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Politicians | Anorak - Part 20

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

John Bercow: anti-Trump apostate or jumped-up fool?

Is House of Commons Speaker John Bercow an apostate or a jumped-up pillock who overstepped his brief when he declared that Donald Trump should be banned from addressing Parliament? Maybe he’s both.

The Mail (front page) says Bercow ‘sparked fury’ when he told MPs of his opposition to “sexist and racist” Trump sullying the hallowed halls of Parliament with his presence. The paper quotes a ‘Whitehall source’ who calls Bercow “insulting” and in danger of damaging the so-called Special relationship between the UK and USA. Although the same source adds that Trump doesn’t “even know who Bercow is”.

A Mail writer says Bercow ‘let loose a volley of self-important rudeness’.

 

bercow trump

‘I am anti-Trump there for I am’

 

The Mail quotes another source mocking Bercow’s ability to straddle a high horse with such short legs. The paper shows Bercow welcoming such embodiments of enlightenment and protectors of the democratic flame as the emir of Kuwait and the president of China.

The Express (front page) calls it ‘Outrageous’.

The Sun (buried on page 5) says Bercow ‘was cheered by Labour and SNP MPs’.

And the Mirror (front pages) thunders: “Racist Trump banned from speaking in Parliament.’ On Page 2, the Mirror says, ‘Bercow was praised for standing up to Donald Trumps’s questionable values and blocking him from Parliament’. Whereas the Mail can find only people to belittle Bercow, the Mirror finds only voices to exalt him. ‘Tory MPs sat in stoney silence as their former colleague tore into Mr Trump,’ says the paper.

The trouble is that Bercow doesn’t have the right to peak for the nation. His grandstanding was just that. If the Commons values democracy, as surely it must, the man 62 millions American chose for their leader should be respected. Bercow is the Speaker. He is not The Guard. His role is to be versed in the Commons’ rules and officiate during bouts.

Of course, Trump a useful fool. Being anti-Trump means that you stand for something. He defines you by what you are not. But what are you? Being anti-Trump is not enough. It’s easy and it’s lazy. Its invites bigger questions: why don’t you trust the electorate? Who do you represent if not the voters? If you prefer bans over debate, why do you sit in debating chamber?

It’s easy to take issue with Trump. It’s less simple to explain what you would do instead.

Posted: 7th, February 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


Thick Labour voters turn Stoke Central into a call centre paradise and Islington overspill

All Brexit voters are thick. So says Polly Tonybee in an article for the Guardian, ostensibly about the Stoke Central by election. Stoke Central is a safe Labour seat. Well it has been. But Labour is morally bankrupt and not fit for purpose. It has acquiesced to anti-Semitism. Labour positions itself as the immigrant’s friend but recent Labour governments have been very good at blowing up Muslims in their own countries and creating refugees. Labour no longer represents working-class concerns. It is no longer proletarian and clear voiced. It champions rose-tinted anti-progress eco-austerity over a rosy-fingered dawn.

By way of example, Jeremy Corbyn – the man democratically elected to lead the party (because it’s so directionless and inward looking that anyone with an assembly of supporters can lead it; just look at Tony Blair and his clique) – has been talking about limits on pay and pay ratios. He told us: “‘This is not about limiting aspiration or penalising success, it’s about recognising that success is a collective effort and rewards must be shared.” How is that not limiting? Labour is not about people getting more; it’s about people getting less. It’s not about aspiration; it’s about reducing everyone to a low level. Under Labour, socialism means less for all. How’s that inspiring?

After the 2015 drubbing for Labour at the General Election, one-time leadership candidate Chuka Umunna identified what he saw as the burning issue: “We spoke to our core voters but not to aspirational middle-class ones.” Labour never spoke for aspirational working-class voters. It failed utterly. To Labour, the working class cannot be aspirational. They can only be patronised.

Tonybee focuses on Labour’s rival:

For Ukip the stakes could not be higher. Lose here and the party is well and truly dead: its new leader, and its candidate here, Paul Nuttall buried on his first outing. Byelections are the great hope of insurgent parties, when voters can indulge in risk-free protest. No seat could be riper than this Brexit hotspot, where almost 70% voted leave: Stoke perfectly matches this week’s BBC research showing the closest correlation between high Brexit areas and low education qualifications.

Though ethnic minorities make up only 15% of Stoke’s population, on the doorstep I found immigration the hot button issue.

First up: is 15% a notable low percentage of ethnic minority people? The Office for National statistics tells us:

Whilst the majority of the population gave their ethnic group as “White” in the 2011 Census, results from the past 20 years show a decrease, falling from 94.1% in 1991 down to 86% in 2011. London was found to be the most ethnically diverse area, while Wales was the least diverse.

So Stoke is a little above average in its ethnic make-up. But the link being assumed is that fewer ethnic voters means Stoke’s voters are more prone to racism. Says Tonybee:

I found immigration the hot button issue. “Too many here, filling up our schools and hospitals.” What about EU doctors and nurses working in the NHS? “They can stay, but let us choose.” “Yes, immigrants work hard – but they send all their money back home and I’m against that.” “They’re not our culture, are they?” One or two said “Trump’s got the right idea”, matching YouGov’s finding that 29% in Britain support Trump’s migrant ban.

We are invited not to engage with these voters but look down on them. They want a better life. Picking out anti-immigrant views reveals more about metropolitan prejudices than it answers the question as to how how the white working class can achieve more and better. So will represent them?

As for thickos voting Brexit, well, insults will always win over the working-class demos, so keep going.

She then adds:

…the result will matter most for the people of Stoke: for their identity, their reputation, how they want to be seen in the world.

Right now, Polly sees them as thick and anti-immigrant.

Who do they want to be? If Stoke became the Ukip seat that set off a far-right tremor, that would blight its image and prospects, branding it a lost zone of the despairing and angry.

So vote Labour and get…?

Stoke should and could have a better future. Transport links are excellent, north and south, and it’s a good logistics base with large call centres. Rows of pleasing redbrick homes are cheap and potentially alluring for escapees from the unaffordable south.

Call centres, good escape routes and a place for southerners to downsize to. Live the dream in the Guardian’s vision of Stoke – a haven for the thick.

Posted: 7th, February 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Politicians | Comment


Fake News: Bosnia attack survivor Chelsea Clinton recalls the Bowling Green Massacre

Compare and contrast the following news about the Bowling Green Massacre and Hillary Clinton landing under enemy fire in Bosnia. Fake news is big news right now.

Sat at the top of the new cycle is the idea that pimply Putin supporters pumped out fake news stories which swung the election for Donald Trump. Amid reports that the great unwashed don’t trust journalists is news that fake stories were taken as fact and influenced people to vote for Trump over Hillary Clinton.

These people have trouble separating fact from fiction. It’s these slack-jawed people for whom health warnings appear at the end of soap opera.

