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MPs lose Brexit: the newspaper front pages slam May

Brexit the sun May dodo

This is what happens when Parliament fails to embrace the result of the 2016 EU referendum. Last night, Remain-voting Prime Minister Theresa May had her Brexit deal voted down by a Remain-voting Parliament (around 75% of MPs want us to remain in the UE; 52% of voters don’t). Her plan was rolled in concrete and tossed into the canal: 432 against to 202 votes for her hotchpotch. No worries thought, right? The UK will leave the EU on March 29. Probably…

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has tabled a vote of no confidence in the government. MPs will vote on tonight. May is expected to win it. The 118 Toris who voted down her plan will pick her over Corbyn in a game of blind man’s bluff.

brexit star

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Away from the EU’s umbrella, our MPs are exposed and , boy, are they found wanting. Danny Baker nailed the mess:

Meanwhile the airwaves and TV studios are packed with nodding heads and over-trained politicos telling a supine media what’s what. As the Queen Mum was wont to say: ‘Such fun!’

Posted: 16th, January 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Owen Jones v The Sun is the joke that keeps on giving

Guardian journalist and Jeremy Corbyn fan Owen Jones is so upset that he allowed the Sun to feature an extract from his book that he’s donated £500 to the Hillsborough Justice Campaign. The Sun lied when 96 innocent people were killed at a football match in 1989. You can read more about it here. A mere 23 years after the lies, the Sun apologised.

Jones won’t forgive the paper. “I’ve made the argument that the British media is directly responsible for legitimising and fuelling the rise of the far right. The hatred directed, on a daily basis, against Muslims, migrants, refugees, LGBTQ people, and other minorities, has had already horrifying real world consequences: worse is to come,” he writes in a story headlined: “Why writing for The Sun is bad (and my own making amends).”

But not all British media is to blame. The Guardian, for instance, which admitted that a cartoon”inevitably” echoed “past antisemitic usage of such imagery” is fine. As Julie Burchill put it as she left the Guardian for the Times, which like the Sun is owned by Rupert Murdoch, she’d “finally been convinced that my evil populist philistinism has no place in a publication read by so many all-round, top-drawer plaster saints”. That’s the Guardian, in which one columnist opined: “I have developed a habit when confronted by letters to the editor in support of the Israeli government to look at the signature to see if the writer has a Jewish name. If so, I tend not to read it.” Jones has also written for the New Statesman, the organ that produced this fair and reasoned cover:

anti-Semitic new statesman kosher conspiracy
The Labour Party supporting New Statesman had a question that might have been rhetorical.

Jones adds: “It is the proprietors and editors who bear the greatest responsibility for this media campaign of hatred. But the journalists who write such stories have to be held to account, too. The idea that building their own careers is more important than not helping to whip up bigotry and hatred against already vulnerable minorities is perverse. They may think it’s a price worth paying to “make it”, but the price is not paid by them — it’s paid by other people in the streets, in school yards, in workplaces and in communities.” Sun writers should look to themselves and consider their positions.

Jones says that his refusal to accept a fee from the Sun doesn’t make it right. He was “naive”. “Giving them any copy whatsoever just legitimises the paper.”

As Jones is invited to hand back any earnings from the Guardian and the New Statesman – if he keeps up his rate of a £500 donation per article, he might earn an OBE for charity work – Guardian columnist Hadley Freeman muses on twitter:

The “established MP” who earned money from the Iranian government-funded satellite channel Press TV, is Jeremy Corbyn. One writer says “Press TV is not just a home for those with exterminationist fantasies about wiping Israel off the map, but a platform for the full fascist conspiracy theory of supernatural Jewish power.” Iran backs Corbyn’s “friends” in Hamas, the group whose stated aim is to kill every Jew. Jones wants us to make Corbyn the country’s Prime Minister. Maybe Corbyn didn’t notice the racism. He might also have missed the fact that Iran hangs gay people, stones women to death and wants to annihilate the world’s only Jewish state.

But it’s the Sun that shames Jones. For pity!

Posted: 15th, January 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Brexit: Boris Johnson makes lusty return to the 30s

Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans are on hold. The Mail leads with news that “Boris’s blonde” is at the couple’s new “love nest”. ‘Boris’s blonde what?’, you may well ask? His mullet? His merkin? His visions for Europe? No. The blonde is the Tory MP’s “first Lady” Carrie Symonds.

Boris Johnson blonde daily mail

Inside and the paper’s headline is full of facts and guff: “Boris’s ‘First Lady’: As Johnson’s blonde, 30, steps out of £1m flat they share, we reveal how she’s already nicknamed ‘FLOTUS’ – like president’s wife – and also shares passion for raw ambition with ‘puppy dog’ Boris, 54.” He’s ‘Boris’ no fewer than twice; she is “Johnson’s blonde” – not even a blonde in her own right, rather the property of the Tory manqué.

Boris Johnson symonds

Like the Mail, the Express also leads with Boris and whatsherface. The papers talk of her pinching his arse; much canoodling; some smooching; and a cosy new pad.

And finally, it would seem, readers would do well heed the Johnson’s advice: stay in bed until Brexit is done. Oh, and there are the ages, of course, of which no report on the love birds is complete. He’s 54; she’s 30. Yeah, that’s right, Remainers. The Brexiteer really has gone back to the 30s and she’s getting aroused by the 50s.

You’ve never had it so good (nor so often – phwoarr!).

Posted: 14th, January 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


Jeremy Corbyn completes his EastEnders audition

Jeremy Corbyn shirty Marr

Jeremy Corbyn is on Andrew Marr’s Sunday morning politics show. If body language matters – and surely it does – the Labour leader’s habit of tilting his head and looking up does him few favours.

In 2008, actor Chris Coghill was hired to play Tony King on EastEnders. His character would become one of the most reviled in the history of British soap operas. How did he manage to look shifty and disingenuous. Coghill explained: “I’ve always been able to turn on the sinister look. Sid Owen said to me that all I had to do was tilt my head down and look up and it’s there.”

