involved Arron Banks, and that the most likely Fawkes informant was the appallingly slippery Andy Wigmore. We need not read the body of this dirge; the headline tells us all we need to know.

KASSAM ON CADWALLADR … There should be no reward for knowingly lying in journalism, in fact, quite the opposite. There should be harsh and punitive measures to discourage activists masquerading as reporters and leading the public astray” it reads.

That’s the same Raheem Kassam who had his Facebook page taken down last year, although it was later reinstated. The same Raheem Kassam who dishonestly called the Muslim Council of Britain a “fifth column”, and who attacked George Soros, ranting “Soros doesn’t care about immigrants. He cares about his pockets. His greedy and treasonous actions impoverished so many people”. The Disloyal Jew once more.

The same Raheem Kassam who claimed that London was being “colonised”, that a takeaway on Edgware Road was evidence of hatred, and then went on to write a book about “No Go Zones”. Which has also been shown to be another pack of lies. The same Raheem Kassam who claimedPunish A Muslim Day” was a fake “staged by a Muslim”. The suspect, David Parnham from Lincoln, was charged with 14 separate offences.

Kassam is, whisper it quietly, an activist masquerading as a journalist, as well as someone who talks well, but lies badly. Plus he is an advocate of free speech unless it’s a woman journalist he doesn’t like, and then he’s in favour of authoritarian censorship. Moreover, he has significant previous in creepily and obsessively attacking Ms Cadwalladr.

Those attacks have included multiple mental health smears, sexist and misogynist language, and claiming that - yes, him again - Ms Cadwalladr is in the pay of George Soros. Which is yet another pack of lies. And most likely Kassam knew that.

Hello Ray. Here’s your sorry arse on a plate. Now run along. You’re welcome.

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Eton Trifle Triggers Libertarian Right

When an issue is reported only by those out on the right, and the debate over that issue is confined mostly to those on the right, it is highly likely that whatever is being reported and debated is something that those out on the right dislike, and that few others care about. So it is with the summary dismissal of a teacher from Eton College earlier this month.

Eton College. Taken from a safe distance

Quite apart from the thought that, had it been a council-run school in Liverpool, Sheffield, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, or indeed Crewe, not even the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press would have given a damn, the fact that, once again, the FREEZE PEACH brigade has been triggered should make journalists tread very carefully indeed.

The facts, as far as they can be ascertained without all the loaded and emotive language that the Mail titles have trowelled on for effect, are these: Will Knowland, who has taught English at Eton for nine years, put together a video lesson for pupils called “The Patriarchy Paradox”. It dealt with the issues of masculinity, and what was called “feminist orthodoxy”.

The lesson was shown to other teachers before going live on the college’s Intranet, and there was a complaint. So it did not go live. However, as the Mail has admitted, “Mr Knowland said it was removed but a fallout ensued when he would not take it off his personal YouTube channel due to 'free speech', which led to him being sacked”.

Also, as the Mail on Sunday, which has taken up the cudgels on Knowland’s behalf, admits, that personal YouTube channel “he runs with the permission of Eton”. The MoS also admits that Knowland stands to lose not only his job, but also a grace and favour house occupied by himself and his family, and possibly to be professionally censured.

That means what happened may well be serious. Instead, we have terrorist sympathiser Claire Fox declaring “This letter/petition from Eton pupils to their headmaster, challenging the sacking of one of their teachers for a filmed lecture containing ideas that were deemed intolerable, is a masterclass in rigorous critical thinking. The pupils have my full support”.

Self-promoting TalkRADIO host Julia Hartley Dooda, she of pandemic denial, added “It's high time for everyone to stand up against the censorship of free expression - and even more so in schools”. The loathsome Toby Young has droned “This is a landmark case … Schools must be places where children are taught all sides of these big questions and allowed to make up their own minds, not indoctrinated with the latest political orthodoxy”.

And we have the MoS thundering “It's said that the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton. Two centuries later, Britain's most venerable school has become a battleground in the War on Woke”, and quoting a “source” claiming “Will Knowland essentially challenged this woke ethos … that if it gets out that Eton is teaching a course saying masculinity isn't toxic, it will be used by a woke mob to criticise the school”.

What we do not have is a little less pejorative language, and a little more on what actually happened. And in any case, it’s only news because it’s Eton. And something right-wing. Had a teacher been sacked for teaching something lefty, that would have been OK.