A few years ago I was invited to talk on a BBC radio show about a story on British soap opera Coronation Street. A fictional child had gone missing. Fictional police and fictional people – actors repeating the words penned by scriptwriters working to replicate slice-of-life stuff to the fourth wall – were frantic with worry. The show ended by assuring viewers that everything they had seen was not real. Similarities to actual events were coincidental. If they had been affected by the heartbreaking story, they should call a number, where they would be given assistance but sadly not advised to stop watching the magic box, get a grip, get out more and get your head tested.

Such warnings suggests broadcasters have a pretty low opinion of their viewers.

 

 

Post-Trust.

A British poll in late 2016 found that 25% of those polled said they trusted journalists. Oddly, journalism is much more widely trusted – up to 65% – when the report is read aloud by a TV newsreader.

Politicians are trusted by just 21% of the people.

The assumption is that the people who fall for fake news – the stupid and gullible who read only one news source and don’t talk to people in the street (68% trust rating); who think Dallas was a documentary and Picasso a martial artist – are Trump voters. Clinton supporters, so goes the theory, are too knowing to be so easily duped.

 

Bosnia, 1996.

Hillary Clinton is on a visit to the war-town country. She tells media in 2008:

“I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead, we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.”

Utter balls. Hilary and her daughter Chelsea Clinton landed at Tuzla Air Base. Local and dignitaries met the Clintons at the airport. They gave them flowers, a poetry reading and at least one hug from a well-placed photogenic child.

In The Des Moines Register, said Hillary:

“We landed in one of those corkscrew landings and ran out because they said there might be sniper fire. I don’t remember anyone offering me tea on the tarmac there.”

Called out on her balls, Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson told reporters in 2008:

“The facts are clear from contemporaneous news accounts that she was entering a potentially dangerous situation… is it possible that in the most recent instance in which she discussed this that she misspoke, with regards to the exit from the plane…”

Not a lie. Not fake news. A misspoke.

 

Bowling Green Massacre. 

President Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway tells media:

“I bet it’s brand-new information to people that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized, and were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green Massacre. Most people don’t know that because it didn’t get covered.”

There was no Bowling Green Massacre.

Conway says she misspoke. She meant to say ‘Bowling Green terrorists’.

In 2013, the Justice Department announced the sentencing of two Iraqi citizens living in Bowling Green, Kentucky, to federal prison after they confessed to attacking U.S. soldiers in Iraq and tried to assist al-Qaeda in Iraq by sending money and weapons.

Massacre. Nothing like it. Utter balls. A lie? No. A misspoke.

 

Cue Sniper survivor Chelsea Clinton.

 

Chelsea clinton fake

 

Fake news is a big issue. But it’s nothing new. Why is one news item leading the TV news? Why does Israel and not Brazil or Pakistan top the BBC’s news show? Newspapers appeal to their readers’ prejudices. Bias is all around.

Facts can be checked. Claims can be disproven. You can read more than one newspaper or online report and watch more than one TV show.

So what changed?

Whereas once journalists were expected to be objective, they now emote, signalling their opinion and taking sides. The journalist’s report becomes just another opinion. It is no more valid – no truer – than any other opinion. Trust has been eroded by a desire to show all sides of an argument; to present the ‘facts’ from all angles; to be seen as impartial and in search of not one truth but of multiple talking points; to show views over verifiable fact.

If there’s no truth, all we get is fake. Hillary, Trump and Putin didn’t invent and encourage fake news. The mainstream media did.

Posted: 5th, February 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews | Comment


Censors, babies and fools burn Milo Yiannopoulos out of Berkeley

‘Out of Berkeley Nazi Scum,’ demands a placard held high at University of California Berkeley. Intolerance will not be tolerated! So goes the protests against to deadline polemicist Milo Yiannopoulos, who having been banned from the virtual world – Twitter suspended his account – is now branded too outrageous for the Berkeley brains’ trust to cope with.

 

free speech milo

 

The screeching, fires, placards and – irony of ironies – calling out people as ‘fascists’ as you smash windows and light fires by the college bookstore worked. Fascists, eh. If you want to call out a fascist, copy their methods and become one of them. The college that once championed free speech, where students campaigned for the right to hear from Communists and agitators buckled. Trump supporter and Breitbart news mainstay Milo Yiannopoulos had his appearance cancelled. The censorious, violent, angry prudes won the right to stymie and curtail free speech.

 

free speech

Wrong

 

On CNN the post-truth, fact-free news mandarins got wind of the story. UC Berkeley professor and former Democratic Secretary of Labor Robert Reich suggested Trump and his fans were behind the protests.

“I was there for part of last night, and I know what I saw and those people were not Berkeley students. Those people were outside agitators. I have never seen them before.”

“There’s rumors that they actually were right-wingers. They were a part of a kind of group that was organized and ready to create the kind of tumult and danger you saw that forced the police to cancel the event. So Donald Trump, when he says Berkeley doesn’t respect free speech rights, that’s a complete distortion of the truth…. I saw these people. They all looked very– almost paramilitary. They were not from the campus. I don’t want to say factually, but I’ve heard there was some relationship here between these people and the right-wing movement that is affiliated with Breitbart News.”

You want facts? No need when you have feelings.

If you don’t think free speech is worth protecting, you are not for progress. You cannot counter ideas and foment new thinking without free speech, the sound of free thought.

 

Posted: 4th, February 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews | Comment


Seb Dance says don’t trust politicians and the media – and Nigel Farage agrees

seb-dance-lying

 

There are so many things about President Trump to be concerned about. His illiberalism. His attitude to free speech – he’s against it. His cruel and arbitrary ban on people visiting the US from seven counties. But dismissing his supporters, people who want freer lives, more money, better job security, jobs, opportunity and recognition as thick, ‘low-information’ fascists is not in the least bit helpful.

This disdain for the concerns of 62 million voters who backed Tump over Hillary Clinton – the patrician who wanted a “barrier” between the US and Mexico, who called vast numbers of voters ‘deplorables”, untermensch to be despised by the knowing and – irony of ironies – who know fascism when they see it, and has caused so much suffering in majority-Muslim counties – is contagious. And what goes for Trump’s supporters goes too for the majority who embraced democracy and voted in favour of Brexit. Writing in the Guardian, Labour MEP Seb Dance has much to say.

Earlier this week, while UKip MEP Nigel Farage was addressing the European Union chamber, Dance held up a sign. It featured an arrow aimed at Farage and the message ‘He’s lying to you’. Phew! Good job that Seb Dance was there to tell us thickos what was untrue.

On his website, Sebastian says why he did it:

“Mainstream politics must be more willing to challenge the nationalists and the populists. They pretend to stand up for people who are suffering but their diet of hate, division and suspicion create only misery and poverty. It’s time to stop the nuanced language: They’re liars.

