Anorak

Politicians | Anorak - Part 7

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Politicans and world leaders making news and in the news, and spouting hot air

GE17: Diane Abbott creates 250,000 more police officers on up to £8,000 a year each – maybe

When Diane Abbott went on Nick Ferrari’s LBC radio show to talk about Labour’s plans for Government, she told listeners what 10,000 extra police officers would cost. They would cost about £80m. Or £300,000. Or it might be more. Or less. Or something in the middle. Maybe.

Here’s Diane – your future Home Secretary – to explain:

 

Posted: 2nd, May 2017 | In: Politicians, TV & Radio | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Indian minister gives 700 brides wooden bats to beat drunk husbands

To India, where a politician is equipping women with foot-long wooden bats “for beating drunkards”. The first batch of bats was presented to 700 brides during a mass wedding on Saturday.

As Gopal Bhargava handed out the gifts, he told the women that only after attempting to reason with their drunk husbands should they “let the wooden paddles do the talking”.

 

india wooden bats

“You’re FOUR it now!”

 

The Guardian notes:

Bhargava said he wanted to draw attention to the plight of rural women who face domestic abuse from their alcoholic husbands.“Women say whenever their husbands get drunk they become violent. Their savings are taken away and splurged on liquor,” he said.

He’s ordered a further 10,000 bats to give to future brides.

But all might not be as it seems. The bats are the same type used to help clean dirty laundry. Yeah. It’s a trap!

Posted: 1st, May 2017 | In: Politicians, Strange But True | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Antisemitism and homophobia is better aired than buried

When David Ward was removed as a Liberal Demorcrat candidate in the upcoming General Election because his party’s leader Tim Farron operates a “no tolerance – zero tolerance – of anti-Semitic remarks”, Ward told BBC News.

“I am a liberal through and through. How on earth could I be racist or be anti-Semitic?”

Steady. That’s a rhetorical question as illustrated by Ward continuing:

“I would defy anybody to find one single derogatory comment I’ve made against a Jew which was not related to something being done in Israel.”

Looking aside from Farron’s apparent ignorance of Ward’s words before Theresa May and the Tories pointed them out to him in the Commons, and marvel at the man’s defence.

Brendan O’Neill:

Wow. There it is. The modern problem with ‘the Jews’ summed up: it is okay to hate ‘the Jews’, or at least to be derogatory against the Jews, if you’re attacking Israel, if your apparently loftier target is the Jewish State and its militarism. This speaks to the way in which attacking Israel has become a means of being derogatory about Jews, who are seen as bearing responsibility for various military crimes, and, among the more far-out left, for economic malaise and global instability, too. This is the anti-imperialism of fools.

Back to Farron, and why he thought it right to condemn Ward as soon as the media glare was shone on his opinions. Mind, this was in the same week that Farron discovered that he was ok with gay sex. It was, he said, not a “sin”. The odd thing is that Tim’s an Evangelical Christian, and they believe that homosexuality is wrong. Where does that leave Tim, then? Does the man have the courage of his convictions?

Rod Liddle:

As a Christian, then, Tim was a few burning embers short of the full Cranmer when it came to loyalty and conviction — but it saved his political skin. By way of explanation he mumbled something about specks of sawdust and removing the plank of wood from his own eye. I’d remove the large block of wood from inside your cranium, mate, before you start wittering on in that wet George Formby accent about bloody sawdust. Drop your beliefs just so the gibbering Twitter monkeys don’t get you? Sell out your god for an extra five seats in the Commons? Anyone ever tell you at Bible class about Judas?

In a free country you should be able to say what you like, however stupid or bigoted. Farron’s banning and flimflammery befuddles his message. What does he believe in? What does he think?

It’s not progressive to find Jews guilty of collective guilt because of your weird obsession with Israel over, say, China, France, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Pakistan, Russian, Thailand or anywhere else with problems. And it’s just as weird to spend your time wondering about men having consensual sex because you read a book and believed everything in it to be factually true. But it is a triumph of free speech in a free society to give full throat to your prejudices and let others offend you with theirs.

Rather than this banning and revisionism being an oddity, Tim Farron’s illiberal liberalism is very much in keeping with the age of no-platforming people with whom you don’t agree and banning things that upset you. If you can’t say what you think, it’s not just the bastards and bigots who miss out. We all lose.

Posted: 30th, April 2017 | In: Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Dalston Momentum and Hackney Momentum’s clarification is beyond parody

On Twitter., Dalston Momentum – based in Hackney, London – has a message for Hackney Momentum – based in Hackney, London – about an upcoming event:

Hackney Momentum asked us to point out they’re engaging voters with performance theatre, NOT performance art

Hackney Momentum asked us to point out they're engaging voters with performance theatre, NOT performance art

 

Satire is not dead. Yet.

As for the event, well, it tells us:

In this meeting we’ll be using performance to help people develop ways of getting Labour’s message across.

Bring your own tissues.

Posted: 29th, April 2017 | In: Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Tim Farron finds his backbone and blocks David Ward over ‘antisemitic’ comments

In today’s Sun we read that the LibDems have approved David Ward as their candidate for Bradford East. Ward lost the seat to Labour in 2015. Ward is the man who likened “the Jews” to the Nazis, the paper reminds us.

But just as we started to think there is no exit for such nastiness we learn that LibDem leader Tim Farron has sacked Ward. Farron says Ward’s comments about Jews were “deeply offensive, wrong and antisemitic”.

