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

Dawn Butler: Labour MP complains about racial profiling; Jews forced out of Labour nod

Labour MP Dawn butler says racial profiling led to police stopping a car she was travelling in. The MP for Brent Central recorded the incident in Hackney, east London. She says police must “stop associating being black and driving a nice car with crime”. It’s the Guardian’s lead news story.

The Guardian reports that Butler says the car was being driven by her male friend, who is black. She says officers said the vehicle was registered in North Yorkshire. It wasn’t. And so what is it was? Apparently police were looking at people travelling into the area. But when did driving over a certain distance become a crime?

Dawn Butler driver
The Sun

So who was in the car? The Standard writes:

After details of the incident emerged, some Twitter users claimed that Ms Butler had flipped her camera to make it look as though she was the driver of the car. Some also said she had blurred out the driver’s face because he is white.

Insisting she did not flip the camera and confirming that her friend is black, Ms Butler said: “It was quite interesting to go onto Twitter late last night and then start seeing all these sort of conspiracy theories.

“And it just made me think… the length that people will go to just to excuse racism away, or discrimination away, or injustice away.”

Ms Butler had earlier told Channel Four News that there was “no other reason” for being stopped “apart from the colour of our skin and we were driving a nice car.”

The Metropolitan police say an officer had entered the registration number wrongly into a computer system. They have apologised.

“I had no intention of speaking about this until the officers became very obnoxious,” says Butler, who made a video recording of the incident on her phone. “I just felt that if I don’t use my platform to talk about this, I’m doing a disservice to everyone who gets wrongly stopped and searched, and all the black people who are constantly unjustly profiled.”

Well said.

anti-Semitic new statesman kosher conspiracy
The Labour Party supporting New Statesman had a question that might have been rhetorical in 2002.

One note: Butler was a shadow minister under Jeremy Corbyn. She campaigned for Corbyn to be made PM. Writing in The Critic, Nick Cohen looks at the Left’s little problem:

As for the Labour relationship with Jews, the story changes so fast it’s as if we are back in the USSR. Yesterday’s far-left line was that accusations of racism were “smears” by right-wing “Zionist” enemies. All of a sudden, the smears turn out to be true or at least plausible charges that anti-Corbyn Labour officials deliberately ignored as part of a plot against the very party they were duty bound to serve. ..

We are meant to forget too that Corbyn might have decided to combine support for Palestinian rights with a recognition of Israel’s right to exist. He might not have befriended terrorists who wanted to kill Jews for being Jews. He might have defended Jewish MPs, and stopped the left driving them from his party. He might have refused to become the willing and paid servant of the Iranian state’s propaganda service. He might have recognised racist caricatures straight out of fascist Europe and denounced rather than defended them. He might have refrained from descending into the banter of every saloon-bar bigot and not scoffed that, despite “having lived in this country for a very long time” Zionists “don’t understand English irony”.

Some Labour MPs left the party over its attitude towards Jews. Dame Louise Ellman left the Labour party because, “Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, antisemitism has become mainstream in the Labour party. Jewish members have been bullied, abused and driven out. Antisemites have felt comfortable and vile conspiracy theories have been propagated. A party that permits anti-Jewish racism to flourish cannot be called anti-racist.” Labour stands accused of being institutionally racist.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is due to announce the findings of its formal investigation into allegations of antisemitism in the Labour Party. It set out to determine whether the party “unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised people because they are Jewish.”

Butler has spoken about anti-Jewish racism in the Labour Party. “I believe that Labour has badly let down the Jewish community,” she wrote on her site.

Racism is disgusting. Call it out when you see it. And above all, don’t vote for it. Before the last election, The Jewish Chronicle published a cry for help: “If this man is chosen as our next prime minister, the message will be stark: that our dismay that he could ever be elevated to a prominent role in British politics, and our fears of where that will lead, are irrelevant.”

Helen Lewis put it well: “Britain’s Jews are used to feeling that their safety is provisional, that they are not fully accepted, that they will always be treated as outsiders. The Labour Party now joins a long list of those who have let them down.”

Posted: 10th, August 2020 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Eric Joyce is guilty: not all Labour or Tory MPs are

Can you make political capital out of former Labour MP Eric Joyce being given a suspended sentence after admitting to making an indecent image of a child? The 59-year-old for MP for Falkirk was handed an eight-month sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work. Joyce had in his possession a film depicting “penetrative sexual abuse of very young children”. Said the judge: “That film showed the penetrative sexual abuse of very young children. That these acts of abuse happened is because there are people like you who want to watch these films. If there was no market, those children wouldn’t be subjected to these very serious offences.”

Joyce has been caught. Good. Paedophilia is a sickness. It steals life. It destroys lives. That a former politician has been caught committing such a repulsive crime should make him front-page news. But not all papers have gone studs up on Joyce, who dates a Sunday Times columnist.

