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Friday 30 September 2022

Polling - A Run On The Tory Party

The response from 10 Downing Street was as firm as it was unequivocal: there would be no wavering, no backtracking, no U-Turns. The mini budget presented on behalf of Liz Truss, somehow elevated to the rank of Prime Minister, by her Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng would stand, whatever those pesky markets said and, more importantly, did.

Hello and Goodbye

A run on Sterling? Fine. A run on pension funds? Meh. The Bank of England could clear that one up. It was nothing more than the froth of protest by the Rotten Woke Liberal Left Elite, it was someone else’s fault (again) and the new Government would not be deflected from its course. But that was on Thursday morning, and by the afternoon, all was rather different.

While client journalists like Christopher “No” Hope of the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph were pretending that the mini budget was A Very Wonderful Thing, bleating “The Tories need to get into overdrive asap to explain last week's mini-Budget. A local media round with the PM and a clip with the Chancellor is not enough”, the warnings were coming in.

Former Tory MP Gavin Barwell tried to break the news gently to Hope: “It. Is. Not. A. Comms. Problem.” Still the tribalists in the bunker refused to listen: former not-so-ace Brexit negotiator David Frost was penning more rubbish for the Tel, while Dan, Dan The Oratory Man was doing something similar for the Mail, telling its readers that the IMF and the markets didn’t really understand.

What happened during the afternoon was a more effective means of telling the political flat earth brigade just how much trouble the Tories were in. Survation toldWestminster Voting Intention. Largest Labour lead (21 points) we've ever recorded”. Labour was on 49%; the Tories on 28% - a lower share of the popular vote than the party managed in 1997.

Then, the Labour poll lead was 12.5%, and their subsequent majority 180. Were the Survation numbers to play out at a General Election, that majority would probably be over 200. And that was not the worst poll news: that came from YouGov, which has in the past been accused of favouring the Tories.

Not this time. In a poll taken on Wednesday, and yesterday, YouGov had Labour on 54% and the Tories on 21%. THIRTY-THREE POINTS IN FRONT. The best, or least catastrophic, prediction was that the Tories would be reduced to a rump of just 61 seats, and Labour would have a majority of 346. Other predictions envisaged close to a total Tory wipeout. All without Keir Starmer having to do very much at all, except watch the Tories implode.

A third poll showed a Labour lead in the high teens. All showed Tory support on the slide. The effect was to peel away a little more support from those Tory MPs not totally committed to the Truss and Kwarteng project, leaving a smaller core of true believers and unswerving tribalists to pretend that The Blue Team was not on the verge of electoral wipeout.

We were seeing not only, as was claimed last week, a Labour moment, but a run on the market and a run on Sterling followed in short order by a run on the Tory Party. They were warned about electing Liz Truss; now have come the inevitable consequences. The Daily Mail was instrumental in getting her elected, with its knocking copy aimed at Penny Mordaunt.

Some Tory members have short memories: it was the Mail that successfully campaigned for South African athlete Zola Budd to be given a British passport so she could compete in the 1984 Olympic Games. That ended in disaster when Ms Budd had a coming-together with Team USA’s Mary Decker, taking the latter out of a race she was expected to win.

The malign influence of those in the Northcliffe House bunker has now struck again, with yet more severe consequences. Repent at leisure, Tories.

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Thursday 29 September 2022

Liz Truss - Locally Clueless

And so it came to pass that Liz Truss, for some reason made Prime Minister, decided in her infinite wisdom to do a round of interviews for local radio stations: perhaps she and her advisors believed this to be a softer option than the glare of national TV shows. But it soon became clear that this was a campaign that was developing not necessarily to her advantage.

The problem she faced can be put directly: her inquisitors were all experienced journalists, well used to grilling politicians and detecting bullshit, they did not depend, like their Westminster contemporaries, on “access” being denied them, she had been poorly briefed (or perhaps it hadn’t sunk in), her delivery was wooden, and to cap it off, she talked well, but lied badly.

Her Radio Stoke experience, with John Acres, was typical. “It’s how we grow the size of the pie, so that everyone can benefit” she claimed. “By borrowing more, and putting our mortgages up?” asked Acres. Long pause. “We need to borrow more this winter for the energy crisis that we’re facing”. Acres was not persuaded. “We’re going to spend more in mortgage fees under what you’ve done, based on the predictions, than we would have saved on energy”.

Come on Liz! Let’s have a bit of the old wit! Another long pause. “I don’t think anybody is arguing that we shouldn’t have acted on energy”. Anyone convinced? No, me neither. Nor was Matt Chorley - a Murdoch journalist now at Times Radio - who noted that Radio Kent’s interviewer was not messing around: “Are you ashamed of what you’ve done? Are you?

That one got worse. After Ms Truss claimed “We are working very closely with the Bank of England” came the retort “They are putting out your fire to be fair” followed by “How much suffering is enough? Haven’t you been reading the news? This is a crisis”. Take that one off the grill, it’s done.

Radio Norfolk was no kinder, and the interviewer was no Partridge. Chorley was gobsmacked. “Utterly bizarre response to her own local BBC station asking why the roof of the local hospital is held up by dozens of props. Truss tells BBC Norfolk that she will lobby the health secretary as a local MP. But won’t make promises on her behalf. What?!?” Then came Radio Bristol.

Toby Earle notedJames Hanson, BBC Bristol, calls out Liz Truss’s scripted answers, refuses to accept this is all down to Putin, & asks if the Bank of England had to intervene because of him”. There was a little more ridicule: “it’s hard to know what has fallen more since you entered Downing Street, the value of the pound of the Tory poll rating”. OUCH! Then came the lying.

Pippa Crerar of the Guardian observedLiz Truss said several times in her radio round that no family would pay more than £2,500 this year for energy bills.This is just *not* the case”. Oh aye? Martin Lewis had the numbers. “THERE IS NO £2,500 CAP ON ENERGY BILLS. Instead the new 1 Oct guarantee, like the old caps, limits - Daily charge (28p gas, 46p elec) - & Unit rates (10p/kWh gas, 34p/kWh elec). So use more, pay more. £2,500 is just what someone with [average] use [would] pay”. Oh dear!

The reaction was less than totally favourable, even from her own side, as Rachel Wearmouth of the Staggers revealed. “Truss began laughing at one point during her Radio Bristol interview. This is a disaster … A Tory MP who backed Truss texts: ‘It's an utter shitshow’”. Adam Bienkov of Byline Times concludedThat has to be the most brutal round of local radio interviews I've ever heard a Prime Minister face”. And that wasn’t the worst part.

He added “Not a single note of contrition from Liz Truss, or even the slightest indication she plans to change course in any way.” Paul Waugh of the i Paper musedThe most telling thing in each interview is the dismissive laughter in her voice as she answers some of the questions. Quite revealing”. And Kitty Donaldson of Bloomberg had bad news from those markets.

