Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Friday, 22 May 2015

Fleet Street Fox - Er, Hello

As the gravity of the situation facing Trinity Mirror sank in yesterday - the group even declined to put forward someone to appear on BBC Newsnight - some more alert media watchers had pored over the damages awarded and seen that one story in particular had been the subject of an award of £6,000. It concerned an article titled “Lucy Falls Into Arms Of Acrobat”, and its main subject was actor Lucy Benjamin.
Susie Boniface

Now, the Free Library entry for that story has been taken down - why that should have been done I will leave to others - but we know the article was published, because the BBC website showed a photo of the headline back in March, which is reproduced below. The names on the by-line included Dan Evans, who has already admitted his share of phone hacking at the now-defunct Screws, and Susie Boniface, aka Fleet Street Fox.

The article told “Two weeks ago the couple ordered £108 worth of booze for Lucy's [hotel] room at 12.30am as they partied through the night”, of Ms Benjamin’s relationship with gymnast Bobby Hanton. Knowing that said booze had been ordered, perhaps by seeing it delivered, is a perfectly plausible explanation. But being able to place a price tag on it is rather more difficult. And now have come the damages.
Moreover, it will be interesting to see if the upcoming list of claimants seeking damages includes newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky, who was the subject of another article, “TV NATASHA AND HER SECRET LOVER; Live-in boyfriend left ‘devastated’”, that appeared to have been assembled from dubious sources. These included not only details of phone conversations, but how the hacks knew where to find her.

For instance, readers were told “BBC Breakfast's Natasha Kaplinsky has been cheating on her long-term partner with her former boss” before being informed that “They were also spotted together in a cafe in South London. The couple looked relaxed in each other's company, Natasha playfully toying with a lip gloss which she applied [to] her lips after the couple shared a kiss”. Must have been a long stake-out. Or not.

And, as the man said, there’s more. Another Boniface by-line was on the story about John Leslie’s break-up with Abi Titmuss, “Jealous John Dumps Abi In Cheating Row”, the story appearing in the Sunday Mirror on October 12, 2003. Yet another appeared on a story about con man Peter Foster, and Carole Caplin, former friend of the Blairs. Titled "He Cheated On Carole", the second line contains another of those "quotes from friends”.

The on-line copies may have been pulled, but all those articles can be referenced without too much difficulty. It’s possible that all the less scrupulous stuff was done at some distance from Ms Boniface - but when information comes in for you to write up, and it looks mildly pungent, do you just claim the Fawlty Towers Manuel defence, and shrug “I know nothing”, or do you ask whether you may be dropping yourself in the mire?

Susie Boniface may not be out of the woods yet. Zelo Street will maintain a watching brief.

Guido Fawked - More Miliband Whoppers

Mil The Younger has returned from his brief post-election break with wife Justine on the island of Ibiza, and has been talking about where Labour lost that election. And, ever ready to misrepresent him in the most creative way possible are the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, who have posted an item fraudulently titled “Ed In Denial”, which he is not.
Feared. But only by cheap furniture

The Fawkes folks quote George Eaton of the Staggers as proof of veracity: “having returned from his holiday in Ibiza, I’m told that Miliband has been advising MPs on the lessons to learn from the defeat. The former leader has told colleagues not to listen to figures such as Peter Mandelson and not to turn rightwards, according to sources. “'He’s not staying out of it,’ one Labour insider told me (although the former leader will not be endorsing a candidate). Miliband is said to have emphasised that his party lost due to the failure of millions of notional supporters to turn out … Left-wingers have argued that this demonstrates the need for a more radical offer to enthuse this group, rather than a more moderate pitch aimed at winning over Conservative voters”.
He's still frightening the rabid right

However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, there is a teensy omission in the Fawkes transcript of Eaton’s article. You see those three dots in the previous paragraph? Here’s what was there before the Fawkes rabble cut it out: “The pollster Ipsos MORI has used the term ‘lazy Labour’ to the describe the 2.9 million who supported the party in pre-election polling but did not go on to vote”.
The URL for the post suggests the title may have been amended: it specifically says “Miliband blames Lazy Labour for defeat”, which could be construed from the selective quote from the Staggers, but, as can be seen when the missing sentence is reinserted, is bunk. The suggestion was put there by pollsters Ipsos MORI.
So far, so selective, and the Fawkes Twitter feed duly told that “Miliband Blames 'Lazy Labour' For Defeat”. But then, others, who work for supposedly reputable newspapers, merely took this and blithely repeated it. Jason Groves, deputy political editor of the Mail, was typical: “Love this: Miliband tells friends he had the right policies but Labour supporters were too 'lazy' to vote for him”.
Just what the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre wants him to say, one might think. Also perhaps approving of this line would be those in the service of Creepy Uncle Rupe, and so no-one will be surprised that the serially clueless Tim Montgomerie asserted “Here's that #LazyLabour thing that Ed Miliband reportedly thinks lost him the election”. Except Miliband didn’t think or say that.

