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Thursday 31 August 2023

The Sun Cares - But Not About Veterans

The sheer desperation exhibited by today’s edition of the Murdoch Sun, making the most tenuous connection between a Netflix documentary mostly promoting the upcoming Invictus Games and its supposedly proud support for wounded veterans, gives the game away big time when it makes the whole story about the Duke of Sussex. Because without Haz there is no story.

They only cared - about their own bottom line

So there has to be some confection of righteous outrage by the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker. This looked, on the face of it, to be a challenging proposition: one look at the BBC report on Haz’ documentary shows there to be no mention of the press, and certainly not of the Sun. It’s mainly about how he had no support when his mental health unravelled.

One intensely personal passage in the narrative is where Haz told “Losing my mum at such a young age was trauma that I had that I was never really aware of. It was never discussed, I didn't talk about it and I've suppressed it like most youngsters would have done … Unfortunately like most of us, the first time you really consider therapy is when you're lying on the floor in the foetal position, probably wishing that you dealt with some of this stuff previously”.

So what does the caring, compassionate Super Soaraway Currant Bun do in response to this opening up? Simples. It ignores it completely and instead puts the boot into Haz, claiming that he has besmirched the good name of the press. The resulting hit piece carries the by-line of Nick Parker, welcomed back to the Sun after his conviction for handling stolen property.

The same Nick Parker who authored an article claiming that an incident on board a flight from Brussels to Malta, where a group of males started a brawl, was down to “Gypsies”. Without any evidence that the group were GRT. That’s his level. So what’s today’s tedious Haz bashing rant?

Here we go: “NEW NETFLIX OUTRAGE … As Prince claims that the media ignored wounded Brit soldiers, Sun says … WE DID CARE HARRY … And we still do”. And to that I call bullshit: anything the Murdoch press does is to promote its own agenda, and make money for itself. Sadly, former military commander Lord “Morny” Dannatt gave them a quote, apparently without first stopping and thinking as to whether he was being given the full story.

So let’s get this straight: the Murdoch doggies are jumping down Haz’ throat because their bad faith, indeed vicious and malignant smearing of the Sussexes makes money for Themselves Personally Now - not out of any concern for wounded veterans. That is an inversion of reality.

The subtlety and nuance of the Sun's approach is explained

Who is the one helping to devise, promote and run the Invictus Games? Clue: it isn’t anyone at the Sun. Who is the one opening up about mental health? Clue: it isn’t anyone at the Sun. And perhaps most revealing of all, who is the one taking legal action against the Murdoch press? Can you see it now?

Also, the Sussexes make money for the hostile press: “When it comes to driving revenue and media interest, no other couple in the world comes close to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. In a new study of newsworthiness and the value they bring, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex bring in over £1.1M every three months, nearly double that of Prince William and Kate Middleton”.

Do go on: “every time a news outlet talks about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, they are generating a lot more value than any other married subject … A new study has analysed the value of traffic the most written-about married couples have brought to online media publications over the past three months, and they’ve estimated that the Sussexes have brought in a value of £1,182,440”. More value than Beyoncé and Jay-Z.

There is more. “Prince Harry is the most valuable personality to write news articles about among all married couples, having brought in an estimated £611,955 in traffic value alone between May and August this year … Trailing behind, and way below Harry and Meghan, the Prince and Princess of Wales come in fourth, totalling £592,559”. J-Lo and Ben Affleck were third.

A spokesman for the company doing the research told “Our study has found that media publications benefit more when they write about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle than about any other celebrity couple. This includes even the King himself and the heir to the throne … What is really interesting is that these same publications might write about other couples, but people will still care more to find out what Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are up to”.

This makes the bad faith hackery of the Sun, Mail, Express and all the others a win-win exercise: slag off Haz and Megs, but get so much traffic from their stories that they make more money out of it (the King and Camilla were only 5th, with the Beckhams having to make do with a lowly 6th).

Now you know why the Sun does it - to make more money for itself.

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Wednesday 30 August 2023

Tory Press Goes Full ULEZ Racist

When the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph ran its front page attack on George Soros, the paper’s management held an all hands meeting to tell the workforce that this slice of nailed-on anti-Semitism wasn’t. The Mail unleashed an equally blatant anti-Semitic attack on the memory of the late Ralph Miliband, which also got excused in the retelling.

Mail promotes mighty white campaign ...

The right-leaning part of our free and fearless press is, whisper it quietly, well-versed in doing racism and getting away with it. So papers like the Mail, and especially the Tel, have not hesitated when it comes to engaging in yet more blatant bigotry as they attempt to bend London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan to their will and stop the expansion of the capital’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

Both titles have no problem with the mildly inconvenient fact that ULEZ expansion has already begun, and nor do they have a problem with acts of criminal damage being undertaken as ULEZ cameras and signs are routinely vandalised. The Mail even has a former Tory leader to back this criminality.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith backs 'blade runner' ULEZ vandals: Tory MP says he is 'happy' for residents of his east London constituency to destroy cameras because they have been 'lied to’”. Yes, one of the Tories’ most shameless and habitual liars says someone else lied. The article also helpfully tells readers what the ULEZ cameras look like, not that it’s encouraging vandalism, oh no.

And the Mail gives front page prominence to a protest seemingly attracting fewer than 100 mainly white people (note narrow angle shot) brandishing placards telling “BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS KHAN” (less pollution means blood? Who knew?) with the caption “Time to get Khan out, say the ULEZ rebels”. The PM is “Rishi”. Former ones were “Liz” and “Boris”, who was also “Boris” when Mayor of London. But the current Mayor is just KHAN.

... as does the Telegraph

This is also how the Tel plays it, with another narrow angle shot of a mighty white protest, and the caption “Khan faces revolt over Ulez”. One wonders if either paper will be there at court supporting, or even just sympathising with, those engaging in acts of criminal damage against ULEZ infrastructure. Or rather, one doesn’t: the press whips up the hatred, but it’s not their fault.

And than a thought enters: where is the publicity FOR the measure? Moreover, where is the testimony from Rosamund Addo-Kissi-Debrah, whose daughter Ella, “lived near the South Circular Road in Lewisham, south-east London [and] died in 2013 following an acute asthma attack”. But then, mother and daughter were black. So they don’t count for the Tel and Mail.

This is despite her being “the first person in the UK to have air pollution listed as a cause of death on her death certificate, as coroner Philip Barlow found she had been exposed to ‘excessive’ levels of air pollution”. Her Mum told “We just hope that the Government helps people to get out of their polluting cars. I think generally people want to change. Some can afford it, but not everyone can, and the Government needs to help them”.

But the Government, led by a PM who cares not a jot about pollution levels, with its press cheerleaders in the vanguard, is engaging in a full-on assault on the London Mayoralty instead, which will most likely end up costing far more than giving some additional help to those with older cars.

