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Thursday, 21 October 2021

NZ Takes UK To The Cleaners

With a population of around 8% that of the UK, New Zealand might be expected to find itself a minor partner in negotiating a trade deal with the UK; after all, the latter’s size relative to the EU didn’t exactly put it in the driving seat during those long Brexit negotiations. But alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and his coterie of ineptitude have pulled defeat from the jaws of victory once more.


As the BBC has reported, “The UK has agreed a free trade deal with New Zealand which it says will benefit consumers and businesses. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the deal will cut costs for exporters and open up New Zealand's job market to UK professionals. The government hopes it is a step towards joining a trade club with the likes of Canada and Japan”. Yes folks, we’re “tilting to Asia”. But then comes the bad news.

Jacinda Ardern - good reason to smile

The New Zealand deal itself is unlikely to boost UK growth, according to the government's own estimates … New Zealand will fare slightly better as it may be able to sell more lamb to the UK”. And while Bozo was blustering his way through a series of rugby-related metaphors, NZ PM Jacinda Ardern had an ominous response for him.


I loved your use of rugby metaphors, but if we were going to continue that on, then naturally it would conclude with the All Blacks winning … And I know that New Zealand feels that way with this free trade agreement”. Plenty of people in the UK agree with her.


Why that might be was explained by Jim Pickard of the FT: “According to the Department for International Trade’s internal assessment, the deal at most would boost the UK economy by 0.01% … In another scenario, it would make the UK poorer by 0.01%”. Liz Webster, the chair of Save British Farming, was less than totally ecstatic.


Our overlord wannabe world king has agreed New Zealand trade deal: PM hails 'great' new pact. NFU warns it offers 'almost nothing' for British farmers … But sadly there’s no referendum or Article 50 to reverse this executive decision”. SBF added “We warned this would happen - Trade and Agriculture Commission even less effective than we predicted, it has now been gaslit. Govt tell people to stop eating meat bc their agenda destroys British farming. Our countryside and food and values being destroyed, so tragic”.


Ms Webster warned “Lamb farmers next on the Brexit altar. Then us beef farmers will follow with Australia/Brazil/Argentina deal”. There’s Bozo about to host COP26, and his Government signs a deal that will see meat and dairy products - along with some wine and honey - trunked half way around the world. Joined up thinking it isn’t.


The Tweeter known as Otto English was unimpressed. "Absolutely nuts isn't it. The UK-NZ trade deal benefits New Zealand but the UK government's own figures show it will actually shrink the UK economy. And still our government heralds it as a triumph and still there are millions who fall for it”. Also, despite the best efforts of Emily Thornberry, the opposition remains mainly ineffective, preferring to go to war on its own membership.

And until the UK does have an effective opposition, Bozo and his pals will continue to get away with selling out the country, overseeing an increasing Covid-19 death toll, a rise in protests and heavy-handed crackdowns, while getting away with gaslighting the population into keeping them in the power they are not fit to wield. No change there, then.


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Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Covid - Tories Too Late AGAIN

After alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson appointed Sajid Javid, the great libertarian, as Health Secretary earlier this year, all those pesky restrictions that had been in place to counter the spread of Covid-19 were lifted. We had won back our FREEM! Our free and fearless press praised Javid to the rafters; his actions were exactly as they had urged. Hurrah for Saj! But that was then, and now is rather different.


New infections are running at around 45,000 a day. Hospitalisations are up to 850 a day. The daily death toll is averaging 130, with more than 900 dead in the past week. For those people, and many more in the near future, their FREEM has been sadly curtailed. While Javid, and the likes of Kwasi Kwarteng, sent out to face the broadcast media this morning, talk of “living with the virus”, more and more people are not. They’re dead.


So how bad will Bozo, Saj and Co allow it to get before they bow to the inevitable and reintroduce the kinds of measures that other countries have retained, and which should, whisper it quietly, not have been dispensed with last July? What kind of action would a responsible Government take? What action would Nietzsche have taken?


The problem for Javid is that he, and the Government, would lose face by taking action. He appears like a rabbit in the headlights, an old banger stalled on a level crossing with hundreds of tonnes of oncoming train about to comprehensively flatten it. So Bozo’s cheerleaders are briefed on how to spin the descent into cabinet inertia.