It’s not about FREEZE PEACH. It’s about right-wing hypocrisy. I’ll just leave that one there.

Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at


Top Six - November 29

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’ve now given up trying to find any more domestic stuff to do later. So there.

6 A Nurse In Manchester ISN’T An opportunist bot, probably not in the UK - and has now been closed down.

5 TalkRADIO “Expert” DEMOLISHED False positives, “just the flu”, don’t lock down - wrong, wrong, wrong.

4 Laurence Fox Diversifies Bigotry Portfolio He’s not just a racist - now he’s a raging homophobe, too.

3 Guido Cadwalladr Attack FAWKED Gloating sexist pile-on meets reality - another fine mess.

2 Daily Mail Promotes Covid Denier WackoStatistics Guy” pushing anon paranoid misinformation - force for good my arse.

1 Tracy Ann Oberman Treads Carefully She’ll go after anyone on the Labour left - well, almost.

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

Saturday 28 November 2020

A Nurse In Manchester ISN’T

[Update at end of post]

Some interest, and more than a little annoyance, has been caused over the past few days by a Twitter account called @colonelcutshaw, which claims to be “A Nurse In Manchester”. But, as with so many bots and trolls, it is nothing of the sort. It isn’t a nurse, and most likely isn’t in any part of the UK. But it is part of the pandemic denial squad.

A look through the account’s back catalogue shows that, despite joining Twitter in 2009, there are no Tweets for that year, or for 2010. All that remains for 2011 are attempts to get the attention of screen writers like Mark Gatiss, and film critics, like Anne Billson.

Nor is there anything for 2012, 2013, 2014 or 2015. All that can be seen for 2016 is more trolling of Anne Billson, and all that came in November of that year. No nursing stuff. Only one Tweet from 2017, a reply to artist Alison Jardine. Was nothing of any note happening in the nursing world that year? Or 2018? Only one reply from that year, too.

2019 would be different, though, with the looming pandemic. Er, no it wouldn’t: back to trolling Mark Gatiss and Anne Billson. Nothing about nursing. At all. And then, in April this year, suddenly it’s a staff nurse! With a clear fixation. "I'm a nurse and seeing DNACPR forms being given out every day to people who aren't even ill, just older”.

DNACPR, you say? “Some care homes are getting DNACPRs in place for all residents. Many become unwell but not all with covid. First sign of a cough - anticipatory medication sent in … I'm a staff nurse at the so called 'front line'. I've been preparing for the 'wave of death' for 6 weeks. Actually, this is the quietist work has ever been. However, the eagerness for GPs to give out DNACPRs to people who haven't even got this virus - a story yet to be told”. The quietest. As the account claims it is right now.

But there is always the giveaway: despite claiming to be in Manchester, and talking briefly about Stockport town centre, we get “I'm in Greater Manchester, UK. Even mentioning alternative view points to our government's current plan makes people lose their shit”. Who says “Greater Manchester, UK”? And who says “view points” as two separate words?

The use of English is odd. Take this example: "You shouldn't see a nurse unless you need to see a nurse. If a nurse is on TV/YouTube crying about her job then send me a better nurse please. Nurses deal in life & death, it shouldn't be easy. This isn't a war, you're not being fuckin' shot at! Oh for the tough nurse of old”. Why the need for all those separate sentences. Why the deliberate and sometimes odd punctuation?

On it goes: “Hospitals will get busy again because IT'S WINTER!. This happens, ooo let me see, every fuckin' year! But let's conveniently forget what we've known forever and pretend the world's ending instead”. This may not even be a native English speaker.

Then, finally, the ultimate short separate sentence Tweet. “I'm an Intensive Care Nurse [not a Staff Nurse, then]. We are pretty much immune now. Less [fewer] people are ill or dying. Hospitals are quiet [again]. You can't 'get it again', you have antibodies. You don't need masks. If there ever was a 'pandemic', it's over. Life can return to normal. The government are lying”. The only thing lying is this bot account.

And Twitter needs to close it down. So it can crawl back under its rock.

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[UPDATE 1805 hours: the bot has gone!

An hour and a half after the Zelo Street post went live, the @colonelcutshaw account vanished.

As can be seen, that account no longer exists. It went without so much as an argument, or to put it another way, Oh What A Giveaway! The bot farm from which it sprung, sadly, will have lots more of those pretend nurses with which to spread Coronavirus pandemic misinformation.

Wherever it came from, thank goodness it's gone]