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Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Katie Hopkins Appeal FAILS

One hates to post on the same subject twice in the same day, but sometimes the good news is just too good not to make sure it reaches the widest possible audience, and I don’t just mean Piers Morgan and Eamonn Holmes standing alongside one another (allegedly). So what is too good to keep quiet? Ah well. This afternoon, another Zelo Street prediction was proved correct in the most delicious manner.
Viewers may want to look away now

Regular visitors will recall that, after pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins was taken to court by writer and campaigner Jack Monroe for acts of defamation on Twitter, and Ms Hopkins lost, there was much talk of an appeal. I was even advised by a prominent QC that she would appeal. But nonetheless I stuck to the prediction, made less than a fortnight ago, that Hatey Katie would not be appealing. And so it has come to pass.
Jack Monroe

What has made the news yet more delicious is that Ms Hopkins was clearly minded to appeal, but for reasons best known to Herself Personally Now, somehow managed not to understand that this meant she had to take certain actions within a specified period of time. It was not quite the same as all those media offers coming in to her - on this occasion, she had to be proactive with no-one to prompt her.
This, it seems, was too much for Ms Hopkins, and as David Allen Green at Law And Policy has told, “Breaking: Katie Hopkins fails in (first) attempt to obtain permission to appeal decision in @MxJackMonroe case. No stay for costs ordered”. That there is no stay for costs ordered means Hatey Katie has to stump up the first instalment of £107,000 as previously ordered at the time the judgment was handed down.
It gets worse: the judge handing down this decision would not have been impressed, even had Ms Hopkins bothered to get her, er, stuff together within the necessary timescale: “Reason for refusal: Hopkins' application for permission to appeal left too late. Judge says permission would have been refused anyway”. Looks like there was no point in her bothering, then. Bear that in mind for later on.
Her appeal was made literally two days too late, as the judge confirmed: “Hopkins’ application for permission to appeal two days too late: ‘the order in this case was sealed two days before her application to me’”. So even if the judge had been minded to allow the appeal, the train had left the station. Where does she go now?
Green gives a hint of that with his final Twitter intervention: “‘There comes a point when the lower court no longer has jurisdiction over the case.’ Judge refusing Hopkins' appeal permission application”. The lower court. That means if Ms Hopkins wants to keep on appealing, she must do so to a higher court. And however rapidly she gets her act together, the reality is that this means it will be yet more expensive.

As the judge on that lower court has already put on record that he would not have given her permission to appeal, it is looking a yet more hopeless exercise. Time for Hatey Katie to admit defeat, pay a rather larger amount than two Dollars, and quit time wasting.

Katie Hopkins Hates Reality

Last week’s attack in London is starting to fade from media view, helped on its way by Police confirmation that there was no evidence to suggest the perpetrator Khalid Masood (formerly Adrian Elms) was connected in any way to ISIS (or whatever they’re called this week), or indeed to al-Qaeda. It was also described asspeculation” to suggest that Masood had become radicalised while in prison.
Viewers might want to look away now

So while the authorities will put in place measures to stop anyone with murderous intent getting into the grounds of the Palace of Westminster, and make it nigh-on impossible for a car to be driven at speed along the Westminster Bridge pavement, London and Londoners will very much carry on with life, all creeds, colours and faiths rubbing along together as they have done for decades past. But there has been a dissenting voice in all this.

And that voice, to no surprise at all, comes from pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins, now needing more media appearances than ever before due to that non-trivial legal bill she ran up losing a libel action brought by writer and campaigner Jack Monroe. Hatey Katie has seen an opportunity to generate interest by coming over all contrarian - while at the same time trying make the rest of the world as frightened as her of Scary Muslims (tm).
So off she went on another Mail Online rantfest: “Even if we were to accept all the other answers from the Met Police - about not being radicalised in prison, what he was doing in Saudi, why he chose to relocate to an extremist community - surely one very difficult question remains”. Like what, apart from accusing the cops of lying?

It’s this: how many other Khalids are there out there not being watched? How many other knife-wielding Muslim converts with a penchant for random short visits to Saudi and multiple homes amongst extremists are still operating unseen?” Ms Hopkins manages to miss that the not-yet-a-Muslim Adrian Elms was also a violent criminal.
But she does know that “The faux liberals of London have been brainwashed into believing 'we stand united', that somehow 'walking down a pavement' is the new brave, and that 'carrying on as normal' equates to being resilient and not cowed”. In other words, nobody is listening to her any more. Well, not in the UK. So what to do?
Simples. She is always assured of a hearing on Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse), and so has taken to Twitter to tell “Back with @TuckerCarlson at 2140 eastern - talking about the great multicultural cover up happening here in the UK … Joining @TuckerCarlson tonight. Called a Nazi sympathiser for refusing to sing from the 'we stand united' songsheet”. No, she was called a Nazi sympathiser way before that.
Try again. “This is not the Blitz. We aren't defending the UK. We're asked to be accomplices in its fall. And I refuse to join”. Still no-one cared. How about kicking the BBC? Sure thing: “Mother. Wife. Shocked & saddened. Same language. Same song sheet. Same propaganda. Was there an actual script @BBCNews? N Korea feels free”.

