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Monday 28 February 2022

Spectator Ukraine Deflection A DISGRACE

Former Murdoch editor Andrew Neil is terribly sensitive to any criticism of his role as the ultimate boss at the increasingly alt-right Spectator magazine, and yet more so when the mag’s love-in with the far right is pointed out to him. Brillo is swift to tell those passing adverse comment that his mighty organ carries many political viewpoints, and ever ready to shout FREEZE PEACH, characterising his detractors as advocates of censorship.

So it was that, when The Great Man told his adoring followers “Ex-German leader Angela Merkel condemns Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in ‘strongest possible terms’. Hypocrisy on stilts. Nobody did more than her to faciliate Putin aggression with her energy policies (huge dependence on Russia) + refusal to spend more on Germany’s ailing military”, and there was a significant dissenting voice, he was not at all happy.

Steve Peers pointed out to him that the Speccy had just published “We blew our chance to befriend Putin” by Rod “a smile, a song and a four-pack of Stella” Liddle, to illustrate a little more hypocrisy. Brillo came over all defensive. “So what? It’s his view. Not mine. I don’t agree with it. Doesn’t mean Rod shouldn’t be free to write it and the editor to publish it”.

Jonathan Portes had seen enough. “‘Editor-in-Chief’ of the Spectator [Andrew Neil] once again denies he has any responsibility at all for his magazine's continued advocacy of virtually *every* fascist and racist political movement in Europe, from Putin to Golden Dawn to Zemmour to Thierry Baudet to …”. This caused The Great Man to lose it.

You're so right. Let's burn R Liddle at the stake. Along withe the Editor. And me”. To which Portes observed “Is [Andrew Neil] genuinely so stupid that he thinks saying ‘The Editor in Chief has responsibility if articles in his magazine repeatedly endorse and platform racists and neo-Nazis’ is the same as calling for state censorship? I doubt it. So he's just lying”.

Which leads on to the Speccy’s deputy editor Freddy Gray attempting to deflect from the mag’s far-right fascination (much of it under his by-line) by suggesting that the 46th President of the United States has done something wrong, before admitting he hasn’t. “Why the silence over Biden’s links with Ukraine?” he demands.

There's always a suitable image

What links might those be? After sneering that Biden’s speech last week was “one of his now all-too-familiarly infirm attempts to sound firm” (laugh? I thought I’d never start), he segues into “just because Trump dug for that dirt doesn’t mean that dirt isn’t there … when it comes to Ukraine and Biden it’s a game worth playing”. Joe had visited Ukraine SIX TIMES when he was Vice-President. Big deal. But then the Hunter Biden card is deployed.

Smearing him benefits one person right now ...

Gray wastes no time in telling us he was “a drug addict”. That’s the deputy editor of the mag that regularly platforms the loathsome Toby Young, ejected from the Groucho Club for drug dealing, and which gives a regular column to Taki Theodoracopulos, characterised by Private Eye magazine as Taki Takealotofcokeupthenos.

... no prizes for guessing who that might be

After more of that sneer-turned-up-to-the-max which will no doubt impress Gray and all those other clever people who talk loudly in restaurants, he admits “Let’s be clear: there is no evidence that the Bidens have been corrupt in their dealings with Ukraine”.

Which confirms that this was just lame deflection all along. We see you, Spectator people.

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Sunday 27 February 2022

Tory Ukraine Visa Shambles

After the Government of alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson was caught being less than totally welcoming to those fleeing the increasingly bloody fighting in Ukraine, Benidorm Holiday Rep Home Secretary Priti Patel and her minions needed to read the room. What would a sensible Government have done on the visa question? What would a compassionate Home Secretary have done? What would Nietzsche have done?

Unfortunately, neither Bozo, nor Ms Patel, operates at that intellectual level, and so the latter took one look at the criticism coming from shadow foreign secretary David Lammy and declared it to be untrue. “Appalling misinformation at a time of international crisis”.

She helpfully provided a link. Lammy followed it. And, er, “Your own link proves you wrong. Ukrainians without family ties to the UK have to get to a nearby country and go through a normal route. And even people applying under the close family route still have to meet conditions including on salaries and language”. He was not alone in his criticism.