Only brown people have blood on their hands

Jumping on the anti-ULEZ bandwagon, though, did not stop Rishi Sunak being targeted by the mighty white brigade, who were backed, to no surprise, by former Brexit Party Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, who, like the papers running their highly personal attacks on Sadiq Khan, is not at all racist, honestly. Like he wasn’t over his infamous “Breaking Point” poster.

It’s only “Sadiq Khan's hated £12.50 daily levy” because the right-wing press whipped up hatred against it - and the Mayor. No mention that it was a Tory policy, introduced by former occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, and that the current Mayor needs to expand the zone to meet conditions imposed by the Government. Which is attacking him for it.

Instead, readers get racism and hatred. No change there, then.

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Monday 28 August 2023

ULEZ - Toff Caught Trying It On

Some people are well-known merely because they are, well, well-known. It’s the same idea as former Screws and Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan being famous because he not only knows famous people, but also has become very well-known. So he too becomes famous, or at least infamous. And following him along the path of shameless self-promotion has come Georgia Toffolo.

Georgia Toffolo

Who she? Well, Ms Toffolo came to the attention of some TV watchers via her appearances on a programme called Made in Chelsea (Yah AK? AK Yah!). She then progressed to I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, which she won. Now, she promotes Herself Personally Now via a variety of social media and mainstream media channels, plugging clothes, exercise and so on.

One of these strands is titled Trying It On With Toff. Which she has done with her political affiliation (her Wikipedia entry tells us “Toffolo has been a member of the Conservative Party since she was in secondary school. Toffolo has stated with regard to her political views, ‘I believe that the traditions of our country should be upheld and I'm a real advocate of business. I can't comprehend why someone my age would support the Labour Party’”).

Being a Tory, she seems unable to pass up any opportunity to dump on London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan, because he, as any fule kno, is one of those Rotten Lefties™. And her party has not managed to find a credible candidate to challenge him in the next Mayoral election, which happens next year.

So it was that she approvingly promoted a Mail Online hit piece without doing such troublesome things as thinking it through first. “Sadiq Khan won't have to pay the ULEZ charge: London mayor's taxpayer-funded luxury 2020 Range Rover is exempt from the £12.50-a-day fee!” What she did not think through was why that vehicle might be exempt from the ULEZ charge.

Why? Because it is ULEZ compliant. As are more than 90% of cars across the soon to be expanded ULEZ area. While the Tory high command flails around desperately, suggesting that everybody in ULEZ land will have to pay the change, aided and abetted by their cheerleaders in our free and fearless press, few of their supporters seem to realise that they are being lied to.

Georgia who?

And so it came to pass that, after the first few replies to Ms Toffolo’s advert for the Dacre Doggies, most of those replying passed severely adverse comment on her inability to separate political tribalism and press propaganda from reality. “What's surprising about this? Anyone's 2020 car is exemptwas one response. And that was, more or less, where the subtle stuff ended.

Yes, because it’s ULEZ compliant like 9 out of 10 cars in London. It’s not difficult to grasp with a basic level of comprehension of the English languagewas the less subtle version. “That’s rather the point. For modern cars, you don’t pay. You are a thinker, I seewas another. It got worse.

LikeAs is pretty much every petrol vehicle made since about 2005. Unless we've suddenly forced the mayor of a global city to chug about in his mum's old MG Maestro, he should be alright. You're absolutely hopeless at this!” And what about Herself? “Why are you surprised that the Mayor of London uses a ULEZ compliant car? He’d be pretty silly to use something that isn’t wouldn’t he? What do you drive Toff?” I mean, she’s a Tory. She must drive something.

Another highly relevant angle was mentioned by Zoe Kennedy: “Sadiq Khan is in this vehicle because he needs the same level of security as the King, because of articles like this whipping up hate against him”. Khan used to bat around South London in a very ordinary VW Golf. No longer possible. Not that the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker care about that.

Nor does the pro-Tory propaganda mention this point: “The ULEZ was BROUGHT in by [Tory] Boris Johnson & its expansion was REQUIRED by the Tory Govt as a condition of receiving funds to offset loss of income on London Transport because of covid”. Not for nothing did an exasperated Natalie Rowe tellYou are really beyond thick”. Ms Toffolo is missing something.

Like getting clued up on the press. And its on-off relationship with reality.

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Sunday 27 August 2023

So Farewell Then Nadine Dorries

More than two months ago, she said she was going to resign her seat “with immediate effect”. Now, finally, having last spoken in the Commons well over a year ago, Mid-Bedfordshire Tory MP (yes, it’s her again) Nadine Dorries really is leaving, precipitating a by-election that will happen some time in October. A by-election the Tories are expected to lose. Badly.

Which should worry most sitting Tory MPs, given that Ms Dorries secured almost 60% of the popular vote, and a majority of more than 24,600, in 2019. The only unknown about the upcoming by-election is whether Labour or the Lib Dems will take the seat. For Ms Dorries’ part, she has ensured maximum attention for her resignation letter by publishing it at Mail Online.

And it will not disappoint Dorries watchers. “The offer to continue in my Cabinet role was extended to me by your predecessor, Liz Truss, and I am grateful for your personal phone call on the morning you appointed your cabinet in October, even if I declined to take the call”. Grateful? Not really.

There was more. “Having witnessed first-hand, as Boris Johnson and then Liz Truss were taken down, I decided that the British people had a right to know what was happening in their name. Why is it that we have had five Conservative Prime Ministers since 2010, with not one of the previous four having left office as the result of losing a general election?

Disgraced former alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson was “taken down”, to use her happy phrase, by his own party, as was his comedy successor Liz Truss. As to the others, Young Dave resigned after screwing up the EU referendum campaign, and Treeza was brought down by her hero Bozo. And the damage of almost losing the 2017 election.

So what’s her explanation? “That is a democratic deficit which the mother of parliaments should be deeply ashamed of and which, as you and I know, is the result of the machinations of a small group of individuals embedded deep at the centre of the party and Downing St”. Wibble, meet Hatstand.

But she’s not finished. “To start with, my investigations focused on the political assassination of Boris Johnson, but as I spoke to more and more people - and I have spoken to a lot of people, from ex-Prime Ministers, Cabinet Ministers both ex and current through all levels of government and Westminster and even journalists - a dark story emerged which grew ever more disturbing with each person I spoke to”. Aaarghh! Jibber!! JIBBER!!! This is total crap. And it gets worse. For her, not Rishi Sunak.

Attacks from people, led by you, declared open season on myself and the past weeks have resulted in the police having to visit my home and contact me on a number of occasions due to threats to my person”. Remember all her claims of havingfour stalkers”? The claims that fell apart when an FOI request revealed she’d named her Lib Dem opponent as one of the four?