HURRAH! Finally one of them gets booted out. Other politicos accused of anti-Semitism get suspended. “I believe in a politics that is open, tolerant and united. David Ward is unfit to represent the party and I have sacked him,” said Farron.

 

Corbyn anti-semitism

 

But, as the Guardian points out, the sacking only occurred after Theresa May criticised Ward’s selection following a question from Eric Pickles during prime minister’s questions. Pickles asked if May “shares my disgust that a former member of this house criticised by the home affairs select committee for antisemitism has been selected for Bradford East for the Liberal Democrats?”

May said voters would be “disappointed to see the Liberal Democrats re-adopt a candidate with a questionable record on antisemitism”. The paper notes:

Ward has also said he would be willing to fire rockets from Gaza into Israel and praised the Labour MP Naz Shah after she was suspended by her party for antisemitic posts on Facebook.

Naz wasn’t kicked out. She was suspended. She was re-educated. She discovered that anti-Semitism is a form of racism. Shah, the Labour MP for Bradford West – what is about that place? – delivered an apology, albeit with a sympathetic backstory.

“The language I used was anti-Semitic, it was offensive,” she said. “What I did was I hurt people and the language that was the clear anti-Semitic language, which I didn’t know at the time, was when I said, ‘The Jews are rallying.'”

She then went on a journey:

Ms Shah said she had been on a learning journey in recent months and had received “amazing compassion” from the Jewish community. “I didn’t get anti-Semitism as racism,” said Ms Shah. “I had never come across it. I think what I had was an ignorance.”

With her abhorrent views unchecked, Naz had made it all the way to be a front-bench advisor in Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet. Until she was exposed in the media, at no point did Shah think anti-Semitism could be wrong, let alone racist. Is that because everyone around her was as ignorant as she was? Or is it because anti-Semitism is rife in Labour, which is a safe space to be an anti-Jewish bigot? We can give ink to our thoughts on polling day.

Says Farron: “I don’t select our individual candidates and nor should I. But let me be clear, I won’t tolerate antisemitism in my party. David Ward has been disciplined in the past and if he or anyone else makes antisemitic remarks in this campaign I will expect the party to act quickly and decisively, as we did when we suspended a candidate in Luton South yesterday …Ashuk Ahmed, was suspended over Facebook posts that compared Zionism to the Nazis.”

Don’t panic, lads. You can always go back to school and stand as a representative for the NUS.

The National Union of Students (NUS) is embroiled in a fresh anti-Semitism row after three candidates holding or running for positions on its executive committee were revealed to have made offensive comments.

In online posts seen by The Independent, one current member of the union’s National Executive Council shared a video mocking Jews as having big noses and being tight with money, while another publicly suggested Jewish people are tight-fisted and said he wanted to destroy Israel.

A third, who is seeking a position on the union’s executive in elections being held this week, wrote an offensive Twitter message referring to Jews and using the phrase “Heil Hitler”.

Good job the Left has no issue with Jews. We know this because Labour peer Shami Chakrabarti told us there is no anti-Semitism in Labour Party.

Vote now. And vote often.

Posted: 26th, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Theresa May: “We want to lead the world in preventing tourism”

On the hustings for GE17, a nervy Theresa May tells the electorate: “We want to lead the world in preventing tourism.”

 

Spotter: Adam Bienkov

Posted: 25th, April 2017 | In: Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The French Election is a huge waste of paper

The French election are riding high on the news cycle. The field has narrowed into a straight fight between Front National’s Marine Le Pen and independent Emmanuel Macron. Round 2 will be defined not what the French are for but what they are against. Do you want a samey rosy-fingered dawn (Marcon) or a honey-soaked past dipped in aspic (Le Pen)?

But this post is about the system. In Round 1, French voters were given 11 pieces of paper – 1 for each candidate. In the booth they choose 1 and put it in envelope. The rest are, presumably, thrown away.  More paper is printed than used. There is no electronic voting and very few voting machines.

 

 

Michæl Saunby tweets: “Avoids the need for pencils, which some (kippers) have a phobia of.”

Indeed, at the EU referendum some voters smelled a rat:

@Rox_Tans tweeted: “When you vote take a pen with you! They just tried making me do mine in pencil yeah ok so you can rub it out? Don’t think so bruv.”

Echoing this sentiment, @Kez_777 wrote: “Please make sure you take a BLACK PEN with you to vote as pencil votes can be tampered with (I wouldnt put anything past Cameron) #VoteLeave”

So is the French system better?

 

Posted: 24th, April 2017 | In: Politicians, Reviews, Technology | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Emily Thornberry: ‘There are people who poo who create a lot of jobs’

Emily Thornberry, Labour MP and shadow Foreign Secretary in Jeremy Corbyn’s Cabinet of anyone who lives within walking distance of his Islington home, is on Radio 4. She says: “There are people who poo who create a lot of jobs.”

 

That’s the jobbies sorted.

 

Posted: 22nd, April 2017 | In: Politicians, TV & Radio | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Labour’s party political broadcast showing indoctrinized Corbyn Kids backfires

Labour’s latest electoral move is to take a teacher and show her instructing her students that education is safe in Labour’s hands. She’s shown indoctrinating her seven to eight year old students after they ask her some questions about politics. The internet rose to the challenge: what happens when they ask some difficult questions?

