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Sunday 31 October 2021

Oh Tommy Tommy - YOU’RE BARRED

He’s not at all racist. And if anyone calls him racist, he’ll rock up in the dead of night on their doorstep with his pals, effectively doxx their address, and all the while claim dishonestly that all he wants is a “polite conversation”. But in his latest publicised rant, Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, really has come over all racist. So claiming he isn’t one is going to become exceptionally challenging.

What appears to have happened is that Lennon has gone, with his children in tow, to a restaurant in the Milton Keynes area, entered the premises, sat at a table, and then discovered that his presence was not welcome. The management of the establishment, as is their right, declined to serve his party and asked him to leave. Cue meltdown.

I’ve gone to Milton Keynes, with my children, to have dinner at a new restaurant. I’ve gone in, I’ve sat down, and then I’ve been told I need to leave. They can’t give me an answer, just who I am … d’you know what I found, it’s a black-owned business”. But he’s not racist.

There was more. “D’you know how many curry houses I go into? I’m about to walk into another Muslim-owned business now [no comment] … I have never once, and I’ve [eaten] in so many Muslim-owned businesses, I’ve never once, all the things I’ve said about Islam, all the differences of opinion I have … every one I go into, they’re nothing but pleasant, nothing but polite … we talk, yeah? We talk”. And yet more.

So what I’m shocked at, is that the biggest snowflakes in Milton Keynes …can’t handle someone having a different opinion”. He said he just went in and sat down. Did something else happen? But back to the rant. “And they need to feel comfortable, apparently - the staff don’t feel comfortable”. Sounds like something else did happen.

Fucking pathetic! I’m going to share it with you … share the name of the restaurant. I’ll leave it my review, you can leave it yours … you tell me in the comments what you think I should do about that restaurant. D’you think all of us should go to that restaurant? D’you think we should book tables at that restaurant? D’you think I should tolerate this continued discrimination? Six banks have closed me down. I’m not allowed a bank account”.

Cue the nanoviolin: Lennon’s past behaviour, and his ever-lengthening criminal record, may have something to do with that. Do go on. “What hotel was it in Brent Cross? Got kicked out of a hotel, just went in, you’re not allowed to stay here … If everyone does [it] I’m not allowed to eat any more, can’t go shops, can’t go supermarkets”.

None of them can give me an answer. Some facey little woman in there, nothing to say but be rude … what do I want? Just come to get some chicken and chips, you weirdo, I just want some food for my kids. I don’t want to be discriminated against ‘cos I have a different opinion to you”. So he’s going to start a hate campaign against the restaurant.

Stephen Lennon should have thought about that before he went on his intimidation spree. Before he broke the law (several times). Before he got himself that criminal record. Also, I have one comment to make on his continuing efforts to play the victim: the acting ain’t making it. Plus he needs to come clean on exactly what happened at that MK eatery.

Actions have consequences. Stephen Lennon is discovering that. But maybe too late.

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Saturday 30 October 2021

Wickham France Brexit Lie BUSTED

In another example of how a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has had chance to get its shoes on, the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph has today splashed “UK must be punished for Brexit, says France” as its lead story. But this is a complete pack of lies: France has said no such thing.

Teaboys gonna Teaboy

So the quartet whose names have graced the Tel’s by-line - Ben Riley-Smith, Lucy Fisher, Bill Gardner and Joe Barnes - should hang their collected heads in shame. More shameful is that the story does not appear to acknowledge where they got their supposed information. Because if it did, it would show why the Tel should have got a second source.

Oh dear

The “punishment” claim came from Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham, formerly teaboy to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines at the Guido Fawkes blog, now at Politico. In a series of Tweets yesterday, he claimed “Extraordinary letter from French PM Jean Castex to European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen obtained by POLITICO … France tells Brussels it must demonstrate that Britain has been damaged by leaving the EU”.

There was more. “The key line in the letter is where Castex explicitly admits the fishing row is about Brexit … He calls on the EU to cause ‘damage’ to Britain as a warning to other nations who might consider leaving in future … UK will seize on this as evidence of bad faith from France”. Others who saw the same letter reached a different conclusion.