After more in that vein, she brings her rant to a close by telling the world “I shall take some comfort from explaining to people exactly how you and your allies achieved this undemocratic upheaval in my book”. Don’t worry about having to shell out for a copy, it’ll be serialised, probably in the Mail.

Meanwhile, observers lined up to pass adverse comment, such as Ian Dunt from the i Paper: “Full regalia of modern Tory batshittery in Dorries resignation later: deep-state conspiracy theory gibberish, preening self-regard, constitutional illiteracy & a refusal to take any responsibility for her actions or those of the [governments] she's served in”.

To which LBC host James O’Brien added “The second most remarkable thing about Dorries is the way her conduct constantly proves her most caustic critics right. (The first is that she ended up in the actual Cabinet.)” and Otto English concludedIn a way Nadine Dorries’ political trajectory embodied all that's been awful about the last 13 years. A vindictive, mean-spirited MP who, despite doing nothing of any worth, and clearly being out of her depth as a minister, was imbued with an immense degree of baseless entitlement”.

But here a problem entered: as Mikey Smith told, “Asked whether she'd actually sent the letter to Rishi Sunak, No10 say: ‘Not to our knowledge’ … They're also unable to confirm whether she's written to the Treasury to formally trigger the resignation process”. Harry says Marvellous.

As to the real beneficiary of Nadine’s Red Mist episode, Chris Bryant observedNadine Dorries has just written every Labour leaflet for the next election”. So she has. But any Tory electoral meltdown won’t be her fault.

Yes, at long last, there goes Nadine Dorries …on her way … OUT.

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Saturday 26 August 2023

Douglas Murray - Not Racist At All

The level of serial cluelessness prevalent in and around the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press is something all too obvious to those outside the media bubble, while those inside it have, overwhelmingly, yet to acquire any kind of sense of self-awareness. We have been presented with a superb example of the genre this weekend by Doug Murray The K.

Murray has been accused of nailed-on racist bigotry in the past, not least for his Islamophobic outburst in 2006 asserting “conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board: Europe must look like a less attractive proposition”. Urging collective punishment, much?

Doug later claimed thatEastern Europe does not have a problem with Islamic terrorism because it does not have much Islam”. Maybe he missed Bosnia, Kosovo and Albania. He has excused his bigotry by asserting that “Islamophobia is a 'crock' and a 'nonsense term’”. But he’s also said “where a mosque has become a centre of hate it should be closed and pulled down”.

Yes, a little bigotry and collective punishment is fine by Doug. Which brings us to his defence of another less than totally tolerant human being, Laurence Fox, for which he has been given a platform by the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph. “Truth and justice die when your career can be destroyed by a claim you can’t disproveis the headline. Do go on.

What are the most damaging claims you can make about someone in our society? The ones that would truly damage - if not ruin - the reputation of anyone they were levelled against. There is ‘murderer’, I suppose. ‘Paedophile’, definitely. And then there is ‘racist’. All are highly reputationally destructive, especially if asserted repeatedly”. Yes? Yes yes? Yes yes yes?

But notice that there is a difference between these charges. The first two can be fought in a court and can be easily disproved if they are wrong … But ‘racist’? How do you prove that you are not racist? Especially if you live in a society in which people go around daily insisting that our whole society is racist, that it is based on racism, ‘systemically racist’ and so on. The answer, for some years, has been that you cannot. ‘Racism’ is a charge that you may be able to prove, but it is not a charge that it is always possible to disprove”.

Or, put another way, OH WHAT A GIVEAWAY. There is more. “If someone believes that racism is involved in a crime, then it is so. I’m not sure whether many people are aware of just how corrosive this thinking has been to our society”. He doesn’t much like this Racism thing, does he?

Doug dislikes it so much that he concludes “This is law as made by the inhabitants of Wonderland”. Only then does he get on to Dear Dear Larry and the latter having had one count of his calling someone a Paedophile categorised as Not Really Calling That Person A Paedophile.

But this was an isolated interlude before he was off and running once more. “The courts initially seemed to concede that the accusation of ‘racism’ is everywhere and always a matter of ‘opinion’ - a decision which was disastrous. Do the courts not think that the allegation of ‘racism’ is damaging?” Damaging to whom, O Great Dougster? Yourself, maybe?

There is what looks for all the world like a very obvious subtext here, that more or less shows Murray to be more than slightly irritated that he keeps getting called a racist when he doesn’t think he is. Maybe it’s something to do with his promotion of batshit and indeed racist conspiracy theories such as Eurabia, The Great Replacement, and Cultural Marxism.

The last of which recycles Nazi-era anti-Semitic propaganda. He’s a racist bigot, and his Tel article isn’t really about Dear Dear Larry, but Himself. All those Rotten Lefties™ calling him a racist on the basis of, er, his dabbling in racist conspiracy theories and he can’t sue their arses off for it. I mean, what’s the world coming to? Commission from the Tel? That’ll do nicely.

Don’t want to be called a racist? Then stop doing racism. End of story.

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Friday 25 August 2023

Putin - Worst Bond Villain Ever

There were so many executions of insufficiently loyal subordinates to choose from: Number 9 being fatally electrocuted and Count Lippe dispatched by a passing motorcyclist in Thunderball, all those executed by Mr Wint and Mr Kidd in Diamonds are Forever, and of course the scientists whose helicopter was blown out of the sky in The Spy Who Loved Me. Remember that one.

A plane crash ... most unfortunate

Yes, bad Bond villains and their gratuitous murder of anyone they decided may not be conducive to whatever evil project they had embarked on were a feature of the franchise. But they were not happening in the real world, you understand: it was mere exaggeration just to show the viewer how ruthless 007’s latest adversary was prepared to be. Until this week in Russia.

As the BBC has reported, “Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin was on the passenger list of a jet which crashed in Russia killing all 10 people on board, Russia's civil aviation authority says”. And what might have caused the aircraft to crash? “Social media linked to the Wagner mercenary group say his private plane was shot down by Russian air defences”.

We are also reminded that “Prigozhin led an aborted mutiny against Russia's armed forces in June”. So who was on board? “Prigozhin's aircraft - an Embraer-135 (EBM-135BJ) - was flying from Moscow to St Petersburg on Wednesday with seven passengers and three crew, Russia's Rosaviatsia aviation authority said … Senior Wagner commander Dmitry Utkin - who founded the group in 2014 - was also on the passenger list, it said”.

Shoot-down or something else? “Grey Zone said local residents had heard two bangs before the crash and had seen two vapour trails … The aircraft had been in the air for less than half-an-hour”. There is also video showing the aircraft on fire and out of control before it crashed.

