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Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Labour’s Liverpool Louse-Up

When setting out his stall for the party’s leadership election last year, Keir Starmer wanted the world to know that the days of turning candidate selection into a game where centrally imposed hopefuls were parachuted into pole position was over. “We must recruit a truly representative set of candidates for future elections. Labour must be at the forefront of championing diversity” he asserted. And there was more. Much more.


Our greatest campaigning asset is our network of committed staff, members and activists”. In conclusion, he declared that “The selections for Labour candidates needs to be more democratic and we should end NEC impositions of candidates. Local Party members should select their candidates for every election”. No disagreement there.

Anna Rothery - Liverpool's first black Lord Mayor

After all, he will be all too aware of what has happened in the past, notably under Tony Blair’s leadership. The attempt to fix the London Mayoralty for Frank Dobson, who may not have really wanted the job, was scuppered when Ken Livingstone stood as an independent and won. Tone and his pals also didn’t emerge too well from what looked like attempts to prevent Rhodri Morgan leading Labour in the Welsh Assembly.


So what happened yesterday in Liverpool should have been off limits for Starmer’s Labour Party. An all-female shortlist for the City’s Mayor, to replace Joe Anderson, including probable favourite Anna Rothery, who was backed by several MPs, one other city Mayor, academics, activists, business people and three Trades Unions, was cast aside.


No reason was given. Nor was any reason given for the follow-up decree: that none of the three would be invited to reapply. Opposition parties, normally relegated to also-ran status on Merseyside, and already scenting a potential upset after Anderson’s effectively forced withdrawal, are now in full cry. As are many local Labour members.


The BBC has reportedThe Labour Party has scrapped its list of candidates to stand in Liverpool's mayoral election in May … Three women councillors had been shortlisted to replace Joe Anderson, with ballot papers due to be sent to members … Last week, the party announced it was ‘pausing’ the selection process and delayed sending out the ballots … No explanation has yet been given for the decision”. And it got worse.


Liam Thorp at the Liverpool Echo, which has reported all manner of Labour shenanigans over the years, observed “it goes without saying really that this is a total and utter mess from the Labour Party who have handled things appallingly … Whatever the situation and we don't know exactly what it is (mainly because they won't say), this is no way to treat people … But it’s also no way to treat the party members in the city who have been left confused and angry and with no explanations”. And worse still.


Nominations will close tomorrow, which suggests someone has been lined up - in other words, a centrally-imposed stitch-up. With party membership in freefall, many activists disenchanted, and Liverpool one of the few parts of the country to remain a Labour stronghold, what would have been the sensible thing to do? What would the Keir Starmer of February last year have done? What would Nietzsche have done?


Small wonder Ms Rothery and her supporters have smelt a rat, and are considering legal action. A control freak Labour Party didn’t work in the past. And it won’t work now.


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Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Lockdown Easing - NOT SO FAST

That combination of herd mentality and inability to interrogate sources, or even perform the most basic of investigations, and desire to bring their readers good news about the Covid-19 pandemic, has led our free and fearless press to an all too predictable scramble to say that it will all be over by the occasion of the Summer Solstice.


So keen to see a way for life to return to the kind of normality that will not inconvenience Themselves Personally Now, the assembled hacks and pundits have failed to stop and think about the underlying reality: the June 21st date is the very earliest point where all restrictions could be lifted, and the virus could all too easily return to wreak further deadly havoc. After all, it has, whisper it quietly, not actually gone away, and nor will it.

So while the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole, still pretending to be a real journalist as political editor of the Murdoch Sun, and his opposite number Jason Groves at the Daily Mail, moan about how many months any ending of restrictions is going to take, Sam Coates at Sky News has noticed that SAGE’s latest advice is not quite so upbeat.

Dated February 7th, the opening paragraph shows what Cole, Groves and their pals in the press cohort aren’t telling their readers. And it makes for grim reading. “Four scenarios have been modelled that differ in the speed of easing restrictions from current levels to minimal measures. All four scenarios modelled lead to a substantial resurgence in hospital admissions and deaths”. That’s in addition to the 130,000 or so deaths we already have.

There is more. “The scale and timing of these resurgences are critically dependent on very uncertain modelled assumptions, including real world vaccine effectiveness against severe disease and infection … Given this uncertainty, it would be inadvisable to tie changes in policy to dates instead of data”. Easing could happen later. A lot later.


