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Friday, 30 June 2017

So Farewell Then Heat Street

It was only in February last year that Mark Sweney at the Guardian told readersFormer Tory MP Louise Mensch is to launch a centre-right website for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp … Mensch tweeted that under her leadership the libertarian website, Heat Street, will be a place where ‘disagreement will be encouraged’”. Heat Street duly launched in April 2016. The encouragement of disagreement was hindered by the lack of comments.
This set the tone for Heat Street: there was always something getting in the way. At the start it was the absence of a comments facility, then later on it was Ms Mensch herself. While the Murdoch empire threw its weight behind Combover Crybaby Donald Trump, she was discovered shilling for Hillary Clinton - then backing every Republican except Trump. She has since been peddling Russia conspiracy nonsense.

Meanwhile, Heat Street’s growth stalled at the end of last year, as many in the online community deserted it over accusations that Ms Mensch was indulging in “controlled opposition”. In November, Zelo Street noted that she had vanished from the Heat Street site, and then in January this year came the confession from both her and the Murdoch mafiosi that she had effectively been sacked - from her own website.

But the departure of Ms Mensch was not enough to save Heat Street, which, it has been revealed first by BuzzFeed, is to close in August, after less than a year and a half in the marketplace. The Murdochs have no doubt become less than enamoured of the idea that they should keep throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars annually into what is little more than an open pit - for no discernible return.

And the reason for Heat Street’s demise is at least partly down to Ms Mensch: as BuzzFeed tells, “Fox News had explored acquiring Heat Street, The Wall Street Journal reported in May … Rupert Murdoch, who controls both News Corp and 21st Century Fox, pushed for the deal, but that Fox didn't want to take on the property, in part because of Mensch's recent Twitter crusade”. Think about that.
Louise Mensch’s Twitter and blog activity - where she regularly denounces anyone of opposing view as an asset of Russian intelligence, dispenses increasingly desperate conspiracy rantings about who Vladimir Vladimirovitch Putin may or may not have had bumped off, and often resorts to doxing her opponents - has made anything associated with her too toxic even for Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse).

Heat Street, far from being the “punky libertarian” website, was not even able to mix it with the likes of Daily Caller, The Blaze and Breitbart. The official line is that Heat Street will be “folded in” to the MarketWatch brand, but as Business Insider has put it, “It is not clear how many of Heat Street's 15 staff will move over to MarketWatch”. And what happens to Miles Goslett, whose reputation will have suffered badly by association, is not told.

Still, not a bad result for Ms Mensch for nothing more than being nice to Rupert and James Murdoch at a Commons Media Select Committee hearing. Pity about screwing it up so badly that the site doesn’t even get 18 months in the spotlight, mind.

The age of Louise Mensch the entrepreneur was for a brief time. And now it is over.

Iain Martin - Corbyn-Phobic Clown

We are constantly being regaled on the subject of Fake News, which the right-leaning part of the Fourth Estate is happy to tell us comes exclusively from the left. Unsubstantiated assertions, conspiracy theories, paranoid rantings, all are held to have originated from those dastardly lefties. As a result, they can safely be ignored. From this it follows that the establishment media would not lower itself to such deeds.
Iain Martin ...

At this point we encounter Iain Martin. He, we are informed, is a respectable and well-informed voice of reason. His CV includes the Wall Street Journal and the Times; both are cited as pillars of erudition. It follows, therefore, that his commentary on politics and economics is a model of integrity, beyond reproach. Nobody complains when he is asked by broadcasters to dispense his superior insights to a television audience.

In pursuit of his erudite and mainstream commentary, Martin now has an outlet in a pretentious group blog called Reaction, of which he is the editor. This includes contributions from Himself, in addition to such upstanding mainstream voices as Dan, Dan The Oratory Man. From this it is no surprise to learn that Reaction features posts which are highly conservative, and forthrightly anti-EU in tone.

And as a former faithful taker of the Murdoch shilling, Martin can look forward to his copy appearing in the Sun, as with today’sJeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell want street politics to lead to the overthrow of the economic order … Labour hard left are trying to create a different kind of democracy in which workers take over the means of production”.

It is here that we see what is called out as paranoid conspiracy nonsense when coming from the left becomes totally respectable when it originates on the right, as Martin proffers “Jeremy Corbyn and McDonnell want a different kind of democracy from classic ­parliamentary democracy … They want street politics and demonstrations to lead to the overthrow of the economic order and the creation of a different kind of democracy in which workers take over the means of production, stealing private property and running the economy via a system of, er, cooperatives or soviets”.

