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Monday, 24 July 2017

Guido Fawked - IMF Numbers Fail

As the arguments rage between those wanting Britain to carry on on its course to leave the EU, and others urging caution, the International Monetary Fund has revised its growth forecasts for many world economies, among them the UK, USA, and the Eurozone. The first two have seen a downgrade; for Britain, this is the first such move since last years’s referendum vote. The figures make for interesting reading.
The BBC has reported thatThe UK and US economies will expand more slowly in 2017 than previously predicted, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) … It said ‘weaker-than-expected activity’ in the first three months of the year meant the UK would grow by 1.7%, compared with an earlier 2% forecast … The IMF also revised down its US growth forecast from 2.3% to 2.1%”. Politico has also weighed in.
The Fawkes version of Europe now includes Japan

The news included ominous trends, such as Britain falling behind the Eurozone in the growth league. So it was necessary for the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog to do what they do best: spin for Brexit, and in the process demonstrate that they don’t know what they are talking about.
‘Sick Man Of Europe’ Outperforming Eurozone Rivalstold the Fawkes folks, with a chart which included the Eurozone country of, er, Japan. “The UK is predicted to grow 1.7% in 2017”, they told, the EuroGuido Twitter feed confirming “IMF is predicting the Brexit apocalypse means UK will outperform France, Japan & Italy in 2017. GDP will grow 0.1% slower than Germany”. IN 2017. Note that little word - and a big mistake.
Jonathan Portes, who likes to get things right, pointed out “This is wrong, of course. For performance *in* 2017, you need to look at Q4 on Q4 figures (penultimate column)”. That column is included in this post. So did The Great Guido accept the error of his ways? You jest: “Yawn ... Table 1. IMF Overview of the World Economic Outlook Projections Year-on-Year” came the response. So Portes tried again.
The full IMF chart - including Q4 on Q4 figures

I understand you're arithmetically challenged, but pay attention. As I said, you're looking at the wrong column”. The Q4 on Q4 numbers were easily visible - except to the Fawkes rabble, who had cropped them out! Once again, would the Fawkes folks reconsider? But this would be unthinkable. So it was that whoever was in charge of the EuroGuido Twitter feed resorted to forthright abuse. Portes was left to deliver the Coup de Grace.
In the style of The Great Guido’s favourite Stateside politician, he observed “Seems @GuidoFawkes doesn't much like it when someone points out he got his sums wrong. Sad!” For growth *in* 2017, the Q4 on Q4 figures are the ones to watch - that is why they enjoy such prominence in the IMF report. But for The Great Guido, economics and econometrics are subjects destined to be forever out of his grasp.
The Fawkes rabble can’t even read numbers correctly. Another fine mess, once again.

Press Corbyn Student Attack Pointless

Our free and fearless press has a short memory: before the General Election, its bet-selling and right-leaning members, mainly the Rothermere Daily Mail and Murdoch Sun, devoted page after page to screaming, cajoling, hectoring, abusive and often borderline dishonest knocking copy - all aimed at one person, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
After all, the trick had worked before: the welter of abuse and spite had done for Neil Kinnock. It had done for Pa Broon. It had finished off Mil The Younger. So, by the press’ iron will, it would see off Jezza. We now know it didn’t work. Worse for those who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet, it is becoming clear that Labour fought what has been described as a “holding” campaign. Had the party taken a bolder stance, they could have picked up many more seats, pegging back the Tories yet further.

But only a month and a half later, all this is forgotten: back has come the belief that the right-wing press only has to open up the big guns on Labour, and The Red Team will fold its tent and slink off. And so it came to pass that the already discredited claim that Jezza had promised to write off student debt was exhumed at the weekend and flogged for all it was worth. The effect is clear from this morning’s headlines.
Yes, Tory HQ has clearly been hard at work after Jezza appeared on The Andy Marr Show (tm) yesterday morning: the Sun manages a teaser telling “Corbyn in U-turn” on its front page, while the Mail declares “CORBYN’S STUDENT DEBT HUMILIATION”, as those one-on-one dinners at Downing Street where Theresa May entertained the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre bear a little more of their poisonous fruit.

The supporting article tells “Corbyn admits he had no idea how much it would cost when he told students he would 'deal with' their existing debts and DENIES the statement was meant to be a promise”. It wasn’t a promise. It very clearly wasn’t a promise, but the Tories and their backers clearly think they are on to a winner here. The Sun goes further.

The Murdoch goons at the Baby Shard bunker claim “Labour leader insisted he didn’t promise to write it off during election campaign but Education Secretary is calling on party to apologise for misleading people”. Tories are rank opportunists No Shock Horror. And the belief that The Blue Team has found the magic bullet is reinforced by “Mr Corbyn’s shock success in the poll was put down in part to his key vow to abolish graduates’ bills”.
But he didn’t “vow to abolish graduates’ bills”. And many of the comments under that article show that a significant number of the Sun faithful don’t believe what they are being told. This should be no surprise: remember, a majority of the paper’s readers didn’t even bother to vote, and of those who did, around 30% voted Labour.

