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Saturday 30 September 2023

GB News And 30p Misogyny

After former somebody Laurence Fox, and the deeply repellant Dan Wootton, had participated in an exercise to maximise misogyny and woman hatred in attacking Ava-Santina Evans, and had been suspended for their trouble by management at Gammon Broadcasting™ News (“Bacon’s News Channel”), one might have thought the broadcaster would be keen to prevent a repeat.

Especially as there was more controversy looming into view with Tory party deputy chairman Lee Anderson “interviewing” Suella Braverman, for some reason appointed as Home Secretary. Party political broadcast masquerading as a proper interview was bad enough, without more misogyny.

And so it came to pass that 30p Lee took to Twitter, X, or whatever galactic clown Elon Musk is calling it this week, to tell anyone not yet asleep “[Suella Braverman] just nailing it on [GB News]”. She certainly wasn’t being challenged on any of her propaganda output, which was all that came out of the so-called “interview”. And some onlookers were distinctly unimpressed.

Inevitably, one of those was former Countdown numbers person Carol Vorderman, whose criticism 30p Lee never seems to take well. “Tory Lee Anderson (paid £100k by GB News) ‘interviewed’ Tory Braverman, failing to challenge her on a single point. He says she was ‘nailing it’ … GB News did their best to dress up the rest of the programme as debate which may be enough for [Ofcom] not to consider a breach. Who knows?

She then left her foot in the tackle just a little by reminding Anderson “Meanwhile GB News - has suspended 3 presenters in 2 days - has an investigation of its own into Wootton/Fox broadcast - and Ofcom admits it has 12 ongoing investigations Into the channel”. What say 30p Lee?

Anderson just had to reach for the misogynist long handle: “The sooner we ban single plastics the better”. Historian Lisa Wade took a dim view. “As Deputy Chairman, I’d have thought you’d be familiar with the Code of Conduct for party members and representatives? Specifically, point 7 about treating others with civility and respect and not using your position to harass or discriminate against others”. She suggested complaining to the party.

But meanwhile, others were more interested in the platform where 30p Lee is paid a lot more than his nickname, and which is already in big trouble for recent misogyny. Chris Dillow musedLee Anderson criticizing Carol Vorderman's looks is the worst choice of opponent and subject since Piers Morgan started a war of words with the writer of The Wire”. There was more.

Marina Purkiss, unlikely to be invited on The 30p Lee Show any time soon, took one look at Anderson’s misogynist smear and askedDear [Rishi Sunak] Is this what you meant by a government of professionalism and integrity?” Simon Harris observedTory supporters this morning ignoring Lee Anderson’s disgusting, misogynistic response to Carol Vorderman’s tweet and just proceeding to attack Carol Vorderman instead”. Worrying.

The Tweeter known as Loz Argyle addedIn the week Laurence Fox/Dan Wootton have been suspended by GB News for disgusting misogyny the Deputy Chairman of the Tory party, one Lee Anderson, thinks it's ok to mock Carol Vorderman for her appearance. The tories have enabled every single form of hate, that is their legacy”. It’s looking that way, isn’t it?

Simon Harris had a caution for Sunak: “The thing about Lee Anderson insulting Carol Vorderman over cosmetic surgery is that he’s also insulted every other woman in the country who has had cosmetic surgery. Please don’t remind them of this when it comes to the general election as it might reflect badly upon his party”. But the PM won’t be listening.

He, after all, wants people to be distracted by 30p Lee’s intolerance and stupidity. It helps his cause to have a deputy chairman whose inability to handle criticism means he smears women, and offers male critics outside because that’s how he thinks real proper men behave.

Meanwhile, GB News is further in the mire. Just rejoice at that news.

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Friday 29 September 2023

GB News - Another Suspension

While eyes were focusing on whether Laurence Fox’s prediction that he would be fired today from Gammon Broadcasting™ News (“Bacon’s News Channel”), and indeed if the broadcaster would have the cojones to dispense with the services of the singularly repellant Dan Wootton, news has emerged of another from the roster of dubiously talented presenters getting benched.

I've just been WHAT? Oh SHIT!

Most likely accompanied by another chorus of “You’re not a proper vicar”, self-styled “Anglo-Catholic Deacon” Calvin Robinson took to Twitter, X, or whatever it’s called today, to utter the chilling words “I have been suspended from GB News”. The Lord does indeed move in mysterious ways, so mysterious that not even the Poundshop Pontiff knew what was coming.

This event was all too predictable, though, when one considers Robinson’s earlier rant in defence of Desperate Dan. As the BBC has reported, “GB News will be ‘on borrowed time’ if they don't stand up for Dan Wootton, presenter Calvin Robinson said in a lengthy post on X, formerly Twitter, earlier this morning”. Stand up for Twattery! And there was more.

He went on to say that they would all be ‘next in the firing line’ if they failed to do so and that appearing on GB News was not just a job, but a ‘mission’”. So he was right, but not quite in the way he may have expected. His rant veered over the paranoia line, as he declared that something called the “Woke Mob” was somehow involved, though he doesn’t know what “Woke” means.

Back to the Beeb report. “He also criticised ‘careerist ambitious’ people on GB News that ‘are worse than the woke mob, because these vultures are giving the mob ammunition’. He also called out his bosses, saying they were scared of Ofcom, of the ‘woke mob’ and of running out of money”. Scared of those who are “alert to injustices in society, especially racism”? Whatever.

What may not have endeared Calv to Mr Angel Cake Frangipane, or whatever the GB News boss man calls himself, is the comment about “Running out of money”. Because the channel is pissing it down the sink, up the wall, and all over the floor right now. Advertisers are fleeing, and programmes are showing promos for other shows during the breaks.

A popular choice for Who's Next

The Beeb report concludes with “Robinson ended his long message [!] by saying that standing up for Wootton was ‘standing up for the very idea of GB News’”. How very Hughie Green of him. Meanwhile, Dear Dear Larry has received a message of support from the loathsome Toby Young, who hopes he won’t get fired today, thus meaning he probably will get fired today.

