Anorak

Politicians | Anorak

Politicians Category

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

Breaking News for Labour, Corbyn and Guardian-reading anti-Semites: not all Jews agree about Israel, films or Chinese food

"Jews for Jez" - with a yellow star, to boot. Some people, eh.
“Jews for Jez” – with a yellow star, to boot. Some people, eh.

Over 200 Jewish members and supporters of the Labour party must be pleased to see their letter urging us to support Labour and Jeremy Corbyn has been published in the Guardian. Others will also be chuffed. The list should save time for anyone gathering names.

In 2003, the Observer (the Guardian on Sunday) published a column by Richard Ingrams in which he made the “suggestion” that anyone defending the Israeli government should declare whether or not he is a Jew lest the fair fine-minds mistake them for a Catholic, Muslim or of the Papist-Quaker babble. “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,” wrote Ingrams. “If so, I tend not to read it.”

Ingrams Israel

Jews are clever, you see. They are the only peoples for whom being called clever is an insult. It doesn’t mean you did well at maths, although some do, it is a cleverness built on cunning and duplicity say their judges defending the proles from their innate gullibility. The Jew will hide their true self to trick you into agreeing with their views. Best they identify themselves from the off so that their opinions can be fully known without the need to consider the argument’s merits and flaws.

Not only are you, dear reader, too thick to think for yourself, but the Jew is not to be trusted, their thoughts must not taken at face value. Know a Jew and know their thinking. Declare you names and number, Jews.

But no two Jews are exactly alike. We disagree over films, telly and if Chinese food is better for the soul than chicken soup? Some Jews think Labour under Jeremy Corbyn is “institutionally racist” and that he is an antisemite. The Jewish Chronicle newspaper told its readers in late 2018: “More than 85 per cent of British Jews think Jeremy Corbyn is antisemitic.” Other Jews, as signatories to today’s letter in the Guardian state, think “the Labour party under the progressive leadership of Jeremy Corbyn is a crucial ally in the fight against bigotry and reaction”. They “urge all who wish to see an end to bigotry and racism, and who seek a more just society, to give their support to the Labour party.”

You see? When you ascribe views and loyalties to people on the basis of their religion or ethnicity you narrow your field of vision. You paint them as something other than the norm.

The letter made me wonder. Did Jews write the letter after asking themselves two things: when did you become something exceptional and desperate to prove yourselves loyal to the country? And what role did Jeremy Corbyn play in your thinking?

Take your time, Jews. Corbyn has invited Hamas for tea, shared platforms with anti-Semites, liked a mural depicting hook-nosed bankers running the world, been present but not participating as a wreath was laid to the perpetrators of the Munich Olympics massacre but he knows you Jews need schooling. He laid out his two paths for improvement as he bemoaned the activities of Zionists: “One is that they don’t want to study history, and secondly, having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, they don’t understand English irony either. I think they need two lessons, which we can help them with.”

It’s between them and us. Are you one of the knowing or the strange? Now vote.

Posted: 21st, February 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


‘We’re fu**ed’: Labour split press conference gets X-rated voiceover

Seven Labour MPs announced their split from the party in a press conference. Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker and Ann Coffey, announced their decision to a packed room. The microphones picked up a running commentary: ‘We’re fucked”:

Posted: 18th, February 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Labour is racist to the core: three cheers for the Magnificent 7 – Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker and Ann Coffey

Corbyn anti-semitism

Yes! A vote for Labour is a vote for Jew hatred. Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker and Ann Coffey did the right thing. Fuck you, Jew haters. Just fuck you!

The above are the MPs have resigned from the Labour Party in protest at Jeremy Corbyn’s approach to Brexit and anti-Semitism. They took a stand.

Ms Berger says Labour is institutionally anti-Semitic. She became “embarrassed and ashamed” to stay. Hurrah! Where are the rest of you?

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn says he’s “disappointed”. Balls. He’s chuffed. He can now look to replace them with some loyalists less sensitive to his myopia.h

The Magnificent 7 will sit in Parliament as the Independent group.

Note: For the past few years I’ve seen the growth of antisemitism first hand – the violence (yeah – I got in a fight); the casual Jew hatred; the mainstreaming of racism (I believe they’re called ‘tropes’ – rich Jew; powerful Jew; bloodthirsty Jew; barbaric Jew; disloyal Jew); and the shameful acquiescence to it in politics, society, over a pint, among ‘friends’, and at school, where a child told one of my own as she pushed her from a group that Jews were not allowed the play; Jews were not allowed to her house; Jews could not come to the party. The school did NOTHING. And not one parent would go on the record and back us up when we complained. Shame on you all.

Posted: 18th, February 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Ilhan Omar singles out those ‘evil’ Jews who owe allegiance to a foreign power

Ilhan Omar Jew hater antisemitism

Ilhan Omar has done her bit to prove that the far Right doesn’t have a monopoly on antisemitism (see: Corbyn J). Omar, one of just two Muslim women in the US Congress and a Somali refugee, posited the considered and not in the least bit racist view that support for Israel among her fellow politicians was fueled by money from a pro-Israel lobby group.