But still no-one who mattered cared. And how will she pay those legal bills after Fox News loses interest? Who knows? And, indeed, who cares? Katie Hopkins doesn’t get London. Worse, she doesn’t get tolerance, fortitude, or forgiveness. Or reality. Sad, really.

Sarah Vine Sexist Tosh BUSTED

After the 24-hour rolling news Speculatron ran out of steam over things to say about last week’s London attack, our free and fearless press has turned, slowly but surely, to the upcoming notification by Theresa May of triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. If the timetable is adhered to, this will happen tomorrow. So those papers backing Britain’s exit from the EU are now thinking up new ways to tell readers how wonderful this is.
Ms May helped them by fetching up in Edinburgh yesterday for talks with Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon. This gave the hacks and pundits their headline, and lots of photos, but then a problem entered: the meeting between the two women was held behind closed doors, and only the briefest of statements was issued afterwards. This produced a news vacuum, and press nature abhors a news vacuum.

So that void had to be filled, and at the Daily Mail this meant telling readers that, whatever had been said, our not at all unelected Prime Minister had won, so there. To this end, Sarah “vain” Vine was dispatched by the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre to bring forth the patently ridiculous headlineOne was relaxed, every inch a stateswoman while her opposite number was tense and uncomfortable: SARAH VINE says May v Sturgeon was a knockout victory for the PM”. The supporting article isn’t any better.

How did Ms Vine reach her conclusion? It was all about the clothes, silly. “the First Minister’s natty blue suit with white piping and matching light-coloured stilettos were unmistakably reminiscent of the Scottish flag, a subliminal if not entirely subtle indication of her feelings towards Westminster … May, for her part, was stateswomanlike in a stylish navy jacket, a patterned dress and her trademark leopard-print heels”.
What you will not see in the Mail

Could it get worse? As if you need to ask: “Their expressions … told very different stories. May is pictured laughing all the way to her eyes, her head thrown slightly back, her chin sinking into her neck. It’s a relaxed, natural pose, her gaze confident and aimed directly at the camera … Sturgeon, by contrast, looks less comfortable. She is glancing off to one side, her eyes like two hard little chocolate buttons, her smile about as warm and welcoming as Loch Lomond on a winter’s day”. What a load of partisan tosh.

But it was about to get even worse. A lot worse. “But what stands out here are the legs - and the vast expanse on show. There is no doubt that both women consider their pins to be the finest weapon in their physical arsenal. Consequently, both have been unsheathed”. Shine a light, whatever next? Do I need the sick bucket ready?

Could be. “May’s famously long extremities are demurely arranged in her customary finishing-school stance - knees tightly together, calves at a flattering diagonal, feet neatly aligned. It’s a studied pose that reminds us that for all her confidence, she is ever the vicar’s daughter, always respectful and anxious not to put a foot wrong … Sturgeon’s shorter but undeniably more shapely shanks are altogether more flirty, tantalisingly crossed, with the dominant leg pointing towards her audience”. Oh just f*** right off.
And you definitely won't see this ((c) Steve Bell 2017)

Sarah Vine knows sweet jack about what went on in that meeting, and equally little about what a posed photo of the two leaders really signifies (clue, Sarah: it signifies two leaders posing for the camera before a meeting. Nothing more, nothing less).

That did not stop the supporting acts, bringing forth increasingly silly headlines likeNever mind the referendum! As Nicola Sturgeon ditches her red power suit to mirror Theresa May's sombre look...Who won the fashion face-off at their tense talks?” from the Mail’sstyle editor” Dinah van Tulleken (crazy name, crazy gal?!?) and the inevitable'They look well past the stage of pretending to be chums': Body language expert reveals the truth behind Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon's frosty Brexit meeting”.

The condemnation of this blatantly sexist and demeaning exhibition ranged across the political spectrum, from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to senior colleagues Yvette Cooper and Chuka Umunna, via former deputy leader John Prescott and former Leader Mil The Younger - Tweeting “The 1950s called and asked for their headline back” - to former Tory minister Nicky Morgan.