So even after Miliband leaves the Labour leadership, the Fawkes rabble and their press pals are still smearing him. The vindictive glee is sad, but predictable. It’s rather an odd way for some to get their jollies, but that’s the rabid right for you. Another fine mess.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Katie Hopkins - Human Rights Comedian

As Michael “Oiky” Gove surveys the potential minefield of attempting to repeal the Human Rights Act, one helpful soul out there on the right has decided to lend him a helping hand, but by doing so, has sought to trivialise the subject while showing that she is never going to be a proper comedian. Step forward occasionally professional motormouth Katie Hopkins, who wants her adoring public to know it’s all about foreigners.
Sadly, this wizard wheeze serves only to illustrate Ms Hopkins’ grotesque bigotry, as she kicks off her novelBritish Bill Of Rights” by telling “In the first of the Conservatives’ two-fingered salutes to leftards and Europe - they are scrapping the Human Rights Act”. That’s right, Katie freely uses words that really mean “retard” to describe those whose outlook on the world does not conform to her particular Weltanschauung.

But do go on: “Chris Grayling had a crack at it with an 8 page document ‘drawn up on the back of a fag packet’ according to detractors”. Just how one gets eight pages from something “drawn up on the back of a fag packet” does not occur to Ms Hopkins, but she does know that “Gove has a new and improved 40 page version ready to roll”, which would be news to “Oiky”, who, as far as is known, hasn’t made a start on his version - yet.
She also appears confused as to how due process of law works in practice, claiming “If you wish to remain in our great country, do not mutilate, rape or kill British people. Otherwise, you are going home”. She seems unaware that prison is an equal opportunity punishment, and that the “going home”, as she describes it, tends to happen only after the miscreant has served their time, or we can be sure they’ll be banged up on return.

But Katie does know that prisoners don’t really have rights, because they are “not capable of making sensible decisions”. That, as any fule kno, does not justify the withdrawal of their rights, even if it were true. The very point of universal human rights is that they apply not only to motormouths who write columns for the Sun, but also those who, as she puts it, have “a crooked hand, a brother called Mo or a sister in Lithuania with chronic acne”.

As Lord Bingham reminded his audience all those years ago, Human Rights “are protected for the benefit above all of society’s outcasts, those who need legal protection because they have no other voice – the prisoners, the mentally ill, the gipsies, the homosexuals, the immigrants, the asylum-seekers, those who are at any time the subject of public obloquy”. Or, perhaps, those who Katie Hopkins thinks undeserving.

Her fans will no doubt urge anyone not infused with mirth at a reading of her tedious screed to “lighten up”, and that “it’s only a bit of banter”, but the reality is that it’s just another example of framing the debate by suggesting that only people who talk foreign and commit crimes enjoy Human Rights - not all of us (yes, they apply to all of us). They even apply to Sun pundits and journalists, or perhaps Katie didn’t think to ask.

Even Sun pundits who call their opponents “retards”. Katie Hopkins, you’re a bellend.

Mirror Hacking Payouts Could Be Fatal

Mr Justice Mann has made his decision: the compensation that Trinity Mirror must pay to eight victims of phone hacking runs to £1.2 million. And that is before costs - that is, both the paper’s costs, and those of the victims - is added. The publishers of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People are already significantly out of pocket, and the precedent set this morning does not bode well for their finances.
Why should that be? Ah well. As the Guardian has told, “Trinity Mirror is facing a soaring legal bill after dozens more alleged phone-hacking victims, including senior Labour party figures, scores of TV stars and David Beckham’s father, prepare to sue the Daily Mirror publisher … More than 100 alleged victims are believed to be preparing to launch claims once a compensation precedent has been set”. It’s now been set.