 

 

corbyn labour teacher

 

labour ppb teaching IRA

labour ppb teaching IRA

corbyn labour teacher party political broadcast

Spotter: Robbie Travers

Posted: 22nd, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


UKIP candidate delivers manifesto in the style of a Beat poem

UKIP candidate Gisela Allen has delivered her manifesto. Answering the question ‘Why do you want to be a councillor?” in Glasgow’s Garscadden/Scotstounhill ward, Gisela just lets it all pour out.

As Liam Kirkaldy‏ tweets: “There’s really a lot going on in this UKIP candidate’s election pitch. It’s like a stream of consciousness beat poem.”

 

gisela allen UKIP

 

Is it a spoof?

Bill Kidd, SNP MSP for Glasgow Anniesland, thinks it’s real. “Ms Allen with these outlandish statements has become a manifestation of all that makes her party so very unrepresentative of the constituents in Garscadden/Scotstounhill, or for that matter in Glasgow and Scotland,” he opines.

Labour candidate Eva Murray adds: “I’ve seen Ms. Allen’s comments and I, along with the many people in the communities I have spoken to strongly disagree with many if not most of them. We must aim to be an inclusive and caring society, which is exactly why I’m proud to be a Labour candidate in this election standing on the values of equality and fairness. I am sure the people of Garscadden/Scotstounhill will reject these shameful comments from the UKIP candidate.”

We looked and its turns out that Gisela Allen does exist and she is a UKIP candidate!

gisela allen UKIP

 

Spotter: Liam KirkaldyClydebank Post

Posted: 22nd, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Caption writers protect the Easter Bunny from would-be Trump assassins and Elma Fudd

The President of the United States is on the LEFT.

 

trump bunny left caption

 

“Excellent use of parentheses. Bravo caption writers.” tweets @Zoeparamour.

“Sometimes Breaking News comes at exactly the perfect moment” adds @Melissajpeltier.

 

donald trump rabbit

 

Spotter: Twitter/@MelissaJPeltier & Twitter/@ZoeParamour

Posted: 22nd, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, TV & Radio | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Tim Farron is the illiberal Liberal

Tim Farron is the LibDem’s leader. He’s an Evangelical Christian. Does he think gay sex is a mortal sin, a crime against God? Conservative MP and former deputy speaker Nigel Evans asked him. “I do not,” says Farron. “I am very proud to have gone through the lobby behind the Honourable Gentleman under the Coalition Government where the Liberal Democrats introduced gay marriage, equal marriage and, indeed, did not go as far as it should in terms of recognising transgender rights. There’s so much more to be done. If we campaign in this election for an open, united and tolerant society, then we need to make sure we are not complacent in any way about LGBT rights.”

Farron was asked the same thing on Channel 4 News. “A while back I asked you whether it was true that you believed homosexuality was a sin, and you struggled to answer,” said Cathy Newman. “Now you’ve had a while to consider that question, what is the answer?” “I don’t think I struggled to answer, I talked about how I’m not in a position to be making theological pronouncements,” replied Tim.”…As a liberal, I’m passionate about equality – about equal marriage, about equal rights for LGBT people, fighting not just for LGBT rights in this country but overseas.”

Tim Farron’s beliefs are his own affair. You can believe what you like. When he abstained from voting for same-sex marriage in May 2013, he did so because it felt the right thing to do. Good for him. Not every movement necessitates the crushing and humiliation of our enemies. Freedom means expressing our heartfelt beliefs and causing offence. Hathos draws many towards religion and strict god-given moral codes as it once drew censors to outlaw gay sex. It exists for knowing narcissists to mock and use to define our righteous selves – we are what we are not. And we are not wrong.

We could be generous to Tim and think that he’s recognised his prejudices and done the liberal thing in discounting them in policy for the common good? Love for the ineffable and all human beings propels his support for gay rights. Maybe. Maybe not.

The gut feeling is that Tim Farron speaks with the conviction of a man who has read one book and agreed with everything in it. He says, “We are all sinners.” That’s a cop out. He’s an illiberal Liberal.

 

Posted: 19th, April 2017 | In: Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Daily Mirror news trust: Arsenal and Theresa May are both for turning

How about this for wraparound newspaper cover. The Daily Mirror’s front page leads with Theresa May’s “U-turn”. Having said there would be no General Election before 202o, May has called one for June 8 2017.

 

daily mirror u-turn may theresa

 

If it’s all about trust, what are Mirror readers to make of the paper’s back page news story that Arsenal have made it clear Arsene Wenger will still be manager next season? The paper says Schalke defender Sead Kolasinac, 23, has been been told Wenger will remain at Arsenal for a further two seasons.

June 8 is one for the diary. And while you’re on that page, you might care to put a line through another event scheduled for that month. On June 30 2017, Arsene Wenger is to quit the club. We read that in the Daily Mirror.

 

Daily Mirror wenger quits Arsenal

 

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 19th, April 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Politicians, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Theresa May is the people’s champion in her pro-Brexit General Election

There will be a General Election on June 8 2017. Theresa May wants Parliament to approve her call for a summer poll. She needs Labour to back her request – she needs two thirds of MPs to back an early-term General Election. They dare not deny her. What purpose is there in Opposition if you do not take your chance to unseat the incumbent Government? May’s message is clear: put up or shut up.

(We’ll have a Labour government on June 9th or my name’s not Pascal Thatcher-Livingstone III.)

Theresa May hopes to be a leader the demos voted for and not just the Conservative’s place holder.