This is a chart of the UK government bond market while Liz Truss has been on air - investors are worried by her comments, are selling gilts and the yields rise - short version: they’re not reassured by her doubling down”. Markets that are all about the C-Word, as in Confidence. If they don’t have any in Ms Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng, that will be, as the saying goes, “priced in”.

Former Tory MP Matthew Parris said before Ms Truss was elected leader of the Tory Party “She’s crackers. It isn’t going to work”. Dead right it isn’t.

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Wednesday 28 September 2022

Starmer Spooks Tory Cheerleaders

Here on Zelo Street, there has not always been total enthusiasm for Keir Starmer’s leadership of the Labour Party. But it would be churlish not to admit that his speech to Conference yesterday was highly effective, and it came at the right time for him, his party, and more importantly a country that has been ground down by twelve years of Tory failure and ineptitude.

While Sterling sinks, the markets take flight, those much-cited house prices cease to rise, inflation rages, energy prices are out of control, and realisation slowly sinks in that Brexit was a confidence trick on the British people, the Government is in paralysis, caught like a rabbit in the advancing headlights, with Liz Truss, somehow elevated to Prime Minister, unable or unwilling to reverse the catastrophic mini budget given by Kwasi Kwarteng last week.

Starmer, so long faced with the question “What is Labour for”, is now, at long last, putting some answers forward. As for the Tories, “The government has lost control of the British economy - and for what? They've crashed the pound - and for what? Higher interest rates. Higher inflation. Higher borrowing. And for what? Not for you. Not for working people. For tax cuts for the richest 1% in our society. Don't forget. Don't forgive”. He even laid claim to a Tory staple.

Labour would be the party of “sound money”. After the towering ineptitude of Kwarteng and Ms Truss, it is true that this would be less difficult than at any time in the past. The party would, in Government, work to a target of carbon-free energy by 2030 - and thereby achieve energy security. He would oversee stabilising of the economy, and the NHS “back in good health”.

This had one effect on the Tories, their cheerleaders and those advising them: all became spooked in very short order. Today’s front pages from the Murdoch press - both Times and Sun - as well as the Mail and Express, did not so much as give Starmer’s speech a mention. Didn’t happen. As for the flat earthers at the IEA, whose wise counsel crashed the economy, well.

A state-owned green energy company to lead to move to carbon free electricity? “Great British Energy...will be a disaster, with Ministers picking winners, and civil servants making an expensive mess of deployment”. Not half as expensive a mess as Kwarteng, aided and abetted by, er, the IEA.

Daniel Hannan: an intervention of towering stupidity

At Gammon Broadcasting™ News (“Bacon’s News Channel”), the deeply unpleasant Dan Wootton, against a backdrop claiming “Hard Left Labour Would Destroy UK”, declaredLabour is anything but the centre ground, [and] a government led by Starmer would run the UK into the ground”.

His feeble whining was echoed by Darren Grimes: The Crafty One told anyone not yet asleep “Sir Keir Starmer tells us to ‘don’t forgive, don’t forget’. Don’t worry, millions won’t - that’s why they won’t vote Labour”. Meanwhile, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, like their press masters, said as little as possible. Didn’t really happen.

But the pièce de résistance had to go to Dan, Dan The Oratory Man, whose on-off relationship with reality was definitely on the off side in a piece for Conservative Home: “No, the pound isn’t crashing over a trifling batch of tax cuts. It’s because the markets are terrified of [Keir Starmer]”. It’s someone else’s fault! The selling is all down to more of those Bitter Remoaners™!

And that shows not only that the tribalist right is on a defensive hair trigger, but also why the appeal of a Starmer Government - boring, maybe, but reassuringly competent, and outside the influence of the Tufton Street mafia - spooks the Tories so easily. Especially as last week’s tax cuts and extra borrowing may have to be reversed in order to placate the markets.

Which, in turn, could back Ms Truss and her Chancellor into a corner, with the letters of no confidence raining down on them. As Ian Dunt put it, “There's a genuine chance Truss doesn't make it to Christmas”. She’s delusional enough to think the Tories could still win a snap General Election, I reckon.

So Starmer and his pals have to hope that al-Jazeera’s Labour Files trilogy doesn’t gain too much traction. Because he is now very close to Number 10.

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Tuesday 27 September 2022

Anti-Corbyn Lawsuit IS NO MORE

After then Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had appeared before the inquisition of the host on The Andy Marr Show™ in 2018 - at the time when the crescendo of accusations of anti-Semitism was at its height - a defamation suit was begun against him. The individual bringing the claim was one Richard Millett, and his lawyer was Zelo Street favourite Mark Lewis.

Jezza had told Marr “Well, I was at a meeting in the House of Commons and the two people I referred to had been incredibly disruptive, indeed the police wanted to throw them out of the meeting. I didn't. I said they should remain in the meeting. They had been disruptive at a number of meetings. At the later meeting when Manuel spoke they were quiet, but they came up and were really, really strong on him afterwards and he was quite upset by it. I know Manuel Hassassian quite well. And I was speaking in his defence. Manuel of course is the Palestinian Ambassador of this country

One of those two people was, it seems, Millett. Corbyn did not name him, but as Joshua Rozenberg observed, the Meanings Hearing Judge concluded “that the words complained of referred to Mr. Millett; that they bore a meaning defamatory of Mr. Millett … ; and … the allegations were factual”.

It also seems that Patron Law were not displeased by this outcome. “Mark Lewis, Partner at Patron Law, acted for Richard Millett in a successful preliminary hearing relating to his defamation claim against former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at the High Court. Following the ruling of Mr Justice Saini, the claim may now proceed to a full trial”. Then came the appeal.

But Jezza was unsuccessful here: the Morning Star had to tell its readers “JEREMY CORBYN has lost an appeal against a High Court judge’s findings in a libel claim brought against the former Labour leader by a political blogger … [his] appeal was dismissed by three senior judges at the Court of Appeal today, who ruled his comments were defamatory at common law”.

The perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog - which had no problem launching two viciously anti-Semitic attacks on Ed Miliband - sneeredRichard Millett, the Jewish activist who Jeremy Corbyn famously accused of not ‘understand[ing] English irony’ in a 2013 speech to the Palestinian Return Centre, has this morning won the preliminary round of his High Court libel case against the former Labour leader. The tone deaf words became actionable after being discussed by Corbyn in 2018 on the Andrew Marr Programme”. Yeah, he done it! Today they are silent.

Mark Lewis - another failure

Why so? “A political blogger who was suing former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for libel has dropped his case, according to lawyers from both sides … Mr Corbyn was due to give evidence in a two-week-long trial in October but, on Monday, the parties released a joint statement announcing that the case had been discontinued”. Also, a short statement has been released.