Strange, we’ve had the Co-operative movement for a century and a half and nothing got overthrown, other than the occasional stack of baked bean tins. So perhaps Martin would like to pony up a citation for that? But this, as with the rest of his screed, will not be forthcoming. Instead, we receive only an appeal to his supposed authority.
... and a moment when the mask slipped

For starters, you must understand that Iain Martin is a respectable mainstream voice, and not a ranting conspiracy merchant. So he’s not away with the fairies when he howls “A lot would go wrong in a socialist economic revolution, as history shows … I’m not alone in thinking Corbyn is rather naive and idealistic, thinking presumably that this process of transforming the economy to an anti-market system would be rather nice, joyful and peaceful. And there you get to the heart of why this stuff always leads to coercion, control and terror”. No citation followed by dependent false assumption is where it leads.

But he’s serious about this revolution lark: “Several things happen when it is tried, after the initial shock that leads to capital flight and panic. There are case studies from Russia, Venezuela, Cuba, East Germany, China and quite a few more”. Ri-i-i-ight.

Sorry to inject a little reality here, but Britain is a mature Parliamentary democracy. There would not be the easily kicked-in rotten door that begat the Russian Revolution, or indeed those in Cuba and China. And why right-wing pundits have to slavishly scream “Venezuela” so often, when the similarity between that country and Britain is non-existent, is one of those dead giveaways. But do go on.

And go on he does, describing some dystopian fantasy revolution scenario which he clearly believes will follow from a Labour election victory, concluding “Socialism always was a ­terrible idea … It has failed time and again precisely because it rejects the market mechanism”. Ah, Professor Milton Friedman is among us. Tell us more.

Corbyn and McDonnell want to eliminate all this in Britain and if you doubt it you are being naive. They want to eliminate profit and retro-fit human beings so they accord with their ideological vision based on class hatred and the journey towards socialism”.
Not the return of Soviet communism, sorry

We won’t be getting a reliable citation for that, either. It is, after all, just another instalment in the right-leaning press’ attempts to frighten readers against Labour’s offering, a set of proposals which would not be out of place in many mainland European countries. We do, though, get some intellectual heft added to the argument.

But as Adam Smith demonstrated, pursuit of economic self-interest under the law and with respect for private ­property is healthy and vital … Companies pay wages and corporation taxes. Profit creates the money for investment, expansion and consumption. Profit is not a dirty word”. Ah, Adam Smith. They always wheel out Adam Smith.

So here, Iain Martin, are some of the things on which Adam Smith pronounced. He was deeply suspicious of what in the 18th Century were called joint-stock companies - the forerunners of the modern corporation. He was especially severe on any tendency of businesses to generate excess profits at the expense of their workers.

This is how he put it: “Our merchants and masters complain much of the bad effects of high wages in raising the price and lessening the sale of goods. They say nothing concerning the bad effects of high profits. They are silent with regard to the pernicious effects of their own gains. They complain only of those of other people”.

And for those advocating less burdensome taxes for the well-off, Smith had this to say: “It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion”. The difference between Smith’s assertion, and Karl Marx’s “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” is not so great. Adam Smith, were he to reappear today, would, for many who worship his name, prove a formidable adversary.

As for Iain Martin, his lame appeal to authority will persuade no-one. Demonising the Labour leader by merely hurling abuse and peddling fantasies isn’t working. Moreover, the thought occurs that, had this low-grade rant come out of anywhere on the left, it would be dismissed as paranoid conspiracy-mongering.

But then, it is paranoid conspiracy-mongering - only from the right, which as any fule kno makes it totally respectable. It is afforded the most learned consideration. It can easily be transported to the mainstream press. And thus the failure of the right-leaning media.

Grenfell Tower - Beware Cover-Up

The aftermath of the Grenfell Tower disaster continues to generate headlines and controversy, as questions not only remain unanswered, but more are generated by the actions of those in power. And all the while, the death toll nudges upwards, with the suspicion that what is officially revealed is far short of reality.
From such suspicions come the easily sown thought that some kind of cover-up may be beginning. Councillors, local Government officers, civil servants, members of the Westminster Parliament, those involved in devising, monitoring and enforcing safety standards and regulations, all are now watched as never before for evidence of bodyswerving, backside-covering, or other creative methods of blame avoidance.

Into this febrile atmosphere has been pitched retired Judge Martin Moore-Bick, chosen to lead a public inquiry into the disaster. His initial reaction bears careful study: “I can honestly say I have never seen anything like that building which is now completely gutted … I'm well aware the residents and the local people want a much broader investigation and I can fully understand why they would want that”.

But then he cast doubt on that aspiration: “Whether my inquiry is the right way in which to achieve that I'm more doubtful and I will give that some thought and in due course make a recommendation … But there may be other ways in which the desire for that investigation could be satisfied”. He is at least being candid about the limitations of the inquiry which he will chair. But if his inquiry will not provide the answers, what will?