“Nigel Farage is regularly treated to free coverage by virtue of being leader of the EFDD [UKIP’s European Parliamentary group] and UKIP often use these clips in isolation on social media. When debates are time-limited it is impossible to challenge what he’s saying, so I protested in the only way I knew how at that point, which was to grab a piece of paper, write a very simple message on it and sit behind Nigel Farage during his usual diatribe.”

The New Statesman calls Dance ‘the best MEP ever’.

The FT says:

The motive was a smart piece of sabotage, aimed at making it more difficult for UKIP’s former leader to go viral.

And so to Dance, who tells Guardian readers:

On 23 June 2016 the UK voted to leave the European Union. On 8 November 2016 Donald Trump won the US general election. Both events were seismic, in and of themselves, but it has been the reaction to them that is the most extraordinary part of the story so far.

No, not people in the streets shouting down debate with cries of ‘Hitler’ and fascists, nor MPs decrying democracy.

From having been the rebel outsider positions in their respective countries, both have now risen to a new kind of status that leads online Twitter eggs gleefully to announce the end of liberal democracy and welcome the impending arrival of a new world order.

Democracy won. Both results were established in a free and legal vote. I’m no Trump supporters, and was delighted when Farage failed to win a seat at the last General Election, but the millions who voted for Trump and Brexit are not all twitter eggs. The voters are not passive no-marks. They mobilised for change.

Dance then tells readers:

There were many fine and erudite contributions before Farage spoke. The values this place represents do instil a real sense of pride. But some of the comments focused on the need to have a constructive dialogue with Trump, as if he would somehow listen to reasoned and impassioned pleas from MEPs, an organisation he has repeatedly indicated he would want to be destroyed.

MEPs are not an organisation. They are representatives. Dance’s note positions him as the politician who knows politicians cannot be trusted. A placard held up for the cameras apes the protestors who want to make their voices heard but have no arena save for the street in which to do so. Dance is elected to speak on their behalf. He is not passive. He is active. He’s not one of ‘us’, He’s one of ‘them’. Disparaging politicians and their motives puts him squarely in the same camp as Trump and Farage. Both say politicians and the media cannot be trusted.

Dance agrees.

 

Posted: 3rd, February 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews | Comment


The biased Guardian says Trump approves of child killing (Obama droned them to sleep)

Is the media biased against President Trump? He says it is. And – get this – here’s evidence that he’s right. The Guardian leads with the picture of the Anwar al-Awlaki’s daughter, Nawar al-Awlaki, who “may have been fatally shot in intelligence operation on al-Qaida that left at least 14 people, including a US commando, dead.”

The headline declares:

Eight-year-old American girl ‘killed in Yemen raid approved by Trump’

 

Trump girl died

 

A child’s death was “approved by Trump”.

Is that biased? Or is it a little too subtle for you?

 

Trump Nawar child

 

Did the Guardian lead with pictures of children killed in attacks approved by Barack Obama?

No.

Did we see faces on the Guardian’s cover of people – including pregnant women and children – offed when Obama-approved bombs killed 131 people at a wedding and 140 civilians at a funeral in Yemen?

No. Maybe Obama bombed them to sleep? Maybe he blessed them with his ordinance? Maybe being killed on Obama’s approval is more desirable than being killed on Trump’s?

Did we see any faces on the Guardian’s front page of the children deported – some of the 2.5 million people sent packing on Obama’s instructions?

No.

Is the media biased?

Yes.

Is Trump out of step with previous American leaders?

No.

Posted: 1st, February 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Politicians | Comment (1)


Donald Trump: God save the Queen from common muck

Donald Trump continues to set the news agenda, his presidency a political take on ‘Stay Tuned’ TV cliffhangers. President Trump’s ill-conceived travel ban dominates the news. But the Daily Mirror has a new angle. It books itself into one of The Donald’s five-star hotels – the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC – and sets about looking at the labels on the luxuries therein.

Full disclosure: I’ve stayed in a Trump hotel, his tower in Toronto. And, aside from my iPhone getting nicked from the room, found it pretty good, from the linen to the pink ‘Trump’ baseball hats left for each guest. And, no, hair was not attached to the complimentary lids.

 

Donald Trump

 

The Mirror’s Christopher Bucktin got the tough job of stock taking at Trump Inns. He found lots of ‘imports but few US goods’ at ‘Hotel Hypocrite’. He found Samsung TVs (made in Mexico), shower caps (made in China), cups (Germany) and a fridge (Switzerland).

Having quoted one hotel guest who lambasts Trump for picking the cheapest goods, Bucktin makes a false step. ‘We also fund him cashing in in his most hated religions – Islam,’ he writes.

Cashing in? How so?

In the bedside drawer ‘I came across a Gideon Bible’, a move akin to finding your own arse with your own hand. By the Bible is a note: ‘If you would like to continue your spiritual journey, we also offer the following: Talmud, Quran, Gita, Avesta, Tripitaka, Shri Guru, Grantha Sahib and Book of Mormon.” A call to housekeeping confirmed guests were able to have the holy book of Islam brought to their room in Arabic and English, with a prayer rug and a compass pointing to Mecca.’

The swine!

So how was he cashing in? There is no word that the mat, book and compass incur a surcharge. Bucktin explains: ‘Trump the hotelier welcomes Muslims – if they are loaded with dollars.’ He treats all customers the same. He does not discriminate. Just like Hitler, then.

And what if they’re workers? We don’t know if any staff at the hotel are Muslim. Maybe Trump welcomes Muslims so he can pay them, too?

Attacking Trump, the accidental president whose bad for liberty, is not too hard a task so why make a bad job of the facts? The Mirror says rooms ‘start at an average of £500 per night’. A quick look at the hotel’s website tells us a room can be had for $400 a night all in. Not cheap. But not £500.

 

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

 

Over pages 6 and 7, the Mirror looks at the protest’s against Trump’s executive order banning travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries. It notes the on-line petition calling for Parliament to cancel Trump’s State visit lest it “embarrass” the Queen. Over 1.5m people support feudalism and the monarchy. Who knew?

‘Prevent Donald Trump’, runs the petition text, ‘from making a state visit to the United Kingdom. Donald Trump should be allowed to enter the UK in his capacity as head of the US government, but he should not be invited to make an official state visit because it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen.’

Can Trump achieve what Prince Andrew, Prince Charles, the Duke of Edinburgh, Fergie, a grandson dressed as Nazi, an uncle who was a Nazi, walking about with a crown on your noggin’ and riding in a gold coach failed to do? Can Her Majesty feel embarrassed? “[Trump’s] misogyny and vulgarity disqualifies him from being received by the queen,” says the petition’s writer. Over one million people think Trump is too common for Her Majesty. What a snooty view. Look how superior we are to Trump and his supporters. No red carpet for him. He has hotels; she has palaces. He has Bibles; she is Defender of the Faith. He has voters; she has subjects. He has borders; she has Empire. He has Tiffany; she has diamonds as big as your face.