Ilhan Omar Jew hater antisemitism

Ms Omar represents the state of Minnesota. But, as with so many on the Left, her narrow thoughts are dominated by Jews. She tweeted: “It’s all about the Benjamins baby.” That’s a reference to $100 bills, which feature an image of Benjamin Franklin (not a Jew). A kind heart on Twitter asked her who she thought was behind US politicians’ support of Israel.

Ms Omar was quick to the punch. “AIPAC!,” she exclaimed, a reference to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Ilhan Omar Jew hater antisemitism

Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat speaker of the House, express an opinion: “Congresswoman Omar’s use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters is deeply offensive. We condemn these remarks and we call upon Congresswoman Omar to immediately apologise for these hurtful comments,”

Eliot Engel, Democrat chairman of the House foreign affairs committee, called it “shocking to hear a member of Congress invoke the anti-Semitic trope of ‘Jewish money.'”

Ilhan Omar Jew hater antisemitism
Omar is on a journey – a middle-aged woman elected to represent people claims ignorance as defence

Ms Omar, 37, instantly resigned. No. Of course not. She muttered: “My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole.”

Not as a whole. What was her intention, then? To claim American Jews owe allegiance to foreign power?

She added: “We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. This is why I unequivocally apologise.”

It’s not her. It’s you. The sympathetic backstory; the call to look to yourself; the non-denial detail. It’s all there in a few mealy-mouthed words.

And this is the same Omar who backs the censorious BDS movement. Omar who said Israel “has hypnotised the world”, and that Israel was uniquely “evil”. Those comments were made in 2012. They did not stop her becoming an elected representative. Why? Because to most people, Jew hatred doesn’t matter.

It’s back. And its rife.

Posted: 12th, February 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Labour: ‘What Antisemitism crisis?’; Corbyn’s 12 apostles get busted

jews

The Labour antisemitism “crisis” – which isn’t – appears on just one front page. The Daily Telegraph leads with the “Labour antisemitism crisis”. But not one of the Corbyn cronies running Labour thinks Jew hatred in it ranks is a crisis. They see it as an issue, bigger than dog poo on the pavements but smaller than getting the trains to run on time and keeping Diane Abbott off the telly.

At a recent meeting of the Labour party – one so important that the party’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, didn’t bother to attend; and neither did Labour General Secretary Jennie Formby, who instead wrote a letter saying how she thinks Jew hatred is wrong. She says that as a result of hundreds of instances of antisemitism in the party – some of which were probably investigated by a crack team of party loyalists [insert small number here] – 12 members were kicked out. Kick out JC’s apostles. Raus! To the trains!

PS: Odd that the only national newspaper at the vanguard of sticking up for Jews caught once again in the maw of rising antisemitism is the Telegraph. This is how the paper responded to one recent complaint:

This article [HYPERLINKED] of 26 September published in Telegraph Travel originally stated that only Cuba, North Korea and Iran do not have a central bank owned or controlled by the Rothschild family. We accept that this is an anti-Semitic trope, although it was not included by the writer with anti-Semitic intent. We obviously accept that it was inaccurate and offensive, however, and we are very sorry that it found its way into our output. It has been redacted from the article.

Antisemitism – you’re never more than a click away from the stuff.

Posted: 12th, February 2019 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Only fools, Corbyn’s cronies and bigots believe Labour on antisemitism

Corbyn anti-semitism

From hundreds of cases of antisemitism in the Labour Party, Labour General Secretary Jennie Formby says 12 members were kicked out. Says Labour MP Ruth Smeeth:

This isn’t over yet. Nobody is going to force me out of this party to stop me carrying on this fight. We know of thousands of cases that have been submitted where nothing seems to have been done. Believe you me we are going to carry on fighting this. The PLP is united on this… One of my friends [Labour MP Luciana Berger] who is heavily pregnant is having to go through this day in day out and it’s simply not good enough.“

This is the email sent to all Labour MPs ahead of a meeting on Monday night. Formby was not at the meeting. Jeremy Corbyn was not at the meeting. Maybe he didn’t look closely enough at the invite:

Further to our meeting on February 4, as promised, here is a further update of the progress we have made in relation to action against antisemitism.

At the PLP meeting, I emphasised that I totally reject the suggestion that the existence of antisemitism in our party is a smear. I have seen hard evidence of it and that is why I have been so determined to do whatever is possible to eliminate it from the party. It is also the reason why I made it a priority to implement robust procedures to deal with it whenever it is identified.

I made the point that, whilst I cannot guarantee to totally eradicate it as we have new members joining every day, I can guarantee that we now have robust procedures to deal with it whenever it is identified. I also talked about the importance of education in challenging attitudes as a key element in tackling antisemitism.

It is clearly of the utmost importance that everyone feels welcome in our party and we must ensure that includes all members of our Jewish communities. In addition to the formal steps that are being taken in terms of procedures, I am continuing to work with Regional Directors and staff across our party to do all we can to make CLP and other meetings safe, welcoming and comradely.