Still, the paper backs up its attack with an editorial claiming “Jeremy Corbyn’s U-turn on tuition fees debt is jaw-dropping and only a ruse to persuade voters”. But for both the Mail and Sun, a problem enters: the people who at whom they are aiming this message did not listen in the run-up to the General Election, and are highly unlikely to listen now.

They know the abuse didn’t work then. It won’t work now. But good to see the level at which the next election campaign will be pitched: dirty, dishonest and abusive. So no change there, then.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

UKIP Alt-Right In Meltdown

The unhappy situation at UKIP has led to a most unseemly spat between the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and the Guido Fawkes blog and their former friend Raheem “call me Ray” Kassam, who is now part of the convocation of the irredeemably batshit otherwise known as Breitbart. This has shown the world, if anyone still needed to know, that the lunatic fringe of the Kipper fraternity was a little too sensitive to criticism.
Behold a total meathead

The Fawkes rabble had already postedAnne Waters Mitty: Strike-Breaking Socialist And Self-Proclaimed ‘Left-Winger’”, telling readers “Waters is the supposedly hard-right, Tommy Robinson-endorsed candidate in the UKIP leadership race. UKIP figures are concerned she is a Walter Mitty character, self-publicist and entryist who has taken a less than credible political journey”. Then they went one better.

Under the headingFarage Slaps Down Anti-Islam UKIP Candidate”, they doubled down with “Nigel Farage has slapped down UKIP’s anti-Islam leadership candidate Anne Marie Waters and warned members the party would be ‘finished’ if she became leader … Sensible ‘Kippers will listen to Nigel rather than scream that he has joined the establishment. Tough one for the alt-right / Breitbart crowd to take”.
Well, the alt-right and Breitbart crowd weren’t for taking that at all, thank you, and Ms Waters predictably denounced the Fawkes intervention: “Guido Fawkes Blog Spreads Fake News to Smear UKIP Leadership Candidate Anne Marie Waters”. Tommy Robinson’s pet creep Caolan Robertson, that man of the people from very ordinary Chelsea, agreed: “Guido Fawkes is a shitty blog run by establishment cucks, of course they hate AMW”.

Kassam also took exception to Breitbart’s chosen Kipper saviour being treated in this way, posting at the Breitbart site “Guido Fawkes Blog Spreads Fake News to Smear UKIP Leadership Candidate Anne Marie Waters”. Fake News claims again.

There was more: “The Guido Fawkes blog has taken aim at the populist nationalist movement a number of times in previous months … Guido has also taken aim at … Tommy Robinson … comparing him to … Anjem Choudary … After making the comparison, the blog’s Twitter account lost hundreds of followers”.
Those who look in regularly on Zelo Street may remember that Raheem Kassam knows all about Twitter followers - he was caught buying them to make himself look credible. And “call me Ray” has lost none of his brass neck in the meantime: “It is unclear why the Guido Fawkes website opposes opposition to radical Islam, though the site’s traffic is not what it used to be, with many preferring to find their UK political news at newer websites like Rebel Media, and Breitbart”. Yeah, right.

What to read, right-wingers - Borderline Fake News from the Fawkes blog, or proper Fake News from Kassam and the rest of the batshit Breitbarts?

What is certain is that the UKIP lunatic fringe is getting very touchy, and with good reason. The party is dying anyway - all they will do is kill it properly, and rather faster than would have happened had the old guard been in charge. Bring it on - give us all a good laugh.

Liam Fox BBC Attack FLOPS

Today, the Sunday excuse for the Super Soaraway Currant Bun claims an “exclusivefor an article under the by-line of the paper’s singularly repellent “political editor” David Wooding, who claims to be from Merseyside but doesn’t seem to go there very often. This claims “FOX GLOVES ARE OFF MP Liam Fox demands showdown talks with BBC chief over ‘biased’ Brexit coverage”. And there is more.
Should have been Goodnight From Them long ago

LIAM Fox has demanded a showdown with BBC chiefs over its ‘biased’ Brexit coverage … The International Trade Secretary fired off a letter of complaint to Director General Lord Hall … In it Dr Fox claims reporters have persistently buried good news about the economy since the leave vote … He accused the BBC of ditching positive Brexit stories for doom-laden interviews with pro-EU commentators”.

That might be because the BBC reports not merely what the disgraced former Defence Secretary would like to see reported, but a full spectrum of Brexit news, most of which is indeed negative. Lord Hall-Hall is not going to stay in post long if he converts the Corporation into some kind of Tory cheerleading operation. But do go on.