The paper notes that outside Whitehall, protestors demanded Theresa May condemn Trump.

And then come the inevitable celebrity endorsement. ‘Bianca Jagger, Lily Allen and Gary Lineker, who was with two of his sons’, were all there. ‘America united to condemn Donald Trump,’ says the paper. All of it? Odd not to hear one word in support of Trump’s ban. ‘Hollywood stars’ spoke out against Trump.

It’s all pretty much what Trump wants, no? The media present one side of the debate. Check. The celebrities vent forth. Check. People who don’t like the fact he was democratically elected in a legal vote use polls and numbers to try and derail him. Check.

More Trump on the Sun’s cover. ‘PM: No Trump U-turn.’ Over pages 8 and 9, the Sun spots Gary Lineker and Lily Allen in the 10,000 people outside Downing Street.

The paper quotes MPs likening Trump to Hitler. “The Holocaust didn’t start with the gas chambers,” says SNP Carol Monaghan, one of many keen to use the murders of 6 million Jews to score a political point. Boris Johnson told the Commons the comparison “demeans the horror of the 1930s”. It does. Trump is not plotting and fomenting genocide. He’s not that organised.

‘Protest march? It’s a waste of time,’ writes the Sun’s Clare Foges. Maybe. Maybe not. It; good for filling pages and spotting famous faces. Foges adds: ‘Strangely there was not the same outcry when Obama banned refugees from Iraq for six months in 2011.’ She spots hypocrisy and ‘anguished luvvies’ in a ‘pitch of hysteria’. Protest is for losers. “Save your breath,’ says the Star, which one sided with the protesting EDL.

Does this ‘hysteria’ over Trump whitewash crimes of other politicians, like Tony Blair, Hillary Clinton and Obama?

One of those ‘luvvies’ occupies the Mail’s front page. It’s Gary Lineker and a son. The Mail says May is ‘right to ignore the hysteria’ and the ‘twitter-obsessed, virtue-signalling student union politicians running today’s Labour Party’. The matter of US security, says the paper, is ‘a question for US politicians’.

And a question for Daily Express readers, too. An impressive 99% of them ‘agree with Trump’s tough migrant stance’. Well, those who voted in one of the paper’s polls do, which has still to bring in that 100% result. Of course, 100% could be achieved by there being just one caller keen to spend 50p on a premium-rate phone line – that’s 5p less than the paper costs. But at 99% the poll looks busy and representative.

And the Express has another. Today it asks readers: ‘Is Donald Trump right to bring in the travel ban?’ Anyone in doubt as to how to vote can see the headline hanging above the question: ‘Trump fury is just liberal left hysteria.’

The vote is open to liberal left hysterics with 50p to burn. Like everything about Trump, it’s fair and fair can be.

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

Posted: 31st, January 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


Brexit: get football agents to negotiate best deals for UK plc

The Government is advertising for trade negotiators. This might be the job to suit the country’s brightest and best football agents, the kind of people who understand that the day a client signs a contract is not the end of their role in matters. There is always the next deal and the next to arrange and sound out. The best agents work to protect their clients’ futures. They focus on the long-term. And they do their prep work.

One Guardian writer doesn’t get it. The top “post-Brexit international trade negotiator, tasked with sealing deals from North America to New Zealand”, will earn £160,000 a year or more, he tells us. And then he says this:

Critics also think the salary is a waste of money for the first two years of the five-year contract because the UK will be unable to reach agreements until the terms of divorce from the EU are finalised in 2019.

You can’t sign the deal until the trade window opens, but you can negotiate any deal before hand.

When looking for signs of idiocy it’s always useful to consult Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, who opines:

“Appointing a trade envoy on £160,000, who will be paid more than the prime minister, who cannot actually do their job for two years, shows how frankly stupid this government is being over Brexit.”

Tim, no. They can do their jobs. They can negotiate and daft agreements. They can showcase their talents. And when the trade window opens, they will have done their homework and be ready.

Posted: 29th, January 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Money, Politicians | Comment


Daily Mirror uses John Hurt’s death to bury Theresa May and Donald Trump’s Special Relationship

When Donald Trump was voted in, the Daily Mirror was aghast that he’d called Theresa May after dialling so many other leaders. It was a”poor start to the Special Relationship”. May was “at the back of the queue of world leaders”. The President-elect had issued a snub.

 

donald trump theresa may daily mirror

 

Donald TRump daily mirror

 

So how did the Mirror report the news that May is the first world leader to meet President Trump?

Was it front-page news?

 

donald-trump-may-daily-mirror

 

And every other paper?

 

trum-mp-may trump-may-the-times trump-may-the-daily-star trump-may-the-daily-express trump-may-the-daily-telegraph trump-may-the-daily-mail

 

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 28th, January 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comments (3)


Brexit: Tim Farron, Gina Miller and the anti-trust brigade have their eye on you

Is Tim Farron beyond parody? That F. A. R… Oh, never mind. He’s the leader of the LibDems, which were pretty popular and go-ahead until their former leader Nick Clegg stuffed them. Talking about Article 50 and Brexit – which he opposes – Farron is quoted in the Guardian:

The UK’s final Brexit deal must not be decided by “a stitch-up between Whitehall and Brussels”, the Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, has said, promising his party will seek to hold Theresa May’s government to account over the process.

There will be no stitch-up between the wonks, the technocrats and the mandarins because Tim is watching. That’s Tim who wants another referendum on Brexit because the stoopid people didn’t agree with the technocrats, wonks and mandarins the first time round. The people who mobilised and saw an alternative political future can’t be trusted, says Tim, who is on hand to protect us from our own ignorance.

Knowing Farron is overseeing international operations brings to mind Frederick Peel Eldon Potter. In response to Tsar Alexander II’s aggression in the Caucuses in 1898, Potter told the few thousand readers of his column in Ireland’s Skibereen Eagle, “the Skibereen Eagle has its eye on Russia.”

It’d be an idea for Farron and others who don’t trust the demos to pass their time thinking of an alternative to the EU and a new angle for politics that engages with the electorate and actually represents the people.  Brexit offers opportunities. Farron should embrace it. But it’s easier for him and his ilk to carry on as they have done for decades, delegating decisions to unelected groups and inviting the great unwashed to “join the debate” with no intention of acting on a word they say. Politics isn’t therapy.

Says Farron:

“That is a recipe for dissent, for a complete breakdown in trust in our politics. For the next couple of generations, let’s say, Britain’s relationship with the outside world will be cast because of stitch-ups in the 21st-century equivalent of smoke-filled rooms.”

Someone tell him. Not you, Gina Miller, who was made “physically sick” by the Brexit vote. She successfully challenged the Government in the courts. The Supreme Court sided with her and ruled that parliament must vote to trigger Article 50. Miller did it not because she wants to feel better and best way of achieving an holistic recovery is to scupper Brexit. Like Farron, Miller did it for us. She wants to prove that “parliament alone is sovereign”. Made ill by the voters, she champions democracy.