A key issue highlighted in the PLP motion relates to the release of statistics. The NEC has previously been clear that statistics on disciplinary matters should remain confidential and not be published. This is in line with our policy about not publishing other party statistics. However, I took that request very seriously, and considered how it could be disclosed in an open and straightforward way, so that it was not misinterpreted or misused for other purposes by the Party’s political rivals.

I therefore proposed to the PLP that the three NEC representatives who are directly elected by the PLP would be invited to examine the statistics on an ‘open book’ basis and to monitor them regularly thereafter. In this way, they would be able to give clear analysis to the PLP, whom they represent, on whether or not they believe we are making sufficient progress.

The three representatives concerned, George Howarth, Margaret Beckett and Shabana Mahmood, have impeccable credentials and are completely trusted by the PLP. This was therefore a genuine attempt to give the PLP confidence that there was oversight by people whom they trust to be independent and honest in their assessment of the situation.

However, the PLP rejected this proposal. In view of the importance of rebuilding trust with Jewish communities, after the meeting, I consulted NEC officers to get their permission to publish data. I pushed hard to get their agreement to do so. I will set out the data in this letter.

The PLP requested information in relation to staffing numbers. The Governance and Legal Unit (GLU) experienced a high level of sickness last year, followed by several staff leaving the party. This caused capacity issues and whilst we covered some of this by seconding junior barristers and solicitors, I am pleased that we have now completed the process of replacing those who have left. In addition, we have invested funding in the GLU so that the number of staff dealing with investigations will increase from five to eleven staff.

Now turning to the data.

Before April 2018, there was no consistent and comprehensive system for recording and processing cases of antisemitism . Therefore, this data shows complaints received in the period April 2018 to the last antisemitism panels held in January 2019 and represents a snapshot of the current situation.

Over 30% of complaints received by the Party are related to non-Labour Party members. For complaint ‘dossiers’ that have been submitted, this figure almost doubles up to 60%.

Many of the complaints refer to social media posts that are up to 8 years old. One specific case reported recently, a complaint was made about someone who died in 2016.

Every complaint that is reported as antisemitism is recorded as that, irrespective of the evidence, in line with the Macpherson principle. Where no further action is taken, it therefore does not mean that people have been ‘let off’, it is an indication that there was not sufficient evidence to continue an investigation of the case as an antisemitic incident.

In the period described above:

433 complaints received were not about party members

Of those who were party members

96 members were immediately suspended
146 received a reminder of conduct**
220 cases did not have sufficient evidence of a breach of party rules to proceed with an investigation
211 were issued with a Notice of Investigation
**A reminder of conduct is a first written warning and as agreed at January’s NEC meeting, these warnings will now only be issued by the antisemitism panels, supported by special counsel.

Of the cases who were issued with a Notice of Investigation or suspension, there have been 96 NEC Antisemitism Disputes Panel decisions

42 members referred to National Constitutional Committee (NCC)
16 members issued with a formal NEC warning
6 members’ cases were referred for further investigation
25 members issued with ‘reminder of conduct’
7 members’ cases were closed as the full evidence suggested no further action should be taken

Of the remaining number of cases which are either under a Notice of Investigation or suspension, 44 left the Party after being presented with the evidence in their case, and the remainder are either still under active investigation as having only been more recently received, or are cases where the investigation revealed evidence that meant the case could not be pursued further.

Of the 42 members referred to the NCC, which is an independent quasi-judicial body, 5 members left the party, leaving 37 cases for NCC review.

The following 18 NCC decisions have been made:

12 members were expelled
6 received sanctions
The remainder are awaiting completion of the case
Throughout this period, the NEC working groups, together with the GLU team, continued to work on the reform of antisemitism and disciplinary procedures. We will continue to monitor and develop our procedures.

Additionally, the PLP asked how often NEC officers and/or the General Secretary have used delegated powers to make decisions on antisemitism disputes. I can confirm this never happens as the reforms to NEC procedures mean that all substantive decisions are taken by NEC Antisemitism Disputes Panels.

Following the NEC adoption of the IHRA definition and the 11 associated examples, I contacted the Board of Deputies, CST, JLC and JLM to ask whether they now felt able to re-engage with us to continue consultation on our Code of Conduct.

More recently, I have had private meetings with individuals from several Jewish community organisations to explore how to bring that about. As has been reported, direct engagement with us does not currently appear to be an option for some organisations. I very much hope this will change as I remain absolutely committed to engaging and working together with Jewish community organisations at all times. In particular, I am keen to discuss with them the vitally important issue of education of members, and educational materials for all members to enable them to recognise and challenge antisemitism wherever it arises.

I hope and trust our transparency as demonstrated here and our determination to succeed will allow this to happen.

Labour has a little problem. But it won’t look at the cause. Just why is Labour obsessed with Jews?