Yes, the article was written by a woman, and the majority of the Mail’s readership is made up of women, but this is total crap. You don’t know what Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon said during their meeting - just admit it. Try filling the resulting space with news. Or did I misinterpret that word “newspaper”? One more for the bin.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Nadine Dorries - Technophobe Speaks

After Amber Rudd, who claims to be the Home Secretary, was subjected to the inquisition of the host on The Andy Marr Show (tm) yesterday and demonstrated that she did not know one end of Information Technology from the other, some in the press have been following her lead, showing that when Private Eye magazine told the wold “New Technology defeats pissed old hack”, there was more than a little truth in the claim.
So why did Ms Rudd’s fellow Tory MPs not have a quiet word with her? Surely there were plenty of them a little more clued up on the Web, smartphones, encryption, search engines and the like? Ah well. One look at the reaction of one average and perennial back bench Tory tells you all you need to know about that. So come with me into the alternate technological reality inhabited by (yes, it’s her again) Nadine Dorries.
The fragrant Nadine had plenty to say in support of Ms Rudd. The problem was that there was a distinct lack of intellectual heft underpinning it, as well as an equal lack of technical savvy. You think I jest? Consider this Tweet: “To help keep our streets safe, we need to rise up against companies like #Apple and #Whattsapp [sic] who provide space and comfort to terrorists”. She wants to rise up against the firm that made her phone.
That was an inauspicious start, and from there it went downhill in short order, as Ms Dorries then asserted ”#Apple not providing FBI with codes to unlock terrorists phones and #whatsap [sic] not allowing access security services is a dangerous principle”. Let’s take this nice and slowly: Apple CANNOT provide the FBI, or anyone else, with codes to unlock phones. That’s the thing that makes them genuinely secure.
Oh, and how on earth WhatsApp are supposed to have access to a product they didn’t build is, shall we say, a challenging proposition. Still onwards and, er, onwards, eh? “And to those with smart ass comments tell me what your point is AFTER you have been in the middle of and target of a terrorist attack”. This is otherwise known as inflating the soufflé beyond the limits of viability. Or, in more direct terms, taking the piss.
By this point, it had occurred to Ms Dorries that kicking Apple while being in possession of an iPhone might not be a good look. So she tried to square this circle by telling “Love Twitter and plonkers who point out I have an iPhone. If I ever commit a terrorist attack, please #Apple give security services my code”. Sadly, she failed once more. Apple cannot, repeat cannot, REPEAT CANNOT, give security services (or anyone else) her code.
And she still wasn’t for listening, even to Mark Wallace of Conservative Home, who tried to put her straight on the vulnerability of software back doors. “No - you just develop a terrorist related exception that's all or even one for grieving parents too caught up in this one size doesn't fit”. Let’s once more take it nice and slowly: a backdoor is a backdoor is a backdoor, whatever reason used to build it. It is therefore another security vulnerability.

But one should not be too harsh on Ms Dorries: she may be technologically inept, but she is by no means alone on the Tory back benches. That is why Amber Rudd is still Home Secretary - it’s even worse than the partially sighted leading the blind.

Mail Kicks Uber Over Cameron Ties

As Nick Davies observed in Flat Earth News, his go-to book on the machinations of the Fourth Estate, “I know of nothing anywhere in the rest of the world’s media which matches the unmitigated spite of an attack from the Daily Mail”. And now Travis Kalanick and his fellow modern-day transportation robber barons at driver and rider matching service Uber are beginning to realise exactly what he meant.
Because today we learnt that the Saturday salvo fired by the Mail was not an isolated occurrence: this morning, their campaign against Uber has been escalated to front page lead status with the headlineDowning St accused of withholding emails about its secret campaign to help online taxi firm … CAMERON AIDE’S UBER ‘COVER-UP’”. The “cover-up” cannot at present be proved - hence the quote marks - but the Mail is getting close.
Once again, the story is not new, but having it get out to an audience of millions certainly is. Underpinning the story, as on Saturday, is the move by London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson to impose some regulatory control on operations like Uber - like ensuring its drivers had a reasonable command of the English language - only to cave in very soon after announcing them.
Bozza’s tone changed almost overnight from complaining that Uber were breaking all sorts of regulations and needed to be brought into line with other private hire operators, to then shrugging his shoulders are excusing his U-Turn by telling that one could not stand in the way of new technology. In the intervening period, Bozza is widely believed to have been leant on by Young Dave and his next door neighbour in Downing Street.
Cameron, though, has since that time gambled once too often, and along with his Uber-supporting pal Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the seventeenth Baronet, is no longer running the country. The Mail’s legendarily foul mouthed editor Paul Dacre never really liked Cameron - or Osborne - and now that the latter has exhibited the kind of greed of which even Dacre disapproves by taking on yet another job - pretending to be a newspaper editor - they are both in line for a good kicking.