The libel claim brought by Richard Millett against the Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP has been settled. Mr Corbyn has paid no damages, has made no apology and has given no undertakings concerning repetition of the words complained of. No costs have been paid by either party to the other as part of this settlement, save in respect of an outstanding order of the Court of Appeal from April 2021”. Zelo Street regulars may have a sense of déjà vu here.

In July 2020, an action brought on behalf of minor thesp Tracy Ann Oberman and Countdown numbers person Rachel Riley by Mark Lewis was abandoned. On that occasion, their target was barrister Jane Heybroek, some of whose costs they had to pay. Zelo Street considered the matter HERE.

Moreover, there is now the appearance of Richard Millett in the second part of al-Jazeera’s The Labour Files. The footage showed him apparently being, er, disruptive, as well as acting in a manner that could be regarded as abusive and aggressive. This may not be relevant to the outcome, but it is quite the coincidence: The Labour Files airs on Sunday, the case collapses Monday.

To lose one lawsuit may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness. And what if there is a third one out there? More to come.

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Monday 26 September 2022

So Farewell Then Darren Grimes

He left the Lib Dems to become a populist right winger, made a name for himself as the one who was - by his own admission - too stupid to fill in a form correctly, failed to notice David Starkey saying something that would get the old bore into serious trouble, and then rocked up at Gammon Broadcasting™ News (“Bacon’s News Channel”). Darren Grimes was here to stay!

Or maybe not: the other weekend, The Crafty One was missing from his weekend “Real Britain” show. Then he was missing last weekend, too. He denied that he had been one of those binned in the latest GB News upheavals, but has now deleted his entire Twitter history, including any reference to his alleged employer. What could be going on?

Dazza has promised an update, but it is rapidly becoming an open secret that he has been fired. For what reason? Who knows, and, indeed, who cares? While Grimes prepared to ‘fess up, NewsThump was on the case. “Darren Grimes cancelled by ‘woke’ GB News ‘because I’m a 29-year-old white man’”. The call must be going out to the loathsome Toby Young: FREEZE PEACH!

Or maybe the Free Speech Union won’t be too fussed. Meanwhile, Andrew Quinn was less sympathetic to Grimey: “I rarely celebrate the misery of others but I am making an exception for Darren Grimes. An odious, talentless grifter, who goes out of his way to spread a hateful and divisive narrative. The chickens have come home to roost, Daz”. And he was not alone.

Another Tweeter regarded the news as “Outstanding. Darren Grimes is a horrible little bloke, and this has cheered my Monday morning right up”. Brendan May, meanwhile, asked “Devastating to see Darren Grimes deleting all his tweets and apparently still being in mourning, a week after the mourning period ended except for royals. Perhaps he is mourning his apparent dismissal by GB News?” Bio gone, photo gone, Grimes gone.

Even in its minimal state, Dazza’s Twitter profile provoked adverse comment from David Southwell: “I think Darren Grimes reverting his Twitter bio back to ‘Media personality’ makes two assumptions too far by the crusted sock. I mean, media implies being on it and personality is a lie so big Trading Standards should be involved”. He can shoot his mouth off, though.

Malcolm Wood had a topical Royal take on the news: “I’m not saying we will get an update on Darren Grimes’ future career but [Huw] Edwards is now wearing a dark suit”. Others pointed out that The Crafty One has just taken out a mortgage, which puts him in one of those Very Difficult Positions.

So would Dazza care to give us that update he promised? Not as such, although he did manageIf you want to know who the real bigots, homophobes and sneering snobs are in the world, look no further than those that have me trending on Twitter. Crass innuendo and vulgar remarks but claim to be ‘progressives’. I may be many things, but as low as those people, I ain’t”. Except he’s not trending because of his sexual orientation.

As Andy Parmo put it, “I see The Boy Grimes has resurfaced. He-Corcoran is now bleating that everybody is homophobic and bigoted and nobody likes him, everybody hates him, he’s going down the garden to eat worms …Nobody dislikes Darren Grimes for being gay. He’s disliked for being a complete fucking quilt. He’s the token working class patsy, eaten up and spat out by the right”. Methinks The Crafty One protests too much.

The time of Darren Grimes on GB News was for a time, but not for all time. Just rejoice at that news.

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Saturday 24 September 2022

Why Kwasi Kwarteng IS WRONG

More than 40 years ago, the great economist and commentator J K Galbraith told “David Stockman has said that supply-side economics was merely a cover for the trickle-down approach to economic policy - what an older and less elegant generation called the horse-and-sparrow theory: If you feed the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows”.

Kwasi Kwarteng

And that is the image which should be borne in mind when considering the singularly rash act committed yesterday by Kwasi Kwarteng, who for some reason is now Chancellor of the Exchequer. His so-called Mini Budget sent both share and currency markets into meltdown, in turn highlighting the stupidity of those out there on the right who claimed this must have been a good budget because the Rotten Lefties™ were opposed to it.

Why the reaction came as it did is not hard to understand: Kwarteng has - on our behalf - put another £45 billion on the national credit card, while abolishing the highest 45p income tax rate and cutting the basic rate of that tax. This will disproportionally benefit the well-off. And it gets worse.

Our new Chancellor has, with a straight face, described his actions as a “Growth Plan”. But with those at the bottom of the pile getting nothing from the budget, it will be interesting to see where the growth will come from, other than by a lot of sparrows sifting through a yet larger pile of horseshit. And then another thought enters: does Kwarteng actually know his economics?

I am not joking here. Let’s take this nice and slowly: what he seems to have missed is a very basic understanding of where growth comes from. This can be put directly: if you want to stimulate and thereby grow the economy, you don’t bung the rich a handout while giving the less well-off nothing.

This comes down to what is known as propensity to save versus propensity to spend: if you give someone at the bottom of the pile more money, they will, with the certainty of night following day, spend it. The least well-off always have more items on which they wish to spend than they have money. So they will spend it: what they spend it on may not be to the liking of the moneyed class, but that is not the point. They will generate economic activity.

However, if that money is given to someone who is already wallowing in cash, their propensity is not to spend, but to save it. They may invest it, but not necessarily in the UK. After all, the Tories have run down the country’s infrastructure for the past twelve and a half years, the labour force is restive after one effective pay cut too many, and mainland Europe looks more stable.

Hence the markets’ lack of confidence in the idea that this really was a “Growth Plan”. Unfunded tax cuts just so the rich could put a little more away in another of those offshore accounts? How economically illiterate is that? Small wonder right-leaning commentators were soon accusing those of insufficient faith in Kwarteng’s actions of “the politics of envy”.

But falling share prices and currency values showed that this, too, was no more than sloganeering in the vain hope that it might hold back reality. Kwarteng, meanwhile, had let slip who was behind the great experiment, as he deemed his measures to be “fair”. Ah, “fairness”: the cover word favoured by the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance. Whose former head advise Liz Truss.

