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Tuesday 28 February 2023

Rees Mogg - Right Royal Hypocrite

While disgraced and now former alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson could only look on from the sidelines, Rishi Sunak appeared to have done the unthinkable: amended the Northern Ireland Protocol for the better, seen off any backbench rebellion, and even got the DUP to consider his deal, rather than dismissing it immediately. But some were not happy.

Because European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had not only had talks with Sunak, she had then gone on to Windsor Castle to take tea with The King. The Mail was not best pleased, asking “Could this meeting be a moment the King comes to regret?” QTWTAIN take 94. It’s all part of the UK now being pals with the EU, rather than the antagonism of the past.

But it was not just the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker who had their noses put out of joint by the Ursula and Brian Show. Jacob Rees Mogg, the member for times long past, sniffed “It is surprising that the King will meet Ursula von der Leyen today, as it antagonises the people the PM needs to conciliate. It is also constitutionally unwise to involve the King in a matter of immediate political controversy”. Sound that hypocrisy siren!

Either Rees Mogg has a very short memory, or thinks the rest of the world has forgotten his part in involving the monarch in, to use his happy phrase, “immediate political controversy”. His problem is that the rest of the world remembers all too well his part in the 2019 prorogation scandal.

Bozo, then in charge of a Government that could not even win its votes in Parliament, and responding by stripping several of his own MPs of the whip and then having them expelled from the Tory party, secured a suspiciously long prorogation of that Parliament. He achieved this by getting the Queen to agree to it. Rees Mogg was his messenger to Brenda.

In late August 2019, Bozo had sought legal advice on proroguing Parliament from his then Attorney General, Geoffrey Cox. Then, as the Wiki account tells, “On 28 August, Jacob Rees-Mogg, in the role of Lord President of the Council, convened a small Privy Council meeting with Mark Spencer as Chief Whip, Baroness Evans of Bowes Park as Leader of the House of Lords and the Queen whilst she was in residence at Balmoral Castle”.

Brenda consented to the prorogation, lasting from early September until the State Opening of Parliament on the 14th of October. The move sparked outrage, with then Commons Speaker John Bercow calling the move a "constitutional outrage" designed to "stop MPs debating Brexit”.

The prorogation eventually ended up before the Supreme Court, which had to consider whether the matter was justiciable, and if so, whether what Bozo and his pals had done was lawful. The Court concluded that the matter was indeed justiciable, and further, that it was unlawful. Therefore, the prorogation was null and of no effect. The advice to the Queen from Johnson was concluded to have been “outside the powers of the Prime Minister”.

Bozo, it seems, tried to run down the clock and force a No Deal Brexit upon the UK, even though he had lost his majority as early as the second day of his premiership. His advice to the Queen had been conveyed by his willing messenger - Jacob Rees Mogg. “Immediate political controversy”, eh?

Rees Mogg is a shameless hypocrite. But you knew that already.

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Sunday 26 February 2023

Mark François Prepares To Shaft Himself

With commendably bad timing, on the eve of Rishi Sunak announcing that he has “got Brexit finished”, and has secured amendments to the Northern Ireland Protocol from the EU, up has popped Mark François (note cedilla under the c), head of the Tory ERG, to tell anyone prepared to listen that he and the DUP are most likely not going to agree to it.

This should come as no surprise at all to Zelo Street regulars: I warned only last weekend that Sunak could not do the deal and hold his fractious party together at the same time. François, in an interview with Sophy Ridge on Sky News, has all but confirmed that warning. Here’s what he had to say about the deal, with my fisking added to show where he diverges from reality.

They [the DUP] made very plain that they would not sign up to anything until they’ve read the legal text [and] we’re in the same position. What MP worth their salt would vote for something without having read it? [Er, you did] So unless that legal text, when we see it, expunges EU law from Northern Ireland [it won’t, and it can’t], I think it’s very unlikely that the DUP will support it”.

Do go on. “In which case the whole process won’t work [why not? The DUP refused to back the Belfast Accords, and they worked]”. Ms Ridge put it to him that the ECJ would have less of a role, with trade being made easier. “Less of a role is not enough. Just putting a couple of intermediate phases in, in a situation where you still end up with the ECJ, is effectively sophistry”.

It’s what you’ll have to accept. Oh, hang on, he’s not finished. “I mean, we’re not stupid”. You don’t say? Then riddle me this: unless you have a hard border on the island of Ireland, you have to accept some EU law, and some role for the ECJ, because the ultimate arbiter of EU law is the ECJ. And a hard border is an unacceptable price to pay for François’ ERG purity test.

Also, he is stymied by the inconvenient fact that he voted for the Brexit deal presented to Parliament by disgraced and now former alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. The Northern Ireland Protocol, which was part of that deal, is what allows some EU law to prevail in Northern Ireland. Did he not read the agreement? Is he not worth his salt?

Worse, Sam Coates pointed outI’m very struck by ERG Mark Francois to [Sophy Ridge] seizing on James Cleverly saying government will not sign off on NI deal unless they’ve addressed DUP concerns. That’s NOT the government line. They’re pressing ahead without likely agreement … Why did For Sec say this”. Sunak is, ultimately, going to call the ERG’s bluff.

And if Mark François (note cedilla under the c) is the best that the ERG can pony up for the Sunday media round, it very much looks as if Sunak won’t be seriously troubled by the flat earth brigade. The DUP will say NO, slowly, loudly and deliberately whatever happens. But a majority of Northern Irish MLAs backs the Protocol, and will almost certainly back this deal.

So Sunak will already have replacements lined up for ministers who are reported to be on “resignation watch”, such as Steve Baker, recipient of the YBF Golden Dolphin, and Suella Braverman, about whose departure few will care. The only regret will be that it had not happened a lot earlier. François will be harming the career of only one person - that would be himself.

He could stop and think, then read what today’s Observer has told: “Key pro-Brexit Tory MPs suggested on Saturday night they would be prepared to back Rishi Sunak over any ‘sensible’ deal on the Northern Ireland protocol … They said the number of Tories who might vote against the deal, which could be announced to parliament as early as Monday, was likely to be limited to between 20 and 40 hardcore anti-EU MPs”. A split, but manageable.

Labour won’t back the hardliners, and the DUP will be left to continue their impotent ranting. Sunak will get a boost, however temporary, in the opinion polls, and Bozo will be further diminished. The ERG is becoming an irrelevance, just another embarrassing waste of taxpayer funds.

Mark François was for a time, but not for all time. Just rejoice at that news.