Jeremy Corbyn says vote for him and he’ll let you know what his Brexit plans are.

Posted: 13th, January 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, TV & Radio | Comment


Jews laugh at claims Jeremy Corbyn isn’t an anti-Semite – but not in the Guardian

corbyn gif thornberry

Jeremy Corbyn is upset by people calling him an anti-Semite. Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, told Jewish charity Limmud at a meeting in Birmingham that Corbyn finds it “difficult to deal with the problem”. Jewish News reports: “Interviewed by Momentum founder Jon Lansman at one of the last Limmud sessions on Thursday, the Islington South MP also drew laughter when she repeated the claim that ‘there isn’t a racist or antisemitic bone in Jeremy’s body’.” The Islington South MP said of the Islington North MP: “When people accused Jeremy of being an antisemite, he was so upset, and as a result he has found it difficult to deal with the problem.”

Asked by an audience member how, given her comments about such “lazy, undisciplined thinking”, could she serve in a shadow cabinet “under a Labour leader who would surely fail under your own definition?” Thornberry dodged the question, saying: “It is my core belief that only the Labour Party can improve this country and make it more socially just. And it is for that and many other reasons that I am committed to my party and believe it’s my duty to serve my party and make my leader the best leader he can be, and for us to be part of a leadership team.”

The Daily Telegraph reports the story (“Jeremy Corbyn failed to tackle anti-Semitism because he was too ‘upset’, Emily Thornberry says). The Daily Mail bills it as: “Jeremy Corbyn was TOO UPSET to address Labour’s antisemitism crisis: Emily Thornberry is jeered at Jewish charity as she says Labour leader was ‘so upset, he found it difficult to deal with the problem’.” The Sun told us: “JEZ TOO BAD Jeremy Corbyn failed to tackle anti-Semitism because he was ‘so upset’ by racism claims, top ally says.” The Times: notes “Jeremy Corbyn was ‘too upset’ to tackle antisemitism.”

And in the Labour supporting Mirror and Guardian nothing. Not a word. Maybe the papers’ hacks were too upset to type?

Posted: 11th, January 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Highlights from Mrs Nick Clegg’s Standard Interview

Mrs Nick Clegg, Miriam Gonzalez Durentez, is talking to the Standard about moving to California for her husband’s new job with Facebook and Brexit. Highlights of the softest of puff pieces are:

“It is never a good time to leave London,” she says with a charming smile. “It is a wonderful place. Please don’t destroy London.”

She came to the UK reluctantly when her husband became MP for Sheffield Hallam in 2005. It’s grown on her. She loves its diversity — and the Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection is in London, where he home is. Sheffield is somewhere else.

Taking a sip of black coffee from a Gruffalo mug, she continues…

It’s particularly concerning for the younger generation. González Durántez has three sons: Antonio, Alberto and Miguel, aged 15, 13 and eight. Their age group “feels strongly” about Brexit.

Most 8-year-olds talk of little else.

It “annoys Nick” that she’s a good sleeper and can spend whole transatlantic plane journeys asleep.

Is the PM a role model? “She doesn’t come up [with the people I speak to] but it might just be the types of girls we meet. In the UK they tend to say Beyoncé is the role model. I think that’s great because she is hard-working. The issue is when you ask, ‘Do you sing?’ and they say no.

Who are her role models? “I have women who, when I am in a conundrum, I think, ‘How would they do it?’ — for example Catherine Day [former secretary-general of the EU Commission].”

Bon voyage.

Posted: 8th, January 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


500,000 Go Missing At People’s Vote March

The figures were in: 700,000 people had walked the streets of London in a demand for a second EU referendum, a so-called People’s Vote. Numbers matter when you’re marching. The bigger the better. Numbers are a key propaganda element in a demonstration. But counting march numbers can be tricky. You either give everyone a numbered ticket (so much for freedom) or count the numbers in a given area and multiply it by the length of the march; or count marchers as they pass a set point.

The number is the headline

The Guardian went big on the numbers. Its writers cheered on the “funky and fun” marchers. The belief was that a second referendum could only produce one victor: remain. The numbers do not lie. “It’s becoming ever clearer that Brexit is a far-right project. No wonder so many people are taking to the streets,” said one columnist. “Approaching 700,000 people marched on Saturday for a People’s Vote – from London’s Marble Arch to Parliament Square. The crowd seemed endless,” said another. A Labour peer “joined 700,000 people on the streets of London to demand a people’s vote on Brexit”. “So the will of the people was important until we discovered they lied to us,” says a child holding a ‘People’s Vote’ placard in the paper’s cartoon. The number stuck.

One month after the march, another columnist again linked Leave voters to the far-right: “Just over a month ago, 700,000 people marched for a people’s vote. Another Europe is Possible has, along with a series of prominent left figures, called for an explicitly anti-Brexit mobilisation on 9 December, which will build numbers for a joint general anti-fascist protest. If remainers mobilise, they could dwarf the pro-Brexit far right.” To say nothing of the pro-Brexit Tory centrists and working class would-be Labour Party voters, which he didn’t.

Like minds in agreement

The Independent told its readers: “More than 700,000 protesters and celebrities join second largest protest in UK this century.” What’s a protest by the people without a few famous faces? I confess to the joy of spotting a celebrity. “Demonstrators from across the UK heard speeches from household names including television presenter Delia Smith and London mayor Sadiq Khan.” Is the London mayor a celeb? The owner of Norwich City FC certainly is. Conservative MP Dominic Grieve might not be.

Brexit

The Guardian placed a hand over one eye and added perspective. “The scale of today’s protest places it in the upper echelons of protests since the millennium,” readers learned. “A march organised by the Countryside Alliance in 2002 calling for Liberty & Livelihood reportedly attracted more than 400,000 people, while the TUC’s March for the Alternative anti-cuts protest in 2011 also saw around 400,000 people take to the streets.”

But then the truth seeped out – or at least something approaching the truth. The Telegraph cites a document by the Greater London Authority. It puts the number of people on the march closer to 250,000. Although it might be fewer if you don’t count the people caught up on the throng on their way to Hyde Park (i.e. me).