Certainly not the evasion exhibited by the local council, which held a meeting yesterday evening from which the public and media were intended to be excluded. When an order was made that media representatives must be allowed in, council leader Nicholas Paget-Brown decided that the meeting could not continue, as he alleged that this might “prejudice” the public inquiry. This was feeble in the extreme. It was also untrue.

It is not possible to prejudice an inquiry which is sitting without a jury, and Moore-Bick will be sitting without a jury. But it is possible for the actions of Paget-Brown and his pals to fuel the belief that a cover-up is under way, that those with an interest in keeping information out of the public domain are already working to do so.

What might they not want to come to light? Consider the new information coming to light on the Grenfell Tower cladding. As the BBC has noted, “Cladding fitted to Grenfell Tower during its refurbishment was changed to a cheaper version … Documents show the zinc cladding originally proposed was replaced with an aluminium type, which was less fire resistant, saving nearly £300,000”. And on whose watch did that happen?

The Beeb again: “the local tenant management organisation had sent an ‘urgent nudge email’ to project management consultants involved in the refurbishment … It says the email urged them to provide ‘good costs’ on cladding that could be shown to the councillor overseeing the work”. The councillor overseeing the work.

Whose fellow councillors are now running for cover. Survivors and their supporters must beware any tendency to cover-up. Because, as the death toll rises, that will follow.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Question Time Canary Moans BUSTED

The BBC’s flagship politics and current affairs panel show Question Time has decided to extend an invitation to Kerry-Anne Mendoza, founder and editor of website The Canary; she will appear on the edition to be broadcast later this evening. This has not merely been an opportunity to broaden the range of panellists, but a superb way of exposing the prejudices and phobias of the Pundit Establishment and their hangers-on.
Hardly had Ms Mendoza’s presence been advertised than an audible undercurrent of low moaning could be detected, building overnight and during today into what passes in the world of the Pundit Establishment for a crescendo. The Canary? How could they? Rather like Edith Evans disapproving of the waiter who broke wind whilst serving, that Establishment has agreed this act has lowered the tone quite appallingly.
The sniffiness was typified by Christian May, bafflingly gifted the editor’s chair at free sheet City AM, who reacted as if he had just trodden in a particularly large dog turd: “Editor of alt-left Corbyn fan-blog/conspiracy site, The Canary, will be on the Question Time panel tomorrow night”. Conspiracy site. Fan blog.
Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham, newly anointed teaboy to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines at the Guido Fawkes blog, not at all put out at being passed over you understand, whined “Skwawkbox on the News at Ten. The Canary on Question Time. Insane Cambridge Analytica conspiracy theory on Newsnight. Fun times at the BBC”. The Cambridge Analytica story wasn’t a conspiracy theory, Alex. Oh what a giveaway!
James Ball of BuzzFeed also aligned himself with the Establishment: “The BBC's masochism for people who peddle conspiracy theories (and spark hatemobs against their staff) is bizarre”. James Bloodworth ditto: “Possibly the Beeb's lowest point since Robbie Travers was invited on to the Victoria Derbyshire show to talk military strategy in Syria”.
Mark Wallace of Conservative Home was aghast, asking simply “Why?” When asked in reply “Why not?” he spluttered “Because it's a source of bonkers conspiracy nonsense … It's proven fact”. Wallace was at the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance when they peddled the totally untrueTaxpayer Funded Lobbying” nonsense, as well as the equally untrue assertion that speed cameras resulted in more road deaths and injuries.
But for some reason those were not “conspiracy theories”. Nor did any of these august beings have trouble with Question Time appearances by James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole of fake news purveyors Breitbart, or the tedious whataboutery of Conservative Woman’s Laura Perrins, or whopper-teller Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, or any pundit from the Mail, Sun, Express or any other paper known for printing lies.
As my friend Sunny Hundal put it, “I don't understand this hostility. The BBC regularly invites on people who are far, far worse. The Canary makes mistakes, but who doesn’t?

More like The Canary is not part of the media establishment, and its editor in turn not part of the Pundit Establishment. But good to see them all have a fit of the vapours when the BBC actually invites someone from outside their hermetically sealed bubble.

Guido Fawked - Private Eye Plunderer

The presence in the media marketplace of Private Eye magazine may be one of the bright spots among the grey conformity of newspapers and periodicals whose writers obediently churn out the line handed down by dictatorial proprietors and editors, but not everyone likes having Master Emmanuel Strobes and his team in perceived competition, especially when it comes to the media and politics inside track.
In recent years, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog have taken singular exception to Lord Gnome’s mighty organ, on one occasion telling readersOver the last few weeks Guido has become increasingly irritated by Private Eye’s shameless pilfering of stories that had previously appeared on this blog … A two-week news-cycle just doesn’t cut it in the age of news streams”.
So anything that had previously appeared on the Fawkes blog should be streng verboten to the Eye, then. And, in the interests of fairness, the reverse should also be true. After all, The Great Guido has all those Fleet Street and Westminster “sources”, and so the idea of copying off the Eye would be anathema. Or maybe not.