Alexander Korff was one of them. “Dude, do you even speak French? It says: ‘it is vital to show clearly to the European public that respect for signed agreements [by UK] is not negotiable and there are consequences for those who leave the EU and renege [from their treaty obligations]’”. Hand Niesund had more on the nuances of the original French.

He pointed out that “‘dommages’ would be better translated as ‘drawbacks' rather than ‘damages’. Had he meant ‘damages’ he would have said ‘dégâts’. Nor does he imply the EU should go out of their way to damage the UK, but that there are consequences to leaving”. Hence Jessica Simor concluding “You need to delete this. It is not true”.

Moreover, those who think Wickham - who the Murdoch Times has reported to be a Godparent to Wilfred Johnson, the son of our alleged Prime Minister and his third wife - is making an honest mistake should consider his propensity to talk well, but lie badly. Especially his whoppers about Andy Burnham’s Manchester Mayoral campaign (HERE).

Meanwhile, the Wickham mistranslation has been incorporated into a piece for Politico, whose credibility may be significantly eroded as a result. Here, he claims “France has privately requested that the European Union steps up its opposition to British actions in the ongoing fishing row, telling Brussels it should demonstrate to the public that it is more damaging to leave the EU than to stay”. Downsides are still damaging.

Mutjaba Rahman, a columnist for Politico Europe, concluded “The spin and translation imposed on the French PM’s letter is misleading … Castex is not calling for Britain to be ‘damaged by Brexit’”. That’s the same Politico that employs Alex Wickham. Which may put the latter into one of those Very Difficult Positions. Sooner rather than later.

And the Telegraph needs to salvage its credibility sharpish. If it can find any to salvage.

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Friday 29 October 2021

A Fish, A Fish, My Brexit For A Fish

As if the IFS forecasts - that’s the ones our Government uses for its Budget calculations - were not bad enough, with their indication that the Very Wonderful Brexit Deal negotiated on behalf of alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson will mean a permanent reduction of 4% in the UK’s GDP, along has come another sign that Brexit is one of those campaigns destined not necessarily to develop to our advantage.

As the BBC has reported, “A British trawler was seized by France and another fined during checks off Le Havre on Thursday. French authorities said the detained vessel did not have a licence”. It’s all a bit Pink Panther remake: “Monsieur, do you ‘ave a la-seance for this beurt? Do neut be feunny with me, Monsieur le Capitan, it saz ‘ere zat you ‘ave to ‘ave a la-seance for ze fashing in thees ‘ere watteurs!” Except it’s not being played for laughs.

Not very Ace negotiator “Lord” David Frost was not taking this lying down, and to prove it, he Tweeted while standing up. “It is very disappointing that France has felt it necessary to make threats late this evening against the UK fishing industry and seemingly traders more broadly … We set out our position earlier this evening”. Yes? Yes yes? Yes yes yes?

As we have had no formal communication from the French Government on this matter we will be seeking urgent clarification of their plans. We will consider what further action is necessary in that light”. I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received … no, no, we’re not declaring war. Not yet, anyhow. But Liz Truss was on the case.

Having earlier demonstrated her grasp of geography by illustrating her claim “We want to attract the best and the brightest to [the UK]” with a photo of the Golden Gate Bridge near San Francisco, CA, she then made a decision. “I have instructed Europe Minister Wendy Morton to summon the French Ambassador to the UK for talks tomorrow to explain the disappointing and disproportionate threats made against the UK and Channel Islands”.

And the right-leaning part of the media rallied to her standard. Gung-ho and all that! This was manifested by amateur gobshite Patrick Christys on Gammon Broadcasting™ News (“Bacon’s News Channel”), who recycled 2003 Iraq War rhetoric with “These garlic wearing, chateau dwelling, cheese eating surrender merchants are really trying it on with fishing … if France really is an ally, with friends like those, who needs enemies”.

But, sad to say, no-one was watching. The real “I shall write to the Times about this” mob arrived with this morning’s papers, the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph in the vanguard. “Johnson summons French ambassador over fish row … Diplomat to be rebuked after British scallop trawler captain is detained for ‘unlicensed’ fishing”.