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Saturday 25 February 2023

Bozo For Nato - That’s A No-No

Superbly illustrating not only its ability to play Ron Hopeful, but also the incestuous nature of the UK’s right-wing media outlets, the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph told readers in late January that disgraced former alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson was in line to become chairman of the Tory Party, honestly.

Speaking to Camilla Tominey, The Telegraph’s associate editor, on her GB News politics programme, [Jacob] Rees-Mogg said that it had been a ‘mistake’ to remove Mr Johnson from Downing Street in September. ‘He has all the right attributes for a party chairman… He is charismatic, he rallies the troops,’ Mr Rees-Mogg said. ‘He's a sort of fully loaded Conservative. So I think that type of personality would be a very good one for a party chairman’”.

Unfortunate use of the word “loaded” there. And, to no surprise, it didn’t happen: Greg Hands was chosen instead. It was only the latest in a long line of Tel promotion pieces, following on from the equally ridiculous claim from Christopher “No” Hope last July that Bozo was tipped to lead NATO.

Except that Bozo has taken this non-starter on board, to the extent that he has been prepared to tell the world that he is a candidate to succeed Jens Stoltenberg when the latter steps down later this year. To this end, Johnson told an interviewer from Ukraine the news that no-one with brain plugged in and a hole in their jacksy wants to hear. He was a serious candidate.

Heading NATO? That's a great idea. You know, it is a very good idea. I want to emphasise, dear friends, that I have this idea, and let no one forget that there is a candidate [for NATO Secretary General] on the line. This time, I think I will be lucky”. But, it was put to him, former Italian PM Mario Draghi had said that someone from an EU member state should get the job.

I completely disagree with him. I think there are other candidates outside the European Union. It doesn't have to be the EU. I certainly consider myself a candidate. It is a good and important position … And we see quite clearly that Ukrainian membership is a prospect. It has to happen … Putin has debunked all the arguments against Ukraine's accession to NATO. Now they are gone”.

But this time, the Tel, and indeed the rest of our free and fearless press, are keeping schtum about the idea. They have good reason to be so. Because, whatever Bozo may think about his chances, his ability to talk well, but lie badly, would disqualify him. And that would be before the questions over whether he was a security risk, or even a potential Russian asset.

It was back in 2019 that former BBC Panorama man John Sweeney told us about what he called the “Russian Mountain” in Umbria. The south side of that mountain, he observed, was owned by Evgeny Lebedev. “That’s his beautiful Palazzo, Palazzo Terra Nova, and a regular guest … Boris Johnson, first as London Mayor, then as Foreign Secretary”. There was more.

So, Boris goes to Bunga Bunga parties in Italy. Who gives a damn? I don’t. But, and here’s the rub, MI6 did. What concerned them was not what Boris was doing, but where he was doing it - the Russian Mountain. I have two sources who have told me that MI6 was worried that Boris Johnson, when he was Foreign Secretary, was a security risk”. And more.

And there’s another thing. On at least one occasion that we know about when Boris Johnson came to Italy, he left his Metropolitan Police protection team back in England … This story has been reported by the BBC and the Sunday Times this summer. The newspaper even quoted a cabinet minister, saying that Boris Johnson, because of his private life, was open to blackmail.”

Do go on. “Then Boris Johnson becomes Prime Minister, and silence falls”. Since then, Lebedev has been ennobled - by Bozo. His father Alexander was an officer in the KGB. Except, as the saying goes, there is no such thing as a former KGB officer. What did Bozo let slip at those parties? Do the Lebedevs, and therefore Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, have Kompromat on him?

Every NATO member state has a veto on the appointment of a Secretary General, the opportunity to slip the black ball into the bag, rather than the white one. If Bozo were to push his luck and really try and go for the job, he might find rather a lot of black balls had been pitched against him.

How will his press pals report that onset of reality? Get the popcorn in.

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Friday 24 February 2023

Sorry We Have No Turnips

Among those Brexit benefits which the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press missed is a shortage of fruit and vegetables, which may last until, well, May. As the BBC has reported, home grown produce will not immediately save the day: “The Lea Valley Growers Association said major UK growers were delaying planting some crops due to high energy costs”.

I'm sorry I haven't a clue

Do go on. “Major UK supermarkets have been placing limits on fruit and vegetable sales after shortages … The government and industry have blamed bad weather in Spain and North Africa for the squeeze”. Except that supermarkets in France, Spain and Portugal are not suffering shortages.

But back to the Lea Valley Growers Association. “Growers there produce around three-quarters of the UK cucumber and pepper crops, and a lot of aubergines and tomatoes … the situation is being made worse by UK producers delaying planting crops this season … They have been put off by high energy costs for greenhouses, and low prices offered by supermarkets for their produce”. So what is our Government doing about this problem?

Environment Secretary Therese Coffey said on Thursday that shortages could last for a month, but UK growers think it could be for longer”. Like two and a half months. Also, the LVGA reckons “As Spanish and Moroccan produce starts increasing again, growers in those countries are more likely to sell to buyers closer to home”. Less hassle. Better prices.

So fruit and veg is going to cost more - make that even more - on top of all the price rises that have already been passed on to consumers. The Beeb has also noted that their “Basket of 15 food items” has increased in price by 34% over the past two years, with pasta products seeing a 90% rise. So over to Ms Coffey. Would she care to offer some words of reassurance?

The BBC suggested not: “Environment Secretary Therese Coffey has suggested turnips could be a suitable alternative while other vegetables remain in short supply … Ms Coffey told MPs British consumers should ‘cherish’ home-grown produce”. She also suggested that consumers should consider working more hours or looking for better paid jobs.

Not at a supermarket near you, sorry

Any criticism from Rishi Sunak? “Downing Street insisted Ms Coffey had simply been ‘setting out the importance of celebrating the produce that we grow here in the UK … We don't believe it's for us to tell people what they should or shouldn't buy,’ the prime minister's spokesperson said”. On recent poll puts Labour on 50% and the Tories on 22%. No need to ask why.

So let’s consider the humble turnip as a veg alternative. Stu Brooking did just that, consulting the Asda website to find that … they were out of stock. Louis Henwood looked instead at the Tesco site, and found a similar lack of availability. Griff Griffith, who has to have his fruit and veg delivered, got the same result from both Morrisons and Ocado. Yes they have no turnips.

Our Government appears not to have a Scooby Doo when it comes to food security. There has not been the assistance with fuel costs that would have enabled a winter crop grown in glasshouses. Or the realisation that suppliers from southern Europe and north Africa would prioritise the Single Market above those countries which are outside it. No grasp of economics.

