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Friday 31 March 2023

Morgan, Trump, And Silence

For those paying close attention to the antics of former US President, Combover Crybaby Donald Trump, what has been reported overnight will come as no surprise: The Donald has been indicted via a Grand Jury following investigations into a payment made via his then lawyer Michael Cohen to porn star Stormy Daniels - claimed to be hush money.

And what's more, Ron ...

As the BBC report notes, “The payment was not illegal. However, what prosecutors say does amount to a misdemeanour is the fact that when Trump reimbursed Cohen, the record for the payment says it was for legal fees. Prosecutors say this amounts to Trump falsifying business records … covering up a crime by falsifying records is a felony”. Meaning what?

Meaning that, should Trump get guilty, he goes to jail. This has been widely reported and commented upon - except in one Twitter feed, the one run by former Screws and Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan, now attempting valiantly to pull Murdoch property and noise floor occupant TalkTV up to a rather more substantial level of viewer engagement. Thus far he has said nothing.

And that silence cannot be excused by any claim that it is down to Morgan taking a fortnight off from his show and heading off on holiday: he’s managed to Tweet in defence of former cricketer Michael Vaughan, who has been cleared “on the balance of probabilities” of using racist language towards colleagues. Morgan has, as usual, not been backward in coming forward.

So happy for my friend, a good man appallingly maligned by this grotesquely unfair witch-hunt. BBC must reinstate him asap” he pontificated, with one eye on tomorrow’s sporting headlines, not least across the Murdoch empire. So his Twitter feed is as active as ever. But no comment about the indictment of his pal. And yes, Trump is a pal of Morgan’s. They have previous together.

Morgan got access - and did soft soap interviews - when Trump was, thankfully briefly, in the White House. He got to go aboard Air Force One, although actually hitching a lift on the aircraft was not on offer. The softball side was exemplified by an interview for ITV Good Morning Britain in 2018; there was another last year which helped to promote TalkTV.

The way they were

But somehow the cat has got his tongue this time. Why might that be? Ah well. Being pals with the President is fine. Being pals with the then former President is fine. Allowing the President and then former President to sound off on your show is fine. But being pals with someone who will have to travel from Florida to New York next week for his “Perp Walk”? Maybe not.

He’s got time to lay into anything to do with transsexual people and gender identity, have the customary rant at Madonna, moan about WOKE, the meaning of which he probably doesn’t know, and of course continue his obsession with the Sussexes. But a former US President about to be arraigned on potential felony charges - nah, that’s not important.

But of course it is important, and far moreso than trans bashing, Sussex bashing, Madonna bashing and WOKE bashing. Is the host famously promoted as being UNCENSORED being censored? Is he self-censoring? Or has he decided the time has come to throw The Donald under the bus? Will he be the next to tell his old pal “I know thee not, old man”?

Because that is a very telling omission for someone who claims to be UNCENSORED. Saying nothing about news that is leading websites across the West right now. News that involves an old pal of his. Maybe it slipped his mind while he was obsessing about the Sussexes for the several hundredth time, claiming that Haz was at the High Court just chasing money.

Maybe there is trouble brewing for The Great Man. Watch this space.

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Wednesday 29 March 2023

Keir Starmer - Petty, Oh So Petty

Back in February 2020, one Labour leadership hopeful told his followersThe selections for Labour candidates needs to be more democratic and we should end NEC impositions of candidates. Local Party members should select their candidates for every election”. That hopeful candidate was Keir Starmer.

Another reminder of those early aspirations came from Owen Jones, tellingWhen Keir Starmer stood in the Labour leadership election, he … said ‘Don't trash the last four years’ … described [Jeremy] Corbyn as a ‘friend’ … embraced most of his domestic policy agenda … denounced the media for smearing Corbyn”. But that was then. Now it’s “I know thee not, old man”.

Yesterday, Starmer put a motion to Labour’s NEC which, if successful, would mean Corbyn was barred from being a Labour Party candidate in any future election. He would not, however, be expelled from the Party. The excuse underlying this move was that Corbyn’s presence in the Parliamentary Labour Party would be detrimental to the Party’s electoral chances, its appeal.

What Starmer’s motion did not do was to mention allegations of anti-Semitism levelled against Labour during Corbyn’s leadership. You would not have thought so to hear what sounded like an orchestrated chorus of smearing after the Labour leader got his motion passed. Saul Staniforth was one of those picking up on this creative reinvention of reality.

Shabana Mahmood telling a reporter that Corbyn brought this on himself by his own actions, in particular the way that he spoke about the party’s antisemitism problem … Except the motion to ban Corbyn didn't mention antisemitism, & Mahmood knows this, since she seconded the motion!” And to his shame, Mil The Younger was also pushing this angle.

Corbyn, he told, had not apologised for anti-Semitism in Labour’s ranks. I have defended Ed Miliband on numerous occasions. I supported his leadership of the Party. He was himself misrepresented and maligned by many in and around our free and fearless press. But Lord above, this is sheer and unadulterated horseshit. Let’s see what Jezza actually said, in 2018.

Jewish people have been at the heart of our Party and our movement throughout our history. No-one should dismiss the concerns they’ve expressed about what’s been happening in the Party … Driving anti-Semitism out of the Party for good, and working with the Jewish Community to rebuild trust, are vital priorities. I’m sorry for the hurt that has been caused to many Jewish people”. HE SAID SORRY. HE APOLOGISED. There was more.

We have been too slow in processing disciplinary cases of mostly online anti-Semitic abuse by Party members. We’re acting to speed this process up. People who hold anti-Semitic views have no place in the Labour Party. They may be few - the number of cases over the past three years represents less than 0.1% of Labour’s membership … But one is too many”.

Yet here we are once more with anti-Semitism being laid at Corbyn’s door. But not in the NEC motion, as Simon Maginn observed. “[it] is more sinister than it might at first appear. He must have known ahead of time it would receive no proper scrutiny, and that the 'antisemitism crisis' would be the story, but he's drafted a document that doesn't tie him to it legally”.

And some Labour MPs were not happy at the outcome, such as Zarah Sultana: “Islington North Labour Party members should have the right to choose their parliamentary candidate. Denying that right is divisive and undemocratic. I support Aslef, CWU, FBU, TSSA, Unite and all the NEC Reps who upheld this democratic principle at the NEC today”.

Nor were all the media class on board, with Kevin Maguire musingBlocking Corbyn is wrong and authoritarian, intended to intimidate other Left MPs. Should be up to Islington North whether they wanted him again”. But, and here’s the rub, many in the London media establishment will applaud the move. Which will give Starmer a false sense of security.