It gets worse. “Unless vaccine efficacy is significantly better than assumed here, it is highly likely that hospital occupancy would be higher than that seen in January 2021, if all restrictions are lifted by the start of May”. Then a reminder: “As restrictions are relaxed virus transmission will increase. The more slowly restrictions are relaxed, the greater the number of hospitalisations and deaths prevented by vaccination and hence it would be less likely that restrictions would need to be reimposed later to avoid hospitals being put under extreme pressure”. The watchword has to be Caution.

Hence “It would take several weeks after lifting one set of restrictions to determine whether it is safe to take the next step”, and another reminder - “Maintaining baseline measures to reduce transmission once restrictions are lifted is almost certain to save many lives and minimise the threat to hospital capacity”. Face coverings. Distancing. Hand washing.

It is possible that vaccination will reduce transmission, as well as preventing anything more than mild symptoms in the vast majority of the population. So in that case, SAGE is being unduly cautious. But being incautious has not served alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and his pals so well up until now. So caution it is going to be.

That means the press needs to get real about timescales, and stop trying to push the Government into moves which could see tens of thousands more needless deaths. Once again, we see the exercise of power without responsibility. And that’s not good enough.


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Monday, 22 February 2021

Come Back Diane Abbott, All Is Forgiven

It was a part of the 2017 General Election campaign that those out there on the right sneered and car-called about, and for weeks and months after the event, when Diane Abbott, then Labour’s shadow home secretary, got her figures wrong while being lightly grilled by LBC’s Gammon Emeritus Nick Ferrari. How they all laughed!

Nadhim Zahawi

The perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, the odious Quentin Letts (let’s not) and the Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun were in their element. They then failed to notice then Foreign Secretary Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson making a complete Horlicks of an answer to Eddie Mair soon afterwards.


Not that there was any sexism or racism to add to their blindly partisan agenda, you understand. Anyone else doing the same thing would be instantly, and similarly, castigated - except they wouldn’t, as vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi demonstrated this morning. He was appearing before the inquisition of Sky News’ Niall Ferguson, who posited “With all schools reopening on March 8th, the number of infections will increase”.


What say the minister? “All of that goes into the gradual cautious reopening of schools, and then gradually reopening the rest of the economy. As we vaccinate more people, it is not a coincidence that the 8th of March is the date that we have focused on because if you take the mid-April date when we will have given at least one dose to all over-50s … if you go three weeks after the middle of April, that takes you to the first week of March”.


Eh? “That Phase One is 99% of mortality [?], so it’s no coincidence that we are opening schools after three weeks of protecting the over-50s”. March is the new May! Perhaps Tory MPs who serve in Bozo’s Government have been prohibited from using the word “May”, so as to make his predecessor an Un-Person. Or maybe the heated stables double as a Tardis. But in the real world, Zahawi joins Priti Patel in the Basic Numbers Fail Club.


Worse, Zahawi then trotted out the same line on BBC Breakfast. Jonathan Lis watched the video and told his followers “Your regular reminder that Diane Abbott was subjected to torrents of abuse because she once jumbled up her figures on police numbers. Zahawi’s just affirmed the government is tackling Covid with time travel”. He was not alone.


After Peter Stefanovic observed “Vaccines Minister now on #BBCBreakfast saying ‘On 8 March which is 3 weeks after the middle of April where we will have offered the vaccine to all over 50s we will see schools reopening’. He said the same on #SkyNews”. Another Angry Woman added “Please imagine, for a moment, that Diane Abbott did this”.


Meenal Viz, who you can tell as she’s a doctor, was on the same page. “‘It's no coincidence that the 8th of March is three weeks after the middle of April’. Imagine if Diane Abbott said that…?” Mike Williams was there too. “Continued Tory incompetence is accepted and even embraced, while Diane Abbott still gets mocked years after making a calculation error”. And Labour Councillor Lynn Denham had the obvious conclusion.

If Diane Abbott had said this it would be relentlessly replayed on every media channel”. So it would. As an example, The Great Guido is, instead, kicking Keir Starmer. Twice. Tory ineptitude is fine. For the entitled and partisan in and around our free and fearless press.


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Sunday, 21 February 2021

Parsons Royal Spite FLOPS

Following a softening-up operation that involved Lorraine Kelly, Jane Moore, Ingrid Seward and Rod “a smile, a song and a four-pack of Stella” Liddle, it has fallen to washed-up has-been Tony Parsons to feign sympathy for the Royal Family in order to put the boot in on someone who is taking legal action against the Murdoch mafiosi.