Yesterday, the Fawkes rabble toldInteresting rumblings at Telegraph Towers. The word, according to three sources, is that Richard Ellis, one of the most senior figures at Telegraph Media Group and their former Publisher, Chief Development Officer and Director of Talent, is likely to be on his way out. Ellis was in charge of sacking the scores of journalists who have left the paper over the last few years, so the newsroom is awaiting news of his fate with keen interest”. Well, well. And there was a later update.
Another source gets in touch to say Ellis was given the push on Friday. A Telegraph old hand says he was Murdoch MacLennan’s man and his departure is a consequence of MacLennan being sidelined”. There was only one problem with this - Private Eye readers already had the information, as an item on Page 9 of Issue 1447 shows.
NO SOONER had Nick Hugh taken charge last week [at the Tel] than the trashing of the MacLennan era began in earnest,” told the Eye. “Several pre-millennial staff are lined up for the chop. First to go will be ‘head of talent’ Richard Ellis: apart from being MacLennan’s spy on the newsroom floor, nobody knew what he did for his £200,000 salary”. [My emphases].
So anyone interested in goings-on at the Telegraph could have read about Ellis’ impending demise without consulting “three sources”, or waiting for “another source” to get in touch, merely by availing themselves of a copy of the Eye, which was on London news stands two days ago, and on the doormats of subscribers yesterday morning - several hours before the Fawkes blog gave the world their allegedly authoritative take.

What was that about the Eye’s news cycle not cutting it? The Great Guido reduced to cadging information from the alleged Dead Tree Press. Another fine mess, once again.

Rod Liddle Short Of Education

All those who may have thought the outburst earlier in the week from the Daily Mail’s legendarily foul mouthed editor Paul Dacre, where he had head teachers smeared for their campaigning for better funding during the General Election campaign, was an isolated occurrence were disabused of that notion today as professional Miserable Git Rod Liddle joined in the campaign of abuse, courtesy of the Murdoch Sun.
Only having one, eh Rod? Not clocked off early then?

Liddle, another prime example of floor-crossing intolerance, has taken grave exception to a primary school in Leicestershire proposing to end the school week on Friday lunchtime - to save money. And rather than bother himself to indulge in the time-consuming process of investigative journalism - that’s so Guardian, isn’t it Rod? - he has declaredDon’t blame Theresa May and cuts for schools shutting early on Friday, it’s more likely the teachers fancied clocking off at 1pm”. And there’s more he’s made up.

Parents of kids at ­Danemill School are ­furious after teachers decided to shut at lunchtime … ONE of these days the Government will get to grips with whingeing, moaning, thick-as-mince leftie teachers. I don’t know when”. Then he just makes it up. “Throughout the General Election campaign, head-teachers bombarded parents with leftie propaganda … Telling them that the ‘cuts’ meant all sensible parents should vote against the Tories”.

There is not one scrap of evidence that any head teacher advocated a vote for, or against, any specific political party. Not even the Mail tried pulling that one. So not only is Liddle lazy and prejudiced, he is a liar to boot. But he’s off and running: “A school in Leicestershire has decided to close at lunchtime on Fridays. Send the kids home … They say they’ve got to do it because of the ‘cuts’”. And there’s even more.

The notion that these supposed ‘cuts’ are to blame is ludicrous … If other schools can get by, why can’t Danemill? It’s more likely the teachers fancy clocking off at 1pm on a Friday so they have a nice long weekend”. Would Sir like to pitch another whopper to shore up his crappy copy? He certainly would “Listen. There have been no cuts. We are now spending a RECORD amount on education in the UK”.

So no actual analysis of what resources will be available to the school as a result of recent Government spending decisions. Just abuse, abuse and more abuse: “if the kids emerge, aged 18, able to count only to seven and with the reading ability of a slightly backwards vole, it ain’t Theresa May who’s to blame … It’s either that as a nation we’re thicker than at any time since 1945 … Or that the teachers aren’t up to much … I know what explanation I think more likely”. Er, that’s “which explanation”, Rod.

Still, Liddle does have a solution which he is prepared to share with any Sun readers who are still awake: “If Danemill’s local education authority had any balls, they’d sack the headteacher”. Research really isn’t your strong point, is it, Rod? Danemill Primary School is not a local authority school. It is an academy, part of an academy trust. It has also secured a highly favourable recent Ofsted rating. You can find that out by indulging in the mystical art known as “five minutes’ Googling”.