She hopes the Tories will annihilate Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour at the polls, as they surely will.

She hopes UKIP voters will vote Tory, as they surely must.

She hopes there will be no new populist, left-wing pro-Brexit party to bloody the establishment’s noses.

The election will be a vote on Brexit. The Government’s majority is small. Division in Westminster, says May, is trying to undermine and scupper the will of the people. The news is stuffed with ex-PMs, unelected Lords, the very rich and connected chipping away at the people’s will. We voted for Brexit. We voted for change, more say, openness and being closer to the leaders and law makers who represent us. Everyday people saw a chance for something different and seized it.

May wants all parties to put forward their plans for Brexit and let the people decide which they prefer. A vote for the Conservatives is, she says, a vote for Brexit and a vote that will see the will of the people carried through.

A vote for May’s Tories is a vote in the national interest. Three other reasons to vote Tory are:

Jeremy Corbyn.

Jeremy Corbyn.

Jeremy Corbyn.

It’s going to be a Tory landslide.

 

Posted: 18th, April 2017 | In: Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Donald Trump gets to work on his Nobel Peace Prize

trump bomb

 

Russian and US relations are are at all time low. Well, so say the papers. Two big players in the Balkanisation of the Middle East are at loggerheads. How did this happen?

Ever since Donald Trump became President stories of his ties with the Russian regime have ridden high on the news cycle. Talking and doing business with Russia were portrayed as wrong. We were even told that Trump was Vladimir Putin’s puppet. A video of Trump being urinated on by prostitutes in a Moscow bedroom was being used to blackmail the leader of the free world. Well, so they said. We never did see the tape. And big deal that a reality TV star should feature in such a sodden sex video. The footage might even explain why Kim Kardashian’s husband, Kanye Went, feels comfortable hanging out with The Donald.

What’s odd is that from being in Putin’s pocket, Trump is now striking a blow for freedom and the American way.

He achieved this by bombing a Syrian airbase. Dinners and sex are bad. Bombs are good. So goes the narrative. So much for Trump’s isolationism and withdrawal from the Middle East. To be Presidential you need to bomb the hell out of another country.

Interventionism is the American way. Trump is the commander in chief who can order the U.S. military into action whenever it suits his judgment. And if the enemy is horrific enough, it’s all good.

Trump was pricked into action by news that Syria’s President Assad had used chemical weapons on his own people. The use of such weapons was President Obama’s red line. Assad is, said White House spokesman Sean Spicer, worse than Hitler – words that demean the Holocaust and echo the Left’s pre-bombing view that Trump is Hitler incarnate.

Interfering in someone else’s war means taking sides. In the hierarchy of killing machines, chemical weapons are worse than Syrian ‘rebels’ pulling up alongside busloads of evacuees and blowing up 126 of them – including 68 children. Pick your poison. We’re going with the rebels. They seem nice.

And so just a few months into office and Trump is morphing into his predecessors: positioning America as the word’s great therapeutic power and well-armed moral policeman. Vote Tump. Get Hillary Clinton. No need to explain your domestic policy and do the hard bits. Just look for something nasty on the world’s woodshed and blow it up.

And Trump’s got a taste for the Establishment’s way. No sooner had he fired missiles into Syria, then he dropped a massive bomb on Afghanistan. He’s rattling his sabre at North Korea. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the era of “strategic patience” is over. Pyongyang should prepare.

This is how you win the Nobel Peace Prize. President Obama scored his in 2009. His administration oversaw the “expansion of the CIA’s targeted killing program, which the Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates has killed between 2,528 and 3,648 individuals in Pakistan since 2004… Among those civilians, according to Amnesty International, was a Pakistani grandmother killed alongside 18 civilian laborers in a 2012 strike. The grandmother’s family came to Washington, D.C., last month to testify before Congress and urge an end to drone warfare.”

Trump’s no disruptor. He’s more of the same old. When it’s hard at home the President defines America by his adventures overseas. And the media always cheers.

 

Posted: 17th, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Donald Trump encouraged to bring his own solid golden coach for UK state visit

Donald Trump “insists” on riding in a golden carriage during his UK visit. No, not his gold carriage. That thing’s too wide for British streets, and the rhinestone-crusted wheels will mark the tarmac. Trump prefers to hitch a ride with Her Majesty in her golden coach in a procession down the Mall. At an estimated cost of £33.5m a mile, Trump may care to get the bill or get a Cab.

 

Queen-Trump- state visit

 

The Times says President Trump is “adamant” that the big procession in the gold coach forms part of his State visit. This contrasts with President Barack Obama’s 2011 visit. The man of the people chose to travel in an armoured, bullet-proof car to meet the Queen. The gold coach is more vulnerable. This presents a security issue.

An anonymous source tells us: “The vehicle which carries the president of the United States is a spectacular vehicle. It is designed to withstand a massive attack like a low-level rocket grenade. If he’s in that vehicle he is incredibly well protected and on top of that it can travel at enormous speed. If he is in a golden coach being dragged up the Mall by a couple of horses, the risk factor is dramatically increased.”

Maybe they can reach a happy compromise. Is Princess Anne’s roller still operational?

“There may well be protections in that coach such as bulletproof glass, but they are limited,” the source continues. “In particularly it is very flimsy. It would not be able to put up much resistance in the face of a rocket propelled grenade or high-powered ammunition. Armour-piercing rounds would make a very bad show of things.”

Think of the paintwork!