Posted: 8th, January 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


North Korea’s ambassador to Italy waits an age before defecting

At what point did North Korea’s man in Rome decide to stay in god’s own county indefinitely? I’d wager it’s about a microsecond after the diminuative nutjob Kim Jong-un told him he’s to be posted to…Italy, land of the dolche vita, manbags worn with confidence and food that’s been exported to every Western high street. News that North Korea’s man in Rome, one Jo Song-gil (‘but you can call me Toni’) “may have defected” is shocking only for the uncertainty. Why “may”? You might not flee a Stalinist dictatorship for Hull or Texas. But when Italy beckons you run.

Mr Jo, 48, was despatched to Rome in October 2017 when Italy expelled the previous ambassador in protest over North Korean nuclear testing. His tenure in Italy ended in November – about the time of his vanishing. South Korea’s Joongang Ilbo newspaper claims Mr Jo is seeking asylum in an unidentified western country . Italy is keeping him in a “safe place” her no-one will find him – like Rome’s branch of Gregg’s the bakers. 

The Times:

If he is plotting to defect, Mr Jo will be following in the footsteps of Thae Yong- ho, a former deputy ambassador at the North Korean embassy in London who claimed asylum in South Korea in 2016, claiming he wanted his sons to avoid a “miserable” life in North Korea.

Pyongyang described him as “human scum” and accused him of embezzlement and child rape. 

A public shaming or profiteroles? No contest. Bring on the mad dogs!

Posted: 3rd, January 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


David Dimbleby and why the Posh live in a meritocracy

Are you posh? I’m asking for David Dimbleby, the hereditary BBC journalist, former Bullingdon Club member, pal to Prince Charles and whose son attended Eton College. His fellow BBC lifer John Humphrys asked Dimbers if he was a posho. Dimbleby thought the question not rhetorical and replied: “I come from Wales, as you do.” So he is Posh, then, at least as privileged as his nation’s prince. Of course, what Dimbleby’s doing is denying his poshness. The old sod pitches himself as an outsider, a man of the valleys and so very unlike those entitled and titled toffs in Berkshire (Thatcham) and London (Newham). 

Kenan Malik cites Dimbleby’s egotism – that stated belief in success founded on merit rather than dumb luck and membership of an elite tribe – in his article on the rise of meritocracy and those who can afford to live in one. Dimbleby is the product of talent and hard work. His rank played no role. Now read on:

So entrenched as a social aspiration has meritocracy become that we often forget that the term was coined in mockery. In his 1958 satire, The Rise of Meritocracy, the sociologist Michael Young told of a society in which classes were sorted not by the hereditary principle but by the formula IQ + Effort = Merit.

In this new society, “the eminent know that success is a just reward for their own capacity”, while the lower orders deserve their fate. Having been tested again and again and “labelled ‘dunce’ repeatedly”, they have no choice but “to recognise that they have an inferior status”.

Young’s dystopian meritocracy doesn’t (yet) exist, but we have something perhaps worse: the pretence of a meritocracy. The pretence that talent will achieve its just rewards in a society in which class distinctions continue to shape educational outcomes, job prospects, income and health.

Malik argues that rank is now based on education. Is admission to top colleges a meritocratic process? It’s competitive. How do you get the edge? How do you know where the edge exists if you’ve no access to it?

Today, we simultaneously deride poshness and want to be seen as having the common touch (hence Dimbleby’s outrage at being called posh), while also showing contempt for those who are deemed too common and whose commonness exhibits itself in the refusal to accept the wisdom of expertise and in being in possession of the wrong social values.

Trump supporters, wrote David Rothkopf, professor of international relations, former CEO of Foreign Policy magazine and a member of Bill Clinton’s administration, are people “threatened by what they don’t understand and what they don’t understand is almost everything”. They regard knowledge as “not a useful tool but a cunning barrier elites have created to keep power from the average man and woman”. Much the same has been said about Brexit supporters…

Too true, of course. Tory MP Michael Gove says a second Brexit referendum would tell voters that they’re “too thick” to decide on issues. Labour MP Mr Sheerman, opined: “The truth is that when you look at who voted to Remain, most of them were the better educated people in our country.” 

 

 

Matt O’Brien finds evidence that  “poor kids who do everything right don’t do much better than rich kids who do everything wrong”:

 

meritocracy

 

You can see that in the above chart, based on a new paper from Richard Reeves and Isabel Sawhill, presented at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s annual conference, which is underway. Specifically, rich high school dropouts remain in the top about as much as poor college grads stay stuck in the bottom — 14 versus 16 percent, respectively. Not only that, but these low-income strivers are just as likely to end up in the bottom as these wealthy ne’er-do-wells. Some meritocracy.

What’s going on?

Well, it’s all about glass floors and glass ceilings. Rich kids who can go work for the family business — and, in Canada at least, 70 percent of the sons of the top 1 percent do just that — or inherit the family estate don’t need a high school diploma to get ahead. It’s an extreme example of what economists call “opportunity hoarding.” That includes everything from legacy college admissions to unpaid internships that let affluent parents rig the game a little more in their children’s favor.

David Dimbleby’s dad worked at the BBC, where he hosted the long-running current affairs programme Panorama. David succeeded his father as presenter of Panorama in 1974. Maybe knowledge and know how is inherited, like cash and connections?

Posted: 30th, December 2018 | In: Key Posts, Money, News, Politicians | Comment


Brexit: tabloids react, Sinn Fein swears allegiance and Ireland is revolting

tabloids brexit

 

It was the 117’s finest moment, the day they voted for a new Tory Party leader and to defenestrate Theresa May. They lost. May won by 200 votes to 117. May remains – but not before she’d pledged to leave her job before the next general election in 2022. Tory rebel Jacob Rees-Mogg said the result was “terrible”. No, not for him, the MP who led calls for the confidence vote and lost it – for her. “She said that in her heart she would like to fight the 2022 election,” said Rees-Mogg, “but that she recognised the party did not want her to, and therefore it was not her intention to. But the word ‘intention’ is a classic politician’s word, because intentions can change.” Thanks for stating the bleedin’ obvious, Jacob. Maybe with his plain talking and being in touch with the man on a private road in Latin-Speaking Surrey he could stand for party leadership? “Several Cabinet ministers already well advanced with their plans”, says The Daily Telegraph. Jacob isn’t one of them. 