Rod Liddle - typical of the lazy, prejudiced and ignorant media elite. No change there, then.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Michael Fallon Is Full Of Crap

As the Tories face up to Parliamentary life propped up by the opportunism of the DUP and their Billion Pound Bung, they are realising that it is Jeremy Corbyn and Labour who have the momentum - and the opinion poll lead. There is a fast diminishing list of topics where The Blue Team can claim an advantage. One of those topics, though, is a sure fire winner when it comes to Labour bashing, and that is defence.
Someone he WON'T be going to war with

There’s nothing to get the Tory base fired up quite like a bit of sabre-rattling, a little imperial braggadocio. Who won the war, anyway? So it was that Michael Fallon, defence secretary and dead cat slinger supreme, responded to the latest cyber attack news by asserting that a future such attack might be sufficient pretext for Britain to declare war.

This totally fictitious scenario was swallowed whole by the more susceptible part of our free and fearless press, which to no surprise at all has included the Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun. Here, their alleged “Westminster Correspondent”, the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole, has told readersBritain may go to war with foreign states attempting cyber attack on UK, Defence Secretary warns … Sir Michael Fallon said the recent cyber attack on Westminster was a reminder of the dangers”.

Of course it might, er, not. But do go on. “FOREIGN state hackers could face a declaration of war from Britain if they are found to have targeted us again, the Defence Secretary warned tonight … The chilling threat came as the Tory hawk revealed foreign enemy states are launching two ‘high level cyber attacks’ on Britain every single day”. So with whom was Fallon prepared to go to war - presumably without anyone else’s assistance?

In a major speech be blasted ‘aggressor states like Russia, working overtime to disrupt and discolour our democracy’ who launch around 60 attacks on Britain’s government IT, infrastructure and businesses every month”. Ho yus, Fallon says we’d declare war on the gangster rĂ©gime of Vladimir Vladimirovitch Putin. Like heck we would.

Despite this “story” being yet another steaming and not particularly fresh pile of bullpucky, the BBC has reported on it, and so, to its further shame, has the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph, claiming preposterouslyBritain prepared to use air strikes or send in troops as retaliation against future cyber attack”.

So they swallowed the Kool-Aid as well, then. And despite Master Cole burbling hopefully “Sir Michael added that a cyber attack could fall foul of NATO’s Article V covering mutual defence, which states that an attack on one member state is an attack on all”, it is telling that none of the Ron Hopeful copy on this subject has managed to get confirmation from anyone in NATO that they would go along with this idea.

The notion of starting a shooting war - especially with another nuclear-armed power, like Russia - over a cyber attack is bunk. It takes a combination of credulousness and idiocy to allow oneself to be fed this drivel and not question its credibility.

Meanwhile, Michael Fallon will have to get himself a better dead cat. Because the one he’s slinging right now is falling apart.

Hillsborough - From Truth To Justice

Last year, 27 years after 96 Liverpool fans were fatally crushed in the central pen of Hillsborough stadium’s Leppings Lane End before that year’s FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest, new inquests into their deaths concluded that they had been unlawfully killed. It was Question Six on the jury’s list: “Are you satisfied, so that you are sure, that those who died in the disaster were unlawfully killed?”.
Hillsborough memorial at Anfield

The answer came back YES, by majority verdict. As the BBC reported at the time, “To answer yes, jurors must be ‘sure’ that match commander Ch Supt David Duckenfield was ‘responsible for the manslaughter by gross negligence’ of those who were fatally injured”. 

Today, the Hillsborough families, their friends and supporters can move from that truth to a vision of justice: charging decisions have been taken against six people involved in the fateful semi-final. Zelo Street regulars will know that from this point on, strict contempt of court rules apply, and so this post will not pass further comment on the charges brought, or those charged. Some of the names will be familiar to observers of the campaign.

As the BBC has told, “Former Ch Supt David Duckenfield faces being charged with the manslaughter of 95 people at the Hillsborough disaster … Mr Duckenfield was the South Yorkshire Police (SYP) match commander at the FA Cup semi-final when 96 Liverpool fans were fatally injured in a crush … He faces the charge of manslaughter by gross negligence of 95 fans”. Duckenfield cannot be charged with the manslaughter of the 96th victim, Tony Bland, because he died four years after the event.

Former South Yorkshire chief constable “Norman [Bettison] faces four charges of misconduct in a public office relating to alleged lies he told in the aftermath about the culpability of fans”. He has company: “Peter Metcalf, who was a solicitor acting for SYP, is charged with perverting the course of Justice, relating to changes to witness statements … Former Ch Supt Donald Denton is accused of perverting the course of justice … Former Det Ch Insp Alan Foster is charged with perverting the course of justice”.

The sixth person to be charged is “Graham Mackrell, former Sheffield Wednesday Club Secretary [who] will be accused of breaching Health and Safety and Safety at Sports Ground legislation”. There were questions over the ground’s safety certification, and its fitness for purpose. Thus the move from Truth to Justice.