What, then, do they think will get them returned by the voters come the next General Election? It certainly won’t be anything in the area of giving a flying foxtrot about the 90% plus who aren’t rolling in the folding stuff. No, next time we go to the polls to elect a Government, the Tories and their press pals will be scaring the crap out of voters by waging an incessant culture war.

And that isn’t good enough. A Government that cares so little about the people it is supposed to look after first should never expect to be ushered back into power, and certainly not when those people have figured out what is going on. A cabinet of clueless and inept nonentities does no more than tell voters to turn up on polling day and usher them out of office for good.

That polling day needs to come sooner rather than later. That is all.

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Thursday 23 February 2023

Shamima Begum - What Have We Become

To the evident satisfaction of those out there on the right - deeply unpleasant former Murdoch editor Kelvin McFilth was especially righteous in this regard - Shamima Begum remains stateless in Syria after her latest appeal was rejected by a semi-secret court. What Mr Justice Jay effectively said was that the Home Secretary is the ultimate arbiter in such cases.

Shamima Begum

Kel sneeredGary Lineker tweets that the Shamima Begum decision to keep her out of the UK ‘feels very wrong.’ What is ‘very wrong’ is that viewers who disagree with his Lefty position are still forced to fund his £1million BBC pay package. Time to rip up that contract”. Empathy is now a “Lefty position”.

McFilth then blamed Ms Begum for the Manchester Arena bombing. “Much admire teacher Jade Gough, injured in the Manchester Arena bombing, for saying; ‘Those innocent pop fans never came home, why should she.’' Publicly-funded Gary Lineker and Lefty tosser Owen Jones might reflect on Jade’s views and change their nauseating pro-Begum stance”.

Sadly, Kel can’t differentiate between the Middle East and north Africa. But he is brim full of hateful bigotry, an attribute which appears not only to be spreading, especially when combined with racism, but also to be swaying the judgment of politicians who should know better. Like the Labour leader.

Unlike a former leader of the Lib Dems: “If she was white and called Sharon from Manchester, it wouldn’t even occur to the govt to take the passports of somebody ‘obviously’ British” … Ex Lib Dem leader [Tim Farron] says Shamima Begum’s UK citizenship stripping is a “reminder [that] not everyone's equal.” Farron was talking to Emily Maitlis and Jon Sopel.

Still on the produce of the Global empire, Matt Harris observedOn Shamima Begum ex-MI6 Chief Sir John Sawers tells [Andrew Marr] ‘I think at some point western countries are going to have take responsibility for their citizens, or former citizens, & deal with them here where we can keep an eye on them & bring them to justice’”. As opposed to abdicating responsibility.

Intolerant then ...

Which is the stance of the current Home Secretary, and that at the time the decision to strip a British Citizen of her citizenship was first taken, accompanied by the lame excuse that, technically, Ms Begum could apply for Bangladeshi citizenship. Except Bangladesh has declined the idea.

So Ms Begum remains stateless, along with the impression being given, as Tim Farron implied, that the Government is getting away with it because she is not white. It was also, as John Sawers told Marr, what looked very much like that same Government is shirking its responsibility in the matter.

Former chief prosecutor Nazir Afzal put it directly. “Shamima Begum was born here to British nationals, educated here, radicalised here as a child, trafficked (the court accept that) & she is OUR problem & should be tried here … Secret national security concerns need to be heard before that jury … We can’t have second class citizens.” Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy agreed.

Shamima Begum was born & groomed in the UK and trafficked to Syria as a minor by a western spy [a representative of the Canadian security services] … The Government's choice to strip her of citizenship is a dereliction of duty - It highlights the two-tier citizenship system which now exists in our country”. But Sajid Javid, who took the initial decision, was happy with the result.

Sunny Hundal was not. “1) You condemned an alleged terrorist to live in another country, rather than taking ownership. UK police should have arrested and tried her here in Britain. What if other countries did this to us? 2) You've removed her citizenship b/c of her Bangladeshi heritage - disgusting”.

... and intolerant now

What if Albania found a way to strip some of its nationals of their citizenship while awaiting deportation from the UK? Send them somewhere else, parents born in another country. Other country then refuses to play ball.

That did not, to his shame, sway Keir Starmer, who was lightly grilled on the subject on BBC Breakfast. “I think the court decision yesterday is the right decision … obviously, the court has looked at all of the information, got all the evidence, not only that was available at the time, but all the evidence that’s available since then. National security has to come first, the court’s reached its decision, it’s looked at all the evidence. I support that decision”.

There was more. “And as I say, national security has to come first”. But that wasn’t quite what Mr Justice Jay said: he stressed that our “Constitutional Settlement” meant that the Home Secretary had the power to make the final decision, even though “reasonable people with knowledge of all the relevant evidence will differ”. To no surprise, press intolerance was off the scale.

At the Mail, the odious Sue Reid sneeredThank heavens Shamima Begum's slick PR blitz - aided by the BBC - has failed to win her the right to return to Britain”. The Murdoch Sun snarksdon’t kid yourself we are yet rid of her for good” and berates “the BBC/Labour/Guardian axis of feeble”.

It is hard to imagine this happening to anyone who was white. Ms Begum should, if there are charges to answer, return to the UK and face justice. She should not be made stateless just to appease the racist right.

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Suella Braverman Goes Full Enoch

After a protest about refugees in Kirkby turned violent, with a Police van being burned out, more far-right gatherings were planned outside hotels alleged to be housing those seeking asylum. That there would be counter-protests was inevitable. So what would a responsible Home Secretary have done? What would a sensible person have done? What would Nietzsche have done?

Sadly, the principle-free opportunist that is Suella Braverman does not operate on that lofty intellectual plane, and instead she offered herself up for interview before the gentle questioning of Liam Halligan on Gammon Broadcasting™ News (“Bacon’s News Channel”) with a message that would all but encourage the far right in their mission to whip up hatred.

Halligan cued her up: “Some have been calling, in the media, those protesters against asylum seekers, perhaps, some would call them illegal immigrants, some have said that those protesters are ‘far right’. Is that a fair characterisation of those protesters?” What say Ms Braverman?

We are all frustrated with the situation that we are currently finding ourselves in and it is clear and undeniable that there are really serious pressures on communities, and saying so does not make you racist or bigoted … because of the overwhelming numbers of people arriving here illegally, and our legal duty to accommodate them, we are now having to house them in hotels, and that is causing understandable tensions within communities”.

Any condemnation of the violence, and trashing that Police van? But there was more. “Pressures on local resources, and is frankly unsustainable”. So, as it’s on her watch, what’s she going to do about it? But Halligan wasn’t going down that road, although his next question was a good one. “So you support those protesters?” Another opportunity to condemn the violence.