Maybe Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn can cross the house and have a bash at being PM? “Theresa May has lost her majority in Parliament, her government is in chaos and she’s unable to deliver a Brexit deal that works for the country,” said Corbyn. So what would he do? Dunno. In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king, and all that jazz. 

Now back to Brexit. May is in Brussels for yet another EU summit. She wants legally binding assurances on the Irish backstop. The EU leaders says they can’t be arsed to renegotiate any points of the deal. What’s done is done. Ireland sniggers. A former leader of Luxembourg puts a drink. May leaves with nothing. 

But wait a moment. The Sun has momentous news on page 2. Leo Varadkar, the Irish PM, wants Sinn Fein’s seven MPs to take up their seats in Westminster and support the Tory government’s Brexit deal. Good idea, Leo. Close you eyes and see Sinn Fein’s MP swearing their oath of allegiance to the Queen and backing one nation Tories. Now close them once more and see flying cows, Terry Waite’s chocolate radiator and Scotland winning the World Cup. Perhaps now is the time for the UK to boycott of Irish goods until they agree to sort the border issue out and stop siding with the EU’s vengeful, fearful thugs?

Back in the tabloids, and the contest is on: which one can harp on about Brexit for longest. Here are the results:

The Sun: 9 pages 

Daily Mail:  12 pages

Daily Mirror: 6 pages

Daily Express:  6 pages

Daily Star: Brexit triggers lap dancer crisis!

 More to follow…

Posted: 13th, December 2018 | In: News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


Brexit: Theresa May has more sticking power than an adolescent’s sheets

With more sticking power than an adolescent’s sheets, can Theresa May stave off an attack on her leadership from her own party? Tory MPs will vote on Theresa May’s leadership. The Party received the required minimum of 48 letters from MPs saying they no longer had confidence in her – a move ostensibly triggered by her decision to postpone the Commons vote on her Withdrawal Agreement. If she wins the Tory vote, she stays as leader. Is she loses May enters a leadership contest which whoever wants to take her on – take yer pick from Walter Softy, Bonking Boris, Someone with Kids by Boden or the contents of Phil’s Mystery Bin.

Meanwhile… Labour continues to sit on their hands, a position they’ve adopted with such gusto and at great length that Corbyn’s tonsils jaggle when he hails a taxi. Labour’s latest dry wank saw them pass up the chance to table a motion of no confidence in May. You wonder what it is they’re waiting for? Does anyone else suspect Corbyn realises that this is the peak of his career, him playing a crocodile post-dental extraction in the Tories’ Punch and Judy show? He lurks. He waits. Will he pounce? No. He lurks. He waits. Bugger! He’s left his teeth at the allotment. He tilts his head like a worried budgie, narrows his eyes and opines: “We have no confidence in this Government. We need to do the appropriate thing at the appropriate time to have a motion of no confidence in order to get rid of this Government.” The words “all options are open to us” will be written on his headstone. 

Corbyn’s number 2, shadow chancellor John McDonnell, says Labour would announce a confidence motion “when we can win it”. Which is when? Wait and see. All options are open to us. He then told us that he’s either wilfully ignorant or a know-all: “We’ll make a judgement when we’re convinced about it. Never ask a question you don’t know the answer to.” These are the leaders, folks, an ambulatory Quentin Blake sketch and a man who had all the answers before he was encumbered by actual power. 

Meanwhile… over on the dark continent, the European Court of Justice says Britain can revoke Article 50 without the approval of the other EU member states. Those are judges, laydees and germs, playing at politics. The bigwigs say we can stay in the EU under our current terms of membership. Sod the popular vote to leave. Just ignore that. Yes, you are supposed to leave the EU in March 2019.  But the demos and their elected representatives can be directed by the judges in Brussels. When we outsource democracy to the judiciary we should check the bill. 

Maybe these judges just know the answer to the question: what do British MPs want? Do the majority of them want Brexit, like the voters do, or are they after one of the myriad fudges that Remainers – of which two thirds of our MPs  are – hope will tie the country to the EU indefinitely: a second referendum, a People’s Vote, Norway-plus, a ruling that the result of the last referendum is null and void?

PS: anyone thought to stock up on yellow vests? Or is yellow too close to the colour of our leaders?

Posted: 12th, December 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Brexit: Theresa May keeps her powder dry as drips and storm clouds gather

Theresa May umbrella brexit

 

How do you illustrate Brexit? The papers go with a photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas. The front pages feature a picture of Theresa May beneath a black umbrella. Her eyes are looking at the ground. We are approaching the “End of May’s reign”, says the Daily Mirror. “Tory rivals line up to oust May”, says the i. They’ve been lining up for so long a few have passed out. Someone should check their pulse. May’s not sheltering from a storm beneath that brolly – she’s keeping the drips off. 

The Times hears “a leading Tory” MP says he “believes” Conservative MPs will file the 48 letters needed to trigger a confidence vote in her leadership. He also believes, allegedly, in free school dinners, man-made climate change, the Jews did it and the youthful effects of grey beards. Another anonymous MP tells the Daily Telegraph May knows she will not win Tuesday’s vote.

May, he says, reminds him of Charles Dickens’ Wilkins Micawber, who was forever insisting that “something will turn up”. Micawber also says: “Welcome poverty!..Welcome misery, welcome houselessness, welcome hunger, rags, tempest, and beggary! Mutual confidence will sustain us to the end!” Hurrah for the eternal optimist. The poor live fuller lives than the rich. Bring it on. And if it fails, we can all leave for a new life in Australia. 

As MPs dust off their York Notes to kick up a quote in place of original thought, readers wonder why they should chose to appear anonymous whilst sticking the knife in. The MPs’ vanity is clear – these people actually believe the great unwashed know who the hell they are. Dream on. 

