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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Sarah Vine Remains Vain

Sarah “Vain” Vine wants her Twitter followers to know that she is a patriot. In fact, she is so patriotic that she is still displaying a poppy on her Twitter avatar even though Armistice Day was a fortnight ago. What the Daily Mail pundit otherwise known as Mrs Michael “Oiky” Gove also has no trouble in telling the world is that she takes to Twitter late in the evening.
No point being envious Sarah, your husband definitely ain't getting her husband's job. Ever

This happens despite recently throwing a night-time online mardy strop after Young Dave demoted “Oiky” in a bid to persuade some of the teaching profession to vote for him next year, which caused Private Eye to refer to her state at the time as “Absolutely Pixellated”. But, on a more serious note, she has been on another late-night Twitter excursion to berate Jack Monroe.
2155 hours: no "fury" in sight, just curiosity ...

Ms Monroe expressed an opinion on Twitter about the manner in which Cameron defends his party’s actions on the NHS. Free speech means that is allowed. Ms Vine, though, being a Mail columnist who has met the Camerons, has been ordered over the top by her legendarily foul mouthed editor as part of a coordinated hit on Ms Monroe for being Not The Daily Mail’s Kind Of Person With Intent.
... but give it sheventeen minutesh, and she's really, really angry. So angry that she left the #CameronMustGo hashtag in. Oops!

So cruel and such a hypocritestarts the typically endless Mail headline, designed to firm up opinions without the need to read the underlying article. The assertion is made that Ms Monroe used her son to “build her career”, which she did not. This assumes that Ms Monroe secured her income streams as a result of the content of a book which she had yet to write – a difficult proposition.
Sounds like business as usual for the Mail, then

There’s more: “Contributing to a thread on the site called ‘cameronmustgo’, she wrote: ‘Because he uses stories about his dead son as misty-eyed rhetoric to legitimise selling our NHS to his friends.’ In a fury, I replied: ‘If I’m not wrong, you used misty-eyed rhetoric about your son to build your career. People in glass houses…’”. And, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here.
"What is 'transphobic' - and can I buy it at Waitrose?"

One, we are talking about a hashtag, not a website, and Ms Vine, not being stupid, ought to know the difference. And two, that was not her first reply to Ms Monroe (her first effort was a rather more mild “Sorry, who exactly is ‘buying’ the NHS? Just curious to know”). Anyone not charitably inclined might think that taking a whole 17 minutes to work herself up into that “fury” looks ominously faux.
Yep, that's what Mail pundits care about. Damaging their targets, then running away

And save us the “I have received so much online abuse from her Left-wing supporters I seem to have ‘blocked’ half of North London”. Ms Monroe, partly as a result of Ms Vine’s Mail hatchet job, has received rape and death threats. But then, Mail pundits and their editor don’t give a crap about a little “collateral damage”. All that’s on Sarah Vine’s mind is knowing what “transphobic” means.

Plus, of course, wondering how to spend her six-figure wad. Pass the sick bucket.

Don’t Menshn Sharia Wills

There was great joy somewhere within the reassuringly expensive part of Manhattan yesterday, following the news that the Law Society had withdrawn its guidelines to solicitors on drawing up wills in accordance with Sharia custom. (Thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch was ecstatic as the National Secular Society declared victory via its director Keith Porteous.
(c) Doc Hackenbush 2014

This is an important reversal for what had seemed to be the relentless march of sharia to becoming de facto British law” he told, to which I call bullshit. The move changes nothing in law: the underlying legislation, the 1837 Wills Act (as subsequently amended) allows a will to be drawn up in accordance with the dictates of Sharia. And there will be plenty of copies of those guidelines already downloaded.
Did this occur to Ms Mensch? Not a chance: “This is a HUGE victory for all women, and especially for Muslim women”. It is? What have women gained from a set of guidelines being withdrawn? As solicitor Stephen Newman said at the time, “Provided the will is signed in accordance with the requirements of [the Wills Act] there is nothing in English law to prevent a person domiciled in England from choosing to dispose of his or her assets in accordance with sharia succession rules”.
But Ms Mensch was not for listening: “Fantastically good and persistent work by the Lawyers’ Secular Society. Thank you so much for defending my rights as a woman”. What rights has the Society defended? The right to prevent lawyers having access to accurate and up-to-date information?
Seriously, no right has been “defended” by the withdrawal of the guidelines. She doesn’t care: “Just as [Lawyers’ Secular Society] succeeds in getting rid of Sharia law guidance by the Law Society, dispiriting news that Israel is going the other way”. Wait, what? A state where the overwhelming majority of the population is Jewish is flirting with Sharia law? Get out of here.
By this time, though, Louise was done with her declaration of victory, and was on to the gratuitous abuse: “Clear from Telegraph’s report that it was Nicholas Fluck leaving as President of Law Society that won Sharia victory for women #FluckOff”. Laugh? I thought I’d never start.
And now that she hasn’t won a campaign to prevent the making of wills in accordance with Sharia custom, Ms Mensch is on to the next campaign that she isn’t going to win: “Next up: OFSTED” she declared. Would that be the same Ofsted that, under Michael Wilshaw, has stepped up its zero notice inspections of schools and found serious shortcomings in some of them? Yes, Ms Mensch would have him sacked – after all, wanting to raise standards, pretty shocking, eh?

Just remember that the author of this stupidity was allowed to become an MP.

Littlejohn Leads The Hypocrisy Parade

The ability of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre and his retinue of overpaid attack poodles to indulge in breathtaking hypocrisy while remaining righteous and indignant has been confirmed today with a triple helping of trashed glasshouses led by tedious and unfunny churnalist Richard Littlejohn, who has been ordered to kick Guardian writer Jack Monroe for allegedly mocking the disabled.
Disability, Guv? That's my subject, innit?!?

Of course, Ms Monroe has done no such thing, but Dicky Windbag never lets such details get in the way of a good rant. But the thought occurs that The Sage Of Vero Beach has very little room to scold others for their attitude to disability, and here on Zelo Street, Dick’s nasty campaign against the disabled has featured more than once in the past, not least his smear of wheelchair-bound campaigner Jody McIntyre.