Luke Pollard, who represents Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, had been told by Ms Patel his assertion that the HO was still following normal visa restrictions was “simply untrue”. He was equally unimpressed. “Sorry, but that’s not correct. I’m looking for a route for people fleeing Ukraine who might not have a family link in the UK. We have a moral obligation to help them. Will you now change policy to do exactly that?

And then came Bozo. "Of course we are going to take refugees. This country has had a historic and proud role of taking refugees from all conflict … I am aware that there is some fake news on the internet about that and I really want to knock that on the head. The UK is way out in front in our willingness to help with refugees. we have sent 1000 troops to the theatre to help with the refugees”. Lying his way out of a corner, and not making sense.

Sadly for Bozo and Ms Patel, the real world intervened, with Wilson Solicitors confirming “Sorry to report that [UK Home Office] is refusing entry to Ukrainians at Paris Gare du Nord seeking to join family in UK because they don’t have a visa. And not being helped to apply for a visa. If there even is one”. Then came Ms Patel’s Gofer Kevin Foster.

He told Pollard “As you will be well aware there are a number of routes, not least our seasonal worker scheme you will recall from your shadow DEFRA days, which Ukrainians can qualify for, alongside the family route for those with relatives here”. Yes, all was solved - refugees could get visas, providing they waited until summer and then picked fruit!

This went down rather less well than the proverbial cup of cold sick, with Paul Waugh of the i Paper musing “I suspect that 'UK Immigration Minister says Ukrainians fleeing war may be asked to pick fruit to gain entry to UK' is such a bad look that it may not survive this weekend”. This was an understatement: the Tweet did not last the night.

Ireland has opened its borders to those escaping the conflict in Ukraine. The UK has not. The UK used to look on that country as a poor relation. But now, whether you compare Net average monthly salary, Gross average monthly salary, or Net average salary adjusted for cost of living, Ireland comes out significantly above the UK. Better off than us.

It’s as if EU membership and a sensible immigration policy were A Good Thing. Well, well.

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Saturday 26 February 2022

UK Does NOT Stand With Ukraine

As the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces under the less than benign leadership of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and his gangsterist régime in Moscow continues, and resistance intensifies, some have chosen to stand and fight, but elsewhere there is a steady flow of refugees, the inevitable consequence of armed conflict. Some of those refugees have exposed yet another poisonous betrayal by the UK’s Government.

Set auto-smirk to stun

While the Home Office, ruled over by the Benidorm Holiday Rep Home Secretary Priti Patel, boasted “Today we're flying Ukraine's flag in support of the Ukrainian people, including those here in the UK”, other countries were acting, not showboating.

Writer and lecturer Molly McKew noted that “Estonia’s Ministry of Interior announces that all Ukrainian citizens who are currently in [the country] (even those whose work/study visa is about to end) can stay. Also, as of today all Ukrainians, even those who don't have a biometric passport, can enter Estonia without a visa”. Estonia was not alone.

A Tweeter who, in a display of grim humour, called themselves “Putin’s Kill List”, added “Slovakia - just like Romania, Poland and Hungary - is now also welcoming all people from #Ukraine and their #pets seeking safety. No documentation needed for the pets, no Covid documentation needed for Ukrainian [refugees]”. So what of the UK?

One anecdotal account sounded worrying. “Have heard a British friend from Kyiv has made it to Lithuania with his Ukrainian boyfriend but they were unable to get back to the UK together due to UKBA not granting visas, instead they are now going to Ireland, who let them both in without issue, despite neither being Irish”. Was this true?

It was for Ireland, as Helen McEntee, the country’s Justice Minister, confirmed: “I am appalled by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We stand with the Ukrainian people and we will play our part in assisting them in their time of need. That’s why I am immediately lifting visa requirements between Ukraine and Ireland. This will apply to all Ukrainians”.

Meanwhile, Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy had bad news: “The Government has stopped accepting visa applications from Ukrainians - unless they have a British relative. Shameful how those who were so loud in talking up the prospect of war go silent when it comes to helping the people actually affected by it”. Would the Home Office care to comment?