All the defendants, except Duckenfield, will appear at Warrington Magistrates’ Court on August 9. The victims’ families were briefed on the charges earlier this morning.

One group of people, though, will not be in the dock: those who faithfully reported what South Yorkshire Police told them. For good reason, the Sun newspaper not only remains banned across parts of Merseyside, that ban is right now extending its reach.

Of course, what would help shine a light on the behaviour of the press over Hillsborough would be Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry. I’ll just leave that one there.


As Zelo Street observed yesterday, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog have been in Ron Hopeful mode, running a post claiming that Channel 4 News main presenter Jon Snow said something during his visit to Glastonbury last weekend that was highly disobliging to the Tories. The Fawkes blog’s apprentice sandwich monitor, oops, sorry, senior reporter, Ross Kempsell, thinks he’s on a winner.
Kempsell, rapidly acquiring a Walter Mitty streak, wrongly believes that his single sourced drivel will get Snow sacked. But he is right on one thing: the right-leaning part of the Fourth Estate is all too keen to pick up on the item, especially as it detests Snow, who refuses to serve the news up in a form which they find acceptable. Of course, what they would find acceptable is the equivalent of Tory propaganda.

And in picking up on the Snow claim, the more mainstream media has committed not one dead giveaway, but two. While the Mail has added professional Billy No Mates Philip Davies to the list of Tory MPs eager to dump on the Channel 4 News man, the Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun have put the odious flannelled fool and pretend journalist Master Harry Cole, their alleged “Westminster Correspondent”, on the story.
Ross Kempsell - claims to be a real journalist. No, really

Thus the first giveaway: Cole was, for some time, tame gofer to Staines at the Fawkes blog, and his involvement is another sign of the closeness between The Great Guido and the Murdoch mafiosi. Not only does this show the depths to which Sun journalism has sunk in recent years, it also confirms that Staines and his pals are seriously constrained in what they can say about the print media and its hangers-on.

That’s why the Fawkes blog, which was so gung-ho in its pursuit of Piers Morgan back in 2011, making all sorts of allegations over phone hacking, with Staines boasting how he’d taken down cabinet ministers (so Morgan should have taken him seriously ho ho ho), has not said a peep over recent hacking payouts at Mirror group titles, some of which concern the Daily Mirror at the time Morgan was its editor.
Master Cole - an unsavoury sleazebag airs his views

And the second giveaway? The Spectator magazine, ostensibly a respectable right-leaning magazine, but in reality a repository for Tory propaganda, Islamophobia and climate change denial under the less than benign leadership of its casually dishonest editor Fraser Nelson, has also picked up on the Snow story in its online version.

This has featured in the Steerpike column, formerly the preserve of Master Cole (see above), which uses rather a lot of Fawkes blog terminology - anyone not actively reviling the Labour leader is automatically smeared as a “Corbynista”, Channel 4 is sneered at for being allegedly leftist, and it’s made clear that the author thinks Snow is lying.

So, Spectator people, ‘fess up - are you employing Ross Kempsell to write Steerpike, in the same way you used to employ Master Cole before he took the Murdoch shilling?

As I said, a double giveaway. And the sure and certain confirmation of right-wing media desperation. The Snow story was crap at the Fawkes blog, and it’s crap everywhere else.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Guido Fawked - Jon Snow Smear FLOPS

The right-leaning press does not like Channel 4 News. The broadcaster’s flagship offering is a regular target for disaffected editors and pundits who see its presenters’ independence and commitment to speak truth to power as too radical and - by their sad definition of how the world is ordered - left-wing. And a special place in their pantheon of hatred is reserved for the programme’s main presenter Jon Snow.
Snow is unpredictable, probing, persistent, and utterly devoid of pretence. There will be no deference to anyone, whether Government ministers, businessmen, lobbyists, hacks, pundits, lawyers, union leaders or anyone otherwise appealing to authority. He was also at last weekend’s Glastonbury Festival, and his visit is now being used in a cheap and opportunist attempt to get Channel 4 to dispense with his services.

This singularly pathetic slice of Ron Hopeful behaviour has, to no surprise at all, emerged from the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, where apprentice sandwich monitor, oops, sorry, senior reporter Ross Kempsell has told readersThere’s Snow Such Thing As Impartiality” and based his “story” on a single source, which, to be fair, is one more source than much of the Fawkes oeuvre.
Ross Kempsell - claims to be a journalist. No, don't laugh

Boss place that Glasto. Having a dance with Jon Snow and hearing him shout fuck the Tories is what dream[s] are made of” it reads. This is enough for Kempsell to declare Snow guilty as charged: “A Glasto reveller recounts their weekend with loud-socked Channel 4 News anchor Jon Snow. No one ever thought you were neutral, Jon”.