But there is a plan. The Sun commands May to head to Brussels and demand further concessions. The Mail agrees.  And the Express. Well, it alone supports May. 

 

theresa may black umbrella e

 

Eyes up, Theresa. Keep yer powder dry. The sunny uplands await us. 

Posted: 10th, December 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


Brexit and the tabloids agree – Theresa May wins!

Brexit vote theresa may tabloids

 

After all the guff, bluster, grandstanding and outright lying let’s see what the tabloids make of Brexit. Page after page is given to dissecting the meaning of yesterdays voting in Parliament. The Government suffered a triple defeat in the Commons. A few MPs might be regretting their decision to vote against Theresa May and allowing Parliament to control Brexit should the PM’s plans be voted down next week. Can they vote again? Can we have a People’s Vote on that, or is one vote among MPs enough? These MPs, the people who approved the Brexit referendum, these representatives of the Labour and Conservative Parties who made exiting the European Union and enabling the will of the people a key part of the manifestos in the last General Election, these people now arguing amongst themselves as to what the word “leave” means are doing their best to scupper democracy. We could wade thought page after page of partisan commentary. But let’s just go with the editorials, the paper’s ‘last word’ comments. 

The Mail: “Britain Will Never Forget A Brexit Betrayal.”

Most MPs are Remainers, and so in “conflict with the will of the people”. To allow them to dictate Brexit is a “recipe for chaos and betrayal”. Choosing to stay in the EU spits the faces of the 17.4 million of us who voted to leave. It is a “Judas kiss”. What to do? Vote for May’s deal, says the Mail. It’s not prefect but it “satisfies the main referendum criteria”. May’s plan is the “only hope of Brexit”. Vote it down and risk the chance of a Labour / SNP government under closet Brexiteer Jeremy Corbyn, which could “wreck” the nation and “split the UK for good”. Scotland leaves. And Northern Ireland follows. The Mail says John McDonnell, the show Chancellor and another closet Brexiteer,  “longs” for a United Ireland. Be warned. Vote May or it is the end. 

Daily Mirror: “Time for Plan B.”

Which is? What is Plan B? Invade France? That for later. For now the “will of the people must be respected”. Brexit must happen. But May has “lost all authority”. The PM must produce a Plan B. Aha! You thought the Mirror was about to reveal the second plan. No. It just wants one to happen. Maybe it can cite Labour’s plan. But Labour doesn’t have one. So, come on “weak and wobbly” May, get to work!

The Sun: “Utter Mayhem.” 

After the pun the details. May has “all but lost control of Brexit”. An “enraged public” will have a second referendum foisted on it. But the DUP might suddenly realise that the Brexit deal on offer is better than letting Parliament’s Remainers “impose something worse”.  The Sun reasons that the DUP’s support is key to May getting her way. She should “ditch the toxic Irish backstop” or insert a “route out of the restrictive customs union it sets up”. She must woo the DUP. She must do this or Corbyn will win the day. He’s already “measuring the curtains at No10”. Labour, were told, is putting its own interests ahead of the nation’s. Labour will “renege on its manifesto and back a second referendum”. Hard to disagree. Labour has no plan. So the simple thing to do would be to just repeat the act that went before. 

Anorak Says! But hold on. Doesn’t the aforementioned McDonnell want to renationalise, well, everything? He does. And won’t the EU see that as illegal state aid? Surely it will. Really think Labour wants to scupper Brexit? If it does, it’s plans will be damaged – to say nothing of the party’s dying links to the working-class who voted to Leave. 

Daily Express: “Remainers must not be allowed to eat Brexit.”

Yesterdays votes were “proof” Remainer elites” want to stop Brexit. The vote allows the Commons to block a “no deal Brexit”. The only way ahead is to back our “courageous and indefatigable Prime Minister’ and vote for her plan. 

May losses three votes in the Commons! May wins!! Ain’t democracy grand. 

Posted: 5th, December 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


Kate Osamor: Fiona Onasanya, a mother’s love and Press freedom

Faced with journalists from the Mail and Times on her doorstep seeking answers to questions about her son’s conviction for intent to supply drugs, including cocaine, Labour MP Kate Osamor dialled 999. The Times says Osamor, your parliamentary rep for Edmonton, told its journalist to “fuck off”, ‘threw a bucket of water at him and then, in the presence of police, said she “should have come down here with a bat and smashed your face in”.’ Discuss. 

The Times say Osamor has been accused of wasting police time, chiefly by Susan Hall, Conservative member of the London Assembly, whose given time and space to say: “It’s a bit rich of Kate Osamor to complain about police cuts at the same time as shamelessly wasting police resources. Dealing with media attention is all part and parcel of being a high-profile politician. If she is unable to cope with some probing questions from journalists, perhaps she’s in the wrong job.” 

Michelle Stanistreet, the NUJ’s general secretary, is unimpressed by the language. “Journalists, like any other workers, need to be able to go about their work without fear of threats or assault,” she says. “It’s completely unacceptable to respond to legitimate press queries, however unwelcome they may be, with physical or verbal abuse. There is a disturbing and febrile international climate at the moment that is facilitating and legitimising the notion that it is open season on journalists – such insidious and dangerous beliefs, particularly when they emanate from public figures in positions of authority, have to be challenged at every turn.” Watergate, eat yer heart out. 

 

kate osamor

The Sun guns for Osamor

 

Back in the Times, we learn that Scotland Yard sent six officers over to Osamor’s home in just 24 hours to answer “emergency calls” about her son and parliamentary aide, Ishmael, 29, and what she knew of his arrest. Is that a lot? The Times smells the air:

The Times revealed on Saturday that Ms Osamor, 50, had written to the judge in her son’s case to appeal for leniency before he received a community sentence on October 19. The disclosure of his mother’s intervention contradicted earlier accounts from Labour that she had only heard about the case when the media began asking questions on October 26…

Ms Osamor’s differing accounts of her son’s case, her continued employment of him in her Westminster office and her threats to the journalist have led to questions about her fitness to be an MP.