Another formulaic rant ...

Parsons and his fellow pundits have embarked on one mission: to kick the Sussexes. This, in turn, shows that the Super Soaraway Currant Bun has never recovered from the time it was edited by the singularly unpleasant Tony Gallagher, who brought with him the culture of the Daily Mail, from whence he came. The culture of humourless spite.

So it was that Tone told his adoring readers (Kelvin and Rebekah Bonkers) “Prince Harry, you’ve broken the Queen’s heart - I hope you’re happy”. How has Hal done this? You’ll love this one: “Prince Harry can fill his boots with the bounty of corporate America … But - with spectacular selfishness and insensitivity - he has turned his back on his family and his country at the worst possible moment … There are 120,000 British dead”. HE DONE IT!

... won't stop his determination ...

Yes, Tony Parsons is yet more desperate than even his sternest critic imagined - so desperate that he’s blaming Harry for the Covid-19 pandemic. If only he had stayed in the UK, it would never have happened! This take is not merely novel. It is total horseshit.

This mound of evil-smelling by-product is enhanced in both size and pungency by Parsons dribbling “What a contrast between the runaway Prince Harry and his paternal grand- father Prince Philip. The Duke of Sussex is the royal woke bloke. And the Duke of Edinburgh is old school writ large”. Phil The Greek is indeed different to Hal. He got away with his various, shall we say, alleged extra-Royal excursions as the press kept quiet.

... to show that folks like her ...

But enough of Parsons and his ranting-to-order punditry: this is not about him. And it is not about The Greek either, at least, not specifically. It’s about two things, the first of which is that our free and fearless press cannot allow any member of the Royal Family to evade their grasp: they are public servants, therefore they are public property, and there for the press to do as they wish, including smearing, defaming and abuse of privacy.

And the second, which neither the Sun, nor any other title, has managed to tell its readers, is that the Sussexes are both involved in litigation against that title - and others. Worse, Hal has alleged that the period during which he was a target for phone hacking went back from 2011 all the way to 1994. So he’s saying they hacked Diana. Whoops!

... were involved in hacking HER

Those standing accused include the CEO of News UK - Rebekah Brooks - and her longstanding pal Piers Morgan, former Screws and Daily Mirror editor. That’s why Tony Parsons, along with Ms Moore, Ms Kelly, Ms Seward and Rod Liddle-by-Liddle, are piling in to Hal and Megs. The Sussexes want themselves, and not the press, to be in control of who gets told what about them. And will instruct lawyers to enforce their wishes.

Faced with that, and the prospect of being exposed for hacking Diana, the Murdoch mafiosi is responding the only way it knows how: a barrage of spiteful knocking copy from its unappealing bevy of useful idiots. Tony Parsons is the latest to be so instructed.

There is one small problem with this approach - it won’t work. But you knew that already.


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Saturday, 20 February 2021

Uber Judgment - That’s Going To Hurt

The so-called Gig Economy impacts on us all, whether we order goods from companies like Amazon, call for take-away food, or use driver and rider matching services like Uber, the last-named returning to the news yesterday with a vengeance as the Supreme Court handed down a judgment that will echo around the Gig Economy for years to come.


Uber’s USP was, for many of its users, that it was inexpensive, and consistently so. In this way it undercut other private hire operators, and especially black cabs. This, it became increasingly clear, was achieved by treating drivers as independent contractors. Even so, the company was losing billions every year. How would it become profitable?

Simples. Drive competition off the roads, achieve a monopoly, then increase prices, which a now captive audience would have no choice but to pay. But what the Supreme Court decided unanimously was that those drivers are not mere contractors. They are, to all intents and purposes, employees. Uber’s subsequent bluster should convince no-one.


The BBC report tellsUber drivers must be treated as workers rather than self-employed, the UK's Supreme Court has ruled”, then adds “Uber said the ruling centred on a small number of drivers and it had since made changes to its business”. But the Beeb then tells “When Uber listed its shares in the United States in 2019, its filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) included a section on risks to its business”.

And what might they have been?”The company said in this section that if it had to classify drivers as workers, it would ‘incur significant additional expenses’ in compensating the drivers for things such as the minimum wage and overtime … ‘Further, any such reclassification would require us to fundamentally change our business model, and consequently have an adverse effect on our business and financial condition,’ it added”.