In recent years, the TPA has majored in falsehood and misinformation, and also, on occasion, in economic illiteracy. It has not been alone: the whole alphabet soup of Astroturf lobby groups, from IEA to CPS to ASI to PX, has been propagandising incessantly on the basis of occasionally highly questionable data. Also, they claimed to understand the markets.

They plainly didn’t: as Matt Holehouse of the Economist put it, “the gulf in reactions between free market think tanks and the actual market is genuinely fascinating”. The real world saw it, and the real world disapproved mightily. Meanwhile, freed from BBC restraint, Andrew Marr, now at LBC, passed highly adverse comment on Kwarteng’s actions in a post for the Staggers.

The Government is going full throttle for an ideological argument about whether growth at all costs matters more than any residual sense of fairness. Quite why a tax cut for people earning more than £150,000 a year is not inflationary but pro-growth, while higher wages for workers doing essential jobs, who are obliged to spend every penny in their local economies, is inflationary and harms growth, will baffle ordinary people marooned with ordinary ideological intelligences”. Ordinary people who will suffer the most.

It has been rather like Brexit all over again: those who led many to believe that they knew better suddenly go from sitting on the sidelines cat-calling to finding themselves holding the levers of power, going on to show in short order that they don’t know how to operate them - partly because much of their case was built on omission, deception, and occasional flat-out lying.

The Astroturf lobby groups may plead economic purity, but those who can’t afford to turn the heating on - right now, before the next cost increase hits - will be forgiven for not giving a rat’s arse about how pure and rigorous the philosophical underpinning of this chaos happens to be.

Kwarteng doesn’t know what he’s doing. Nor do his advisors. That is all.

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Friday 23 September 2022

Fracking Gets A Kicking

The sheer wilfulness of Liz Truss, who has for some reason been elevated to the status of Prime Minister, and her new cabinet, combined with their slavish adherence to outdated right-wing ideology, has not only meant appointing Jacob Rees Mogg, the member for times long past, as Business Secretary, it has also brought back fracking for shale gas, despite the Tory manifesto.

The platform on which Ms Truss, Rees Mogg and the rest stood for re-election back in 2019 was one where the moratorium on fracking would continue. Rees Mogg has now declared that the moratorium is being lifted, to the applause of those who are providing the ideological underpinning to the Government, but horror from MPs in potentially affected regions.

So it was that The Moggster stood before the Commons yesterday, to claim erroneously that causing earthquakes, damaging property, damaging the environment and impacting on public health was in the national interest. It was not long before he was left in no doubt that this was a campaign likely to develop not necessarily to his advantage. He became unpopular. Rapidly.

This was not helped by his use of personal abuse as a means of covering over his shortcomings, as Adam Bienkov of Byline Times noted: “Asked by the SNP about the cost of his energy plans, Jacob Rees-Mogg replies by paraphrasing P.G Wodehouse, saying it ‘is not too difficult to discern the difference between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine,’ before dismissing the party's ‘general grumpiness’”.

That, the suspicion that Rees Mogg wasn’t up to answering the question with any degree of candour, and The Independence Question, led the SNP’s spokesman in the Commons to respond that there would be no fracking in Scotland. Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford had already made a similar assertion about his own patch. Then it got worse. A lot worse.

He accused those opposed to fracking of Luddism. The Tweeter known as General Boles musedJacob Rees-Mogg (pictured here without a computer on his desk) has just accused someone of Luddism”. Could be dig himself in any deeper? Don’t ask. He then claimed it had been reported that “Some of the opposition to fracking has been funded by Mr Putin's regime”.

Not unlike his claim, also in the Commons, that George Soros has bankrolled the Remain campaign, albeit without the anti-Semitic overtones. But it will, despite audible disgust from his own back benchers, allow the Tories to claim that opposing fracking is somehow insufficiently patriotic.

MPs were told that an increased incidence of earthquakes should be tolerated “in the national interest”, although the areas of England which may be affected will most likely not include that where he lives. But there was still the implicit promise that fracking would only proceed after the consent of those living in the areas affected had been obtained. Until now.

Because that, too, was thrown into question, after Pippa Crerar, now at the Guardian, told her followersLiz Truss considering designating fracking sites as nationally important infrastructure, potentially cutting out local communities and breaking an election promise”. Which looks like fracking would be imposed, whether communities wanted it, or, more likely, not.

Worst of all for Rees Mogg, he was attacked by MPs on his own side of the Commons, some of whom represent so-called Red Wall seats, and where memories of mining and salt subsidence still linger. Damage to buildings, roads and rail lines impacted, with the result that journey times will be longer, and above all, something that hardly ever affected the well-off.

All for the pursuit of ideological purity: like Kwasi Kwarteng’s “Mini Budget” given this morning, it won’t bring the promised growth, the least well-off will suffer the most, and it demonstrates superbly that the Tories are in the grip of economic quack doctors and illiterates. Worse, it makes the UK look more than foolish in the eyes of the wider world. But one growth area is obvious.

Irish passports never looked so attractive. Similarly with residency applications for several mainland European countries. The Tories have been running down much of the country for more than 12 years. They don’t intend to stop any time soon. Tolerating the bureaucracy of Spain or Italy may soon become infinitely more popular than it was when we were in the EU.

Or you can just sit there and watch the rich get richer. While you’re paying.

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Wednesday 21 September 2022

Canterbury Skewers Bozo

Reminding us that whatever the country’s shortcomings, the UK still knows how to do the pageantry, the ceremonial, and then broadcast it in a way few other nations could manage - even the Daily Mail has grudgingly accepted the excellence of the BBC’s contribution - Elizabeth The Second was finally laid to rest at Windsor Castle on Monday afternoon.

Peace be with you ...

And that coverage uncovered some behaviour from our Government that did not look well: Kwasi Kwarteng caught by the cameras laughing, former alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson apparently sulking, and his replacement Liz Truss giving a Bible reading in a manner that showed she is not just monotonous, but indeed Tedious Maximus.

But what will have irked the Tories more than any of that being caught on camera was the sermon delivered by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Justin Welby kept it mercifully short, as Brenda might have wanted, having, as a regular churchgoer, sat through enough of them in her lifetime.

Canterbury dwelt on the lifetime of service the Queen had given to her country, observingPeople of loving service are rare … Leaders of loving service are still rarer …Those who serve will be loved & remembered when those who cling to power & privileges are long forgotten”. OUCH!

That described Bozo to a T, and maybe even his successor. It could also describe a whole host of hangers-on, cheerleaders and other sundry sycophants. So it was no surprise when someone out there on the right decided to claim that Canterbury was talking about someone else, someone who was already established as a hate figure to right-wingers.

So who would get the blame? As if you need to ask: the Murdoch New York Post kicked off with the old “We’re only asking a question” ploy: “Did Archbishop shade Harry and Meghan during Queen’s funeral sermon?” QTWTAIN. But a loose convocation of Megs hatred was already coalescing around this wacko idea, which, given 24 hours or so, will be finding its way to a variety of hosts on Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse).

... but not with you, matey

It got worse: Nana Akua, a host at Gammon Broadcasting™ News (“Bacon’s News Channel”) decided that keeping up with the Murdoch crowd was A Very Good Thing. “The Queen’s funeral was amazing! These words from Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury struck a chord ‘..in all cases those who serve will be loved and remembered when those who cling to power and privileges are long forgotten.’ I wonder who he was talking about? #MeghanMarkIe”. Don’t mention the Tories. Or their US equivalent.

After all, the words would equally fit Combover Crybaby Donald Trump, and indeed many of those sycophants who went along with all the bad behaviour of the Trump presidency, which has since led to prosecutions, and even an FBI raid on Trump’s Florida retreat. One Tweeter concluded that Bozo’s wife Carrie heard Canterbury’s remarks and appeared to tell him “he means you”.

The comments could also include Bozo’s replacement Liz Truss, who gave a characteristically wooden and unconvincing bible reading at the funeral service. Why so? Well, as one onlooker observed, “Liz Truss’s chief-of-staff, Mark Fullbrook, fails to travel to New York with the new PM after it emerged he is subject in an FBI probe of alleged bribery, corruption and subversion of democracy in the US”. Thus, as they say, avoiding a nasty fracas.

Trying to deflect from the obvious target onto a target the right-wing media class would like it to be about is, sadly, all too predictable. As one Tweeter put it before the creative reinterpretation began, “Meghan Markle condemned after Queen’s funeral for reason British press have not yet decided”.

Now, some of them have decided. But it wasn’t about her. It was about Bozo.

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Sunday 18 September 2022

Sideshow Birb And The Racist Right

Those who look in regularly on Zelo Street will be all too familiar with the country’s allegedly strictest headteacher (or so she claims), Katharine Birbalsingh, most recently over her misattribution of a quotation to Winshton, along with a very public mardy strop when she was called out for it. Now she is in the news once more, and once more it’s for all the wrong reasons.

Katharine Birbalsingh

Ms Birbalsingh admitted to having read Living Marxism, of genocide denial infamy, in her student days, and so it should have surprised no-one when she recently gave an interview to Spiked, so called because it should have been long ago. Thus she confirmed her apparent crossing of the political floor to line up with those firmly, but deniably, out there on the right.

So her latest excursion into controversy should have surprised no-one: Tweeting out two photos of her with her free school’s latest guest, she added proudlyLook who is at Michaela today!” And who was at Michaela that day? The other presence in the photos was that of Jordan Peterson. Allowing him into her school soon attracted a great deal of severely adverse comment.

Sophia Jetta pointed out to her that “there are so many genuinely admirable people you could have invited but you went for the bloke who likes to deny racism exists and who thinks white privilege isn't real”. Ms Birbalsingh went on the defensive. “I tweeted two photos of Jordan Peterson visiting Michaela and someone reported me to the police for hate crime and various others have demanded Ofsted inspect us immediately. The world has gone mad”.

The Tweeter known as Buddy Hell was unimpressed. “He's a racist and a eugenics enthusiast. Exposing children to someone as toxic as Peterson is tantamount to child abuse”. Another Tweeter addedYou invited a racist with a drug habit and thought this was fine. Don't start crying now. You should have done a CRB check before letting him anywhere near kids”.

Come on Kath! “Lots of people on here who think Jordan Peterson is a threat to kids. In a dining hall with loads of teachers! What’s he going to do?? Most of us in the school are brown and black. He was v polite and respectful. It is on Twitter where the insults come”. So he was polite and respectful. That does not adequately answer any of the points already made.

And it’s not difficult to find out where Peterson is coming from, as the Tweeter known as Snig’s Kitchen pointed out: “Jordan Peterson is trending. Here he is talking to Stefan Molyneux about intelligence and race. Stop justifying this man: he's clearly a racist”. Then came his views on women, and feminism.

Jordan Peterson

Views likeFeminists support the rights of Muslims because of their ‘unconscious wish for brutal male domination’”, and “The idea that women were oppressed throughout history is an appalling theory”. Who would she now quote in her defence? What would any head teacher have done? What would a sensible person have done? What would Nietzsche have done?

Sadly, the best Ms Birbalsingh could manage was “Father” Calvin Robertson, who has been ordained into the Free Church of England (not the C of E), and is therefore now a man of God, although he is still a regular on Gammon Broadcasting™ News (“Bacon’s News Channel”). “Such targeted hatred. The woke Left seem to think he’s the devil” was Calv’s best shot, although there was no hatred.

Also, he has no idea what Woke means (no surprise there, then). But he did spur Ms Birbalsingh on to greater heights. “The reaction to my tweet of Jordan Peterson’s visit to Michaela is horrifying … We ought to believe in freedom of thought”. But freedom of thought is not the issue.

It is giving a platform to, and thereby legitimising in the eyes of the children in her school, an infamous bigot (and climate change denier). So he was polite to those he met there? So what? Inviting a known racist, then being appallingly defensive, with over the top responses likeHaving Jordan Peterson eat lunch with the kids is not a safeguarding issue. But why do they do this? Because they know that screaming ‘safeguarding’ shuts a school down. And shutting Michaela down is their goal”, is not a wise move.

But there is a plus point for Ms Birbalsingh here: she can now run back to the people at Spiked, who will willingly give her a platform to tell the world how the Lefty-Liberal Woke Elite tried to Cancel her and her school. Or it may be the increasingly alt-right Spectator that comes calling.

And so she continues to be a darling of the right. No change there, then.

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Saturday 17 September 2022

Mourning - A Deflection From Reality

Royalty, so the right leaning part of our free and fearless press likes to remind any member of the Royal family who passes adverse comment on the shortcomings of the Government that press supports, should not involve itself in politics. That, though, does not stop the same part of that media class involving the same Royals in politics, as cover for harsh reality.

This involvement may not peak until the late Queen’s funeral next Monday, and the following day’s front pages, but today’s closing of the ranks to put little more than yet another image from Westminster Hall - albeit this time featuring The King, and his siblings, taking their turn to guard Brenda’s casket - is sufficient proof of the determination to shut out the outside world.

Pageantry. Royalty. Ceremonial. Uniforms. Lifetimes of Service and Devotion. Flags waving. Bells tolling. Guns firing. For the likes of former Murdoch editor Andrew Neil, in yet another turgid diatribe for the Mail, “This week proved Britain ISN'T the declining power the liberal elite portrays us as”. Deflection, this time by inventing a mythical “liberal elite” which is doing down Britain.

But there is no need for anyone to do down Britain, and well Neil and his media pals know it. For them - Neil lives in the south of France - the world may be excellent: not for most in the UK, though. And that reality is where the Royal mourning provides such good cover: with the distraction of this new momentary interest, enough people can be persuaded that all is well.

There is no need to “do down the country”. All that is needed, to confirm that the UK is in decline, is to allow reality to get a look in, to show for a moment what is really happening outside Westminster. Shining a light on that world, the world inhabited by the vast majority of the population, has been John Burn Murdoch at the FT. And his conclusions make for sobering reading.

In 2007, the average UK household was 8 per cent worse off than its peers in north-western Europe, but the deficit has since ballooned to a record 20 per cent. On present trends, the average Slovenian household will be better off than its British counterpart by 2024, and the average Polish family will move ahead by the end of the decade. A country in desperate need of migrant labour may soon have to ask new arrivals to take a pay cut”.

On the basis of that data, those new arrivals may not want to come here. The Tories’ attempts to appease the not really racist right, honestly, by trying to stop asylum seekers coming here may have to be matched by a willingness to allow many of them to remain here, and get them into the labour market.

Current Tory priorities will not help alleviate the decline: new Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng is set to scrap the cap on bankers’ bonuses. In this, he has been applauded by all those right-leaning Astroturf lobby groups who cling to the highly orthodox economics of a time before Keynes, and indeed perhaps before Alfred Marshall. And thus the problem.

Giving the already well-off more money will not kickstart an increase in economic activity: the rich have a high propensity to save, and so much of the money thus gifted will go into savings, will remain unspent. Had extra money gone to the less well-off, with their high propensity to spend, little or none of it would be saved. It would be spent, thus increasing that economic activity.

What the less well-off spend that money on may not be to the liking of the media class; that is not the point. The money gets spent, businesses thrive on the back of that. Their owners, staff, suppliers and others who depend on them benefit in turn, creating that virtuous circle which brings growth, an increase in tax revenues, and thus better public services and infrastructure.

Instead, the Truss gang is set to hobble the economy, and our free and fearless press cannot provide cover for such misguided economic policy for ever. Nor will the wider world accept this state of affairs without visiting the consequences of the Tories’ ineptitude upon them.

As Stephen Flynn, who represents Aberdeen South for the SNP, put it, “Five days in broken Britain … Mon: UK trade deficit is worst on record … Tue: Rich to get twice as much cost-of-living support as poor … Wed: Food inflation at highest level in 14 years … Thu: Plan to scrap cap on banker bonuses … Fri: Pound falls to 37 year low against Dollar”.

And John Burn Murdoch at the FT concluded thus: “income inequality in US & UK is so wide that while the richest are very well off, the poorest have a worse standard of living than the poorest in countries like Slovenia … Essentially, US & UK are poor societies with some very rich people”.

Slovenia was part of communist Yugoslavia until proclaiming its independence in 1991. Poland was a totalitarian satellite state of the former USSR before 1989. Heck, even Ireland was noticeably poorer than the UK in the 1980s and 1990s. Now it is we who are poorer than Ireland.

Still, there’s always the ceremonial. We’re good at that. Mustn’t grumble.

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Friday 16 September 2022

New York Times, And Intolerance

O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us; To see oursels as ithers see us!

Robert Burns might have wished to acquire the power to see himself as others saw him, but for many in the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press, being able to see what the rest of the world sees when they look towards the UK is streng verboten. It is another example of their asymmetric relationship with that world: they are fine to see other countries and put them to rights, but woe betide anyone who even mildly criticises We British.

Which brings us to the New York Times, one of the last bastions of truly independent liberal journalism, which has had the audacity not only to publish a wide range of views, while keeping news and comment separate from one another, but has also touched on the cost of the British monarchy.

The article that caused the pearl-clutching outburst was Tweeted out with the commentQueen Elizabeth II’s funeral, which will involve elaborate processions, vigils and rituals, will be paid for by British taxpayers as they deal with soaring energy prices and high inflation. The British government has not yet said how much it will cost”. Factual statements - dontcha hate them?!?

Typical of the knee-jerk frothing was LBC host Iain Dale, who respondedOh do shut. The. Actual. Fuck. Up. The [New York Times] hates this country for reasons best known to itself. Countless articles full of errors and bile [no citation]. A once great newspaper has rendered itself a joke. Did something dark happen to the editor in London or something?” There was more.

Alastair Stewart (he’s got an OBE, dontcha know?) went off the deep end in no style at all: “It is worth remembering that the [New York Times] is not worthy of chip & chip duty; even when the toilet tissue runs out, it has little or no purpose”. Arabin Patson reminded himThe New York Times has 132 Pulitzer Prizes and has been a newspaper [of] record for over a century. GB News has lower production quality than a Youtube make-up tutorial channel”.

Meanwhile, Mike Graham, of Murdoch noise floor occupant TalkTV, sneeredThe [New York Times] was never much good at European news - now it is positively toxic and anti-British. Shame on a once decent media business”. A Murdoch droid slags off something Murdoch hates. Film at 11.

What a coincidence. But not taking the biscuit quite as much as Doug Murray The K, who rantedThe New York Times is on a 'jihad' against the UK and Queen Elizabeth”. And he said it in the New York Post. A Murdoch property.

Anyone go one better? The Mail could: “New York Times readers threaten to CANCEL subscriptions after it published latest hit-job on Queen days after her death”. It wasn’t a hit job on the Queen, and they found one Twitter user who claimed to be a subscriber. Then came the Spectator.

The increasingly alt-right rag moanedThat the New York Times has a near-pathological loathing for Britain is nothing new at this point; but it seems that the motivating factor for the ‘Gray Lady’s' Anglophobia has switched in recent days to the passing of our beloved monarch”. Thank you Tedious Maximus.

But that was mild compared to the word salad puked up by Nile “Chauncey” Gardiner. “The sneering attacks on Britain and the Monarchy from The New York Times and America's hate-filled woke Left are tedious, nasty and unpleasant. They may appeal to a small audience of elite Socialists, but the vast majority of Americans, who love the Queen, will not be impressed”. They’ll be giving him a regular column at Spiked if he carries on like that.

Looking on from outside the media bubble, Matt Carr observedWherever I look on Twitter I see rightwing ‘journalists’ who have built their careers on smears, lies and disinformation ranting that the New York Times isn’t a serious newspaper because it hasn’t joined in our patriotic self-love fest. Shameless doesn’t begin to describe them”. Also, the NYT has not been forgiven for rekindling investigation of the phone hacking scandal.

One Tweeter, responding to former Murdoch editor Andrew Neil, who had also whined at the NYT, reminded himThe royals, who aren't paying for the funeral, are billionaires who don't have to pay inheritance tax. Many of their 'subjects', who will be paying for it, are hungry and will go cold this winter. NY Times highlighted this fact, but I realise that you'd rather they didn’t”.

Whatever happened to all that championing of free speech? That campaign against cancel culture? The talk of grown up debate and dispensing with the name calling? All blown away by the explosion of asymmetric righteousness. We can slag off the forrins, but they aren’t allowed to say boo about us. We’re British, dontcha know, and we’re better than everyone else, so there.

All those hacks and pundits saw how Britain looks to outsiders, and lost their collective shit as a result. But they can all score even more dosh telling others that anyone who calls us out is wrong and useless. So that’s all right, then.

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Thursday 15 September 2022

Holding Hands Brings Out The Racists

Much of it had plausible deniability, but the intent was all too clear: even before Haz and Megs announced their engagement, the racism was in full flow, an early example being the Mail’s headlineHarry's girl is (almost) straight outta Compton: Gang-scarred home of her mother revealed”, which also revealed a poor grasp of grammar: you don’t capitalise after a colon.

One hes nigh shuffled orf

There was rather a lot more: the Mail also told readersthe Windsors will thicken their watery, thin blue blood and Spencer pale skin and ginger hair with some rich and exotic DNA”. Straight-up racism, from Rachel Johnson, yes, SisterBozza herself. Then we got Sarah “Vain” Vine who had a NIGG-ling worry about the relationship. Camilla Tominey at the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph even linked Megs to ISIS.

But, we were told in sombre and supposedly authoritative tones, and by rather a lot of those in and around our free and fearless press who should have known better, there wasn’t any racism, honestly. All the time, though, the coded bigotry was seeping into enough of the population to convince them that Megs was, somehow, A Very Bad Person Indeed.

And that helps to drive the irrational hatred which feeds on every last wacko conspiracy theory - such as the idea that the Duchess of Sussex was somehow wired up, recording, filming. One Tweet claiming she was so doing was Retweeted by moaning and bitter Royal “biographer” Angela Levin, whose prejudice fell on deaf ears when Vanessa Feltz, of all people, called out the potential difference between her opinion and verifiable reality.

So by the time the late Queen’s casket went in procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall yesterday afternoon, it was not going to take much to set the bigots off, and so it came to pass. As the Royals filed out, having variously bowed, curtsied or saluted Brenda’s coffin, Haz and Megs could be seen holding hands. Bigots gonna bigot, so the frothing began.

The Sussex frauds holding hands again! Have they no sense of common decency? … And H&M have walked out holding hands. Is it just me or is that disrespectful? … I am furious they couldn’t show some decorum for 5 mins … The smirk. She couldn't care less. Even holding hands again walking out. No class. Even now disrespecting #QueenElizabeth, traditions and protocol”.

And what protocol would that be? It did not take long for this drivel to be called out, because not far behind the Sussexes as the Royals filed out of Westminster Hall were Zara and Mike Tindall, who were also, er, holding hands. This was even recorded by the Mail. What were the frothers and haters to do? Could they argue in their spare time? Sadly, they could.

It was, and as Theresa May once said, I am not making this up (OK in her case, she was making it up), OK for the Tindalls because they were not titled! Er, WHAT? That’s right, the excuse was that they didn’t have a Royal title. But Princess Beatrice has a Royal title, and she and her partner held hands at Prince Philip’s funeral last year. Which disposes of that lame excuse.

Time and again, those displaying an irrational hatred of the Sussexes tell the world that it’s not racism. And every time, it is racism. Two white couples are allowed to hold hands without righteous condemnation raining down on them; one couple where one partner is not white is not. It’s as racist as the “Exotic DNA”, “(Almost) Straight outta Compton”, and that NIGG-ling worry.

It’s time for the mighty white hacks, pundits and broadcast hosts to lay off whipping up the mob. And it’s equally time for those forming that mob to give their collective heads a shake. You’re being played. And it’s embarrassing.

Don’t be the dog that obeys the racist whistle. That is all.

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Wednesday 14 September 2022

Rich Hack Thrift Sermon Fails

Commenting on the dynamic of politics, the obscenely overpaid “names” among the ranks of our free and fearless press, those hacks and pundits and other clever people who talk loudly in restaurants are on reasonably solid ground. The problem comes when they have to try and relate to the anxieties of the 90% plus, for whom the world is less than excellent, and getting worse.

Alice Thomson

So it has been for one Alice Thomson of the Murdoch Times, whose brutal verdict on the shortcomings of former alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson was on the mark, but who has more recently failed to understand what life is like outside the bubble. The signs were not good at the end of last month when she talked about making ends meet.

‘Hustling’ will define hoe we live in future” read the headline, sparking brief memories of the BBC series about a group of con artists. Maybe she’s talking about grifting? Maybe not: “hustling may just be the future - jiggling careers, making a bit of money on the side in the gig economy, finding ways of being entrepreneurial, selling old stuff on eBay, renting out rooms, hiring out your car or bike to neighbours, pooling resources and haggling”. Hmmm.

Mic Wright was less than impressed with Ms Thomson’s schtick, noting “it mentions Andrew Tate’s ‘Hustler’s University’ without explicitly calling it what it is - a pyramid scheme”. So it should have come as no surprise when the same author gave her making-ends-meet ideas a Royal dimension.

The Queen’s 1950s frugality is key to our future … As the cost of living crisis bites, we’ll need to learn the satisfaction of thrift and recycling over endless consumer binges” is the suitably patronising headline, suggesting that some in the Baby Shard bunker may not understand that many of the hard-working people they pretend to champion are doing all of that already.

But do go on. “The Royal Yacht Britannia could never be called a superyacht, with its Formica surfaces, Teasmade and narrow single beds covered with thin blankets for the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. There were no gold taps or submarines, just wicker baskets for the corgis, but the Queen said it was the one place where she could ‘truly relax’”. Ri-i-i-i-ght.

Chevithorne Barton

How can I put this? How would Billy Connolly have put it? “There’s going tae be some swearing … FUCK OFF!” There was scepticism from a range of voices, with James Doleman musingNothing says ‘frugal,’ quite like not having gold taps on your personal yacht”. Ash Sarkar enlarged on that one with “If you're struggling to keep up with the rising cost of everything, have you considered taking a leaf out of the late Queen's book and insisting your yacht come without gold taps?” How could Ms Thomson be so out of touch?

That question was answered by Louise Raw, who you can tell as she’s a doctor. Posting a photo of a bijou petite maison in the West of England, she addedJust for context, Alice Thomson lives in this late-Elizabethan Manor House, Chevithorne Barton, with 350 acre grounds … I’m sure we all appreciate her advice on ‘thrift and frugality’ IMMENSELY”.

During the run-up to the 2017 General Election, the right-leaning part of the press had their Oh What A Giveaway moment when they sneered at Labour’s proposal for higher taxes on those earning over £85,000 a year, asserting that such a sum did not put one in the top 5% of earners. The problem for that claim was that it did put them in the top 5%. And they had just admitted that many of them were indeed trousering wads of that size, and more.

More than five years later, the lesson has still not been learned. Sad, really.

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Tuesday 13 September 2022

Liz Truss And Energy Bills

While the period of official mourning for the passing of Elizabeth The Second last week continues, and the dubious convocation of self-promotion merchants, headed by former Screws and Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan, and the singularly repellent Dan Wootton, as well as many others who claim inside knowledge of The Firm, continues to pontificate while in reality making it about Themselves Personally Now, life outside the bubble goes on.

And what our free and fearless press may not have figured out yet, with the calendar flicking over into mid-September, is that temperatures have begun their long Autumn decline. Nights are forecast to get significantly cooler; daylight hours shorter. All of which adds up to an increasing demand for gas and electricity. Which, whisper it quietly, is increasing significantly in price.

So Ms Truss told the Commons last Thursday “This Government is moving immediately to introduce a new Energy Price Guarantee that will give people certainty on energy bills [and] means that from 1st October a typical household will pay no more than £2,500 per year for each of the next two years … This will save a typical household £1,000 a year”.

However, “I can tell the House today that we will not be giving in to calls for this to be funded through a windfall tax”. So what kind of measures was she considering? “We will end the moratorium on extracting our huge reserves of shale, which could get gas flowing in as soon as six months, where there is local support”. Fracking. In six months. That’s cloud cuckoo land.

It rapidly got worse: as media outlets became less distracted by the run-up to the late Queen’s funeral next Monday, so some of them began to examine the Truss proposals. And even the BBC had to conclude that the measures announced would disproportionately benefit the better-off.

Their report has toldRich households will receive twice as much support aimed at reducing the cost of living than poorer households next year, a think tank has claimed … The Resolution Foundation said if the government cuts National Insurance and limits energy bill rises, richer homes will get £4,700 in 2023, compared to £2,200 for the poorest”. There was more.

A typical household energy bill will be limited to £2,500 annually until 2024. The think tank said ‘details and costings’ were missing from the plan. The huge support scheme could cost up to £150bn, but Prime Minister Liz Truss has refused to put a figure on it … The Department for Business could not offer a comment when contacted by the BBC”. National mourning, y’know.

And yet more. “Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) recently described the support package as ‘very poorly targeted … Finding a way of targeting [support] to the many, many millions who really need it, without giving it to the many, many millions who don't, appears to be something that has stumped the Treasury and the government’”. Oh dear!

The Guardian, meanwhile, was telling what the BBC had not: the Resolution Foundation “warned that Truss’s plan to avoid a fresh windfall tax on energy producers would mean heaping the cost on taxpayers, with as little as £1 in every £12 spent on energy support for households recouped directly from higher taxes on energy firm”. No windfall tax means we’re paying.

Ms Truss’ choice of advisors, and thereby policies, may, once Brenda is interred at St George’s Chapel and Royal coverage gives way to the more mundane business of that cost of living crisis, have handed the Labour Party en electoral advantage they should seize and not let go. Labour, the Lib Dems and Greens want someone else to pay. The Tories don’t.

The New Conservatism was good at campaigning. It’s rubbish at governing.

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Sunday 11 September 2022

The Press, Royal “Feuds”, And Lying

When Elizabeth The Second passed away last Thursday afternoon, those in and around the right-leaning, authoritarian and judgmental part of our free and fearless press might not have realised that the train of events that death would set in motion would lead to them being conclusively exposed to the whole world not as journalists, but as propagandist liars and frauds.

The meeting that the press told you would never happen

Even before the fateful moment yesterday afternoon in Windsor, the bloated egos that fuel the right-wing hate machine that is Gammon Broadcasting™ News (“Bacon’s News Channel”) let slip that it was not about the Royals, but the promotion of Themselves Personally Now, as both former Brexit Party Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, and the singularly repellent Dan Wootton, released videos of each laying his floral tribute to the late monarch.

Anyone who had been taken in by these charlatans should have already stopped and thought, but maybe they didn’t see the vid. But there was no avoiding the live TV pictures from The Long Walk. There had, the press had told us, been an irretrievable breakdown in the relationship between King Charles’ two sons. They were staying close together, but were not in touch.

It was, let us not drive this around the houses for too long, part of the campaign waged by the Mail titles, under the less than benign guidance of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre - and, to their shame, followed by rather too many other titles - against the Duchess of Sussex. The Vagina Monologue and his sycophants had one mission: to break her.

To that end, as Edwin Hayward noted yesterday, “The Daily Mail's industrial levels of hate-mongering aimed at Meghan Markle barely slowed as the nation mourned. Run your eye down these 15 headlines from the last 48 hours, then consider they only ran one negative piece about Prince Andrew … It's a sickness. A deep sickness”. It was also a deeply dishonest one.

Because, as the crowds in Windsor waited on the off-chance of seeing Royalty, the barriers were arranged, two Range Rovers advanced along The Long Walk, stopped short of the gates and out stepped not just the newly-titled Prince and Princess of Wales, but also Haz and Megs. Side by side. What was that about a relationship that had irretrievably broken down?

And what was that about hating on the Sussexes? The crowds emitted no booing, no-one did other than smile, and one teenager asked Megs for a hug because she wanted her to know that she “was welcome here”. The press had made all manner of claims about her. They were mainly untrue.

Who says I'm a f***ing busted flush, c***?!?!?

As the BBC Tweeted out a video clip of the quartet, Andrew Munro musedThe toxic UK media is now in a panic to rewrite their hateful headlines and articles for tomorrow's papers. In unrelated news, Saran Vain [sic] is responding well to smelling salts”. One wonders if she is still getting a NIGG-ling feeling about Megs. Desperate Dan Wootton U-Turned in no style at all by suggesting that the Sussexes were merely following his advice.

More believable was the sentiment from Alex Beresford, whose calling out of former Screws and Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan caused the latter to throw the mother of all mardy strops and storm off the Good Morning Britain set. He simply addedI know I needed to see this”. So did everyone else. They could then see who had spent the recent past lying to them.

And the reason for that lying is a very straightforward one: the Sussexes have taken legal action against both the Murdoch and Rothermere press. Add to that the lack of access they give that press, and other titles, when the assumption is always that anyone Royal, even tangentially so, is theirs to plaster all over front pages and drive sales, and that drives the smears.

If Haz and Megs called off the lawsuits, made nice to the Dacre doggies, and gave them some access, all of this would stop. Snap. The rest of the press would fall into line. But because they will not play the game, the Vagina Monologue and his minions churn out hatred in their obsessive demand that their targets bend to the press’ will. Tom Watson was right. It’s like the mafia.

Except now you can see how much of what is churned out in pursuit of that hate campaign is true. And the answer is, very little. No change there, then.

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