Free sheet Metro frothed “KICK IN THE SCALLOPS … France seizes UK ship as Macron reignites Brexit Fishing battle”. Boo Macron! The Daily Star agreed: “Fury At Les Pirates … KICKED IN SCALLOPS … UK vessel seized as France warns of ‘combat’”. The Mail went with “Le Showdown … Truss fury at French ‘threats’ after British boat is seized”.

Sadly, Adam Parsons of Sky News brought a dose of reality. “I've spoken to various EU diplomats about [UK - France] fishing spat. All of them have said they'll back France. ‘There's no trust in the British government, so there's no sympathy either,’ said one”. Cue press distraction as cover for another glorious climbdown. No change there, then.

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Thursday 28 October 2021

Rayner, Dorries, And Scum

The Guardian brought worrying news yesterday afternoon: “Police have arrested a man accused of making threats against the Labour deputy leader, Angela Rayner. Sources close to Rayner, who is away from parliament on bereavement leave, confirmed she was the women concerned after Greater Manchester police announced the arrest”.

Evening all

There was more. “The Guardian understands Rayner has cancelled her constituency surgeries in recent weeks amid concerns for her safety - linked to a wider increase of abuse and threats, including death threats, against her. Friends said she had been deeply affected by the abuse, which had been taken particularly hard by her children. One described the deputy leader as ‘not in a good place’ and said she had been unable to make many public appearances because of fears for her safety”.

Which is not good for the Labour Party, as Ms Rayner is one of its most empathetic and effective campaigners and persuaders. But over at the Northcliffe House bunker, the Mail was more interested in kicking Ms Rayner while she was down. “Ms Rayner's name was trending on Twitter on the day after she used the term 'Tory scum' during a rant at the Labour Party Conference in September. She has repeatedly refused to apologise for the slur, with the Mail On Sunday reporting she may be sidelined by Sir Keir Starmer”.

So if using the word “scum” is indeed a “slur” for which the person using it should apologise, one has to wonder when our free and fearless press is going to apply that criterion to others who dispense the term. Like, Oh I dunno, Mid-Bedfordshire’s Tory MP (yes, it’s her again), the fragrant Nadine Dorries, now elevated to cabinet rank.

You think I jest? Sadly not. Ms Dorries has been consistent in her wheeling out the S-Word over the recent past, without the press indulging in the kind of righteous pearl-clutching directed at Ms Rayner. Take, for instance, her defence of her threat to “nail [a Mirror journalist’s] testicles to the floor using [his] own front teeth” back in 2013.

Gemma Aldridge, now Sunday Mirror and People editor, pushed back against the Dorries denunciation. What say Nads to her? "As a respectable journo text me today, people who work for your paper are bottom feeding scum. I would add lying to that”. Silence from the right-wing media. Much looking the other way. And back she came in 2015.

Just been kept up by [Stephen Nolan] on [BBC Radio 5 Live] re [Nigel] Farage and the 'scum' who scared his kids. That'll teach me to tweet late”. How considerate of her to use quote marks, as well as her support for Mr Thirsty. And once more, no righteous pushback. Nor was there any in 2018 when she took the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog on trust - and not for the first time.

After Jacob Rees Mogg, the member for times long past, was doorstepped by a sundry attention seeker from the Class War camp, the Fawkes massive attempted to link this to then Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. “This is how the Corbyn cultists behave. What scum bags. Leave his kids alonemused the fragrant Nadine. Except there was no Corbyn connection: The Great Guido had his pants well and truly alight.

So one well-known politician calls “scum” on a variety of others, and that’s OK. But when it’s Angela Rayner, it isn’t. And that leads to death threats. But it’s not the press’ fault.

Wednesday 27 October 2021

TalkRADIO And The Concrete Blob

Down there in the broadcast media noise floor, the competition is now on for the host who can come up with the most breathtaking exhibition of stupidity, such is the desperation brought on by the search for ratings. And while the convocation of low-grade numpties at Gammon Broadcasting™ News (“Bacon’s News Channel”) may have thought that title was theirs for the taking, along has come a TalkRADIO host to declare “hold my beer”.