Which, once more, went begging. “I very much understand peoples’ frustrations with hotels being occupied by large numbers of illegal immigrants or asylum seekers”. But, eventually, she addressed the point. “Anyone contemplating violence, harassment or intimidation should desist from doing that. It is not an acceptable way to voice your concern or frustration”.

But the organised far right, and indeed neo-Nazi, protest is not merely saying there are pressures on communities. They are there to whip up hatred, to be violent and thereby legitimise, even normalise, more violence. Small wonder Ian Dunt of the i paper called herThis monstrous moral abyss of a woman”. She had gone full Enoch Powell, but with one big difference.

When Powell gave his infamous “Rivers of Blood” speech in 1968, Ted Heath sacked him from the shadow cabinet. Rishi Sunak shows no sign of sacking Ms Braverman. 55 years on, and an abject failure to condemn gratuitous violence does not even merit a ticking off. But it did earn her fulsome praise from former Brexit Party Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage.

As Byline Times political editor Adam Bienkov noted, “Nigel Farage now tipping Suella Braverman as a future leader of a new right wing movement … ‘I think there's a possibility that by 2026 there is a realignment of the centre right in British politics and if there is I think she could be just about the most important player in it.’” But others had seen and heard quite enough.

Brendan May was one of them. “Here you go, far right thugs, a free pass from a Home Secretary who is meant to uphold both the law and public order. Get these dangerous Trumpites out of office or our own January 6th won’t be far off. Shameful legitimisation of racists here. Abysmal.”

Suella Braverman has failed to call out the far right and neo-Nazis, or indeed even to confirm that far right is what they are. She has failed to condemn the violence, preferring instead to just suggest that those thus inclined “desist”. She has failed to condemn the trashing of that Police van, or property more generally. And her party leader has failed to discipline her.

The Tories just green-lit neo-Nazi violence. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

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Tuesday 21 February 2023

Nicola Bulley And Selective Editing

Our free and fearless press wanted the world to know that Part 1 of the Leveson Inquiry taught them a lesson which they had learned well: from that point, there would be no more illegal information gathering, no more intrusion into grief, no more use of paparazzi photos, no more defending the indefensible. And if you believe that, I have a Garden Bridge to sell you.

Nicola Bulley

That the press has not changed one jot was underscored by the statement put out yesterday by Lancashire Police on behalf of the family of Nicola Bulley, following the sad news that the body found earlier in the River Wyre was that of the missing woman. The media does not come out of it well.

We will never forget Nikki, how could we, she was the centre of our world, she was the one who made our lives so special and nothing will cast a shadow over that … Our girls will get the support they need from the people who love them the most”. Then came the part focusing on the press.

And it saddens us to think that one day we will have to explain to them that the press and members of the public accused their dad of wrongdoing, misquoted and vilified friends and family. This is absolutely appalling, they have to be held accountable this cannot happen to another family”.

Do go on. “We tried last night to take in what we had been told in the day, only to have Sky News and ITV making contact with us directly when we expressly asked for privacy. They again, have taken it upon themselves to run stories about us to sell papers and increase their own profiles. It is shameful they have acted in this way. Leave us alone now”. It wasn’t just the press.

But it was the press who continued to get it in the neck. “Do the press and other media channels and so called professionals not know when to stop? These are our lives and our children's lives”. So let’s mosey over to the Daily Mail, to see just how full their disclosure of the criticism is this morning.

Except it isn’t: all the media criticism has been excised from the Mail’s report. All of it. But there is plenty of unpleasantness being aimed at the cops, following two of their pundits indulging in highly personal attacks on one of the senior officers involved, something Zelo Street covered yesterday.

There has also been a broadside from the deeply unpleasant Dan Wootton, another of those economic migrants like Amanda Bloody Platell without whom the print media would be a less poisonous place. Sadly, the Mail is not the only media outlet censoring that statement to spare its blushes.

As David Challen observed, “Newspapers front pages cover Nicola Bulley, however none (excl The Guardian + the i) report the family's criticism of the media + press … Mail and the i have even gone to the lengths to EDIT the text of the family's statement to omit the worst of their criticism of the press?!

Professor Brian Cathcart reminded usUnder their ‘Editors’ Code of Practice’ every UK national newspaper makes this promise to the public: ‘In cases involving personal grief or shock, enquiries and approaches must be made with sympathy and discretion and publication handled sensitively”.

Or, in this case, maybe not. And nothing will be done, not by the press, and not even by our elected representatives, so craven and timid have they become in the face of the mafia operation that is the Fourth Estate. Campaigner Evan Harris made this point on the Radio 4 Today programme.

There’s impunity, effectively. We saw this with Grenfell, we saw this with the Manchester Arena bombing. Every time there’s a tragedy like this, there is criticism of the newspapers and nothing happens. Suella Braverman and Yvette Cooper and Rishi Sunak have criticised the Police. Maybe they’re right, maybe they’re wrong. Will we hear a politician get off their knees to attack the press, the power of the press and their abuse of ordinary people? I doubt it”. Our media class has once again behaved abominably.

But in their own minds, they have done nothing wrong. As with any addiction, those addicted have first to admit their problem. It’s all gone quiet.

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Monday 20 February 2023

Nicola Bulley - Police Blaming Begins

It was a baffling disappearance: Nicola Bulley, a 45-year-old woman from rural Lancashire, went missing one morning leaving her phone still logged in to a work call, and her dog wandering loose. The disappearance had occurred next to the River Wyre; Police divers searched the river. Ms Bulley was classed as high risk, lending the search rather more urgency.

Nicola Bulley

All the while, the massed ranks of our free and fearless press were on hand to make sure their readers knew that they really cared; what they really meant was that the Fourth Estate was sharpening its cudgels in anticipation of the missing woman being found dead. Then the blame game could begin in earnest. Yesterday a body was found in the river. And the Mail was away.

Although the process of identification has not yet been completed, the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker are readying themselves to dump on the cops. “'It was a body of a woman, there is definitely a body down there': Dogwalker told police searching for Nicola Bulley that dead person in river 'is a woman' - as photo shows awful moment they point to body” they tell.

Read down the article and the preparation for cop blaming is clear. “The investigation into Ms Bulley's disappearance has attracted widespread speculation as well as criticism of the police response … The force came under fire after making Ms Bulley's struggles with alcohol and peri-menopause public three weeks after she vanished”. There was more.

Lancashire Police faced backlash for ‘wasting’ the first 24 hours of the investigation by not carrying out door-to-door inquiries and jumping to the conclusion Nicola fell into the river … fierce criticism of police for releasing personal health details about Ms Bulley this week, including from Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt and PM Rishi Sunak”. And more.