Those applauding do not go out on the doorstep and try to sell Labour to an often sceptical electorate. The Party’s leadership should take on board the dearth of front page coverage given to yesterday’s events at the NEC and ask why that might be. They may not. And that would be a big mistake.

Our free and fearless press will not give up on the Tories easily. If that means taking Starmer down, that is what they will do. They already have the presence of Peter Mandelson to use as an attack weapon. Now they have betrayal, untrustworthiness, double standards, authoritarianism and pettiness to go with it. The centrist part of the media class won’t stop the attacks.

The right-leaning part of that class calls the shots. This will not end well.

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Tuesday 28 March 2023

Mail Human Rights Hypocrisy

Few subjects have been more misunderstood, more misrepresented, and been the basis of more misinformation than Human Rights. For our free and fearless press, this concept has formed the basis of a rolling campaign of faux outrage ever since the passage of the Human Rights Act 1998. For the Mail titles, Human Rights has scored sales and clicks in significant numbers.

Thanks to @DocRussJackson

Whether it is the sneering and jeering of talentless and unfunny churnalist Richard Littlejohn, with his “Yuman Rights”, or the titles’ supposedly more serious pundits bemoaning the inability of their paper to get people it does not like deported to any place the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker choose, Mail readers can be in no doubt: Human Rights are A Bad Thing.

To underscore this, the Tweeter known as Doc Russ Jackson has presented a montage of Mail anti-Human Rights headline rants, which includes “HUMAN RIGHTS FARCE”, “HUMAN RIGHTS MADNESS”, and the bringing to the table of another Mail hate target with “HUMAN RIGHTS LUVVIES”.

But the Mail titles would not have got where they are today without a little flexibility of principle, a dab of double standards, a soupçon of rank hypocrisy. And so it came to pass that Associated Newspapers, owners of those Mail titles, arrived at the High Court yesterday to find themselves facing the naming of 73 of its journalists and executives, as part of the action brought by, among others, the Duke of Sussex, Elton John, and Doreen Lawrence.

As Guardian media editor Jim Waterson observed, “Prince Harry and a group of other prominent individuals are bringing cases alleging widespread illegal behaviour by reporters at Associated Newspapers. In their claims they name 73 journalists and editorial executives who have worked at the Daily Mail and its sister titles over several decades”. What was the Mail to do?

Waterson continued “Lawyers working for the Daily Mail said publishing the names would breach the journalists’ right to a fair trial under the Human Rights Act. This is despite the Mail long using its editorial pages to campaign against the European-derived legislation … David Sherborne, representing Harry and other claimants … noted it was surprising to see a newspaper that has campaigned for press freedom object to the publication of the names”.

That’s putting it mildly, 007. Sherborne mused “They say different rules apply to their journalists suspected of wrongdoing, as opposed to others suspected of wrongdoing”. But the Mail’s KC “successfully argued there was no justification for publication of the journalists’ names at this stage”.

Why? You’ll love this one. “She told the court that publication of the names could cause ‘immense reputational damage’ to the 73 individuals who worked for the Mail and invade their privacy”. Being revealed to be a Mail hack or executive could cause damage to your reputation! Who knew? But we were, at least, given two of those 73 names. And we may get the rest later.

The company did confirm that the former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre and former … Mail on Sunday editor Peter Wright are named in the allegations”. Also, “Mr Justice Nicklin … temporarily blocked identification of the Mail journalists pending his interim judgment, partly because the individuals have not had the opportunity to offer up a defence”. However.

He told the court: ‘Although I do recognise I am preventing the reporting of the journalists’ names at this stage, this is in the interests of fairness and the administration of justice’”. To which the Byline Investigates report notedFor publishers of the Mail to be seeking to prevent the further airing of the document at trial, and for it to have obtained an order preventing the naming of its own journalists, must accentuate its embarrassment”. Why so?

The paper has long associated itself with resistance to judicial secrecy, often asserting that the public’s right to know is paramount”. Ah, so another soupçon of rank hypocrisy. The report goes on “In a libel case it is currently fighting, brought by Prince Harry, Associated is defending an article headlined: ‘Exclusive: How Prince Harry tried to keep his legal fight with the government over police bodyguards a secret…’”. Do go on.

The article went on to accuse the prince of ‘seeking far-reaching confidentiality’ and of ‘trying to keep details of his legal battle about police protection private’”. Next time Dicky Windbag bangs on about Yuman Rights, remember that well. One rule for the Dacre doggies, another for Forrins.

The Daily Mail is deeply embarrassed by - and clearly furious about - these proceedings” tells the Byline Investigates report. Well, Boo Sodding Hoo.

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Monday 27 March 2023

Harry Arrives - And He’s Serious

The people at Sky News were taken by surprise this morning. “This man is serious … no-one expected this to happen … Prince Harry arriving at the Royal Courts of Justice today in his court case against the Daily Mail … [we] thought he was on the west coast of the United States with his family [but] that is not the case … you can tell he’s serious about this”. Serious, right?

Evening all ((c) BBC)

Reuters had a little more. “Britain's Prince Harry arrives at London's High Court for a hearing against the publisher of the Daily Mail newspaper over alleged phone-tapping and other breaches of privacy”. Phone hacking. That’s the phone hacking that the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre assured the Leveson Inquiry did not happen at the Mail titles. Under oath.

And the Mail on Sunday is now in the frame for the same allegation, as ITV News told last week. “Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for phone hacking on behalf of News of The World. He's claimed The Mail on Sunday also paid for his information - something it denies”. Mulcaire was unequivocal.

The public perception that my services were only used only by News International - is not the case. As my services and skills were used by other papers, such as the Mail on Sunday”. The ITV report notes “Associated Newspapers have always insisted they never employed the so-called ‘dark arts’ of their rivals … At the Leveson Inquiry the then editor of the Daily Mail, Paul Dacre, said so under oath”. ITV News has seen the evidence trail.

You haven’t heard this news before? But it’s been out there since July 2020, when Byline Investigates told readersPrivate investigator Glenn Mulcaire reveals how he hacked ex-Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes for the Mail on Sunday”. The power of our free and fearless press, once more, stems not only from what they publish, but what they do not. Hence you haven’t heard.

But now Harry has rocked up at the High Court, that genie can no longer be kept in its bottle. So now the BBC is reporting on his arrival. “The Duke of Sussex has unexpectedly appeared at the High Court as legal proceedings begin in a privacy case. Prince Harry and other individuals are suing Associated Newspapers Ltd (ANL), publishers of the Daily Mail”. Do go on.

The duke, singer Sir Elton John and actresses Sadie Frost and Liz Hurley are among the individuals who allege unlawful information gathering … A four-day preliminary High Court hearing in London, starting on Monday, will consider legal arguments and a judge will decide whether the case will go any further. ANL is bidding to end the claims”. I’ll bet it is. And there is more.