Elsewhere, popcorn sales are increasing as expectations rise of sackings, more suspensions, or a combination of both. Another suspension? Sure: maybe, like Harry Callahan, you almost forgot in all the excitement, but one name sure to be in play very soon will be that of Not At All Crafty Darren Grimes - whose GB News presence was defended by … Dan Wootton!

Dazza has given it his best Word Salad Shot: “Cancel culture vultures from the media old guard are swooping in - no longer content with ignoring or belittling GB News and its loyal audience. Nope, now they want us censored, silenced, kaput! They want your 'choice' in broadcasting to mirror their snooty, liberal echo chamber”. He still can’t get a gig on proper TV!

But he’s more than ready to urge anyone listening to Look Over There, as he says it’s all the BBC’s fault. “It’s an elitist sneering contempt for the views of the people of Britain. And I for one am not going to stand for it!” Well, sit down then, why don’t you? What he doesn’t yet get, but Pretend Vicar Calvin did, is that GB News is on a new mission, and one that involves spending less.

We may be closer than GB News’ cheerleaders would like to admit to a BSB and Sky moment: the better equipped getting swallowed up by its competitor because the latter is bankrolled by the Murdoch mafiosi, who have been here before. Otherwise, the expectation is that offshore money will keep pouring in to keep the channel afloat. But there has to be a cut-off point.

Multiple sackings will mean that point has been reached. That is all.

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Thursday 28 September 2023

Dan Wootton - The End Is Nigh

Many have seen a great deal of heat, and very little light, shone upon the inexcusable - and pre-planned - sexist and indeed misogynist attack by former somebody Laurence Fox upon Ava-Santina Evans during a broadcast on Gammon Broadcasting™ News (“Bacon’s News Channel”), but maybe not so many have asked the obvious question: what will happen now?

At first, GB News suspended Dear Dear Larry, but then another thought entered the news cycle: what about the singularly repellent Dan Wootton, the host of the programme when the incident occurred? Desperate Dan had smirked along with Fox, denied it, then had been effectively thrown under the bus as Fox revealed messages between the two that Damned Dan.

Push duly came to shove as Mr Angel Cake Frangipane, or whatever the head man at GB News calls himself, intervened and suspended Wootton too. This was excellent spectator sport, but another question soon entered: would the suspended two just get let back onto the airwaves? Or would one or other of them get the boot? It looked like Fox would fall into the latter category.

So what of Desperate Dan? Despite much of the media class closing ranks and trying to shut down discussion of the subject - SNP MP John Nicolson tried to raise the point on the Radio 4 PM Programme and was told by host Evan Davis “we’ll leave it there” - Wootton’s future has certainly been discussed by a further instalment of the Byline Times investigation.

Following their Twitter feed notingRecurrent from the BBC whenever Byline Times reported into Media Islamophobia, Russian interference, Brexit Party Paypal Funding, Dodgy PPE procurement, Herd Immunity Covid Negligence, Vote Leave Law Breaking, Hedge Fund Market Abuse, Tufton Street …”, has come the headlineThis is a Network Problem”. How so?

GB News’ chief executive Angelos Frangopoulos wrote to staff this afternoon announcing the suspension and promising to 'investigate the comments made on air by Laurence Fox last night'”. Why? “Byline Times understands that it was the threat of ‘staff insurrection’ over how Wootton, the show’s executive editor, handled the segment - and the apparent mocking of production staff (per Fox’s tweets) - which led to Wootton’s suspension”.

Do go on. “One senior host told this newspaper it had been ‘inevitable’. Other GB News sources suggest Fox and Wootton will never again appear on the channel. Senior newsroom sources have said Frangopoulos ignored warnings … that … Fox and Wootton was ‘an accident waiting to happen’”.

There was more. “Employees have painted a picture of a ‘rudderless’ organisation that has lost hundreds of experienced journalists in the past two years, driven out by ‘presenter power’ and a management team which refuses to listen to their warnings about potential breaches of the Ofcom code, and which is now has a staff heavy with ‘uni leavers and ideologues’”.

And yet more. “GB News has claimed it doesn’t have a toxic workplace culture. But the latest incident - which GB News insists does not ‘reflect our values’ - could lead the news channel facing yet another Ofcom investigation, adding to the 11 currently active, on top of three others the regulator has previously upheld against the troubled network”. If, of course, Ofcom acts.

The problem for Ofcom is that it has previously depended on the good faith of those it regulates. GB News appears otherwise: certainly, those prepared to shill for the channel and simultaneously smear Ava-Santina Evans are the lowest form of bad faith actors, misrepresenting what she had said, indeed, lying about her in return for inflated appearance fees.

Which is most revealing: we see here the desperation of GB News to get its critics to look elsewhere, anywhere, rather than home in on the misbehaviour of Dan Wootton, who was on a £600,000 a year deal with them. But look elsewhere they will not, not this time. The only way the broadcaster will clear the air - and clean up its image - includes sacking the SOB.

Mail Online has sacked him. GB News is next. Just rejoice at that news.

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Wednesday 27 September 2023

GB News Has Buyer’s Regret

What would a broadcaster with multiple Ofcom investigations outstanding against it do when an alleged guest decides to mount a tirade of sexist, misogynist abuse live on air? What would a sensible broadcaster have done? What would ITV or BBC have done? What would Nietzsche have done?

He's even more desperate, Dan

Whatever others might have done, Gammon Broadcasting™ News (“Bacon’s News Channel”) did nothing as their singularly repellant host Desperate Dan Wootton smirked while racist and indeed misogynist bigot Laurence Fox launched his assault on Ava-Santina, kicking off with the worrying “We’re past the watershed, so I can say this”. That should have been off the air sharpish.

But the discredited, sniggering Wootton just let him carry on. “Show me a single self-respecting man that would like to climb into bed with that woman”. Er, WHAT?!? “Ever. EVER. Who wasn’t an incel. Who wasn’t a cucked little incel”. Shine a light, he’s pissed. “We need powerful, strong, amazing women who make great points for themselves. We don’t need these Feminist 4.0, they’re pathetic, and embarrassing. Who’d want to shag that?

