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Monday 26 February 2024

30p Lee Does Another Racism

And so it came to pass that all the attempts by the Tories to drive the issue of bigotry round the houses until the next issue provided a little momentary interest were for nothing. Lee Anderson, already minus the party whip, has declined to say sorry for doing a racism with his attack on London Mayor Sadiq Khan, but instead has done another racism. And a conspiracy theory.

As the BBC has reported, Anderson told Gammon Broadcasting™ News (“Bacon’s News Channel”) that “I don't actually believe that the Islamists have got control of our country, but what I do believe is they've got control of [Sadiq] Khan and they've got control of London… He's actually given our capital city away to his mates”. The Scary Muslims™ done it!

After he lost the whip, 30p Lee mused “Following a call with the chief whip, I understand the difficult position that I have put both he and the prime minister in with regard to my comments. I fully accept that they had no option but to suspend the whip in these circumstances. However, I will continue to support the government's efforts to call out extremism in all its forms - be that anti-Semitism or Islamophobia”. And how would he express this support?

Sadly for the Tories, he would express it by doing another racism, along with a screaming dog-whistle of a racist conspiracy theory. “If you are wrong, apologising is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength … But, when you think you are right, you should never apologise because to do so would be a sign of weakness”. So what made him right, and Mayor Khan wrong?

His remarks wereborn out of sheer frustration at what is happening to our beautiful capital city … Politics is divisive and I am just incredibly frustrated about the abject failures of the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan … Hundreds of people had been arrested for racist abuse on these marches [showing solidarity with Palestinians] and we barely hear a peep from the mayor”.

Do go on. “If these marches were about something less fashionable, Sadiq Khan would have been the first to call for them to be cancelled. It’s double standards for political benefit”. You may not have heard the dog whistle, but the racists did. That’s the “two-tier policing” racist conspiracy theory.

Added to that, Anderson is lying about “hundreds of people … arrested for racist abuse”. The BBC has revealed that “Religious/racial abuse has been listed as the reason for arrest in a total of 30 cases … 11 in October … 11 in November … Eight in December”. Figures for January are not yet available. Then there is the suggestion that Khan has operational control of the Met.

Let’s take this nice and slowly, for 30p Lee and all the others who think that the Mayor of London could call off the Palestine solidarity marches. Sadiq Khan does not, repeat does not, REPEAT DOES NOT have operational control over the Metropolitan Police. And the only person who can direct the Met to outlaw those marches is the Home Secretary, James Cleverly.

Who is not the Mayor of London, not in the Labour Party, and not intervening to have any of those marches called off. Sadly, nailing Islamophobia is less straightforward as the cross-party group which devised a definition of that racism had its findings kicked into the long grass by the Tories - possibly because it would expose the bigotry of our free and fearless press.

It would certainly cause editors to think twice before giving a platform to the likes of the deeply unpleasant Kelvin McFilth, who is still courted by the papers, and indeed GB News. And Trevor Kavanagh asking about what we are going to do about “The Muslim Question”, only to pretend he didn’t know that wording was loaded. Nor did his editors. Yeah, right.

It might also stop Tories indulging in Muslim bashing, like Paul Scully, who todaytalks about ‘changing neighbourhoods’ and Muslim ‘no go areas’ in Tower Hamlets and Birmingham”. Miqdaad Versi noted “Not realising ‘no go zones’ are a typical false & Islamophobic trope from the white supremacist & far right fringes, shows the depth of the problem”. Remember Andy Ngo.

Lee Anderson is a racist bigot. As are too many Tories and pundits.

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Sunday 25 February 2024

Liz Truss - Remove The Whip. NOW

No action was taken by the Tories following the outburst of bigotry in the Commons by Robert Jenrick, or the support of that outburst by Penny Mordaunt. And no action was taken following the throwing of petrol on the fire by Suella Braverman. But Lee Anderson had the whip removed after he did a racism with his attack on London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

30p Lee will, however, continue to be accommodated by Gammon Broadcasting™ News (“Bacon’s News Channel”), which should surprise no-one, given that the broadcaster’s main money injecting man is Paul Marshall, who has just been exposed as having an Alt Twitter account which re-Tweets and likes a range of Muslim bashing wacko conspiracy theory bigotry.

Worse for the Tories in two ways is, One, that it has been strongly inferred that Anderson would not have had the whip removed had he apologised, and, Two, that the worst of the lot remains unpunished. Mary Elisabeth Truss, formerly, and fortunately briefly, comedy Prime Minister, has been to the USA, where she has been keeping some seriously dodgy company.

As before, she has claimed that her Premiership was undermined by something called The Media. But that media includes the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press, which praised her unconditionally. The Daily Mail, in particular, told its readers “COMETH THE HOUR, COMETH THE WOMAN” and “AT LAST! A TRUE TORY BUDGET”. So true a Tory budget that it came close to crashing the economy. And it got worse. A lot worse.

She proceeded to share a platform with the deeply unpleasant Steve Bannon, whom she askedWould you work with Nigel Farage to restructure the Tory party?” That’s a whip suspension in one. Bannon proceeded to call Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, a “hero”.

How would Ms Truss respond? How would a statesmanlike and credible former Prime Minister have responded? How would any person with a hole in their arse and brain plugged in have responded? How would Nietzsche have responded? Sadly, Ms Truss does not operate on that intellectual plateau, and so she just nodded along with Bannon. And it got worse still.

Liz Truss is attending this year’s CPAC. She has delivered a speech to the gathering. The same gathering which Jack Posobiec has addressed, raising his fist as he proclaimedWelcome to the end of democracy. We are here to overthrow it completely. We didn’t get all the way there on Jan. 6, but we will endeavor to get rid of it”. Still want to give her the benefit of the doubt?

Nick Lowles of Hope Not Hate asked the obvious question. “Where is the media and political outrage at Liz Truss, a (short-lived) former British Prime Minister, addressing a conference where speaker after speaker glorify the storming of the Capitol on Jan 6 and promise worse is to come?

His problem, sadly, is that rather too many in the media and politics are prepared to downplay or even dismiss the bigotry. Like the BBC (hello Robbie Gibb) dismissing 30p Lee’s racism with the headlineMP suspended over criticism of London mayor”. Oliver Dowden, still deputy PM, declaredI don't believe Lee Anderson said those words in any way intending to be Islamophobic”. Spectator editor Fraser Nelson is also in downplaying mode.

Genuinely racist and anti-Muslim slurs are very rare in British public debate” he pontificated, for some reason not noticing the amount of genuinely racist and anti-Muslim slurs that appear in the magazine, and on the website, of which he is supposed to be the editor. Remember “My own view is that there is not nearly enough Islamophobia within the Tory party”?