This the taxi trade understands well, and coming in the wake of recent court setbacks for Uber, on the status of their drivers and failing to overturn new Mayor Sadiq Khan’s move to ensure those drivers demonstrate a decent command of English, know that the tide is turning against Uber, which on top of all that is losing money hand over fist.
Does the Mail’s story have any real substance? Well, yes it does: one of Cameron’s aides claimed in response to an FoI request that there were no emails between his side and TfL to disclose. But when the same request was made to TfL … three emails were disclosed that should have been turned up in the first FoI trawl. Labour MPs are taking the opportunity to pile in on behalf of cabbies. And once more, Rachel Whetstone and her closeness to Cameron and Osborne is under the spotlight.

And, as this attack is backed by a suitably judgmental Daily Mail Comment, we can be sure it has Dacre’s backing. It would surprise no-one if Kalanick himself, and his less than professional past behaviour, was put be under the spotlight next. Get the popcorn in.

EasyJet Cleared For Brexit Take-Off

Of all the recent British start-up success stories, few has impacted so many of the general public as EasyJet: the low cost airline, which launched in 1995 and now operates a fleet of around 240 aircraft. It has brought scheduled air travel to many people who had never ventured beyond holiday charter flights before. Some - me included - have used it for commuting to jobs abroad. But now it faces a problem.
EasyJet took advantage - as did Irish low cost carrier Ryanair - of the EU’s “Open Skies” policy, which allowed it to expand rapidly throughout Europe and secure access to many cities’ primary airports (the carrier flies into Amsterdam Schiphol, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Madrid Barajas, Barcelona - El Prat, and Milan Malpensa, for instance). So after last year’s referendum result, it was rumoured that it would leave the UK.

At the start of last July, the Mirror reportedEasyJet draws up plans to move headquarters out of UK in wake of Brexit vote … The airline has said however that the the vast majority of its staff would remain at the firm’s current headquarters at Luton Airport in Bedfordshire”. The Guardian has since addedUK-based airlines told to move to Europe after Brexit or lose major routes”. This was, predictably, dismissed as scaremongering.
Possible new EasyJet base? Praça do Comércio, Lisbon ...

But scaremongering it was not: Sky News has now heard thatLow-cost airline easyJet close to landing post-Brexit EU base … The low-cost carrier's board is expected to announce the location of a new EU base in April … Sky News understands that the low-cost carrier's board has pencilled in an April decision on the location of a new air operator's certificate (AOC), which will allow it to continue flying between EU member states”.

Like many of the potential post-Brexit company moves, “The decision will effectively entail the establishment of a new legal headquarters for easyJet, although the company has no plans to relocate the 1000 staff who work at its operational head office at Luton Airport”. So very little will change initially, but gradually the airline’s focus will switch to its new legal HQ. So where might that be (apart from not in the UK)?
... Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna

Member states including the Netherlands are understood to have been ruled out … One insider said an announcement was ‘weeks rather than days away’ but added that the shortlist of options was now ‘very short’ … sources said on Sunday that countries including Austria, Malta and Portugal had been under serious recent consideration”. All three are Eurozone countries, and committed to remaining EU member states.

And it isn’t just the HQ that will move: “easyJet is expected to have to amend its articles of association to require that a majority of the parent company's shares are owned by EU nationals”. These moves “follow warnings from officials on the Continent that airlines such as easyJet and British Airways' parent, International Airlines Group, must have a majority of their shares owned within the EU”. Yes, BA will be moving its HQ as well.

As BA’s parent company also runs Spanish carrier Iberia, they might well move their legal HQ to Spain. It’s just confirmation that there will be no sudden or instant change due to Brexit - but change there will be. And once those companies move their HQ abroad, they will not be moving it back. Something else the Leave campaign didn’t tell voters.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Amber Rudd - You Don’t Know What You’re Doing

After last week’s attack in London, and all the talk of tech giants not doing enough to prevent the terrorism-inclined from getting clued up on how to go about their murderous business, we have the spectacle of other tech firms being upbraided for being too secretive, not least messaging specialist WhatsApp, which Khalid Masood is said to have been using before launching his hired Hyundai into the crowds on Westminster Bridge.
Amber Rudd holds The Internet in her hands (allegedly - thanks to Tim Ireland)

With this as the backdrop, home secretary Amber Rudd presented herself for questioning by the host on The Andy Marr Show (tm) this morning, and very quickly demonstrated that she is not only proficient in bullshitting, she is also woefully short of knowledge on the subject which just happened to be under discussion: the technology used in messaging apps, and especially the use of security - like end to end encryption.