Looking in the mirror when he said that, was he? Ben Kelly was unimpressed. “Genuinely shocked by this. Dismal. Sneering, embittered inadaquate Laurence Fox and grinning sleaze bag Wootton say a lot about GB News”. Alan White cautionedAt some point the governing party might have to give the fact its deputy chair appears on this channel some consideration”. Point.

James Ball touched on GB News’ decision not to even say boo to Wootton following multiple allegations about his behaviour. “The host of this show is still broadcasting despite multiple serious allegations against him. That he’s being allowed to do so makes a mockery of UK broadcasting regulations, especially when the content is this vile”. Vile is putting it mildly.

So what was GB News going to do, if anything, about Dear Dear Larry’s excessively mellow state and his obnoxious rant? What was it going to do about Desperate Dan Wootton smirking along with him? Was there to be the first hint of contrition from Mr Angel Cake Frangipane, or whatever the channel’s boss is called? Was someone going to actually say sorry?

Dear Larry. Dear dear Larry. Dear suspended Larry

Well, almost. “Comments made tonight on GB News by Laurence Fox were totally unacceptable. What he said does not reflect our values and we apologise unreservedly for the comments and the offence they have caused. We have launched an investigation and will be apologising to the individual involved”. They’ll investigate how they got busted AGAIN.

But at least someone had prevailed upon Wootton to show regret. “I want to reiterate my regret over last night’s exchange with Laurence on GB News. Having looked at the footage, I can see how inappropriate my reaction to his totally unacceptable remarks appears to be and want to be clear that I was in no way amused by the comments”. Not amused? FUCK OFF.

There was, sadly, more of the same. “I should have intervened immediately to challenge offensive and misogynistic remarks. I apologise unreservedly for what was a very unfortunate lapse in judgement on my part under the intense pressure of a bizarre exchange. I know I should have done better. I'm devastated that I let down the team and our supportive GBN family”.

Bullshit. He loved every moment of it. But he wasn’t finished. “Dear [Ava-Santina] I think you’re brilliant. Earlier tonight I was attempting to find your tweets to read back from my iPad and couldn’t locate them. I apologise for what was said during the course of my show and should have done this immediately on air. This is not what our channel is about”. ‘Fraid it is, Dan.

He’d have looked more credible if he hadn’t restricted replies to his apologia. But enough of Desperate Dan and Dear Dear Larry. What of Ava-Santina, the target of the tirade? “Laurence Fox just did a whole speech on GB News on why men apparently won’t shag me? I feel physically sick”.

Ofcom enforcement only works for broadcasters who respect its judgment and want to play by the rules. GB News doesn’t, and doesn’t. That is all.

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Monday 25 September 2023

Macpherson Report NOW ONLINE

Stephen Lawrence was murdered in a racially motivated attack while waiting for a bus in Well Hall Road, Eltham on the evening of 22 April 1993. He was just 18 years old. At first, despite the arrest of six suspects, no charges were brought. The thought entered that race hatred not only motivated the attackers, but also affected the behaviour of the Metropolitan Police.

Stephen Lawrence

In 1998, a public inquiry chaired by Sir William Macpherson concluded not only that the initial investigation was incompetent, but also that the Met was institutionally racist. The resulting Macpherson Report has been hailed as “one of the most important moments in the modern history of criminal justice in Britain”. But much of its contents have lain inaccessible - until now.

Following the success of Discover Leveson, a searchable free online resource giving access to much of the material from the eponymous inquiry into the “culture, practices and ethics of the press”, Professor Brian Cathcart and his team have worked to create a partner resource for the Macpherson Report. His reasoning for this is straightforward.

I have felt for years that it was wrong that, while the Lawrence case and the inquiry were continually in the news and while race and policing remained so controversial, so many of these hugely valuable records were more or less inaccessible … Until now a lot of these have only been available in hard copy at the National Archives at Kew”. Now they are available to everyone.

Sir William Macpherson

Because Discover Macpherson is now online HERE. Also, it has a Twitter feed (or should that be an X feed?), called @DiscMacpherson. The site is not yet complete; there were some records at Kew that the team did not have the resource to digitise. If you know anyone who could assist, please point them at the site’s email address, which is discovermacpherson AT gmail DOT com.

Our free and fearless press, and especially the Mail titles, like to tell the world how knowledgeable they are on the Stephen Lawrence case. Now, you can find out for yourself just how knowledgeable they really are, while becoming more knowledgeable about it yourself. The Met is in the news once more: this resource gives a flavour of their lamentable past performance.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Brian Cathcart is a personal friend. And a good bloke.

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Sunday 24 September 2023

PICTORIAL The Police Escort

Cameras and smartphones had a new focus just for one day: yesterday was the annual Desfile dos Classicos presented by Lisbon public transport operator Carris (pronounced Ka-reesh). Tourists zoomed in on the parade of vintage tramcars and buses as it made its way from the Santo Amaro car barn for two return trips to Belém and Algés.

Waiting for the off - trams T1 and 444 in the shade of the Santo Amaro car barn

So those who had secured their €10 tickets, and been successful in getting a seat on their preferred vehicle - I was aboard 1940 bogie car 802 on the first run - became part of the show. And this show was important enough to be given a Police escort as it made its way through the streets. SIC Noticias put together a news item and video which you can see HERE.

Those of us on 802 enjoyed a minute or so at Algés to stretch our legs

Here are some views from yesterday, mostly of the second round trip, with the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos as backdrop, along with the queue of tourists trying to get in. The event happens at this time of the year every year - not during the pandemic, mind - so those visiting Lisbon can rock up at the Carris Museum ticket office and try to reserve a place. Enjoy!