This is then followed by dismissing Snow’s own recollection: “Jon Snow gets in touch … ‘After a day at Glastonbury I can honestly say I have no recollection of what was chanted, sung or who I took over 1000 selfies with’ … Classic non-denial. He said it”. That’s right, a bunch of habitual liars who inhabit a borderline Fake News outfit call “liar” on the main presenter of TV’s most trusted evening news bulletin.
Kempsell is full enough of himself to then pretend that his phoney story is gathering momentum, which it is not. Under the claim “Story snowballing (geddit?!?)” he offers “Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen calls for Snow’s resignation … ‘I think it’s time Channel 4 told Jon Snow where to go’”. Er, Andrew Bridgen? The same Andrew Bridgen who’s always mithering about the BBC not presenting the news as he wants to hear it?

The same Andrew Bridgen who’s always there when the broadcasters need a rent-a-quote Europhobe? The Andrew Bridgen who claimed MPs were “getting poorer”? Who has slagged off the HS2 project from the word go, despite getting £2 million for his house in compensation from, er, HS2? And Channel 4 should do his bidding?

Ross Kempsell’s attack on Jon Snow and Channel 4 is going nowhere. Kempsell is labouring under the misapprehension that just because he managed to eavesdrop on Paul Mason in a Liverpool eatery, it somehow makes him a journalist. It does not.

The Fawkes blog already has Billy Liar on its books. Now it’s got Walter Mitty as well.

Sun Coalition Hypocrisy BUSTED

After the Tories finalised their deal with the DUP, miraculously finding the “magic money tree” they claimed did not exist, and bunging Northern Ireland’s largest party a cool billion in return for their support, the right-leaning part of the Fourth Estate had some serious reverse-ferreting to do, not least the Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun, whose stance in the lead up to the General Election was so very different.
At the beginning of this month, a Sun editorial screamedA toxic leftie coalition would spell Brexit betrayal, havoc with the economy and the destruction of Britain … A cosy Labour and SNP pact really would spell the Coalition of Chaos as the left clearly have no understanding of basic economics … Labour could not govern without a coalition with the SNP. Jeremy Corbyn’s posturing on Brexit is meaningless: the Scots would call the shots”.

Moreover, it was all about Brexit: “Imagine, if you dare, the Tories lost their majority next week. Who then would head for Brussels to negotiate our exit? Not the PM who spoke so well yesterday of the ‘great national mission’ to build a ‘stronger, fairer and more prosperous Britain’ via Brexit. And who has insisted, as any tough negotiator should, that she will walk away with no deal if the EU’s final offer is bad for the country”.

Who, then, would represent us? “Instead it would be Corbyn and a third-rate crew cobbled together from the tiny band in the Labour Party still prepared to serve on his front bench … Plus a delegate from the SNP stroppily arguing for Scotland to be exempted from almost all of it … [Corbyn] would buckle to the EU and, to keep power, every SNP demand too … Labour knows it is damaged by the prospect of this Coalition of Chaos”.

What a difference a few weeks makes: today, the Sun leader makes no mention of Brexit at all. Zero. Zilch. Nil. Nada. Not a sausage. Bugger all. And nor is there any mention of any “coalition of chaos”. Instead, it strikes a suitably triumphalist tone.

THERESA May is right to have done a deal with the DUP. It means we have a ­viable Government in the most difficult period Britain has faced in decades … In return, £1billion will be spent in a region needing every penny, benefiting Catholics and Protestants alike”. No comment on all the parts of England and Wales needing every penny, of course.

No mention of “buckling to the EU”, which is as well, given our brave negotiating team has already caved on the idea of parallel trade talks. No mention of minority party demands, which is also convenient to the Murdoch goons, as the DUP is concerned about the prospect of a “hard border” with the Irish Republic.

But what is in evidence is the Sun’s propensity to dishonesty: “Labour’s hypocrisy is blatant and obnoxious. Twice, in 2010 and 2015, they lobbied for the same deal with the DUP”. To get a Queen’s Speech through Parliament and sustain the majority party in confidence votes in 2015? When Labour lost? Pull the other one.

And it is laughable of them [Labour] to accuse the Tories of ‘bribing’ the DUP”. What do the Murdoch clowns think £1 billion is, Scotch intercoursing Mist? Get out of here.

It was a “coalition of chaos” if it was Labour. When it’s a party the Murdoch mafiosi prefer, it’s no longer a grubby stitch-up, but “best for Britain”. Pass the sick bag.

Paul Dacre’s Schools Meltdown

Despite the Tories cobbling together a deal with Northern Ireland’s DUP, their Parliamentary majority is wafer-thin, and that means with a few by-election reverses, there could be another General Election soon. So they and their Labour opponents are already planning for one. Also looking ahead to the next contest is the Daily Mail’s legendarily foul mouthed editor Paul Dacre, and hence today’s front page splash.
Why the f*** should I care about council schools when I send my sons to Eton, c***? Er, with the greatest of respect, Mr Jay

SCHOOLS’ BID TO SWAY ELECTION … Head teachers sent out letters attacking Tory policies during campaignthunders the headline, under by by-line of education correspondent Eleanor Harding, although this is not about education, but the usual Mail staples of misinformation, falsehood, threats and bullying. Schools across the country are being told that Big Dacre Is Watching Them.