Blobby blobby blobby

To no surprise at all, the Murdoch outpost presenter scraping beyond the bottom of the barrel has been (definitely has-been) dribbling bigot Mike Graham, the Mr Blobby of TalkRADIO. Not only has he made an idiot of himself, or perhaps that should read “even bigger idiot of himself than usual”, he has doubled down on his idiocy in no style at all.

The background to this popcorn-fest can be put directly: Graham invited on to his show a supporter of Insulate Britain. This did not go well: Graham asked what his guest did for a living, maybe hoping to hear that he was unemployed so there could then be a judgmental rant. But the guest was a self-employed carpenter, working with sustainable materials. His trade involved cutting down trees, but new trees could be grown in their place.

He's been watching one of these. Allegedly

You can’t grow concrete” he chided Graham. The Great Man disagreed. He asserted that you could indeed grow concrete. He clung to this position unswervingly, and cut off the interview in short order. And so began the modern legend that is the Concrete Blob.

You think I jest? Graham then went on the TalkRADIO show hosted by the disgraced Jeremy Kyle to advance the proposition that concrete can indeed be grown. “They’re all going, he’s so stupid, he doesn’t know that concrete doesn’t grow. I mean, they really think that. They actually think that”. No, they know that. Because it doesn’t grow.

But there was more. “Well, if you have ever seen someone making concrete, in a concrete mixer, I don’t know if you’ve ever watched anybody doing that, but basically you put sand in, you put water in, you know, cement goes in [nowt gets past him, eh?], you know, you make concrete, it expands, it grows”. It intercoursing well doesn’t.

This, though, was enough for whoever was managing the TalkRADIO Twitter feed. The exchange between Kyle and the Concrete Blob was packaged up and Tweeted out with the biscuit-taking comment “‘Concrete grows.’ Mike Graham responds to the controversy surrounding his Insulate Britain interview this morning, which has attracted over three million views”. Perhaps someone who knows their concrete could put him straight?

Leon Black, who you can tell as he’s a doctor, was that person. He’s a Professor of infrastructure materials, so you can guess what was coming: “As a Professor of Concrete, can I please point out that this is utter bollocks. Concrete contracts upon curing. It does not grow in any sense”. Concrete Blob duly Pwned by the Concrete Prof!

When Mike Graham went on Jeremy Kyle’s show, he was presented as a “TalkRADIO legend”. And so he is: the legend that is now the Concrete Blob. What a complete tosser.

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Tuesday 26 October 2021

Sarah Vine’s Paterson Defence

After Tory MP David Amess was killed, the appalling Sarah “Vain” Vine used the platform given her by the Daily Mail to play the victim in no style at all. “I used to think politics was a big adventure. Now there are days I stand in the shower, numb and fearful” she told readers not yet asleep. Maybe she should figure out the temperature controls.

But, unfortunately, there was more. “Friends of mine will tell you that I am generally quite a level-headed person. Good in a crisis, calm in a storm, lamps lit and all that. Solid and down-to-earth, not generally given to fits of the vapours. But it's been a tough few months, personally, and I am not perhaps at my most resilient”. Yes? Yes yes? Yes yes yes?

Yesterday, as I sat down at my desk with my customary Tuesday morning cup of tea and piles of newspapers to write these words, I found myself suddenly and unexpectedly overwhelmed by grief”. Don’t look in the mirror, then. “I couldn't. All I could think about was poor Sir David, and the faces of his widow and daughters as they surveyed the tributes to him outside the church where he was stabbed to death”. And it wasn’t just David Amess.

Owen Paterson MP

This week MP Owen Paterson, whose lovely wife, Rose, killed herself in June last year, said that she was driven to commit suicide because of the strain brought about by an inquiry she feared would destroy them both … he was being investigated by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards over his role as a consultant for a company called Randox Health. She was, he says, distraught, believing he would end up having to resign as an MP … she believed she would lose her role as head of Aintree”.

No-one should trivialise the fact that Paterson’s wife took her own life, and I do not. The problem is Ms Vine’s painting the picture of an MP wronged sits uneasily with not only the results of that inquiry, but also the timing of her column - just before they were announced.

As the BBC has reported, “Ex-minister Owen Paterson could be suspended from the Commons for 30 days after an MPs' watchdog found he had ‘repeatedly’ used his position as an MP to benefit two companies who paid him as a consultant. The watchdog described his actions as ‘an egregious case of paid advocacy’”. The Mirror had a little more.