Getting righteous: Rolf's old pal ...

Criticism of the force has been mounting since the 45-year-old's disappearance on January 27 … This week police publicly divulged information about Nicola Bulley's battles with alcohol brought on by the menopause - a decision critics blasted as ‘sexist’”. That’s the same paper that invented a malicious story about Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner.

That was the “Basic Instinct” defamation of Ms Rayner, which could not have actually happened. But all this is rather general: isn’t there an individual, a senior Police officer, who the Mail and the rest of the tabloid pack can then latch on to and blame? But you know the answer: Amanda Bloody Platell, who first mentioned the Rayner invention, has already been on the case.

And so it came to pass. “Detective Superintendent Rebecca Smith at press conference yesterday - skin tight navy dress, stilettos, poker straightened hair - whatever happened to a cop uniform! Or is she auditioning for Love Island for midlifers. Show some respect for a missing mother!There was more.

It was a cocktail frock and wildly inappropriate for such an important circumstance”. Just in case anyone thought this was an isolated occurrence, along has come Petronella Wyatt, another Mail regular and defender of Lady Susan Hussey’s drift into unconscious racial bias. She agrees with Amanda.

... and Bozo's former mistress

Detective Superintendent Rebecca Smith seems to be using Nicola Bulley’s disappearance as a excuse to showcase her toned physique. Who wears a sleeveless dress in February? To those who say, does it matter what people wear to work? Yes, it does, when they are police officers.” There was more.

Had it been a male detective wearing something slightly unprofessional I would have remarked on it, too. It has nothing to do with her sex. Men and women should not go sleeveless in the office in February. It’s not a [sic] elegant look”. And, just to remind us, she had the best of intentions.

If the Lancashire Police had done their job, there wouldn’t be mad Tik Tok sleuths trampling all over the ground, and Nicola Bulley’s family would have had some answers. As it is, it’s become a circus. I think of her poor children all the time”. Yes, DS Smith is being lined up for a good press kicking.

Which may well feature a righteous blast from the pundit who brought usWhy I pray my dear friend Rolf [Harris] is innocent” (he wasn’t), and the former mistress of disgraced former alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. Or it could be anyone from the Mail’s unappealing and obscenely overpaid roster of Opinionistas. Someone must be blamed.

Profiting from someone’s sad death? Thus the sickness that is the Mail.

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Saturday 18 February 2023

Brexit Returns To Screw Tories

In one of those scenarios where every Westminster party bar the Tories and their occasional pals in the DUP benefits without having to actually do anything other than order more popcorn, Rishi Sunak is pretending he can both hold the Tories together and make progress on the Northern Ireland Protocol. He can’t. But it’s compelling spectator sport.

There is one thing on which the Westminster Government and the European Commission can agree on: the Protocol needs revisiting. But any deal will bring the usual response from the DUP (shouting “NO” very slowly, loudly and deliberately) while causing the ERG - the intolerant and reality-free headbanger wing of the Tory party - to approach spontaneous combustion.

Why the Protocol won’t be fixed to the satisfaction of Tories and the DUP can be seen from the Telegraph. “Under the proposed deal, almost all goods going from Great Britain to Northern Ireland would be able to enter a ‘green lane’ where they would face almost no checks … The ECJ would be put at arms length, with disputes referred up via either a panel or the Northern Irish courts. However, it would retain the power to hand down binding judgments”.

So the ECJ would still be there, as would be expected, given that the Protocol is part of ensuring no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. A hard border goes against the Belfast Accords, and just to add a little more spice to proceedings, those accords depend on the ECHR being present, too.

So there will be no abolition or even amendment of the Human Rights Act. And instant dissatisfaction for those like Peter Bone, who has said “Rishi must not compromise on the basic principles of Brexit, nor in any way get the European Court of Justice involved”. It will be involved: an unnamed EU diplomat confirmed of the ECJ “that would not be part of the deal”.

The DUP will also be disappointed: “A DUP source said they ‘can't see any way’ that the party could agree to a deal that does not end ‘the direct application of EU law overseen by a foreign court’”. Sunak has been bequeathed an insoluble problem by disgraced former occasional Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, who lied to cover up the cracks.

Bozo told anyone who would listen that there would be no checks on any goods going purely from Britain to Northern Ireland or visa versa. It was another example of him lying to get through that day’s news cycle. Sunak might think he can have a deal done by the time Joe Biden visits in April, but his own party won’t let him cut it. Because they cannot face reality.

The Guardian’s front page report shows an excellent example of this tendency: “David Jones, deputy chair of the European Research Group of Eurosceptic Conservative MPs, said he was waiting for details before deciding ‘whether or not whatever deal is proposed is acceptable, not only to the people of Northern Ireland but the people of Britain as a whole’”.

Speaks for us all, does he? How does he know that? Supernatural powers? A line to the Almighty? Consulting the I-Ching? Jones is closer to Upminster than Barking, and Sunak faces getting whatever he and James Cleverly negotiate past him and his ERG pals. Meanwhile, Bozo the opportunist hovers in the background: the Guardian mentions a possible “intervention”.

Where does the delusion emanate from? One look at today’s Daily Mail editorial answers that one. “For [the deal] to stand any chance of success, however, the agreement must be one which, above all, upholds the integrity of the United Kingdom. That means removing the Irish Sea border as well as keeping the European Court of Justice firmly out of our affairs”.

Removing the Irish Sea border” would mean a hard border on the island of Ireland, and as has been shown, the ultimate backstop of the ECJ is non-negotiable. So when the Mail drivels “If Mr Sunak can broker such an arrangement which keeps the Brussels bureaucrats happy, while at the same time respecting Northern Irish sovereignty, it could prove be a defining moment in the early part of his premiership”, it knows it’s talking crap.

When our free and fearless press can’t get its collective heads round things like reality, it is no surprise that Tory hardliners follow their lead. Sunak could make things easier for the Northern Irish business community, while alienating the DUP and turning many in his own party against him.

The opposition need do nothing - just watch the Tories self-destruct.

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Friday 17 February 2023

Murdoch In Big Stateside Trouble

The phone hacking scandal and its continuing fallout have nothing on what is now unfolding across the North Atlantic: there, Rupert Murdoch’s propaganda pushing Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) is embroiled in a lawsuit that could prove financially and reputationally ruinous for the Murdoch mafoisi, and all who sail in them. It concerns the 2020 US elections.

Faced with the increasingly wayward presence of Combover Crybaby Donald Trump maintaining that he won the Presidency, and that if FNC didn’t back him up, he would direct his followers to desert the channel for the even more wacko Newsmax, Fox News began platforming conspiracy theorists and pushing the idea that the election had somehow been stolen.