The Police escort, with "Toast-rack" car 283 following. This tram's body was rescued some years ago from a children's playground

Tram 444 - the passengers have an enclosed saloon, but the driver does not

Tram T1 is a fully enclosed car

Early 1900s Brill bogie car 330

Four wheeler 535, built in-house by Carris

1940 streamlined bogie car 802, also built in-house

Three 1930s standard cars took part in the parade: typical of these is 745

When Carris bought British: this magnificent exposed-radiator AEC Regent Mk V carries bodywork from Weymann

And finally, the future: CAF-built 601, one of 15 new trams, has just entered service

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HS2 And The Right Wing Idiocy

Someone not unadjacent to amateur Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been briefing our free and fearless press that he is going to axe the Manchester to Birmingham part of the HS2 project, having already ditched the East Midlands to Leeds part of it. This would be a move of incalculable stupidity, and as such it has the unyielding support of the Tories’ cheerleaders out on the right.

Even disgraced former occasional Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has warned against further cuts to HS2: Bozo took many less than optimal decisions when Mayor of London; refusing to cancel Crossrail was not one of them. Even he can see that cutting HS2 further would fail to deliver network capacity improvements, and be totally counterproductive.

But out there on the right, the slew of Astroturf lobby groups whispering into the ear of gullible politicians - and they don’t come much more gullible than Sunak - keep on telling the PM that the project is somehow “unaffordable”, with the result that the Tories are briefing the economically illiterate excuse that proceeding with HS2 would leave “no money for anything else”.

Leaving aside for a moment John Maynard Keynes’ observation that “anything we can actually do we can afford”, something that is especially true when a Government is in charge of its own currency, it is high time that the economic, factual and technical illiteracy of the anti-HS2 cabal were analysed and exposed. Because this convocation of illiteracy is what informs Sunak.

We could see the convocation hard at work in the activities of the TPA, IEA and ASI (see Zelo Street passim). We can see it in the obedient recycling of the “no money for anything else” idiocy by those at the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph today. And we can see it in the Tel’s support act, the punditry of the increasingly alt-right Spectator magazine.

Those who look in regularly on Zelo Street may recall a historically, technically and indeed factually illiterate offering from one Ross Clark trailed with the claimThere is a far better option than HS2 - and it already exists”. Clark had become fixated on the long-closed Great Central main line.

So what was his schtick? This is a selection of what Clark has written, with my corrections. “The alternative is the little-known Great Central Railway [it’s known to everyone in the rail industry, because know-nothing hacks are forever citing it as an HS2 alternative]. This ready-made high speed line [it was engineered for 75mph] takes almost exactly the same route between London and the Midlands as HS2 would [no it doesn’t].” There is more.

Rather a lot more. “It sits there, its viaducts and bridges unused [by ‘unused’, he means ‘demolished’], begging for trains [no. Just no] … It was built with the vision of operating 125mph expresses [no railway designed in the 19th Century was thus built], and used a ‘continental loading gauge’ [debatable] - which means that, uniquely for British lines, the wider trains used in mainland Europe could be run along it [no they couldn’t. Not a chance]”.

And it got worse. “The Great Central was one of the many casualties of the Beeching closures of the 1960s [mainly wrong - the run down of the GC began in 1958, five years before the Beeching Report], yet it remains almost totally intact [totally wrong]. A few agricultural buildings have been built across it, but otherwise its line remains clear [by ‘A few agricultural buildings’ he means ‘most of Nottingham city centre’]”. Illiterate is putting it mildly.

Now, Clark is back, and the level of ignorance is off the scale. He talks of “the link between Manchester and the North West Coast mainline”. Who is this “North West Coast mainline”? If he means the West Coast Main Line, perhaps he should say so. He is also shaky on when HS2 started.

By the time that Johnson approved the project in early 2020”. Let’s consult the Wiki entry. “In January 2012, the Secretary of State for Transport announced that HS2 would go ahead in two phases”. Perhaps Clark means “Construction on the line began in 2020”, but that is not the same thing. And then he digs up the Great Central again. Sort of.

Between London and Rugby the project could have used the existing, disused trackbed of the Grand Central line, the last of the great trunk routes to be built at the turn of the 20th century, but which fell victim to the Beeching cuts”. Who is this “Grand Central line”? And on that note, I have questions.

One, how do you get from Rugby into Birmingham along a double track line which is already at capacity? Two, how do you get from the Great Central into London, other than using London Underground’s Metropolitan Line (no way), or the Chiltern Line, which is, once more, already at capacity?

Because that is how the GC got into London. But enough: this is the kind of idiocy informing the Government. It’s the kind of idiocy that brought us Brexit. The idiocy that says the UK should leave the ECHR. The idiocy that feeds culture wars and all the hate that comes with them. The idiocy that treats everything as some kind of jolly game. The idiocy that is trashing the country.

And if Sunak listens to the idiocy again, it will trash the country a little more.

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Friday 22 September 2023

So Farewell Then Rupert Murdoch

As the dust settles, and we see clearly a political landscape ravaged by hatred, bigotry, paranoia, division, denialism, faux populism, and an Overton Window dragged deliberately and relentlessly to the right, those elected to serve may take responsibility for the impoverishment of debate and livelihoods, and they may not. But they are just the fall guys.

Out goes the old face of evil ...

In the English-speaking world, from his native Australia to the UK to the USA, which gave him citizenship, one individual bears responsibility for poisoning the well, and his name is Keith Rupert Murdoch. Here we have had a mafia boss to outrank all other mafia bosses, whose empire has messed up whole countries, and with no comeback to worry about. Let that sink in.

So when the news came yesterday that Don Rupioni was finally relinquishing the reins of power to his favourite son Lachlan, and some commentators began to praise the old tyrant, one could be sure that this reflected only the emptiness and amorality of so much of the media class. Rupert Murdoch was not just an unelected foreigner. He was the embodiment of pure evil.

One need only consider the kinds of people that the Murdoch mafiosi have willingly employed: the deeply unpleasant Kelvin McFilth, their UK CEO Rebekah Brooks (twice), the singularly repellant Dan Wootton, and over at Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) there were wackos like Glenn Beck, Jeanine Pirro, Laura Ingraham, and Tucker Carlson.