At the end of the report on Joyce’s depravity, the Guardian notes:

It comes after the former Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke was last month found guilty of sexually assaulting two women… Separately, a Tory MP is under investigation by the police after being accused of rape by a former parliamentary aide.

Are those heinous crimes, both real and alleged, relevant to the story of a man who kept films of children being sexually assaulted, one victim allegedly as young as 12 months old? Why does the Guardian tack those cases on to the end of a report on Joyce? No word on the Tory MPs in the BBC’s report, nor that of the Express, Telegraph, Mirror, Indy or Sun. What was the purpose of the Labour supporting Guardian’s editorialising, and what kind of angle were they pushing?

Posted: 8th, August 2020 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Michelle Obama’s ‘low-level depression’ is not a mental illness; Donald Trump appears unwell

Feted and minted former US First Lady Michelle Obama is worried. The BBC tunes into her podcast and hears her say: “I’m waking up in the middle of the night because I’m worrying about something or there’s a heaviness.” The older we get the less well we sleep. “These are not, they are not fulfilling times, spiritually,” says Mrs Obama. “I know that I am dealing with some form of low-grade depression.” Depression is a disease. It’s not to be confused with feeling low or blue. It comes from somewhere other, an invasion that kills your sense of reason and infects your being with a “lie of the mind”.

Rod Dreher likened his depression to walking around the house “as if I were wearing a heavy wool blanket soaked in cold water almost all the time.”

Depression kills. So why is Michelle Obama a little bit depressed? She explains: “Not just because of the quarantine, but because of the racial strife, and just seeing this administration, watching the hypocrisy of it, day in and day out, is dispiriting.”

Pathologising the Trump presidency and being woke – literally awake – might be a step beyond. And you don’t need therapy to cure yourself of Trump-phobia – you need better politics and ideas.

And if we are going to talk about mental illness, can we talk about Donald Trump? The man does not seem to be well.

Posted: 6th, August 2020 | In: Celebrities, News, Politicians | Comment


Watch: Donald Tump is brilliant in the US version of The Thick Of It

Donald Trump’s schtick as a US President in the style of The Thick of It is brilliant.

The journalist is played by Axios National Political Correspondent, Jonathan Swan, Jonathan Swan.

trump swan

Transcript:

Trump: “Here’s one. Well, right here, United States is lowest in numerous categories. We’re lower than the world.”

Swan: “Lower than the world?”

Trump: “Lower than Europe.”

Swan: “In what? In what?”

Swan: “Oh, you’re doing death as a proportion of cases. I’m talking about death as a proportion of population. That’s where the US is really bad. Much worse than Germany, South Korea, et cetera.”

Trump: “You can’t – you can’t do that.”

Swan: “Why can’t I do that?”

Trump: “You have to go by, you have to go by – look. Here is the United States – you have to go by the cases. The cases of death.”

Swan: “Why not as a proportion of population?”

Trump: “What it says is when you have somebody, where there’s a case, the people that live from those cases.”

Swan: “Sure. It’s surely a relevant statistic to say if the US has X population and X percentage of death of that population, opposed to some-”

Trump: “No, because you have to go by the cases.”

Swan: “In South Korea, for example – 51 million population, 300 deaths. It’s like, it’s crazy compared to other countries.”

Trump: “You don’t know that. You don’t know that.”

Swan: “I do. You think they’re faking their statistics? South Korea?”

Trump: “Ahhhhh, I won’t get into that, because I have a very good relationship with the country. But you don’t know that. They have spikes.”

Swan: “Germany, low 9000s?”

Trump: “Here’s one right here, United States. The number of cases – have a look. We’re last. Meaning we’re first.”

Mr Trump was brandishing another chart at this point.

Swan: “Last? I don’t know what we’re first in.”

Trump: “Take a look, it’s cases. And we have cases because of the testing.”

Swan: “I mean, a thousand Americans are dying a day. But I understand, on cases, it’s different.”

Trump: “No but you’re not reporting it correctly, Jonathan.”

Swan: “I think I am.”

Curtains.

Posted: 4th, August 2020 | In: Politicians, TV & Radio | Comment


Donald Trump’s niece Mary: the racists in my family (and in your families)

Donald Trump. Discuss. Actually, don’t bother. Forests will be pulped to discuss his presidency. And to get the logs rolling, here’s his niece, Mary Trump (born 1965), profiled in the Guardian. Her new book about Uncle Donald is out there now.

Mary Trump has given numerous interviews this week after being released from a temporary restraining order.

In an interview with the Washington Post, released Thursday, she described the president as “clearly racist”, and linked it to her wider family’s “knee-jerk anti-Semitism, a knee-jerk racism”.

“Growing up, it was sort of normal to hear them use the n-word or use anti-Semitic expressions,” she told the Post.

Racism and racist language were pretty routine in the 60s and 70s, when Mary Trump was growing up.