Mark Gevaux had the relevant wording. “Visa applications from Ukraine for people who are not related to British Nationals are currently suspended, meaning there is no legal route for them to enter the UK and claim asylum. A source told the BBC the Government was ‘scenario-planning’ for an increase in asylum seekers from Ukraine”.

LBC host James O’Brien was unimpressed. “Until last week, Russian oligarchs could buy a British passport, no questions asked. Today, there is no ‘legal’ route to the U.K. for Ukrainians fleeing Russian war crimes. Both are deliberate Conservative government policies”. Yes, some of those “British Citizens” cited by a succession of Tory ministers have bought that status. A deliberate policy that yields deliberate Tory party donations.

Meanwhile, Priti Patel’s régime at the Home Office yields weasel words, but panders to the far right in the hope of a few opinion poll points. Our Government is morally bankrupt.

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Friday 25 February 2022

Farage Weasels On Ukraine

While Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and his gangsterist régime in Moscow show the world just what they’re about, and continue their invasion of Ukraine, an independent and democratic sovereign state which has not threatened them, despite the severe provocation over recent years including Russian annexation of Crimea and the actions of pro-Russian rebels in the east of the country, the scales are falling from some former fans’ eyes.

But not all: step forward Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, former Brexit Party Oberscheissenführer, who had previously told his adoring public that Putin was “the world leader I most admire”. So as Vlad The Invader tells the world that Ukraine must be “de-Nazified”, while missing the fact that President Zelensky is Jewish, and his military commits war crimes in plain sight, all Nige can manage are weasel words. And he’s convincing no-one.

Seeing Russian forces invade an independent, democratic and sovereign country, all The Great Man could muster was “Well, I was wrong. Putin has gone much further than I thought he would”. And then came the excuse note. “A consequence of EU and NATO expansion, which came to a head in 2014. It made no sense to poke the Russian bear with a stick. These are dark days for Europe”. And to that I call bullshit.

Ukraine is not a NATO member state - one has to wonder if Putin would have invaded if it had been - and nor is it part of the EU. Moreover, if something came to a head in 2014, then why did it take Vlad another eight years to invade? Nige isn’t answering any of those, but he is at CPAC, and so is gathering support from the collected US right-wing idiocy.

It’s a very dramatic day with events in the Ukrainehe told his followers, adhering to the Bannon playbook - downgrading the target of Russia’s invasion to merely “the Ukraine”. But he had someone to back him up. “Many people here feeling that actually if Donald Trump was President, none of this would ever have happened in the first place”.

More bullshit, more weasel words. So he called on the wisdom of Ted Cruz, another of those who allowed Combover Crybaby Donald Trump to humiliate him as One Term Agent Orange smeared and hustled his way to the White House. Cruz claimed to have dined with Trump the previous evening, even though he probably couldn’t find Ukraine on the map.

But he knows how to spin a little deception. “We saw, last summer, an American President unilaterally withdraw his troops from Afghanistan” offered Farage, to which Cruz replied “I think the chances that Putin would be invading Ukraine today if Trump were still President are essentially zero … there are two reasons why Russia’s invaded … number one … was America’s disastrous, catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan”. Bullshit once more.

Here’s the Wiki explainer. “In February 2020, the Trump administration and the Taliban, without participation by the Afghan government, signed the … Doha Agreement, which provided for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Afghanistan in return for a Taliban pledge to prevent al-Qaeda from operating in areas under Taliban control, and future talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government”. Trump sold out the Afghans.

Nigel Farage not only weasels his way out of admitting he got this call wrong, he gets a lame and dishonest Trump apologist to back him up. Nige the Great Patriot now looks like a chiselling opportunist. Why? You might wish to ask that. I couldn’t possibly comment.

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Shipman Apologises - Guido Doesn’t

War in Europe has many drawbacks - price hikes for energy, share and currency volatility, and the more human costs, like death and injury, alongside an exodus of refugees. All this has been foisted upon us by the gangsterist régime of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin as his armed forces try to roll over the defences of Ukraine. For one oft-quoted hack, this may actually be useful. Because it allows his bad news to be buried.

Tim Shipman ...

Tim Shipman, political editor of the Murdoch Sunday Times, has featured in Press Gazette, but not prominently otherwise, which will be a relief to those who like to promote him as the doyen of heavyweight political punditry. That relief would be because Shippers shipped a particularly ripe slice of bull on Twitter last May, thus precipitating a defamation action from former Labour MP Jenny Chapman - which reached the High Court this week.