This culminated in Fox hosts telling their audiences, more or less, that Dominion Voting Systems, which provides voting machines, was part of this conspiracy. Dominion took a dim view of this attempt to defame them while rewriting recent history and called in lawyers. What we would call the discovery phase of the action has brought truly remarkable results.

Murdoch was of the opinion that Trump would concede the election - eventually - but that in the meantime, there were two Senate races in Georgia, and if the Democrats took both seats, the Senate would be tied at 50 seats each. With the casting vote of the Vice President, Kamala Harris, that would give the Dems an effective majority. So what say Rupe?

Here's Rupert Murdoch telling Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott to focus on winning the GA Senate races for Republicans, ‘helping any way we can’” told Will Sommer of the Daily Beast. “Any way we can”? Isn’t that an undisclosed campaign contribution? It got worse: thanks to Dominion’s lawsuit, we now know that Fox does not actually have any formal editorial standards.

Oliver Darcy of CNN musedThis is also really remarkable and distinguishes Fox News from actual news organizations. I've asked Fox for years what the network's editorial standards are. Apparently, they don't have any written down”. Mehdi Hasan from MSNBC addedLike [Lawrence O’Donnell] I refuse to refer to Fox as ‘Fox News’ on my show, because it isn’t”.

But these were mere hors d’oeuvres for a more substantial entrée: that Fox hosts knew the Dominion smear was not true and had said so privately. Starting with wacko lawyer Sidney Powell: Tucker Carlson had said to his producer “Sidney Powell is lying”. Laura Ingraham said “Sidney Powell is a bit nuts. Sorry but she is” to fellow hosts Carlson and Sean Hannity.

Fox reporter Lucas Tomlinson said to the channel’s then chief political correspondent Bret Baier “It’s dangerously insane these conspiracy theories”. When Fox’s Executive VP for Primetime Programming was asked “Do you believe as of November 6 that going on television to say that the election was being stolen would be a conspiracy theory?” she answered “I agree that that would not be based in fact at that point”. So that’s a yes, then.

Ms Scott was asked “[Y]ou believe, since at least the time that Fox News called the election on November 7th, that Joe Biden was legitimately elected the President of the United States, yes?” to which she replied “Yes, I believe that”. Even Murdoch himself talked of “Really crazy stuff”.

Norm Eisen concludedDominion’s brief tearing the facade off of Fox News is a defining document of the era of election denial, together with the 1/6 Committee report - and the coming Georgia indictment of Trump. ‘Fox knew.’” The channel’s hosts were calling the “election theft” claims “BS” in private.

Could it get worse? As if you need to ask. Ben Collins of NBC News noted thatAccording to the Dominion lawsuit against Fox News, one of the sources for the network's ‘election fraud’ information said she got her information from ‘experiencing something like time-travel in a semi-conscious state’ that allows her to ‘see what others don't see.’” A source of, er, Sidney Powell, once more.

What sums are we talking here? Wikipedia notesDominion filed defamation lawsuits against former Trump campaign lawyers Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, seeking $1.3 billion in damages from each … During ensuing months, Dominion filed suits seeking $1.6 billion from each of Fox News, Newsmax, OANN and former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne, while also suing Mike Lindell and MyPillow”. And which lawsuits are proceeding?

Despite motions by the defendants to dismiss the lawsuits, judges said the cases against Fox News, Lindell, and MyPillow could proceed”. Like the actions against Associated Newspapers in the UK, Dominion’s pursuit of conspiracy theorists could damage not just the credibility of FNC, but its viability. Not only has Fox lied, its people knew it was peddling lies.

If Rupert Murdoch thought the law was for the little people, he thought wrong.

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Thursday 16 February 2023

Starmer Sends Members Wrong Message

Major political parties can always, whoever is leading them and however bad their ratings, deploy activists in sufficient numbers for one-off by-election contests. The problem comes when a General Election comes round: at this time, there can be no factional preference, no picking and choosing. All those who can be turned out to canvas and leaflet must be mobilised.

This thought seems not to have entered the circle of current Labour leader Keir Starmer, who, with shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves, has just delivered an unremittingly tedious party political broadcast on the back of telling those on the party’s left that they are welcome to leave. Perhaps he believes that opinion poll leads right now will endure come polling day. They won’t.

Labour needs the whole of its broad church on board at that point. Including those who backed former leader Jeremy Corbyn. Not that you would know that from Starmer’s recent comments, including the unequivocal commitment “Let me be very clear about that: Jeremy Corbyn will not stand for Labour at the next general election, as a Labour party candidate.” There was more.

What I said about the party changing, I meant, and we are not going back, and that is why Jeremy Corbyn will not stand as a Labour candidate at the next general election”. Once again he appeared to link Jezza to allegations of anti-Semitism, to suggest that there had, in the past, been tolerance of this and other forms of racism within the party. But no evidence was ponied up.

And, all the while, more and more of those who went out in all weathers in the run-up to the 2019 General Election, and took their share and more of abuse from voters who had been fed misinformation about the then Labour leadership, voters who thought Corbyn was a terrorist sympathiser who was going to take away their cars (and their money), are switching off.

Shrugging their shoulders and ignoring the stream of email exhortations from a variety of senior Labour figures, trying to get them to turn out for whichever by-election campaign is on at the moment, while failing completely to stand up for all those hard pressed working people who are taking industrial action in order to recover a half-decent standard of living for themselves.

Labour’s priorities seem awry: not only does the party seem to be alienating the left, it is also pursuing an apparently pointless lawsuit against five individuals who were considered close to Corbyn. As George Monbiot has told, five people including Jezza’s former comms and strategy man Seumas Milne, are being targeted as suspects of leaking an internal report.

That report “included WhatsApp messages between staff members in Labour headquarters, in some cases containing grotesquely sexist and racist comments. It alleged sabotage by a faction in Labour party HQ opposed to Corbyn’s leadership, and claimed that this obstructionism prevented complaints from being swiftly addressed”. It was leaked in April 2020.

Monbiot concludes that Labour’s case “looks very weak … The Information Commissioner’s Office investigated three of them and decided there was ‘insufficient evidence’ to prosecute. Nor were external investigators hired by the Labour party able to identify the leakers. Sources told the BBC that up to 15 other people may have had access to the report”. Oh dear!