Who called me a f***ing liar, c***?!?!?

Others taking part in the legal action include Sir Elton's husband David Furnish, and Doreen Lawrence, the mother of Stephen Lawrence … The group launched the legal action last year after becoming aware of ‘compelling and highly distressing evidence that they have been the victims of abhorrent criminal activity and gross breaches of privacy’”. Such as?

The payment of police officials, with corrupt links to private investigators, for inside, sensitive information … The impersonation of individuals to obtain medical information from private hospitals, clinics, and treatment centres by deception … The accessing of bank accounts, credit histories and financial transactions through illicit means and manipulation”. And phone hacking.

This should surprise no-one familiar with Nick Davies’ Flat Earth News, where he recounts a reporter telling him “If the Mail go for you, they get every phone number you have dialled, every school-mate, everything on your credit card, every call from your phone and from your mobile. Everything”. Getting that information means crossing the illegality line. And the Mail has previous.

As Davies also told, there were allegations that the Mail titles bribed both serving Police officers, and also Civil Servants. That was known back in 2012. But, once more, the Mail and its cheerleaders in the media and political establishment kept the lid on the story. Now, with Haz’ appearance this morning, that lid is more likely to be prised off sooner or later.

For that we should be grateful, and all those who have suffered at the hands of the Mail titles over the years will certainly be. If you wondered why the inhabitants of the Northcliffe House bunker published so much knocking copy aimed at Haz and Megs recently, now you know. That assault has not deterred either of them: the Mail titles are looking Nemesis in the face.

Another little Wild West Show may be coming to an end. Good thing too.

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Saturday 25 March 2023

Liz Truss Disgraces Honours System

The suspicion of misuse and abuse has never been far away from the system of awarding honours for political and other services, at least not since the days of Maundy Gregory and David Lloyd George. More recently there was Harold Wilson’s “Lavender List”. Now we have disgraced former alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson’s set of nominations.

And while Bozo’s resignation honours list is being pored over, we have the only slightly disgraceful sight of 49-day Prime Ministerial wonder Liz Truss sticking her bugle into the whole process with some less than uncontroversial nominations of her own, news of which was brought forth by the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole, now pretending to be Sun political editor.

Master Cole’s proclamation was thankfully brief. “RESIGNATION HONOURS REVEALED: Liz Truss to make four new members of the House of Lords - despite serving for just 49 days … New peers … IEA boss Mark Littlewood … Brexit boss Matthew Elliott”. That’s an embarrassing name. The same name as the supremo of Vote Leave, which broke electoral law, in fact.

Which is because it’s the same person. Elliott, co-founder of the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance, an Astroturf lobby group that has peddled falsehood and misinformation to those who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet for many years now, headed Vote Leave, the “official” Leave campaign, in the run-up to the 2016 EU referendum. And don’t forget, they broke the law.

The lawbreaking was confirmed in July 2018. As the Guardian told readers, “Vote Leave … broke election spending law, the Electoral Commission said this morning. The commission has imposed fines on Vote Leave and on Darren Grimes, the founder of BeLeave, another leave campaign, which the commission says was spending money on behalf of Vote Leave”.

Matthew Elliott

And, although the article went on to note “Grimes and a Vote Leave official have also been reported to the police ‘in relation to false declarations of campaign spending’”, Grimes appealed successfully on the grounds that he was too stupid to fill in a form correctly. Even the BBC admitted that there had been an overspend of £500,000. But Elliott and his pals got their result.

The propaganda thus facilitated included the claim that Turkey was joining the EU, and therefore “76 million Muslim Turks” were potentially on their way to the UK. It wasn’t, and they weren’t. It was also claimed that Turkey joining the EU would mean the UK would then share a border with Iraq and Syria. The level of lying was off the scale. And Elliott was the head man.

Where Elliott was in charge of an organisation that broke the law, Mark Littlewood was merely indulging in spivvery. He asserted that plain packaging of cigarettes was “the latest ludicrous move in the unending, ceaseless, bullying war against those who choose to produce and consume tobacco”, but failed to mention donations to the IEA from Big Tobacco.

George Monbiot, writing in the Guardian, did mention it. “British American Tobacco, Philip Morris and Japan Tobacco International have been funding the institute [the IEA] – in BAT's case since 1963. British American Tobacco has admitted that it gave the institute £20,000 last year and that it's ‘planning to increase our contribution in 2013 and 2014’”. And it got worse.

Mark Littlewood

To add to the lying and hypocrisy, the IEA was the subject of a Greenpeace sting, when, as the Guardian reported, “The director of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) was secretly recorded telling an undercover reporter that funders could get to know ministers on first-name terms and that his organisation was in ‘the Brexit influencing game’ … Mark Littlewood claimed the IEA could make introductions to ministers and said the thinktank’s trade expert knew Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, David Davis and Liam Fox well”.

What benefit could this confer on the funder? “The IEA chief was also recorded suggesting potential US donors could fund and shape ‘substantial content’ of research commissioned by the thinktank and that its findings would always support the argument for free-trade deals”. Do go on.

This could hugely benefit US farmers by lifting the ban on the sale in the UK of beef from cattle treated with growth hormones and chlorine-washed chicken”. Oh goody. The IEA has also urged abolition of the NHS. After all, what’s a few tens of thousands of medical fee bankruptcies a year, eh?

Neither Elliott, nor Littlewood, should be allowed in the Lords. That is all.

Friday 24 March 2023

Nadine, Jacob, Boris - And Contempt

As the not-really-news-channels out there on the right vie with one another to cobble together the most seriously wacko defence of disgraced former alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson over the distinct possibility that he misled the House over all those Downing Street parties, two of their pundits have made what could prove a seriously bad mistake.

First, on Murdoch noise floor occupant TalkTV, trying its best to emulate the wacko level of Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) has come a sneak preview of no discernible subtlety for new show Friday Night with Nadine, fronted by Mid Bedfordshire MP (yes, it’s her again) Nadine Dorries, who gives every appearance of forgetting that she sits in that House.

Nadine Dorries says Boris Johnson will be found guilty by the ‘kangaroo court’ privileges committee, but thinks he and his legal team would not ‘take this egregious abuse of parliamentary procedure lying down’proclaimed the TalkTV Twitter feed. Catherine Mayer notedIf Boris Johnson is Westminster's version of Trump, here's its Marjorie Taylor Greene”. OUCH!