And Ms Truss is probably safe when Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has to tell Laura Kuenssberg “You basically laid bare the Tory Party's problem.. you see ambivalence when it comes to Islamophobia. If the ‘they have got control’ was related to Jewish people that would straightaway be called out as anti-semitism. But there's a double standard here”.

Liz Truss should have the Tory whip removed. But her party, and its media allies, are already circling the wagons. The Tories’ racist sickness exposed.

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Friday 23 February 2024

Muslim Hatred And The Media

Nothing, but nothing, comes close to the sustained hostility, nay, bigotry displayed not only by our free and fearless press, but also broadcast media and rather too many of what Robin Day memorably and rightly called “here today and gone tomorrow politicians”, towards Muslims. Demonisation does not even begin to describe it. It had gone too far a long time ago.

Now, it has got out of hand to such an extent that it has passed the wayside station known as Hate Speech and is gathering speed towards Underclass. Yes, followers of The Prophet are the new Untermenschen, the latest attempt to dump on them for no good reason at all being the debate earlier this week on calls for a ceasefire in Gaza, and for the slaughter there to stop.

It really kicked off when Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle told those gathered in the chamber that MPs face “frightening” threats. Allied to former Brexit Party Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage telling “By the 2029 General Election we will have a radical Islamic party represented in Westminster”, the translation of “threats” into “Scary Muslims™” was on.

Flap-mouthed bigot Julia Hartley Dooda saw protests at the Commons and instantly converted this into more of those Scary Muslims™: “‘We have slept [sic] walked into this’ … Julia Hartley Brewer reacts to ‘outrageous scenes’ taking place across the country influenced by ‘Islamist Ideology’ … ‘a highly political, highly violent ideology called “Islamism” is sweeping on [sic] nation’”.

The loathsome Toby Young joined in, setting the bar yet lower: “If Keir Starmer browbeats the Speaker into breaching Parliamentary rules because he fears Muslim Extremists will attack his MPs, what would he do in office to appease the same mob? Ban cartoons of Mohammed? Make disrespecting the Qur’an a hate crime? Repeal the Terrorism Act?

So now it’s terrorism! And it’s Hamas!! You think I jest? Along came Tom Harris to make the connections: “The intimidation of MPs is not coming from both sides in the Israel-Hamas conflict. Only one side's supporters believe it's okay to threaten and intimidate democratically elected representatives … Hamas supporters reckon they can get their way by violence and intimidation. Shocking revelation, eh?” What violence? What intimidation?

One hates to come over all Neil Kinnock, but here we have a former Labour MP - A Former Labour MP - scuttling round media outlets seeding hatred. Peaceful protest is violent! It’s Hamas! One Tweeter posted a photo of this supposed Muslim horde. Except they weren’t. They were white and elderly.

And then came the opportunist Tory politicians, for whom no barrel scraping went low enough. Leading off was the Creep’s Creep, Robert Jenrick, claimingWe have allowed our streets to be dominated by islamist extremists.... & now we're allowing islamist extremists to intimidate British members of Parliament”. He was, sad to tell, not alone in this view.

Previously sort of sensible Penny Mordaunt chipped in “I could not agree more with my right honourable friend”. Would anyone care to top that? Here’s Suella! “Suella Braverman says Islamists are in charge of Britain nowannounced the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph.

It should not need saying that wanting an end to the gratuitous slaughter of little children and their mums, to be annoyed with your elected representatives for trivialising the matter, and exercising the right to protest does not make you extreme. It does not make you an Islamist. It does not make you Hamas. It does not make you violent. It makes you human.

Jew hatred was a feature of 1930s Britain: the hostility that those such as Nicholas Winton faced, just for organising the Kindertransport, was real. It took the Holocaust to stop that. The mass killing of millions of Jews stopped that hatred from passing the dinner party test. How much more slaughter of innocent people will have to take place before Muslim hatred goes the same way? You know, the latest hatred to pass the dinner party test?

It’s high time the press and politicians gave their heads a shake. And stopped pouring out the hatred. Then showed a better example. Just a thought.

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Thursday 22 February 2024

Labour’s Gaza Shame - Part 1

It was a day designated as an SNP opposition day. So it should have surprised no-one that the Scot Nats put forward a motion calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, no ifs, no buts, no get-out clause, no conditional statement. Then Labour put forward its own amendment, to demand an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire”. And then came the Speaker.

Mr Speaker is very sorry ...

Lindsay Hoyle waves his arms and otherwise flaps a lot. He generates significant amounts of hot air. Yesterday, he went against recent tradition by allowing the Labour amendment to go first, which, as the BBC report put it, prompted “fury from both the SNP and the Conservatives”.

So why was the Labour amendment an equivocation? Beeb again: “Labour's amendment, which called for an ‘immediate humanitarian ceasefire’ noted that Israel ‘cannot be expected to cease fighting if Hamas continues with violence’ and called for a diplomatic process to deliver ‘a safe and secure Israel alongside a viable Palestinian state’ … While the initial motion tabled by the SNP went further, calling for an ‘immediate ceasefire’ and an end to the ‘collective punishment of the Palestinian people’”. Meaning what?

Meaning this gave the Israeli Government the old get-out ploy. Also, “Sir Lindsay's decision meant Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer avoided another potential rebellion over the party's position on Gaza as Labour MPs were able to show their support for a ceasefire without voting for an SNP motion”.

Was this merely Keir Starmer getting lucky? Apparently not: as Nick Watt of Newsnight told, “Senior Labour figures tell me [Commons Speaker] was left in no doubt that Labour would bring him down after the general election unless he called Labour’s Gaza amendment”. An amendment which got round Starmer ordering his MPs to abstain on the SNP motion.

That could have caused cracks to appear in the ostensibly solid and united Labour edifice, the possibility of open revolt among some shadow ministers. It may not have been caving in to Labour threats, but you could see it from there. In any case, what was stopping The Red Team from just giving its MPs a free vote? What was wrong with just saying “ceasefire now”?

... to have let an opportunist politician off the hook

Ah well. While the BBC Politics feed told‘I regret how it's ended up... it was never my intention for it to end up like this’ … Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle says he ‘tried to do what he thought was the right thing for all sides of this House’ as he apologises for his decision”, there was uproar outside the chamber as protesters voiced their displeasure at MPs’ behaviour.