Marr put it to her that terrorists being able to keep their messages secret was totally unacceptable. Ms Rudd was not obliged to go along with that suggestion - she could have made good arguments for privacy - but instead replied “There should be no place for terrorists to hide. We need to make sure that organisations like Whatsapp - and there are  plenty of others like that - don’t provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate with  each other … on this situation we need to make sure that our intelligence services have the ability to get into situations like encrypted Whatsapp”.

Ho yus. There is a teensy problem with this idea: allowing the spooks - who, let us not forget, have leaked and been caused to leak information at a non-trivial rate in recent years - to break the encryption of WhatsApp, or indeed any app, leads inevitably to the criminal element following along behind. Worse, those criminals may have their back door into those apps leaked in turn to terrorists - and there we are back at Square One.

It got worse for Ms Rudd when Marr mentioned the arguments between Apple and the intelligence agencies in the USA: her view was “We’re not saying open up, we don’t want to go into the cloud, we don’t want to do all sorts of things like that, but we do want them  to recognise they have a responsibility to engage with government, to engage with law enforcement agencies when there is a terrorist situation”.

So what did she mean? Marr specifically cited the argument around having a back door into security, and this only made the home secretary’s ignorance more visible: “I would ask Tim Cook to think again about other ways of finding out, of helping us work out, how we can get into situations like Whatsapp on the Apple phone”. Yeah, right.

WhatsApp is not an Apple product; it is an independent company. Cook is not going to be able to help anyone to crack another firm’s encryption. Anyhow, what about that end-to-end encryption? “I do agree what we have to have a situation where we can have our  security services get into the terrorist communications, that’s absolutely the case”.

Well, if she isn’t talking about a back door, what the hell is she talking about? Does Amber Rudd not know that organisations like GCHQ hoover up data in bulk; they don’t do one-off trawls on the fly, and certainly not when the person involved - as Khalid Masood was - is not even on their radar. The interview was not progressing well.

Would she favour using the model used in Germany, where sites allowing proscribed content are liable to be fined? “I’m not sure the German plan has been entirely successful”. Why not? What useful alternative can she muster? “I know it sounds a bit like we’re stepping away from legislation but we’re not …  I’d like to have an industry - wide board set up where they do it themselves. They could do this, I want to make sure they do”.

Without any stick, or perhaps even without any carrot? What was she actually driving at? “What I’m saying is the best people, who understand the technology, who understand  the  necessary hashtags to stop this stuff even being put up, not just taking it down, but stop putting it up in the first place, are going to be them”.

It was all about “the necessary hashtags”. It was at this point that anyone sitting on the fence over Ms Rudd’s ability to understand one end of Information Technology from the other should have heard the warning klaxon sounding long and loud. She doesn’t like encryption, but it keeps all those tens of millions of online transactions that take place every hour of the day safe and secure. Would she want to see that endangered?

Does she want to leave peoples’ privacy open to abuse by anyone with criminal intent? Because as soon as there is a back door into any secure technology, it ain’t going to remain secure for long. And how does she think she will get tech firms to be cooperative with Governments and their agencies without both carrots and sticks - as well as having a minister who knows what he or she is talking about?

Amber Rudd was a totally unconvincing interviewee. And if the Government cannot do any better, we need to know why. Someone send Amber Rudd a copy of I T for Dummies.

InfoWars Royal Islam Hysteria

Those who look in regularly on Zelo Street will notice that I’ve passed adverse comment on the Muslim-baiting pretend journalist that is Paul Watson, who wants his readers and viewers to know that he has his finger on the pulse when it comes to refugees, Europe, and all the terrible things they get up to. Watson now describes himself as an “editor at large” for Alex Jones’ InfoWars, a far-right conspiracy site.
Alex Jones learns he still hasn't won a Cheeto

And the stuff that Jones gets up to puts Watson’s Battersea basement smears in the shade: occupying the same territory on the political spectrum as the convocation of the irredeemably batshit otherwise known as Breitbart, there is no limit to the kinds of fantasist propaganda with which he tries to infect the minds of the frightened and gullible.

To this end, Jones took to the airwaves just two days ago, in the wake of the London attack, claiming to have stood on Westminster Bridge “many times”, before launching into a rant that, like so many Alex Jones rants, bears no relationship to reality. His schtick is that the Scary Muslims (tm) are not only going to take over Britain, they are going to force the Queen to convert to Islam. You think I jest? Well, no I don’t.