Spotter: The Guardian

Posted: 19th, July 2020 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Inaccurate reporting to portray Trump the racist as Trump the racist

Donald tRump,
 racism

Versed in double-speak and other rhetorical tricks to say not what you really think and leave people to use your words to fit their own agendas, we read what Donald Trump had to say about the alleged murder of George Floyd and police violence. The Guardian heard the President’s words and produced the headline: “Trump twists stats on police brutality: ‘more white people’ are killed.”

In an echo of his comments on white nationalist marchers and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, when he said there were “fine people on both sides”, the president did not take the opportunity to talk about the problem of racially motivated police brutality on Tuesday, but switched to talk about white victims.

He then inaccurately argued that white Americans are dying more often at the hands of police than Black Americans.

He was entirely accurate. The man’s an arsehat and an alleged racist. But what he said was not inaccurate. Here’s the exchange:

CBS News’ Catherine Herridge: “Let’s talk about George Floyd, you said George Floyd’s death was a terrible thing.”

Trump: “Terrible.”

Herridge: “Why are African Americans still dying at the hands of law enforcement?”

Trump: “And so are white people. So are white people. What a terrible question to ask. So are white people. More white people by the way. More white people.”

What he said was true. He did not address the clear and obvious inference being about the increased risk to your health of being American Whilst Black. The Guardian states later in the article: “Black Americans are up to 3.5 times as likely to be killed by law enforcement”, according to research in 2018 by the American Journal of Public Health. The paper adds that a “2016 analysis by the Washington Post also found that African Americans are 2.5 times as likely to be shot and killed by police offers as white Americans.” The story is about the rate of killing. Trump talked about finite numbers. There’s a difference.

More white people than black people are killed by US police. There are more white people in the USA. The President is not “inaccurate”. The story of police violence is in two parts: why do US police kill so many people?; why are US police more likely to kill a black man than a white man? Trump evades the second part and jumps on the first part.

Says the Guardian: “Trump’s claim about more white people being killed by police in the US is misleading.” As is the Guardian’s headline.

Posted: 16th, July 2020 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Rishi Sunak offers half-price last suppers

Rishi Sunak has taken a second job as a waiter. There’s the chancellor on the front pages serving meals in a London branch of Wagamama. “Sunak serves up £30bn rescue,” says the Times. That’s the figure for Government spending on coronavirus support (it outstrips last year’s health budget) and not the revised bill for side orders of pickles, PPE or his family’s bank balance.

No mask for Rishi as he serves up a plates of swill, just a smart tie and name badge and a broad beam for the cameras. “Come dine with me,” says the Telegraph.

Sunak says the State will pay half the cost of a meal out for everyone. This will support the hospitality industry. The paper’ says Sunak “shows his backbone” with a bold statement. It is, of course, the “Rishi Dishi”, a twist on Dishi Rishi, the nickname the chancellor earned before coronavirus and the Government’s lack of preparedness kiboshed fiscal spending plans.

The upshot is that dinners will get a 50% discount off their restaurant bill during August. The meal deal means you can get up to £10 off per head if you eat out from Monday to Wednesday. Alcohol is not included, so liquid lunchers are not part of the deal. Also included is that if in going out to eat in the middle of a pandemic you get ill, the Government will off you food, bed and toilet facilities in a hospital (beds permitting).

Posted: 9th, July 2020 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Hong Kong : 3m residents invited to live in UK; Brexit not racist after all

“Crowds defy crackdown” says the Guardian. “COURAGE,” declares the message on a protestor’s T-shirt. His eyes, stinging from tea gas, are closed. Around him are three police officers in marks, goggles and helmets, their faces impassive.

But there is hope. Three million Hong Kong residents are eligible to work and live in the UK. “Escape to the UK” says the i. Well, you can if the Chinese let you. And what’s to say theta they will?

Hong Kong was once a British colony. In 1842, China ceded Hong Kong island to Britain after the First Opium War. In 1898,China leased the New Territories together with 235 islands to Britain for 99 years.

In 1997, it became a special admin area for China, functioning under the rule of “one country, two systems” – unlike mainland China, Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of autonomy and democratic economic and social systems. The contract securing those rights last until 2047.

Hong Kong law

But China is making plans. It’s playing a long game. They’s introduced a nw law. Under the new law, inciting hatred of China’s central government and Hong Kong’s regional government are offences. You are a criminal if you protest against the Chinese government. You cannot speak freely. You cannot think freely.

Posted: 2nd, July 2020 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Durham Police statement on Dominic Cummings in full: he’s innocent (probably)

dominic Cummings coronavirus
Mirror misquotes police.

What of Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister’s aide whomay” have broken lockdown rules? “May” is the word of the moment because police in Derbyshire says Cummings “may” have broken the rules. The Star, Mirror and Guardian all lead with what “may” have happened. Or to put it another way, what may not have happened.

It’s always useful to reverse a headline to see the angle at work. So here’s a twist on the BBC’s front-page headline “Dominic Cummings ‘might have broken lockdown rules’ – police”: “Dominic Cummings ‘might not have broken lockdown rules’ – police.”