Do the math, as they say: the Guardian notes that, for those whose compensation has just been announced, “the overall bill could reach £10m once costs are included, according to one senior legal source”. If, let us say in way of illustration, every ten victims in future means a total bill, in compensation and legal fees, of £10 million, that means the publishers would be looking at another £100 million, with the possibility of more to come.

And there are some significant names ready to sue: apart from Beckham père, there are “The Coronation Street actor Claire King, and Tim Horlick, the ex-husband of high-profile fund manager Nicola Horlick … The actors Hugh Grant and Elizabeth Hurley, and television personalities including Amanda Holden, Denise Van Outen and Rhys Ifans … George Best’s former agent Phil Hughes and Gascoigne’s close friend Jimmy Gardner”.

There’s more: “Kelly Hoppen, former motorsport team boss and BBC presenter Eddie Jordan, Holby City actor Tina Hobley, Torchwood star Caroline Chikezie and Jeff Brazier, the TV personality and former partner of reality star Jade Goody”. That suggests there will be more significant compensation awards. Trinity Mirror’s pre-tax profit for the last year was just over £102 million. That’s the grim reality, right there.
There could be a way out: as Evan Harris has outlined to the BBC, were Trinity Mirror to join a press self-regulator recognised under the Royal Charter, they could use the provisions of the relevant legislation to shelter from more expensive upcoming claims. Impress, founded by Jonathan Heawood and with Harold Evans as its patron, is to seek recognition later this year. The door is open to Trinity Mirror.

Of course, the Mirror titles rushed to join sham “regulator” IPSO, which offers them no such protection. They have now, at the Eleventh Hour, realised the consequences. It is instructive, if predictably so, that a look down the gun barrel is required for wiser counsels to prevail. The Mirror titles have a proud place in UK journalism. But they do not have the resources of the Murdoch empire. That’s why phone hacking could prove fatal to them.

Push has now come to shove. Trinity Mirror should consider its next move carefully.

Sun Pundit Continues Teen Obsession

As I noted yesterday, (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch has declined to take the hint and desist from her pursuit of 17 year old Abby Tomlinson, who popularised the #Milifandom hashtag, despite being subjected to severely adverse comment, and told that her target is in the midst of her exams. The impression is given that Ms Mensch is becoming obsessed with her pursuit.
(c) Doc Hackenbush 2014

That impression was only reinforced when, yesterday, she announced to the world - whether it wanted to receive the news or not - that not only was she not going to drop this particular bone, she was also going to post a blog on it. The over-long, rambling, self-pitying, projection-laden and victimhood-playing result can be read HERE. For those who don’t want to lose too much of their lives, I will summarise rather more concisely.

After establishing that she is going to refer to her target as “Ms Cuddleston”, because “I do not care who she is or what her real name is”, Ms Mensch tells that “bullying is always a scourge, and always wrong”, and then does just that. She justifies her apologia in the middle of Abby’s exams with “I was planning to wait to write this piece, but even saying that I planned to wait encouraged a round of left-wing pieces”.

Yes, it’s the rotten lefties’ fault! They made her do it!! Then, after stressing “Ms. Cuddleston was not bullied by me”, she sets out on a long yet highly selective journey in which everything is, to no surprise at all, someone else’s fault. Her attempt to smear #Milifandom as being a Labour Party plant, rather than spontaneous, is met with faux outrage that people on Twitter could suggest such things.

Ms Mensch was being accused of bullying. She found this “wearisome”, while admitting she had suggested that not only was the Labour Party operation running #Milifandom, but that someone was lying about it. Happily, she is able to get readers to “look over there” at her pursuit of now-former Respect MP George Galloway. In this way, perhaps she expects us to think her pursuit of Abby is equally heroic - which it is not.

Then, after whining how she had been “utterly bombarded” by adverse Twitter comment, and yet more tiresome pedantry over what constitutes a child, and what makes someone an adult, comes her accusation that “Cuddleston displayed extraordinary hypocrisy as she twice doxxed a reporter”. There was no doxxing, and if Ms Mensch has difficulty with understanding that, she should not be shooting her mouth off about it in the first place.

Finally, after making the seemingly obligatory mental health reference, losing it with author and playwright Peter Jukes (see his take HERE), and praising those in the press who think her behaviour is fine - that would be all too many of them, sadly - Ms Mensch informs her adoring public that she has closed comments on the post. This, too, is someone else’s fault: she has been forced to do it, you understand.