Muslims in London say Queen Elizabeth has to convert to Islam or leave the country” he declared, before claiming that self-promotion artist Tommy Robinson had been confronted by “leftists” who had been “paid” to laugh at “survival instincts”. Worse, “they don’t let you march against radical Islam in England”. Jones is not unique among those Stateside in that he uses terms like “England” and “the UK” interchangeably (wrong).
Paul Watson - fantasist InfoWars hate peddler

So where does Jones get his claim about Islam and the Queen? He cites CNN, but it’s a very poor quality film segment. In any case, taking the views of a handful of Muslims who might well have been taking the piss (converting Buckingham Palace into a Mosque does have the air of a wind-up) and extrapolating it to suggest the view is widespread is total crap. But that is what creeps like Jones feed off.

And where he takes this idiocy is to promote “freedom”, “libertarianism”, “rugged individualism”, and of course “low taxes”. He attracts frightened followers by telling them that “the left has allied with Islam”, and that this is a “classical cult” (which he certainly may be) that wants to control language - they talk foreign, so this scares more of the gullible - and wants you to know that his view is wildly popular, cos he gets on telly.

This might be dismissed by some as no more than the rantings of another feeble-minded conspiracy theorist - which is what they are - but that would be to ignore the disturbing reality about Jones and InfoWars: they feed into the paranoid tradition in American politics, the idea that someone out there wants to take away their freedom (and their guns) by forcing something that is “other” upon them. It’s bullshit, but a lot of people believe it.

So yes, Paul Watson and his pals are ripe for being ridiculed, but they are not just idiots, they are potentially dangerous idiots. And too many gullible folks listen to them.

Mail Royal Helicopter Scare Isn’t

The Mail On Sunday is clearly short of stories for its front page lead today, and so has decided to press a few of those dependable readers’ buttons: Royalty combined with air safety,and the supposed menace of drones. Thus the headline “WILLIAM’S HELICOPTER SPLIT SECOND FROM LETHAL DRONE CRASH … Security fears after Prince’s air ambulance in near-miss drama”. Sounds bad - and the online version sounds worse.
Wills cheats death: Prince's helicopter horror as a lethal drone comes within HALF A SECOND of his air ambulance in dramatic near-miss - but was it reckless or deliberate?” gasps the clearly horrified headline writer, before telling readers “The terrifying incident happened at 1,900ft while flying over a McDonald’s”. Do go on.

Prince William’s air ambulance has come within half a second of a catastrophic mid-air collision with a remote-controlled drone … Medics on board reacted with horror when they spotted the device within feet of potentially downing their helicopter … An official report, seen by The Mail on Sunday, said that ‘a collision had only been narrowly avoided’ and disaster was averted by pure ‘chance’”. And there’s more.

Last night aviation experts said the drone could have downed the helicopter, killing those on board and potentially causing more casualties on the ground … The report reveals that the terrifying near-miss happened at 1,900ft when the helicopter, with three medical staff and two pilots on board, was flying almost directly over a McDonald’s restaurant filled with families”. Really? Might it have hit the McDonald’s, then?
It was flying at 138mph, covering 200ft a second, and the drone was less than 100ft away - making it half a second from impact”. So even if the drone had collided with the helicopter, and actually done more than bounce off it, the aircraft would have been well away from the McDonald’s when it fell out of the sky, although, as the incident happened over a built-up area in north-east London (the aircraft was passing between Enfield and Woodford, following the River Lea going north) the potential for other civilian casualties was ever-present. And then it gets a lot worse for the MoS.

Let’s take this nice and slowly. One, the Mail on Sunday and its sister daily title are in the vanguard of kicking Prince William for not working hard enough - now they are trying to suggest it’s too risky for him to be working at all. Two, the “official report, seen by the Mail on Sunday” is publicly available on the Web (you can see it HERE). and Three, what was that small item in the sub-heading that gives the game away?

Here it comes: “The Duke of Cambridge regularly pilots Anglia Two but was not on board”. Wait, what? Yes, “The Duke of Cambridge regularly pilots the helicopter, codenamed Anglia Two, but it was only by fluke that he was not on board at the time. He was at the controls of the aircraft just days later”. HE WAS NOT ON BOARD.

So it was no surprise that “Wills cheats death”, because he wasn’t there. As I said, the MoS was short of front page stories today, so it had to get something off the web, and apply plenty of creative spin. And readers should pay money for that.

Top Six - March 26

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 to be out and about later. So there.
6 Mail’s Sick Google Smear BUSTED The legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre ordered a hit job on a company that is scoring a lot more advertising revenue than the Mail. But the help it claims Google is giving terrorists is also being performed … by itself.