No. Not her.

One of you 17.5 million people who voted for Brexit in a free and legal election can have a go at telling Farron what’s what. Form an orderly line queue. He’s relying on us all getting bored and the electorate’s old passivity to return and ensure Brexit dies on the vine.

But we won’t.

 

 

Posted: 25th, January 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Politicians | Comment


Barack Obama’s killers target Donald Trump

The Donald Trump Death Cult is in full cry. Whenever a new man is unveiled as the new President of the USA, the talk swiftly turns to his murder. (See Barack Obama Death Cult.)

CNN reports:

The Secret Service said Tuesday it is taking “appropriate action” after one of its agents suggested on Facebook that she would not defend President Donald Trump should someone try to shoot him.

So much for Trump making more jobs.

PS: Hey, CNN, how’s Obama getting on.

 

obama dead

Posted: 25th, January 2017 | In: Politicians, Reviews | Comment


Brexit and the Battle for democracy – a video

How did you vote in the EU referendum? The majority who did voted to leave the European Union. Why they did and what should happen now is explained in this terrific video from Spiked.

Brexit and the Battle for democracy:

 

Posted: 24th, January 2017 | In: Politicians | Comment


Madonna misses the White House as envious celebs bask in Trump’s light

madonna-v-trump

 

In the twilight area between fact and fiction lies the Daily Star. Today’s Star leads with the sensational news that Donald Trump is “IN CELEBRITY BIG BOTHER”.

Such is the way of Trump, it might be that the thin-skinned reality TV creation is to appear on another reality TV show. But did you spot the pun? Anorak had to read it twice. It’s “BIG BOTHER” not “BIG BROTHER”. And news is that Donald Trump in in trouble because:

a) China has eaten the last creature he wears on his head?

b) There’s a gay sex tape?

c) He’s a jihadi?

d) Madonna is upset?

Yeah, it’s ‘d’. But should there be trade war with China, things might get worse for Trump.

As we’ve noted, Madonna says she is so upset at the result of a legally democratic vote she considered “blowing up the White House“. And no, she wasn’t planning on achieving it by nipping in the back door and pricking her inflated ego. Kaboom! Rhinestone all over the place.

Also unhappy with Trump are: The Edge (from U2, the group front by Bono, aka Mr G21), Natalie Portman, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and Amy Schumer.

Does anyone else think the problem celebs have with Trump is not a problem at all. He’s a symbol that what a TV star says matters. Their lives are not just about endorsements for fizzy drinks, the next record / film / miracle baby / diet / gadget and Hillary Clinton. People actually listen to what famous, vain, rich people with zero political nous, diplomatic savvy and military experience say. And what’s more, they vote for them to be President of the US of A!

“Look,” say the A-listers “one of us can get into the White House. Why didn’t my agent tell me?”

Madonna’s just gutted it isn’t her sat in the big chair with a finger on the button. Neither brave nor daring enough to go for the top job, she’s been reduced to playing on as Trump’s support act. No wonder she’s unhappy.

Posted: 23rd, January 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


Madonna occupies victimhood as Rust Belt women are belittled and abused

What do we have? On one side, are the people with no jobs, who endure deprivation and exist in a place called ‘The Rust Belt’. The technocrat, elitist candidate opposing Donald Trump called them “the deplorables”. On the other side are the people who have time and energy to bemoan their lot on twitter, march outside the White House and listen to Madonna, a multi-millionaire celebrity tell them she is so upset and victimised by President Trump winning the democratic vote she thought of blowing the place up.

It’s not democracy they want. They want their own prejudices to be given State approval.

Donald Trump is hard to like, harder still to admire. His illiberalism and attitudes to abortion are hideous. But the protests against him are monocular. If womanhood is united against abuse why didn’t women march on the White House when under the Obama administration drones killed hundreds or thousands of people, including many women?

“Between January 2012 and February 2013,” The Intercept reported, “U.S. special operations airstrikes killed more than 200 people. Of those, only 35 were the intended targets. During one five-month period of the operation, according to the documents, nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets.”

And what of the women killed by drones in Yemen, including a pregnant woman and three children?

According to the victims, on 12th December 2013, Abdallah Mabkhut al-Ameri, his new wife and about 60 of their friends and family, were travelling in a wedding procession outside the city of Rada’a when four Hellfire missiles hit the convoy, resulting in the deaths of more than 10 people, including the groom’s son from a previous marriage, and injury of 24 more.

Was there a march to contest the US ties with Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy, its intensely religious education system and its puritanical Wahhabi Islam? This is how the Guardian describes life for women in the US’s ally:

The male guardianship system in Saudi Arabia is not just law: it is a set of bylaws and state-sanctioned discriminatory policies and practices that restrict a woman’s ability to have a wide range of choices unless permitted by her male guardian – typically a father, husband, brother or even a son.

In practice, it means women are unrecognised by the state as full legal adults.

 

Obama meets the Saudi king

Obama meets the Saudi king

 

Did you march when Obama deported two-and-a-half million people?

“The inclusive nature of the event, the organisers say, calls for participants to come together to safeguard the freedoms of all people that have been threatened by recent political events,” the Evening Standard reported on the march.

So where were you then? Where will you be tomorrow? Or is not about freedom, liberty and equality but your dislike of accidental President Trump and the result those rebellious working-class bullies in the fly-over States voted for?

 

Posted: 22nd, January 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Reviews | Comment


Fake News Watch: Donald Trump removed MLK’s bust from the Oval Office

FAKE NEWS WATCH. Donald Trump removed the bust of Martin Luther King that sits in the White House’s Oval Office. Well, that’s what the journalists are reporting.

AprilDRyan (@AprilDRyan) is, as her Twitter profile states, “Author: The Presidency in Black and White, White House Correspondent and Washington Bureau Chief for American Urban Radio Networks, Baltimore, Maryland Native.”

She knows her stuff. So when she tweets that Martin Luther King’s bust has been removed from President Trump’s White House, the story must be true. Trump really is that petty and racist. What more proof to you need? She tweets:

The Martin Luther King jr. Bust has been moved out of the Oval Office according The People Magazine DC Bureau Chief who was in there this pm”

 

Martin Luther King bust

A bust up

 

Philip Crowther (@PhilipinDC) heard much the same. He’s the White House / Washington correspondent for @FRANCE24 and @RFI.

From White House pool reporter @toddgillman: the MLK bust is no longer in the Oval Office. A bust of Winston Churchill is back though.

Todd Gillman is “Washington Bureau Chief @DallasNews.” He’s a top man. He’s a trusted source.

Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) is “Senior Politics Editor, Huffington Post.” He was dismayed.