That means the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog telling their readersPanicking Gloomsters Seeing Lockdowns Again … Threat Of Covid Plan B Looming” and blustering “According to the Spectator’s Data Tracker on October 12, Covid patients occupied just 5% of all NHS hospital beds … Daily Covid hospital admissions are 80% lower than they were during the pandemic peak and it’s clear that the link between cases and hospitalisations is still largely broken”. Oh no it isn’t.


As Brian Jarman, professor emeritus at Imperial College London, has shown in his regular Twitter excursions, Covid deaths have followed new infections and hospitalisations, if at a reduced rate. Peter Stefanovic, whose video compilation of Bozo being seriously economical with the actualité has already embarrassed both the Government and the BBC, has pointed out the disparity in new cases between the UK and other countries.


And the daily rate of new cases per million people merely makes the UK look worse. This is not a time to get hung up on ideological purity, libertarian or otherwise. It’s about something rather more basic: a Government giving a damn about the wellbeing of its people. And what we have here is a Government which gives every impression that it couldn’t give a rat’s arse who lives or dies. And that’s not good enough.


The problem is, sadly, that this Government is backed to the hilt by the right-leaning part of a media class which has within its ranks plenty of others who aren’t interested in the wellbeing of their fellow citizens. So they will start kicking and screaming, even as, to use Bozo’s happy phrase, the bodies pile high. So long as it’s someone else’s bodies.

Worst of all, booster jabs will not significantly curb the increasing infection and death rates. The Government fouled up. It continues to foul up. Be afraid. Be very afraid.


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GB News Platforms Known Fascist

Despite the upbeat talk of its boss Angelos Frangopoulos, it’s well known that Gammon Broadcasting™ News (“Bacon’s News Channel”) is desperate to attract viewers. Just how desperate was demonstrated yesterday when junior motormouth Patrick Christys counted one Jack Buckby among his guests, calling him a “counter-extremism researcher”.


'People on the right are so scared of being smeared as being far-right extremists to the point where they say the far-right doesn't exist’ … [Jack Buckby], counter-extremism researcher, praises Patrick Christys for talking about extremism” told the GB News Twitter feed. Yes, GB News is so desperate for praise that it solicits it from a known fascist.


How well known? Here’s the Liverpool Tab’s take: “Jack Buckby, who studied Politics at the University but was expelled in 2013, is set to force a by-election in the Batley and Spen constituency, having stated that the Labour seat should not go unchallenged after the murder of MP Jo Cox in Yorkshire this week”. He stood for Liberty GB.

Jack Buckby (at right) with Nick Griffin

This was “an ‘Anti-Islamisation’ party that calls itself a ‘radical patriotic conservative’ organisation …He also suggested that the Labour party had ‘duped working class people’ and were walking into the by-election completely uncontested with ‘smug little grins on their faces’”. He Tweeted “if #BritainFirst Jo Cox shooting rumour is true , it’s either moronic BF damaging our cause as always, or false flag from #Remain campaign”.

Jack Buckby with Jack Renshaw, who is now serving a life sentence for conspiring to murder an MP and a serving Police Officer

Examiner Live
had this nugget. “A far-right activist who stood as a candidate in the Batley & Spen by-election caused revulsion on live TV after a racist outburst at a student campaigner. Former BNP member Jack Buckby was slated by viewers for launching into a rant on Channel 4 news in which he said to Barabra Ntumy: ‘Take in a Syrian refugee, I hope you don’t get raped’”. Buckby got 1.1% of the vote and lost his deposit.


And this is what Buckby said about the BNP. “I initially got involved with the BNP in high school. I wasn’t very political, but I had my opinions, as everyone does. I saw Nick Griffin and the real bias that he was facing on the television and I thought, 'That can’t be right.' I did my own research and thought, 'Shit, I agree with him. He actually seems like a good bloke.' I started supporting it and went through college being the notorious BNP guy. It was later that I met Nick and started talking about these culturist ideas”.