And then came the inevitable fallout. Nick Watt again: “Looking like [SNP] MPs minded to sign the Will Wragg EDM expressing no confidence in [Commons Speaker]. One Tory: When the Tories and SNP agree then something big is afoot”. Owen Jones had his own take on the matter.

Labour blackmailed the Speaker into violating Parliamentary protocol so they could shield Israel from the charge of collective punishment … Any political journalist worth their money should be clear that’s what happened … The Speaker allowed himself to be bullied and should resign”. The problem is that too many journalists were whining “look over there” at the protesters.

Who could be smeared as “extremists”, or worse, merely for wanting an end to the slaughter, and then getting justifiably angry when their elected representatives used the exercise to put the frighteners on Lindsay Hoyle, and otherwise show the world that their priorities did not include stopping thousands of women and children from being blown apart in Gaza.

Journalist Sol Hughes surveyed the wreckage and concludedI was once in some Courtroom training. A Barrister explained that if you ask a witness a question, then look away when they answer, they'll raise their voice to get your attention , so you can try make them seem angry + unreasonable. It's how Labour are treating Gaza protests”. And all for what?

The Speaker may have been fatally undermined. Meanwhile, the killing goes on. And Starmer’s Labour treats it as a game. Bad, bad mistake.

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Tuesday 20 February 2024

Julian Assange And Justice

And so came the last opportunity for Julian Assange to avoid being extradited from the UK to the United States: the current court hearing is to challenge a decision by Priti Patel, then Home Secretary, and also the 2021 High Court ruling that he could be extradited. He has been incarcerated in Belmarsh Prison since being dragged from the Ecuadorian Embassy in 2019.

So what has Assange allegedly done to warrant his being banged up in Belmarsh? The US authorities claim “Conspiracy to commit computer intrusion” and violating the 1917 Espionage Act. Why so? That is all down to the information released by WikiLeaks. Information which showed the USA, its security agencies, and its armed forces in a very poor light indeed.

In other words, he blew the whistle on some seriously deadly behaviour. He also did not endear himself to the US Democrats by publishing information suggesting the party was biased against Bernie Sanders, in the run-up to the party’s 2016 Convention. He was also critical of combover crybaby Donald Trump. But Trump was later to speak highly of WikiLeaks.

As the BBC has reported, “On the campaign trail, Trump heaped praise on Wikileaks, saying at one rally that ‘Wikileaks is like a treasure trove,’ and ‘Boy, I love reading Wikileaks,’ at another”. So would he cut Assange some slack? Er, no: “But in 2019, when asked about the prosecution of Assange, Trump said: ‘I know nothing really about him. That’s not my deal in life.’

If Assange thought Trump might look favourably upon him, he was sorely mistaken. For Trump, everything is transactional: if Assange, or anyone else, is no longer any use to him, does not confer any benefit upon him, then they are simply discarded. He’ll get nothing out of Trump. And, as Wikileaks was behind the leaking of Hillary Clinton’s private emails, he’ll get nothing out of Joe Biden either. The current President has been silent on the matter.

Some will point to Assange’s behaviour being, shall we say, challenging. He can be a right royal pain in the neck. But that is not a criminal offence: were it so, most of the Parliamentary Conservative party, along with their lobby group pals, and most of their press hangers-on, would now have been banged up.

Countries that might have given Assange asylum are most likely frightened of the USA turning on them - whoever is in the White House. And now there is the issue of his health suffering as a result of his imprisonment. Ominously, the BBC report now tells “Julian Assange's lawyer says the Wikileaks founder is not in court today as he is unwell”. How unwell is then spelled out.

Assange's wife Stella [told the BBC] that he would not survive being extradited from the UK to the US as he is physically and mentally extremely weak … [his brother] said his health was in 'a very delicate position' and he was ‘going through immense amounts of suffering’ at Belmarsh Prison, where he has been since 2019”. Years of confinement take their toll.

So why continue with the extradition? After all, the WikiLeaks trove “are said to have originated from former US soldier Chelsea Manning. Back in 2013, Manning was court martialled and sentenced to 35 years in prison for charges relating to this leak. But this sentence was later commuted by then US President Barack Obama after she'd already served four years in prison”.

More suspiciously, as Wikipedia notes, “Under the Obama Administration, the Department of Justice did not indict Assange because it could not find evidence that his actions differed from those of a journalist”. But then, “During the Trump Administration, CIA director Mike Pompeo and Attorney General Jeff Sessions stepped up pursuit of Assange”.

So Trump spoke with forked tongue. Again. Looking at the case now, there seems no point in continuing the pursuit of Assange, especially given Chelsea Manning has been free for some years. Being a difficult SOB is no excuse for imprisoning someone in a maximum security jail. So why not just free him and have done with it? Ah well. They have to make an example of someone.

That’s how the same They keeps everyone else in line. Sad but true.

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Sunday 18 February 2024

Trump - Why He’s Toast

There may or may not be a General Election in the UK this year. But there is no such uncertainty in the USA: the Presidency, all of the House of Representatives, and a third of the Senate are up for grabs come November. For the increasingly wacko Republican Party, that means getting behind combover crybaby Donald Trump. But here a problem enters.

Donald, where's yer hairspray?

The Donald is mired in a series of court cases. Including the just-delivered judgment of Judge Arthur Engoron in a civil fraud case in New York. As the BBC correctly reports, “Donald Trump's latest legal loss hits him where it hurts most because it takes aim at his very identity. For decades, he has marketed himself as a genius business mogul who made it big in one of the world's most cut-throat cities”. Not any more. And why should that be?

Judge Arthur Engoron's ruling in a civil fraud case - related to the inflation of property values and lying on financial statements to obtain better loan terms - undermines Mr Trump's entire narrative. It instead paints him as a fraud and inflicts a massive blow to his business empire and wealth”. A fraud.

Trump “has personally been banned from holding any directorships for three years and his company cannot secure loans with financial institutions registered with [New York] city during that time either … He has been hit with an enormous financial penalty of $355m (£282m; €329m) - which jumps to more than $450m once interest is included - that far exceeds how much cash he has to hand”. He will appeal. But that will only make matters worse.

The reality is that Trump is not the multi-billionaire he would like the world to believe. Paying that penalty will mean getting a loan, which will be difficult because financial institutions now know where he’s at, and will demand any property used to secure that loan be independently valued.

In other words, they won’t take his word for it. And if he chooses to sell some of that property empire in order to pay the fine, the world will see just how much it’s really worth. Lawyers will begin to ask for payment up front, because something else that is becoming better known is Trump’s habit of not paying his bills in full, or in some cases, not paying them at all.