But one Labour MP told PoliticsHome: “The stain of anti-semitism and bullying is alive and well in Corbyn’s party and as long as he continues to turn a blind eye to what is going on the worse it’s going to get. He’s allowed the Labour party to become a culture of intolerance and bullying and he should be ashamed.”

“One has to wonder why you have a problem with the world’s only Jewish nation-state,” asks LBC.

The Guardian can’t hide the issue:

The party revealed the figures in an email to MPs, and suggested no earlier figures could be compiled because there was “no consistent and comprehensive system for recording and processing cases of antisemitism”. However, the party’s former general secretary Iain McNicol disputed that claim in a private meeting with Labour MPs on Monday night, saying such a system had been in place.

Whoops!

Posted: 11th, February 2019 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Labour’s little problem with Luciana Berger

Chuka Umunna says the Labour Party is “institutionally racist”. Too many of its fans are Jew haters and Jew baiters. Umunna is an erudite, cosmopolitan bloke. He hasn’t left Labour, the party that likes to bill itself as an ‘anti-racist’ party. He’s still in it. Will Labour split?

At a recent meeting, Jennie Formby, the Labour Party’s general secretary, refused, as the MP Luciana Berger reported, “to answer reasonable questions… or commit to taking the action we need” to defeat anti-Semitism.

By coincidence, Berger’s local party in Liverpool Wavertree accused the Jewish MP of “continually using the media to criticise the man we all want to be prime minister”. Two motions for her removal were tabled. In the Liverpool Echo a Labour spokesman denies the motions had anything to do with Berger’s Jewishness. And:

The Liverpool Wavertree Labour group has called an ‘extraordinary’ meeting next weekend after motions of no confidence in MP Luciana Berger were tabled. Agendas have just been issued to 1,700 members of the Liverpool Wavertree Constituency Labour Party with just two motions, which both call for votes of no confidence in Ms Berger .

Who is Berger? The Guardian:

Berger, often a critic of Corbyn, has faced persistent antisemitic abuse over the last decade, some of it from within her local party. She has been the target of online abuse and had a police escort at last year’s Labour party conference after receiving death threats.

And then motions were withdrawn. Why? The Guardian:

A no-confidence motion in the Labour MP Luciana Berger has been withdrawn and a meeting to discuss her future has been cancelled after it emerged that one of her key opponents within the local party called her a “disruptive Zionist”.

The Times:

Earlier in the day John McDonnell said that he believed the motion was related to reports that Ms Berger was considering backing a party split and urged her to “just tell people you’re not supporting a breakaway party”. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the shadow chancellor said that if the motion had arisen because of her stance on antisemitism then it was “completely wrong”.

Chuka Umunna, the former shadow business secretary, accused Mr McDonnell of suggesting that a “victim of outrageous racism . . . must promise she will not walk because of that racism”.

Evidence of a party split? None provided. But McDonnell is clear: suck up to Jeremy Corbyn and it will all go away. Anyone think Labour treats anti-Semitism seriously? It doesn’t.

Says Berger:

“I have made no secret that, as a Jewish woman representing a city with a Jewish community, I have been deeply disturbed by the lack of response from Jeremy Corbyn as party leader and many in the wider leadership of the party to the antisemitism that stains our party.
“I and my colleagues have pressed the party for months to take concrete action to tackle this serious issue. I joined colleagues in the Parliamentary Labour Party on Monday in a unanimous call to the party to be transparent about what it has and has not done to root out antisemitism in the party.

“I am deeply disturbed at the party leadership’s desire to brush this aside and its decision not to comply with the expressed wish of Labour MPs. Nothing will deter me from exposing antisemitism wherever it festers, including in the Labour Party where it is being wilfully ignored.

“My values remain the same as they did when I was first elected. I will not be distracted from fighting for the interests of my constituents.”
A Labour Party source said: “Antisemitism is not mentioned in the motion and the motion has no formal standing. However, Jeremy Corbyn has made clear that no one should be criticised for speaking out against antisemitism.

Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, wrote to the aforesaid Formby to ask her to suspend the Liverpool Wavertree party. He wrote: “It is clear to me that Luciana Berger is being bullied. This behaviour by her local party is intolerable. The actions of her constituency are not only threatening towards Luciana personally but are bringing our party into disrepute. I am therefore requesting that you take the necessary steps to suspend Liverpool Wavertree constituency Labour party (CLP).”

And so it goes…

Posted: 8th, February 2019 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Jeff Bezos dick photos and Trump’s Pecker

Jeff Bezos penis

PSST! Wanna see what Jeff Bezos’s penis looks like? American Media Inc. (AMI), the National Enquirer’s parent company, thinks you might. Mr Bezos, who owns Amazon and the Washington Post, isn’t keen on you seeing photos of his bellend. “Of course I don’t want personal photos published,” Mr Bezos wrote in a blog post before adding: “I prefer to stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out.” He’s accusing AMI of trying to blackmail him over the dick pics.