He may. He may not.

Durham Police have issued a statement on the matter that’s occupied the media for a week. Here it is in full:

“On March 27 2020, Dominic Cummings drove to Durham to self-isolate in a property owned by his father. Durham Constabulary does not consider that by locating himself at his father’s premises, Mr Cummings committed an offence contrary to regulation six of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020. (We are concerned here with breaches of the regulations, not the general Government guidance to “stay at home”.)

“On April 12 2020, Mr Cummings drove approximately 26 miles from his father’s property to Barnard Castle with his wife and son. He stated on May 25 2020 that the purpose of this drive was to test his resilience to drive to London the following day, including whether his eyesight was sufficiently recovered, his period of self-isolation having ended.

“Durham Constabulary have examined the circumstances surrounding the journey to Barnard Castle (including ANPR, witness evidence and a review of Mr Cummings’ press conference on May 25 2020) and have concluded that there might have been a minor breach of the regulations that would have warranted police intervention. Durham Constabulary view this as minor because there was no apparent breach of social distancing.

Had a Durham Constabulary police officer stopped Mr Cummings driving to or from Barnard Castle, the officer would have spoken to him, and, having established the facts, likely advised Mr Cummings to return to the address in Durham, providing advice on the dangers of travelling during the pandemic crisis.

“Had this advice been accepted by Mr Cummings, no enforcement action would have been taken.

“In line with Durham Constabulary’s general approach throughout the pandemic, there is no intention to take retrospective action in respect of the Barnard Castle incident since this would amount to treating Mr Cummings differently from other members of the public. Durham Constabulary has not taken retrospective action against any other person.

“By way of further context, Durham Constabulary has followed Government guidance on management of alleged breaches of the regulations with the emphasis on the NPCC and College of Policing 4Es: Engage, Explain and Encourage before Enforcement.

“Finally, commentary in the media has suggested that Mr Cummings was in Durham on April 19 2020. Mr Cummings denies this and Durham Constabulary have seen insufficient evidence to support this allegation.

“Therefore Durham Constabulary will take no further action in this matter and has informed Mr Cummings of this decision.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 29th, May 2020 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Emily Maitlis, the New European and the 48% want a referendum on Mr Brexit

The New European, the newspaper created to campaign for a second referendum (failed) and keep the UK in the EU (ditto), reports on a petition created to support Emily Maitlis, lead presenter of BBC’s Newsnight who fell foul of the State’s broadcaster’s impartiality rules when she presented opinion as fact in her monologue on Dominic Cummings. “The New Pop-up Paper for the 48%” who voted to Remain in the EU, as The New European was originally billed, shares with readers the call to help Emily and a link advising “The online petition can be signed here”. The paper also features four voices in support of Maitlis but not one to say that the BBC should be politically impartial and in this instance was clearly biased.

“Less than 24 hours after Emily Maitlis spoke for people in the UK and spoke truth to power she has been removed from Newsnight. How can it be just and appropriate that a woman is removed for telling the truth, while an unelected man appears bulletproof even after lying and showing no contrition? Her removal tells us so much about the degree of control the government has on our national broadcaster. We have suspected it for a long time. This time it’s hiding in plain sight.Please join me and sign this not just to re instate Emily Maitlis but to also send a message to this and successive governments. You will not silence those brave women and men who choose not to stand by while terrible things happen.”

The terrible thing was Cummings, the Prime Minister’s aide and a leading architect of Brexit, allegedly breaking lockdown rules.

Vote now and vote often

The main problem with the paper’s report is that Maitlis was not taken off air. “I asked for the night off,” she says. The show was presented by UK editor Katie Razzall instead. But it can’t be that Maitlis spoke off the cuff. TV’s shows are scripted and planned. Razzall said she “wouldn’t have agreed to present the show” if Maitlis had been sidelined. Newsnight editor Esme Wrenn said Maitlis “hasn’t been replaced”. Deputy editor Stewart McLean added: “For the avoidance of doubt, @maitlis has neither ‘been replaced’ nor ‘been taken off air'”.

But how can we be certain? Why not hold a vote and see. A simple in / out choice on whether Dominic Cummings should keep his job and then one if Maitlis should keep hers?

Posted: 28th, May 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Fake news: BBC broke rules in stating that Dominic Cummings broke lockdown rules

Cummings Maitlis

Last Tuesday’s edition of BBC’s Newsnight kicked off with presenter Emily Maitlis telling viewers: “Dominic Cummings broke the rules, the country can see that, and it’s shocked the government cannot.” Boris Johnson’s aide had broken the rules on lockdown by travelling from London to County Durham, said the impartial BBC. For added oomph, the audience was told that the “public mood” was “one of fury, contempt and anguish”. Cummings had made us “feel like fools”.