Posted: 16th, April 2017 | In: Politicians, Royal Family | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Last Easter: nuclear war, nuclear bunker puzzles and killer eggs

It’s Easter, when Christians thank God for being alive. But will they make it to next Easter? The newspapers are full of doom.

On the Mail, it looks like two reality TV stars are threatening to blow up the world. But it’s not Kim Kardashian, of course, it’s Mr Kim, North Korea’s hereditary leader, and Donald Trump, formerly of The Apprentice and now as President of the USA giving top jobs in USA Inc. to enthusiastic amateurs, not all of whom he’s related to.

 

kim's threat north korea trump

 

At least the Mail is looking on the bright side of life with this brilliant front page.

 

easter trump

 

Over in the Mirror, help is at hand for all of you spending the holiday in nuclear bunkers. The paper’s tales of Armageddon are padded by a full eight pages of puzzles and games. The world might well be “IN CRISIS”, but there’s no excuse to be bored at you await annihilation. You can even place a bet, and those cheeky bookies will most likely lay odds on you being alive to collect any winnings and them being around to rub their stumps when you don’t.

 

daily mirror death trump war

 

And hold any thought of enjoying your Easter chocolates left by the housebreaking Easter bunny. Those Easter eggs are out to kill you, says the Daily Star.

 

daily star easter

 

Happy Easter!

 

Posted: 16th, April 2017 | In: Politicians, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Brexit voters blamed for Croydon attack on Reker Ahmed

reker ahmed croydon brexit

Reker Ahmed

 

Having couched the brutal attack on three Kuridish-Iranian asylum seekers as a ‘hate crime‘ fuelled by racism and prejudice rather than individual malice, a violent assault triggered by Brexit, facts are emerging from the Croydon crime scene. It’s believed the mayhem began after the attackers learned the trio were asylum-seekers. But we don’t know what happened. Not yet.

Police have made 13 arrests. The youngest suspect in the attack that left Reker Ahmed with a blood clot on the brain and a fractured spine is a 15-year-old boy. We don’t know his politics.

The latest batch of alleged attackers charged with violent disorder are: James Neves, 22; Liam Neylen and Ellie Leite, both 19; Kyran Evans, 23; and a 17-year-old girl and the aforesaid 15-year-old boy who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Ben Harman, 20, and a 17-year-old boy, who also cannot be named, are accused of violent disorder and racially aggravated GBH. Mr Harman is also charged with dangerous driving. Add them to the list appearing before the Beak at Croydon Magistrates’ Court.

 

reker ahmed croydon brexit

Graffiti close to crimescene

 

We don’t know the suspects’ political beliefs or attitudes to immigration, the EU and multiculturalism. But the brutal crime has been used by Remain-supporting politicians to condemn all of the 17.4m aspirational, radical voters who sought self-determination, change, progress and a more accountable political class by voting for Brexit. As shadow home secretary Diane Abbott opined: “Sadly [this] is not an isolated incident but part of a sustained increase in hate crimes… With right-wing politicians across the world scapegoating migrants, refugees and others for their economic problems, we are seeing a deeply worrying rise in the politics of hate. We must make clear that there is no place for anti-foreigner myths, racism and hate in our society.”

But before you nutters who voted for Brexit beat yourself with sticks and wonder how exercising your democratic vote turned you into such a violent bigot worthy of contempt, a word on what hate crime is. According to the CPS: “A Hate Incident is any incident which the victim, or anyone else, thinks is based on someones prejudice towards them because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or because they are transgender.” If you think it’s a hate crime, it is one. It’s an imaginary and politicised crime, an instrument to be wielded by the knowing against naysayers, free speech and free thought. There are many offences covered by acts of bigotry and violence. But a hate crime frames everything in social attitudes.

 

reker ahmed croydon brexit

 

As for the victim, the BBC says Mr Ahmed is on the mend. Good news. We hope he makes a full recovery and helps to nail the bastards who attacked him. Police have still not had any luck contacting his family who they believe live in Iran. Meanwhile, a fundraising page set up to help him has raised more than £22,000.

As for the investigation, the Standard says “as many as a dozen or more suspects are through [sic] to be still at large”. Readers hear from Patson Ngoma, the landlord of The Goat, a pub close to where the crime began.“On the day all of us were having a nice time,” he says. “It was just a normal day like any other day. We didn’t hear anything, we didn’t know anything.”

There was no far-Right march on the day of the attack. The pub close to the scene of the attack is not a haven for racists. But it is lively. In 2016, the Croydon Guardian reported: “Councillors met on Monday to decide the fate of The Goat in Broom Road, which had been visited a number of times by police because of criminal and anti-social behaviour. One occasion, a firework was thrown at officers dealing with ‘hostile’ customers at the pub.”

Maybe it wasn’t a hate crime. Maybe Reka Ahmed was unlucky to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time? We’ll know more soon enough.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 4th, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


British and Spanish monkeys fight over Gibraltar and slave rights

Former Tory party leader Lord Howard has assured the people of Gibraltar that Theresa May would show the same “resolve” as Mrs Thatcher did over the 1982 Falklands Conflict. Why is Howard saying the country is prepared to go to war with Spain over The Rock, a British territory? Because the Spanish worked a clause into draft EU negotiations giving them a veto in any Brexit deal and Gibraltar is ours.

Talking to Sky News, Howard recalled when “another woman prime minister sent a taskforce halfway across the world to protect another small group of British people against another Spanish-speaking country. And I’m absolutely clear that our current woman prime minister will show the same resolve in relation to Gibraltar as her predecessor did.”