Bezos posted an email he claims was sent to his intermediaries by AMI lawyer Jon Fine. The alleged email contains threats to publish photos of Bezos and his lover, former TV host Lauren Sanchez. “Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail,” writes Mr Bezos, “I’ve decided to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten.” Bezos says AIM wanted him to go on the record, to make a “false public statement” that the National Enquirer’s story was not politically motivated. But there are allegedly “strong leads” to suspect political reasons. Bezos says President Trump is mates with AMI’s boss – get this! – David Pecker.

AIM says it “acted lawfully in the reporting of the story of Mr Bezos”. It is “in good faith negotiations to resolve all matters with him”. The board “convened and determined that it should promptly and thoroughly investigate the claims”.

God bless America, where billionaires hire lawyers over photos of their peckers.

The BBC:

AMI recently admitted in court that it had co-ordinated with the Trump presidential campaign to pay a Playboy model $150,000 (£115,000) in hush money to keep quiet about her alleged affair with Mr Trump. Mr Bezos noted in his blog post how the publisher had confessed to a “catch and kill” deal to bury Karen McDougal’s politically embarrassing story. AMI’s agreement to co-operate with federal authorities means it will not face criminal charges over the payments, Manhattan prosecutors announced in December. Mr Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen – who facilitated the hush money at the direction, he says, of Mr Trump – has already admitted violating campaign finance laws.

As for the Enquirer, well, remember John Edwards. It should have won a Pulitzer.

Posted: 8th, February 2019 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, National Enquirer, News, Politicians | Comment


Brexit: Guardian absolves Labour MPs who backed Brexit and EU wonk Donald Tusk sent to Hell

Tusk Brexit hell

When Donald Tusk, president of the European council, sent Brexiteers and Leave voters to a “special place in hell“, the Guardian knew who he was talking about: Tories. In a story entitled “Devils in disguise?” the paper looks at the “politicians who may have reserved their own hot seats.” They are, in no particular order: David Davis, Bois Johnson, Michael Gove, Liam Fox and Danial Hannan. All Tories. The Guardian has absolved: Kate Hoey, John Mann, Dennis Skinner, Frank Field and Gisela Stuart, all Labour MPs at the time of the EU vote who campaigned for Britain to Leave the EU. Why is that – why is it that the paper of the Left fails to spot that people on the Left back Brexit? Labour voters back Brexit. They still don’t get it.

Andy Burnham, aLabour MP during the referendum and now mayor of Manchester, said at the time : “We [Labour] have definitely been far too much Hampstead and not enough Hull in recent times and we need to change that.” They still need to.

Posted: 7th, February 2019 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


See you in Hell, Donald Tusk

Dante and Virgil escape from Hell, from a 15th century manuscript of the Inferno
Dante and Virgil escape from Hell, from a 15th century manuscript of the Inferno

European Council President Donald Tusk says there is a “special place in Hell” for “those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan of how to carry it out safely”. There’s no referendum for anyone seeking to escape Hell. No ‘in’ or ‘out’ vote. The exit, as tried and tested by Dante and Virgil, is to descend into the ninth and lowest circle of Hell, slip down into the chasms below Satan’s waist and after a long walk emerge into the sunny uplands of the southern hemisphere – to strike a new deal with Australia, Kenya and the Maldives. Hades Exit – aka Hexit – is possible. Pack the suncream and a cricket bat.

Tusk hell

Who Tusk’s sinful promoters are is debatable. The BBC says: “The softly spoken politician who holds the authority of all EU countries [Tusk] has just completely condemned a chunk of the British cabinet.” It might be MPs who led the Leave campaign – Michael Gove, Gisela Stuart and Boris Johnson – Tusk was damning. It would not be George Osborne, Tony Blair and the Big Banks, who are, in Tusk’s spiritual view, on the side of the Heavenly. Maybe – just maybe – it was the 17.4m of us lost souls who freely voted to tell Tusk to naff off he was was casting into the pit.

Not that Tusk (EU salary: €33,000-a-month) has reappraised a view and found democracy wanting. He called the referendum “so dangerous, so stupid”. That’s what he thinks when politicians ask people what they think. Don’t ask. Tell. That’s how the EU does politics. Tusk predicted “the destruction of Western civilisation in its entirety” in June 2016, if British democrats voted to leave the EU. Health secretary, Matt Hancock, notes: “It’s this sort of arrogance that drives antipathy towards the EU.” It does. DUP MP Sammy Wilson went a tad further, describing the EU leader as a “devilish Euro-maniac”. European parliament’s Brexit coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt poured oil on the fires by tweeting: “Well, I doubt Lucifer would welcome them, as after what they did to Britain, they would even manage to divide hell.”

The Irish premier Leo Varadkar – hearing his country has not an Irish border but an EU border – thought it the right time to hand Jean-Claude Juncker, the European commission president, a thank-you card from a family in Ireland. “For the 1st time ever Ireland is stronger [than] Britain,” the card read. “That strength comes not from guns … it comes from your word and that of your colleagues. Britain does not care about peace in Northern Ireland. To them it’s a nuisance.”