An excoriating Standards Committee report found Owen Paterson repeatedly used his position as an MP to promote two companies that paid him. He has vehemently denied wrongdoing and sought to implicate the probe over his wife’s tragic suicide … The former Environment Secretary breached four separate parts of the MPs’ code of conduct and brought the House of Commons ‘into disrepute’”.

Also, the report concluded “No previous case of paid advocacy has seen so many breaches or such a clear pattern of confusion between the private and public interest”. Small wonder Ian Fraser asked “North Shropshire Tory MP Owen Paterson is paid £500 per hour as consultant to Northern Ireland-based Randox Laboratories. Last month, the government handed Randox a £133m Covid-19 testing contact, without seeking rival bids. Just a coincidence?” Adam Bienkov, now of Byline Times, summed up.

Taken nearly 3 times his MPs’ salary for ‘paid advocacy’ for the companies - Broken official lobbying rules - Attempted to smear the commissioner investigating him”. Anyone might conclude that Sarah Vine has been indulging in a crude preemptive strike.

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Monday 25 October 2021

Tories, Raw Sewage, And No Abuse

Even the Mail registered its unhappiness at the news: “Fury as Tory MPs vote to allow water companies to dump raw sewage into Britain's rivers and seas … Last year, raw sewage was discharged into waters more than 400,000 times … It comes seven weeks after wastewater plants were told by the government they may dispose of sewage not fully treated due to a shortage of chemicals caused by the lorry driver crisis”.

He didn't vote - he has people to do that sort of thing for him

There was more. “It comes as figures collected by charity the Rivers Trust show that all of England's rivers are currently failing to pass cleanliness tests, with 53 per cent of them in a poor state at least partly because of water companies releasing raw and partially-treated sewage. In England, just 14 per cent of rivers have good ecological status and none have good chemical status”. Another Bozo Brexit benefit, eh?

Basically Ken, at grass roots constituency level, it's like this

Social media users named and shamed their local MPs, with the London Economic providing a full roll of shame (eagle eyed observers will note that alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, and Health Secretary Sajid Javid either voted against themselves or bodyswerved the vote).

Others noted that what was promised to voters in the run-up to the 2016 EU referendum was rather different, with Michael “Oiky” Gove telling PoliticoBrexit is a chance to take back control of our environment … UK Environment Secretary’s vision of a Green Brexit”, and to prove that there’s always a Tweet, Carrie Symonds, as she then was, became terribly righteous at suggestions that environmental provisions might be at risk.

There's always a Tweet

Vince Cable wrong to say that Brexit will mean we dilute environmental standards. Gove is clear, if anything we can now have higher standards”. That maybe should have read “Vince Cable right”. As Adam Ferrier emphasised. “2019: ‘We categorically promise that we will have the same or higher environmental standards than the EU 2021: ‘Do not swim at any of these beaches due to the raw sewage we've dumped’”.

Meanwhile, the Tweeter known as Jim Cognito asked “Have *any* MP explained why they’ve voted to allow raw sewage to dumped into the sea?” and Jim Pickard of the FT noted “there’s a lingering disquiet about Tory MPs voting last week against an amendment to stop private water companies dumping raw sewage into rivers and coastlines…not sure they’ve gauged the public mood on this”. And then came the taking of the biscuit.

David T C Davies claimed he was receiving abuse when in fact someone had merely complained. As R D Hale noted, lawyer Jane Heybroek passed severely adverse criticism on this lame attempt at playing the victim. Will Broome found Greg Hands doing something similar, musing “I think they’re being ‘instructed’ to claim they’re being abused online … This is my MP on Friday, cropping my tweet to encourage a ‘pile on’”.

First the attempt to connect the killing of David Amess to anonymous social media accounts, now the attempt to play the victim because voters call them out for endangering the environment. And endangering the public yet more: as one Tweeter has revealed, “A week after the Tories vote to pump raw sewage into our rivers and sea. Scientists reveal ‘Coronavirus can live in poo for 33 days after someone has had the disease’”.

Tories foul up once again, and once again it’s someone else’s fault. What a load of crap.

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