The Beeb has also told us “several Russia watchers have described him as a ‘dead man walking’ since the mutiny … President Putin's initial reaction to his challenge to Russia's defence establishment was vitriolic, calling it a betrayal and a stab in the back in a video message on 24 June”. Vladimir Vladimirovich has previously said one thing he will not forgive is betrayal.

This organisation does not tolerate betrayal

So what did Vlad have to say about the hit, sorry, crash? “Regarding this plane crash … first and foremost, I would like to express my sincere condolences to the families of all those who died. These matters are always a tragedy. Indeed, if the initial data are correct, then those who were on board included employees of the Wagner Group”. Like he didn’t know beforehand.

Do go on. “I would like to emphasise that these are people who made a significant contribution to our common cause of fighting the neo-Nazi régime in Ukraine. We remember this, we know it, and we won’t forget it. Prigozhin I’ve known for a long time, since the early 1990s. He was a man of complicated fate, and he made serious mistakes in his life”.

Like being on board that aircraft when it just happened to fall out of the sky, on fire, and out of control. But don’t worry, “the head of the investigative committee reported on this to me this morning. They’ve already begun a preliminary investigation into this incident [incident, not accident]. It will be conducted in full and seen through to the end”. Yeah, right.

The US has already decided that the aircraft was brought down by what Chief Inspector Clouseau of the Sureté would have called A Beumb. More importantly, those in and around the Wagner Group have decided that It Was Vlad Who Ordered The Hit and have vowed revenge. Byline Times has more.

Their article on the crash and what comes next notes “Putin’s reign is characterised by the violent deaths of critics, dissidents, journalists, opposition leaders, rebellious oligarchs, and organised crime group members”, and adds that the hit may have been “timed to send a message to the Russian elite in anticipation of the forthcoming 2024 elections”.

May get nasty if he loses his grip, mind. Or suddenly becomes unwell.

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Thursday 24 August 2023

Dan Wootton - Silence Of The Press

After several instalments of the Byline Times investigation had been published, and after the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker had suspended his Mail Online column, what word has there been from News UK, former employers of the deeply unpleasant Dan Wootton, still allowed a bully pulpit by Gammon Broadcasting™ News (“Bacon’s News Channel”)?

And the answer is that there has been very little, causing the people at Private Eye magazine to ask the question many in and around our free and fearless press would rather not ask, or see asked: what dirt might Desperate Dan have on his former colleagues? And if he hasn’t, can we be sure that those in the Baby Shard bunker are busily compiling their own dossier?

So let’s take the Eye’s lead question. “How fares Dan Wootton - also known, during his days trying to solicit nude photos and sexual encounters from work colleagues and contacts, as Martin Branning and Maria Joseph - in the legal battle he has launched to silence online newspaper Byline Times with the help of his new lawyer, fellow right-wing headbanger Donal Blaney?

Well, Part 8 of the Byline Times exposé, from August 9, is still available to read, as is Part 7, subtitled “The Proof”. As is a subsequent piece headlined “GB News’ Top Boss Faced ‘Sexual Harassment’ Allegation - as Channel Paid to Shut Down ‘Institutional Racism’ Claims”. As is a comment piece by Hardeep Matharu considering the silence of the media establishment.

The headline - “The Media Scandal the Media Didn’t Want to Touch: Byline Times Will Keep Exposing the ‘Dark Forces’ in the Shadows” - by implication asks what is stopping Associated Newspapers, GB News, and especially News UK from blowing the whistle on Wootton themselves, rather than keeping schtum and hoping it will all go away.

Even the Guardian, which had begun its own investigation into Wootton after the first revelations from Byline Times, has apparently dried up, not having said anything on the subject for two and a half weeks. So what is stopping them from blowing the whistle on Wootton, a being so dislikable, and indeed repellant, that you would not want to get stuck in a lift with him?

Let’s go back to that piece from the Eye. “[Byline Times] has published an email sent from Wootton’s Sun account on 10 June 2016 requesting that a new payee be added to the paper’s accounts system … It alleges that the money was … paid to a male porn star for services that were entirely unrelated to the newspaper”. And then it reminds us of a previous search.

Given how thorough News UK and its then outside lawyers were at ferreting out every single piece of evidence that could be used against its journalists in the disastrous trials for conspiracy to pay public officials a decade ago … they will no doubt be delighted to prove that they can be just as diligent this time around!” All those sources that the Murdoch press shopped to save itself.

Or is there something we don’t know, or don’t get, here? Wootton’s been caught bang to rights by the Byline Times team. All the legal threats haven’t stopped the continued publication of the exposé detailing Desperate Dan’s behaviour. His presence at GB News merely drags the already bad name of that channel down yet further. Their credibility is below zero.

Investigations at Byline Times continue, such has been the feedback from the initial series of revelations. Wouldn’t the Guardian like to do a little more investigative journalism of its own? Get out there ahead of the game, and equally importantly, the competition? Or does our free and fearless press have no interest in dispelling the impression that it is looking after its own?

Doesn’t the press want to regain some of that trust that its activities over the recent past have so shamelessly sprayed up the wall? Apparently not. And of course there will be no investigation, and most certainly no action, from press non-regulator IPSO. What the Eye missed is that Byline Times is not merely an online presence, but is an actual newspaper with a growing circulation.

And if Dan’s pals don’t deal with him, his opponents most certainly will.

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Tuesday 22 August 2023

Electric Cars, Bungs, And Reality

Over-hyped, over-subsidised and perhaps over here, much has been made of the decision by Tata Group to build a new electric vehicle battery plant on the Gravity Business Park near Bridgwater in Somerset, a site close to the M5. Our brave, adventurous and not desperate at all, honestly, Government has secured the investment. But this has come at a considerable price.

Sites for battery plants - Gravity business park near Bridgwater ...

As the BBC reported at the time, “In the case of Tata's new plant, the UK's expected success has not been easily or cheaply won … The government has said that while it does not recognise a figure of £500m in reported subsidies, they concede that it is in the hundreds of millions of pounds”.

Do go on. “This would take the form of cash grants, energy subsidies and other training and research funding … India’s Tata has extensive steel interests in the UK including the Port Talbot plant in South Wales and the government will also offer around £300m to subsidise, upgrade, and decarbonise those operations … Along with additional energy discounts, it will bring the total incentive package to Tata close to £800m”. Ker-Ching!

There was more. “Government sources conceded that while the two investments will not be announced at the same time, the two projects are linked … Although the price tag will be seen as high, the UK is reluctantly involved in an international subsidy war which has been dramatically escalated by the US Inflation Reduction Act”. And what of the EU?

The EU is preparing its own package in response … the UK … currently only has one [battery] plant in operation next to Nissan's Sunderland factory, and one barely on the drawing board in Northumberland … By contrast the EU has 35 plants open, under construction or planned”. Like where, perchance?