Perhaps the most revealing part of Tusk’s snideness was when Varadkar turned to him and snarked: “They’ll give you terrible trouble in the British press for that.” As the BBC put it: “Mr Tusk nodded at the comment and both laughed.” They find it funny. They giggled. Get a load of Europe’s new aristocrats. And you know what Europeans do to them. Laugh your heads off, lads. Laugh them right off.

Posted: 6th, February 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Ban mobile phones from schools and Parliament

Parliament mobile phones MPs Commons

You can read the Times’s story on calls to ban mobile phones in school – but only for the kids, natch. – and not have the foggiest idea why you’re reading it. It’s all about fanning the opinions of Nick Gibb. But nowhere in the story does the Times find space to tell readers who Gibb is. Well, he’s Nick Gibb, Minister of State at the Department for Education. Who knew? Gibb, a man with a profile lower than a spoon, says mobile phones should be banned in schools. The ban will ensure the kinder have better chances of concentrating in class. The kids should be educated about the dangers of too much screen time at school, and at home.

Says Gibb, whose clearly not one of those MPs who sit in the Commons assembly hall ignoring the head’s addresses as they tip-tap on their phones and talk – like the kids must not do in their halls.:

“I believe very strongly that children should be limiting their own use at home. Every hour spent online and on a smartphone is an hour less talking to family, and it’s an hour less exercise and it’s an hour less sleep. And of course it is a lack of sleep that research is showing can have a damaging effect on a child’s mental health.”

An hour less slumped in front of the telly. An hour less watching video nasties. An hour less fighting the Rockers with switch blades. An hour less telling your mum you hate her and never asked to be born. An hour less reading comic books. An hour less having sex. Stop it. Stop it now!

Posted: 2nd, February 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Don’t make Fiona Onasanya a victim of our prejudice

Fiona Onasanya

Labour MP Fiona Onasanya is one of the rarest breed: a politician actually jailed for lying (what – rather rather than getting a peerage? – ed). Onsanya claimed she wasn’t behind the wheel when her car was spotted being driven at 41mph in a 30mph zone, in July 2017. She was. She lied. This week she was found guilty of perverting the course of justice and jailed for three months. She was expelled from the Labour party in December 2018. She remains an MP.

And some people think she got off lightly. The Mail hears them:

Jailed MP Fiona Onasanya could have her sentence increased after members of the public complained that it was too soft. The ex-solicitor, who has been kicked out of Labour, was locked up for three months for perverting the course of justice after lying over a speeding ticket. But the jail term is now being reviewed by Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, the Government’s chief law officer, under an unduly lenient sentencing scheme.

From being a crime it is now a moral offence. We expect better from our MPs, see, what with them being role models for the mentally negligible. So she should be given a tougher sentence so that we can feel pure and whole again. It should be different for them.

“You voted for a Labour Party person. Unfortunately the people of Peterborough were failed,” said Ian Lavery, the Labour Party chair. We want a Labour Party MP here who will do the people of Peterborough a great service.”

One aside: Fiona brother is called…Festus. He was jailed for 10 months for his involvement in the smatter, after pleading guilty to the same charge.

Posted: 31st, January 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Brexit: May the appeaser becomes ‘Our Theresa’ in the tabloids

‘SHE’ who must be obeyed

Any idea what the tabloids made of yesterday’s vote in which MPs despatched the PM to Brussels to ask the EU to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement – you know, that deal she agreed and her peers thought was crap; the one the same MPs voted down by a record margin of defeat for a serving Government a whole two weeks ago? Take a look. The tabloids it. They love “Theresa” (Mail), “She” who must be obeyed (Express) and a pretty chipper public school “May” (Mirror).

Theresa the Wheezer is limping to the finishing line. Theresa the Squeezer is eking out every last drop of credibility for her fudge. Or how about any one of Caesar, freezer, pleaser, teaser, appeaser, bumfreezer, displeaser, misfeasor, tranquilizar and any other pun the tabloids could have employed to ridicule the painfully absurd state of British politics?

Remainers and Brexiteers like to promote themselves as opposing sides in a frenzied, thrusting debate. But both camps are united only in their introversion, a chamber of inward looking dullards seeking truth in a solid past and never daring to press on. Calls for a second vote are as steeped in nostalgia and insecurity as the Brexiteers they deride, for whom distance is always measured in yards and bad teeth are a national treasure.

The tabloids must try harder. We get it: they want anyone but Corbyn, But the papers’ sappiness means we also get May. And that’s got us nowhere.

Oh for a Leaver leader capable of embracing the vote and blessed with courage and an expansive outlook. But the loud, arcane Brexiteers left it to May, a Remainer, to cobble something together as they snarked and sniped from DJ booths, newspaper columns and the back benches, turning the simple act of writing a letter, something they must have dictated to a nanny, tutor or divorce lawyer hundreds of times, into a group therapy session they flunked. Sat across the way is Jeremy Corbyn, a monocular visionary so stuffed with contradictions and hypocrisy that Michael Gove, the MP who stabbed Boris Johnson in the back, managed to toss a wreath over the Labour leader’s frowning bonce and reel him in for a pasting. And that frown, the one Corbyn uses to portray, in his mind at least, deep thought and knowing but gives him the look of a confused viewer trying to work out how Dirty Den came back from the dead.