Open contempt of an active investigation, is it? Alastair Campbell, who knows a little about these things, reckoned so. “A Tory MP on a tv station funded by right wing hedge fund Sovereign Individual types using the channel for open contempt of a Parliamentary committee and therefore of Parliament. All to defend another Tory MP who has promised her a peerage”.

It’s all a bit Gladys Pugh, isn’t it? “Ooh that Boris, ‘e’s my ‘ero”. But, as Ian Dunt observed after Bozo’s appearance before the Privileges Committee, “Important fact there from Harman. Johnson is going to try to discredit the committee as a kangaroo court, In fact, it is responding to a request of the Commons and follows the rules of the Commons”.

And she’s a member of the Commons. It’s not such a big deal for other pundits on TalkTV or Gammon Broadcasting™ News (“Bacon’s News Channel”) to slag off the Committee, but for an MP to do it while an investigation is still in progress - Oh Dear. And, talking of GB News and MPs slagging off the Privileges Committee, someone else has been at it.

That someone is the member for times long past Jacob Rees Mogg, who has slagged off the Privileges Committee during the latest iteration of “Jacob’s Moggologue” (I say, isn’t this a bit Flowerpot Men? - Ed. Yob. Wobba lobba floggin’ cloblobs). GB News told “Jacob Rees-Mogg says the Privileges Committee was 'determined to get Boris' during his hearing today”. How so?

Get this from the Moggster. “It’s this position of Boris, his success in leading Brexit, that has ultimately led to him being in front of the Privileges Committee [bullshit, but do go on] today. So never really about cake or curtains, or indeed about Chris Pincher [no-one said it was. Get on with it]. It was fundamentally about Brexit and the reaction of the establishment to Boris as the figure … Boris is the Fortnum and Mason of Brexiteers”.

24 carat shite. Bozo and Mogg are as establishment as they come. The latter digs himself in deeper by calling the Privileges Committee “partial and unfair”, while managing not to notice that the Committee member whose persistence tipped Bozo over the edge was Bernard Jenkin - an arch-Brexiteer.

Big Al called it straight away, adding[Ofcom] people will begin questioning why you exist unless you deal with this. [Commons Speakr] is this not contempt of Parliament ? And [Rishi Sunak] if you allow Johnson his resignation honours it will taint you almost as much as it taints him and his crony peers. Be warned”. It looks like contempt, and waddles like contempt.

Meanwhile, Adam Bienkov of Byline Times pointed out the flaw in the Dorries argument. “I note that Dorries thinks triggering a by-election would ‘end the career’ of Boris Johnson. Surely she believes this massive election-winning asset would storm home in his own constituency?” But Bozo would lose, and badly. He is a spent force, rumbled, no longer credible, and disgraced.

Still, two separate contempt of Parliament hearings would liven things up a little. A by-election in Mid Bedfordshire would be even better. Bring it on.

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Thursday 23 March 2023

He Came, He Saw, He Lost It

The game is over. The game is up. The crowds have all gone home. For disgraced former alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, the end of the road has been reached: his attempt to lead a rebellion against the Windsor Framework failed, his appearance at the Privileges Committee will most likely see him sanctioned, and his supporters are deserting him.

One look at today’s Daily Mail should prove instructive. “Harman’s face was thunder. Boris was as agile as a cat. Pure box office but, after four nit-picking hours, had a single mind been changed?” Sarah “Vain” Vine showed the Mail’s new line: no more the bombastic dismissal of any anti-Bozo elements, and though she is still lying (agile as a cat my arse), the hero worship is gone.

Worse, at Bozo’s spiritual home, the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph, readers are told “The cults of Boris and Brexit are simultaneously imploding". And the name on the by-line? Camilla Tominey, that most Bozo and Brexit boosting of Tel staff. Why the change? Ah well.

That Privileges Committee grilling was a campaign that developed not necessarily to Bozo’s advantage. This was obvious to anyone with brain plugged in and a hole in their arse after he declared that lockdown-busting gatherings to celebrate someone leaving were “necessary”. As Alex Andreou has pointed out (thread HERE), 10 Downing Street, the nerve centre of Government, is the last place where encouraging the spread of Covid-19, and potentially taking out key decision makers, should have been allowed.

He couldn’t resist a threat, as Paul Waugh noted. “After much pressing, Johnson refuses to say whether he will accept the findings of the Committee if it finds against him. Says he ‘deprecates’ the term ‘kangaroo court’ BUT, and this is a big caveat: ‘I wait to see how you proceed with the evidence.’

Nice people at this Privileges Committee, be a pity if they was to end up on the wrong end of a Daily Mail hit piece, eh Guv? But did he correct the record after all that? Adam Bienkov of Byline Times had bad news: “After apologising for misleading Parliament about whether Covid guidance was followed in Downing Street, Boris Johnson says that he doesn't want to correct the record on this as it ‘remains my belief’ that the guidance was followed”.

He can’t say he wasn’t warned. Ian Dunt observed[Harriet] Harman says ministers get things wrong, that's fine, they simply routinely correct it. But ‘misleading intentionally or recklessly or refusing to answer or failing to correct impedes or frustrates the functioning of the House and is contempt’”.

Any lawyers willing to offer a view? Adam Wagner certainly was. “My summary view of Johnson's evidence is the same as it was before he started: his case that the guidance allowed boozy non-socially distanced drinks events with no work being done is absurd and he's either lying that he thought it did or was reckless for asserting it”. Not looking so good.

As to that R-word, as in Reckless, Tory MP Bernard Jenkin prompted Bozo to lose it completely on the subject. Ian Fraser notedBoris Johnson loses his rag when asked by [Bernard Jenkin] why he didn’t take legal advice before misrepresenting #partygate to Keir Starmer in the House of Commons. Is he now toast?” Johnson had instead relied on the word of two SpAds.

Will he be sanctioned? Ian Dunt musedI think it's pretty much guaranteed the committee finds against Johnson. At best they'll find he recklessly misled the Commons. At worst that he did so wilfully. There's a strong basis for the latter, but intent is always hard to demonstrate so former more likely”.

He’s too kind. The mood of public revulsion at all those party revelations, which ultimately led to Bozo’s defenestration, may yet see him sanctioned for both recklessly and wilfully misleading the House. Palliative care doctor Rachel Clarke was in no mood to listen to the excuses.

We didn't have parties to ‘boost morale’ … We didn't have quiz nights … We didn't have champagne … We watched our colleagues die, though … We were STEEPED in death … We kept going … We had to … We kept on … So don't you DARE say your parties were ‘necessary’ [Boris Johnson] … You make me sick”. As Sir Sean nearly said, I think we got the point.

The Privileges Committee will soon pass judgment. Won’t be good for Bozo.

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Wednesday 22 March 2023

Bozo - Bluster Versus Reality

And so the day has finally arrived when disgraced former alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is lightly grilled before the Privileges Committee of the Commons, before seven of his peers, a majority of whom are his fellow Tories. The subject will be misleading the house, and doing so knowingly, or what ordinary people call lying.

Bozo, or someone on his behalf, has clearly been briefing parts of the right-leaning press, the Mail telling readers what to think (no change there) as it thunders “Ex-PM issues 52-page defence dossier ahead of today’s 4-hour grilling by MPs on live TV … BULLISH BORIS UP FOR THE FIGHT”. But the Murdoch Sun does not deem him worthy of a front page lead.

And the supposedly more upmarket Times tells readers “Aide warned Johnson about Covid claim”. Looks like Rupe has decided Bozo is past his use-by date. Still, the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph remains loyal, telling “Aides assured me no rules were broken, says Johnson” while putting the boot into Labour leader Keir Starmer.

While some may dislike Murdoch Père, and others merely cordially detest the SOB, he did not get where he is today without being able to correctly identify winners and losers. And although he may not yet have decided Bozo is in the latter category, he looks to be wavering. Hence the less than full-throated support from Sun and Times. Why might he waver thus? Ah well.

We need look no further than the BBC’s summary of the evidence now before the Committee. And while the press baited Bozo with “Why should the British people believe anything you tell them?” as he left his London home, what he will face when it gets serious and the cameras are rolling is of a magnitude more serious. His former Downing Street staff have shat all over him.

Like Lee “Cain advising his colleague that a drinks event in the garden of No 10 on 20 May 2020 was a ‘comms risk’ … [the document] quotes Cain as saying he went on to have a conversation with Johnson's then chief adviser Dominic Cummings, who went on to speak to the then-PM about the risk”.

However, “Johnson didn’t see meeting in the No 10 garden with a bottle of wine as a breach of the rules … ‘I would encourage people into the garden for the pandemic … I felt it would be wrong to stop people going into the garden … It is democratic and conducive to staff wellbeing - where to go to draw the line?’” You tell us, Chief, you’re the one making the rules and telling the hoi polloi to follow them in all those TV appearances, remember?

It gets worse. “Cabinet secretary says he never told Johnson all rules were followed … cabinet secretary and top civil servant Simon Case denies that he gave any assurances to the then prime minister that Covid rules or Covid guidance was obeyed at all times in No 10”. And worse still.

Boris Johnson had the opportunity to stop the lockdown partying in Downing Street, but allowed the culture to continue - according to one No 10 official … In their evidence, the unnamed employee says that the route Johnson would take through Downing Street looked straight into the press room, so it would have been ‘impossible’ not to know they were happening”. Tell us more.

That employee told “He had the opportunity to shut them down but joined in, made speeches, had a drink with staff. He could have taken the issue up with Martin Reynolds, his principal private secretary, to shut them down. He could see what was happening and allowed the culture to continue”. Martin Reynolds, meanwhile, now “regrets [the] BYOB invite”.

Which just makes Bozo’s grilling later that much more difficult to negotiate. He isn’t making it any easier by slagging off former Chief Downing Street polecat Dominic Cummings with comments like “He cannot be treated as a credible witness”. What colour is the pot, O Great Bozo Kettle?

All that is before he rocks up for that grilling, which, it is estimated, will take a whole four hours and be broadcast live. And even before that begins, it is becoming all too clear that there is a widening gulf between what Bozo-backing papers are telling their readers and reality - not for the first time. Moreover, two of the four Tories on the Privileges Committee may lose their seats come the next General Election. Not looking good for the former PM.

Johnson looks highly likely to be sanctioned. That means he’s toast.

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Tuesday 21 March 2023

Bent Cops And Worse Hacks

When it comes to the ultimate in lack of self-awareness, out free and fearless press is without peer. The state of the economy and its effect on ordinary citizens stems directly from the press’ fawning endorsement of successive, and successively inept, Tory Governments, helped, or hindered, depending on your point of view, by Brexit. But it’s not their fault, honestly.

The state of the NHS, exacerbated by Tory underfunding, Brexit, and a welter of press attacks, is also nothing to do with them. So it is no surprise to see a report castigating the Metropolitan Police for sexism, misogyny, racism and homophobia sending those who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet into faux pearl-clutching mode. How COULD they?!?

But as the late John Smith might have observed, this is a bit rich coming from the same Fourth Estate that has had no problem working hand in glove with bent coppers, and for decades past. Corruption in the Met and other Police forces was fine as long as the press benefited from a host of informants, and all that not always legally obtained information they provided.

Louise Casey’s report, as the Guardian has told, says the Met “is broken and rotten, suffering collapsing public trust and is guilty of institutional racism, misogyny and homophobia … The report … one of the most damning of a major British institution … details disturbing stories of sexual assaults, usually covered up or downplayed, with 12% of women in the Met saying they had been harassed or attacked at work, and one-third experiencing sexism”.

The report “warned that ‘public consent is broken’ with just 50% of the public expressing confidence, even before revelations about the force’s worst recent scandals. She pinned the primary blame on its past leadership and said: ‘Public respect has fallen to a low point. Londoners who do not have confidence in the Met outnumber those who do, and these measures have been lower amongst black Londoners for years’”. Shocked? Not shocked.

But the press claims to be. The Mail is especially righteous, howling “BROKEN AND ROTTEN … Devastating review says Met is ‘institutionally racist, corrupt, misogynistic and homophobic’ … May be many more Police like killer Couzens … Force must reform or be ‘overhauled’”.

That’s the same Daily Mail, together with the Mail on Sunday, which featured so prominently in the information gathering work, much of it illegal, undertaken by the likes of Steve Whittamore - often depending on bent coppers to improperly access the Police National Computer.

And while the Murdoch Sun leaves the report off its front page, the supposedly upmarket Times splashes with “Rotten Met ‘has lost public faith’ … Predators could still be hiding in Police force rife with bigotry, says damning review”. The same Murdoch press that, once upon a time, contained within its list of titles the now late and not at all lamented Screws.

That’s the same Screws that was intimately involved with the Daniel Morgan murder case, still unsolved and at every turn hampered by Police corruption. The same Screws that was a by-word for phone hacking, about which we would have known more, and known it sooner, had it not been for cops like Yates of the Yard getting in the way. The Screws and the cops moved as one.

As they did in service of Mazher Mahmood’s various sales-generating setups and stings: all those the Fake Sheikh set up for drugs busts, and also the fake stories, like the Beckham kidnap that was never going to happen, and the Dirty Bomb Plot that wasn’t. The press wasn’t so righteous about the Met then. Now that same press is chucking the Met under the bus.

Worse, there is no mention of one recent event where the Met’s inertia has been to the benefit of the right-leaning part of the press - its unwillingness to investigate apparently illegal activity by the two Leave campaigns. As with phone hacking, the Met sat on the evidence, to the benefit of both campaigns, and with the press not saying boo. Corruption wasn’t so bad then, was it?

Our free and fearless press has known full well that the Met was “Broken and Rotten” years ago. And what did they do about it? Nothing. Nix. Nil. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Not a sausage. Bugger all. Because bent coppers were good for business. Illegal information gathering, joining in with manufacturing fake stories, obstructing investigations, covering up - that was OK.

Anyone might think the press were massive hypocrites. And they’d be right.

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Monday 20 March 2023

Bozo Bombshell Defence ISN’T

Coming back into view this week is the Parliamentary Standards Committee and its inquiry into whether disgraced former alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson knowingly misled the Commons, or, in other words, lied to it. And the prospects for Bozo are not good, especially given his track record of dishonesty, serial and indeed congenital.

What is also not working in his favour is the mood among Tory MPs, an increasing number of whom are coming round to the view that perhaps it is now time for their one-time hero to at least scale down his Parliamentary profile, if not leave the scene altogether. Nonetheless, Bozo has come out fighting, or at least friends of his have (which most likely means Himself).

And working in his favour is the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press, in which there are still plenty of influential voices prepared to tell the world that OK, maybe he is an SOB, but he’s their SOB. So it is that the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph tells readers today “MPs accused of moving goalposts over Partygate”. They’re batting for Bozo.

So is the Murdoch Times, splashing with the headline “Lockdown parties inquiry is unlawful and biased, says Johnson”. But the actual substance of his defence, er, isn’t. Times political editor Steven Swinford has spelt it out: "There is no 'bombshell' Whatsapp message. There is one message - already referred to by the committee as setting out a 'line to take' - which Johnson argues supports his case. There are some other documents showing Johnson sought assurances, but just the one Whatsapp message”.

And for those responding “Yebbut Sue Gray Labour, eh?” Swinford notesIt's also worth noting that for all the furore surrounding Sue Gray - including Johnson personally criticising her - her move to Labour *is not* being referenced in his legal submission”. And it gets worse. A lot worse.

If the line to take is that rules were not broken, that does not mean rules were not broken. It’s not a legal opinion. Moreover, whatever the line to take, Bozo should have known what the rules were, if only because he was on TV regularly during the pandemic telling the public what they were.

Mikey Smith of the Mirror has concludedBoris Johnson’s strategy, other than bad faith undermining of parliament’s standards process (again), appears to hinge on messages he says prove he was *told* no rules were broken. That’s pretty wobbly”. As so often with Bozo, the briefing to his press pals is not matched by reality. He’s batting on a sticky track. So what happens next?

As the BBC has reminded us, “The former prime minister faces a crucial televised evidence session in front of the Commons Privileges Committee on Wednesday. The committee is yet to publish its final verdict - but its initial update earlier this month said Mr Johnson may have misled Parliament multiple times. Mr Johnson denies misleading MPs”. He would, wouldn’t he?

Do go on. “Wednesday's session, which could last up to five hours, will be a key chance for Mr Johnson to persuade the seven cross-party MPs [with a Tory majority] who make up the committee that he did not mislead MPs in December 2021 … Sources close to Mr Johnson say he will publish a ‘compelling dossier’ that will provide evidence and arguments that he did not knowingly mislead parliament”. And if he fails to convince them?

If he … is found guilty, he could be suspended from the Commons, and even faces a recall petition, which would trigger a by-election, if that suspension is for more than 10 days … Crucially, though, MPs would have to approve any sanction on Mr Johnson”. But it will be a free vote. Which means one thing.

Those Tories who have concluded that it’s time for Bozo to leave the stage can vote as they see fit. Their only problem is the last line of Bozo loyalists - the vindictive and deluded constituency associations who have already deselected some of their colleagues for being insufficiently loyal to him.

Also, Bozo’s press pals won’t like it, especially the prospect of a by-election in Uxbridge and South Ruislip which the Tories are, right now, a racing certainty to lose. He might have been an election winner in 2019, but his behaviour during the pandemic caused revulsion among many of those who had been conned into voting Tory because it would “Get Brexit Done”.

The time of Bozo was for a time, but not for all time. Just rejoice at that news.

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Sunday 19 March 2023

Ill Met By Gaslight

Reality, for many out there on the right, either in the Tory party or among their cheerleaders in our free and fearless press, really is a state of mind. It is a state whose existence they are most unwilling to admit. While an increasing part of the electorate realise just how far they’ve been taken for mugs, the gaslighting is merely cranked up further. Now it’s getting silly.

Gaslighting can talk up the elite's preference ...

Rishi Sunak, too weak to stamp any kind of authority on his party, has caved to the rabid Brexiteer death cult out there on the far right by allowing Suella Braverman not only to remain as Home Secretary, but also waste taxpayer funds taking her press and broadcasting pals - but not the BBC, Mirror or Guardian, you understand - on a client journalism jolly to Rwanda.

Here, she has fed lines to those at the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph (“so impressed by the … homes being built for migrants deported from the UK … she wanted the name of their interior designer”), and the Mail on Sunday (“SUELLA: I’LL SEND BOAT MIGRANTS TO RWANDA BY SUMMER”), revealing the press’ creepy personality cultism.

It began with “Boris”, then moved to “Nadine” and “Priti”. Now we have “Rishi” and “Suella”. And, talking of “Boris”, our disgraced now former alleged Prime Minister, we have the flight from reality infecting Tory constituency associations to the extent that they are willing to deselect MPs who were insufficiently loyal to a lying, wasteful narcissist who cares only for himself.

... while viciously dumping on its targets ...

So much swallowing of the Kool-Aid, so willing to support someone who has single handedly screwed up the UK so badly that the damage will take decades to repair, and still ready to contemplate Bozo doing a Lazarus and returning to high office. This has also been facilitated by the press, with the Tel claiming “Bombshell dossier ‘will clear Johnson over parties’”.

As befits a title trading on its brand while the idea of it indulging in investigative journalism is now a distant memory, the Tel has just been fed the story by Bozo’s pals and has duly applied enough hedging and quote marks to stop it looking even more foolish when the whole thing falls flat. But we do learn that the former PM has a six-strong legal team. And we’re paying.

Jolllies to Rwanda? Legal bills for someone who just trousered £5 million in speaking fees? One might have thought that voters would recoil from such abuses, but that thought would have been misplaced: those groups who claim to be hot on apparent misuse of public funds, like the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance, have not said boo about any of it. Because they support the Tories.