It is fighting talk. But is Howard’s jingoism wrong? Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry says it is. “Inflammatory comments like those by Michael Howard will not help Britain get what it needs from these difficult Brexit negotiations,” she says. Lib Dem leader Tim Farron picked up the smell of traditional Tory nationalism and British imperialism. “In only a few days the Conservative right are turning long-term allies into potential enemies,” he said. “I hope this isn’t a sign of the government’s approach to the long negotiations to come. Brexiteers have gone from cheering to sabre-rattling for war in four days, it is absolutely ludicrous.”

Howard later told Channel 4 News: “I think it was ill-advised of the EU to insert that reference to Gibraltar in their draft guidelines. Since they have done it, I can see no harm of reminding them of what sort of people we are.”

And aren’t the Spanish to blame for any looming row? Gibraltar was ceded to Britain in perpetuity when Spain signed the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, after an Anglo-Dutch naval force captured it in August 1704 as part of the War of the Spanish Succession. That was an international fight involving Spain, France, Great Britain and their allies to work out which of them was the ultimate colonial power. Britain got Gibraltar and, among other things, the rights to slave trading in Spain’s American colonies. Since then The Rock has endured 15 sieges by Spain. But now the fight is over fishing rights, cheap ciggies and The Rock’s 10% corporation tax, which Madrid sees as unfair competition.

In 2013, Boris Johnson, the then London mayor and now Foreign Secretary, saw Spanish newspapers report that Spain was seeking a “united front” with Argentina against Britain, joining their respective claims to Gibraltar and the Falklands. “HMS Illustrious is about to bristle into view on the southern coast of Spain, complete with thousands of Royal Marines and other elite commando units,” guffed Johnson. “I hope that one way or another we will shortly prise Spanish hands off the throat of our colony.”

The issue is further complicated by Madrid’s claims to Ceuta and Melilla – two Moroccan ports across the water from Gibraltar – as its own. There is no treaty ceding ownership of those territories – nor the Islas Chafarinas, Perejil, Penon de Alhucemas and Penon de Velez de la Gomera, which all lie in Moroccan waters.

And Gibraltarians want to be British. Referendums in 1967 and 2002 resulted in Gibraltarians rejecting moves for Spanish sovereignty. If the Spanish claim The Rock, they become an occupying power. And surely ceding Gibraltar would bring the Falklands into play.

Lastly, 96% of the Rock’s 30,000 inhabitants endorsed the EU in the referendum last June. But that doesn’t mean they want to be ruled by Spain.

Gibraltar’s chief minister Fabian Picardo tells media: “The prime minister said we will never enter into arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another state against their freely and democratically expressed wishes, nor will we ever enter into a process of sovereignty negotiations with which Gibraltar is not content. The prime minister said we remain absolutely dedicated to working with Gibraltar for the best possible outcome on Brexit and will continue to involve them fully in the process.”

Gibraltarians see themselves as British. They want to remain under British control.

But times change. Is The Rock, looming by the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, as strategically important as it once was? Margaret Thatcher was prepared to enter into talks over Gibraltar. No shots fired. The future would be sorted out by lawyers and bureaucrats.

Can a backroom deal be done now after Brexit? If it can’t, is war with a key ally really on the cards? The belligerent rhetoric is painful stuff.

Maybe we should let those other Gibraltarians decide The Rock’s fate? The story goes than the British will leave Gibraltar when the last of its irritating Barbary Macaques dies. Wouldn’t it be apt if animal rights becomes the biggest issue in a modern European row. It’s the kind of thing we get excited about these days.

 

Posted: 3rd, April 2017 | In: Politicians, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Brexit blamed for Croydon attack on Kurdish asylum seekers

Grim news from Croydon, where a 17-year-old Kurdish-Iranian asylum seeker has been beaten up as he and two friends – also Iranian Kurds – were at a bus stop. Police are calling it a “hate crime”, which of course it is. Any violent attack is hateful. The Mail calls it a “suspected ‘hate crime'”.

Why are the police so sure it was a hate crime and the Mail and Guardian less certain? According to the CPS: “A Hate Incident is any incident which the victim, or anyone else, thinks is based on someones prejudice towards them because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or because they are transgender.”

If you think it is a hate crime, then it is a hate crime. Were the thugs who beat up three teenagers waiting for a bus looking for asylum seekers to further a racist cause or violent people looking for an excuse to hit someone? The police know. The rest of us should be less certain.

We should also wonder why existing laws are not enough and the State thinks we need a new kind of crime to cover what looks like a brutal attack?

What happened?

The teenager was set up by upon by up top eight other youths, who chased him down the road and kicked him unconscious. Croydon’s Metropolitan Police Borough Commander, Ch Supt Jeff Boothe, calls it “a frenzied attack by a large number of people”. As the victim was being kicked, “members of the public [were] asking them [his attackers] to stop”. This “horrendous and frenzied attack” only ended when the police arrived.

Gavin Barwell, Croydon Central’s MP, labels the attackers “scum”.

Det Sgt Kris Blamires has more:

“At this early stage it is believed that about eight suspects approached the victim as he waited at a bus stop with two friends outside The Goat public house in the Shrublands. It is understood that the suspects asked the victim where he was from, and when they established that he was an asylum seeker they chased him and launched a brutal attack. He has sustained critical head and facial injuries as a result of this attack, which included repeated blows to the head by a large group of attackers.”