And there was more. Maitlis went on: “The prime minister knows all this. But despite the resignation of one minister, growing unease from his backbenchers, a dramatic early warning from the polls and a deep national disquiet, Boris Johnson has chosen to ignore it. Tonight we consider what this blind loyalty tells us about the workings of Number 10.”

Problem was that the BBC’s facts were just the BBC’s opinion, which it has sought to clarify in the following statement: “While we believe the programme contained fair, reasonable and rigorous journalism, we feel that we should have done more to make clear the introduction was a summary of the questions we would examine, with all the accompanying evidence, in the rest of the programme. As it was, we believe the introduction we broadcast did not meet our standards of due impartiality.”

Disappointing stuff. Biased news is fake news. Eat yer heart out, Twitter.

Transcript of Newsnight monologue:

“Good evening, Dominic Cummings broke the rules. The country can see that and it’s shocked the Government cannot. The longer minister and the Prime Minister tell us he worked within them, the more angry the response to this scandal is likely to be.

“He was the man remember who always got the public mood – who tagged the lazy label of elite on those who disagreed. He should understand that public mood now – one of fury contempt and anguish. He made those who struggled to keep to the rules feel like fools and has allowed many more to presume they can now flout them.

“The Prime Minister knows all this but despite the resignation of one minister, growing unease from his backbenchers, a dramatic early warning from the polls and a deep national disquiet, Boris Johnson has chosen to ignore it.”

Why not let the facts speak and the people, the very ones Newsnight says are angry, make up their own minds? Does the BBC not trust it’s own audience?

Posted: 27th, May 2020 | In: News, Politicians, TV & Radio | Comment


Exterminate: Dalek delivers Government’s coronavirus update

dalek coronavirus

The Government’s Daily coronavirus update gets a new speaker thanks to Miriam Elia on Facebook. Unless that’s man of the moment Dominic Cummings? Exterminate!

Posted: 24th, May 2020 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Do the fat-busting coronavirus diet and be like reformed fatty Boris Johnson

No longer is ‘fat’ a pre-runner to ‘and jolly’. Fat means death. Fat must be wiped out because: fat people give you cancer, probably (Daily Mail); fat people use up more aviation fuel and thereby kill the planet (Guardian); fat people kill kittens (Star); fat people will end the NHS by falling ill (all newspapers). Today’s news is that a “third of all viruses are linked to diabetes”. So the other two thirds of us who contract Covid-19 get it because… we’re too thin / old / young / poor / unloved? No matter. The key fact is in. Thin is good. The secret to long life is to be thin, which surely is why the Grim Reaper is as thin as a rake. And look who’s leading “by example”. Yeah, it’s reformed chubster Boris Johnson, who reduced his BMI by falling seriously ill and having his sustenance drip fed. And where he leads you too can follow his shining example. Here’s what you do:

  1. Go to a hospital and shake as many hands as possible.
  2. Struggle to breathe.
  3. Got to intensive care.
  4. Look beach-body ready.*

*Beaches are restricted to one per person until further notice.

Posted: 21st, May 2020 | In: News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


England edges towards post- Covid-19 freedom, Scotland bans common sense and Wales threatens to arrest the English

The Government’s new Covid-19 guidelines tell us that two people from different households are able to meet in outdoor settings so long as they stay more than two metres apart. “If you’re out in the park and you’re 2m apart… and use some common sense and you socially-distance, you can meet up with other people.,” says Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. You can’t meet indoors, not even if you both wear wide-hooped crinoline skirts, gas masks and rubber gloves. (I’m sorry, Prince Andrew, but those are the rules.) You can “take more and even unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise” rather than only exercising once a day, “play sports” with people from the same household, and people from one household can drive to other destinations (such as forests, parks and beaches).

But only in England. Politics has stepped in to muddy the waters. Many Scots will no doubt be delighted that more than one bout of daily exercise remains forbidden. The SNP Government in Scotland says the country must remain in lockdown. No common sense or you. And the Welsh Government’s counsel general, Jeremy Miles, says Wales is closed to the English. “Our regulations do not permit people to get in their car and drive to destinations in Wales,” says Mr Miles. “And that also means people getting in their cars in England.” Break the rules for Wales and you may well be fined.

Looks like only parts of the UK trust the people to stick to rules on social distancing and consider the risk and take responsibility for themselves.

Posted: 11th, May 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Boris Johnson’s daughter in Prada headband storm

Laura Johnson Boris

When they invented prime ministers, they also created Prime Ministers’ children. Unlike the SADDOS (sons and daughters of stars) who can mime, pose and pout in their instagram branded knickers as they work on their celebrity status, the politicians’ kids can either join the Party or find their own way. Carol Thatcher went into Golliwogs, for her brother Mark it was Africa, and Euan Blair went into the boozer and then vomited over Leicester Square. Lara Walker-Johnson went to Oxfordshire and bought a Prada headband. We know all about her purchase because Laura wrote about for Vogue magazine in a story entitled How Time-travelling To My Teen Wardrobe Helped Me Understand Who I Am Today. It’s the kind of vapid tosh made to reassure the unconvinced that minted toff Meghan Markle’s editing of the expensive magazine that advertises expensive things was not a seismic moment in race relations.