“will we have as much of a collective freak out over the MLK bust being removed from the Oval as we did about the Churchill bust? prob not”

A pox on those double standards. The bust of a white man is removed on Obama’s orders and people are upset; but when the black man’s bust is put in storage because it upsets Trump, not a peep. Nothing. Not a thing. Well, aside from the hundreds of tweets from influential journalists.

Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) is the “White House @TIME”. He reported that the MLK bust had gone. But as the shitstorm gathered more and more power, he told his followers:

Correction: The MLK bust is still in the Oval Office. It was obscured by an agent and door.

Phew! Trust in the mainstream media is restored.

 

Posted: 21st, January 2017 | In: Politicians, Reviews | Comment (1)


The Donald Trump Death Cult is open

Donald Trump is going to be assassinated – maybe. The media loves to think of how and when the US president will be murdered. Today, the day of Trump’s inauguration, the Sun kicks things off. On Page 7 readers are told of ‘THE SURVIVOR”. This is the person who will take over as American leader should Trump and his VeePee be murdered.

The Sun has no idea who it is. But it’s exciting to think of two people being murdered an mystery ‘Option C’ taken over.

 

donald trump dead

 

The Mail says no “specific threat has been revealed” but “a lone wolf could mount an attack”.

The website Quora muses: “What are the chances Donald Trump is assassinated in office if he were to become president?” Before you read the answer note that Trump was democratically elected and Quora is a US site:

The odds are substantially greater if you include the likely assaults on the soft target members of the extended Trump family. Donald Trump is not the only high profile public “Trump” target; he has three wives (two former), four adult children, multiple public buildings and businesses…For better or worse, it is now likely to be open season on all things Trump, regardless of the name changes.

In the UK, the Daily Mail wondered: “‘So who’s going to assassinate Trump?’ Twitter erupts with calls for the Donald to be killed after he wins the election.”

One man who won’t murder Trump has been caught.

A man was arrested Tuesday in Miami Beach after posting a video online in which he vowed to kill President-elect Donald Trump at the inauguration. According to reports, the man’s mother died on 9/11 aboard one of the hijacked airliners and she was later eulogized by Hillary Clinton.

Dominic Puopolo Jr., calling himself LORD JESUS CHRIST on Twitter, tweeted the above video directly to the Secret Service, daring them to stop him. “Yes I’ll be at the review stand at the inauguration, and I’m going to kill President Trump. … What are you going to do about it, Secret Service,” he says in the video.

The Mail says Puopolo was “a close family friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton”.

Suspect Dominic Puopolo Jr., 51, sat near Hillary Clinton when she delivered the eulogy at the funeral of Puopolo’s mother, Sonia, who died in one of the jets that flew into the World Trade Center on 9-11.

He’s out. Who’s up?

Posted: 20th, January 2017 | In: Politicians | Comment


Fear President Trump: Obama’s legacy takes the chair

Donald Trump’s presidency is causing one Guardian writer to come over all anti-democratic.

I turned off the radio after Obama said, in his final speech: “In 10 days, the world will witness a hallmark of our democracy, the peaceful transfer of power from one freely elected president to the next.” I yearned for a leader who would say something like: “Hey, there was foreign intervention in this election, along with voter disenfranchisement, so maybe it wasn’t free and fair.”

You might recall when Barack Obama popped over to the UK to tell Britishers how voting for Brexit would relegate the country to the “back of the queue”? As Henry Kissinger put it: “Obama seems to think of himself not as part of a political process, but as sui generis, a unique phenomenon with a unique capacity.”

The Guardian writer adds:

We didn’t need to know the minutiae of the Russian intervention; we already knew that it raised questions so grave that the whole transfer of power should have been halted while it was investigated.

So is democracy not free and fair when it delivers the result you don’t want?

Only one tabloid leads with Donald Trump’ inauguration. The Mirror introduces the 45th President of the United States. “Now the world holds its breath,” it adds. Over pages 4 and 5 readers are told “IT COULD ALL GO VERY BADLY WRONG.” The paper produces a listicle: “20 reasons why Trump’s reign could be a disaster for USA & World.”

 

obama-disaster-mirror-trump

 

Across the page, we see a picture of the Obamas sharing a hug as they gaze out from the White House. The message is clear: the good times are over. The good people are gone.

But let’s look at that list.

2. The rich will get richer.

What of Obama’s record, under whom African-Americans’ economic fortunes declined?

4. Deport illegal immigrants.

Under Obama, the US facilitated around 2.5million deportations. A record.

This is not to undermine Obama’s achievements and record. As the New York Times reports, Obama pulled “the nation back from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression”. This is to highlight monocular reporting of a man whose wife billed him as “a leader who’s going to touch our souls”.

Lest any reader not have got the Mirror’s point, its editorial thunders, “Reasons to be fearful.” Brian Reade delivers Trump’ speech as he imagines it. People are “subjects of the Trump organisation”. But didn’t we all buy into Obama’s world, the man whose identity was key to his success? When Trayvon Martin was killed by a white Hispanic vigilante in 2012, Trump opined: “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.”

So how do you follow that? What is Obama’s legacy? Is it Donald Trump? “There is not a liberal America and a conservative America: there’s the United States of America,” said Obama in 2004. Now what do you see in a country where ‘white man’ has become an insult more than an observation?

Once all eyes were on Obama the man not the party activist, a politico branded ‘The One’, by Oprah Winfrey; now they are on Trump and his identity.

Plus ca change.

Posted: 20th, January 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Politicians, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


Theresa May rallies the pound, channels the demos and steals democracy

Thank f*** for that, then. After much pontificating, Theresa May told everyone she’s sided with the British unwashed and decided to go for Brexit.

There has been much talk of hard Brexit and soft Brexit. Hard Brexit meant Brexit. You said your goodbyes and left. Soft Brexit meant no kind of Brexit it all. You said goodbye and left behind your coat with your phone and keys in the pocket in the hope you’d get a call and another lunch date.

The Pet Shop Boys put it well in their hit West End Girls:

Too many shadows, whispering voices
faces on posters, too many choices
If? When? Why? What?
How much have you got?
Have you got it? Do you get it?
If so, how often?
Which do you choose
a hard or soft option?
(How much do you need?)

So a mere seven months after the British public delivered a clear result in a large popular vote, the Prime Minister vowed to represent the people’s will.

“Brexit: UK to leave single market, says Theresa May,” reports the BBC.  The UK “cannot possibly” remain within the European single market, as staying in it would mean “not leaving the EU at all”.

Hurrah! She gets it. She doesn’t want it. But she gets it. And she shot from the hip.

Britain wants to remain a good friend and neighbour to Europe. Yet I know there are some voices calling for a punitive deal that punishes Britain and discourages other countries from taking the same path.

That would be an act of calamitous self-harm for the countries of Europe. And it would not be the act of a friend.