NBC News noted that documents reviewed by USA Today included “More than 200 liens since the 1980s that were filed by contractors and workers who said they were stiffed … Records released by casino regulators in 1990 that show 253 subcontractors on a single project were not paid in full or on time”. As well as not paying workers minimum wage, or overtime.

Making money by stiffing suppliers, refusing payments for spurious reasons, and not even paying workers. As well as, it seems, fiddling property values and lying about it. But this is a tycoon who has his own Boeing 757, isn’t it? Well, maybe. But that aircraft is over 32 years old, it will cost him more and more to run, and you don’t skimp on maintenance on a 757.

Trump Force One, as it is known, has not, as far as is known, flown this year. It won’t be worth much now. So getting to all those other court cases won’t feature it. But the lies will continue, if not from Trump himself, then from members of his immediate family. After Judge Engoron handed down that penalty, it was son Eric who was first out of the dishonesty traps.

Eric claimed his father “built the skyline of New York City”, to which Rick Larios respondedTake random photos of NY's skyline...none will show Trump labeled buildings. If you were paying homage to NY's skyline, it would feature the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the World Trade Center, the Woolworth Building, the UN, etc. But not Trump”.

And MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell had heard enough. “Think about the size of this Eric Trump lie. Not one building visible in the NYC skyline is a Trump building. Now imagine the media reaction to Hunter Biden telling a lie of this size tomorrow.” Maybe those media double standards will fade a little as those pushing them realise what a fraud Trump really is.

The people want to know if their President’s a crook. Well, he’s not the President, but he is a crook. Shame on those promoting him.

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Friday 16 February 2024

Voters Already Decided - Told You So

Last month, I concluded that, whatever dirty tricks the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press deployed in order to frighten their readers back into line and support the Tories would not work. The electorate had already made its mind up, and that meant The Blue Team was toast.

And so it came to pass: despite Labour being given a week of torrid press, most of it self-inflicted and thoroughly deserved, the Tories have just experienced a double horror show overnight, with two safe seats lost in by-elections in the constituencies of Wellingborough and Kingswood. If the swing in the former were replicated nationally, only four Tory MPs would remain.

That swing was only 0.7% short of the 1994 record set when Labour took Dudley West. It was well ahead of the swings achieved by Labour last year in Tamworth, and Selby and Ainsty. It may not have helped the Tories that their candidate was the girlfriend of disgraced former MP Peter Bone, whose departure via a recall petition was what sparked the contest.

So what were Rishi Sunak’s excuses, apart from stating the bleeding obvious - that his party is finished and on its way out? As the BBC has reported, “The prime minister says midterm by-elections for incumbent governments ‘are always difficult’ and ‘the circumstances of these by-elections were of course particularly challenging’, after Labour overturned big Tory majorities in both Kingswood and Wellingborough”. So challenging that they lost.

Any more? “But, despite Labour’s swing in Wellingborough being credited as the second largest since the second world war, Sunak says ‘very low turnout’ is to blame and results also show ‘there isn’t a huge amount of enthusiasm for the alternative in Keir Starmer and the Labour party’”. The turnout in both Wellingborough and Kingswood was not low for a by-election.

Why are voters’ minds made up well before the General Election? Simples. The Tories are pursuing fringe votes with needless culture war tactics: sending desperate refugees to Rwanda, picking on Trans people, trying to frighten the electorate against Muslims, pretending only they can sort out all the strikes that are mostly of their own making.

Rail strikes? Could have been sorted long ago, but Sunak and his pals are rail haters and don’t mind damaging the industry - they want it damaged. Doctors taking action? The Tories could have sorted that, too, but they detest the NHS and would like to see it gone, replaced by a far more expensive system of health insurance. And the voters have them sussed.

Worse, scratching the racist itch and kicking followers of The Prophet has backfired spectacularly: Reform UK, formerly the Brexit Party, has scooped up more than 10% of the vote in both Wellingborough and Kingswood. Without any obvious assistance from former Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage. The hardcore Brexiteer vote has abandoned the Tories.

The result is that Sunak and his fellow Tories are Dead Politicians Walking. Nothing they do will turn it round. Also, as former Sun editor David Yelland has noted, “Overnight results show that, not since the 1930s, has the British popular press been so out of touch with the British people. The proprietors’ agenda is not the people’s agenda”. The propaganda ain’t making it.

So the Tories are not yet down and out. But you can see it from there.

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Wednesday 14 February 2024

Guido Fawked - Racist Mask Slips

When someone tells you who they are, as the saying goes, believe them the first time. The adage is certainly true of the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, who have just done a racism so egregious that it has now been pulled. It is shocking but not surprising.

Look who sits in judgment on others ...

After all, that first time came back in the mists of time when Staines was a student in Hull, and a member of the Federation of Conservative Students. As the Guardian reported at the time, “A leader of the Federation of Conservative Students wrote to an organiser of the British National Party proposing joint ‘direct action’ to disrupt the meetings of leftwing students”.

For some reason, The Great Guido is most sensitive about this part of his Curriculum Vitae, and the episode never stays on his Wikipedia entry for long. But back to the Guardian: “The author of the letter is Mr Paul Delarie-Staines, the chairman of the federation’s 50-strong branch at the Humberside College of Higher Education. Mr Delarie-Staines, who is in his first year of a degree course in business information studies, wrote on May 22 to Mr Ian Walker, a BNP organiser in Hull”. So what did Staines tell the BNP?

I share a lot of your objectives.' These included a return to leadership and statesmanship, the abolition of the welfare state, and ‘the elimination of Communism in Britain - the mass media, the trade unions, and the schoolroom”. Paranoid like Joe McCarthy. And then there is the racism.

While Ed Miliband was Labour leader, the Fawkes blog published two virulently anti-Semitic attacks on him. Both posts are still live as I type. He also sympathised with disgraced former MP Aidan Burley after the latter decided not to contest his seat in 2015 over a Nazi-themed stag party.

More recently, the Fawkes blog started calling anti-Semite on people who demonstrably were not, with the odd sly deletion when rumbled. Playing both sides of the racism field just like their pals in our free and fearless press. The Great Guido was caught siding with actual Nazis against a Jewish Labour MP. And also got caught using the Nazi-era “Cultural Marxism” trope.

... and look where he's at

Which brings us to the incident which caused a panicked Labour leadership to suspend PPC Graham Jones, after the Fawkes blog told that herepeatedly referred to ‘f**king Israel’ and even ranted to Azhar Ali at the now infamous Lancashire meeting that Britons who volunteer to fight for the Israeli Defence Forces ‘should be locked up’ … He claimed - falsely - that it was illegal for Brits to fight for Israel”. Why is that “false”, O Great Guido?