The detail effectively admits that the Mail does not have enough dirt on its targets to make any direct accusation: “Families sent letters by headmasters 'trying to sway the general election’ [note use of quotes] … Headmasters stand accused of trying to sway the general election by attacking Tory policies” [in other words, once again, there isn’t the evidence to stand up the claim]. But the Mail presses on regardless.

Families were sent a series of political messages – by post and on social media – in the run-up to the national vote on June 8 … One warned of the ‘dreadful state’ of education funding under Theresa May. It was sent by heads from 3,000 schools across 14 counties … Parents elsewhere were urged to sign a petition set up by the Left-wing National Union of Teachers”. As Sir Sean nearly said, I think we got the point.

But then come the supposedly biased letters. One, sent from 3,000 schools, “urged families to raise the ‘current financial difficulties’ in schools with all prospective parliamentary candidates”. The Mail concludes “While it claimed that the schools signing the letter were not ‘involved in a politically biased or partisan way’, it was clearly critical of Tory funding policies”. But it does not mention any party.

The Mail does, though, have an expert on hand, “Anthony Glees, professor of politics at the University of Buckingham”. He has told “Council-run schools should not be seeking to influence voters during the purdah period … parents will fear understandably their children are being indoctrinated”. Of course, he’d know all about indoctrination - he wrote about it recently for a paper called, er … the Daily Mail!

That’s because he is also “director of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham”. And in this capacity, he has obediently churned outAn intelligence expert's devastating verdict: Leaks by Edward Snowden and the Guardian have put British hostages in even greater peril” for the Mail, as well asLiberal elite are helping spread of extremism”. So he’s not an exactly impartial witness.

But good of Paul Dacre to tell the world that he will be on the teaching profession’s case come the next General Election, making sure the Mail’s tsunami of spite is unleashed on any of its members daring to incur his displeasure.

The Daily Mail - still desperate for a Tory Government. No change there, then.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Commuter SNAFU - Boris Excused

While some in the right-leaning part of the Fourth Estate keep the flame burning for the Prime Ministerial prospects of London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, one of the skeletons rattling away in his cupboard resurrected itself this morning, to the detriment of tens of thousands of commuters.
An absolute Muppet. And Elmo from Sesame Street

A significant part of  the London Underground was paralysed by a catastrophic signalling failure at Earl’s Court. This took out all the Sub-Surface lines (SSL - meaning the District, Circle, Metropolitan and Hammersmith and City) as well as the Piccadilly. The effects are continuing to be felt.

And while the press has been covering the actual failure, the reasons behind it have somehow been missed, which is most convenient for Bozza, because much of it leads directly to his door. It was on his watch that the SSL resignalling contract was awarded in 2011. It was also on his watch that the contract was junked two years later, thus meaning old and worn-out signalling had to remain in service rather longer.

Moreover, because the Piccadilly has to share tracks with the District west from Baron’s Court, that line’s resignalling has also been pushed back, as has the renewal of the already 40-odd year old train fleet. It is not a coincidence that the SSLs and the Piccadilly Line are increasingly plagued by serious signal failures (the signalling contract that was junked replaced an earlier one … which was also junked. More delays).

Why London Underground should have even considered the system they agreed to buy in 2011 - Bombardier’s CityFlo650 - at first appears a mystery. It had only been proved in service on airport people movers, and one end to end Metro line in Madrid. But for Bozza, it offered the holy grail of future automatic operation - the mythical driverless (and therefore Union bashing) Tube he had been fraudulently promising Londoners.

What Londoners got instead was the Bombardier deal junked, although some of the £345 million contract had to be paid up, and a replacement deal with Thales which is coming in at £760 million. You read that right. Plus the sure and certain knowledge that giving Thales the nod to do the rest of the Piccadilly Line will add rather more to the price tag.

We know the history of this shameful chapter in the long list of shameful chapters pertaining to the Johnson Mayoralty through the efforts of the late Tom Barry, who put together the chapter and verse at Boris Watch - while the Evening Standard spent Bozza’s eight years in office singing his praises and keeping schtum about the affair.

Meanwhile, the Piccadilly Line trains will celebrate their 50th birthday before being replaced, with their cousins over on the Bakerloo Line maybe getting close to their 60th before going to the scrapheap. All this is part of the scandal of a Mayoralty the press failed to hold to account - partly because Bozza was one of their own.

What you will not read in any of the papers. And that’s not good enough.