“I’m trying my best not to buy more clothes right now, uncertain about future financial prospects and conscious it isn’t the time to splurge,” says Lara in Oxfordshire. The posh always name the county they’re visiting not the village or town. A town has windows, public transport and numbered doors. A county has sprawling mansions, bridle paths and land. “But, I must confess, I did buy two headbands,” she adds, “one black and fluffy, from Shrimps, and one pink and from Prada – that I’ve been drooling over for months.”

The critics some fast. “Lara who, according to her website, is a fashion writer,” snipes one writer, adding: “I have no idea what her future financial prospects are, but her recent accessories acquisitions make me think that she’ll be okay.” The mind boggles to think what the backstory will do to the bands’ resale value. “In a moment when economic inequality, globally, and in the U.K., has never been more conspicuous – and when so many peoples’ lives are in her father’s hands – I might have kept this confession to myself.”

Two headbands in and Boris Johnson is King Herod.

In the Daily Mirror, Lara’s purchases are given no lesser importance: “Meanwhile, more than 100 NHS and care staff have died after testing positive for COVID-19 – as keyworkers beg the government for more vital PPE to protect themselves on the frontline.”

Meanwhile is the literary split screen. There’s Lara shopping online for fancy goods and a fashion philosophy while below her the huddled masses look up beseechingly and wonder if all this coverage of to-die-for Prada headbands means Lara will never need buy one again, and if they make face masks?

Posted: 29th, April 2020 | In: Celebrities, Fashion, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


Full spin ahead: Biased media covers the PM’s coronavirus update

Boris Johnson coronavirus

Can you spin the coronavirus to make a story favourable to your own political agenda? As James Ball (@jamesrbuk) puts it: ‘Half of twitter’s idea of a good question to Number 10: “How many more people will you murder for the profit of your donors, Boris Johnson.” Other half: “Do you have a message for a grateful nation, oh heroic prime minister?”’

Most of the papers lead on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plans for the next stage of the UK’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, ones he outlined in his first televised statement since recovering from Covid-19. The Times listens to the latest briefing and says the PM will reveal a “limited” set of changes to the lockdown “within days”. Plans include allowing shops selling “not-essential” items to reopen, it says, although schools will stay closed until June.

The Daily Mirror says that after more than four weeks of being indoors, people have been given some hope over a return to normality. “Not much longer”, is the paper’s front page headline. The i headline says there’s “hope in sight”. The BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg writes: “Boris Johnson’s statement at the lectern this morning was a request to the public to be patient, to keep going, to hold firm through the frustrations of living life mainly behind closed doors for a while longer.

Or as the Telegraph puts it:

Thankfully you can hear Johnson not saying ‘it’s time to fire up the engines’ without the Daily Telegraph’s filter:

Such are the facts.

Posted: 28th, April 2020 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Gotcha journalism – Priti Patel out of context: shoplifting down on last year

biased journalism priti patel

All these televised briefings from our top politicians tell us one thing: we see too much of them and the journalist gets the answers their Gotcha! style of questioning deserves. Her; Home Secretary Priti Patels talking about crime:

The conceit is that Priti Patel is so thick or conniving she can’t link that shops are shut with reduced theft from shops. Thankfully, people on twitter can expose the madness by clipping part of her address to fit a tweet and holding it up for ridicule.

What Patel said was about how the forces of law and order are cracking down on crime in these “unprecedented times”. “Any criminal seeking to exploit this virus for their own gain, our outstanding police and law enforcement agencies are absolutely on to you., ” she said. She went on to talk about drugs seizures and child abuse.

New European bias

The New European newspapers isn’t listening. The paper set up to block Brexit is so desperate to mock Brexiteer Patel that it mangles her message to fit its agenda, sniping: “Priti Patel ridiculed after announcing ‘shoplifting is down’ compared to year before.” No word in the paper’s report about child abuse nor Class-A drugs. No word on how the reduced shoplifting might just be used to show the affect the lockdown is having on another aspect of our lives. Just partisan reporting designed to end with the sign off, ‘Gotcha!’

Posted: 26th, April 2020 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Tory councillor in hot cross bun swastika row

Tory councillor Portsmouth hot cross buns swastika

Usually a hot cross bun is embossed with a cross, to symbolise Christianity. English folklore says that buns baked and served on Good Friday will not spoil or grow mouldy during the subsequent year. Supermarkets offer non-believers a sell-by date printed on their ready-to-eat buns. They do not feature the words ‘SEX’ or ‘FUCK’, the flag of Scots nationalist nor a Swastika. Doing so would mean them no longer being hot cross buns, rather Swear Buns, SNP Buns or National Socialism Buns.