Many British Jews with dual citizenship have gone to Israel to fight … The claim that it is unlawful is an unfounded smear”. But Jones didn’t say anything about dual nationals. This is a logic leap of the kind previously favoured by Staines’ pals at the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance. Anyone who is not a dual national is breaking the law if they go off to fight for a foreign power.

So where’s the anti-Semitism there? Jones says “effing Israel”. Exasperation yes, anti-Semitism no. But Keir Starmer and his pals panicked. And rather too many in and around the right-wing press took the Fawkes rabble on trust. They may have chosen poorly, after Staines let the racism mask slip.

The thing that nobody says yet we all know, is that the Labour Party have chosen to seek unsophisticated Muslim community support for numerical reasons at the expense of sophisticated Jewish support” he claimed. And then deleted the effort, but not until after several observers had taken screen shots. That’s straight-up Islamophobia. And straight-up anti-Semitism.

Staines and his rabble are driving this pile-on against Labour. And that now deleted Tweet is where he’s at. He told you the first time that he was not only a straight-up racist, but also that he was prepared to play both sides of the racism field. Shame on the right-wing press for going along with him. And shame on Keir Starmer and the Labour leadership for not standing their ground.

And shame on anyone who believed the Fawkes rabble because they wanted to believe it, rather than it being factually correct. Same old, same old.

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Tuesday 13 February 2024

Starmer’s Luck Runs Out In Rochdale

It was ITV politics editor Robert Peston who concluded that, thus far, Keir Starmer had been lucky. That he has: our free and fearless press has not given him a fraction of the stick they gave Jeremy Corbyn, the electorate hates the Tories so much they are not so bothered with the occasional Labour wobble, and the poll leads keep on growing as the Tories foul up again.

But, as Hari Georgeson and the Buddha reminded us, all things must pass. The upcoming Rochdale by-election has shown Labour overseeing the political shit-show to end all political shit-shows, ending up with the party disowning its own candidate and so most likely to lose a safe seat.

Where did it all go wrong? The first bit is straightforward: Azhar Ali, who won the selection battle, was not subjected to due diligence for his past utterances. So the right-wing press did the job Labour omitted. And they soon discovered that Ali had been peddling the wacko conspiracy theory that the Hamas raid on southern Israel on October 7 last was an inside job.

But then a problem entered: this discovery had occurred after the deadline for nominations. Labour could not submit another candidate in Ali’s place. So a number of voices who had previously passed severely adverse comment on anything to do with Corbyn’s leadership thoroughly devalued themselves by parading before the media to support Ali. Because Ali was a Blairite. He was one of them. They would therefore deem black to be white on his behalf.

John Rentoul, that most arch of arch-Blairites, told TalkTVIt’s very uncharacteristic in my experience of him, to be parroting a conspiracy theory”. It was clearly an isolated incident. Louise Ellman made her excuses. Ali had previously been supportive of her. Adam Langleben mused that “in any other by-election” Labour should have pulled their candidate. But not this one.

Mike Katz asserted that Ali “has a mountain to climb” to repair his relationship with the Jewish community. All three are apparently part of the Jewish Labour Movement, which had previously applauded Starmer kicking groups that had been supportive of Corbyn out of Labour. It’s almost as if they are flexible enough on principle to make allowances for someone on “their side”.

And then push came to shove: the Mail had more evidence of what should have been picked up in a proper due diligence exercise. Like the one not performed by the Labour leadership. At this point, Starmer about turned and pulled party support from Azhar Ali. A safe Labour seat lost because of factionalism, stupidity, stubbornness and basic ineptitude.

So it was that Louise Ellman appeared on the Radio 4 Today programme to explain why she had given Ali a free pass yesterday, but not today, and it was quite right that he had been dumped. The Mail, for its part, approved of Starmer’s action so much that, for once, their front page splash referred to him by his Christian name, a privilege usually reserved for Tories.

Labour’s leadership can count itself fortunate that the Tories are in such a mess, and highly likely to lose both by-elections coming up later this week, as to change very few minds. Where their luck has run out is that claims of having zero tolerance of anti-Semitism have been shown to be complete bunk. And dumping on Corbyn shown to be a complete sham.

Blair didn’t need to behave like this. Nor should Starmer. That is all.

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Sunday 11 February 2024

Traitorous Reality Bites Tories

Last week, Tucker Carlson, formerly a host for Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse), was granted an interview with Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, leader of the gangsterist régime in Moscow. Carlson trowelled on his scoop, accusing other journalists of not bothering to interview The Great Man. In reality, others were refused interviews, or they later came to some harm.

The interview was a campaign destined to develop not necessarily to Carlson’s advantage, as Putin went off on an ahistorical rant, pausing only to call out Carlson for applying to join the CIA, another less than successful episode in his past. Also, it was made clear to Carlson that too many attempts to interrupt his interviewee might not be viewed in a favourable light.

One of those gloating over Tucker’s lack of luck was disgraced former alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, dashing off a column for the Mail headlined “Putin's interview with his fawning stooge Tucker Carlson was straight out of Hitler's playbook. I pray Americans see through this unholy charade”. Hitler gave interviews? You learn something every day.

But do go on. “He was to be the stooge of the tyrant, the dictaphone to the dictator and a traitor to journalism … In his fawning, guffawing, slack-jawed happiness at having a ‘scoop’, he betrayed his viewers and listeners around the world … He didn’t ask tough questions”. Says the clown who hid in a fridge and chickened out of a sit-down with Brillo. And there is more.

In his conclusion, Bozo tells his audience “remember Charles Lindbergh, remember the America Firsters, remember how many American legislators at first opposed involvement in the war with Hitler … You cannot make America great again by selling out Ukraine and allowing Putin to use violence to rebuild the Soviet empire”. Make America Great Again? Who does he mean?

Yes, Bozo is aiming at those enamoured of Combover Crybaby Donald Trump, especially Republican members of Congress who have blocked further US aid to Ukraine. But here a problem enters for both Himself, and several of his fellow Tories: they haven’t exactly been hostile to Trump, and one leader Trump’s actions may help the most is … Vladimir Putin.

For those countries not paying into NATO at a rate that meets with The Donald’s approval, there came a chilling message yesterday. “Trump says he would encourage Russia to attack NATO allies: ‘I said I would not protect our NATO allies. In fact, I would encourage Russia to do whatever the hell they want’”. Trump backs a dictator. Cos he wants to be one himself.