Kids, eh. Who’d be a parent? It’s emotive stuff. The Press are excited. The Sun says “Ms Osamor has denied wrongdoing in the row over her son” and then values her home and questions her right to live in it. The i can’t even be bothered to identify the MP correctly. Instead of Osamor, the paper used a picture of the Labour whip and Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya, supplied by a news agency. “Jeremy Corbyn with Kate Osamor, who is accused of threatening a reporter,” says the i. Whoops!

Osamor has resigned her post as… anyone..? Anyone…? Yep. Shadow international development secretary.

 

kate osamor resigns 

 

Anyone know who her replacement is? And have they hired their kids..?

Posted: 4th, December 2018 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Brexit: Donald Trump warns British to stock up on Netflix and Xanax as trade war looms

Queen Donald Trump: The Don becomes Her Majesty and Vice Versa in these unsettling pictures

 

Shrewd dealers will stock up on chlorinated chickens, baggy satin vests and TV boxsets because the US-UK trade deal is in dire peril. Donald Trump has looked at Theresa May’s Brexit agreement and says it “sounds like a great deal for the EU”. He also says it means the UK might not be able to trade with the US. The chances of Trump having read all 500-plus pages of the winter fuel allowance are thinner than a parrot’s lips. The deal is crap. The UK is stuck in the EU, liaising with le club with the enthusiasm of a baby seal.

May counters that she is ready to defend her deal in a TV debate with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. He’s unlikely to have read the corpulent pamphlet either. Even a trainee MP knows the deal is dire, but Corbyn has never had his ideas encumbered by power so there’s every chance he’ll struggle to get past the coherently phatic before panicking and belatedly realising that student politics is best left to students. The excruciating TV debate could take place on 9 December – two days before the Parliamentary vote on May’s deal. It’ll make not a sop of difference to the outcome, but might finally trigger a rebellion among Labour MPs as Corbyn spends an hour incontinently telling a tired and irritated electorate that all options are open and he’s not a racist. 

Back to Trump, then, who assured that his lacquer is made in China and not Chelmsford, guffs: “Right now if you look at the deal, [the UK] may not be able to trade with us. And that wouldn’t be a good thing. I don’t think they meant that.” Cabinet Office minister David Lidington – he’s the one who looks like a hairy lemon sorbet, an amuse bouche of an MP whose job is to cleanse the pallet before something of substance arrives (spoiler: it doesn’t) – says Mr Trump’s comments “were not unexpected” and trade deals with the US are “challenging”. “The United States is a tough negotiator,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today. “President Trump’s always said very plainly ‘I put America first’. Well, I’d expect the British prime minister to put British interests first.”

Boom! Boom! Oh, he wasn’t joking.

Meanwhile, whispering from the shadows is Lord Kerslake, a former head of the civil service, said government officials were probably working on a “Plan B” in case the deal was rejected but there would be “no whisper of it” publicly until the outcome of the Commons vote. Failing that we can all vote for Boris Johnson, who’ll paste over the huge gaps in his and our political knowledge by lavishing on cheap gags and gratuitous insults. We’ll all be chortling and eating our young by teatime – but it’ll be British kids and taste better than that imported US chicken.

Posted: 27th, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Brexit: May agrees democracy’s death sentence

It’s not yet a crime to hate Brexit or the EU. It will be, of course. Hating most things is a crime. Most of us don’t rate the Brexit deal Theresa May wants to sign off. But many Leavers and Remainers hate it. The newspapers pick up the scent. They are full of Brexit news. The Daily Mail sums up best: “Let’s just get on with it.” Most of us just can’t wait to get it done and dusted. But what it is is up for debate. Can it be right that May has delivered a deal worse than no deal? The Guardian says the fight continues. The Telegraph focus on the backstop, a melting fudge designed by the EU to stop other countries – they have borders, right – to never leave the group. And the Sun says it’s all just dire. 

 

 

 

Tellingly, the Mirror can’t lead with Brexit because the party it supports, the mess masquerading as Labour, has all positions covered. Their plan is to scupper May’s deal, encourage the great unwashed to vote for Labour in a General Election and then, well, just you want and see. It’ll be great. Jeremy Corbyn, a man who has pushed for Brexit pretty much all his adult life, now says he’s not all that into it and will every bit ‘Remain by another name’ as May, the arch Remainer pretending to deliver Brexit . That 17.4 million of us voted for Brexit in the great rebellion is a minor irrelevance to the powers that be. 

 

mirror brexit

 

Robert Tombs, professor of French history at St John’s College, Cambridge, gives a view that pretty much sums things up:

“May’s deal seems to mean the most extraordinary set of constitutional innovations. It would give, for an indefinite period, power over a large part of our economy and legislation not only to a foreign power but also to an unelected committee. The EU will have the power to decide upon and implement a whole load of laws and regulations. We will be required to accept them and we will have to pay for the pleasure…

…we are putting ourselves in a position where we will have to depend on the goodwill of a body that hasn’t been conspicuous in goodwill since June 2016. The EU has openly said it wants to make life more difficult for us. It has pushed us far enough already. It has made demands that have been accepted by a weak government. I’m sure even the EU could not have expected this at the beginning of these negotiations.

What the EU is clearly and openly worried about is disunity among its members and the possibility of other countries following in our footsteps. We would be voluntarily putting ourselves under the control of people whose interest is to make sure that we are not seen to prosper after Brexit. It is so stupid, it is almost unbelievable.

Spotter: Spiked

Posted: 23rd, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Massachusetts mayor plans to pickle the state’s first legal marijuana

weed boston

“I am not pickled – but my weed is”

 

From today you can buy weed legally in Massachusetts for fun. The state’s first commercial marijuana stores opened for business. Stood first in the queue was Northampton, Mass. mayor David Narkewicz. CBS News tells us:

When asked whether the purchase is simply ceremonial or it will be consumed, Narkewicz said, “I am actually going to probably preserve it and display it…because it is historically significant.”