When the new media idiocy like Darren Grimes (not at all craftily) say of himRupert Murdoch has been a force for good in the world throughout his life and through his media empire”, you can deduce two things: Grimes is full of crap (which you probably knew anyway), and he is desperately trying to gain the attention of someone in the Baby Shard bunker - to score some money.

This is not an isolated example: as with the central premise of Terry Southern’s Magic Christian, people will do anything for money; everyone has their price. The Murdoch empire added fear to that equation: do as you’re told and you’re paid well, don’t do as you’re told and you become a journalistic Unperson in very short order. And don’t even think about whistleblowing.

... and in comes the new one

So while the BBC report on Rupe kicking himself upstairs is procedural and anodyne (the Beeb is also scared of him), the Guardian’s Dan Sabbagh has brought usPower and scandal: how Murdoch drove the UK, US and Australia to the right”, which is rather more revealing, reminding us that phone hacking is still a thing, and Fox News is in big defamation trouble.

He notes “The Sun, whose Page 3 topless photographs lasted 44 years, turned from Labour to supporting Margaret Thatcher. Murdoch bought the Times titles with a supportive government in the background and fought the print unions at Wapping - before switching later to Tony Blair, eagerly backing him over the invasion of Iraq and sticking with him long after it had been revealed to be a disaster”. Hundreds of thousands dead. A failed state.

Every Murdoch newspaper backed the Iraq War. All 170 plus of them. The idea that all those editors came to the decision independently is pure tosh. Sabbagh again: “When the polls turned again, the papers, always with the proprietor making the final call, backed David Cameron, then Brexit, a once marginal cause that had been kept alive by a handful of rightwing newspapers … until it eventually went mainstream”. Another disaster.

And another disaster for which Don Rupioni does not have to face any kind of judgment. He is a politician unanswerable to electorates, the ultimate example of Stanley Baldwin’s “Power without responsibility”.

What, then, of favourite son Lachlan? He is just as far to the right as his father. He also, it seems, would continue the now loss-making Sun. The editorial line at Fox News is unlikely to change. The hatred, bigotry, paranoia, climate change denialism and faux populism will carry on. The elected politicians will bow down before the new Capo di Tutti Capi.

Unless the Murdoch family indulge in a little infighting. That’s your only hope.

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Thursday 21 September 2023

Rishi Sunak Slags Off Himself

With the Tories still well north of 20 points behind Labour in the polls, amateur Prime Minister Rishi Sunak needed something to take to Conference season, something his loyal followers could sell on the doorstep. So-called Inaction Man had to become active. So what would a sensible PM have done? What would an honest PM have done? What would Nietzsche have done?

"Honest" Sunak - not waving but drowning

Such is the desperation of not only the Tories, but their cheerleaders in and around our free and fearless press, that the answer consisted not merely of talking well, but lying badly, but a retrospective redefinition of reality, so that Sunak could claim he was ditching a host of policy commitments that had not existed in the first place. And the press followed him down his rabbit hole.

Here’s the claims put out on Sunak’s behalf. “We’re stopping heavy-handed measures … Taxes on eating meat … New taxes to discourage flying … Sorting your rubbish into seven different bins … Compulsory car sharing … Expensive insulation upgrades”. The first four of those five points do not exist, so to claim they are being stopped is a flat-out lie.

And the fifth, on insulation upgrades, is firstly a “no citation” claim (how is it ‘expensive’?), and secondly, the beneficiaries are in most part going to be the landlord class - the already well off. So the only real change proposed will not benefit working people. “There is nothing to be scrapped.. You're making a series of claims that aren't truehe was told on the Today programme.

His response? “I don't think its right to chase the short term headlines, just assert some goal for the future without a clear plan to deliver it and without being honest”. But that is exactly what he is doing. And the short-term headlines are just as he would have wanted, with the Daily Brexit, still called the Express, leading the way with the fantasy and propaganda.

‘HONEST’ RISHI: NATION WON’T AND CAN’T PAY NET ZERO BILL”. Putting “HONEST” in quote marks? OH WHAT A GIVEAWAY! The Mail was also bending reality to suit itself, with “I’LL SPARE FAMILIES RUINOUS COST OF NET ZERO, VOWS RISHI … PM takes on eco-zealots in bold move that could transform Tory fortunes”. But the Sun went one worse.

Sun Campaign Victory … Rishi delays bans on new cars & boilers … Scraps meat & flight tax in eco pushback … Given us a brake!” As Harold Macmillan almost said many years ago, could we have an English translation of that? The supporting article, under the by-line of the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole, still pretending to be a journalist, maintains the dishonesty.

THE PM hailed The Sun tonight as he delayed crippling net zero targets”. What makes them “crippling”, Master Cole? You wouldn’t be just recycling a Downing Street press release, would you? He also claims “he bins petrol car ban” when no ban on petrol cars is proposed. He should have said NEW petrol cars. So “Drivers have a five-year reprieve from going electric” is crap.

Then we get “A ban on gas boilers was binned, along with taxes on meat and flying”. Would that be NEW gas boilers? So misleading again. And those taxes on meat and flying don’t exist. So that’s lying to boot. And it got worse. “Mr Sunak … announced ‘BONKERS proposals for seven household bins, forced car pooling and taxes on meat and flying would never return’”.

There is no proposal for seven household bins, or forced car pooling. But the non-existent taxes on meat and flying get another mention. So why is the Sun going all-in with the whoppers? “Writing in The Sun today, the PM added: ‘Hard-pressed families shouldn’t have to pay an unaffordable price to reach net zero’”. Ah, the Murdoch mafiosi get a press release, sorry article, out of it.

And what makes current Net Zero proposals “unaffordable”? It’s just another example of what Peter Oborne called “shovelling it on” - don’t bother with doing any analysis, don’t interrogate your source, just recycle what they feed you. Master Cole gets called a “Political Editor”, yet all he and his contemporaries are doing is recycling press releases for the Tories.

It’s the only recycling scheme the press can agree on. So it will continue.

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Tuesday 19 September 2023

Debanking - Farage Lying Again

It was the stand-out story of the silly season: former Brexit Party Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage was to have his account with exclusive private bank Coutts closed. This was because, once he had repaid an outstanding loan, he would no longer meet the criteria for having an account there. But he was offered an ordinary NatWest account.

Nige was incandescent. Didn’t they know who he was? Well, yes they did, and Coutts also considered the reputational risk of having a racist bigot and congenital liar on the books. Ultimately, all turned out well for him: he got to keep his Coutts account, had a couple of NatWest bosses resign, and kept his undeserved high profile. So he kept appearing on the airwaves.

His latest crusade was all about Debanking. Especially all those who were having their accounts closed because of their political views, something he had largely made up. To this end, the Financial Conduct Authority would launch an investigation into the 12-month period to last June. Jeremy Hunt (the former Culture Secretary) told the FCA to get a move on and report.

And now report they have. As Sky News has told us, “The watchdog brought forward the publication of its findings, covering practices at 34 lenders, after an apparent leak to the Financial Times”. Do go on. “The FCA said the evidence it had gathered ‘suggests that no firm closed an account between July 2022 and June 2023 primarily because of a customer's political views’”.

But, they conceded, there was more work to do: “It added that it planned to work further with banks, building societies and payment companies to verify the data they supplied and better understand why and when they close accounts due to reputational risk”. These findings, though, were not in accordance with the requirements of Mr Thirsty. So he kicked off.

The FCA says it finds no evidence of politicians being 'de-banked' over political views. This new report is a whitewash and a joke … If we don't have a regulator that is fit for purpose, what hope is there for our banking industry?” So let’s pick apart his torrent of invective, false assumptions, logic leaps, opinion passed off as fact, and general dishonesty.

Whitewash and joke” is his opinion, based on no evidence at all. Equally, he provides nothing to back up his inference that the FCA is not “fit for purpose”. That claim appears to depend wholly on his “whitewash and joke” opinion being recast as fact. The major take-away from this latest Farage outburst is that any assertion he makes needs backing up with a reliable second source.

Meanwhile, the BBC has added thatThe watchdog's investigation looked at data from 34 banks and payment companies covering the period from June 2022 to June 2023. It said it had reviewed a number of cases where political views or other opinions were cited as a cause for closing an account”.

HOWEVER, “But in none of the cases was this the main reason, with customer behaviour, such as the use of ‘racist language directed towards staff’, most often to blame”. Nige wasn’t having any of that, either. “Mr Farage called the findings ‘absolutely farcical … To suggest no one gets debanked for their political views is total nonsense,’ he said, adding that there were ‘dozens’ of examples of where this had happened”. He knows what to do.

And that is to pony up the details of all those dozens, so that the FCA can check them out. After all, he wouldn’t have a problem with that, unless for some reason he was exaggerating, misinterpreting information, or just lying. So we can see how truthful his claim “I can only conclude that they're part of the problem, rather than part of the solution” really is, or maybe not.

Farage has declined to take any responsibility for the slow-motion national economic car crash that has followed Brexit. No doubt he will decline to take responsibility for hostility to banking institutions following his smearing of them. So once again the question has to be asked: why does the media class keep on awarding him a credibility that he does not deserve?

He said Debanking was a thing. He lied. I’ll just leave that one there.

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Monday 18 September 2023

Russell Brand - Mail Plays Catch-Up

Having said nothing about what Russell Brand may or may not have got up to during his journey through media circles, the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker are now pretending that only they have the real story. The problem they also have is that the rest of the press, and many of their readers, know that they don’t. And today’s best shot only goes to confirm that view.

Guy Adams in self-descriptive pose

The Dacre doggies have deemed the need to not only show that they knew all about Brand, but also use the exposé by the Times, Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches strand to kick the left. To this end, the Mail has taken out the long handle in the form of a hit piece from their specialist hit piece supremo Guy Adams, where he talks well, but lies badly.

Why was self-confessed narcissist Russell Brand ever lauded by the Left? How the liberal media feted the comedian as a political messiah - and set him on his path to becoming a conspiracy-peddling crank” trumpets the headline, but sadly, Adams drops a mirth-inducing whopper in the first paragraph.

A very special guest shambled his way into the Guardian newspaper's morning editorial conference and took a seat next to editor Alan Rusbridger on a striking yellow designer sofa”. Striking yellow designer sofa? As Billy Connolly once said, there’s going to be some swearing … FUCK OFF.

Full disclosure: I have seen the Rusbridger-era Guardian editorial conference room. And I’ll give Adams the Yellow part. The seating was indeed yellow. But the only striking thing about it was the lack of comfort. Not sure on “sofa”, and as for “designer” - there’s going to be an awful lot of involuntary hilarity among current and former Guardian staffers. This is the lowest form of tosh.

Worse, you don’t have to look far to see references to that furniture (Evening Standard, of all publications, recalls it HERE). And that’s the problem: having seen Adams lying at the top of his article, the reader is bound to suspect that the rest of his screed will be similarly afflicted. Like “The August 2013 meeting kicked off a series of high-profile and doubtless lucrative collaborations between Brand and various pillars of Britain's liberal media establishment”.

What the f***'s this got to do with me, c***?!?!?

DOUBTLESS? What Adams means is that he doesn’t know, and his bosses dare not let his article out without the necessary caveat. Because this isn’t someone from the general public who can’t afford to sue - Russell Brand is rich enough to hit the Mail with a lawsuit if he finds them not only lying, but defaming him. Adams’ piece had to include another of those tell-tale caveats when it came to former Labour leader, and Mail hate figure, Ed Miliband.

Impressed by the audience Brand could generate, and again seemingly unfazed by the sometimes bonkers and occasionally sinister fringe views he'd expressed, Ed Miliband subsequently decided to seek an endorsement from [him]”. SEEMINGLY. Best include that, cos Mil the Younger’s wife’s a Judge.

Elsewhere, Adams tells his readers nothing of substance. Brand got invited on to Newsnight (so what?). Pax Jeremiah didn’t approve (so what?). He called former Brexit Party Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage “a pound shop Enoch Powell”. Which sort of negates the headline claim of “Liberal media” if it keeps giving airtime to Mr Thirsty.

We get a slice of guilt by association: “Last year, after being suspended from YouTube for promoting vaccine misinformation, he moved to Rumble, a video site also used by misogynistic social media star Andrew Tate”. There is the obligatory sneer at the alleged value of his house: “a £3.3million house in Henley, Oxfordshire, where Brand built a studio in a garden shed”.

Press Gazette has noted thatThe Mail was ... criticised online for appearing to take credit for reporting the allegations against Brand ‘first’. In the Mail on Sunday, a headline claimed: ‘First with the news again… yesterday’s Daily Mail was the only paper with the story.’” But the Mail is, for the second day running, desperately playing catch-up, knowing that those who actually broke the story have follow-up content ready to go.

The Mail’s been caught doing opinion and no journalism. It may not recover.

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Sunday 17 September 2023

The Mail And Russell Brand

The exposé by the Murdoch Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches of comedian Russell Brand has told us many things: the rich and powerful enjoying the limelight can get away with behaviour that would get lesser mortals a criminal record, it takes a lot of journalistic hard yards and yet more legalling to get an exposé published, and not everyone likes the result.

Russell Brand

Bev Turner at Gammon Broadcasting™ News (“Bacon’s News Channel”) was one of them. “You are being attacked [Russell Brand] … Establishment media don't know what to do with the fact that you have 6million subscribers”. But not to worry, Brand was welcome on her show anytime. That one of her fellow presenters is the desperate and devalued Dan Wootton is somehow missed.

Aseem Malhotra told Brand “We support you mate” before the Tweet announcing his endorsement disappeared from view. An observant Tweeter asked “Was it the Times article or Dispatches?” Floor crosser Paul Embery declaredRussell Brand is entitled to the presumption of innocence”. Except that there was no criminal case against him. Then came the hypocrisy.

From media noise floor occupant TalkTV, tedious self-promotion specialist Julia Hartley Dooda: “I waited to see the … investigation of [Russell Brand] before forming an opinion on the allegations … I also want to hear [his] defence … Without a Police inquiry or court case, we can’t know for sure what really happened”. Which wasn’t what she said about Huw Edwards.

But in the biscuit-taking pantheon of media shithousery, these bad faith actors paled into insignificance before the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker: the Mail on Sunday, as befits the modus operandi of the Dacre doggies, after saying less than boo for the duration of the Sunday Times and Channel 4 investigation, suddenly and miraculously knew more than everyone else.

We know this from the MoS’ front page headline: “As comic brazenly takes to the stage, Police urge victims to come forward … BRAND IS ACCUSED OF RAPE - AND GROOMING A GIRL OF 16”. Moreover, readers are told of an “Exclusive MoS Dossier”. The paper has devoted six pages to “The Full Extraordinary Story”. The problem for the MoS is the lack of exclusivity.

Which does not extend much further than “Four women alleged they were assaulted by Brand, one of whom had previously told the Mail on Sunday of his ‘controlling and manipulative’ behaviour”. So why didn’t the Mail titles, armed with the best media lawyers, say anything earlier? Why wait until someone else does the e-legwork and has it all legalled?

And it is in answering these questions that we arrive at the heart of how the Mail titles operate. They may or may not have had something about Brand in the safe, but especially with recent budget cuts, so much of their allegedly original content comes from all those opinion writers, and the likes of their “Royal Correspondents” who recycle press releases and make stuff up.

The Daily Mail, and MoS, can Doxx a target’s home - maybe not specify the address, but a photo is fine by them - along with an estimate of what the property is worth. They can trawl social media histories for dirt, and when it is deemed necessary, get a private investigator to dig up more. The titles have a grim reputation for illegal information gathering (pace Steve Whittamore).

But the kind of investigation that the Times and Sunday Times, to their credit, and Channel 4 have undertaken? Not the Mail. They wait until after the story breaks, and then tell readers “Amid a series of explosive allegations … BBC and Channel 4 bosses faced questions over whether complaints by staff about Brand's alleged behaviour were ignored”. Bash the broadcasters.

The Beeb sacked Brand, and Channel 4 was a party to exposing him. All the Mail did was to dump on both organisations while doing next to nothing in the way of original journalism. Even when they had the story - “One of the alleged victims, Jordan Martin, told this newspaper in 2015” - they did nothing. All the Mail does is get righteous, kick the BBC, and sponge off others’ work.

Then in the retelling, claim the credit. It’s reality, Jim, but not as we know it.

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Wednesday 13 September 2023

Laura K’s Contact Book Chaos

Broadcast on BBC2 last Monday was the first of a three-part series called State of Chaos, fronted by the Corporation’s former political editor Laura Kuenssberg, and was, ultimately, more about her contacts book, and the ridiculous attempts to “both sides” everything, than the claimed subject, the post-referendum civil war within the Tory party and its wider implications.

Lots of gossip from her contacts ...

Except there weren’t many of those wider implications. Ms Kuenssberg becomes fixated upon trivia such as “civil servant Simon McDonald had let on to Foreign Office colleagues that he was a Remainer”. So what? Would she care to tell viewers how this impacted upon his ability to discharge his duties with due impartiality? Then she can tell Robbie Gibb, too.

Sadly, as the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph concedes, “Some of these [talking heads] are usual-suspect rent-a-gobs”. Like former Brexit Party Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, who had no part in the Tory party infighting, or indeed any of the Brexit negotiations.

So there was no point in her wasting her time with him. The Guardian, at least, hints at the real problem for Ms Kuenssberg, after noting “It offers a portrait of baffled officials, from ministers to civil servants, splashing around in the muck, out of their depth, sometimes pointing a finger at somebody else”. As usual, when the Tories foul up, it’s someone else’s fault. There is more.

... but nothing about his lying ...