In the past, the UK may have been supportive of Francisco Franco, the Greek Colonels, Augusto Pinochet, Suharto’s “New Order”, Ferdinand Marcos, and other leaders disinclined to test their popularity with the electorate without being able to fiddle the result. But such support would take place behind the scenes, be less than vocal, even that given Pinochet by Mrs T.

But now, Tories are lining up to back Trump, which means they are at the very least willing to go easy on Vlad, a warmonger whose aggression, in case they hadn’t noticed, is happening on the eastern fringe of Europe. Bozo goes to Kyiv to be supportive of Ukraine one minute, then backs Trump, a stooge for Putin, the next. Another of George Smiley’s “unfortunate chains of events”.

Jacob Rees Mogg, the member for times long past, has asserted that Trump is “a friend of the UK”. Miriam Cates has claimed that the world was a “safer place” when Trump was in the White House. And Jake Berry declared that Trump would make a “much better President than Biden”. The Tories’ candidate for London Mayor, Susan Hall, has been positive on Trump.

Maybe this does not matter so much because the Tories, even with the fawning support of most of our free and fearless press and the phalanx of Astroturf lobby groups in and around Tufton Street, are about to go down to a monumental General Election defeat. But it should be borne in mind the next time they start banging on about patriotism, and, indeed, democracy.

The reality is that the Tories are not as patriotic as they want us to think.

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Saturday 10 February 2024

Harry Humiliates Mirror - And Morgan

Hot on the heels of former Screws and Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan having his piss-poor show cancelled by the Murdoch mafiosi in another round of cost-cutting at broadcast media noise floor occupant TalkTV has come the news that Morgan’s former manor, the Mirror titles, have been given what The Italian Job’s Mr Bridger might have called A Good Going Over.

Evening all

Worse for The Great Man, this has been dealt out by someone Morgan hates with a passion: along with his legal team, the Duke of Sussex has concluded his lawsuit against Reach, the current owners of the Mirror, very much to his satisfaction and on his terms. As Press Gazette has reported, “Prince Harry has settled the remaining parts of his phone hacking claim against the publisher of the Daily Mirror, the High Court has heard”. There was more.

The Duke of Sussex, 39, sued Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) for damages, claiming journalists at its publications were linked to methods including phone hacking, so-called ‘blagging’ - gaining information by deception - and use of private investigators for unlawful activities”. And more.

In December, a judge ruled that phone hacking became ‘widespread and habitual’ at MGN titles in the late 1990s and was practised ‘even to some extent’ during the Leveson Inquiry into press standards in 2011 … Thirty-three articles in Harry’s claim were examined during the trial last year, with 15 articles found to have been the product of unlawful information gathering”.

And then comes the bad news for the Mirror: “A further 115 articles were in his claim, which may have been the subject of a further trial … However, during a hearing in London on Friday, his barrister David Sherborne confirmed a settlement had been reached between the duke and MGN”.

It had? “Sherborne said the publisher will pay Harry ‘a substantial additional sum by way of damages’ as well as his legal costs, and that it would make an interim payment of £400,000”. To which Byline Investigates addedEarlier in the hearing this morning at the High Court, the judge ordered MGN to pay around £2 million for losing the 'generic' part of the case about systemic crime and lies at the paper between 1998 -2011”. Ouch! And it gets worse.

And what's more, Ron ...

Harry’s statement told “Everything we said was happening at Mirror Group was in fact happening, and indeed, far worse, as the court ruled in an extremely damaging judgment. As the judge has said only this morning, we have uncovered and proved the shockingly dishonest way in which the Mirror acted for so many years, and then sought to conceal the truth”.

And then came the burn. “Harry, via Sherborne, said Morgan ‘knew perfectly well what was going on’ and that his “contempt for the court’s ruling and his continued attacks ever since demonstrate why it was so important to obtain a clear and detailed judgment”. Remember that the Mirror’s lawyers declined to call Morgan as a witness. Could be something to do with unreliability.

Moreover, it’s not over yet: as the BBC report has noted, “the prince vowed to continue his ‘mission’ to shine a light on press intrusion ‘through to the end’”, adding “he didn’t come for the money - he came for vindication and now has his sights on Associated Newspapers, publisher of the Daily Mail, and News Group newspapers, which publishes the Sun”. Mail and Sun, eh?

Remember that when those titles splash another round of bad faith smears against Haz and Megs. Remember that Morgan used to be an “editor at large” for Mail Online, and that his deal to front the now defunct Piers Morgan Uncensored was reckoned to result in him trousering a cool fifty million from the Murdoch mafiosi. And don’t forget what campaigning group Hacked Off have told us about possible ramifications from the Harry v Mirror action.

Like this part of Harry’s statement: “It is now for the police to pursue charges of perjury against any senior employees or ex-employees at the publisher who misled the first part of the Leveson Inquiry in their denials of knowledge of phone hacking”. Maybe aimed at the Mirror. And the Mail. And the Sun.

Why does our free and fearless press keep hating on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex? You might wish to ask that. I couldn’t possibly comment.

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Friday 9 February 2024

So Farewell Then Piers Morgan

One almost feels sorry for Creepy Uncle Rupe and his UK deputy, the twinkle toed yet domestically combative Rebekah Brooks, at their vain attempts to emulate Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) in Britain. Not only is the potential audience unsustainably small, but their entrant TalkTV has competition for the attention of conspiracy theorising wackos from Gammon Broadcasting™ News (“Bacon’s News Channel”).

And what's more, Ron ...

So when Rupe cut a deal for the services of former Screws and Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan, reputedly for around 50 million Dollars, Sterling or Euro (whatever the currency unit concerned, he overpaid, and then some), it was the highest of high risk scenarios. Or he just sprayed his dosh up the wall.

The result of this deal was yet another iteration of The All New Percy Moron Show, the format tried previously on CNN with a measure of success not unadjacent to zero. Morgan took over Larry King’s 2000 hours Eastern slot and the ratings, after a few days’ improvement, just carried on down the pan.

CNN tolerated Morgan for just over three years before cancelling his show; the Murdoch mafiosi have now demonstrated that their patience does not extend as far. As the Guardian has now reported, “Piers Morgan has announced he is leaving his TalkTV daily evening show, less than two years after its launch, to focus on his YouTube channel”. Then came the excuses.

The Piers Morgan Uncensored channel has grown to 2.3 million subscribers since 2022 … He described the channel as having a ‘startup mentality’ and said the change would allow for longer interviews with bigger guests supported by more clips. Some of the interviews will be shown on TalkTV”.