It isn’t. Really, it isn’t – not unless you also have the first bag of crips sold in a pub and other humdrum consumables in a home museum to the everyday. A lump of pickled weed is simply a waste of weed.

“There has been marijuana use going on in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for a long, long time. What’s changing is it’s now being regulated. It’s now being tested. It’s now being strictly monitored. That’s really the major change that’s happening,” Narkewizc said.

Ah, smell that – it ain’t freedom blowin’ in the wind, folks. It’s the stench of regulation. 

Posted: 20th, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, The Consumer | Comment


Unions deeply upset that Tory minister Claire Perry allegedly swore

Claire_perry swearing

 

Claire Perry is accused of swearing and shouting at staff. The Guardian carries the news that the … Yeah, she’s the energy minister. Well, done, Claire and Claire’s mum for getting it right. Hard luck the rest of you. The paper’s story is choice:

Trade unions have written to the top official in the business department to raise concerns about claims that the energy minister, Claire Perry, has sworn and screamed at civil servants, the Guardian understands.

Trade unions are famously bastions of polite and civilised behaviour. No-one swears. No-one shouts. Right it is that they and the Guardian alert us to allegedly uncouth behaviour. In a welter of acronyms and counter-acronyms, the PCS, FDA and Prospect unions wrote a joint letter to Alex Chisholm, permanent secretary at the BEIS, noting Perry’s alleged behaviour. Civil servants are not there to be sworn at. What they are there for is to, well, again, shout out your answers; closest to the truth wins a job for life. No swearing. 

 

fuck the guardian

The Guardian says ‘so fucking what’ to saying ‘fuck’

 

fuck the guardian

Swearing is ok if you’re target is one disliked by Guardian readers

 

The paper continues:

It is understood that the complaints given to the unions include claims that Perry screamed and shouted, texted one civil servant to say “Fuck off”, and wrote, “What’s this shit?” on a memo produced by staff. The MP for Devizes became energy minister in June last year, a role that involves attending cabinet.

 

fuck the guardian

Guardian writer auditions for government

 

 

To think a woman who allegedly uses such filthy words is that close to the seat of power. If we’ve learned anything from the Brexit vote it is that liberals love using the words “fuck”, “bollocks” and “shit”, often on placards. There is a time and there is a place. Journalists at the Guardian are understood to be dismayed.

Posted: 20th, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Brexit battle kills democracy as EU’s imperial army wages war

newspapers brexit

 

Congratulations Theresa May for stopping Brexit. The big problem for her is that people noticed, chiefly the millions who voted for Brexit and secondly a few of the public servants whose job it was to make Brexit happen, notably members of her Cabinet who saw the binary choice on offer and resigned. You are either in the EU or out of it. May’s Withdrawal Bill is a deal to stay in. Over 17 million of us voted out. The two things don’t tally. Sign the deal and Brexit has been stopped. 

Brendan O’Neill argues in The Spectator, “If we kill Brexit, we kill democracy itself.” May’s deal “will strangle British sovereignty and reduce us to a craven vassal state that not only has to abide by EU rules but will also lack any mechanism for unilaterally withdrawing from them. A ‘Brexit deal’, they call it. Do not insult our intelligence. Voters are not as dim as you think.” (Has anyone checked?)

Calm down, dear, says Jeremy Warner in the Telegraph. May’s deal is better than no deal or no Brexit, the other two offers on the table. The Withdrawal Agreements is not an end, rather a “staging post on the journey to a more complete form of Brexit”. Sure, Britain can only leave the Customs Union on the EU’s say so but if the arrangements are seen to be “very much against the national interest, then they will eventually unravel, even if that means breaking the treaty”. May’s deal begins the path to Brexit in “an orderly and manageable manner”. Yes, it’s got more holes that a Donald Trump wet dream but it is very British.

Leave it to Westminster to do right, then, a place Marina Hyde likens to “a sort of middle-management Westeros, where mostly terrible actors obsess over court politics, and the electorate are just CGI casualties in the Battle of the Bastards.” 

Brexiteers remain in Cabinet. Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom, Michael Gove, Liam Fox, Penny Mordaunt and Chris Grayling are all there to tell May how wrong she is. An unnamed source told the Sunday Times’ Tim Shipman, Gove is staying “to get this in a better place”. Or maybe he and the rest of them just want a few more days to measure No.10 for their own choice of curtains. Is May prepared for a leadership challenge? Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis said: “I think the prime minister is ready for anything.” 

The big issue with the deal is that backstop. The UK and the EU want to avoid a hard Northern Ireland border. So they’ll be a  “backstop” – or back-up plan as trade negotiations continue. The backstop leaves Northern Ireland more closely aligned to some EU rules than the rest of the UK. Got a problem with the UK being broken up? The UK would not be able to leave the backstop without the EU’s consent. Sound like Brexit to you? But not to worry. Things will work out. 

If the EU doesn’t take the hint, we can always go to war. Last week German chancellor Angela Merkel opined: “A common European army would show the world that there will never be war between the European nations.” Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s representative in the Brexit negotiations, tweeted: “I am very pleased that both #Merkel and Macron are now fully behind a European army. We fought for this for many years. In the world of tomorrow, we have to take our destiny into our own hands!” And French finance minister Bruno Le Maire added: “Europe needs to become a kind of empire like China and the USA… technological power, economic, financial, monetary, cultural power will be decisive. Europe can no longer afford to shrink from exercising its power and being an empire of peace.”

Nothing to worry about, then. We are either with the EU or we are with the EU. Vote now and vote often… 

 

Posted: 17th, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


BBC sign language expert nails Brexit

Are you keeping up with Brexit? Nothing’s been signed. No deal has been done. The UK remains in the EU. Millions of words have been written on the matter. But the whole thing can is best summed up by the BBC’s sign language interpreter:

 

 

Those Brexit options:

* A second referendum. Question to be asked: ‘Did you understand the 1st referendum?’
* Carry on talking to the EU forever
* Reduce number of people on benefits by giving the unemployed each two hours work as Brexit chief negotiator

Posted: 16th, November 2018 | In: Politicians, TV & Radio | Comment


The war for an independent Barcelona (1976)

grises barcelona

 

February 1 1976: three months after the death of dictator Generalísimo Francisco Franco (4 December 1892 – 20 November 1975), the Assembly of Catalonia (Asemblea de Catalunya) marched in Barcelona under the banner ‘Libertat, Amnesty, Estatut d’Autonomia’ (Freedom, Amnesty, Autonomy).