Thus what remained of Louise Mensch’s reputation has been shredded, and, should the paper retain her services after this outburst, so will that of the Murdoch press. Nothing, but nothing, but NOTHING, justifies this disturbing obsession. And they let her become an MP.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Daily Mail Olive Cooke Hypocrisy

Last Saturday, the Mail was unequivocal as to who had caused 92 year old Olive Cooke to take her own life: “SHAME OF CHARITIES THAT DROVE OLIVE TO HER DEATH” thundered the front page headline. The supporting article spelled it out: “Shame of charities that prey on the kind-hearted and drove Olive to her death: Organisations who exploited pensioner's kind heart admit to sending begging letters”.
There was more: “A string of household names – including Amnesty, the Alzheimer’s Society, Save the Children, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Prostate Cancer UK and Breast Cancer Care – were yesterday revealed to be among those that sent Mrs Cooke letters before her suicide … Politicians and campaigners said last night it was appalling that the frail great-grandmother had felt under siege”.

In support of this was a suitably judgmental tirade from Daily Mail Comment, the authentic voice of the Vagina Monologue: “Today the Mail reveals more shocking details about the torment suffered by Olive Cooke – Britain's longest-serving poppy seller, who took her own life after being hounded by dozens of charities … If [charities] do not have the decency to stop voluntarily, the government and its army of well-paid regulators should intervene”.

And to show that the Mail’s campaign was an orchestrated one, Glenda emeritus Amanda Platell weighed in withDespicable charities preying on the elderly … how truly sickening that this most kind-hearted of women was preyed upon in her old age by charities demanding more and more of her money, to the point where she could take no more and committed suicide”. Readers were clearly told which way to think here.

So any Mail reader stopping by at the Independent’s site may have been surprised yesterday to see the headlineFamily of 92-year-old Olive Cooke say charities 'not to blame' for poppy seller's death”. Her family “has hit out against reports that pestering charities played a part in the 92-year-old’s death, stating instead that the organisations are ‘not to blame’”. Olive Cooke’s granddaughter went further.

[Nan] believed that charities are the backbone to our communities, that they can be the scaffolding for us in our times of crisis. She believed that charities give us support, hope and courage when we need it the most. I think that the amount of contact from charities was starting to escalate and get slightly out of control, and the phone calls were beginning to get intrusive, but there is no blame or suggestion that this was a reason for her death”.

Indeed, Olive Cooke “had left the family ‘a beautiful note’ explaining the reasons for her death, which were connected to depression, lack of sleep, and health issues around being elderly. The reasons had ‘nothing to do with the charities’”. So what did the Mail have to say about that? There has been no more than a grudging Mail Online piece, suitably slanted to allow the hacks and pundits to justify their charity bashing.

Daily Mail lies and smears, and having done the deliberate damage, moves on to the next target. Nobody gains anything from the exercise except the Mail. No change there, then.

Don’t Menshn Bullying

After the Guardian, Independent, and HuffPost all ran pieces telling readers of the widespread condemnation that had rained down on (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch over her pursuit of #Milifandom promoter Abby Tomlinson - a 17 year old “A” Level student - one might have thought she would stop and think. But that is not the way in her reassuringly upmarket corner of Manhattan.
(c) Doc Hackenbush 2014

So, despite the suggestions to desist, and QC John Cooper taking a keen interest on Abby’s behalf, Ms Mensch has decided not only that she will publish an attack piece, but has also claimed that she has been forced into it by all those rotten critics. The level of projection, ignorance and dishonesty, as I’ll show, is truly staggering.
Ms Mensch started her tirade yesterday, attacking Abby, despite her asking to be left alone: “Seriously, bog off. I understand you tried to doxx a reporter by tweeting her phone number. It won't work with me … your pathetic attempts to disclaim criticism by claiming to be ‘a child’ at seventeen - yes, seventeen - won't wash … You stated you ‘founded’ #milifandom;  you didn't. Can you point me to where you credited the girl who did?
There was no doxxing (see HERE), but the accusation continued: “Also have you apologized to the reporter for doxxing her phone number? … it was *already a trending topic* when you tweeted this, your first tweet on Chloe's hashtag. Shameless … just doing a storify now it is so remarkable how you took credit for her hashtag, described yourself as ‘founder’”. Jibberish - but clearly persistent, and unwanted, bullying.
And there was more bullying: “she complained about it repeatedly but you apparently made no effort to correct - where did you credit her? … She created and founded the #milifandom ‘Abby’. Thank you. You did not. Where have you credited her? … Got to do that #bullyfanddom blog later this week - she tried to doxx a polite reporter doing her job for no reason, posted mobile no”. There was still no doxxing. But she wasn’t finished.
Now the threats: “that is the very least of my criticisms. They center on doxxing. Will write up in a blog later on”. And an attack on the HuffPost: “your report is wholly false. I don't give a monkey's what @twcuddleston is doing. I referred to the MF founder - who isn't her … I will blog this up once *her* exams are finished. And I very much look forward to doing so. Criticism is not bullying”. Someone doesn’t get it. Then came the brass neck.
Fake idea I backed down (lol) or agree that criticism is ‘bullying’ does mean I will probably have to write it today … Huffpo story is steaming pile of bollocks, and as a result, will blog up the story later today; more important work to first though”. The HuffPost made her do it! And you’ll love the coda: “I have some reporting to do today on @georgegalloway that matters. I will write piece on false ‘harassment’ claims after that”.