So now he’s attempted to reinvent himself as a “counter-extremism researcher”. Louise Raw, who you can tell as she’s a doctor, was not convinced. “Jack Buckby? Who called for TERROR ATTACKS on the Netherlands? Who was in the BNP like fascist terrorist David Copeland - who in turn helped radicalise the murderer of Jo Cox MP?” There was more.


Mike Stuchbery, who like me was the target of harassment by Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, asked “Why are you giving a platform to the guy who called the murder of Jo Cox a 'false flag’?” UAF concluded “Disgraceful from [GB News] … A known fascist with despicable views on the murder of Jo Cox & much more that should shame [GB News], who clearly did no background checks here”.

I’m not sure. My take is that GB News knew exactly who they were inviting on. They, and especially Patrick Christys, should hang their heads in shame. But they won’t, because they don’t feel any. Thus the level of desperation to which GB News has sunk.


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Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Ending Anonymity IS POINTLESS

In the wake of the knife attack last Friday that left Tory MP David Amess dead, there has been yet another attack on social media providers, and especially those accounts that hide the identity of their owners behind a cloak of anonymity. To no surprise at all, this has been justified on the basis that the hate directed at serving politicians mostly originates there, with the attack endorsed by many in the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press.

Who might be in the vanguard of this campaign?

Amess’ fellow Essex MP, Mark François (note cedilla under the c) wanted the world to know that it was Facebook and Twitter Wot Done It. He was “minded to drag Mark Zuckerberg [CEO of Facebook] and Jack Dorsey [CEO of Twitter] to the bar of the house … if necessary kicking and screaming so they can look us all in the eye and account for their actions or rather their inactions that make them even richer than they already are”.

Eh? Football’s football, if it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be the game that it was. But there was more. “[François] said MPs should radically toughen up the pending online harms bill to prevent trolls and other abusers hiding behind pseudonyms … ‘[Amess] was appalled by what he called the vile misogynistic abuse which female MPs had to endure online and he told me very recently that he wanted something done about it’”. However.

As the Guardian has reported, “Campaigners have warned, however, that ending online anonymity could put whistleblowers and pro-democracy campaigners in authoritarian regimes at risk”. Also, when Rhondda MP Chris Bryant received a death threat recently, it did not take the Police long to locate and arrest someone over the alleged offence.

Moreover, when it comes to spreading hatred against MPs - and others, including judges and campaigners (pace Gina Miller) - anonymous Twitter and Facebook accounts cannot hold a candle to the firepower all too frequently deployed by the press, especially that part which is fully invested in The Adoration Of The Boris. Then comes a further problem.

Well, look who's back

Thomas Mair, who murdered Jo Cox, was radicalised by Britain First, a far-right group that is not an anonymous social media troll. And it is now suggested that Ali Harbi Ali, arrested and detained over Amess’ killing, may have been radicalised by Anjem Choudary, who is most definitely not an anonymous presence. Ms Miller received death threats after a slew of hostile coverage in papers like the Daily Mail and Murdoch Sun.

So, as Captain Blackadder might have pointed out, there was only one thing wrong with this idea - it was bollocks. As so often, those without the power to fight back are the ones chosen by the entitled and comfortable within the media class to be the fall guys for something that media class has had more than an occasional hand in fomenting.

But Mark François will not be declaring his support for the Hacked Off campaign any time soon. He will continue to be the darling of the press’ hard right punditry, railing against social media providers while those who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet continue to smear, demonise, doxx, defame and otherwise whip up the mob. He will continue to champion, and indeed to exemplify, the role of useful idiot.

Ending online anonymity is only the solution if the problem is “how do we get someone else to take the fall while carrying on publishing hatred”? So it isn’t a solution at all.


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Monday, 18 October 2021

Civility In Politics - Or Maybe Not

The killing of Tory MP David Amess has led to the rarest of moments for not only his fellow politicians, but also our free and fearless press: both have momentarily come to the same conclusion, that there should be rather more civility in political discourse. The problem is that neither is prepared to lead by example, nor accept some measure of responsibility.

His family ask for kindness and love ...

Amess’ family are hoping to appeal to those people’s better nature, as Daniel Sandford from the BBC observed: “A new statement from Sir David Amess' family ends ‘Please let some good come from this tragedy. We are absolutely broken, but we will survive and carry on for the sake of a wonderful and inspiring man’”. Let’s consider the responses.