5 Nigel Farage - Russia’s Go-Between It’s looking more and more that Mr Thirsty is the “mystery man” connecting the Trump gang’s Roger Stone to Julian Assange.

4 London Attack - Fox News OTT The not at all fair and balanced Murdoch propaganda outlet pushed the idea that one man had shut down London. Their useful idiots included Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and Katie Hopkins.

3 Daily Mail Turns On Uber The driver and rider matching service and its seriously dodgy practices have landed it with a targeted Mail hit job - and this time deservedly so.

2 London Attack - InfoWars Moron Speaks Paul Watson, now claiming to be “editor at large” for the right-wing conspiracist InfoWars site, lives walking distance from the Palace of Westminster. But he stayed home - some journalist he is.

1 Katie Hopkins Blackmail Clanger Even after landing herself with a £650,000 costs and damages bill after losing a libel action, Hatey Katie could not resist opening mouth and inserting boot once again. She could be in big trouble for that.

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

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Sun Google Hypocrisy

Following yesterday’s assault on Google by the obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre at the Daily Mail, and not merely by coincidence, the Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun have also decided to lay into the tech giant, but only because of their public spirited desire to combat terrorism, and not because Google is nicking all the advertising revenue they think should be theirs, oh no.
So it was that today’s Sun Says rantedBy putting profits first, Google is complicit in creating recruiting platforms for jihadis … It's bad enough that it is structured with one purpose — to pay a pittance in taxes — but Google’s refusal to stop helping the terrorists is simply an outrage”, which is as close to the Mail’sGOOGLE, THE TERRORIST’S FRIEND” as makes no difference. And there was more.

THE chairman of Parliament’s intelligence committee  put it perfectly: The security services have performed a miracle in protecting us from terror plots since the last attack in 2005 … Dominic Grieve knows just how many maniacs are out there trying to kill us  and how impossible it is to monitor every one of them … On any given day there are thought to be around 70 live plots. That means the security services have no choice but to prioritise who they monitor”. OK, so they missed Khalid Masood. Do go on.

MI5 need to look at how they might have spotted the threat from him and what lessons they can learn … But instead of blaming them for that mistake we should thank them for their record of success and do what we can to help them be even better … That means everyone. Including digi giants  such as Google, whose only contribution so far has been to make things much, much worse”. And how have they done that?

Not satisfied with leeching content and profits from the work of traditional media firms, they refuse to take down things that directly aid terrorists”. Whining about advertising revenue again. “Google put their own  profits above the fight against terror. They are complicit in creating  recruiting platforms for murderous jihadis”.

So allowing video and text content that might help wannabe jihadists is Streng Verboten, then. Perhaps the Sun hacks would tell that to the paper that saidISIS has developed a form of ‘remote control’ to direct and encourage so-called lone wolf attacks on the West, it is claimed … Their instruction is carried almost entirely via encrypted social media … Reports suggest much of the jihadis’ communication is done via the Telegram app”.

That paper did another treacherous article that toldMasood only managed to get on to the estate because the gates were open for a ministerial vote … Commons security experts were aware it was a security weak spot … The entrance is often left open during votes so ministers can drive in and out quickly”. Who would give so many clues to apprentice terrorists? Where was this treasonous copy published?

Er, it was IN THE SUN - the SAME PAPER that has been dumping on Google for allowing the posting of terrorist related content. Except the Murdoch goons aren’t just allowing the content, they’re researching and writing it too. Hypocrisy, much?

Don’t help the jihadis, says the Sun - that’s their job. Once again - Don’t Buy The Sun.

Carswell Jumps Before Being Pushed

With the Kippers falling apart, former backer Arron Banks hitting them with a £200,000 bill while he looks to form his own rival party, former leader Nigel “Thirsty” Farage swanning off to use his LBC show and appearances on Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) to score More And Bigger Paycheques For Himself Personally Now, and the EU’s fraud squad on their case, the last thing they needed was more unrest.
So today they got it: UKIP’s one MP, Douglas “Kamikaze” Carswell, lived up to his nickname and left the party. His statement makes particularly lamentable reading; this is, as with so much in politics nowadays, self-serving and excuse-making rolled into one.

Here’s what he had to say: “Like many of you, I switched to UKIP because I desperately wanted us to leave the EU. Now we can be certain that that is going to happen, I have decided that I will be leaving UKIP … I will not be switching parties, nor crossing the floor to the Conservatives, so do not need to call a by-election, as I did when switching from the Conservatives to UKIP. I will simply be the member of parliament for Clacton, sitting as an Independent”. Carswell is to become The Member For Himself.