So farewell, Theresa. Off you pop to serve the EU’s wonks the Parliament-backed Brady amendment, with its “alternative arrangements” to the Irish backstop. Best of luck. May’s shuffling back. Nigel Farage and Yvette Cooper can only look on approvingly.

Posted: 30th, January 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


After Covington: the cult of the kid is dead

Kathy Griffith wanted “these fuckers” “named” and “shamed” in public. “NAMES,” she demanded. Daily Mirror columnist Stan Collymore called them “the bastard children of Trump.” Adding: “Like all vermin, they run in numbers , seldom happy to fight alone.” These inhuman beasts were the children of a US Catholic high school. After years of pandering to children’s needs – seeing life in terms of risks to them and their need to be protected from Brexit, sugar, sex, drugs, smartphones and adults – here was a sudden change: the enlightened were going after the kids and inviting all right-minded adults of join in the hunt.

The Covington’s boys’ crime against humanity was to have allegedly menaced a Native American veteran after the anti-abortion March for Life rally in Washington, D.C. The confrontation was videoed, uploaded to the web and – bang! – everyone wanted a piece of the “vermin”. The Twitter mob was in full cry. Being the fourth wall is a lot of fun, but we don’t always see the full picture. And so after the initial video went viral we got to see around two hours more.

We saw that the boys had been targeted by a group of Black Hebrew Israelites (BHI), self-styled descendants of the ancient Israelites. As the BHI regaled the Covington lads with such niceties as “White people, go back to Europe” and ‘Your president is a homosexual”, calling them “faggots”, the products of incest and paedophiles, the lads make no comment. The BHI tell one black lad that his friends will steal his organs after killing him. There they are stood pretty still, a gaggle of predominately white teens dressed in red MAGA hats.

Cue Nathan Phillips. The Native American was in town for a peace protest. He saw the two groups and stepped in between them. He went right up to the teens. Now the teens did react. One stood and stared. Others danced as if mocking Philips. Teens, eh. Such twats. Although one later said:

“We are an all-male school that loves to get hyped up. And as we have done for years prior, we decided to do some cheers to pass time. In the midst of our cheers, we were approached by a group of adults led by Nathan Phillips, with Phillips beating his drum. They forced their way to the center of our group. We initially thought this was a cultural display since he was beating along to our cheers and so we clapped to the beat.”

But this were different. Prejudice was to the fore. Those Trump hats. Those pale skin tones. These teens had been churned out by a “hate factory“. Watch the whole thing  here. Philips might care to. He told The Detroit Free Press that the teens “were in the process of attacking these four black individuals”. Phillips dehumanises the kids:

“There was that moment when I realized I’ve put myself between beast and prey,” Phillips said. “These young men were beastly and these old black individuals was their prey, and I stood in between them and so they needed their pounds of flesh and they were looking at me for that.”

For now the last word is with Nick Sandmann, the Covington student whose face has been splashed all over the web:

I am providing this factual account of what happened on Friday afternoon at the Lincoln Memorial to correct misinformation and outright lies being spread about my family and me.

I am the student in the video who was confronted by the Native American protestor. I arrived at the Lincoln Memorial at 4:30 p.m. I was told to be there by 5:30 p.m., when our busses were due to leave Washington for the trip back to Kentucky. We had been attending the March for Life rally, and then had split up into small groups to do sightseeing.

When we arrived, we noticed four African American protestors who were also on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I am not sure what they were protesting, and I did not interact with them. I did hear them direct derogatory insults at our school group.

The protestors said hateful things. They called us “racists,” “bigots,” “white crackers,” “faggots,” and “incest kids.” They also taunted an African American student from my school by telling him that we would “harvest his organs.” I have no idea what that insult means, but it was startling to hear.

Because we were being loudly attacked and taunted in public, a student in our group asked one of our teacher chaperones for permission to begin our school spirit chants to counter the hateful things that were being shouted at our group. The chants are commonly used at sporting events. They are all positive in nature and sound like what you would hear at any high school. Our chaperone gave us permission to use our school chants. We would not have done that without obtaining permission from the adults in charge of our group.

At no time did I hear any student chant anything other than the school spirit chants. I did not witness or hear any students chant “build that wall” or anything hateful or racist at any time. Assertions to the contrary are simply false. Our chants were loud because we wanted to drown out the hateful comments that were being shouted at us by the protestors.

After a few minutes of chanting, the Native American protestors, who I hadn’t previously noticed, approached our group. The Native American protestors had drums and were accompanied by at least one person with a camera.

The protestor everyone has seen in the video began playing his drum as he waded into the crowd, which parted for him. I did not see anyone try to block his path. He locked eyes with me and approached me, coming within inches of my face. He played his drum the entire time he was in my face.