Four 20-year-olds, a 24-year-old woman and 24-year-old man have been arrested.

The Agenda.

But can this attack be politicised? Can any agenda-driven soul find political mileage in a violent assault about which all facts are not known? Yes. Al Jazeera links the attack to Brexit. The police – those right-on champions of civil liberties – know a hate crime when they see one. Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbott, tells the Sun: “Sadly, this is not an isolated incident but part of a sustained increase in hate crimes that this Tory government is yet to offer any effective response to.”

She adds: “With rightwing politicians across the world scapegoating migrants, refugees and others for their economic problems, we are seeing a deeply worrying rise in the politics of hate. We must make clear that there is no place for anti-foreigner myths, racism and hate in our society.”

It’s no longer a very nasty incident outside a pub at 11:40 on a Saturday night. It’s a politically-triggered attack. Well, it is if you want it to be.

UPDATE.

Posted: 2nd, April 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Politicians, Reviews, Tabloids | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Google tax is not cheating tax on revenue

Most of us view the web via Google. The company makes huge amounts of money for showing adverts to internet users. But should it pay more tax? The Daily Mail says Google paid “just” £36.4million in UK corporation tax last year. This sounds like a lot of money. But the Mail’s says it’s not a lot when you see the figure in light of Google’s “£1billion in revenues” – i.e. turnover.

A politician is outraged. Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Susan Kramer thunders: “It is appalling that Google are still getting away with paying such a paltry amount of their total revenue back in taxes.”

Er, no. Revenues are not the same thing as profits. You’d think a leading politician would now that.

The Government describes Corporation Tax as a 20% on profit. Google made a pre-tax profit of £149m in the UK for the 12 months to the end of June 2016.

But accounts filed by Alphabet, Google’s parent company, show UK sales of almost £7bn. But Google’s UK sales are booked in the Irish Republic, where corporation tax is 12.5%. Ireland boasts of its favourable rates. The Republic of Ireland’s IDA seeks to secure inward investment. It produces this handy guide to its corporate tax rates:

 

google tax IDA ireland

 

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 1st, April 2017 | In: Money, Politicians, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Fail: Labour MP and Brexit heroine Gisela Stuart is forgotten in Essex

gisela stuart Brexit funny

 

Top work in the Essex Chronicle, which captions the above picture: “Douglas Carswell with Boris Johnson and someone else on the Vote Leave tour bus.”

It’s factually correct. But that “someone else” happens to be Gisela Stuart, the Labour MP who spoke so eloquently in favour of the UK leaving the European Union.

It was Gisela Stuart who undermined the myth that a vote for Brexit was a vote for racism and only bigots wanted out.

Stuart understood that a vote for Brexit meant a vote for a more outward looking country, enabling the UK to trade with the EU and seek opportunities in Canada, Australia, India and elsewhere.

Stuart connected with working-class voters in a way that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his North London coterie of preaching patricians do not.

Stuart helped voters understand that a vote to make politicians more accountable was what a resilient, ambitious and aspirational demos deserved.

 

Spotter: @JoeTwyman

Posted: 30th, March 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Farage becomes the tabloids’ Great British Mascot

Nigel Farage beams from the front pages of the Daily Express and Daily Mail. Legs crossed to best display his Union flag socks-styled socks, a half-drunk pint of the warm stuff in his paw and a patriotic red, white and blue tie about his throat, Farage is politics’ answer to Ken Bailey, the man who dressed as John Bull, helped restore Erica Roe’s modesty after her Twickenham streak, and followed the Queen and the England and Bournemouth football teams across the world. Subbuteo even honoured him with his own model.

 

ken bailey

 

Farage is the figure who heralds the main event before vanishing from the field of play.

Including the cover, there are 6 pages given to Brexit in today’s Mail – and Farage’s one and only mention appears in the caption to that front-page photo: “Unions Jack socks: Nigele Farage in Westminster yesterday.”

 

Farage pint daily express mail

 

And there he is again on the Express. No socks. But lots of British teeth. One page on and we do get to the socks. “Today’s the day the impossible dream came true,” says Farage sat on patio furniture. “I’m delighted.” And so too is the man dressed up as Godfrey of Bouillon across the page. Godfrey’s the bloke who led the Crusaders when they captured Jerusalem in 1099 and massacred so many Jews and Muslims, it was said, “the streets ran with blood.”

If the foreigners don’t come here to be hated by Express readers, you can always visit them.

 

Farage pint daily express

 

Farage pint daily Mirror

 

As Farage tartily wafts his socks and waves on the main event – we suppose the UK-supporting Express would have featured a UKIP MP if such a creature existed –  the opposition are notable by their absence. Not a single one of them (well, not unless you count Theresa May who wanted to remain ‘In’ the EU), is pictured in the Express.  Biased, of course, but the Labour-supporting Daily Mirror also ignores Jeremy Corbyn, preferring its readers to hear from former Labour leader Gordon Brown. The paper finds space to feature an unflattering picture of Farage looking not a little gnome like. But not a sign of Corbyn.

Indeed, there is not single photo of Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition, in any tabloid. There’s not even a picture of the Labour leader wearing his signature tatty vest. Just lots of Nigel Farage and his underwear.

Phwaor!