... manufacturing stories out of, well, nothing ...

But opinion poll ratings are still dire for the Tories, with Labour posting leads which would see them into power with the kind of overall majority not seen since the days of the 1931 National Government. So that’s all right, then, isn’t it? Sadly not: we have an opposition so scared of that same press establishment that it dare not peep out of turn for fear of angering them.

Worse, when the flag drops and the General Election campaign begins in earnest, the accumulated dirt that the press has on Keir Starmer and his pals will be ruthlessly and indeed viciously expended in pursuit of a Tory victory, not least the presence in the background of Peter Mandelson, a hate figure of the Fourth Estate from the Blair days. And there will be more.

Labour’s legal pursuit of those it accuses of leaking to the press and TV will be used to ridicule Starmer. The presence of some MPs on picket lines will be exploited, anything suggesting the party is still dealing with complaints of anti-Semitism will be front and centre, while the presence of Ed Miliband will see that same press indulging in a little anti-Semitism of its own to smear him.

... and unleashing hate campaigns. Just for fun

And this level of gaslighting would not be maintained unless those doing it were not confident in their pursuit of one desired result: a Tory victory next year. But look at Labour’s poll leads, you might respond. Look at the ineptitude of Sunak and his ministers. Look at the evasion, the flat-out and easily rumbled lying (pace Oliver Dowden on this morning’s politics shows).

To that, the response is straightforward: you think the Tories are going to lose, and lose badly, but think on. The gaslighting already got a majority of voters - albeit a slim one - to back taking the UK out of the EU, a move which is slowly but inexorably impoverishing us. It also got Bozo a General Election victory that his rank dishonesty and crashing ineptitude did not merit.

It also got many voters to believe that a lifetime anti-racist was in fact a raving anti-Semite (he wasn’t, and isn’t). Moreover, it allowed the establishment to blame its ills on migrants (who had nothing to do with those ills), a mythical other “elite” (ditto), something called WOKE which those doing the gaslighting would have trouble even defining (ditto), and a sports commentator (ditto).

Gaslighting has been all too effective, and not in a good way. So it will be deployed again and again by the real elite. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

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Monday 13 March 2023

BBC Capitulates In Lineker Row

Look before you leap: one of the oldest of proverbs, and yet somehow overlooked by the BBC’s hapless Director General Tim Davie or anyone in his team. Last week he was on a mission to bring a little more of his version of impartiality to the Corporation; now, having failed abjectly to think through his and his team’s actions, he rightly faces calls for his resignation.

Match of the Day lead host Gary Lineker passed severely adverse Twitter comment on the Tories’ Illegal Migration Bill, noting that the language used by those promoting it was akin to that used in 1930s Germany, which it was. The right-leaning part of our free and fearless press became most indignant and demanded he be sacked for, well, something. The Mail was especially righteous on the matter, as ever.

Here was Davie’s opportunity: Lineker was to “step back” from presenting MOTD. At first this move was briefed as “agreed”. But it was not agreed: Lineker had made no such agreement. Still, impartiality was being enforced. But then a problem entered: what about Andrew Neil when he had been at the Beeb? What about Alan Sugar? What about Chris Packham, who was a freelance, like Lineker?

Then the house fell in: first Ian Wright, then Alan Shearer, then many others, withdrew their services in solidarity. MOTD was severely curtailed; other programmes were cancelled. Suspending Lineker had been intended to show that BBC management was still strong; instead, it served only to show weakness and supreme foolishness, as well as what looked like pro-Tory bias. And not impartiality.

It was OK for Neil to use his Twitter feed to promote the increasingly alt-right Spectator magazine, and get away with misogynist abuse directed at Carole Cadwalladr. It was OK for Sugar to smear former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. And on it went into the weekend, with Laura Kuenssberg obediently giving viewers a pro-Corporation, and apparently pro-Tory, slant on the affair.

But now a problem entered: in addition to all those hosts who had already declared their solidarity with their suspended colleague, a series of team meetings, at least partly via Zoom, had been scheduled for Monday morning. These could have proved mutinous. So, in another show of weakness, the BBC backed down. According to some accounts, they apologised to Lineker. He was reinstated to MOTD.

He would follow the Corporation’s social media guidelines, but this made no sense, as those guidelines were to be reviewed, which suggested they were not fit for purpose. Davie was now under severe pressure, with calls for his resignation coming from Ed Davey of the Lib Dems, and, at long last, Keir Starmer, although Labour has once again shown zero backbone in its response to the row.

After all, their talking heads refused to endorse Lineker’s criticisms, saying the presenter was OTT in his 1930s Germany comparison. This once again suggests The Red Team is so scared of the right-wing press that it dare not even peep in a direction that press finds disagreeable. But Starmer’s lukewarm response pales into insignificance when compared to the precarious position of Tim Davie.

The DG has shown himself to be both out of touch and inept: he is not there to bow down before the Murdoch and Rothermere press. He should treat the Tory fringe, whether it’s the European Research Group or the so-called Common Sense Group, as what they are: fringe wackos, paid up members of the Brexiteer death cult, a convocation of the mindless, bigoted, and intolerant.

But what he should also do as a matter of urgency is to signal his admission that he loused up, and then hand in his resignation. When leaving the building for the last time, he should take Richard Sharp with him: the Corporation’s Chairman should not be a Tory donor, or indeed former fixer for disgraced former alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. The BBC should be independent.

Moreover, if we are to have impartiality, there is no place for Robbie Gibb anywhere in the organisation, and certainly not the news gathering and presenting part of it. This fiasco could, and should, have been avoided. The buck stops with the DG: that is all.

The BBC is not there to pander to the right-wing establishment. Clear out the Tories.

Friday 10 March 2023

Dead Cat Again - Dacre’s Worried

Despite several of the titles published by the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press throwing their collective toys out of the pram yesterday at the horror of a sports commentator having an opinion with which they disagreed, some of them can’t get enough of Lineker bashing. One title that clearly wants to keep kicking the Match of the Day lead presenter is the Daily Mail.

Unrepentant star mocks ‘ridiculous’ row over Tweets [because it IS ridiculous] … As bosses dither [you don’t know], he renews attack on ministers [he took the piss out of Penny Mordaunt] … Boasts he WILL be on TV tomorrow [because Saturday is MOTD day, duh] … LINEKER’S PLAYING THE BBC FOR FOOLS”. And a false assumption to round it off.

But a quick look at the BBC website, which had been covering the story, shows no sign of it - suggesting that, whatever has been said between Lineker and the Corporation’s management, the matter is, effectively, closed. Which, in turn, suggests that papers still throwing mardy strops about the hosts’s comments are indulging in a little al fresco dead cat throwing.