Like Sines (pronounced “Sin-esh”), which is situated on Portugal’s Alentejo coast. Apart from being the town where Vasco da Gama was christened, Sines hosts sandy beaches, a fishing harbour, and is an important port town, so important that the new Évora to Elvas rail line has been built partly to enable better transport access between Sines and Spain.

... versus the Port of Sines

It is also the site chosen by China Aviation Lithium Battery Technology, or CALB, for its new electric vehicle battery plant, which is scheduled to be in production by 2025 … “with the objective of answering the company’s current order backlog on the European continent. It should be the biggest CALB factory in Europe … The manufacturer estimates that the Sines factory has the potential to ‘represent circa 4% of the Portuguese GDP’”.

More importantly, and just to put the Tata Group bung in perspective, “China Aviation Lithium Battery Technology (CALB), which will be producing lithium batteries in Sines, hailed the deal signed between the automotive manufacturers Xpeng and Volkswagen, considering it ‘an opportunity’ for the battery maker”. And why should this be significant?

Here’s why. “CALB, which is part of the top 5 largest constructors in the world for electric vehicle batteries, is the main supplier of Xpeng … On July 27th, Volkswagen announced the acquisition of a 4.99% share in the Chinese Xpeng brand for 630 million euros for the joint development of electric vehicles”. What will the joint development involve, exactly?

The document indicated that the brands will be developing two electric models together for the Chinese market, which should begin production in 2026”. Volkswagen Group already has a manufacturing site not far from Sines - VW Autoeuropa, which currently produces the T-Roc, is located at Penalva, in the Palmela district. It is, like the port of Sines, rail connected.

Is the Tata Group plant going to gain this distinction, or will the Tories extend their growing reputation as rail-haters which already has the apparently timeless strike actions to its credit (debit?), actions that could have been settled at rather lower cost than “toughing it out” will involve?

The Tories are handing out bungs. The rest of Europe gets on with business.

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Monday 21 August 2023

The Mail And Lucy Letby

The inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker have a new obsession, and for reasons that may not be immediately obvious. Today, a former nurse called Lucy Letby is to be sentenced, after being found guilty of murdering seven babies and attempting to kill another six. She had previously worked on the neonatal unit of the Countess of Chester hospital.

As the BBC reported after all the verdicts had been delivered, “Letby deliberately injected babies with air, force fed others milk and poisoned two of the infants with insulin. She refused to appear in the dock for the latest verdicts. They have been delivered by the jury over several hearings but they were not reportable until jurors were discharged”. There was more.

The trial lasted for more than 10 months and it is believed to be the longest murder trial in the UK”. However, “Letby will be sentenced at Manchester Crown Court on Monday. She has indicated - via her legal team - that she does not want to attend her sentencing hearing or follow proceedings via a videolink from prison”. And so the Mail moved its obsession into higher gear.

Today’s front page thundered “MAKE COWARD LETBY FACE US! Demand from victims’ families as killer nurse set to hide in cell”. The Dacre doggies are clearly especially aggrieved not merely at Ms Letby’s actions, but more pointedly at her decision not to face the music like a good gel.

And here we get an inkling as to why the Mail is even more full of righteousness than usual: Lucy Letby has let the side down. The side consisting of the Mail’s kind of people. A recent article about her (there have, it is true, been scores to choose from) hints at the Mail’s problem, telling “How did Lucy Letby become a baby murderer? The church-going 'vanilla killer' who holidayed with her parents and slept surrounded by teddy bears was nicknamed the 'Innocent One' by friends”. Ah yes, “church-going”.

A characterisation that screams OH WHAT A GIVEAWAY. The Mail’s kind of people are not only overwhelmingly white, they are “church-going”. They are Christians. And Christians, especially displaying the veneer of being practising Christians, are the sole religious group acceptable to the Mail by default. Judaism? Well, maybe, if not too lefty. Islam? Forget it.

Why the f*** do I keep appearing in these posts, c***?!?!?

And the Mail underscores this later in the article: “Described as straight-laced, Letby attended the evangelical Hope City Church and had a close circle of 'churchy' friends - five girls who self-styled themselves the 'Miss-Matches' while studying for their A-levels at Hereford Sixth Form College”. Churchy.

On the Mail goes: “Neighbours remember Letby as a 'sweet' girl, who was a 'delight' for her parents. They were so proud when she attained her honours degree they marked her graduation, in December 2011, with an announcement in their local paper, the Hereford Times”. Do go on.

Like the serial killer Harold Shipman two decades before her, Lucy Letby is a narcissist … Prosecutors are convinced that Letby felt 'excited' by the pain she caused and the way she was able to manipulate the unwitting players – adults and babies alike - in her sinister, depraved drama”. But enough.

What the Mail is telling us is that, yes, Lucy Letby has let the good white Christian side down. Far preferable for the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre and his cowering acolytes that those committing such heinous crimes come from groups that are not the Mail’s kind of people. The Mail cannot, today, nudge and wink that it’s one of those the paper has “othered”.

And that is why they are especially righteous about Ms Letby declining to leave her cell and come to court. The iron rule that the Mail just made up is that those on the good white Christian side should, if found guilty of serious crimes, stand before the judge, accept the sentence handed down, and hear the victims’ statements. Because that’s what good white Christians do.

Plus it beats doing actual journalism. So quite normal for the Mail, then.

Saturday 19 August 2023

Elon Musk - You’re A Clown

Why and how a few individuals - relative to the whole population - became rich, often obscenely so, was a question that, once upon a time, troubled those who told the world that capitalism was A Very Good Thing. And then along came pioneering social scientist William Sumner, a supposedly anti-elitist “classical liberal”, to put their minds at rest.

Infamy, infamy, they've all got it in for me ...

Sumner’s conclusion may not be so well known nowadays: “The millionaires are a product of natural selection ... the naturally selected agents of society for certain work. They get high wages and live in luxury, but the bargain is a good one for society”. So now we knew: conspicuous wealth was nothing to concern us. It was just another facet of Darwinism.

Had Sumner encountered some of the latest crop of the overmonied and underbrained, one hopes that he may have stopped, thought, and revisited that analysis, especially given the behaviour of one Elon Musk, who sounds like a cheap and nasty aftershave, but in reality is far more evil-smelling, rather more politically polarised, and not particularly clever.

This last attribute has been brought into sharp focus in the wake of Musk taking over the platform formerly known as Twitter. He was, we were told, rich and clever, so what was not to like? Sadly, he turned out to be out there on the extreme right, and not clever at all. Nor did he think things through.

Musk took the Twitter brand and binned it. Instead, the platform became simply “X”. ReTweets became Reposts. Blue ticks were confiscated, except for those prepared to pay for the privilege. Those who had been on Twitter for many years began to set up accounts on Mastodon and Threads. Just how much cleverer, one wondered, was Twitter, or X, going to become?