Tory councillor Lee Mason, a former Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, has been removed from his party while bun investigators look into his tray of home-baked buns which featured in a Snapchat post “leaked” to Portsmouth’s local paper, The News. Mr Mason denies baking any bun with a swastika on it. He suggests the image of the Swastika bun may have been altered, and we note that whoever made it or don’t make it has the arms pointing anticlockwise, which as any caterer for Nazi-themed parties and weddings will tell you is the wrong way. He has however admitted to baking the other buns.

“I have not baked a bun with a Nazi symbol. You can see from the picture that is not a Nazi symbol,” Mr Mason tells Portsmouth News. “I baked some cakes, yes, but I haven’t done a Nazi symbol on any of them. And there’s no Nazi symbols there.”

The News tells readers that the “swastika-style emblem – similar to one used by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, whose party slaughtered millions of Jews during the Second World War – appeared to have been baked on a bun.”

A spokesman for a local Jewish group is upset. Another former Tory councillor named – get this – Jezz Baker says: “I’m a Pompey Jew, born and bred, and my hatred for swastikas is enormous. But if there is one person that is not anti-Semitic and has nothing Nazi about him whatsoever it’s Lee Mason.”

Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth South MP (Labour), puts the bun in context of the fight against racism, the Covid-19 pandemic and given time probably global warming. “At a time when our whole community is pulling together to support each other, anything suggesting the use of the most offensive of symbols is shockingly inappropriate and shameful,” he says. “If true, it may also breach the members’ code of conduct. It is only right that serious and legitimate concerns be reported to the city council under its complaints system for councillors.”

No word yet from victims of the Crusades, crucifixion nor Christian fundamentalists about why the cross is unsuited to cakes and anyone who serves such a symbol of persecution, idolatry and suffering with butter and jam deserves to rot in hell for all eternity.

Posted: 25th, April 2020 | In: News, Politicians, Strange But True | Comment


10 Questions for journalists to ask Government about Coronavirus

Journalism matters. It’s not all talking truth to power and showing us things other people would rather we didn’t know. Sometimes it involves talking about the latest shoes, if Meghan Markle takes one or two bottles into the shower and pandering to your audience’s prejudices. The clip above was a Channel 4 News anchor not asking a question to shed light on the Government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, but simply demanding something. The anchor’s grandstanding serves only his needs, which are: look important; display your sense of entitlement; show your Labour voting audience how right they are to dislike a Tory Government; and give it up for the narcissists. Robbie Gibb has heard enough of this self-aggrandizing point scoring. Journalists with access are letting us down:

coronavirus 10 questions to ask journalists
coronavirus 10 questions to ask journalists

Gotcha!

Posted: 15th, April 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Nick Timothy on economics and coronavirus – Theresa May never stood a chance

Theresa May’s former staffer Nick Timothy is writing about the coronavirus and China. He served as Joint Downing Street Chief of Staff, alongside Fiona Hill, to Prime Minister May, until they made a hash of the 2017 general election and he resigned. Remember the Windrush scandal, the hostile environment and how the Tories spaffed a parliamentary majority up the wall leading to stasis in the chamber, Jeremy Corbyn stinking the place up for a further three years and Nigel Farage getting a drive-time LBC radio show? Well, Timothy CBE has followed all that by scoring jobs as a Daily Telegraph columnist (how’s that going?), a member of the organising committee of the 2022 Commonwealth Games (look out for the new discipline of running through fields of wheat) and telling readers on Unherd that it’s time for a “reckoning” with China. It has “abused the openness of other economies to undercut rival businesses and blackmail governments”.

Since when is undercutting rivals bad for capitalism? If we can get the same goods for less, we get to be richer. Nick, mate…? The Tory then says how we can untangle ourselves from China, specifically over the coronavirus:

The coronavirus crisis is showing us not only that over-dependence on countries like China is dangerous, but that we need to keep certain industrial capabilities closer to home. British researchers are playing their part in the global effort to find a coronavirus vaccine, for example, but Britain has precious little capacity to manufacture vaccines at scale.

If and when a vaccine is discovered, experts have warned that we will need to wait in the queue to get it. Similarly, one of the reasons Germany is so far ahead of Britain in its testing strategy is, ministers explain, that the Germans have Roche, one of the world’s biggest diagnostic companies. Britain’s smaller diagnostics firms are dependent on Germany and the United States for their supplies.

Roche? The world’s number 1 in biotech based in… Switzerland. Germany does not have Roche, Nick. Switzerland does.