So the question has to be asked: from what are the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker trying to distract attention? Ah well. This comes down to another current controversy - the resignation honours list put forward by disgraced former alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, which apparently features at least one figure from the Mail titles.

Yesterday, the Guardian told who that was: “Boris Johnson has once again nominated Paul Dacre for a peerage as part of a pared-back resignation honours list despite the Daily Mail chief having previously been rejected by the appointments watchdog, the Guardian has learned”. Ah, the legendarily foul mouthed editor in chief of the Mail titles. And there is more.

Sources with knowledge of the list have said that Johnson has put forward Dacre’s name for a second time. He had been knocked back last autumn after reported doubts raised by the House of Lords appointments commission. If the commission raises the same objections again, it will create a major headache for the prime minister”. Why would that be?

Because Rishi Sunak “will have to choose whether to overrule its members or risk the wrath of one of Britain’s most powerful newspaper bosses”. Also, “Dacre is one of the most powerful media executives in the country, and the backing of his papers could help decide the next election in Sunak’s favour”. But here a problem enters: lawsuits. Rather a lot of them.

Especially this one: “Dacre’s battle for a peerage has coincided … with legal challenges from a group of prominent individuals who allege the Mail newspapers engaged in illegal reporting tactics - including during Dacre’s time as editor … Lawyers acting for the group - which includes Prince Harry, Elton John and Doreen Lawrence - allege they were ‘victims of abhorrent criminal activity and gross breaches of privacy’ by the Mail”.

There was also - so it has been alleged - a knighthood for current Daily Mail editor Ted Verity in Bozo’s list, although whether that has survived the paring down imposed on Johnson is not known. But it’s the Dacre gong that demands the slinging of dead cats well beyond the shelf life of stories.

So Mail readers, and those of many other papers, will not have seen the reaction of the Hacked Off campaign to the alleged peerage: “No way Dacre should be given a role in the Lords (the ‘house of unelected wreckers’, in the words of his own newspaper) until claims hacking & other illegality took place under his editorship are fully investigated”. So how’s that lawsuit going?

That we do not at present know, but should do before too long. In the meantime, those vetting proposed honours should once again knock back the proposed peerage for the Vagina Monologue. Remember - when the press bangs on about what is effectively a non-story for as long as it has, it’s a racing certainty that it’s at least partly a dead cat. And this one is just that.

No gong with lawsuits pending. There need to be limits to Tory corruption.

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Thursday 9 March 2023

Lineker Exposes Media Fascists

Free speech is a concept trumpeted loudly by those in the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press, but, you understand, there are limits: it is fine to proclaim opinions that meet with the approval of those champions of free speech, but streng verboten to take a contrary stance. This has been highlighted by attacks on Match of the Day lead presenter Gary Lineker.

His on-air denunciation, apparently with BBC approval, of Qatar’s human rights record was fine. This was free speech that our not at all even slightly racist press could get behind: foreigners who are not white behaving cruelly to their own people enables that same press to frame their narrative to show how much better We British are. No criticism of Gary on that one.

But using his personal Twitter feed to point out the cruelty of Tory rhetoric elicited a different response. “There is no huge influx. We take far fewer refugees than other major European countries. This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s, and I’m out of order?

That was not the kind of free speech the Mail was prepared to tolerate. “LINEKER FACES BBC REBUKE FOR LIKENING SMALL BOATS PLAN TO NAZIS” thundered yesterday’s front page headline. He called our pal Suella and our other pal Rishi NAZIS! He did! HE DID!! How DARE he?!? He had “crossed a line”, and the Mail had BBC Sources to prove it (allegedly)!

He hardly needed to make the point later yesterday morning: “Great to see the freedom of speech champions out in force this morning demanding silence from those with whom they disagree”. It would have been the same in 1930s Germany: say something favourable about the Third Reich, your free speech was fine. Say something unfavourable, you would not keep well.

So the Mail was rather making the point for Lineker. Moreover, he had not called anyone a Nazi, merely talked about the use of cruel and inflammatory language. This had not penetrated the skull of Tory loudmouth Lee Anderson, who harrumphedTo use the Nazi word in this context is disgusting and vile. The BBC should disassociate themselves from these types of comments and ask themselves the question 'is this the type of comment they expect from their publicly funded presenters?’” He still didn’t use the N-Word.

Worse for 30p Lee, others pointed out not only that Lineker was right, but also that, as he wasn’t at BBC News, he was entitled to his opinion. Free speech, remember? But the Mail was not satisfied. It wanted punishment.

So it was that this morning, the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker howled “Staff ‘boiling’ with anger at star’s disdain for rules they obey … He fails to apologise for Nazi slur … and doubles down … Beeb crisis talks as insiders say he’s ‘passed a tipping point’ … IS LINEKER ABOUT TO GET BOOT FROM BBC?” Translation: we demand he is sacked NOW! Or else!

He still didn’t call anyone a Nazi. And LBC host Sangita Myska pointed out that it was about language, noting that “Gary Lineker says the language used by Suella Braverman against refugees & asylum seekers is ‘not unlike’ that used in 1930s Nazi Germany. Holocaust survivor Joan Salter said the same thing on [LBC]. Mr Lineker, I suggest, is in very good company”.

Her fellow host James O’Brien addedIf you’re cross about being compared to Nazis, then calling for your critics to be silenced & sacked probably isn’t the best way to prove them wrongand went onRight-wing politicians & pundits attacking a sports broadcaster for a measured description of deliberately disgusting rhetoric is not just about Gary Lineker.” There was more.

Who're you calling a f***ing fascist, c***?!?!?

It’s a warning to everyone at the BBC not to upset them. Fear of being next in the firing line influences many decisions”. Do go on. “They don’t want impartiality, they want to eradicate dissent & replace it with client journalism. Some senior BBC staff are happy to go along with it. Others, thank goodness, are not. Can’t blame Lewis [Goodall] for leaving”. Target. Hit. Direct.

And while Lineker himself retained his sense of humour, telling followersI have never known such love and support in my life than I’m getting this morning (England World Cup goals aside, possibly). I want to thank each and every one of you. It means a lot. I’ll continue to try and speak up for those poor souls that have no voice. Cheers all”, the point had been made.

Free speech in the UK is now on a par with free speech in 1930s Germany, the only difference being that displeasing the fascists is restricted to denunciation and a campaign to have the target sacked, or at least silenced. By this much have we progressed from the knock on the door, physical attacks, random imprisonment, torture, and summary execution.

Gary Lineker has exposed the media fascists. He deserves all our thanks.

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