Yesterday came the answer to that one: it was going to get far less clever, after Musk once again leapt without looking, failing abysmally to think through his latest wheeze, and pronounced, in the style (or lack of it) of a very amateurish Roman Emperor, that “Block is going to be deleted as a ‘feature’, except for DMs”. Well, crush me a few more grapes O Tedious Maximus, but this is total crap. His Tweet, or X, soon attracted a Community Note.

Which read simply “Elon Musk cannot do this. The feature to block someone on the site is REQUIRED as a social media app to be allowed on the App Store or the Google Play Store”. William LeGate had a prediction: “I predict Elon isn’t aware of this [requirement] & will backtrack - saying he was ‘trolling’ or ‘joking’ - and his followers will buy it”. Others were not buying it.

Indeed, one not impressed at all, and with more than a million followers, was Monica Lewinsky (yes, HER), who tagged Musk and his CEO Linda Yaccarino to tell themPlease rethink removing the block feature. As an anti-bullying activist (and target of harassment) i can assure you it’s a critical tool to keep people safe online”. What say Ms Yaccarino to that?

Our users’ safety on X is our number one priority. And we’re building something better than the current state of block and mute. Please keep the feedback coming”. She could be arguing in her spare time. It all sounded as if someone was making it up on the fly. It wasn’t broke, but the great Musk was going to fix it anyway. He had spoken. Crush some more of those grapes!

User feedback varied from Kathy O’Donnell simply statingRemoving the block from this site will make it unusable for me”, to the great Doc Hackenbush in Max Subtlety mode: “Nothing illustrates the necessity of the block button better than the 5000 drooling sex offenders about to show up in your mentions to repeatedly tell you how blocking is unnecessary”.

The Tweeter known as Flying Rodent could only conclude that “This guy really is incredible, like the Lord invented one man whose entire purpose was to lead humanity by the nose through the idea ‘capitalism = actually bad’ specifically by targeting and infuriating the people employed to tell the public it is awesome”. Awesomely bad. Yes, that’s Space Karen in one.

Cloughie could have been talking about Musk: “He’s a clown, young man”.

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Friday 18 August 2023

Brexit - Grim In Grimsby

The electorate of Grimsby, a fishing port that had seen better days, was told by the jolly Brexiteers, not least former Brexit Party Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, that it was all the rotten EU’s fault. Not many of those targeted stopped and thought about Farage’s less than stellar contribution to making things better for the UK’s fishermen before the EU referendum.

After all, it was Farage who had become a member of the Fisheries Committee, only to attend just one of its meetings, while from outside, TV chef Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall was the one who campaigned to reform that part of the Common Fisheries Policy on discards, those fish that had to be cast back into the sea as they did not form part of the catching boat’s quota.

The voters of Grimsby did not dismiss Mr Thirsty as just another of those Here Today And Gone Tomorrow politicians; they voted Brexit in their droves, driving a 70% Leave verdict. They had been told that the EU was behind the decline in their town’s fortunes, and that, at least by implication, things would be better outside the Union. Sadly, Farage was once agin lying.

This has been highlighted in an article by Sabah Meddings at Bloomberg, who noted that one veteran fish smoker responded to the idea that Brexit would help the industry with “Nonsense … The fishing industry in the UK is smaller than the lawnmower industry … Nobody gives a toss, really”. They voted for Brexit: it made EU workers more difficult to hire. That’s a third of the workforce. Much of the fish auctioned is imported, often from Norway.

The UK produces lots of shellfish, lobster, crab and langoustines. But Brits would rather eat haddock or cod, most of which is now imported, and so is not landed by UK boats. Exporting that home caught produce to the EU - the UK’s largest export market - was made more difficult by Brexit.

It’s not as if the industry didn’t know it was being screwed over. As Ms Meddings observes, “At the time of the deal, Barrie Deas, then chief executive officer of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organizations, said then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson had ­’sacrificed’ the industry … The UK, which established an empire based on its maritime power, now has a seafood trade deficit. Last year it totaled £1.7 billion”.

She puts it directly: “Fishing still plays a vital role in town. Almost 6,000 people work at 50 processing factories, where imports from Iceland, Norway and the Faroe Islands are packaged for UK supermarkets. But, since last November, one has closed, and two have indicated they could soon follow”.

The fish market’s CEO, who voted for Brexit, told her “I’m not sad about it, I’ve thought the European model has been flawed for a long time”. However, “If it was only about fish, I’d have voted to stay in”. And what are the Tories doing about this state of affairs? Any Prime Ministerial, or indeed any ministerial, visits in the offing? None. Because they don’t care.

There was, it is true, the false hope offered by Dan, Dan The Oratory Man, telling back in 2020 “Fishing is currently a tiny fraction of our economy. But there is vast growth potential in using fish in cosmetic and health supplements. Bones, scales, guts, heads, enzymes - almost all can be monetised. Hull and Grimsby could be reborn as pharma hubs”.

Sadly, as the Bloomberg article shows all too clearly, this was total crap. As for Farage, he’s said nothing so far about the article, but has been demonising refugees, demonising the expansion of London’s ULEZ zone (giving a nod and wink to those damaging the cameras involved), and suggesting that there is a campaign to “kill cash”, which there is not.

But, as with the fishing industry, when the damage is done by his campaigning, Farage will be nowhere to be seen. The people of Grimsby followed the propaganda of a false prophet, and now, like all those other parts of the UK that voted so enthusiastically to leave the EU, they have been discarded and forgotten by most of the media class.

Small wonder no other EU member state wants to leave. We. Were. Conned.

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Thursday 17 August 2023

Amanda Platell - Racist Bigot

If ever proof were needed of the virulent racism deemed acceptable by the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press, together with the inability or unwillingness to bother with such trivia as fact-checking before opening mouth and inserting boot, along has come another of those economic migrants without whom the UK would get along quite nicely, thanks.

Behold another economic migrant

Amanda Platell has been the supposedly acceptable face of Daily Mail punditry for some years now. Not only does she churn out opinion columns in the style of Tedious Maximus, she also appears on an array of sofas as a talking head: in the days of The Andy Marr Show™ on Sunday mornings, it was as if she had a season ticket for the paper review.

And Ms Platell would have sailed on, untroubled by such niceties as awkward questions and criticism over her output, had it not been for her singularly rash act when commenting on the Bibby Stockholm barge controversy. Her paper has wasted no time in presenting the accommodation for refugees as flawless and luxurious; others have presented a more realistic and critical view.

One of those in the latter category was Kolbassia Haoussou, a survivor of torture and yes, a former migrant, who has been in the UK long enough to have been awarded the MBE for his campaigning efforts. He had declared that the “legionella-hit Bibby Stockholm reminds him of [an] unsanitary ‘refugee camp’”. Ms Platell was not having any of that, thanks very much.