As PG has reported, “A shadow minister has received an apology and a substantial sum from a prominent journalist over a tweet that falsely suggested she had a ‘secret adulterous relationship’ with Sir Keir Starmer … On Tuesday, the High Court heard [Tim] Shipman posted two tweets and two retweets about Baroness Chapman to his Twitter account, which currently has almost 180,000 followers”. There was more.

... and The Great Guido

In his first tweet on 8 May last year, Shipman said that loyalty to Baroness Chapman appeared to be the ‘most important commodity as far as Labour high command is concerned this evening’ … His second tweet, which was attributed to an unnamed Labour source, claimed that Baroness Chapman had been banned from Sir Keir’s house ‘on the orders’ of the Labour leader’s wife”. Thus the inference of a possible relationship.

Shipman, to his credit, soon afterwards told his followersSome people may have inferred that I was suggesting a relationship between the two [Baroness Chapman and Starmer] that is not purely professional. That was not its intention or context. Any such inference is untrue. I apologise for the distress caused. No disrespect was intended to anyone and particularly not to Ms Chapman to whom I have written and will pay compensation”.

He said sorry ...

And, with eyes on the conflict in Ukraine today, that will be that. Which may come as a relief to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, who took a keen interest in Jenny Chapman’s role within the Labour Party last year, and who appear not only to have repeated the alleged libel, but have not deleted it.

Here’s the offending paragraph: “Chapman’s love life and history of affairs is brought up by many. When she took up with fellow MP Nick Smith (her now husband), the subsequent messy divorce became an issue in her Darlington constituency. That she lived in Wales on weekends was an issue on the doorstep according to local Labour Party sources. Starmer’s wife must have concerns, she was reported by Tim Shipman to have banned Chapman from the house”. The link brings up Shipman’s deleted Tweet.

... but they didn't

Perhaps Jenny Chapman and her lawyers were unaware of the Fawkes intervention. That may not remain the case for long. The Great Guido does, though, love to tell the world that publishing his blog offshore makes it seriously difficult to mount legal actions against it.

So he won’t have a problem with his content being disseminated further. Or will he?

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Thursday 24 February 2022

Murdoch Abramovich Deflection FLOPS

While Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) shills so openly for the gangsterist régime of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin that Russian state media is re-broadcasting the rants of Fox host Tucker Carlson with sub-titles, another Murdoch property is pretending that the UK is being really tough on Vlad’s pals, specifically Roman Abramovich, but not because ordinary Brits know who he is cos he owns The Chelski, oh no.

A lame propagandist writes

So it is that, with a full-scale invasion of Ukraine having been launched in the small hours, today’s Sun front page carries, at top right, an alleged “exclusive” under the by-line of its political editor, the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole, who is still pretending to be a real journalist. “Putin pal Abramovich not welcome in UK … KEEP OUT” it claims.

The problem for Master Cole is that, not for the first time in his less than illustrious career, the substance of the story does not stand up the headline. “CHELSEA’S Russian owner Roman Abramovich has effectively been barred from living in Britain again” begins the narrative, adding “The billionaire - a pal of warmonger Vladimir Putin - has not been seen at the club’s Stamford Bridge home for months”. Which doesn’t mean he’s been barred.

But do go on. “He withdrew his application for a UK Tier 1 investor visa in 2018, following criticism of oligarchs in the wake of the nerve gas atrocity in Salisbury, Wilts”. So what? His visa withdrawal is well known and also does not mean he’s barred. Try again. “Now senior security sources say it is unlikely the 55-year-old will ever be allowed to set up home in Britain again”. Christ on a bike, that’s lame. “Unlikely”. HE’S NOT BARRED.

Can it get yet more lame? Best not ask. “The Sun understands immigration officials are under clear instruction to work towards ensuring Mr Abramovich cannot base himself in the UK”. “Working towards”. HE’S STILL NOT BARRED. “It is understood his case is being handled by the Home Office’s secretive ‘Special Cases Unit’. It is part of the Security and Counter Terrorist directorate which handles top-secret matters of national security”.