Moreover, Labour “could be liable for an estimated £3-4m in costs - a figure Labour denies - perhaps sufficient to bankrupt the party”. And as to Labour coming out of EHRC “special measures”, former member Rivkah Brown is unimpressed. “We have a Labour party today that is more anti-semitic than ever. A party that wants to whip Jews into line on Israel; that has expelled more Jews than in any period of its history; and that (quoting Forde) has created a ‘hierarchy of racism’ that pits Jews against others”.

Ah yes, that Forde report and the “hierarchy of racism”, which appears to have been forgotten by our free and fearless press. Ms Brown went onThe EHRC's verdict means nothing, obviously: the organisation, which effectively exists to rubber-stamp the ruling class's anti-racist credentials, has been widely accused of racism and transphobia. This is just its latest whitewash”.

The Guardian could not bring itself to be unequivocally supportive of Starmer, an editorial telling of his effective barring of Jezza “That sounds like a message to the hundreds of thousands of people who joined Labour in those years and the millions who voted for the party that they aren’t welcome”.

It went on “Mr Starmer served in the frontbench team of his predecessor. He ran for leader promising to carry on the ideas of his predecessor. To proclaim that there is no place for Mr Corbyn in today’s Labour party, no matter what he says or does, not only looks vindictive, it poses serious questions about the consistency of the current leader - questions that his opponents will be all too happy to raise come the next general election”. Dead right they will.

Keir Starmer has sent Labour members the wrong message, one not of tolerance and inclusivity, but of authoritarianism and intolerance. But there is no compulsion on members to follow his call. So many of them won’t.

Keir Starmer as Labour leader is for a time. But not for all time.

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Wednesday 15 February 2023

So Farewell Then Nicola Sturgeon

Politicians come and go, most fitting Robin Day’s characterisation of “here today and gone tomorrow”. Few, despite the retelling of our free and fearless press, leave any void, or indeed anyone hankering after a second act. But then, but then: after Jacinda Ardern threw in the towel as Prime Minister of New Zealand came Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Why would she go? The SNP, which she has led with not so much as a murmur of a challenge to her authority, has consistently been streets ahead of any and all opposition, not only in elections to the Scottish Parliament, but that in Westminster, too. From the moment she took over from Alex Salmond following the Independence referendum, her party has been Number One.

But now she, like Ms Ardern, has had enough. Enough of the sexism, the misogyny, the bad faith smears from those in the press who would not reach as high as her ankles. She has simply told the worldToday I am announcing my intention to step down as First Minister and leader of my party … I will remain in office until my successor is elected”. And that is that.

She continued “I know there will be some across the country who feel upset by this decision and by the fact I am taking it now … Of course, for balance, there will be others who - how can I put this - will cope with the news just fine, such is the beauty of democracy”. Hello right wing press. There was more.

But for those who do feel shocked, disappointed, perhaps even a bit angry with me, please be in no doubt this is really hard for me … My decision comes from a place of duty and of love. Tough love perhaps but love nevertheless for my party and, above all, for the country”. And more.

This decision comes from a deeper and longer-term assessment. I know it might seem sudden but I have been wrestling with it … for some weeks … Essentially I’ve been trying to answer two questions. Is carrying on right for me? And, more importantly, is me carrying on right for the country, for my party and for the independence cause I have devoted my life to?

Her conclusion? "I have been having to work harder in recent times to convince myself that the answer to either of them when examined deeply is yes, and I’ve reached the conclusion that it’s not”. Also, “The longer any leader is in office, the more opinions about them become fixed and very hard to change, and that matters …I am firmly of the view that there is now majority support for independence in Scotland. But that support needs to be solidified … a new leader would be better able to do this”.

And in parting, she added “If the only question was ‘can I battle on for another few months?’, then the answer is yes, of course I can … But if the question is, ‘can I give this job everything it demands and deserves for another year, let alone for the remainder of this parliamentary term - give it every ounce of energy that it needs in the way that I have strived to do every day for the past eight years?’ - the answer honestly is different”. But she isn’t going away.

Winning independence is the cause I have dedicated a lifetime to. It is a cause I believe in with every fibre of my being. And it is a cause I am convinced as being won … I intend to be there as it is won, every step of the way”. The self-serving ineptitude displayed during almost 13 years of Tory dominance at Westminster makes her case better than she ever could.

Small wonder those journalists able to speak freely were fulsome with their tributes, not least James Chapman: “When I met [her] in 2015, the Mail had just branded her ‘The Most Dangerous Woman in Britain’ … because of her threat to the Union … Despite this she happily granted an interview and was charm itself”. Peter Geoghegan had a comparison to make.

A comparison with Liz Truss. “The difference between Sturgeon's and Truss's departure speeches really is remarkable … In tone, content, gravitas, poise, the absence of Hallmark card bromides, the leader of a nation of 5million is in a different league to the leader of 60million”. Owen Jones had a warning.

Sort of. “Nicola Sturgeon isn’t just the most impressive female politician in a generation - she’s the most formidable politician we’ve got … A class act who enjoyed popular support which most leaders who’ve served that long could only dream of … History will be kind to her”. It will. Yes, it will. But the implication of his message is also clear: who will take up the baton?

And Robert Peston was on the same page. “That was a truly remarkable resignation statement by Nicola Sturgeon. Whether or not you back her ideas and convictions, she has been one of the most important politicians of this generation. Her call for less irrationality and hysteria in politics should be heeded”. But won’t be when the Westminster press start sneering.

Something which Kathy O’Donnell had already considered. “In my four decades in journalism, Nicola Sturgeon is one of the very few politicians who has consistently impressed me … Abusive responses go to my block list”.

It is sad that she is going. But in today’s politics, all too understandable.

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Monday 13 February 2023

Knowsley, Violence, and Excuses

The increasingly worrying behaviour of The Fash, the shameless opportunism of their fellow travellers, and the inability of more of what Robin Day rightly and memorably called “here today and gone tomorrow politicians” to own the environment of hatred and prejudice to which they have consistently contributed, reached its inevitable denouement in the Merseyside suburb of Kirkby last Friday. None of those people escaped criticism. None should.

What happened can be put directly: a video was circulated showing what was claimed to be an asylum seeker resident at the Suites Hotel asking a 15-year-old girl for her phone number. There was a demonstration hostile to asylum seekers; a counter demonstration supported them. Then, very suddenly, that protest turned violent. A Police van was torched. There were injuries.

Following up with suitably shameless speed were the likes of Battersea bedroom dweller Paul Watson, accompanied by Mark Collett, so Fash he gives the Fash a bad name, or an even worse name. A refugee had tried to nonce One Of Our Girls! That’s what THEY were like. It was THEIR FAULT. And then this carefully crafted set-up began to unravel.