I never interacted with this protestor. I did not speak to him. I did not make any hand gestures or other aggressive moves. To be honest, I was startled and confused as to why he had approached me. We had already been yelled at by another group of protestors, and when the second group approached I was worried that a situation was getting out of control where adults were attempting to provoke teenagers.

I believed that by remaining motionless and calm, I was helping to diffuse the situation. I realized everyone had cameras and that perhaps a group of adults was trying to provoke a group of teenagers into a larger conflict. I said a silent prayer that the situation would not get out of hand.

During the period of the drumming, a member of the protestor’s entourage began yelling at a fellow student that we “stole our land” and that we should “go back to Europe.” I heard one of my fellow students begin to respond. I motioned to my classmate and tried to get him to stop engaging with the protestor, as I was still in the mindset that we needed to calm down tensions.

I never felt like I was blocking the Native American protestor. He did not make any attempt to go around me. It was clear to me that he had singled me out for a confrontation, although I am not sure why.

The engagement ended when one of our teachers told me the busses had arrived and it was time to go. I obeyed my teacher and simply walked to the busses. At that moment, I thought I had diffused the situation by remaining calm, and I was thankful nothing physical had occurred.

I never understood why either of the two groups of protestors were engaging with us, or exactly what they were protesting at the Lincoln Memorial. We were simply there to meet a bus, not become central players in a media spectacle. This is the first time in my life I’ve ever encountered any sort of public protest, let alone this kind of confrontation or demonstration.

I was not intentionally making faces at the protestor. I did smile at one point because I wanted him to know that I was not going to become angry, intimidated or be provoked into a larger confrontation. I am a faithful Christian and practicing Catholic, and I always try to live up to the ideals my faith teaches me – to remain respectful of others, and to take no action that would lead to conflict or violence.

I harbor no ill will for this person. I respect this person’s right to protest and engage in free speech activities, and I support his chanting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial any day of the week. I believe he should re-think his tactics of invading the personal space of others, but that is his choice to make.

I am being called every name in the book, including a racist, and I will not stand for this mob-like character assassination of my family’s name. My parents were not on the trip, and I strive to represent my family in a respectful way in all public settings.

I have received physical and death threats via social media, as well as hateful insults. One person threatened to harm me at school, and one person claims to live in my neighborhood. My parents are receiving death and professional threats because of the social media mob that has formed over this issue.

I love my school, my teachers and my classmates. I work hard to achieve good grades and to participate in several extracurricular activities. I am mortified that so many people have come to believe something that did not happen – that students from my school were chanting or acting in a racist fashion toward African Americans or Native Americans. I did not do that, do not have hateful feelings in my heart, and did not witness any of my classmates doing that.

I cannot speak for everyone, only for myself. But I can tell you my experience with Covington Catholic is that students are respectful of all races and cultures. We also support everyone’s right to free speech. I am not going to comment on the words or account of Mr. Phillips, as I don’t know him and would not presume to know what is in his heart or mind. Nor am I going to comment further on the other protestors, as I don’t know their hearts or minds, either.

I have read that Mr. Phillips is a veteran of the United States Marines. I thank him for his service and am grateful to anyone who puts on the uniform to defend our nation. If anyone has earned the right to speak freely, it is a U.S. Marine veteran.

I can only speak for myself and what I observed and felt at the time. But I would caution everyone passing judgement based on a few seconds of video to watch the longer video clips that are on the internet, as they show a much different story than is being portrayed by people with agendas.

I provided this account of events to the Diocese of Covington so they may know exactly what happened, and I stand ready and willing to cooperate with any investigation they are conducting.

The kids are alright-ish.

Posted: 22nd, January 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Brexit: John Curtice appears as if by magic; General Election looms; The People’s Vote is a misnomer

John Curtice brexit

You know a General Election is in the offing when Professor John Curtice flies back into the media spotlight. Curtice, Professor of Politics at the University of Strathclyde and Senior Research Fellow at NatCen Social Research, has been talking about Brexit.

The big question, then: do Leave voters regret voting ‘Leave’? It’s a point many Remain-voters have made over and over. A bit like that other all-too familiar statement – “No-on voted for no-deal” – it’s become something of a mantra. Is it true? Curtice responds:

On average, 83 per cent of those who voted to leave say they would vote to leave again. This is only slightly lower than the 87 per cent of Remain voters who say they would vote the same way a second time. But the difference doesn’t mean Leave voters are switching to Remain. It is that Leave voters are saying they wouldn’t bother to vote again.

The People’s Vote is a Second Referendum by another name?

The difference arises because of how Leave voters react to different wordings. A majority of them are always against a second vote, but populist language like ‘people’s vote’ plays well with them. The people running the People’s Vote have been experimenting with different ways of presenting a second referendum and their polling discovered that ‘people’s vote’ and ‘final say’ were popular.

Spotter: Spiked

Posted: 19th, January 2019 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


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

Picture 1 of 11

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