Forget the braggadocio, this will hurt Uber. The FT has underscored this in a front page item which tells “The judgment is one of the most important defeats Uber has suffered in its global fight over the employment status of its drivers, who have come to symbolise the flexibility and stresses of gig economy work … Yesterday’s ruling in one of Uber’s biggest markets grants the drivers rights to holiday pay as well as UK minimum wage and imposes a duty on Uber to set up a workplace pension scheme”. And there is more.

Lawyers predicted that the ruling would lead to higher prices, and would have ramifications across the gig economy”. That means not only that Uber and other similar set-ups, like Gett and Lyft, will suffer that “adverse effect on [their] business and financial condition”, it will also mean having - at last - to compete on a level playing field.


Those who look in regularly on Zelo Street will already be aware that the Uber app appears to bust private hire regulations (post HERE). There have been numerous instances of vehicles being used for illegal purposes, as well as multiple incidents of sexual assault (or worse). The concerns of the Met were laid out HERE. And the litany of crashed Uber vehicles in London has become so bad that it is beyond a joke (HERE).

Now has come the ruling that will push profitability so far into the future that all those Silicon Valley investors may stop and think before throwing any more money at the company. The time of Uber in London was for a time, but maybe not for all time.


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Friday, 19 February 2021

So Farewell Then Darren Grimes

Some of those out there on the right manage to get away with comments and stances that would make others stop and think. How do they get away with it? Utilising the combination of low cunning and moderate intelligence that is a must-have for the modern Conservative. Those people become part of the media establishment, get TV invites, are gifted newspaper columns. And then there are people like Darren Grimes.


Dazza’s fame extends mainly to being too inept to fill in a form properly, shamelessly crossing the Brexit floor from Lib Dem to Tory, and being so stupid that he failed to edit out David Starkey’s “damn blacks” comment in their interview, thus condemning the historian to career wipeout. He joined the Vote Leave crowd. He wanted to become a contender.


But he failed. Why? Consider this comment. “I doubt I’m alone thinking it pretty outrageous to UK taxpayers that there are parliamentarians in our country arguing that conditions in our military barracks are good enough for our troops, but “unacceptable” to house those supposedly leaving behind war and whatever else!” The barracks, in fact, were NOT good enough for our troops. Basic research fail. Then came that race issue. Again.


The Left think so poorly of BAME individuals that they reckon they’re incapable of securing a form of ID to ensure they can take part in our elections”. WHOSE elections? Nazir Afzal put him straight. "I’ve been voting in YOUR elections longer than you’ve been alive because they happen to be MY elections too”. But this was all about to change.


Next week I leave London and move back home. When I moved out of my family home, I never anticipated I’d ever go back. Yet here we are, three national lockdowns on, as just one of the millions of forgotten Brits whose mental health has deteriorated markedly over these 12 months”. He does deserve a little cutting of slack. But then, but then.


Didn’t he get that berth at GB News, or, indeed, Murdoch’s new operation? “I didn’t apply for any role at GB News and have never expressed even the slightest scintilla of interest in being a political correspondent. I’m moving back to be with my family as I’ve been driven round the twist by de facto house arrest, but apart from that, aye mate, spot on”.


Plenty of wriggle room in his denial, though. And Kate Wilton, among others, was not buying his line. “At the end of the day they’ll always pick the posh young man over the Northern lad to push their far right agenda. You sold yourself out to them because you thought it would benefit you. More fool you. Maybe one day you’ll have genuine regrets”.


Tom Harwood, it is true, is better at reciting talking points, while avoiding opening mouth and inserting foot. Also, Shahmir Sanni, who knows Grimes of old, did not buy the story on offer, either. “Nahhhh sorry. I don’t feel sorry for him anymore. The guy is dangerous”.


He added “It is precisely this coddling and infantilising of a grown man who has supported eugenicists, criminals & bigots to further his own political career that has allowed him to succeed. The Tories treat him like a poor little boy and he uses it to his advantage every time he f*cks up”. Grimes is, after all, 27 years old. That’s nine years older than Greta Thunberg, who is apparently fair game for critics, mental health condition or no.

Darren Grimes put his trust in the Vote Leave crowd. They shat on him. That is all.