So it’s a secret! Er, no it isn’t: we then learn how Abramovich visits the UK visa-free, and how he has been doing so for more than three years: “In 2018 he acquired Israeli citizenship that would allow him entry to Britain for up to six months. Last October he used an Israeli passport to make a flying visit to London”. Abramovich is Jewish, and so is eligible for Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return. So he STILL ISN’T BARRED.

But we do get a hint of one reason - apart from deflecting from the minor issue of Ukraine being invaded - why Master Cole is spinning this drivel. “Yesterday Boris Johnson corrected a Commons statement, made on Tuesday, that Abramovich had been officially sanctioned by the Government. The PM said the billionaire ‘has not been the subject of targeted measures’”. But Master Cole wants you to believe he’s being barred.

Expect more of this alleged journalism from the Murdoch droids in the coming days as Putin, praised to the rafters by Rupe’s pal Combover Crybaby Donald Trump, and excused by Fox News, shows exactly what he’s about. Neither the Sun, nor any other paper, has any evidence that Abramovich is being targeted. Because he isn’t. End of story.

Bozo acting tough in the retelling. The new reality from his fanboys. Pass the sick bucket.

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Wednesday 23 February 2022

Bozo’s Russia Sanctions Problem

While our free and fearless press is wasting no time in telling its readers that alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and his coterie of ineptitude is either being seriously tough with Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and his gangsterist régime in Moscow, or will be getting seriously tough very soon, honestly, they are convincing no-one.

Britain’s contribution to opposing Putin will, as with many other countries, be a mainly economic one, as in sanctions against Russian financial institutions, oligarchs, and maybe politicians. But as Germany’s new Chancellor Olaf Scholz under-promised and then over-delivered, canning the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, Bozo merely sanctioned five banks and three individuals. Many of his fellow Tories were unimpressed.

Across the floor of the House, Caroline Lucas was impressed even less. “Is that it?Sanctioning 5 banks and 3 oligarchs suggests the Government cares more about protecting Tory party donations and London’s laundromat than it does about imposing meaningful sanctions against Moscow”. Labour’s Chris Bryant was also unimpressed.

Johnson’s statement on Ukraine seems remarkably thin. Just three people and some banks to be sanctioned … The government sanctions announced today are just picking off the minnows while leaving the sharks to swim freely”. And then he caught Bozo fibbing: “The PM told the House that Roman Abramovich has already been sanctioned. He hasn’t. It’s untrue”. Roman Abramovich. That’s an interesting name.

Jessica Elgot of the Guardian concentrated on Tory dismay: “Tory MPs scratching their heads today at how UK went from being hardliner on Ukraine to having the some of the weakest sanctions to announce today, when reverse has been true of Germany. Something not quite lining up”. Paul Waugh of the i Paper was on the same page.

I'm confused again about govt's position. MPs asked [Boris Johnson] y’day if further sanctions needed fresh trigger of Putin invasion. Cleverly seemd to say no. Now [Liz Truss]: ‘We are very clear there’s a further list of oligarchs’ to be imposed *’in the event of a full invasion’*”. LBC host James O’Brien, meanwhile, had it figured out.

In ‘sanctioning’ three oligarchs who don’t live here & five relatively unimportant banks, Johnson has given more deserving targets time to get their loot out of town”. And Otto English touched on Bozo’s reluctance: “Might be a good moment for Lord Lebedev to make a second appearance in the Lords. Few peers can be as knowledgeable about Putin and the role of Russian oligarchs in Britain. Sure his contributions would be welcomed”.

Don’t mention Perugia or John Sweeney, then. And Kevin Maguire of the Mirror showed how the Tory Party itself is compromised: “‘Nothing is off the table’ said Liz Truss. The Conservative Party returning Russian-linked money is off the table. The Foreign Secretary’s just said they’re keeping the cash”. Meanwhile, the EU actually took action.

Yesterday evening, Samuel Ramani told “The EU will impose travel bans and asset freezes on all members of the Russian State Duma”. All of them. No ifs, no buts.

Evening all

Seems like the odd Russian bung may have caused Bozo to hesitate. Or perhaps that should have read the odd Russian bunga bunga. Our Prime Minister is compromised.

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