Do go on. “Morgan, 58, said: ‘It’s clear there’s a huge global demand for the content we’re making, but the commitment to a daily show at a fixed schedule, with all the editing and time sensitivities that involves, has been an increasingly unnecessary straitjacket … People are watching the content on YouTube rather than conventional television and I have no problem with that … You can’t defy audiences or tell them how they should be consuming’”.

There was more of this self-justification. “I could happily interview Elon Musk for three or four hours tomorrow and the audience would lap it up [this audience is strong on masochism, then]. But the nightly restriction of having to go into a studio at 8pm when sometimes there is nothing happening and literally fill time? Nobody wants that. The question becomes, why do it?” If only this excuse had been dreamed up before the show aired, eh?

The reality is that Morgan’s TalkTV show has lasted less than two years before being pulled from the schedule. Its ratings have been lamentably bad. TalkTV gets rather better value for money from flap-mouthed bigot Julia Hartley Dooda and its resident Tub Of Lard impressionist Mike Graham. Meanwhile, the channel, and GB News, are shipping money at a rate somewhere beyond alarming. Why this should be is not hard to figure out.

Fox News manages a decent audience, but across the whole of the USA, a country with around 335 million inhabitants. The UK has 67 million, or one-fifth of the US total. And the British version of Fox News was late enough to the party for GB News to become established first. It ain’t rocket science.

This organisation does not tolerate failure. I have decided on the appropriate action

The perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog are claiming that it is most likely Rupert Murdoch personally pulled the plug on Morgan’s TalkTV show. As the deal was for three years, presumably Morgan will be able to spend more than a year doing nothing and still be paid millions of currency units for doing so. Nice work if you can get it.

More time for The Great Man to blag a table at the Chiltern Firehouse, or wherever One Has To Go To Be Seen Alongside Genuinely Famous People nowadays. More time for him to reflect on the bridges burnt at the Mirror and ITV Good Morning Britain. And more time for him to know that accusations of involvement in illegal information gathering lap ever closer to his shore.

Piers Morgan was for a time, but not for all time. Just rejoice at that news.

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Thursday 8 February 2024

Sunak - Not Waving But Drowning

He had all morning to rehearse the jibe. All that time to polish the delivery, to hone the attack line. What he did not have was the common sense, the decency, to pull it when the circumstances dictated. So on he ploughed, the delivery poor, the attack line ineffective, and in those changed circumstances utterly tone deaf. Rishi Sunak was in a hole, and still digging.

His previously delivered trans jibe went down like a cup of cold sick at PMQs yesterday because the mother of Brianna Ghey, a trans teenager murdered partly for being trans, was in the Visitors’ Gallery. Keir Starmer did not have to do so much to rub salt into Sunak’s freshly self-inflicted wound. The PM was urged to apologise. He declined. Because it was someone else’s fault.

It was? “To use that tragedy to detract from the very separate and clear point I was making... demonstrates the worst of politicshe said of Starmer. But it was Sunak who delivered the jibe about the Labour leader not being able to define a woman. Starmer merely pointed out that his opposite number had loused up again. It’s all going a bit Gordon Brown and John Major.

As in everything is bad for Sunak, all his efforts to wrest back the political initiative fall flat, and the polls are heading south. The difference with Sunak is that he is unable or unwilling to apologise when he fouls up, a recent Tory innovation brought to us by his now disgraced predecessor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. Then, as daytime became evening, it got worse.

The Tories put out a Party Political Broadcast. Here, Sunak was the star, his sole prop a whiteboard. But a problem soon entered: his handwriting was indecipherable, and he was unable to spell the word “mortgage”, although to be fair to him, he’s so filthy stinking rich as to not need such proletarian devices when it comes to shelling out on the next Bijou Petite Maison.

That whiteboard also had Sunak abbreviating “cost of living” to CoL. Except his scrawl was so bad, it looked like LoL. All of this in a PPB that had been pre-recorded. Didn’t anyone pick up on this? Or are the Tories now so past caring that the person involved just thought “stuff telling him, I can’t be arsed”.

Could it get worse still? Don’t ask. Business and Trade Minister Kemi Badenoch, thought of as a future Tory leader until she intervened, put out two Tweets apparently cleared with No 10. “Every murder is a tragedy. None should be trivialised by political point-scoring. As a mother, I can imagine the trauma that Esther Ghey has endured. It was shameful of Starmer to link his own inability to be clear on the matter of sex and gender directly to her grief”.

No, Sunak loused up and Starmer pointed out the lousing up. Have another go. “As Minister for Women and Equalities I've done all I can to ensure we have take the heat out of the debate on LGBT issues while being clear about our beliefs and principles. Keir Starmer’s behaviour today shows Labour are happy to weaponise this issue when it suits them”. Take the heat out? Er, no.

But at least it couldn’t get worse than that. Er, it could, couldn’t it? Certainly could. Cue John Stevens of the Mirror: “Tory Cabinet minister Laura Trott invents comments by Brianna Ghey's mum in bid to defend Rishi Sunak”. Ms Trott “told Sky News that Brianna Ghey's mum Esther had said she did not want to make her daughter's death 'about trans issues’”.

Sunak then dug himself deeper this morning with a dentist’s surgery photo-op, only for it to emerge soon afterwards that the dentist was not taking NHS patients at present. With demand for NHS dentistry, shall we say, well in excess of supply. Plus he’s still not saying sorry for lousing up yesterday.

Rishi Sunak and his pals have been well and truly rumbled, despite the cover provided by the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press, without which he and the Tories would already be history. As one Tweeter put it, “He has the emotional and cultural depth of a skid mark. All he really loves is the accumulation of money.” Meanwhile, NHS waiting lists get longer, the strikes go on, the cost of living crisis continues, while the Tories play at Culture Wars.

The only surprise is that 20% of voters still back them. Takes all sorts, eh?

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Wednesday 7 February 2024

King Has Cancer - Haz To Blame

On Monday last came the news which would keep our free and fearless press in front page headlines and why-oh-why punditry for days afterwards: the King had cancer. This had been discovered during his recent prostate surgery, though what part of the body was affected was not told. Charles is 75, and half the population will get some kind of cancer in their lifetime.

Sarah Vine - only hinting ...

So it should not have been such a shock. Nonetheless, every front page, including the FT, gave the Royal condition due prominence yesterday. What was also given front page billing was the Duke of Sussex hastening to be by his father’s side, though by today, the spite and bad faith merchants at titles like the Daily Mail were already using this to kick Haz.

Hence this morning’s headline “HARRY SPENDS JUST 45 MINUTES WITH CHARLES … and Duke and William have no plans to meet at all”. Yes, he got the first London flight out of Los Angles, endured an eleven hour journey, was then driven straight to Clarence House, and this was WRONG and BAD.