Britain would not – indeed we could not – accept such an approach. And while I am confident that this scenario need never arise – while I am sure a positive agreement can be reached – I am equally clear that no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain.

All strong and decisive stuff. It echoes the strong and decisive vote. But not everyone is pleased.

LibDem leader Tim Farron says May’s moves represent a “theft of democracy”. He says “business is united” that it wants to be in the single market. All of it, including the business people who voted to leave the EU? Farron says May’s “stitch up” has “ignored the will of the people”. In other words, you 17.4m who voted to leave didn’t really understand what you were voting for. Only the MPs can know what is right for you. What a low view he has of Leave voters, and what an elevated view of his own role.

Farron’s view is odd but no uncommon. Jeremy Corbyn’s view is irrelevant. What is Labour’s plan for Brexit? We don’t know. But when he’s got one, he’ll share it with us. On the morning before May’s speech – one which had been trailed for days – the Guardian wrote:

Corbyn told the MPs the party would have a clear message in response to the prime minister’s speech, saying Labour would fight any attempt to make the UK “a bargain basement economy off the coast of Europe”.

The only worthwhile opposition of May comes from within her own party.

Dan Roberts has news for Guardian readers who hope Brexit will be scuffed and denied.

The first clue to the prime minister’s ongoing need for more cordial relations with Europe in private is her announcement of a second vote in parliament at the end of the process.

The MPs will have a say on the process. But that’s surely a sop to the Remainers who want the courts to block Brexit and stymie the people’s will.

Roberts turns to the money markets:

The pound rose on news of this commitment, after several days in which sterling was perhaps falsely depressed by talk of May promising “clean Brexit”.

Really? The pound rose on news that MPs might scupper Brexit?

Asking MPs to sign off on the terms of the exit deal is a sign not only that the government still hopes there will be a deal to vote on, but that it may yet be rejected by parliament, leading instead to the messiest of departures.

The FT has more:

The promised [parliamentary] vote “appeared to offer some degree of assurance that the deal would have a broad appeal”, says Jane Foley, foreign exchange strategist at Rabobank. “That said, it also provides another element of confusion should the deal not be passed by parliament.”

Will it be messy? No, says the Economist:

So Britain’s economy is in for a rough ride and, though the government will try to smooth it out, the priority is getting the country out of the EU in the most complete and rapid way possible. If the price of this priority is economic pain, then pay Britain must. All of which gives firms some of the certainty they have craved since June 23rd: those fundamentally reliant on continental supply chains or the EU “passport” for financial services, say, now have the green light to plan their total or partial relocation. It also means the Brexit talks will be simpler and perhaps even less fractious than they might have been had Britain tried to “have its cake and eat it”. The country will eat its cake and live with an empty plate afterwards. Brexit really does mean Brexit.

We and the markets like the definite.

 

Posted: 17th, January 2017 | In: Politicians, Reviews | Comment (1)


Scotland’s The Herald says Trump’s inauguration is an episode of The Twilight Zone

Donald Trump’s affinity with the Scottish people of his mother’s ancestry knows no bounds. Some Scots have been succinct to the point of monosyllabic in giving full throat to their opinions of the US President. Scottish newspaper The Herald is pretty verbose, likening reality TV creation Trump’s inauguration to an episode of The Twilight Zone.

 

trump-sunday-herald-twilight-zone

 

As ever, the best thing on British telly is a US import.

Posted: 15th, January 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews | Comment


After 34 years Stalin resigns as party’s youth wing leader

New from India to warm the cockles. The Hindu reports on a severe bout of nominative determinism:

DMK’s working president M.K. Stalin has stepped down as the youth wing secretary of the party after holding the post for 34 years. Former Minister and three-time MLA Vellakkoil M.P. Saminathan has been appointed as the youth wing secretary.

A mere 34 years as Dravidian Progress Federation’s youth win leader.

 

Posted: 6th, January 2017 | In: Politicians | Comment


Derby council says home freezing rubbish is good for the planet

In Derby, freezer compartments are full of novelty tat, the tops of carrots Santa’s reindeer declined and grandma. Derby City Council announced there would be “no domestic waste or recycling collections from 4pm on Friday December 23, 2016 until Tuesday January 3, 2017”. Incredibly, rubbish has been piling up and people have been dumping their waste in the street.

The council has advice:

Derby City Council issued a list of Christmas waste and recycling tips to get them through a 10-day period without any refuse rounds which included a call for people to bag up food waste and store it in the freezer until the next collection.

It’s all about being lazy  promoting recycling. The council runs an “education” scheme and trains residents to recycle more. It misses out the part that says using your freezer will save the planet. But it does, obviously.

Or not. Says the New York Times:

The kitchen refrigerator is an obvious contributor to global warming because it usually sucks in electricity that was made by burning fossil fuels. But it turns out that the refrigerator does harm to the environment before it is even plugged in because the insulating foam in its innards is made with a gas that is more than 1,000 times worse, molecule for molecule, than carbon dioxide.

Yes, it’s the methane steaming from Derby’s council’s bullshit. Probably.

Posted: 2nd, January 2017 | In: Politicians, Reviews | Comment


Reject section 40 and support ‘British values’

Communities secretary Sajid Javid says – irony of ironies – we should all pledge an oath to uphold “British values”. As one tweeter puts it, “Since when was an oath of allegiance a #British value?”

Javid says the oath could include phrases such as “tolerating the views of others even if you disagree with them”, as well as “believing in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from abuse … a belief in equality, democracy, and the democratic process” and “respect for the law, even if you think the law is an ass”.

The Government doesn’t much like those ‘British” freedoms. They want to limit free speech and throttle the Press. If you believe in free speech, tell them. And tell these enemies of “British values” where to stick it.

The British government has opened up a public consultation on the next stage of the Leveson Inquiry. It is asking us two questions. Should the government implement Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013? And should the government go ahead with Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry?

Section 40 incentivises newspapers to sign up to State-approved bodies. Failure to sign up to the official censors means those publications will have to pay the costs of anyone who brings a civil suit, libel or privacy actions against them – even if they win their case.

Is that an incentive to sign up top the Royal Charter-backed press regulator? No. It’s blackmail. Join Impress, the Max Mosley-funded press regulator backed by the censorious Hacked Off, or else they’ll cut your legs off. Write anything unpleasant against the rich and powerful, and watch your organ whipped like a prostitute and most likely killed off.

You can sign here and tell the Government that guffing on about freedoms of speech means nothing if you don’t believe in it.

To Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP,

Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport,

My answers to your consultation questions are as follows:

Question 1: Which of the following statements do you agree with?

Answer: Option (c) Government should ask Parliament to repeal all of section 40 now

Section 40 would stifle freedom of the press in the United Kingdom. It would put an undue burden on publications which wish to remain entirely independent. They would be forced to shoulder legal costs of complainants whether or not they are found to be at fault.