... they won't get it from him ...

What kind of kindness and civility was on offer from Priti Patel, somehow elevated to the rank of Home Secretary, when she appeared before the host’s inquisition on The Andy Marr Show™ yesterday? “We’re bringing legislation forward. That is why Border Force … will have new powers in terms of turning boats … pushing back … intercepting at sea, all within the law … as well”. Proposing to leave desperate people to drown.

... and certainly not from them

So not much civility there, sadly. Or adherence to the law of the sea. Or adherence to factual accuracy: Ms Patel is lying in order to dog-whistle. LBC host James O’Brien mused “The government wants to offer immunity to people who cause other people to drown in the English Channel. They think, quite plausibly, that this will be electorally popular. I think the conversation about decency in politics might be starting in the wrong place”.


O’Brien was equally scathing at the idea that ending anonymity would cut out the hatred. “I don't see much on here from the most unhinged & disgusting anonymous trolls that is more vile & deliberately inciteful than what I see from [the Spectator] & [Guido Fawkes] ’journalists' so it seems unlikely that outlawing anonymity would solve much”.


And talking of “unhinged and disgusting”, along came alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson to prove the point. “Tories laugh at joke about putting Jeremy Corbyn's head in a 'noose' during Boris Johnson speech”. The former Labour leader was, at the same event, also branded a “traitor”. Well civil and kind, those Tories.


Jo Maugham had a message for those politicians not leading by example. “Civility in politics is better than the alternative. But respectful discourse can only follow from respectful politics. To demand it from those forced to live on the edge is wrongly to muzzle those who already lack power”, adding “Worth remembering how Patel and Johnson ignored warnings from colleagues that their attacks on lawyers would incite violence”.


Last year, after Ms Patel’s screaming rhetoric attacking “activist lawyers” who represented migrants, there was an incident at a lawyer’s office in Harrow where a man brandished a knife and threatened to kill someone. There were also sufficient threats against Labour MP Dawn Butler that her office had to close. Not that you’d have read that in most papers.


That’s because, as Jim Caris pointed out, those same papers were waging their own campaigns of, shall we say, rather less than civil and kind behaviour.

Despite attempts to offload on Labour and anonymity, it’s the Tories and their press cheerleaders who need to change their behaviour. Which they won’t. No change there.


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Sunday, 17 October 2021

Hodges Incites Hate On Rayner

For the second time in five and a half years, an MP has been killed while going about their work. It is becoming abundantly clear that other MPs have faced, and still face, physical threats. So the question for our free and fearless press is clear: what would be the sensible course of action for its hacks and pundits to take? What would the responsible kind of editor have done? What would Nietzsche have done?

He's desperate, Dan

It was not one of those questions that Ted Verity, editor of the increasingly wayward Mail on Sunday, was answering this weekend. Instead, today’s MoS has carried a column from not even slightly celebrated blues artiste Whinging Dan Hodges which purports to consider the issues around David Amess’ killing, but ends up inciting hatred against another MP.

Hodges’ column is typical of the genre honed by successive Mail editors - first David English, then the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre - that led one former staffer at the titles to tell Nick Davies “Dacre kills with headlines”. The headline and supporting images, their juxtaposition, and the first few paragraphs, contain the intended message. What is buried further down the page provides the excuses when someone complains.

"I don't know why he was killed BUT look whose photo this is!"

So what’s the headline? “I don’t know why Sir David Amess was killed but the visceral hatred of Tories at the heart of Labour has to end right now”. Yes folks, Desperate Dan wants you to know “I don’t know why Sir David Amess was killed BUT”. And this is a big but. A big but that juxtaposes Amess’ death and “visceral hatred” from the Rotten Lefties™.

And just to make sure readers know which lefties Hodges is on about, close to the top of the page is “Though not all of those tributes have been welcomed. As news of the appalling attack was filtering through, a tweet from Angela Rayner expressing her own sympathies provoked anger from several Tory MPs and officials. ‘She was calling us scum a few days ago,’ one told me. ‘She doesn’t get to express sympathy today.’