Not only is Ms Mensch completely in the right, she’s a real journalist! She’s also a deluded idiot who can’t take a hint. And they let her become an MP. Never forget that.

Labour Uncut - Illiterate Drivel

The Labour Uncut site tells that it is “Inside Labour politics”. Exactly what this means is exemplified by a supremely wrong-headed rant from editor Atul Hatwal, complaining bitterly at the prospect of Andy Burnham becoming party leader. Now, Zelo Street has previously concluded that the MP for Leigh would be on the receiving end of anything pertaining to the Stafford Hospital saga. But not from his own side.
Nothing like being trashed without facts

One has to wonder if Hatwal has bothered with fact-checking his piece, as readers are treated to gems like “Burnham in particular was the health secretary when the travesty of Mid Staffs occurred. Once again, other candidates’ teams will ensure his vulnerability to Tory attack as the man on whose watch Mid Staffs happened, will be front and centre, in media coverage of the campaign”. Shall we subject that to a real world analysis?

It is agreed that the instances of inadequate care, at two wards in Stafford Hospital, occurred between 2003 and 2008. Andy Burnham was appointed Health Secretary in June 2009. Unless he had access to some kind of time travelling device, the Stafford Hospital failings did not, repeat did not, repeat DID NOT happen on his watch. Yet Hatwal repeats himself later: “Andy Burnham, secretary of state for health at the time of Mid Staffs”.

Labour Uncut’s editor fares no better with Burnham’s time as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, a tenure that lasted just seven months. “Do party members think that Andy Burnham, chief secretary to the Treasury in the Labour government on the eve of the crash, is best placed to overcome the Conservative onslaught and convince voters that Labour can now be trusted on the economy?” demands Hatwal.

Quite how Burnham is supposed to have averted something that had its origins outside the UK is an interesting proposition. Moreover, Hatwal manages to miss the inconvenient fact that the Tories - that would be Young Dave and his jolly good chaps - pledged to match Labour spending plans at the time. The idea that Burnham being in post for seven months bestowed the ability to make a significant difference is ridiculous.

Likewise with the failings at Stafford Hospital: indeed, Burnham had been in post only a month when he set up the Francis Inquiry, which has recently reported. And, when it reported, Young Dave said of it in the Commons “Let us … be clear about what it does not say … Francis does not blame any specific policy … He does not blame the last Secretary of State for Health … And he says we should not seek scapegoats”.

Atul Hatwal appears not to have taken these wise words on board, and so is busily scapegoating. Now, it’s true that the right-leaning press will try and pull a similar stunt, and it is with that background that some Labour MPs and party members may register a choice for leader other than Burnham. But that does not excuse someone who purports to talk “inside Labour politics” from coming up with this shoddily researched and argued tosh.

And, worst of all, Hatwal fails to nominate a candidate of which he would approve. That’s not good enough.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Tories Seven Day NHS Repeats

David Cameron’s seven-day NHS is shameless political game-playing” asserted Kailash Chand last March in a Guardian Comment Is Free piece, going on to sayHe made a similar promise at the last election in 2010”.  That was not the half of it: Young Dave has pulled this particular stunt not once, but three times before this month’s General Election. Thus the “heir to Blair” has taken on board one of Tone’s bad habits.
Look cheps, an NHS electoral opportunity over thyah! Jolly good sheow!