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Keir Starmer’s Labour Relaunch WASN’T

Any other leader, we were constantly told by former New Labour fans during Jeremy Corbyn’s tenure, would have been 20 points ahead in the polls. Now that Labour has a new leader, those fans have fallen silent. Because Keir Starmer is not 20 points ahead in the polls. Worse, whisper it quietly, he is unlikely to achieve that position any time soon.


Starmer was elected to the leadership in a landslide, on the first ballot. He took with him a significant amount of goodwill. Now, after Corbyn has inexplicably had the whip withdrawn, many voicing support for Jezza have been suspended, and amidst an exodus of members, Labour is behind in the polls. Behind a Government which has made incompetence its middle name, mishandled the Covid-19 pandemic, and fouled up Brexit.

So someone not unadjacent to the leadership decided that a relaunch was in order. And yesterday it came to pass. Sadly, what we got was not Tony Blair at his most astute, but Gordon Brown at his most accident prone. The sum total of today’s front page press coverage is very little, barring the i Paper, and a mention from the FT.

What went wrong? Simples. It seems the new Labour leadership is borrowing from the previous New Labour leadership. And what worked then is not going to work now.

New Labour was all about focus groups and triangulation. A focus group nowadays is not going to behave as it would have done in the 1990s: then, there was no social media, no incessant barrage of conspiracy theories, very little flag-waving, next to no ramped up Europhobia, rather less overt migrant bashing and blaming.

Small wonder today’s focus groups bring messages of flag-waving, patriotism, and an exceptionalism that is inevitably English. It won’t win back Scotland and will increasingly alienate Wales. And then we come to triangulation. Like the 1990s, this too is not going to work as the new Labour leadership might expect. Because we no longer have any kind of honesty in Government. John Major had his failings. But he was not an habitual liar.


Not only is alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson a serial and indeed congenital liar, those who back him, in politics and in and around our free and fearless press, are not tired and in favour of change as they were in the 1990s. They are fervently and indeed enthusiastically in favour of joining in with the falsehood and misinformation. The phoney “Culture War” is right up their street. Starmer can’t triangulate out of that.

So what can he do? Sadly, what is needed is something he may not be able to pull off, and that something is authenticity. Like or loathe Corbyn, he was authentic. Starmer comes over as not being authentic, and guess what? We already have Not Authentic in Downing Street. Some in Labour are therefore beginning to think the previously unthinkable.

If Keir Starmer cannot provide the authenticity, perhaps he should yield to someone who can. Being competent and, indeed, forensic is not enough in the new world of post-truth politics. All is not lost: there are authentic and competent Labour politicians who could command a wide range of support and not alienate the party’s left wing.

Deputy leader Angela Rayner is one. Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham is another. Starmer is not cutting the mustard. So someone needs to make a decision.


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Thursday, 18 February 2021

So Farewell Then Rush Limbaugh

Those out there on the right have been mourning the loss of pioneer shock jock Rush Limbaugh, who has died at the age of 70. On this side of the North Atlantic, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog talked ofthe monumentally influential media icon who transformed talk radio and American politics in his decades behind the microphone, helping shape the modern-day Republican Party”.


That’s the modern-day Republican Party that is now in hock to Combover Crybaby Donald Trump and his fans, and as a result is slowly saying its goodbyes to the real world while it embraces every wacko conspiracy theory going. Few outside the right will be mourning.

He had been peddling his unpleasantness for decades, a typical early 90s swipe being‘Socks is the White House cat. But did you know there is also a White House dog?’ – Rush Limbaugh, holding a pic of 13-year-old Chelsea Clinton on TV, 1993”. A 13 year old. But Limbaugh did not merely sneer at the Clintons: his munificence extended to his rank intolerance of the LGBT community. As Jessica Valenti reminded us, he “had a segment called ‘AIDS update’ set to music where he mocked dying gay people”. All heart, he was.


The BBC has conceded thatHe drew strong criticism for his use of racial stereotypes on his show, including once claiming that all newspaper composite images of wanted criminals looked like civil rights activist Rev Jesse Jackson”. A racist to boot.

He was, to no surprise at all, in the vanguard of climate change denial. The Birther movement could count on his support in the thus far fruitless quest to claim Barack Obama was not born in the USA. When the Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 put the oil industry under the spotlight, Limbaugh claimed it was deliberately caused by environmentalists.