So, without further ado, and indeed, without bothering to research or perform the most basic of fact checks, in she went with both feet. “Illegal migrant Kolbassia Haoussou says the Bibby [Stockholm] barge was like being in a filthy unsanitary refugee camp … Another illegal migrant who was on the Bibby says he was treated like an animal”. Could she go more wrong?

But you know the answer. “If it’s so bad staying in the UK on the barge with three meals a day what’s stopping them from going home?” James Neil tried to break the bad news to her. “Kolbassia Haoussou MBE is NOT an illegal migrant. He's a refugee, and torture survivor. And yes, an MBE. Give your head a wobble, Amanda. Then delete your post. And account”.

Kolbassia Haoussou MBE. Not illegal

But, sadly, the Platell Twitter account (or should that be X-account?) is still extant, still pumping out bigotry (like “Red-carded Lauren James banned for 2 matches for stomping on another players’s back. So if the Lionesses reach the final she’ll be able to play?! Surely not enough punishment for her to learn her lesson”) - Ms James is not white - and still promoting misinformation.

And evidence free misinformation at that: “While 4.2million Brits live in food poverty those aboard the Bibby barge eat til their hearts content.. One in ten British children don’t even have breakfast while illegal migrants fill their bellies like a Cruise holiday buffet … Eggs, cheese, meat, cereal, toast and jam - Enough to make you sick!” They aren’t illegal, what is provided for breakfast is speculation, and the food poverty is down to Governments she backed.

There is the obligatory smearing of the Sussexes, with “Is King Charles quietly erasing Prince Harry?” (QTWTAIN) and “Hold the front page … Harry looking happy? And cracking jokes. Maybe because on his trip to Japan he wasn’t being suffocated by Meghan?” Go on, just keep making it up. You’ve got your instructions, and it’s a free hit, as it’s another Not White Woman.

Maybe someone at Northcliffe House should explain to her that seeking asylum does not make a refugee “illegal”. But perhaps she knows that already and doesn’t care. In any case, one theme runs through the litany of hatred, and that is racist bigotry. Which the Mail titles are more than happy for her to keep pumping out. Because racism helps them sell papers.

She did eventually delete the Tweet defaming Kolbassia Haoussou. But that is hardly sufficient atonement for the initial outburst. Amanda Platell needs to say sorry, and do so under pain of being suspended by the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker. But she won’t do so - not without the prospect of legal action - and Associated Newspapers don’t discipline bigots.

Cos they think there’s an acceptable amount of racism. Which there isn’t.

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Tuesday 15 August 2023


Overnight, the news has come that Combover Crybaby Donald Trump, plus 18 others, has been indicted in the state of Georgia. Prosecutor Fani Willis has, according to the BBC, “announced she was giving defendants the opportunity to voluntarily surrender no later than noon on Friday 25 August. She said she plans to try all 19 accused together”. And it gets worse.

Donald, where's yer hairspray?

Trump stands accused of “Violating Georgia's racketeering act … Solicitation of violation of oath by public officer … Conspiracy to impersonate a public officer … Conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree … False statements and writings and filing false documents”, all of which are felony offenses. He and his co-defendants are called a “criminal organisation”.

The Beeb tells that “In January 2021, Mr Trump was recorded on a phone call asking Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to ‘find’ 11,780 votes - the number he would have required to beat Mr Biden in that state. The indictment outlines an alleged scheme to tamper with voting machines in one Georgia county and steal data … It also mentions an alleged scheme to submit false lists of electors, officials who make up the Electoral College that elects the president and vice-president”. Some serious alleged criminality.

This time there will be a mug shot. And don’t forget all the other trials: “Earlier this month, Mr Trump was charged by federal prosecutors in Washington DC with conspiring to overturn the 2020 election, which he lost … trial in Florida on 20 May on allegations related to his handling of classified documents”.

The Donald has pleaded not guilty to all charges. And there are still pundits, politicians, lawyers and sundry hangers-on who are prepared to appear on Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) to declare their outrage that the laws of the United States also apply to their hero Trump.

Not only that, but there will no doubt be yet more of those pundits and politicians across the North Atlantic still prepared to speak in support of the former President who tried to subvert the democratic process while claiming that everyone else was crooked, conducting a witch-hunt against Himself Personally Now, and had lousy ratings, the very worst ratings ever.

After all, there have been so many of them ready and willing to shill for Trump in the recent past. The roll of shame makes for lamentable reading: at the increasingly alt-right Spectator magazine, Freddy Gray has already advanced the pretence that The Dems Done It, asking dishonestly “How long can the Democrats keep Trump in legal limbo?” Sod all to do with the Dems.

Editor Fraser Nelson did some grovelling: “Trump was already bookies’ favourite to be the next US president. After the FBI raid, he looks ‘unstoppable’ says Andrew Neil”. That was shite when it was first pitched last year, and it’s even more shite now. But not as bad as Doug Murray The K.

Who is so out of touch with reality that he has claimed “Joe Biden has sowed more division than Donald Trump ever did and emboldened Putin”. But one pundit who will not want too much attention to be paid to his back catalogue of Tweets (or are they now Xs?) will be former Screws and Daily Mirror editor, and now obscenely overpaid TalkTV host, Piers Morgan.

Who was still excusing The Donald earlier this year: “Ridiculous. It was Biden who ordered and executed that horrendous overnight evacuation. To blame Trump for it when it happened 8 months after he left office is laughable”. That there would be a US evacuation from Afghanistan was down to Trump.

Have another go. “President Trump was the victim of a shocking stitch-up by the FBI and much of the media over the ‘Russia collusion’ nonsense”. Bullshit. But he does want us all to remember he interviewed Trump so many times! In other words, free promotion for an allegedly serious criminal.

And, like Trump a congenital liar with no redeeming features, former Brexit Party Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage has made some real pearlers fibbing about Trump. Like “Trump’s greatest legacy is that he restored faith and trust in politics. He made promises and kept them”.

OrThe arrest of Donald Trump will only help him get re-elected in 2024” (Farage got it wrong in 2020, of course). With The Donald’s career now going in one direction only, it might be thought that these buffoons might think on and dissociate themselves from the former President. But no.

They promoted someone who nearly trashed US democracy. And they can’t manage even a muted “sorry” between them. I’ll just leave that one there.

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Sunday 13 August 2023

Mail Sick Refugee Blame Game

The NHS is still in a parlous state. Industrial unrest grows. Water companies continue to dump raw sewage into rivers and onto beaches. Companies across the board post obscene levels of profit, enriching themselves while many starve. The cost of living crisis shows no sign of abating any time soon.

This means that the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press is today majoring on … refugees. Which it likes to call MIGRANTS, its roster of less than appealing pundits occasionally adding ILLEGALS just to make sure they retain the attention of the Gammonati™. Yesterday, six poor souls lost their lives attempting the sea crossing from France to the UK.