That habit was the multiple announcement of Government programmes. A thousand new train carriages? Was that the previous thousand, a totally new thousand, or part of a previous thousand with a few more added on? How many miles of new roads? Did that mean totally new, rather than widenings and by-passes? Had they included the previous Government’s new roads, or just some of them?

So when Channel 4 News told thatDavid Cameron pledged at his party's spring conference that a second-term Conservative government would ensure patients across England would have full access to hospital services seven days a week by the end of the parliament in 2020”, a significant number of bullshit detectors sounded, beginning with those who had read the Tories’ 2010 manifesto.

This is what that document said on seven day access to the NHS: “People want an NHS that is easy to access at any time of day or night. We will commission a 24/7 urgent care service in every area of England, including GP out of hours services, and ensure that every patient can access a GP in their area between 8am and 8pm, seven days a week”. Accident and Emergency services, of course, are already available 24/7.

Fast forward to the Tories’ 2013 conference: “David Cameron says he wants to offer more patients the chance to visit a GP in the evening or at weekends. Under a scheme to be piloted in nine areas of England, surgeries will be able to bid for funding to open from 8am to 8pm seven days a week”. And, er, “The Labour government encouraged practices to open later in the evening and on weekends”. But there wasn’t sufficient demand.

You never hear the Tories mention that, do you? Ah well, on to last year’s Tory conference, and there was Young Dave once again: “David Cameron promises seven-day GP access by 2020 … Everyone in England will have access to GP services seven days a week by 2020, Prime Minister David Cameron has promised”. Do go on.

People need to be able to see their GP at a time that suits them and their family. That's why we will ensure everyone can see a GP seven days a week by 2020. We will also support thousands more GP practices to stay open longer” said Dave. Jolly good sheow! Except it was a repeat, Labour had tried to promote the idea, and in many cases it wasn’t worth the expense. So the Tories airbrush Labour out of the picture, and promote this as their idea, not just this year, but last. And the one before that. And 2010.

Anyone might think Dave is just another slick PR practitioner. Er, hang on a minute …

Guido Fawked - Labour Privilege Hypocrisy

[Update at end of post]

As the field of candidates for the Labour leadership seems to have stabilised, so the attacks from the right-leaning punditerati have gathered pace. Some of those attacks verge on the desperate, and typical of these is yesterday’s effort from the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, titled “The All White, All Oxbridge People’s Party”, coming from an, er, all-white source.
Fart in lift Inquiry experiences following wind

All of the Labour Party leadership candidates are scions of privilege” declares the post, on the grounds that all five declared hopefuls attended either Oxford or Cambridge University. However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, this is not in itself a mark of privilege: one need not hail from an elite background to go up to Oxford or Cambridge. Perhaps we should consider where they all went to school.

And here the Fawkes analysis comes badly unstuck: only one of the five, Tristram Hunt, attended an independent school. All the others - Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Mary Creagh and Liz Kendall - went to state schools and colleges. So the Fawkes rabble are only 20% correct in their assertion. And it gets worse - as in much, much worse - when one  looks to see who authored that post.

Now who might be sitting in an awfully draughty glasshouse right now? Yes, you guessed it: this pile of steaming bovine by-product was the work of the odious flannelled fool Henry Cole, Staines’ tame gofer, who knows all about being a “scion of privilege”, because he is one. Master Cole, unlike four of the five Labour leadership hopefuls, went not just to an independent school, but a singularly exclusive one.

Tonbridge School, so its Wiki entry tells us, “is an independent day and boarding school for boys … it is a member of the Eton Group, and has close links with the Worshipful Company of Skinners, one of the oldest London livery companies … Tonbridge's fees are among the highest of all the independent schools in Britain in terms of Boarding, at £35,163 per year, compared to Eton's £34,434 or Harrow's £34,590”.

Yes, the buffoon Cole went to Tonbridge School, and there he is calling “scion of privilege” on the likes of Andy Burnham. That’s not just hypocrisy, it’s M&S hypocrisy. It’s hypocrisy that should generate a straight-A f*** right off in response. But then another thought enters: if Master Cole attended an Eton Group school - the kind of school that sends so many of its pupils up to Oxford and Cambridge - why didn’t he go there?

And then the additional thought enters that Cole has always had a tendency to shonky grammar - in addition to the exaggeration and dishonesty - and leads to the impression that, while Andy Burnham went up to Cambridge to read English, the flannelled fool might not have been good enough. Were that to be the case, this amateurish smear of the Labour Party could just as easily be described as a fit of petty jealousy.