Evening all

Then comes a big photo of Ms Rayner. Boo rotten lefty Angie!! “I don’t know why David Amess was killed BUT here’s a big photo of Angela Rayner”. Quite apart from Hodges being an ocean going hypocrite of the lowest order - he is, after all, the author of “Labour MUST kill vampire Jezza”, the article that depicted Jeremy Corbyn, knives plunged into his body, in a coffin, published 10 days after Jo Cox’s murder - his excuses won’t wash.

When Emma Kennedy passed adverse comment on his column, Hodges did his best to wriggle his way out of it. She should, he declared, quote what he had said that was so objectionable. This is pure sophistry: he’s been at the MoS long enough to know how that paper plays the game. The suitably crafted headline, the accusing finger pointed at the Labour Party, and, oh look! A great big and very obvious photo of Angela Rayner.

The MoS pundit may also be a stinking hypocrite

In the aftermath of Hodges’ “Labour MUST kill vampire Jezza” column, we saw Darren Osborne admit he had wanted to kill the then Labour leader. One man was later jailed for 28 days for violently assaulting Corbyn, an act that had the Tories sniggering with glee. When I last encountered Ms Rayner, she had turned up on her own to a canvassing session in Crewe. After Hodges’ incitement, she might not turn up alone in future.

Because incitement is what Dan Hodges’ latest column is. He can protest all he likes. But the headline and photo placement gives the game away. We see you, Desperate Dan.


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Saturday, 16 October 2021

Hancock’s Half Hengagement

After his little local extramarital difficulty was laid bare by the goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun, health secretary Matt Hancock soon became an ex-minister, his resignation that rarest of commodities in the world of the modern Tory party, where alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and his coterie of towering ineptitude never have to say sorry, far less fall on their swords. Hancock returned to the back benches.


But you can’t keep a good man down for long, or even a less than totally good man, and so it came to pass that Hancock told the world that he had landed a job at the United Nations. “Honoured to be appointed United Nations Special Representative. I’ll be working with the @UN @ECA_OFFICIAL to help African economic recovery from the pandemic and promote sustainable development” he told his Twitter followers.

There was more. “His job title will be UN special representative on financial innovation and climate change for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and the role is unpaid. He will continue as a Conservative MP … [he] also shared the job offer letter from The Under Secretary General of the UN, Vera Songwe, who had praised the former Health Secretary for his handling of the pandemic in the UK”. But not everyone was happy.


As the Independent has reported, “campaigners at Global Justice Now said the appointment was ‘sickening’ – condemning Hancock and others in the UK government for ‘blocking’ Covid vaccine production in the developing world … ‘Matt Hancock helped to block international efforts to allow low and middle-income countries to produce their own Covid-19 vaccines, leading to millions of deaths in the global south,’ said Nick Dearden, director of the campaign group”. Dearden was not finished.

The audacity of this man claiming to help African nations and promote sustainable development is sickening”. But Hancock’s fellow Tories were supportive. "Tory MP Tom Tugendhat, chair of the foreign affairs select committee said Hancock’s new job was ‘fascinating and important’”. Vicky Ford was also enthusiastic. “Congratulations [Matt Hancock] Hugely important issues & looking forward to catching up soon!


But, it seems, the job offer was not as watertight as it might have seemed, and by yesterday, a UN spokesman had told the organisation’s news organisation Pass Blue the bad news: “Mr Hancock’s appointment by the UN Economic Commission for Africa is not being taken forward. ECA has advised him of the matter”. Oh dear!

So when Afua Hirsch asked “What did the African continent do to deserve this?” the answer was that it didn’t. Former prosecutor Nazir Afzal concluded “It would appear that Matt Hancock has been sacked by the UN before he could save Africa because the Covid report found that he didn’t save the UK”. Still, there were other claims on his time.


The Indy also noted that “Hancock and his girlfriend Gina Coladangelo were spotted in the Swiss Alps on their first holiday as a couple”. Wouldn’t be the French or Austrian Alps, would it? Nothing but the most exclusive and expensive Alps for failed ministers.

Matt Hancock went to catch a plum job. Unfortunately for him, he dropped it. Sad, really.


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