This spiteful and hate-generating drivel is reminiscent of Lyndon Johnson bemoaning the constant negative press coverage he received as the Vietnam war went from bad to worse for the USA, reportedly telling an aide “If I went down to the Potomac and walked across it, tomorrow’s headline in the [Washington] Post would be ‘President can’t swim’”.

But at least the Mail has not (yet) sunk to the level of blaming Charles’ condition on his youngest son. Or tried too hard to kick Megs while they’re at it. Sure, Sarah “Vain” Vine approached the bad taste line with her column today, but stopped short of saying that the Sussexes Done It. “Harry has - to put it mildly - been at war with his father for the past few years” she begins.

Do go on: “as well as having to cope with the death of his beloved Mama, the King has been left utterly heartbroken by his younger son’s attacks, both on him personally, on Queen Camilla and on other members of the family”. No citation. Try again: “it’s clear from the depth of Harry’s rage and resentment that he is a troubled soul … nothing pains a parent like seeing their children fighting”. Nearly saying it. But not saying it. Then she gets close.

... while Mike Parry actually goes there

If I were Harry and I were being brutally honest with myself, I might feel a slight tinge of concern that the current family breakdown might not be the best medicine for his father’s ill-health”. Nudge nudge, wink wink, eh Squire? But over at Gammon Broadcasting™ News (“Bacon’s news channel”) there is no such reticence. This morning, fascist bigot Mike Parry has gone there.

Here’s his pitch. “Could the stress of having to sort out the Harry situation of the past two years have contributed to his illness? Because we know that stress does contribute to illness. Stress can give you heart attacks. Stress can give you nervous conditions, and I believe if you ask top doctors, they’ll say yes, it could be responsible for at least enhancing the King’s anxiety”.

Cue someone billed as a Top Doctor being summoned to back up this hokum later today. But there was more. “And that anxiety in itself might have worked its way physically into his body … I mean, the more you worry about things in life, you do inherit medical conditions, without a shadow of a doubt. Like for instance heart … who’s to say that can’t affect you in other areas of your body with other diseases?” Thus speaks an expert on, er, nothing at all.

Yes, who’s to say? But as the Tweeter known as GB News Spin Room reminded us, “Mike Parry claimed on GB News that the stress of dealing with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, was causation for The King’s cancer diagnosis. No point complaining though, Ofcom think this is totally fine”.

Plus GB News will probably throw him a few more biscuits for being the first one to say what more of their dubiously talented roster of gobshites will be saying very soon. I mean, it’s only FREEZE PEACH, innit? From there it’s not far to Haz and Megs having open season declared on them. Who was it that took out a lawsuit against the Mail’s publishers? What a coincidence.

GB News leapt from gutter to sewer long ago. So at least they’re consistent.

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Tuesday 6 February 2024

Popular Conservatism ISN’T

Today has seen the launch of PopCon, or Popular Conservatism, a bold and indeed brave concept, given that the Tories are registering a consistent opinion poll deficit to Labour of more than 20%. Who its front man is, is not totally clear: while Liz Truss, the UK’s most useless post-war Prime Minister, appears to be fronting for it, another unpopular individual claims credit.

Back in the spotlight for one day only

That would be Mark Littlewood, head man at the IEA, an Astroturf lobby group that would rather not reveal who funds it. Littlewood, a spiv of no fixed loyalty, says it’s his show. Whatever. Ms Truss has spoken to a gathering numbered just about in three figures to tell the world that she is still around. Meanwhile, her first choice as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Kwasi Kwarteng, has done the rather more decent thing and announced he is leaving politics.

Having come close to crashing the economy less than two years ago, and then ousted as PM after just 50 days, to the great relief of all those who wished she had never been let in to 10 Downing Street in the first place, Ms Truss could have kept quiet. That would have been the sensible thing to do. But sensible and Liz Truss have a singularly transient relationship.

So what superior insights did she have to offer those attending? Get this slice of hokum: “successive Conservative leaders and Governments have discovered that a majority in the House of Commons is no longer enough to turn us away from the path of Blairite declinism”. And to that I call bullshit.

Blairite declinism”? Is that when the NHS was decently funded? When councils were not staring bankruptcy in the face? When roads were decently maintained? When folks had a little more discretionary income, the ability to splash out on stuff once in a while without having to cut back on other spending? When Prime Ministers didn’t go round crashing the economy on the say-so of spivs and chancers in those Astroturf lobby groups?

Y’know, I rather like the sound of that there “declinism”. But let’s hear from Ms Truss herself. “Wokeism seems to be on the curriculum…there is confusion about basic biological facts, like what is a woman. Look at the net zero zealots…if you listen to the Today programme, I don’t recommend it, you’ll hear demands for more public spending”. More misuse of the word “woke”.

And look who's behind it all

As Rob Hutton noted, “So far, Popular Conservatism is pro-cigarettes, pro-Covid and pro-carbon emissions. Not clear what the party has got against voters' lungs”. Lewis Goodall addedLiz Truss says she doesn’t get invited to London dinner parties”. Perhaps it’s because she’s talking crap?

It’s the same sob story: as with the railway sell-offs, so with Ms Truss and her disastrous time in office, the refrain is consistent. If only we’d been allowed to do it properly, all would have been well. The rail transport industry, and later the whole economy, would have been utterly screwed, but it would have been achieved in accordance with the purest of orthodox economic principles.

So who was brave enough to rock up to this gathering of the irretrievably irrelevant? Beth Rigby of Sky News observedlots of MPs here including Liz Truss, Jacob Rees Mogg, Lee Anderson, Andrea Jenkyns, Priti Patel, Wendy Morton, Alec Shelbrooke, David Jones”. Plenty of those about to be turfed out of the Commons come the next General Election.

What they heard was a combination of paranoia and ignorance: as Faisal Islam mused, “noteworthy that at PopCon ex-PM Liz Truss listed the Cameron-created Office of Budget Responsibility as one of the quangos and bureaucracies built up under Blair and ‘taken over by the left’ from which Cons haven’t done enough to ‘take the power back’”.

But what she is selling is popular, honestly. Lewis Goodall again: “Truss says Britain is full of ‘secret conservatives’ - again echoing Bennism. The voters are there really, they just have to be inspired with a true ideology”. No, Britain is full of not very secret pissed off voters who have had enough of the Tories. Ms Truss and Littlewood are deluded if they believe otherwise.

One Conservative clown car, right now, is one too many. That is all.

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