Master Cole went to Edinburgh to read politics. And he’s shite at that. Another fine mess.

[UPDATE 20 May 1155 hours: this morning, Tristram Hunt concluded that he may not be able to gain sufficient support from Labour MPs - any candidate for the leadership needs the backing of 15% of the Parliamentary party, or 35 MPs - and so has withdrawn from the race.

Instead, he had given his support to Liz Kendall, which means that all the remaining Labour leadership candidates attended state schools. That makes the hypocrisy of Master Cole yet more glaring. Someone who went to the exclusive, Eton Group Tonbridge School calling four state-educated MPs "scions of privilege" is beyond parody]

Katie Hopkins - Bad Loser

The danger of always trying to say something yet more outrageous is that, sooner or later, the defamation line gets crossed and seriously expensive legal trouble follows. One need only ask Sally Bercow to know how that can pan out. But one person not for asking, and potentially dropping herself in the doo-doo yesterday, was semi-professional motormouth Katie Hopkins, who now faces the daunting prospect of being forced to say sorry.
Viewers may want to look away now

For reasons best known to herself, Ms Hopkins snapped yesterday at food writer and campaigner Jack Monroe “scrawled on any memorials recently? Vandalised memory of those who fought for your freedom. Grandma got any more medals?” This was a most unwise course of action, as Ms Monroe’s reply suggested.
I have NEVER 'scrawled on a memorial'. Brother in the RAF. Dad was a Para in the Falklands. You're a piece of shit”. It got worse for Katie, as she left the offending Tweet in place, and her target set out her options concisely: “I'm asking you nicely to please delete this lie Katie, and if I have to ask again it will be through my lawyer”. Ms Hopkins could not hope to stand up her claim, so she really had only one way out.
Sadly, the Hopkins way is never to even consider retracting, and so Ms Monroe had to remind her that this was being taken seriously: “Come on Hopkins, tick tock, hit delete & say sorry - this is a blatant lie & my lawyer has it in her inbox. Bring it”. Still no response. So a further reminder was issued. “Dear @KTHopkins, public apology + £5k to migrant rescue & I wont sue. It'll be cheaper for you & v.satisfying for me”.
And then something almost unheard of happened: Katie Hopkins actually deleted the offending Tweet. However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, there was no apology, and she couldn’t let go without one last vindictive kick at someone who had forced an act of half-decent behaviour: “Can someone explain to me - in 10 words or less - the difference between irritant @PennyRed and social anthrax @MsJackMonroe”.
Something else happened in the meantime: Katie Glass, supposedly a Sunday Times reporter, waded in, on the pretence that she was injecting a voice of reason. It is not the first time Ms Glass has jumped into a Twitter scrap involving another Murdoch contributor. But back to the main event: the Hopkins Tweet had gone, but the lack of apology, together with a refusal to drop the bone, meant she was by no means in the clear.
This was underscored this morning when lawyer Mark Lewis - you saw him at the Leveson Inquiry - told Ms Monroe “Feel free to call”. Katie Hopkins could have just pulled the Tweet, admitted she had mistaken Jack Monroe for someone else, and apologised. But that is not the way with those who believe their own publicity. Now this bad loser faces the prospect, instead, of being told to say sorry, and pay rather more than two dollars.

Never mind, though, Katie, you’re famous, remember? For a few more minutes, anyway.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Sun Women’s Refuge Hypocrisy