Posted: 30th, March 2017 | In: Politicians, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Mail’s Legs-It cover triggers a race to the bottom

When Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon had a chat in Glasgow, the Daily Mail noticed that both women had legs. It wasn’t just a meeting between two leaders of British political parties; it was a beauty contest. It was also an eye-catching front-page headline and photo. If newspapers set out to be relevant and capture their readers’ attentions, the Mail did a fine job of it.

But many leading voices – most of whom don’t much like the Mail and don’t buy it – were quick to accuse the paper of “sexism”.

 

legs sturgeon may daily record scotland

 

Reaction to the Mail’s cover has been loud. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn looked beyond mere policy and leadership to decry the picture’s “sexism”. “This sexism must be consigned to history,” Corbyn tweeted. Labour MP Harriet Harman found the Mail’s headline “Moronic!” She checked her calendar and added with not a muon of wit, “And we are in 2017!”

Conservative MP and former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan accused the paper of “appalling sexism”.

 

womack daily mail

 

Amelia Womack, deputy leader of the The Green Party of England and Wales, ruled that the cover was “treating women with contempt”. She went further than most and complained to IPSO,  the Independent Press Standards Organisation. To her mind the over was “breaking the Editors’ Code”.

The Editors’ Code of Practice covers:

Accuracy
Privacy
Harassment
Intrusion into grief or shock
Reporting Suicide
Children in sex cases
Hospitals
Reporting of Crime
Clandestine devices and subterfuge
Victims of sexual assault
Discrimination
Financial journalism
Confidential sources
Witness payments in criminal trials
Payments to criminals
The Public Interest

Which of those topics deals with a picture of two clothed women and a silly comment on their legs? You can try and guess but you’d be hard pressed to nail it. Helpfully, Womack says the Mail broke clause 12 of the code which says editors must “avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual’s race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability”.

Of course, drawing attention to the leaders’ legs story gives Womack a chance to draw attention to herself. Like all other ‘Outraged of Westminster’ moaners, Womack uses the Mail to showcase her own clean lines. The paper must love it. At a time of falling circulations, the Mail is one newspaper still able to rile and matter. People really do care what it says.

The Mail online even features a report on its own front page:

 

mail legs

 

And what of Theresa May, the poor woman being objectified by the nasty Mail? She called the cover “a bit of fun”. Which it is.

In next week’s Mail: “Put ’em away Jeremy!”

Posted: 29th, March 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Government uses Westminster terror attack to limit hard-fought freedom

The reaction to Khalid Massod’s murderous attack in London was clear: we will not let the heinous actions of one man threaten our hard won freedoms. Theresa May assured us that “Any attempt to defeat those values [liberty, democracy, freedom of speech, the spirit of freedom, the rule of law and human rights] through violence and terror is doomed to failure.”

 

whatsapp terror the sun

 

And then came news that two minutes before he attacked, Masood received an encrypted message via WhatsApp. Would knowing the contents of that message have helped the police stop Masood’s “depraved” and “sick” crime? The police weren’t watching him, so maybe not.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd, like May, her eavesdropping predecessor in the Home Office who introduced the invasive Investigatory Powers Act, is no fan of privacy. Rudd says encryption represents a threat to national security. She wants apps like WattsAp to aid government investigations by letting them in to look around.

And so from not giving into terrorists by refusing to play the terrorists at their own game, the State soon begins to chip away at our liberties.

The Liberal Democrat’s home affairs spokesman, former deputy assistant commissioner in the Metropolitan police and onetime London mayoral hopeful Brian Paddick says allowing the authorities to view encrypted messages would be “neither a proportionate nor an effective response” to the Westminster attack. “These terrorists want to destroy our freedoms and undermine our democratic society,” he says. “By implementing draconian laws that limit our civil liberties, we would be playing into their hands.”

The Sun uses its editorial to argue that Rudd is right. “Home Secretary Amber Rudd is right to read them [WhatsApp, Apple and Google] the riot act and tell them the terrorists should have no place to hide,” the paper thunders. “Because that’s just what WhatsApp – owned by Facebook – lets them do. By encrypting messages, it stops the police being able to track terror plots.They can’t even investigate in the ­aftermath of a terrorist atrocity.”

But “if you build a back door, it’s there for everybody to access,” says Tony Anscombe in the same paper. “And if you store that data you collect, even in encrypted form, how secure is it? All these data breaches we hear about show our privacy is regularly being breached by hackers, so the action suggested by the Home Secretary would only open us all up to further invasions of privacy.“

In 2012 the murderous Syrian government banned WhatsApp in order “to disrupt the rebel opposition’s cellular privacy”. In a dangerous place, privacy is paramount for many. It’s matter of life and death. “WhatsApp is very popular among Syrians, and particularly Syrian opposition activists,” says Tuma, a Syrian journalist. “Even Free Syrian Army soldiers are using the app.” The Syrian government wants to police communications because it fears the people. The UK government wants to police communications to protect the people. But protecting citizens from criminals soon slips into monitoring us all. A rogue State begins to look like the Free West.

May should wonder how she can champion free expression and free speech through observation and mistrust? With no private lives, no space to look at non-conformist things and express ideas, however mentally negligible and far-fetched, privacy become public spectacle. Afraid of standing out and attracting police attention, we ape each other’s movements, keeping in step with what the authorities deem acceptable and unthreatening.

You can still believe things but you dare not say them aloud. People become isolated, hidden behind a bland facade. Is that what not giving into the terrorists looks like?

Posted: 27th, March 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews, Technology | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0