Littlejohn claimed he was not making light of McIntyre’s disability, then told “Jody McIntyre is like Andy from Little Britain”. That’s right, he said that McIntyre was faking his disability. And it wasn’t the only smear: when the Vagina Monologue wanted to hatchet the Motability scheme, there was Littlejohn telling his readers that the disabled weregiven a free car on the taxpayer”.

He wasn’t finished: there was the claim thatThere are now 3.2 million people claiming long-term disability, even though they are perfectly able to do some kind of job”. The figure was actually those claiming an out of work benefit, and the claim purely malicious, clearly intended to demonise a group of vulnerable people. Not that the million pound hack gives a flying foxtrot about them, of course.

And Dicky Windbag is not the only source of Mail hypocrisy today, as witness Tamara Cohen wailingLabour’s class war on private schools with threat to cut £700million tax breaks if they do not help state schools”. She went on “Critics will argue that this approach will only force private schools to raise their fees ... One private school head teacher has already warned that fees are now so expensive they are being used as ‘finishing schools for the children of oligarchs’”.

Children of oligarchs”? Children of Daily Mail editorial staff, more like: small wonder Dacre wants a negative slant on Hunt’s speech. He is interested only in trashing the reputation of the state education sector, and defending the freedom of Himself Personally Now to send his sons to Eton.

But the icing on the cake has to go to Max “Hitler” Hastings, taking a break from appearing on TV and going on and on and on and on and not letting anyone get a word in edgeways, to condemn Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton for waving the Union Flag but not paying tax in the UK. Rather like Lord Rothermere, then – you know Max, the bloke who owns the paper you’re writing for.

The Daily Mail – a veritable cesspool of stinking hypocrisy. No change there, then.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Boris Says Look At Miliband

London’s increasingly occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has used his regular “chicken feed” generating column for the Telegraph to try and get readers to look at Mil The Younger, or indeed, anywhere except what is happening in London as a result of his leadership, or perhaps that should read lack of it. Bozza is increasingly leaving the shop to others to run.
Why he might want to shift attention to kicking Miliband is not difficult to fathom: even this far away from the end of his second term as Mayor, the combination of drift and waste is becoming all too obvious, as is Bozza’s tendency to get flaky under pressure, which resulted in him losing his rag at a recent Mayor’s Question Time and telling a Labour AM to “stick it up your ...”.

If only he had exhibited such indignation when it was revealed that the latest Thomas Heatherwick boondoggle, the Garden Bridge, would not be entirely funded by the private sector after all, but would require at least £60 million of public subsidy, and the distinct possibility that the public purse would have to pick up the tab for maintenance if sponsorship and merchandise could not meet demands.

It got worse: the much-vaunted new Thames crossing would not be a public thoroughfare, any group larger than eight people would need permission to cross it, there would be no additional toilet facilities in the vicinity, despite the expected crowds, it would not be open 24 hours a day, and would not be open every day of the year. But it would be extremely stylish.

So why is it passing through the planning process? Well, Lambeth Council, whose domain includes the South Bank, has passed the application, and City of Westminster, who look after the North Bank, looks likely to follow suit. Never mind the objections from all those lawyers in the Middle Temple, and the inconvenient fact that several conventional bridges could be built for the money.

Bozza has become absent from the whole exercise, as he appears to have done as Transport for London (TfL) have taken it upon themselves to order another 200 of Bozza’s vanity buses, for which there will now, it has effectively been admitted, be no export orders at all, meaning all those tours abroad were a waste of money. Worse, the latest Euro VI compliant ones have gained over 300kg in weight.

Why have another 200 been ordered when there is no contractual obligation on TfL to do so, and when costs are under ever-greater pressure? We don’t get to find out, and Bozza isn’t going to go there while he’s got one eye on taking over the relatively safe Tory seat of Uxbridge next year. Nor will he go near those new concept Tube trains that have drivers’ cabs, but no money to pay for them.

With that kind of legacy, it’s no wonder he wants to divert attention elsewhere.

Mail Cliff Richard BBC Climbdown

The inmates at Northcliffe House hate any other media organisation getting a story before they do, and if it’s the hated BBC, they become positively incandescent in short order. So when the Beeb got an exclusive on the raid, earlier this year, of Cliff Richard’s place in Berkshire, there was faux outrage. Whatever it was, he couldn’t have done it, because the BBC is always wrong.
So it was no surprise to see yesterday’s Mail On Sunday rant “Sir Cliff: I’ll Sue The BBC ... Star to demand damages after TV news crew filmed abuse inquiry Police raiding his home”. But, as Captain Blackadder might have observed, there was only one thing wrong with this idea – it was bollocks. To no surprise at all, the story does not contain one word from Cliff.

This means he has not said “I’ll sue the BBC”. The best the MoS can manage is to quote “Friends”, who “say Sir Cliff is now determined to launch a concerted fightback”, and that “One legal expert said last night that the level of intrusion meant Sir Cliff would have a ‘strong case’ and added that the BBC would struggle to mount a public interest defence”. And that’s that.

So, mindful of the lack of substance in its sister paper’s splash, the Daily Mail has run with the story – showing that this is a co-ordinated hit by both weekday and Sunday title – but talk of legal action is qualified: “it was claimed Sir Cliff, 74, is preparing to sue the broadcaster over its live TV coverage of the search of his home ... The singer is expected to seek damages for breach of privacy”.

Claimed and expected by the Mail’s sister paper, that is. But onwards and, er, onwards, eh? Instead, the daily title switches to the emails that have been obtained through Freedom of Information (FoI) requests. “How the BBC colluded with police to spin their way out of trouble over raid on Cliff”, readers are told. Yes, two people agreeing a course of action via email is collusion.

Top executives at the BBC worked frantically with police behind the scenes to spin their disastrous coverage of the raid on Sir Cliff Richard’s home, it emerged last night ... The Corporation was plunged into a huge row over its cosy deal with police after it was allowed privileged access to a search of the singer’s £3million Berkshire home”. Bullshit. There was an email discussion. That is all.

Moreover, the Mail clearly has no problem if it is another newspaper – well, apart from the deeply subversive Guardian, of course – that does the deal with the rozzers. What has the Beeb done wrong here, apart from got in before the press had a sniff? It wouldn’t be such a heinous crime if the Mail had received the tip-off. In fact, it wouldn’t be a crime at all in those circumstances.

One rule for the Mail, one for everyone else. No change there, then.

Express UKIP Poll Whopper

The remaining readers of the Daily Express, aka the Daily UKIP, may have been surprised this morning to see, at the top of the front page, the proclamation “UKIP Surge To Second Place In New Poll”. This news, which by the most fortunate of coincidences, exactly matches the paper’s pro-Kipper editorial line, cannot be found anywhere else. Has the Desmond flagship got some original news for once?
Ah, but you know the answer to that one: no it hasn’t. Another round of staff cuts means that the dwindling ranks of hacks have to depend on reheating stories from elsewhere, and this one is no exception. So the headline on Alison Little’s article, “Ukip is now MORE POPULAR than Labour: Nigel Farage gets polls boost as Ukip surges ahead”, should be taken with a suitably large pinch of salt.
Despite telling readers “NIGEL Farage won a fresh boost today when an opinion poll pronounced his party the second most popular after the Conservatives, pushing Labour into third place ... The YouGov survey also found that nearly three times as many of those asked thought the UK Independence Party leader would be the best Prime Minister compared with Labour's Ed Miliband”, it’s total crap.
It’s true that YouGov conducted the poll concerned, and also true that the numbers, showing 38% for the Tories, 28% for UKIP and 25% for Labour, were those recorded. However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, the poll was carried out for the Murdoch Sun, and was carried out only among that paper’s readers. The Express just stripped out that inconvenient fact.
Not, of course, that Rupe’s downmarket troops are blameless in this affair: the poll was a very deliberately calculated means for spinning against Labour, as witness the Twitter output of the paper’s non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn, telling “Startling finding in YouGov poll of Sun readers today; 25% still vote Labour but only 6% have Ed Mili as best PM”. It was indeed startling.
Yes, even after being fed a constant diet of anti-Labour smears and lies, 25% of Sun readers still intend to vote for the party. So faithful Rupe retainer Trevor Kavanagh is probably wasting his time with his “Ed Miliband is the biggest loser of the Rochester vote” drivel. And back in the real world, Mike Smithson of Political Betting has not only rumbled the Express, but brought bad news for the Blue Team.
Having noted that the percentages quoted by the Express look the same as those in the poll of Sun readers, and given readers the lowdown on “Voodoo Polls”, which the one of Sun readers appears to be, Smithson then told that the latest Populus poll, the first to appear post-White Van Man-gate, had a Labour lead of five points, two more than its predecessor. What the Sun and Express won’t tell you.
The Desmond hacks prefer whoppers – another Benchmark Of Excellence!

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Sun Labour Beer Whopper

[Update at end of post]

Even watchful for another of those “expedient exaggerations” they can use to frighten all those hardworking voters that they claim to represent, Rupe’s downmarket troops at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun have manufactured more outrage at the apparent nanny state proposals coming out of the Labour Party on alcohol consumption, a subject dear to their hearts.
Luciana Berger - another right-wing smear

Craig Woodhouse has claimed an “exclusive” for his creative interpretation of a speech given by Shadow Public Health Minister Luciana Berger, concocting the headline “Labour in one pint of ale a day limit”. However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, Ms Berger made no such pitch, and there is no such proposal being made by the party.

Moreover, Woodhouse needs significant exaggeration to make his headline stand up. Here’s what he says of Ms Berger’s speech: “Luciana Berger told Alcohol Concern’s annual conference she ‘aimed to reduce the proportion of the population who consume above the recommended level’”. Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed that there is no mention of any “limit” there.
Amateur hour at fairytale central

It gets worse: he goes on “For men, that is three to four units a day – a pint of strong lager”. They sup some bloody powerful stuff at the Sun, then: a pint and a half of 5% ABV beer comes out at less than four units. That’s the strength of bottled San Miguel or Staropramen. For drinkers of cask beer, that’s the same quantity of Greene King Abbot ale, or Hawkshead Cumbrian Five Hop.

And the public health concern over some of the population’s smoking and drinking is nothing new: Labour has been discussing its policy approach for years now. We know this as the Mail On Sunday ran a more extensive shock horror article last May about the party’s ideas, pretending, as does Woodhouse, that they are proposing to use the law to crack down on public choice.

That was total crap then, and remains so. What Woodhouse and his bosses cannot get into their collective heads, and certainly don’t want to tell their readers, is that when large numbers of people cease to overindulge themselves, the costs to the NHS and emergency services are likely to fall dramatically. And the Sun certainly doesn’t want to let readers know that Labour wants to save taxpayers’ money.

Instead, Woodhouse continues his browse through the fiction section: “The plan engulfed Labour leader Ed Miliband in more claims he is out of touch with working people”. And to that I call bullshit: no other news outlet is running that story, and nobody is being "engulfed" by it. That’s because it’s a pack of lies, backed up with blatant exaggeration and other misinformation.

So it’s a routine day at the office for the Sun man. No surprise there.

[UPDATE 24 November 0940 hours: the Mail lifted this story and a version appeared yesterday evening on Mail Online.

However, and here we encounter another significantly sized however, the item was pulled overnight, and so the link (HERE) no longer picks it up.

Yes folks, the Sun story was such a blatant pack of lies that not even the Mail would touch it. That tells you all you need to know]

UKIP – Now Another Split

Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and his fellow saloon bar propper-uppers at UKIP were in good spirits (and, no doubt, a variety of other alcoholic beverages) on Friday after their success in the Rochester and Strood by-election. The Kippers now had two MPs, albeit in rather contrived circumstances. They had truly arrived. So, as with all grown-up parties, they now had to have a split.
Squeaky party unity finger up the bum time

Or perhaps that should be another split, because the Farage fringe have already had at least two of them: even as Douglas “Kamikaze” Carswell was celebrating becoming the first UKIP MP, Farage was not only expressing opinions on immigration that Carswell, a true libertarian, could not possibly reconcile with his own, he was also making his infamous observations on HIV.

Farage calls for ban on immigrants with 'life-threatening illnesses'... hours after being urged to show 'compassion' by new MP (whose father inspired Hollywood with treatment of HIV in Africa)” observed the Mail (Carswell p√®re diagnosed the first cases in Uganda). The new UKIP MP was clearly uncomfortable with his leader’s pungent populism. Matters soon got worse.
Best of friends. Asterisk

Economics spokesman Patrick “Lunchtime” O’Flynn then came under fire for the heinous crime of trying to make the party’s sums add up: being a former political correspondent, he knows that, come the General Election, the hard questions are going to be asked. Sadly, Farage makes up policy on the hoof, on the basis of who has his ear, or more likely his bar tab.

But at least “Lunchtime” appears to have survived the attempt to oust him from his post, perhaps because nobody else wants to go near it. Could the Kippers then make it three splits in a row? You betcha, says Sarah: even before the Rochester and Strood vote, Farage had a falling out with new man Mark Reckless over, you guessed it, immigration. Mr Thirsty had changed policy on the fly again.

The policy changed on Wednesday and I'm a bit sore about how I came out of that ... Until Nigel changed it on Wednesday, the policy of the party was everyone can stay for the transitional period, no doubt about that, that there would then be a permanent arrangement which would be part of the EU negotiation” said Reckless, after Farage disowned his “send them all back” inference.

He then tried the lamest of deflections, telling “We don’t want any mass movements of people … I’m absolutely astonished that the Tories are twisting this in the way that they are”, but his problem is not his former party, but his new party leader. Farage makes it up as he goes along, while O’Flynn, Carswell, and yes, even Reckless, don’t agree with him and his rabble-rousing attitude.

Can the Kippers get to next May intact? I wouldn’t bet on that one, thanks.

Flannelled Fool Jealousy Fail

When Esquire magazine ran its profile of the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, readers were told, of his tame gofer, the odious flannelled fool Henry Cole, “By reputation, he is also something of a man about town – or at least the Westminster village”. Staines went further: he was, he inferred, slightly envious of his deeply unsavoury sidekick.
The irresistible man about town. Or maybe not

I want Harry’s life. He gets to shag all the girls, he’s famous in Westminster, he’s not badly paid and he half does it all for fun anyway” he told his interviewer. Here on Zelo Street, that slice of hokum caused a more than a little amusement: Master Cole, for someone who is “something of a man about town” who “gets to shag all the girls”, gives every impression of not quite deserving his own publicity.
Yesterday evening – when one might expect “something of a man about town” to be out and about in pursuit of all those girls he is allegedly shagging – Cole leapt into a Twitter conversation involving journalist and playwright Peter Jukes, whose recent book based on his live Tweeting of the Hacking Trial, Beyond Contempt, is still available. Especially if you missed the BBC Radio adaptation.
As so often, Cole was doing the bidding of his new masters in the press, on this occasion pretending that the Jimmy Savile story was not broken by the broadcast media. Despite being informed that he was indulging in “lame piggy-backing”, he suggested Jukes might find a discussion with Meirion Jones informative. If only he could have spelt the latter’s name properly.
Jukes – whose book launch Cole reportedly intended to gatecrash, only to find he was in Scotland that evening (minor problem, eh?) – soon tired of the flannelled fool’s idiocy, and suggested “Perhaps you should get back to sexting MPs”. Cole’s counter was “from the man that tried to f*** Rebekah Brooks but got shot down”. Jukes, readers will not be surprised to learn, never made such a claim.
Moreover, one of those present at Hay-on-Wye that evening backed up Jukes’ account, which is available at the Staggers site. Zelo Street readers may have noticed the parallel with Cole’s outburst at me, “Seems creepy old stalker man has got over his theory that I’m sleeping with Nadine [Dorries]”. As with Jukes, there was no such suggestion made. He’s just making it up.

What we have here is, far from “something of a man about town” who “gets to shag all the girls”, a singularly sad individual apparently reduced to spending Saturday night trolling other Twitter users, as well as lying badly in order to demonstrate his adherence to Olbermann’s Dictum (“the right exists in a perpetual state of victimhood”). Who would want a life like that?

Still, it gives the rest of us something to laugh at. A flannelled fool, indeed.

Top Six – November 23

So what’s hot, and what’s not, in the past week’s blogging? Here are the six most popular posts on Zelo Street for the past seven days, counting down in reverse order, because, well, I have domestic stuff to do later. So there.
6 Rich Sleb Wants To Stay Rich Myleene Klass threw a wobbler at Mil The Younger on The Agenda over the proposed “Mansion Tax”. The poor sleb is only worth eleven million notes. One’s heart fails to bleed.

5 Coulson Holiday Camp Early Release Shock A convicted criminal was let out of jail after serving only five months of an 18 month sentence. The press was not up in arms about this. No surprise there.

4 The Sun Promotes Stalking The Murdoch press encouraged White Van Man from Rochester to turn up uninvited on a woman MP’s doorstep. That looked distinctly threatening – not that the right-leaning commentariat could see this.

3 Tony Parsons – You’re A Clown Calling Myleene Klass a hardworking single mum? Pull the other one.

2 Guido Fawked – Sneering At The Working Class The perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his tame gofer, the odious flannelled fool Henry Cole, called out Labour for their alleged attitude to ordinary working people. They were both sitting in an extremely draughty glasshouse.

1 White Van Manifesto – The Reality The Sun has taken Dan Ware as a mug. He’ll be mad as hell when he finds out.

And that’s the end of another blogtastic week, blog pickers. Not ‘arf!

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Toby Young – Famous Last UKIP Words

While there is still precious little recent content from the loathsome Toby Young anywhere in the vicinity of the Telegraph of late – I did suggest that he may have been sacked, or jumped before being pushed, recently – he has left a lasting legacy of cluelessness that explains why even the Murdoch Sun, home of Louise Mensch, Katie Hopkins and Tony Parsons, binned him as well.
Still stuck in the Weinbunker, Tobes?

Tobes, who is on the rabidly Europhobic wing of the Tory Party, considered Young Dave’s pledge of an in-out referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, declaring that this was A Very Good Thing, and not just because it was his duty as a loyal sycophant to do so. And there was another potential benefit: “Will Cameron's in-out referendum pledge shoot the Ukip fox?” he asked.

There was more: “As a eurosceptic, I like David Cameron's Europe speech – I like it a lot. ... So what if the prospects of Cameron extracting any meaningful concessions from Brussels during a post-election ‘renegotiation’ are vanishing-to-zero, as various clever clogs keep pointing out? That just means the British public are more likely to vote ‘no’ in 2017”. I love it when Tobes calls me a “clever clogs”.

But he was sure that “eurosceptics will have a good reason to vote Conservative at the next election ... I'd be amazed if this doesn't see large number of Ukip supporters return to the Conservative fold. Not in next year's European elections, when I expect Ukip to top the polls, but in 2015”. How about in Parliamentary by-elections caused by Tory MPs defecting to UKIP, then?

I suspect Tobes didn’t see that one coming, but he is sure that “It also makes it more likely that Ukip won't field candidates in Conservative marginals against those Tories who promise to vote ‘no’ in the referendum”. Dougas “Kamikaze” Carswell and Mark Reckless would have voted ‘no’. But had they not jumped, the Kippers would have fielded candidates against them.

And that would prove true anywhere else, no matter how marginal or otherwise the constituency: UKIP is better funded now, and its supporters are not for doing deals with the Tories. But on ploughs Tobes with his mirth-inducing conclusion: “All in all, then, a good day for the Tories. This won't be enough to put them over the top in 2015 – it'll take an economic recovery to ensure that – but it will undoubtedly help”.

A good day for the Tories? All Cameron did was to embolden the Kippers, letting them see that they were the tail wagging the Tory dog, extracting a referendum promise from a desperate leader. The only place that led was more UKIP votes in the European Parliament elections, and now two MPs elected on the party’s ticket. Tobes once again proves clueless; he just can’t think these things through.

Far from shooting UKIP’s fox, Tobes shot himself in the foot.

White Van Manifesto – The Reality

The Murdoch Sun is hidden away behind a paywall, but several people have screen shotted enough of today’s paper (see how that works, Rupe?) for us to be able to assess the “Danifesto” proposed by Dan Ware, the 37 year old self-employed car dealer and cage fighter. And the conclusion is, whisper it quietly, that any politician advocating Ware’s measures would be torn apart by the press.
Dan starts with benefits: “Work for four years after you leave school before you can claim benefits”. While this sounds laudable, the thought enters that this requires jobs to be available, or, if you’re prepared to go self-employed, there to be work for you to do. And what happens to those who want to better themselves by attending University or by doing other full-time training?

But then we come to the main event, Immigration: “Copy the Aussies. If people show up uninvited, send them back”. And, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here. Showing up uninvited was exactly what Ware did at Emily Thornberry’s house yesterday. And “sending them back” could come straight from a 1960s National Front manifesto – or a more modern BNP one.
Still, onwards and, er, onwards, eh? Next up is Transport. “Public transport costs are too high. More investment in roads too”. Fine. Then someone has to pay for it – and that means paying more in tax. Same goes for Justice, where Dan tells “Tougher sentences for murderers. And jail those who burn the poppy”. So he wants to send more people to jail, and for longer. Do go on.

Education does not escape his gaze: “Better discipline. Kids are too mouthy now, not like when we had the cane”. So he’s not fussed about teaching standards, he just wants children to do as they’re sodding well told, on pain of having the crap beaten out of them. And all that discipline will mean more money being spent on schools – assuming there is to be some teaching as well.

So then we come to Taxes: “A killer for self-employed people like me. Start-ups need more breaks”. Hello Dan from another self-employed person – where do you think the cheaper public transport, roads investment, more prison places, and more money for all that school discipline, will come from? A magic money tree?

One more thought enters: that the unsuspecting Dan Ware has been had for a mug by Rupe’s downmarket troops at the Sun. If the Murdoch poodles are happy to back someone who saidI will continue to fly the flags – I don’t care who it pisses off. I know there is a lot of ethnic minorities that don’t like it”, and “send them back”, then they should stop hiding behind him and say so openly.

Dan Ware has been used as a performing freak show by the Sun. When he finds out, as the saying goes, he’ll be mad as hell. But it will be too late by then.

Press Are The Real Snobs

[Update at end of post]

On rolls the story of Emily Thornberry’s Tweet, with the right-leaning press passing severely adverse comment on anything to do with the Labour Party, which in the retelling has acquired a “contempt” for all those ordinary hard working people who most of those writing the attack pieces would not allow through their front door. And their consensus is that Ms Thornberry is a “snob”.
What's so f***ing elitist about sending my sons to Eton, c***?!? Er, with the greatest of respect, Mr Jay

But when a little research is done, it comes clear that many of those passing judgment on Mil The Younger and his party have no room to call out anyone for being “out of touch”, or indeed part of some “metropolitan elite”. One need look no further than the Daily Mail, which today has been drenching the Labour leader in scorn, the attack ordered personally by its legendarily foul mouthed editor.

Paul Dacre, it should be remembered, is such a man of the people that he is chauffeured from his Home Counties pile to his Belgravia pied-a-terre and back – no slumming it with the hoi polloi on the train for him – and that, in addition to these parts of his property portfolio, has a Scottish estate for which he trousers hundreds of thousands of pounds in EU farm subsidies.

Dacre likes his pundits to sound off about the country’s education system, which his sons do not have to sully themselves with: he sends them to Eton. Today, his star columnist Simon “Enoch was right” Heffer pontificates on the potential outcomes of next year’s General Election. Heffer read English at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge following a traditional grammar school education.

Also on the pundit roster at the Mail are Dominic Sandbrook, who attended Malvern College, alma mater of James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole, before going up to Balliol College, Oxford, Stephen “miserable git” Glover (Shrewsbury School and Mansfield College, Oxford), and Harry Mount 
(Westminster School and Magdalen College, Oxford) who was, dontcha know, in the Bullingdon Club.

The lead article denouncing Labour, “Labour in chaos over sacking of snob MP: War breaks out in party as desperate Miliband claims he respects White Van Man”, was co-written by Oxford-educated political editor James Chapman. This unappealing convocation of righteousness tells readers that someone else is “snooty”, part of a “metropolitan elite”, and a beneficiary of “privilege

And it’s no different over at the Murdoch Sun, whose managing editor Stig Abell went up to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, whose non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn attended Marlborough College, while Sunday editor Victoria Newton went up to Newnham College, Cambridge. The paper’s most notorious former editor, Kelvin McFilth, attended an independent school in south London.

So that’s at least two very draughty glasshouse newsrooms, then.

[UPDATE 1555 hours: anyone thinking the Mail is anything other than condescending towards ordinary people would do well to check out the following anecdote, courtesy of the Guardian.

"There is one particular story that former staff of the Daily Mail like to tell about the politics, in the broadest sense, of their old paper. A while ago, the newsdesk there noticed a report from a local press agency. A young baby had died from being fed adult food. The Mail immediately got excited: it could interview the grieving parents, make the tragedy the basis for a campaign, and warn the nation of a previously unsuspected danger.

The couple were contacted, and offered £250 for an interview. They agreed, and talked eloquently and at length. A double-page spread - the Mail's traditional mark of a significant article - was put aside in the paper. For the photograph, the parents, who were not well off, were encouraged to look smart: the husband in a suit, his wife in a dress, both of them holding hands.
The morning the feature appeared, it was judged a success at the Mail. The article was by turns sensitive, alarming and full of useful advice. Paul Dacre, the editor then and now, approved - and from him all official sentiments flowed. But then, at lunchtime, Dacre's tall, slightly stooping figure was spotted beneath one of the television monitors hanging from the low ceiling of the open-plan office. Everybody nearby, as it was usually in their interests to, stopped work and looked and listened.
Dacre was watching the one o'clock news with his narrow eyes: on it were the bereaved couple, with messier hair than before, wearing tracksuits and trainers, smoking: not the Mail's sort of people at all. The editor, who is 52, spotlessly shirtsleeved, brisk in his diction, with hair like a cerebral Tory minister, was heard to growl. Then he spoke: 'These people couldn't bring up a f***ing hamster!'"
That, folks, is what the Daily Mail editor thinks of the kinds of people his paper is now championing. Now who's being a snob?]

Friday, 21 November 2014

The Sun Promotes Stalking

After the resignation of Emily Thornberry from the shadow cabinet yesterday evening, Rupe’s downmarket troops at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun could not let the matter drop: they had to not only get a story from the owner of the house draped in the flags of St George, but also to get him and his white van to venture to Islington to confront Ms Thornberry.
That's what I think of youse bladdy privacy, yer bladdy Labour supporting Pommie drongoes!

Was White Van Dan (for it was he) being invited by her? Well, no he wasn’t. He was also going to visit the nearby address of Mil The Younger, who had also not invited him. The Sun’s hacks did not see anything wrong in his fetching up on the doorstep of a woman politician who was already being sneered at by every right-leaning media outlet. This was, to their website man Tim Gatt, newsworthy.
It was also deemed newsworthy by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, and The Great Guido wasted no time in telling his followers in slightly threatening terms “Perhaps [Emily Thornberry] should stay in one of her many other homes tonight” (Staines and his wife own at least four properties, including a flat in Parliament View, where two-bed ones go for £1.45 million).
Any suggestion that this was creepy or threatening was dismissed: typical was Mark Wallace of Conservative Home deflecting criticism from Rosie Robertson with “in no way threatening – as usual, you’re being ridiculous”. Also making light of the affair was Mid Bedfordshire’s Tory MP (yes, it’s her again) Nadine Dorries.
I’m going to ask my (hopefully) future son in law to take a picture of his white plumber’s van outside his terraced council house” she Tweeted. But then a thought entered: Ms Dorries, with the support of the Fawkes rabble, has been pursuing a persistent critic of hers who turned up at a hustings – that would be a public meeting – in her constituency in the run-up to the 2010 General Election. He was invited by concerned residents. She smeared him as a stalker.
The Dorries campaign was still active in September of this year, when she got her story into the Mail On Sunday, although the individual could not be named for legal reasons – those reasons being that he had done nothing unlawful (minor point, eh?). But, what the heck, if turning up at the invitation of a number of concerned constituents constitutes stalking, arriving uninvited on the doorstep must be worse.

So, O Great Guido, ConHome stalwart, and assorted Murdoch poodles, pray tell us why the behaviour you have all been condoning today does not merit the same pejorative response that your pal Nadine gave to someone who was actually there by invitation. Ah, but you won’t be addressing that one.

What the Sun has been encouraging not only appears threatening, but encourages copycat behaviour and worse. That means it is bang out of order.

UKIP – Who’s Next For Defecting?

The Rochester and Strood by-election result was not declared until after 0400 hours this morning, which rather put the mockers on it for most of the press, but the result was more or less as expected, with Mark Reckless winning for UKIP the seat he had previously held for the Tories, with his old party second and Labour third, and the Lib Dems scoring less than one per cent of the vote.
Those papers that shill for the Tories will see their favoured team throwing everything at the contest, losing, and then point at Labour and say “look over there at the real losers”. It was only going to be about UKIP and Young Dave’s jolly good chaps. And the Tories might look at the low turnout and Reckless’ majority, then ask Kelly Tolhurst to stick around so she can take the seat next May.

But what the Blue Team must now hope is that no more of its MPs – and, whisper it quietly, MEPs – will join Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and his fellow saloon bar propper-uppers. That hope may be tested very soon: already, a number of Tory MPs have been polling their electorates on the UK’s membership of the EU, just as Reckless and Douglas “Kamikaze” Carswell did.

The three named by the press are Peter Bone (and perhaps Mrs Bone too) who represents Wellingborough, Philip Hollobone from the next door constituency of Kettering, and Martin Vickers, who sits for Cleethorpes. “Peter Bone, Philip Hollobone and Martin Vickers carrying out local ballots ... They are canvassing constituents on whether Britain should leave the EU” tells the Mail.

The sub-headings continue “Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless carried out polls before defecting ... All three deny they are planning to leave the Conservatives for Ukip”. Mandy Rice-Davies situation, methinks. Maybe one of them will jump, but maybe not: none of those constituencies has the kind of majority that instils confidence. But there are others on the watch list.

John Baron, representing Basildon and Billericay, is one: Basildon was the seat that, when the Tories held on to it in 1992, was said to embody the spirit of “Basildon Man”, who was even prepared to endorse the appalling David Amess in order to keep out the rotten lefties. And also named in Nick Watt’s piece for the Guardian is serial rebel Tory Philip Davies, from Shipley.

Then there is the great imponderable: what of Dan, Dan The Oratory Man? Hannan, it seems, did not trouble himself turning out to support Ms Tolhurst’s campaign in Rochester and Strood, despite being an MEP for the area. If he jumps ship, there will be no by-election: European Parliament rules mean he stays in place until 2019, whether the Tory leadership wants him to or not.

Cameron is not out of the woods yet, not that his press pals want you to know that.

Guido Fawked – Sneering At The Working Class

[Update at end of post]

As campaigning in the Rochester and Strood by-election drew to a close, the customary routine of canvassing was broken by the outrage machine that is the right-leaning tabloid press as it descended on Labour MP Emily Thornberry, who had observed a house decked in England flags, with a white van out front, in a manner which all passing instant judgment agreed was “snobby”.
The Great Guido sits in judgment once more

Furious Miliband fires Labour frontbencher after row over 'outrageously snobby' tweet of terraced house flying three St George's flagsdeclared the Mail, adding for good measure that “Dan Ware, the father of four who lives in the house she photographed, condemned the out-of-touch Labour politician, declaring: 'She’s a snob'”. Yes, Dan The White Van Man.

The Super Soaraway Currant Bun was yet more forthright: “How to lose a by-election ... Snob Labour MP’s Twitter dig at White Van Man’s England flags ... Only Here For The Sneers”. Yes, Labour lost the by-election there – well, in the retelling, as of course it was down to the Tories and UKIP, not that this fits the narrative of Rupe’s downmarket troops, of course.
Sneering at the working class is bad ...

Was this enough cat-calling? Not for one group of Labour detractors: the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog were in full cry. “Labour’s prosecco progressives openly despise the suburban aspirational middle classes and are privately condescending towards the working classes and their traditional valuesdeclared the Fawkes blog yesterday evening.

That was after “Islington MP’s Rochester Culture Shock” and “This Is Emily Thornberry’s £2 Million Islington Mansion” (yes, I know, Staines and his wife have at least four properties of their own, including two in London). But The Great Guido is not averse to a little sneering at the working class himself, as witness this extract from his own personal Twitter feed.
... so what about this, then?

Staines’ own Paul Delaire Staines feed (@pauldelsta) clearly found one Tweet from the Bet Victor account so clever that he Retweeted it. This shows a young woman falling over at the Grand National meeting, with the caption “We have just had our first faller at Aintree today”. That would be a horse racing meeting where ordinary working class people go to enjoy a day out.

Staines is being doubly hypocritical: sneering at the working class, plus making fun of someone who may have been imbibing (that is, after all, an alcoholic drink that she has apparently dropped). The Great Guido and the falling over water are no strangers to one another. Or perhaps it’s different when it’s a Labour politician, and Staines and his pals doing the sniping.

Let he who is without sin, and all that. Another fine mess, once again.

[UPDATE 1240 hours: my thanks to one Twitter user who remembered yet another example of the Fawkes rabble sneering at the working classes, this one from July 2012, and courtesy of the odious flannelled fool Henry Cole.
Master Cole observed "Tim Fenton shops at Aldi. Enough said". Clearly the Westminster bubble's very own Loadsamoney faction considers the kinds of supermarkets frequented by all those hard working people that the press claims to support is beneath them.

After all, a two bedroom apartment in Parliament View - the block where Master Cole lives - will set you back a mere £1,450,000. Let the plebs in Crewe eat cake, eh?]

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Allister Heath Sells The Pub Pass

This week, in another exhibition of Michael “Oiky” Gove’s incompetence, the Government lost a whipped vote on an amendment which would loosen the iron grip of the PubCos on their unfortunate tenants, and perhaps, who knows, ultimately see an end to the “beer tiethat forces tenants to choose from a limited range of over-priced beers, rather than sell what they want.
Allister Heath tries to figure out licensed premises

But over at the Telegraph, rather than celebrate the event, Allister Heath, long a stooge of the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA), which wants to pretend pub closures are only about whether a pint of beer has a penny less duty on it and will not at any price talk about the PubCos and their failed business model, has swallowed the corporate Kool-Aid in one.

After predicting an acceleration in pub closures, Heath asserts “It is true, of course, that tenants pay an inflated price for the beer they buy from their landlords - the PubCos - and that they have a limited choice in what they can serve to their customers, which is often deeply frustrating; but in return they pay a much lower rent and enjoy various central services”, to which I call bullshit.

Choice, for free marketeers like Heath, is clearly only A Good Thing when his corporate pals can do it, and stuff the poor customer, who either has to drink Big Brand brews, or often ordinary cask ale that has been trunked hundreds of miles. What do drinkers in Crewe get? Greene King (all the way from Bury St Edmunds), Wells and Youngs (Bedford) and Shepherd Neame – from distant Faversham.

Even Marston’s products have to be trunked from Burton-on-Trent and Wolverhampton. But, because of that beer tie, our only microbrewery, Offbeat, can’t get its products into most of the town’s pubs. Those that are truly free of tie are thriving. Those that are not are reducing in number at a frightening rate: Admiral and Punch have both closed pubs in Crewe recently.

Heath manages not to see that the microbrewery sector, like free of tie pubs, is in rude health. For some reason, his tired libertarian drivel blaming the smoking ban for the plight of so many pubs has not affected them. Meanwhile, the PubCos cash in their property chips and sell viable pubs to supermarket chains, property developers, and for conversion to residential use rather than let them be used as pubs.

But as Allister Heath is so sure of the PubCo model, I’ll give him an invitation: come to Offbeat Brewery’s next open evening, on Friday December 5, and tell the assembled punters how much more wonderful their pub experience would be without free of tie pubs and the microbreweries that serve them. Just don’t blame me, though, Allister, if you get laughed out of the place.

More economies at the Tel? In Allister Heath, they have a hack worth sacking.

Uber – Dirty Tricks Keep On Coming

Those happy to defend driver and rider matching service Uber have been a lot quieter of late. Why that might be is not hard to see: the slew of complaints about indifferent service, the forced cut in earnings for many of its drivers, the way it does business and pays its taxes, and the behaviour and attitude of its management, all have been found wanting recently.
And this has underscored what I’ve been saying for some time: Uber is not some plucky little start-up, but an aggressive and well-funded corporate. So it was no surprise to readTaxi service Uber's tax affairs have been referred to HMRC by London's taxi and minicab regulator Transport for London (TfL) ... The app's Dutch operating firm, Uber BV, does not pay tax in the UK”.

Nor was it a surprise to read of a Los Angeles customerInstead of taking her home, the driver took her on a nightmare ride to an abandoned lot—and Uber doesn't seem to care”, or of a New York Uber driver, who said to a cancer patient who had to cancel her ride after a bout of radiotherapy “You are not human ... I think you deserve what happened to you”.

And it was entirely predictable to readThe subprime lending market that plunged America into the Great Recession is back and as unscrupulous as ever. Instead of mortgages, this time a bubble has formed around auto loans, and reliably ruthless Uber is in the thick of it. Two ‘partners’ in Uber's vehicle financing program are under federal investigation, but Uber hasn't slowed its aggressive marketing campaign to get drivers with bad credit to sign up for loans”.

But what has really taken the biscuit recently has been the revelation that Uber’s senior VP of business, Eric Michael, has floated the idea of “hiring a team of opposition researchers to dig up dirt on its critics in the media”. He even had a specific target in mind – Sarah Lacy of Silicon Valley website PandoDaily.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was consumed with regret, but Michael is still in post, which causes the thought to occur that the regret is that his man got caught opening mouth and inserting boot. He was quick enough to pretend that the gathering where Michael made his pitch was off the record. Yes, they invited Arianna Huffington, Michael Wolff and a BuzzFeed editor, and expected them all to keep schtum.

On top of all that, Kalanick “made the case that he has been miscast as an ideologue and as insensitive to driver and rider complaints, while in fact he has largely had his head down building a transformative company that has beat his own and others’ wildest expectations”. Yeah, right. And who exactly articulated the sentiment “the competition is an asshole called Taxi”? That would be you, Trav.

Does anyone out there on the libertarian right still want to defend this shower?

Dan, Dan The Please Yourself Man

The shambles that is the Tory Party is today attempting to retain the Parliamentary seat of Rochester and Strood in the face of an assault by the shambles that is UKIP. But how can the Blue Team have got in to such a state? That is the subject which the Telegraph’s Peter Oborne is considering as he looks to what comes after what is expected to be another loss to the Kippers.
Soon to be available with purple tie

And what he sees should worry Young Dave and his jolly good chaps: Mark Reckless, known before he ratted to join Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and his fellow saloon bar propper-uppers mainly for his own moment of extreme thirst, should perhaps not have been let into the party in the first place. The whips’ office is in a mess, not least through the ineptitude of Michael “Oiky” Gove.

Indeed, not only was there the monumental foul-up over the European Arrest Warrant, but this week the Government lost on a whipped vote, the first such occasion in this Parliament. And then there is the case of those who are Tories in name only, more specifically Dan, Dan The Oratory Man. Hannan is an MEP for South-East England – he benefited from being top of his party’s list.

That means even if the Tories had only secured one European Parliament (EP) seat in this year’s elections, he would have been home and dry. Yet when Cameron called on MPs, and especially ministers, to make the journey to Rochester and Strood, Hannan appears to have gone missing. It’s part of his home turf. If anyone should have been out there supporting Kelly Tolhurst, it should have been him.

Hannan pleaded pressure of work when Oborne asked whether he would be supporting Ms Tolhurst. Yet, as he then notes, the supposedly overworked MEP has managed to fit in a variety of media appearances and speeches: “Hannan acts as if the Tory party exists to serve him, and not the other way around ... he is acting as if he wants to win next year’s election for Ed Miliband” concludes the Tel man.

Hannan has said of RecklessI wish him all the best, but I won’t be following him to UKIP”, but then again, he is also capable of blatant dishonesty. He also said of Reckless and Douglas “Kamikaze” Carswell that “both men wrestled with a decision they found incredibly difficult, risking their careers for reasons of conscience”, and called the formera devoted and patriotic MP”.

The problem Cameron has is that he has missed his opportunity to deal with Hannan. When James Forsyth told “Senior Tories now regard [Dan Hannan] defection as a question of when not if. Word is he’s gone dark since Reckless quit”, he had already been returned to the EP. If he defects, he’s still an MEP until 2019. And defect is what he may well do very soon.

Daniel Hannan has been appallingly disloyal to his party. We are not surprised.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Reckless Says Send Them All Back

With polling day in the Rochester and Strood constituency almost upon us, it might have been thought that Tory defector Mark Reckless, now aligned with Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and his fellow saloon bar propper-uppers at UKIP, could keep foot out of mouth for another 24 hours, just to make sure he gets over the win line. But that thought would have been misplaced.
Because, last night, Mr Thirsty’s latest Parliamentary recruit took part in an ITV hustings where he planted foot firmly in North and South on the subject where the Kippers should be safest – immigration. Reckless “had indicated EU migrants who had lived in the UK for a long time would be looked at sympathetically but others might only be allowed to stay for a transitional period”.

This did not get him off to a winning start: “His remarks were challenged by the Labour candidate, Naushabah Khan, who is the daughter of immigrants. ‘Where would you stop Mark? My family are migrants, are we going to say they need to go back as well?’ she said”. Even the Mail had to admit that Reckless’ “remarks were met with jeers”. And then his party leader disowned him.

Farage “insisted UKIP respected the rule of law and British justice. And he downplayed the comments as a ‘minor cause for confusion’”. Reckless then had another go: “Anyone's who's here legally, under the current EU arrangements, we would want to ensure that they remained legally by issuing a work permit to anyone who was in that category already in the country. For new people coming in we'd apply a points-based system”. Yeah, right.

Anyone from another EU member state already has a work permit – it’s called a passport. In other words, the country from which they have migrated has picked up the tab for the paperwork. In UKIP’s brave new world, we would have to pay for the bureaucracy – so we wouldn’t save money by leaving the EU.

But is it too late for anyone else to gain at the Kippers’ expense? Doubtful – all those postal votes have been submitted long ago, and many who want to cast a protest vote will do so, whatever last minute shambles Reckless creates for himself. But the impression has been given that he was talking repatriation, and both Tories and Labour will kick the Farage fringe hard for that.

Just as with the supposed move to ditch the party’s economics spokesman Patrick “Lunchtime” O’Flynn, because he’s thinking of ways to make the sums add up, as they certainly don’t at present, it’s clear that UKIP is a one-man crusade. Whoever has Mr Thirsty’s ear – or perhaps that should be bar tab – is effectively calling the shots. Otherwise the whole thing is made up as it shambles along.

Will UKIP get to the General Election in one piece? It’s not looking good.