Someone among Rupe’s downmarket troops at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun must have heard the quote attributed to French politician Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin: “There go the people. I must follow them, for I am their leader”. The Sun’s front page story today, and its associated campaign, are an excellent example in the art of seeing a bandwagon passing and leaping out in front of it.
GIVE ME SHELTER” pleads the headline, as the Sun launches its campaign for women’s refuges. Managing editor Stig Abell clearly thought this was A Very Good Thing, as he Tweeted out the cover image overnight. And the cause is indeed a deserving one. That is not the problem: that the Sun has sat on its hands for years, and only now decided to leap out in front of the bandwagon, certainly is.
What also jars is the way in which Abell and his pals have attempted to seize the moral high ground over the issue, exemplified during the day when he became most indignant with campaigner Jack Monroe at her observation “Dear @StigAbell Perhaps if your newspaper hadn't championed the party cutting domestic abuse support, your campaign might seem less hollow”. And she supported the Greens, y’know!
Stig was not happy: “Objecting to a positive, constructive campaign based on your own politics is hollow”. It wasn’t a political response, but hey ho. The man otherwise known as Joe Public tried to show Abell that the Sun did not have a record of sweetness and light when it came to exploiting women. And Jo Liptrott reminded him “It's the objectification & dehumanising of women in The Sun which gives validation to violence against women”.
What might also be causing scepticism among those observing this latest exhibition of the Sun coming over all caring and campaigning is that it has been silent on the subject for so long. As far back as January 2013, the Guardian was warning “Social care is bearing the brunt of council cuts … Statistical manipulation disguises the fact that disabled people are being hit the hardest by cuts to benefits and services”.
It wasn’t just the disabled, though, as Women’s Aid warned the following December: “As 155 women and more than 100 children turned away from refuges in one day … Women’s Aid, the national domestic violence charity, is declaring a state of crisis in domestic violence services today, as the charity’s Annual Survey reveals shocking gaps in funding and provision for women experiencing domestic violence”.
It got worse: in August last year, the Guardian warned “Women's groups say broadscale closure of safe houses putting support for some of most vulnerable people back 40 years … Polly Neate, chief executive of Women's Aid, said a dearth of experience on commissioning bodies was putting the system back to when the first domestic violence refuge in the world opened, in Chiswick, west London, in 1971”.

Only last month, the Mirror put it plainly: “Women's refuges turned away THOUSANDS of victims last year - thanks to funding cuts”. And what was the Sun doing? Well, apart from giving its pundits free rein to bully and threaten teenage girls, it was cheering on the cuts that have left the provision of Women’s refuges where it is now. And Stig Abell wants us all to applaud his wonderful new campaign. Pass the sick bucket.

Sun Pundit Threatens Teenage Girl

As Zelo Street observed at the time, the Murdoch Sun was caught harassing “A” Level student Abby Tomlinson, doorstepping her family, and also her grandmother, for the crime of promoting the #Milifandom craze. The teenager was then harassed by (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch. Now, as she has announced her intention to pursue the Sun for its intrusion on her extended family, the threats have started again.
Abby has secured the pro bono services (that means his time isn’t costing her anything) of John Cooper QC, a sound move for anyone who is suffering intrusion at the hands of the less scrupulous end of the Fourth Estate. But, despite the earlier threat of monstering by Ms Mensch not coming to pass, it has not gone away: once again, it seems that the former MP was only leaned on to desist until after the election.
This is what the Murdoch faithful cannot handle: “‘If you associate yourself with The Labour Party, we will find you, and we WILL doorstep your nan’ - Rupert Murdoch … And on that note - we need someone to stand strong against Murdoch, and that's why I'm backing @tom_watson for deputy leader”. That means she’s got the press sussed, and knows who to back in order to do something about it.
And only one person apologised for the harassment: “Also, when I spoke with Ed on the phone he made sure to ask me to apologise to my family, in particular my grandma, on his behalf”. Not the Murdochs, then. So her next revelation was not a surprising one: “A formal complaint against the sun is being made for the way my family was treated regarding #milifandom”. This is going to be one to watch.
Did she have suitable support for her complaint? Yes: “I do in the form of @John_Cooper_QC”. She was also encouraged in her actions by many who have observed the press close up; author and playwright Peter Jukes’ comment, “Good for you. Abby @twcuddleston Nihil illegitimi carborundum”, was typical (You do not need Bozza’s knowledge of Latin to figure that one out).
That meant one thing, and that thing was Ms Mensch jumping in with both feet. Complaining about the Sun “and not the Sunday Mirror? Your hypocrisy going full steam then? Apologized for posting the reporter's phone number have you?” This was followed by an explicit threat: “looks like my article will be topical for next week”. So Lou-You-Know-Who already has a hatchet job ready to roll.
The kinds of nastiness the Sun pundit has in mind were spelt out: “why did you say ‘Milifandom was started by myself’? It was not”. Well, who knows? And, indeed, who cares? Why on earth was Ms Mensch pursuing Abby? “She tweeted out the phone number of a reporter. Time somebody reported on her”. Yes, the lamest of pretext.

Those who know what the tabloid press is like will find this sadly predictable. Others may instead find it creepy, obsessive, bullying, and sickening in turn. It’s bang out of order.