His most vicious and memorable intervention, though, came in 2012 after a student called Sandra Fluke testified before House Democrats on the subject of employers giving birth control coverage as part of their employees’ health care plans. Limbaugh went after Ms Fluke in an attack so vicious, he lost many advertisers as a result, some permanently.

What does it say about the college co-ed Susan Fluke [sic], who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex [she was] Having so much sex, it’s amazing she can still walk”.

He later doubled down with “So, Ms. Fluke and the rest of you feminazis, here's the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it, and I'll tell you what it is. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch”. That’s what earned him the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Trump.


But worst of all, he didn’t do it out of ideological commitment, as Joe Lockhart has noted: “The thing about Rush Limbaugh is he wasn't the zealot that he came across as. Rush did it for the money. Lots of it. Just like Hannity and company, his background wasn't in politics or a political movement. It was making money”. Principles, eh? Who needs them?

Sadly, reality prevailed for Rush Limbaugh, who had argued “that the dangers of smoking had been exaggerated [and] the benefits dismissed”. He died of lung cancer.


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Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Free Speech Champion WON’T BE

The news last weekend that the Government was about to appoint a “Free Speech Champion” to stop those in academia and elsewhere being allegedly “cancelled” by unspecified but assuredly “woke” people, may have had some observers wondering what this was all about. But the reasoning behind it is all too obvious.

Look Uncle Arthur, I'm in the news again!

Alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and his gang of variously clueless sycophants have signed up to a Brexit deal which is having a seriously deleterious effect on parts of the economy. While mainland supermarkets are managing to offer a range of products broadly similar to before the end of last year, and thus ensuring the proletariat does not see significant disruption, elsewhere things are deteriorating fast.

The collapse in exports of many kinds of seafood is already known. Loss of share trading primacy, with Amsterdam supplanting the City of London, is also beginning to register with pundits. And now has come the creative sector, for which read musicians, actors, fashion models and those involved in putting on shows and concerts.

Now, they need to spend hundreds of pounds for visa waivers - per performance - and wait weeks for paperwork, when previously none of that was required - because of free movement. This industry is worth around £112 billion annually. You read that right. Government ineptitude and intransigence means that sector is well and truly screwed.

Even with its inbuilt pro-Tory bias, our free and fearless press might just give Bozo and his fellow clowns a seriously hard time over their failures - and so a suitable distraction is required. And that is where the FREEZE PEACH debate comes in. This performs two functions: One, it distracts from Tory failure, and Two, it demonises the Rotten Lefties™.

But the Government’s proposed initiative is built on sand. This from Nafeez Ahmed at Byline Times should set alarm bells ringing: “The Education Secretary’s proposal to regulate free speech at universities by appointing a national ‘free speech champion’ at the Office for Students (OfS) came from an academic defender of white identity politics who has argued that ethnic diversity in itself increases ‘white threat perceptions’”.

Ahmed goes on to detail the involvement of the Koch Foundation, the Spiked network, and a worrying trend to excuse the far right while shutting down debate over sexism and racism. And as to that “academic defender of white identity politics”, Eric Kaufmann, Jonathan Portes of Kings College London has harsh words for Kaufmann’s research.

The new Free Speech Champion is revealed

The headline of Portes’ Guardian Comment Is Free article should also cause alarm: “The rightwing defence of 'academic freedom' masks a McCarthyite agenda”. Why that should be requires no more than a perusal of Kaufmann’s latest Tweet on the subject.

In my latest piece, I argue that most academics back free speech, but activists can neutralise them by invoking social taboos & progressive identity. This is why academic governance on free speech cannot work, and only government action can break the spell”. He goes on to talk of “Woke sorcerers”. His PX pal Zareer Masani talks of “Wokeism”.

Meanwhile, Richard Wyn Jones has pointed out that one incident on which the FREEZE PEACH advocates lean heavily - the de-platforming of Germaine Greer at Cardiff University - never happened. Publications making the claim have had to print corrections. But, like Kaufmann’s shonky research, it has been allowed to enter the collective consciousness. And all the while, no-one mentions the Koch and Spiked connections.

The Orwellian use of law continues apace. Ignorance is strength! Racism does not really exist! Societal injustice is sub judice! Free speech has to be firmly policed! Regulation for Universities but not for the press! Woke has been redefined by Government diktat!

But there is little to laugh at in this cynical distraction. Be afraid. Be very afraid.


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