The BBC report tells: “Police confirmed they had been investigating reports that ‘a man made inappropriate advances toward a teenage girl’ in Kirkby on Monday” before adding “No victim had been initially identified and a man in his 20s was arrested on Thursday in another part of the country on suspicion of a public order offence, Chief Constable Kennedy said”. Do go on.

He was released with no further action following advice from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)”. Anyone see the dead giveaway? Let’s have that one more time: “was arrested … in another part of the country”. So whoever it was, was almost certainly not one of those refugees inside the Suites Hotel. It gets worse: one opposed to refugees suggested the violence was organised.

Alan Marsden, who lives locally, said he attended the protest after seeing the allegations ‘on TikTok and online’ but left when it became clear it was no longer peaceful … The 59-year-old said: ‘It was bad. Kids with masks and balaclavas on turned up. There were 300 or 400 people here … It was mostly women and children until all the hooligans turned up.’"

So what we appear to have here is either a most fortuitous reason for locals to protest against asylum seekers being housed in a local hotel, or a set-up designed to give The Fash an excuse to kick off. The man alleged to have made the improper approach was not local, remember. Moving right along.

And moving thus, we come to the politicians caught with their hands awfully adjacent to the till, not least former Brexit Party Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, who had previously peddled his “Breaking Point” poster, redolent of Nazi-era dog whistles, and who had just demonised those Scary Muslims™ on Gammon Broadcasting™ News (“Bacon’s News Channel”).

There is a jihadi gang in Dunkirk, who are trafficking people to the UK and who want nothing less than the destruction of the West”. Then came the violence in Kirkby. So did he stop and think? Did he buggery. He just doubled down: "Knowsley is a grim portend of what is to come”. You’ll have to excuse the spelling: the correct word is PORTENT. And it got worse.

Yes, it was the BBC’s fault. “The BBC were totally one-sided on their coverage of the disorder in Knowsley last night … The message is simple from the highly questionable Care 4 Calais group … If you object to single, undocumented men approaching underage girls - then you are ‘far right’”. We don’t know if the man was single or “undocumented”. NOR DOES FARAGE.

But he does know how to take one claimed incident and scale it up, while smearing those opposed to his view of the world. At least we could count on the Home Secretary to unequivocally condemn the violence. Couldn’t we? Er, not as such, not with Suella “Cultural Marxism” Braverman being the current holder of that office. Her response was straight out of the Trump playbook.

I condemn the appalling disorder in Knowsley last night. The alleged behaviour of some asylum seekers is never an excuse for violence and intimidation. Thank you to [Merseyside Police] officers for keeping everyone safe”. This on top of telling the Commons of “the invasion on our southern coast”. There is no evidence to stand up that allegation. SO DON’T USE IT.

How far from “very fine people on both sides” and “Stand back and stand by” was Ms Braverman’s rhetoric? Not nearly far enough. And all the while, next to no mention of the almost continuous anti-refugee rhetoric emanating from the cheaper end of our Free and Fearless Press. All those bad faith actors telling people that refugees are our enemy - no surprise some believe them.

Once again the far right indulges in gratuitous violence and gets a free pass from irresponsible pundits and politicians. What happened in Kirkby was inexcusable FULL STOP, NO EXCUSES, NO DEFLECTION, NO GET-OUT CLAUSE, NO CONDITIONAL STATEMENT. Those who have whipped up the mob must now desist, dial down the rhetoric, and PUT A SOCK IN IT.

Meanwhile, call fascism for what it is. Root it out. Before it gets even worse.

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Sunday 12 February 2023

BBC - Time For A Sharp Exit

Last Wednesday, I concluded that the situation of Richard Sharp, awarded his position as chairman of the BBC by disgraced former alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, was no longer tenable, and that he should resign from the post. The DCMS Committee hearing that prompted my conclusion has now reported its findings. They are not good for Sharp.

Richard Sharp

Sharp, as the Guardian noted after his DCMS appearance, “has revealed he personally informed Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak that he wanted the [BBC] job before he applied, as he underwent a sometimes brutal interrogation from MPs over alleged conflicts of interest”. And when it came to his role in facilitating that £800,000 loan for Bozo, matters got a lot worse.

Accused by Labour MP Kevin Brennan of a ‘monumental failure of judgment’ in failing to disclose the information, Sharp denied doing so because he assumed the information would simply never come to light”. Which sounds like he thought he would get away with it. And that makes his position yet less tenable. So back came the Guardian last night with a little more.

The headline spells it out. “BBC chairman Richard Sharp ‘breached standards expected’ for job application … The chair’s future at the corporation is in doubt after a damning Commons report on his role in the Boris Johnson loan affair”. Also, “Senior figures within the BBC believe its chairman, Richard Sharp, has seriously undermined the corporation’s impartiality”. Ouch!

Tim Davie

The DCMS Committee then Tweeted out news of its report, with this accompanying comment: “On Tuesday we questioned Richard Sharp about his appointment as Chair of [the BBC] … Mr Sharp's omissions about his role in a loan for the then Prime Minister were significant errors of judgement, which harm trust in the public appointments process”. Oh dear!

It should also be noted that the DCMS Committee is chaired by a Tory MP - Damian Green. It has a Tory majority. Then, this morning, something happened that suggests Sharp may indeed be own his way out - sooner or later. The Beeb actually reported on the story. Worse for Sharp, someone who has been on his case from the start was given a platform by them.

SNP MP John Nicolson was on the Laura Kuenssberg show’s panel, and with one of the other two panellists being the Ukrainian ambassador to the UK, anything domestic politics related gave him that bit more room to make his points, which he duly did. His conclusion was that Sharp should go. But others at the Beeb may now be fearful of a domino effect.

Robbie Gibb

Sharp has, over time, given around £400,000 to the Tory party. He has previously been Director of the CPS, another of those Astroturf lobby groups operating in and around Tufton Street, pushing outdated and indeed discredited economics without always being totally transparent about who funds them. Part of the same alphabet soup as the so-called Taxpayers Alliance.

Caught speaking with the TPA’s logo displayed prominently in the background not so long ago was Robbie Gibb, fundamentalist Brexiteer and arch-Tory, who could so easily become a casualty of such a domino effect. So could the Director General Tim Davie, another with strong past links to the Tory party. The Government line is to wait for due process to take its course.

So there may be pressure on Sharp to hold on. But this will only delay the inevitable: he’s toast. The DCMS report all but calls for him to go; Nicolson’s comments this morning on the Kuenssberg show left anyone taking an interest in no doubt of that. And hopefully this will be the moment that the Beeb worm turns on the Tories, thus bringing the General Election nearer.

Time for the chairman to make a sharp exit. Sooner rather than later.

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