There is a great display of the BBC’s grand balancing act throughout [like “here’s a Professor in European studies, and on the other hand, here’s Darren Grimes”], though notably, the only Labour figure interviewed in the opening episode is Hilary Benn”. The leader of the opposition in 2016, and after the departure of Theresa May, was Jeremy Corbyn. Where is his take on the chaos unfolding across the Dispatch Box? We don’t get to hear that.

We do get “Kuenssberg suggests that this is the moment a ‘new, radical ugliness began to emerge’ in British politics”. Maybe one day we will also get her part in that: not calling out Vote Leave for breaking electoral law, and not saying boo about the constant lying from the likes of Matthew Elliott, and former chief Downing Street polecat Dominic Cummings.

Then the Guardian tells “The programme is sprawling, yet it feels as though people are missing: the biggest characters in this carousel of chaos do not appear, and their absence is notable”. Who might that include? Well, anyone from the EU side, from where the pressures came that helped to sink Ms May. No Michel Barnier. No Ursula von der Leyen. No Guy Verhofstadt.

... maybe he would like to comment?

After all, if we get Farage, we should hear from those he so loudly and dishonesty slags off. But that’s the BBC “both sides-ism” writ large. It does not occur to Ms Kuenssberg that if we are talking about Brexit, the “both sides” should include mainstream European figures. Instead, it means airtime for Mr Thirsty, and nonentities like alleged Tory hard man Steve Baker.

Alexander Clarkson of KCL certainly noticed. “There is something epically absurd in a BBC documentary claiming to tell the story of the impact of the UK leaving the EU on the British political system that manages to not talk to anyone from the EU side including Ireland, nor anyone in Scottish, NI or Welsh politics”. Point, given Scotland voted overwhelmingly to Remain.

There was more: “not a single EU or Irish, Northern Irish or Scottish leader setting out all the factors external to Westminster that constrained May's freedom of action within it … As long as the story of Brexit is presented on the BBC and other key media as merely a matter of Westminster politicians negotiating with other Westminster politicians then the UK state and party system will keep making the same mistakes over and over again”. Quite.

As Patrick Howse put it in a Byline Times article, “What they got [Ms Kuenssberg] was a journalist with access to the upper reaches of the Government, with a determination to get on air and tell everyone the whispers that she had heard from ministers, advisors and officials - before Sky or ITN [but] What the BBC needed was someone who could take a step back, away from the scrum, and tell audiences when they were being lied to. That was something neither the BBC nor Kuenssberg has ever come to terms with”.

Flawed former political editor makes flawed TV series. No surprise there.

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Monday 11 September 2023

Proms - Fascism Season Starts Early

Proms. THE Proms. The Henry Wood Promenade Concerts Presented By The BBC. From July to September, a daily series of concerts of classical music priced to be affordable to as many of the population as possible (a seat up in the Rausing Circle could be had for around £16 this season). A series of concerts that owes its continued existence to the Beeb.

To end each season of Proms concerts, there is the Last Night Of The Proms, complete with the post-interval nationalism of Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March #1 (“Land of Hope and Glory”), Rule, Britannia, Henry Wood’s Fantasia on British Sea Songs, Jerusalem, and a good rousing outing for the National Anthem to round things off. And the waving of flags.

Ah, the waving of flags. Something which the headbanger Brexiteer tendency approves of when it is Union flags or flags of St George that are being waved, with those from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland tolerated. But waving the flag of the European Union? Sacrilege! High DYAH they?!? High utterly GHESTLY! Also, it provides the excuse for another whipping up of hatred.

And so it came to pass: first, the more factual and detached version from the Guardian. “The sight of hundreds of European Union flags at the Last Night of the Proms has prompted outrage from Brexiters and a call for the BBC to investigate. Those waving the EU flag in the Royal Albert Hall appeared to outnumber those waving the union flag”. And then the screamingly batshit.

Who would care to go first? Here’s the Mail to howl at the moon: “Viewers of the Last Night Of The Proms last night were up in arms after thousands of EU flags were spotted in the crowd … audience members in the historic venue brought out the blue and yellow flags during a rendition of Rule Britannia, a traditionally patriotic song”. Why oh why oh why oh why. There was more.

Flags have long been an integral part of the Proms, with the final concert showcasing traditional British orchestral anthems - and some audience members using the night to demonstrate their political ideology [however] the EU emblem dominated TV screens … Some audience members could also be seen in EU patterned suits and berets”. TRAITAHS! STRING ‘EM UP!!

You think that was bad? Here’s the Daily Brexit, still called the Express, turning up that howling just a little bit more. “The BBC has come under fire after a ‘seething mass of remainers’ that ‘hijacked’ Rule Britannia were shown waving EU flags during its Last Night of the Proms coverage”. Do go on.

The coverage - which featured footage of the crowd waving of EU flags during the traditional performances of patriotic anthems Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory - has been blasted as ‘disgraceful’ and ‘nauseatingly woke’”. EH? In what way is the waving of a flag showing that one is “alert to injustice in society, especially racism”? But there was worse to come.

Gammon Broadcasting™ News (“Bacon’s News Channel”) was howling yet louder. “The BBC has sparked outrage following its coverage of the Last Night of the Proms, with a former Tory MP calling for an inquiry into flag-waving pro-EU activists. Hundreds of European Union flags were being waved throughout the final performance of the summer festival”.

There was more. “Thomas Arne’s 1740 classic Rule Britannia, which is synonymous with the end-of-season concert, was seen as a tipping point for many on social media”. A succession of Brexiteer idiocy was cited in support. Nile “Chauncey” Gardiner wibbled about FREEDOM. Without realising that FREEDOM includes the FREEDOM to wave your chosen flag.

It’s nothing more than an early start to the Poppy Fascism season: it was not so long ago that ITV presenter Charlene White was bombarded with sexist and racist abuse for the heinous crime of Reading The News During Early November While Not Wearing A Poppy. Now we can add Proms Fascism: FREEDOM to wave flags, providing they are agreeable to Brexiteers.

Freedom of speech and freedom of expression. You either support both, or you’re an authoritarian and a fascist. Hello Mail, Express, and GB News.

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