While this news will cheer Farage and Banks - plus their followers - it removes UKIP’s credibility of having at least one MP. Farage may spend plenty of time slagging off Parliament, but if it’s such a bad place, why has he made seven attempts to get in there (failing every time)? Why has his successor, comedy Scouser Paul Nuttall, the “bad Bootle Meff”, had five goes at getting in (and he’s failed every time, too)?

There will be no chance of “Short money” trickling down to the wider UKIP organisation, nobody there to lobby for the party’s interests, and with Britain set to leave the EU, after 2019 there will be no MEPs either. Mr Thirsty and those on his wing of UKIP might be cheering at the sight of Carswell walking out, but his departure tears away their fig-leaf of credibility - and their ability to turn other MPs to follow their cause.

So why did Carswell throw in the purple towel? Ah well. Consider Nuttall’s recent appearance before the inquisition of the host on The Andy Marr Show (tm), when the question of whether Carswell lobbied with sufficient enthusiasm for Farage to get a gong of some sort was discussed. Nuttall’s response shows why Carswell left.

This is what he said to Marr: “we’ve had it in writing now from Douglas Carswell that he lobbied for Nigel Farage to get a knighthood and he spoke to the people involved. He’s put it in writing, let’s see what happens. It’ll go to the national executive”. He later added “if it’s proven the Douglas lobbied for Nigel to get a knighthood … then I don’t see a problem”.

Carswell resigning from UKIP tells you that he thought it would not be proven to the satisfaction of the party’s national executive. He was expecting to be pushed, and so jumped first. This, too, may give Farage and his pals a warm feeling, but the fact remains that Carswell has saved himself by abandoning the sinking ship just in time.

Nuttall told Marr “I’ve only been in this role for 13 weeks … Give me time to sort out this mess and I will”. But it’s looking increasingly likely that there will be precious little left for him to sort out, let alone lead. The implosion of UKIP continues. Good thing too.

Daily Mail Turns On Uber

Driver and rider matching service Uber has found recently that doing business in London is becoming more testing: new Mayor Sadiq Khan is proving rather less easy to manipulate than his all too occasional predecessor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, many drivers are becoming unhappy at having rate cuts imposed on them, there is an upcoming court case on payment of VAT to contend with - and now the Mail is on their case.
That today’s Mail hatchet job on Uber is serious can be seen by taking one look at the name on the by-line: Guy Adams is the go-to hack when the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre wants to dole out the paper’s equivalent of a punishment beating, or what The Italian Job’s mastermind Mr Bridger would have called “A good going over”. So why has the Mail suddenly decided that Uber is not their kind of company?

Ah well. The principal villains targeted in Adams’ article tell you why: Dacre never really liked now former PM David Cameron, and when he found that Young Dave had approached Viscount Rothermere - Dacre’s ultimate boss - in an attempt to have him fired, the dislike turned to full-on detestation. Dave’s former next door Downing Street neighbour, the Rt Hon Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the seventeenth Baronet, is also involved - and Dacre does not approve of his money-grubbing exploits.
An absolute Muppet. And Elmo from Sesame Street

Cameron and Osborne were pals with one Rachel Whetstone, wife of Dave’s now former advisor Steve Hilton. Dacre is not impressed with Hilton either. Ms Whetstone had just gone to work for Uber when it is widely believed that Cameron and Osborne - plus, it seems, Sajid Javid, Oliver Letwin and others - leaned on Bozza to lay off Uber.

The suppression of Bozza’s moves to get some proper regulation and control into the private hire sector in London is well known within City Hall and the taxi trade. The belief remains that Cameron and Osborne were acting like Uber’s own lobbyists. The difference today is that everyone else is now becoming aware of this scandal; sometimes the Mail can perform a useful function. If only it happened more often.
What everyone else is also learning is that Black Rock, where Osborne has an advisory role, has a total stake in Uber of around £500 million. But more significantly, Adams makes sure Daily Mail readers know that Uber pays UK tax at a rate of around 1%, with the company structured so that punters’ money is paid over to a company in the Netherlands, all helping to avoid paying that taxman what the little people have to.

And it gets a lot worse: Zelo Street can reveal that the Mail has seen much more damning evidence of Uber misbehaviour that has been revealed in Adams’ article. So if Cameron, Osborne, Bozza, Hilton and Ms Whetstone think that this is just going to be one harrumphing broadside from the Vagina Monologue, from which they can dust themselves down and move on, they have another think coming.

The supremacy of Uber in London was for a time, but not for all time.