Posted: 14th, April 2020 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Forget Coronavirus and let’s all hate Robert Jenrick

Robert Jenrick

Meet Robert Jenrick. He’s one of those Tory ministers from central casting. He is (checks facts) the Communities Secretary. Jenrick’s on the front pages of the Mail, Guardian and Telegraph because he allegedly twice broke government restrictions to help to stop the spread of coronavirus. The papers says Jenrick broke the rules on only moving for essential reasons by motoring from London to a second home in Herefordshire. He then made a trip to see his mum and dad 40 miles away in Shrophire. This we know because someone apparently saw him and grassed him up to the Guardian. Jenrick says he did nothing wrong. He tweets:

For clarity – my parents asked me to deliver some essentials – including medicines. They are both self-isolating due to age and my father’s medical condition and I respected social distancing rules.

https://twitter.com/RobertJenrick?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

Having helped the aged, he also helped the young. The Mail says that his country pad is his “family home”; his family travelled there “before any restrictions on travel were announced”; and: “I have been working in London on ministerial duties, putting in place the system to shield the group most vulnerable to coronavirus and organising the response at a local level. Once I was able to work from home it was right that I went home to do so and be with my wife and also help care for my three young children.”

The Guardian says Jenrick’s second home is worth £1.2m, which depending on your agenda either inspires envy (rich basta…) or understanding (why have such a lovely home if you can’t live in it?) The paper also finds room to quote former Tory minister Anna Soubry, who says Jenrick is guilty of “selfish arrogance”, which might be tautological, and Steve Reed, Labour’s new communities spokesman, who says Jenrick should think about resigning.

But hold on. The Mail says his London home is worth £2.5m. So it might be around twice as good as the country home. Or not. The Mail adds: “Mr Jenrick insisted Eye Manor in Herefordshire, built by an 18th century slave trader, is seen as the family home, rather than their house in Westminster, despite needing to be there most of the week for his work.” And: “Mr Jenrick, who has a £2,000-a-month taxpayer funded third home in his Newark constituency, said last night he considers the Herefordshire property to be the family home.” In 2014, the Mail claimed Jenrick also owned a second London property worth £2m.

Maybe Jenrick just became confused about his properties? But no. His statement is clear. He is innocent. And who are we to disprove it. We live in straightened times when there are calls for an MP to lose his job because he’s a loyal family man. Can’t at least one of them house a brothel or a secret family?

Posted: 10th, April 2020 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Coronavirus: Mrs Michael Gove checks Boris Johnson’s prostate in the Mail

Writing in the Daily Mail, Mrs Michael Gove, aka Sarah Vine, looks at the health of Boris Johnson and other leading politicians. The Prime Minister is very unwell with the coronavirus Covid-19. We wish him a speedy and full recovery. Says Vine:

Boris Johnson
Sarah Vine

Adding: “…there is something about Boris’s predicament and that of his family that brings us, as a nation of strangers, closer together. Boris is us, and we are Boris.”

Michael Gove is a British MP who has been Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster since July 2019 and Minister for the Cabinet Office since February 2020.

Spotter: @brokenbottleboy

Posted: 9th, April 2020 | In: News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


Matt Hancock wants us to hate footballers not him

UK health secretary Matt Hancock wants us to stop looking at him and look instead at footballers, those self-made, young athletes largely from working-class backgrounds. Says Matt Hancock: “Given the sacrifices that many people are making, including some of my colleagues in the NHS who have made the ultimate sacrifice, I think the first thing that Premier League footballers can do is make a contribution, take a pay cut and play their part”. Take a pay cut and pay less in taxes? Is that really going to work, Matt? And, Matt, mate, your colleagues are in the Tory Party and government not the NHS. You’re not a nurse or a hospital porter. Tucking your tie into your shirt does not make you a medical man.

Matt then went on the telly to add that “footballers [should] club together and support our hospices and support the national effort we’re all in”. Billionaire owners of football clubs, hedge fund managers and minted Tories can carry on regardless. It’s the footballers who need to dig deep and give until it hurts.

Like so many politicians before him, Hancock wants to portray footballers as role models and so deflect attention from his own worth. Some of the more slack-jawed players buy into the myth. Brighter players call it out for the utter tosh it is.

We call on poshos like the Matt Hancock family to take a pay cut, also: members of the royal family, everyone on the board of a FTSE 500 company and for our Olympic ‘heroes’ to sell their medals for the NHS. Anything less is treason.

Posted: 7th, April 2020 | In: Politicians, Sports | Comment


Donald Trump hails Coronavirus as a ‘ratings hit’

Donald Trump hails Coronavirus as a ratings hit

Parody dies a little more as Donald Trump hails coronavirus as a ratings hit. This is not from a spoof account. I checked:

Donald Trump hails Coronavirus as a 'ratings hit'

Posted: 30th, March 2020 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Hilary Clinton says Donald Trump has made ‘America first’ only at Coronavirus deaths

Hilary Clinton coronavirus

As Donald Trump outdoes god by bringing not one man back from the dead but the entire country – making the divine’s Good Friday into Trump’s Great Friday – Hilary Clinton, the politician he beat to become President uses the coronavirus for her own ends. She tweets: “He did promise ‘America First’.” The US now “leads the world in Coronavirus cases”, says the New York Times. People are ill, anxious and dying. Clinton snipes and tries to score cheap points. Trump v Clinton really was the nadir in US politics.

Posted: 28th, March 2020 | In: News, Politicians | Comment