This would have dire consequences for publications both large and small; making independent publications reticent about reporting important stories for fear of crippling legal costs and bankruptcy.

If the press is to be free, the state has no role in regulating what is published. While signing up to a regulatory body is allegedly voluntary the sanctions contained in Section 40 would constitute state coercion of the press.

Question 2: Do you have evidence in support of your view, particularly in terms of the impacts on the press industry and claimants?

Answer:

* Repealing all of section 40 now is a vital and necessary step to protect the freedom of our press and the democracy it safeguards.

* With nothing to lose, complainants are more likely to launch legal cases against publications (both large and small) based on the smallest of disagreements. These are issues that can be easily resolved by letters to the editor and/or editor corrections; timely and expensive legal procedure is not necessary.

* Increased levels of legal action that will be enabled by section 40 is far more likely to stifle debate in the United Kingdom. It will have drastic effects on the financial situations of small publications, forcing them – and the wider discourse they offer – to close.

* Newspapers are public institutions. They hold historic reputations and an ongoing source of political and social engagement. The more we have, the better.

* John Whittingdale, the former culture secretary, said imposing the cost penalties outlined in section 40 would result in further losses of jobs and titles in the newspaper industry.

Question 3: To what extent will full commencement incentivise publishers to join a recognised self-regulator? Please supply evidence.

Answer: Commencement of section 40 would amount to strong arming independent publishers into signing up for outside regulation by threatening them with financial ruin from complainants even if complaints are found to be spurious.

Question 4: Do you believe that the terms of reference of Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry have already been covered by Part 1 and the criminal investigations?

Answer: Yes, the scope of Leveson Part 1 has already had a chilling effect on the British press, a further inquiry would compound this. Putting the entire British press on trial for the wrongdoing of a small number of journalists is unjust. Where the law has been broken by journalists, criminal investigation into the individuals involved should suffice.

Question 5: Provide evidence

Answer:

* The Press Gazette counts 67 journalists as having been arrested from 2011-2015, more than any country in the Western world in that period. The investigations costing the taxpayer £43.7 million resulted in just 8 convictions for phone hacking (Operation Weeting) and 2 convictions for paying public officials (Operation Elveden). Operation Tuleta into computer hacking returned no convictions. As such the terms of reference of Part 2 have been covered by the criminal investigations which did not find any extensive wrongdoing, despite the vast public resources devoted to them. http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/the-67-uk-journalists-arrested-andor-charged-in-the-course-of-their-jobs-since-2011/

* According to a City partner involved in Leveson Part 1, Part 2 would be “ludicrous” as re-treading the same ground as the criminal cases would undermine the verdicts.

* In the wake of Leveson Part 1 the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) wrote a report expressing concern at the state of UK media freedom. They criticised the conflation of the hacking scandal investigated by Leveson Part 1 with debate over regulation, stressing that “British law provides appropriate remedy for illegal activity in proven cases of wrongdoing.” Launching Part 2 of the Leveson Enquiry is an unnecessary infringement on the independent role of the law in convicting those – in this particular case, journalist’s – of any wrongdoing they are accused of committing.

Question 6: Which of the two options set out below best represents your views?

Answer: • Terminate the Inquiry

The Leveson Inquiry has already damaged the freedom of the press in Britain. In the Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index, the United Kingdom has fallen 19 places since 2010 – we are now ranked below Tonga, Belize and Lithuania.

Postscript:

The Government should not need a consultation if it is serious about upholding the freedom of the press. For centuries Britain has had a free press, unregulated and unstifled by legislation or Royal Charter. Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 presents a serious threat to that proud record.

The impact section 40 could have on smaller publications could be particularly dire. The financial pressure that could be placed on local newspapers would lead to them being strong armed into joining the government selected regulator, or impose a chilling effect on their journalism. That would not be healthy for democracy, and a huge back step for Britain.

Going through with Leveson Part 2 would be a waste of taxpayer’s money, and present barriers to investigative journalism. If the Government is interested in what is best for its citizens, not just itself, it will ignore calls for obstructions to public service journalism.

The Government should not commence with section 40 or consider starting Leveson Part 2 if it is on the side of freedom. The only sensible response to this consultation, would be to bin Leveson and scrap section 40.

If you believe in free speech, you don’t need to take a poxy oath. You can just sign here.

Posted: 18th, December 2016 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews | Comment


Brexit: Theresa May clears the room at the Brussels divorce summit

How’s Brexit going? Well, it’s not, of course. The Government has yet to trigger Article 50. But be in no doubt Theresa May is “playing a masterful hand”.  Andrew Lilico tells Sun readers May has been “crystal clear” in her plans fro Brexit. He says we need no “additional clarity”. Things are “clear” – a word he mentioned sevens times in the article. The only “unclear” thing is what Theresa May will get.

Clear?

Theresa May Brexit

Daily Mirror – May no mates!

 

The Mirror says the country will he handed a £50bn bill to leave the EU. The money is made up of  the “UK’s final two years of EU budget payments plus pensions liabilities  and other commitments we have previously agreed to”. This bill has been “confirmed” by EU negotiators. The Mirror adds that EU Ambassador… anyone? Anyone? Yes, it’s Sir Ivan Rogers. Well, he says leaving the EU could take ten years.

That May has been in Brussels with the other EU country leaders has not escaped the Mirror’s eye. It says May lacks authority and presence in meetings. Her “inexperience” is a “major handicap for Britain”. Her rivals see “victim” stamped on her forehead. She was awkward when filmed standing alone as “Europe’s power players  hug and greet one another at the Brussels’ summit”. It was “excruciating”. May was “desolate”. The other leader then told her to go while they all went to dinner together.

 

Theresa May Brexit

The Sun – no Mates May

 

The Sun agrees. “”NO MAYTES,” it puns. May was “frozen out”.

Over Pages 10 and 11, the Daily Mail sees “KNIVES OUT FOR OUR MAN IN BRUSSELS”. Sir Ivan is being attacked over his “gloomy pessimism”. Sir Ivan, notes the paper, was “top mandarin to Tony Blair”, a man whose mentioning necessitates all Mail readers spinning round three times and spitting. It adds that the aforementioned £50bn bill is a “threat”. It is a”gross upper estimate”.

 

theresa may brexit

No mates May – Daily Mail

 

As in the Mirror, the Mail shows May “friendless” at the summit. Dignitaries “turn their backs” on the Prime Minister.

But the Express has a different view.  Its readers see May in conversation with Germany leader Angela Merkel and European Parliament President Martin Schulz.

 

Theresa May Brexit

May the popular – Daily Express

 

On the matter of that £50bn, a number the Mirror says Number 10 “did not confirm or deny”, we hear from a “Downing Street source”, who says: “Once we have left the EU, the UK government will make decision on how taxpayers’ money is spent.”

Clear?

Posted: 17th, December 2016 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews, Tabloids | Comments (2)