 

Barcelona indepedence

 

Local residents’ associations, Trade Unions, political parties (many illegal), along with members of cultural and artistic entities participated. Initially it was peaceful. There was a sit-in on the Passeig de Sant Joan, at the corner of Carrer de Provença. But the Civil Guard and riot police police-threw smoke bombs at the seated protesters and charged them. Later, numerous groups marched through the streets of the Eixample to reach the Modelo prison, where they sought the release of political prisoners.

The Civil Guard waited. They were armed with rifles. Manel Armengol had a camera.

 

PG. DE SANT JOAN/PROVENÇA; CAMI DE LA PRESO MODEL, A LA MODEL C.ENTENÇA

 

See many more on flashbak.

Posted: 5th, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Turkmenistan’s president Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov lifts golden weights before his applauding Cabinet

What Donald Trump will make it has yet to be revealed, but for now all we have is Turkmenistan’s president Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov lifting golden weights bar before his applauding Cabinet. Mr Berdy is also the country’s prime minister and commander-in-chief of the country’s armed forces. And sine you asked, male homosexuality is illegal:

 

 

According to Human Rights Watch:

Turkmenistan remains an extremely repressive country. The government severely restricts all fundamental rights and freedoms, including freedoms of association, expression, and religion. President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, his relatives and their associates control all aspects of public life, and the authorities encroach on private life. The government carries out forced evictions without adequately compensating those affected. The government continues to conceal the fate and whereabouts of dozens of people forcibly disappeared following their imprisonment during waves of arrests in the late 1990s and early 2000s, although it has begun to return to families the bodies of several inmates forcibly disappeared years ago who have recently died in custody. Activists and independent correspondents critical of the government face increased intimidation, harassment, physical attacks and imprisonment. The country remains closed to any independent scrutiny.

 

Posted: 3rd, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, Politicians | Comment


Momentum uses Hillsborough to promote Jeremy Corbyn for Prime Minister

Jeremy Corbyn fans at Momentum want you to follow @PeoplesMomentum. “Let’s get a Socialist government to No.10! 💓 Join Momentum today! 👇,” runs their tweet.  And there’s a video. Things are interesting about 36 seconds in when the campaign uses the Hillsborough tragedy to promote Jez:

 

 

See that bloke chucking copies of the Sun newspaper into a bin bag? He didn’t do it because he wants Corbyn to be prime minster. He didn’t even do it to stick it to the right-wing media. The footage is of Everton fan Brian Kelly binning free copies of the Sun at Glasgow Airport as part of the boycott triggered by the paper’s appalling reporting on the horror of Hillsborough. The Sun apologised, albeit years later.

Mr Kelly told the Liverpool Echo: “A friend of mine, Tommy Fletcher, who’s a Liverpool fan, said put the lot in the bin and I gladly obliged. The rivalry obviously doesn’t come into it when this is involved… Loads of places now are gladly refusing to sell the paper. Football fans, true football fans, should agree to do the same.”

 

 

That Momentum thought using the Hillsborough horror to promote Corbyn was a good idea brings their judgement into question. The survivors, friends, relatives and loved ones of the 96 who died in 1989 still await justice. Hijacking their suffering is opportunistic and demeaning. Corbyn a pal of the working class who were defamed and monstered by a lying media and police a Hillsborough ? Don’t make me laugh. Back then football fans were “scum”, a white riot-in-waiting; today Corbyn portrays the tabloid reading masses as mentally negligible bigots who voted for Brexit and Tories because they were stupid enough to believe lies. Wary of these fools getting the wrong kind of information, Corbyn wants to nationalise the news.

Nothing’s changed.

Back then right and left were united in a war on football fans. Football was “a slum sport watched by slum people in slum stadiums(Sunday Times); a game produced by “yobs and slum cultures of the stricken inner cities” (New Statesman); a game for the “udserclass” (Sunday Times). They still seek to regulate and control behaviour by restricting our view.

Note: What does footage of a man chucking copies of tabloid newspapers into bins say about Corbyn’s attitude to press freedom? It’s chilling. Don’t vote for censorship.

 

Posted: 1st, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, Politicians | Comment


After Pittsburgh Jews advised to build militarised homeland to deter attacks

 

President Donald Trump says mass murder at a Pittsburgh synagogue would have been “better” if the Jews had been armed.  “They had a maniac walk in and they didnt have any protection and that is just so sad to see,” said Trump. “The results could have been much better.” One day when Jews return to their homeland after millennia of persecution they can invest heavily in the military. Then no-one will be attack them. They will be treated with respect and murderous anti-Semitism will end.

As for now, we’re told that Robert Bowers walked into the Tree of Life Synagogue during Shabbat service and shouted “All Jews must die” before shooting dead 11 people sand wounding many more.

“This has little to do with it,” said Trump when asked what role US gun laws played in the massacre. “If they had protection inside the results would have been far better. This is a dispute that will always exist I suspect. But if they had some kind of protection inside the temple, maybe it could have been a much different situation. But they didn’t and he was able to do things that unfortunately he shouldn’t have been able to do.”

It’s all too much like when an adviser to Poland’s president said Israel was ashamed “at the passivity of the Jews during the Holocaust.”

Jews have sometimes been described, often for the purpose of assigning blame or inflicting humiliation, as having acted passively in the face of the Holocaust. Key acts of resistance contradict the trope, most notably the Warsaw Uprising of 1943. Smaller revolts took place in death camps, including Sobibor and Treblinka, where starving prisoners without weapons faced heavily armed German guards.

Image: Felix Nussbaum (1904-1944), Camp Synagogue, Saint Cyprien, 1941. (Via)

Posted: 28th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment