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Sunday, 19 October 2014

Guido Fawked – Lying On An Industrial Scale

Back in July, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog persuaded Esquire magazine to swallow the Kool-Aid and write a suitably flattering feature about them, in which Staines pontificated that “The lying in politics is on an industrial scale”. In order to illustrate his point, Staines then tells the interviewer “No-one’s off limits”, which is, er, lying on an industrial scale.
Feared: are politicians more scared of him ...

The Great Guido also helps the impression to be given that his office overlooks the Houses of Parliament, due to the placement of a photo of the corpulent Staines with china cup in hand and Parliament in the background next to a description of that office. This is merely misleading: the location is a flat in Parliament View, the details of which are readily available online.
... or are they more intimidated by him?

The combination of lying and misleading has been passed to Staines’ acolytes among the Fawkes folks, who as a result have great difficulty saying things that are factually correct. Thus when Tory MP Mark Pritchard told earlier that “Glad to have reached ‘amicable settlement’ with Sunday Mirror and have now withdrawn my complaint from IPSO. The settlement is confidential”, it had to be spun.
First to creatively retell this news was Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham, the Fawkes blog’s newly anointed teaboy, who asserted “Pleased IPSO complaint over Sunday Mirror Brooks Newmark story has been dropped”. IPSO did not make any complaint, they may yet choose to investigate the sting of their own volition, and one or more other parties may complain via IPSO – and may have already done so.
Still, apart from those three minor problems, Wickham was at least right that a complaint concerning IPSO was no longer hanging over him, although he missed that “settlement”. Meanwhile, his colleague, the odious flannelled fool Henry Cole, was also having difficulty with factual analysis on the subject: “It would appear IPSO has passed its first big test”. It would?
Sadly for Master Cole, it would appear to be nothing of the sort: IPSO had not been involved in the discussions between Pritchard and the Sunday Mirror, and so had not been subjected to any test. It therefore could not have passed that test. Small wonder that Twitter commenters were soon passing adverse comment, including the observation that Cole is once again having trouble getting his story straight.

One part of The Great Guido’s story whose accuracy is in little doubt is his thirst: the Esquire article talks of his “usual tipple” at lunchime being “a bottle of Chablis”. He talks of targeting Labour MPs like Luciana Berger, but the last Fawkes attack on her was a pack of lies. Cole’s former blog Tory Bear is lauded, yet its foot-in-mouth ability was legendary. Yes, the lying is indeed on an industrial scale.

Yet our politicians are supposed to fear this shower. Maybe not. Another fine mess.

Only The Press May Troll

The Mail On Sunday and Sunday Express are singing from the same hymn sheet this morning. “Two Years’ Jail For Vile Trolls” thunders the Express, while the Mail concurs: “Web Trolls To Get Two Years In Jail”, going on to tell of “Cyber-mobs poisoning Britain”. But, as Captain Blackadder might have observed, there was only one thing wrong with this idea: it was bollocks.
Trolling is A Very Bad Thing!

While the Mail rants “Internet trolls who subject victims to vile abuse are to be jailed for up to two years under a tough Government crackdown. Harsher sentences are to be introduced following a series of shocking, high-profile cases, including rape threats made against model Chloe Madeley last week”, it seems that someone is having a bout of double standards here.

One only has to see the comments of Chris Grayling, the non-lawyer who has somehow been handed the post of Justice Secretary, to see that the press is being singularly disingenuous: “These internet trolls are cowards who are poisoning our national life. No one would permit such venom in person, so there should be no place for it on social media”. Really? Do go on.
Yes, trolling is really, really bad!

This is a law to combat cruelty – and marks our determination to take a stand against a baying cyber-mob. We must send out a clear message”. So the Government wants to end “cruelty” and the rule of the “baying mob”, those who would not dare dispense “such venom in person”, and who are “poisoning our national life”? If so, it’s looking the wrong way right now.

While the cheaper end of the Fourth Estate is imploring us to “look over there” at the unfortunate Ms Madeley, the Mail and Express are not averse to doing a little of that “cruelty” of the “baying mob” themselves – and stuff the consequences. What they do in print – and then reinforce via, well, social media, actually – does far more damage than any keyboard hero secreted away in his bedroom ever could.
But this kind of mob cruelty is fine

Both papers were in the vanguard of presuming Christopher Jefferies was guilty. Both indulged in disgraceful hounding of Kate and Gerry McCann, with the Express having to publish a front page apology. And, if we’re talking teenagers being subjected to cruel treatment, don’t forget the Mail’s vicious attacks on Rory Weal for speaking at the Labour conference, or the creepy luring of Paris Brown.

And let us not forget the Mail’s monstering of transgender schoolteacher Lucy Meadows, which included a cruel and insensitive (even by his low standards) attack by the tedious and unfunny Richard Littlejohn – which was followed by her suicide. Yet, by inference at least, the press is telling us that these cruel and vicious attacks are fine – so long as they are the ones doing them.

Shame on Chris Grayling – legislating at the behest of the press, for their benefit.

UKIP – Officially A Joke Party

As if the image of Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and his fellow saloon bar propper-uppers at UKIP could not sink lower, it has now been revealed that, such has been their desperation to cling on to the European Parliament (EP) group status which opens the door to More And Bigger Paycheques For Themselves Personally Now, the Kippers have tried to do a deal with a joke party.
Squeaky alliance finger up the bum time

You think I jest? “Germany’s leading satirist, who represents a joke party in the EU Parliament, has said he was approached by the UK Independence Party (UKIP), desperate to form a fresh alliance hours after their anti-EU parliamentary group collapsed”. As I pointed out last week, UKIP’s group in the EP was reduced to six countries after a Latvian MEP walked out.

But, to get access to more speaking time, and, most importantly for UKIP, more money, you have to have MEPs from at least seven countries in your group. Mr Thirsty faced the awful possibility of having to cosy up to Marine le Pen and the French Front National, who make no bones about their casual bigotry and forthright excursions into anti-Semitism.

Someone at UKIP has figured out that one country that is not represented in their group is Germany, whose MEPs include one Martin Sonneborn, representing Die Partei, “who was elected to the EU Parliament in May’s elections standing on a satirical platform which included the rebuilding of the Berlin Wall”. But, as to whether the UKIP approach was genuine, “Sonneborn insisted he was not joking”.

There was more: “Farage’s question was serious ... Several people from his group called my office manager”. As to whether he could work with the Farage fringe, he replied, perhaps not totally seriously, “I also like to stand in front of pubs drinking beer, so there's another thing that unites us”. He also favoured the UK leaving the EU: “It doesn’t belong to the continent, just take a look at the map”.

Clearly Sonneborn is there at the EP, let us not drive this one around the houses for too long, to take the piss, hence campaign slogans like “Hands off German willies: no to the EU penis-norm”. He told the Guardianof his desire to win over Farage’s party for an ‘alliance of idiots and fools’”. His response to Farage was that he would take part “if they rename the fraction Sonneborn’s EFDD”.

Terms like “surreal” and “bizarre” do not quite do justice to this situation. It has not helped that an EFDD spokesman did not deny the approach, saying only that “We’re not making any rash promises but we [are hoping to reform the EFDD on] Monday or next week”. That suggests Mr Thirsty is so desperate for that extra cash that he is prepared to form an alliance with a comedian.

To those who said all along that Farage was the comedy turn: you were right.

Top Six – October 19

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 housework stuff to do later. So there.
6 Boris Makes It Up – Again London’s occasional Mayor has been caught doing what he does best – saying whatever it takes to get the voters to love him, and then forgetting his promises later.

5 Don’t Mess With Oborne Young Dave’s comms chief Craig Oliver showed he was not fit for the job after a clumsy smear on one of the most respected pundits in the Westminster village.

4 Guido Fawked – Not Waving But Drowning The odious flannelled fool Henry Cole, and his pal Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham, keep on changing their story on the Brooks Newmark sting. But it still doesn’t make sense.

3 Murdoch Hacking Trial Egg On Face Rupe’s troops went to court to recover as much as £25 million in costs from the hacking trial. They came away with nothing. Not a sausage. Zero. Zilch. Bugger all.

2 Guido Fawked – Deeper In The Mire The perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog pointed at the Sun’s revelation of Brooks Newmark’s two year affair, and claimed that it justified their sting on him. No it didn’t.

1 Guido Fawked – Freud Spin And Lies Lord Freud was caught making slightly unfortunate remarks about disabled people and the minimum wage. The Fawkes rabble pretended that Labour had supported something more draconian. But they hadn’t. Back to the drawing board, lads.

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

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Ched Evans – Sun Caught Fibbing

The cheaper end of the Fourth Estate loves stories like that of footballer Ched Evans, who was convicted of a rape offence and sent to prison, but who has now been released. The press loves this not out of any concern for the victim, but because they can generate an endless stream of why-oh-why stories, which hold that, whatever Evans does, it is totally wrong.
So, as soon as it was known that he was going to be released from prison, this was wrong. When he was actually released, this too was wrong. On being reunited with family and friends, there was a get-together, which was promptly described as a “party”, and denounced as being wrong. Then the idea of his resuming his playing career – the job he knows best – was judged to be wrong.

His club, Sheffield United, apparently did not sack him on conviction, and paid up the few months remaining on his contract: this caused much head-shaking among the punditerati, and of course it was wrong. Evans’ girlfriend decided to stand by him, and she too was denounced for being wrong. But at least one thing was judged to be right – making up stories about Evans to suit the press’ agenda.

And who would like to put head above parapet first? Yes, it’s the Super Soaraway Currant Bun to tellFootie rapist’s £½million deal ... Ched Evans comes home to a party, fiancee, fame ...and £5,000 a week earnings”. Really? Do go on: “FOOTBALL rapist Ched Evans has been offered a two-year contract by Sheffield United worth more than £500,000.The offer has sparked fury”.
It’s certainly sparked fury at Sheffield United, because they’re still having a think about it. “An article in the Sun today that Sheffield United has offered a contract to former player Ched Evans is false and damaging to the club. We have made a statement on this previously ... we are continuing to deliberate on any long term decision about Ched Evans”. But the story was off and running.

The Daily Mail has lifted the Sun’s claim: “Ched Evans is set to be offered a two-year contract with his former club, Sheffield United, it was claimed this morning. The deal, worth more than £500,000, could see the 25-year-old striker return to training with the Yorkshire club as early as next week”. This is married to faux concern for the victim of Evans’ crime, as the Mail plays every possible angle.

Yes, the Dacre doggies have been to Rhyl, “a seaside town that has seen better days”, to portray it as a North Wales coast version of Royston Vasey, while they and the Sun show scantily clad clickbait alongside their righteous froth. But what does Ched Evans do? He’s served his time, though the press seems to say that he shouldn’t be allowed a livelihood unless they say so.

The Murdoch press calling out others for criminality. There’s irony for you.

Guido Fawked – Not Waving But Drowning

The continuing protestations of righteousness from the rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog following the Brooks Newmark sting, and the suspicion that this was not the finest example of investigative journalism on record, have culminated in an extraordinary rant by the odious flannelled fool Henry Cole, directed at author and playwright Peter Jukes, during yesterday.
I can't be a total sleazebag, cos I'm on telly!

Master Cole, whose revealingly loud defence of the sting the day after the Sunday Mirror splash led this blog to conclude that newly anointed teaboy Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham was indeed the presence behind the fictional “Sophie Wittams” – confirmed that evening on Newsnight by Steve Hewlett – has suggested that the Sun’s story on Newmark, which followed the Mirror one, would not have happened without it.
So in the world of The Great Guido, it was Their Story Wot Won It. However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, this line appears to have been advanced in explanation only after Zelo Street pointed up the mildly inconvenient fact that the Sun did not need to resort to subterfuge to get their story. Previously, the justification had been the end product of Wickham’s sting.
Cole’s stance this time has been to appeal to authority: he challenges Jukes “Can you confirm when you spoke to the woman in the second story please?” before claiming “knew he was using social networks to pick up younger women. Operation successfully proved that. 2nd woman merely further proof”. And, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here.
One, what the “operation” entailed – for instance, all of the messages exchanged – has not been released: IPSO and the wider public will be the judge of that one. And two, the second woman had a two year affair with Newmark and was not a casual pick-up. But on ploughs Cole, claiming that subterfuge “led directly” to the Sun’s story. But it does not prove the main thrust of their argument.
Wickham bleats “women would not tell stories because of worries about their careers”, but Newmark’s affair was not with someone involved with the Tory Party. Otherwise all we have is Wickham’s word, which right now has a value not unadjacent to zero. And where is that full set of messages?
Otherwise, it’s more appeals to authority, with Cole telling Jukes “yeah if you have spoken to anyone involved”, and false propositions: “So 2nd woman, who BN met online, would have come forward without reading about BN picking up girl online?” He didn’t pick up that girl online, though, did he? There wasn’t a girl involved.

So far we know Brooks Newmark had a two year affair. Otherwise, the idea that he was a “wrong ‘un” who was abusing his position appears to be another attempt to deflect questions. Full disclosure still required, lads. Another fine mess, once again.

Don’t Mess With Oborne

One of the most memorable moments of the New Labour years was when a Channel 4 team fetched up at one of Tone’s meet and greets and was about to be ushered away by security, only for Blair to recognise Peter Oborne and invite him in. Commentators like Oborne are a rare commodity: a trenchant critic of all across the political spectrum, but fair and respected too.
That realisation has yet to dawn on puerile clown Craig Oliver, who has, for reasons best known to Young Dave, been employed as his Director of Communications. Rather than counter Oborne’s argument, that “English Votes for English Laws”, or EVEL, is an opportunistic way of manipulating the constitutional arrangements for the benefit of one party (the Tories), he has deployed the smear instead.

What Oliver cannot get his head round is that political parties stitching up countries’ constitutions for their own advantage brings very bad memories not only in this country, but all across Europe, and indeed in the United States. The US Constitution, with its checks and balances to prevent any branch of Government overstepping its power, was created precisely because of its creators’ experiences in Europe.

Sadly, such is the infantile political climate fostered by Oliver, and encouraged by the Rt Hon Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the Seventeenth Baronet, that Camereon, easily swayed by talk of miracle knockout ideas that will see him back in Downing Street next May, has gone along with it, and turned a blind eye when his communications chief leaked his response to Oborne.

Yes, not only did Oliver leak his message to Oborne, he leaked it to Peter McKay, alias The World’s Worst Columnist, and author of the Mail’s Ephraim Hardcastle column, one of the least appealing parts of an already unappealing paper. The message? “Dear Peter – I just wanted to check you are OK. Some BBC people have been on to me worried you were a bit tired and emotional last night”.

When you deploy the same smear used by the likes of (yes, it’s her again) Nadine Dorries, you’ve not only run out of credibility, but exhausted your overdraft facility, especially when the chosen messenger, McKay, is no stranger to the falling-over water. And all this has got Oliver is another broadside from Oborne, which asks the question Oliver and his boss have so far been unable or unwilling to answer.

The Downing Street Director of Communications has resorted to fabrication in order to distract attention from the substance of the Newsnight discussion. This concerned Labour claims that Downing Street has exploited the Scottish referendum result for partisan advantage. Crucial evidence for this is to be found in the crudely cynical Downing Street spin operation which followed the referendum victory”.

Answer the question, Oliver. Then piss off and leave it to the grown-ups.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Guido Fawked – Wickham Still Lying

Brooks Newmark may have all but left the stage, but Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham, newly anointed teaboy to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines at the Guido Fawkes blog, is still wriggling and flailing as he tries desperately to both justify his sting on Newmark – proved unnecessary after the Sun’s later exposé – and convince the wider world that he is a real journalist, which he is not.
Fart in lift inquiry suffers blowback

Wickham’s latest apologia has been published in Varsity magazine, and the dishonesty begins more or less at the beginning, as he whines “Frustratingly, a lot of what has been written by journalists who’ve never broken a story in their lives, mainly at the Guardian, has been very uninformed”. Phonehackgate, Liam Fox, Wikileaks, Edward Snowden ... yeah, no stories there, eh? Liar.
Will the next one be taken down the Scrubs?

And, as the man said, there’s more: “Mr Newmark was the priority for the investigation”. So how did Nick de Bois, Jesse Norman, Mark Pritchard, Mark Reckless, Charles Elphicke and Robert Jenrick come to be contacted as well? We’ll award that a mere “misleading”, and move on to the next whopper.

This is an important journalistic enquiry into the man who was in charge of getting women into the Conservative Party, and abusing this position”. It’s not important as the Sun did the job properly, it isn’t journalism, and he has no evidence that Newmark ever abused his position. Liar. “I’d like IPSO to come up with an alternative suggestion of what we could have done to prove this man’s wrongdoing”. That is no defence against charges of bad and potentially illegal behaviour.

And then the main event: “I was very disappointed when those photographs were published...We did everything we could to prevent their identities from coming out, and those photos from coming out – deleting the twitter account, and stuff like that. If I were to do it again, sure, perhaps I would get the photos to have been posed, but I would say that the Sunday Mirror and myself never published the photos”.
Now you see the photo ...

Would you, teaboy Alex? Then you would be lying yet again: what do you think that photo is, then? The one that was published by the Guido Fawkes blog, before you and your pals tried to cover your tracks by deleting it? And how do you “prevent their identities from coming out” when it is easy to identify the original source? Liar.
... And now you don't

But remember, he’s doing it because “There’s lots of what politicians do that we’d consider a resigning issue and a political scandal, and lots of that wouldn’t get looked at by the police, or their own parties, they’d always be covered up”. Like all the scandals of the Major years, that got unearthed without the Fawkes rabble.

Billy Liar” Wickham presents himself as a fearless campaigner, but in reality is someone so unable to tell fact from fiction that he would be well advised to seek help for his problem. And leave journalism to real journalists. Another fine mess.

Don’t Menshn Ebola

The spread of Ebola within West Africa continues, with medical facilities badly overstretched; countries like the UK and USA aare ramping up the assistance they give, as are other EU member states. Some cases have been reported here and also Stateside. Ebola is one of those issues where everyone pulls together. I mean, nobody would make it into a party political issue, would they?
(c) Doc Hackenbush 2014

Unfortunately, yes they would. Thus far, no mainstream politician in the UK has done so, but over in her suitably upmarket and no doubt exclusive Manhattan abode, (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch has decided that she is up for a little jumping of this particular shark. For her, voting GOP in the USA, or Tory in the UK, is not mere politics, but a matter of life and death.
You think I jest? Sadly I do not: Ms Mensch first turned her thoughts to the distant 2016 US Presidential Election, a prospect that fills many Republicans with dread, as it means losing not only to the Democrats, but to a woman (if it ain’t Hill, it’ll be Elizabeth Warren). “Wonder if Republicans traditionally being the ‘daddy party’ on discipline will serve the nominee in 2016 over Ebola. Inclined to think so”.
So the Mensch message is clear: vote GOP unless you want Ebola to rampage from NYC to LA and take out everyone who doesn’t. Her take on the UK was similar: “Same in the UK. If there is a serious outbreak in the UK I doubt the voters will risk a Labour Government. Time to get serious”.
Would madam like to perhaps row back on that one? No way: “I mean exactly what I say. Look at Diane Abbott’s irresponsible comments on Ebola patients, Mili’s open door policy”. That would be the same open door policy that her favoured party is pursuing, whatever the rhetoric. And what did Diane Abbott say?
Well, Diane Abbott didn’t actually say it: “Whoops! Apparently the Diane Abbott thing was a parody. Still have no doubt re Ebola and border/health policies. Labour not trusted”. So her “information” was crap, but the rotten lefties done it anyway. And love the idea that Labour are not trusted on health issues (wrong).
But on she ploughs, letting us know, whether we like it or not, that this is a national security issue, and that means you have to vote Tory: “I have no doubt whatsoever that when real national security issues arise, people vote for whoever is stronger ... in the UK, not Labour”. How would they know if the party is in opposition?

In any case, you’d be pressed to find a more authoritarian Home Secretary than, oh I dunno, Jack Straw, and he isn’t a Tory. No, what we’ve got here is the ultimate Louise Mensch shark-jumping exercise: vote for my team or you’ll all die.

And she wonders why she’s a figure of ridicule. No change there, then.

Newton Dunn Shits Himself

The realisation in the right-leaning press that their constant diet of – often totally untrue – scare stories about the EU, and frightening readers against migrants, has fuelled the rise of UKIP, and that this may ease the path of Mil The Younger into 10 Downing Street next May, has precipitated blind panic among the ranks of overpaid hacks and pundits, and especially at the Sun.
That's what I think of Nigel bladdy Farage and his party, the bladdy pommie drongoes!

Rupert Murdoch has met Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, and has correctly identified him as an opportunist and spiv for whom playing as a team means everybody else follows the whims and foibles of Himself Personally Now. The idea of Farage getting his hands on the levers of power worries Rupe. For the Sun’s non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn, this has apparently induced involuntary bowel movements.
The Sun is behind a paywall, but a Zelo Street regular has scanned the relevant by-product from Newton Dunn’s latest panic attack (see how that works, Rupe?). Here, readers are told “Cam to demand immigration control ... if he doesn’t win, he’ll back EU exit”. An accompanying editorial tells “At last, David Cameron will throw down the gauntlet on immigration”. It’s total drivel.
Young Dave’s hot air – and when it comes to claiming that the UK will opt out of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW), that is all it is – is designed to out-UKIP the Kippers in the run-up to next month’s by-election in the Rochester and Strood constituency, forced by the defection of Mark Reckless to the Farage fringe [someone has forgotten the press’ approval of using the EAW to extradite teacher Jeremy Forrest].
This, together with confronting UKIP’s supposed “woman problem” by selecting a female candidate, and a visit schedule providing saturation coverage by every Tory cabinet member, is designed to see off Mr Thirsty and his fellow saloon bar propper-uppers and keep the seat blue.
(c) Steve Bell 2014

But the idea that Cameron will somehow nip across to Brussels and tell those ghastly foreigners that the UK will unilaterally opt out of the free movement of people that is one of the fundamental principles of the Single European Market to which Mrs T signed us up all those years ago is pie in the sky. So is Newton Dunn’s dishonest suggestion that countries like Spain and Italy would go along with it.

UKIP speaks to the dissatisfaction among voters that used to favour the Lib Dems, before they went into Government. The idea that it is all about immigration is just the press going back to their basest, bigoted instincts. It is this week’s saddest coincidence that it is fifty years since Smethwick, and “if you want a n****r for a neighbour, vote Liberal or Labour”. You’d think the Tories could do better by now.

Sadly, the Sun cannot. Newton Dunn blames immigrants for his panic, but the reality is that he and his pals have no-one to blame but themselves.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

UKIP Loses Its £1 Million Bonus

Here in the UK, Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and his fellow saloon bar propper-uppers at UKIP may be celebrating their foothold in Parliament, but over in Brussels their campaign has been developing not necessarily to their advantage. One of the party’s key funding streams, the ability to use expenses accrued from attending the European Parliament (EP), has just taken a significant knock.
Squeaky financial finger up the bum time

Why so? “One of the main Eurosceptic groups in the European Parliament, which includes Britain's UKIP, has collapsed after a Latvian MEP withdrew ... The Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) group had 48 members including the Five Star Movement of Italian politician Beppe Grillo”. You need MEPs from seven countries for an EP group. The one from Latvia leaving made it six.

Now, Mr Thirsty and his remaining allies could try to persuade another MEP to join their number, but here a problem enters. Farage and Grillo are in competition for the somewhere-out-there Eurosceptic vote with Marine le Pen and the French Front National (FN). UKIP don’t want to go in with a party that is perceived as being rather like the BNP, only not quite as overtly racist.

Moreover, the Kippers could face further defections from their group: two of the MEPs are from Lithuania and the Czech Republic, and one reason the Latvian MEP left them was the perception that EFDD was too pro-Putin. Farage and his fellow Kippers could just join the “non-inscrits”, but they would lose access to the most attractive aspect of being in a group – money.

Mr Thirsty has made no secret of UKIP’s ability to maximise its expense gathering from the EP in order to help the party in the UK. And being in an EP group gets a party like UKIP an extra £1 million or so a year – plus representation on committees, and more speaking time in EP debates. Farage complains enough about being cut off when in mid-rant. That is about to get worse.

And the Kippers can forget any sympathy from other groupings in the EP, even the right-of-centre ones: “News of the EFDD's fall was welcomed by the largest group in the parliament, the centre-right European People's Party (EPP), which tweeted: ‘First defeat for Eurosceptics! EFDD group disappears with departure of Latvian Iveta Grigule’”. Farage is in the brown sticky stuff.

We’re less than seven months away from the General Election. UKIP has an expensive by-election campaign to fund in Rochester and Strood – unless they want to see Mark Reckless lose and hand the seat back to the Tories. They have to pony up deposits for hundreds of candidates next May. And the only sure-fire way to keep hold of that £1 million bonus is to join the French far-right.

Nige could cut down on his thirst, of course. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bloke.

Murdoch Hacking Trial Egg On Face

After the hacking trial ended, the Murdoch press wasted no time in telling their readers that it had all been not only a gigantic waste of money, but of public money. The Times proclaimed that the total bill would come to around £100 million, while the Sun cheered Rebekah Brooks’ acquittal. The line was to pretend only one person – Andy Coulson – had got guilty, rather than six of them.
That's what I think of youse bladdy legal system, ya pommie drongoes!

Moreover, it was also stressed that those defendants found Not Guilty would now be able to reclaim their costs: the total bill for those, given that News UK shelled out for the best legal teams money could buy, was estimated to be around £60 million. However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, there was the not inconsiderable presence of Mr Justice Saunders in the way.
How Private Eye explained the numbers

And the figure they first thought of did not even get that far: as Peter Jukes observed, “The initial quantum for that claim was reported to be £25 million in legal costs. This was reduced two weeks ago to £7 million by the Crown Prosecution Service on the basis of equivalent legal aid, rather than private, legal costings”. One of those charged, Clive Goodman, had been on legal aid.
It was not the prosecution’s fault that Goodman’s team was costing little more than the 10% of that defending Rebekah Brooks. So now the Murdoch empire was looking at a rather small proportion of what it had expended, but even then, Saunders decided he had to ask questions of News UK, given that they had bankrolled so many of the defendants.

As Evan Harris of Hacked Off put it, “The judge made clear that, without calling into question the not-guilty verdicts, he felt it necessary to ask questions about whether News International behaved so as to provoke the criminal proceedings ... Although News UK do not accept that those questions are relevant to the cost application they have decided not to take the risk that they would have to answer, in open court, the questions about their conduct between the arrest of Clive Goodman in 2006 until the start of the police’s Operation Weeting in 2011”.
That meant that News UK withdrew their attempt at reimbursement – any reimbursement – rather than face questions about whether their behaviour ultimately led to the trial taking place. The individual claims fared no better.

Stuart Kuttner’s claim for a refund of £500,000, and Charlie Brooks’ attempt to get back £135,000, both foundered as Saunders judged that they had brought suspicion upon themselves by their behaviour – Kuttner for knowing that the Milly Dowler voice message was hacked and doing nothing about it, and Brooks for hiding what was actually legally obtained material.

All of which is not on the Times or Sun front pages today. No surprise there, then.

Guido Fawked – Freud Spin And Lies

Young Dave got a nasty surprise at PMQs yesterday as Mil The Younger quoted the words of one of the Tories’ own ministers, Lord Freud, to him, suggesting that disabled people might like to work for as little as £2 an hour. Cameron had not been briefed; Labour’s press team waited until after the session had started to distribute details of the relevant conversation from the Tory Party conference.
Fart in lift inquiry encounters head wind

Dave disowned Lord Freud, who later apologised. But the mere fact that Miliband had served him a Gotcha sent some of the Blue Team’s fans off in search of justification, even if it needed a significant slice of dishonesty to stand it up. And when we’re talking spin and dishonesty, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog are never far away.
What The Great Guido is defending ((c) Steve Bell 2014)

So, along with his newly anointed teaboy Alex Wickham, Staines has set out to assert that Labour backed what Freud had outlined in his conversation with a Tory Councillor. This has been spun extensively in three posts (see HERE, HERE and HERE). But, as Captain Blackadder might have observed, there was only one thing wrong with this idea: it was bollocks.
Wrong

The Guardian article, and later DTI Information Note, in which The Great Guido has placed such great store, suggest no such thing. They deal with the idea of “Therapeutic Work”. The clue is in the name: this is work that some disabled people are able to do as part of their therapy, their treatment. As the Information Note – as quoted by Staines – shows, this is a typically voluntary activity.
Wrong

Tasks might include “packing and assembly” – for instance, putting together orders for items like books, and packaging them for posting. None of this is given consideration by the Fawkes rabble, whose only purpose is to spin their discovery against Labour. “Mencap called for disabled to be exempt from minimum wage” claims Staines. That is not true, is it, O Great Guido?
Wrong

But it is Wickham who maximises the whopper count: “Labour attack on Freud unravelling tonight (not true). Mencap supported same proposal in 2000 (not true). Labour themselves proposed more draconian policy in ’03 (not true) ... under Labour, Mencap backed his idea” (not true), and, lie of the week, “In 2003 the Labour Government supported paying mentally disabled £4 a day to man assembly lines”.
Hello Billy Liar

In the hands of someone who lies as often as he draws breath, a voluntary activity that forms part of someone’s treatment is transformed so that they’re on the track at the Vauxhall factory. That is how dishonest the Fawkes rabble is prepared to get in order to spin Cameron’s discomfort over the Freud revelation.

Spin it, misinterpret it, mislead readers, and if all else fails, just lie to them. “Reputable freelance journalist” my arse. Another fine mess, once again.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Breitbart Backs Suspected Fraudster

At the end of last month, the Zelo Street Twitter feed relayed the rumour that Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and his fellow saloon bar propper-uppers at UKIP were to appoint appalling self-promotion specialist Raheem “call me Ray” Kassam as Farage’s chief of staff. This news had come from two different sources – and has even reached across the North Atlantic to New York City.
Pretentious? Who, moi?

Having been made aware of that rumour, former Tory MP Louise Mensch has proceeded to give Kassam, with whom she has now definitely fallen out, a seriously hard time. “Ray” has stonewalled and deflected, but what is not in doubt is that he and James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole have used Breitbart London to favour the Kippers – and kick anyone dissenting from their viewpoint.
So, while Kassam has been attempting to fend off Ms Mensch by whining “you used Parliamentary privilege to lick [Murdoch’s] bum ... Real MPs don’t shit their pants and move across the Atlantic ... She’s become a fully fledged stalker” (this last denoting desperation at being unable to shake off a persistent critic), he has also been showing questionable judgment in his choice of UKIP members.
After the BBC aired a Panorama programme on the party, Kassam authored a hatchet job which homed in on one faithful Kipper: “One of the people interviewed by the BBC was UKIP member Matthew Smith. But the BBC never aired his comments ... ‘In May this year Panorama came to Great Yarmouth to film me with regards to UKIP. I spent approximately 6 hours with them, talking about how we are grassroots organisation, how we have set everything up here and generally how and why our branch is successful and why I believe we will do well’”.
He went on “I was told by them back in July that I would feature in this programme, but seem to have been missed out ... I found it very strange that I did not feature and can only conclude it is because I did not say anything stupid, controversial or anything that would reinforce an anti-UKIP stereotype!” Oh really?
What “Ray” did not tell is that Matthew Smith, who was going to fight Great Yarmouth for UKIP at the General Election but now isn’t, “is accused of seven counts of supplying a nomination paper to a returning officer knowing it to contain a forged signature. He also faces three counts of producing forged nomination papers”.

Oddly, this rather good reason for Smith’s omission is left out of Kassam’s report. It would, after all, reflect badly on UKIP were he to have made a full disclosure and informed readers about it. Why would he fail so to do – other than to burnish the reputation of the Farage fringe in expectation of future reward from its leader?

Behold Raheem Kassam, prepared to do anything for the promotion of Himself Personally Now. Including misleading Breitbart’s readers. What a sleazebag.