So the conclusion that must be reached is that It Was Someone Else’s Fault. It cannot possibly be laid at the door of the Home Office and its effective abolition of all safe routes for claiming asylum: that would make the press’ preferred party of Government look even worse. The Sunday Brexit, still called the Express, has decided It Was People Smugglers Wot Done It.

They’re not agin The Forrins, you understand, just those entrepreneurs making money out of them. That’s the limit of their faux concern. Not so the Mail on Sunday, which has marched right in and declared “hold our beer”. The inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker don’t care for this namby-pamby offloading on people smugglers. They’re up for blaming the French.

Their front page is a masterclass in misinformation. “As six die in Channel tragedy after being ‘escorted’ towards UK waters, MPs ask … WAS FRENCH PATROL BOAT TO BLAME FOR MIGRANT DROWNINGS?” Note quote marks around “escorted”, because they can’t stand that claim up. So how do they persuade readers that this is not a straightforward QTWTAIN?

Here’s the schtick: “A French warship was escorting an overloaded small boat across the Channel to UK waters when it sank today, killing at least six migrants, it was claimed tonight. The PSP Cormoran is understood to have been tracking a number of small boats in rough conditions six miles off the French coast early this morning, according to a well-informed source”.

And here’s the breakdown. “IT WAS CLAIMED” [no citation]. “IS UNDERSTOOD TO HAVE BEEN TRACKING” [no citation once more, plus “escorting” and “tracking” are very different. Moreover, tracking “a number of small boats”. Still, that allows free rein for more of those Here Today And Gone Tomorrow Politicians to join the MoS in playing the blame game, these being Tories claiming that Labour somehow was also to blame.

How does one blame a party which has not been in power since 2010? Cue Iain Duncan Cough: “Surely we must do everything to deter them from making that decision and making that perilous crossing. It is a wake-up call for all those who speak only of rights, but seem incapable of balancing those rights against the terrible risks that people are undertaking as they pay their life savings to be shoved on to a boat that is unseaworthy, only to find that it all ends somewhere in the channel”. So he wants to remove people’s rights.

He is supported by Marco Longhi: “This terrible tragedy should be a wake-up call to Sir Keir Starmer, Labour and the whole of the Left, that this is what happens when they oppose the Government’s sensible measures to tackle the small-boats crisis. I hope to God that the Labour leader now sees this and changes his obstructionist approach as soon as possible. People’s lives depend on it”. But he’s just full of crap. No blame attaches to Labour.

It does, however, attach to the party which has been in Government since 2010, and which has abolished all safe routes for those wanting to claim asylum - including from Afghanistan, from where the six dead came.

And it attaches to those at the MoS, who have taken the single source of a charter fisherman who manages to get himself in the papers rather a lot, to declare that France has established a new policy towards those crossing the Channel in small boats, which as far as is known, they have not.

So it goes on: more unfortunate refugees lose their lives due to the Tories’ cruelty while their press pals blame someone else. But like Brexit, it’s not someone else’s fault. And no matter how many bad faith pundits get paid obscene amounts of money to pretend otherwise, it can’t be made someone else’s fault. It’s about a sick media class monetising tragedy.

A tragedy they had a hand in making. Power without responsibility, again.

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Thursday 10 August 2023

Dan Wootton - GB News Silent

We are now way past the point where the question should first have been asked: how much worse do matters have to get with the deeply unpleasant Dan Wootton before Gammon Broadcasting™ News (“Bacon’s News Channel”) cuts the increasingly gaunt and ghostly looking presenter loose?

The episode count of article drops from Byline Times about The Great Man has now passed eight, and no matter what his pals in the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press do to keep his name out of the headlines, anyone who wanted to know, and by now many who don’t, has a broad grasp of the allegations against him. Wootton has been dropped by the Mail; he has had to change lawyers. Dan is truly desperate. His employers appear not to be.

GB News is also facing another tranche of Ofcom investigations. Or, as Jim Waterson at the Guardian has put it, “GB News is being investigated for four further potential breaches of impartiality rules, as the media regulator Ofcom struggles with the rightwing channel’s willingness to push the boundaries of British broadcasting rules”. Or not to bother with those rules at all.

The potential culprits included Tories Esther McVey, Philip Davies, and Jacob Rees Mogg, with a new addition to the cast being “a programme presented by the former Loaded editor Martin Daubney on 16 June, which included a discussion about small boats crossing the Channel and featured an interview with Richard Tice, the leader of Reform UK”. GB News is in the mire.

And increasingly so. Which once more begs the question as to why they don’t just cut Wootton loose. None of the Byline Times stories reflects well on a brand that is already home to poor editorial and production standards, broadcasting very little news, not offering a balance of opinions, employing presenters who flat-out lie and push conspiracy theories, and so on.

The latest exposé on Desperate Dan tells that heused the pretext of ‘underwear modelling’ to target young reality TV personalities … Among those Wootton targeted over an eight-year period between 2011 and 2019 - during which he was working for The Sun, ITV and the Daily Mail - were The Only Way is Essex star Kirk Norcoss, Big Brother contestant JJ Bird, and an X Factor singer who was just out of his teens”. There was more.

Wootton was on his first day as a columnist and feature writer for the Daily Mail in December 2011 when he approached Big Brother series 11 contestant JJ Bird, then 25, and who is today a boxing trainer having also been a pro-fighter”. Wootton claimed to be an amateur snapper “working with brands”.

Sadly, his target was unimpressed. “Mr Bird, who refused Wootton’s offers”. Maybe it was because the shoot would be at “mine in E1”, or that the line was drawn at “they also want to know if you will do a couple of … nude shots too because they do a lot of that”. He plied one target who visited the flat with more and more skimpy underwear. Yet GB News are standing by him.

Despite Paul Wragg from the University of Leeds responding “Here, we have serious safeguarding concerns that demand an explanation from ITV, the Daily Mail and The Sun, as to how one of its employees was able to use the status and charisma of his role to seduce others to bend to his will, to satisfy his own predilections, without consequence”. Indeed.

On top of all that, the Guardian is following its own leads, seemingly unwilling to join the circling the wagons exercise being undertaken by the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press. “Someone who called themselves Martin Branning has been accused of allegedly offering Wootton’s former Sun colleagues thousands of pounds in return for explicit material” they tell.

There was more. “Now a new witness has come forward to claim ‘Martin Branning’ and Dan Wootton were one and the same man … Andy Lee, a performer on the subscriber website OnlyFans, told the Guardian he met ‘Branning’ in person back in 2013 - and later realised he had actually met Wootton”. That the alias was used “to arrange a sexual encounter”.

GB News carries on as if nothing were amiss. They have chosen … poorly.

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