In his letter, which has been seen by The Sun on Sunday, he claims there is a ‘clear pattern of unbalanced reporting of the EU economy’ and the work of his department … He cites cases where he says the BBC has ‘wilfully’ ignored upbeat announcements or economic stats, undermining his efforts to strike trade deals”. So Fox admits he wants the Beeb to propagandise for him. That isn’t going to happen.

Still, on he shambles: “Other MPs have accused the BBC of becoming a cheerleader for the EU and Remainers”. And yet more of those “Other MPs” have accused the BBC of becoming a cheerleader for the Leave camp, such as The Andy Marr Show (tm) giving an interview this morning to, er, the very same Liam Fox.

So Fox - who isn’t striking trade deals in any case - thinks the Beeb is agin him. But that is not “exclusive” news, and, indeed, it is not news at all, as this was reported a fortnight ago by the Mail, which told readers “Liam Fox slams BBC for anti-Brexit coverage: Minister asks why good economic news includes the phrase 'despite Brexit' and suggests corporation wants to see Britain fail”. Exactly the same line.

And it was the same in the rest of the Dacre doggies’ coverage: “Dr Fox’s intervention underlines the growing frustration within Eurosceptic ranks at the BBC’s coverage of Brexit in the wake of last year’s referendum. Many were content with the BBC’s conduct during the referendum campaign, when it was subject to strict guidelines requiring it to give equal weight to both sides … But they believe the broadcaster is now failing in its duty to be impartial by running negative stories about Brexit”.

The Sun on Sunday is now reduced to cheerleading for a Minister who is not fit to be let anywhere near the cabinet, on a subject which is already a fortnight old, but because Liam Fox has now written a letter about it, claims an “exclusive”. No-one with brain engaged and a hole in their jacksy is going to take lectures from Britain’s least trusted newspaper on bias, least of all the BBC. And Fox didn’t even mention it in his Marr Show appearance.

The Sun becomes more out of touch and desperate by the day. No change there, then.

Katie Hopkins ABANDONS Med Trip

Last week, the adoring Twitter followers of pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins were promised that she would be joining a group of like-minded people cruising the Mediterranean Sea, looking for migrants they could send back somewhere. Then it all started going wrong: Mail Online pulled her latest column, the group she was to join turned out to be a bunch of Nazis and white supremacists, and the ship got arrested in Suez.
Viewers may want to look away now

While Hatey Katie was sunning herself on the quayside, nobody who mattered would talk to her, and then two of the group with whom she had allied herself had their Patreon pages removed because their activities were judged “likely to cause loss of life”. And now comes the news that her trip has turned out to be an almighty cop-out: she won’t be setting sail with anyone, and has set off on her return trip to the UK.
You read that right: all that Ms Hopkins did while in the Sicilian port city of Catania was to pose in front of a few ships, Tweet out a few radar images showing search and rescue boats at work in the Med between Italy and Libya, and preview her upcoming Mail Onlineexclusive” about it all. The ship she claimed she would join, the C-Star, won’t be in Catania for several days, if it ever arrives at all.
Exclusive my arse - because ...

And she won’t be there to meet it, because she flew out yesterday. Yes, you read that right, too. So after she whined about Owen Jones, Tweeting “This is the gentleman who campaigned successfully to remove me from @LBC” (there were more influential voices urging LBC to bin her), and claiming “EXCLUSIVE My full report from the Med all next week @MailOnline From sea, to port, Sicily to Rome. Tracking people, profit & power”, she let slip what she was really up to. And it wasn’t about joining the C-Star.
... she flew out yesterday

What it was about was returning to Britain instead. And not by ship: “Not wishing to be alarmist, but watching an entire football team board your flight doesn't bode well. Karma? Is that you calling” she Tweeted. Her flight. Yes, she was boarding a plane. To leave Italy. And return to the UK. No sea-sickness for Hatey Katie.
There was, after all, no chance of her ever spending very much time on board the C-Star - because Ms Hopkins’ diary is already booked for the end of this month. By next weekend, she has to be in Los Angeles, where she is being given another opportunity to shoot her mouth off, which she then admitted: “Looking forward to joining The Pussy Panel @Politicon in LA. 29 & 30 July”. Migrant bashing takes second place to self-promotion.
You think Hatey Katie is not just about self-promotion? She’s already plugging yet another of her avoidable excursions: “Join me in conversation with the brilliant Decca @GrouchoClubSoho in October”. No solidarity with the far-right in the Med. No real in-depth reporting of the migrant crisis. Just pushing the Hopkins brand, such as it is, in order to score More And Bigger Paycheques For Herself Personally Now.

Katie Hopkins has taken her fans for mugs. But at least she’s left herself with an outside chance of settling all those legal bills.

Top Six - July 23

So what’s hot, and what’s not, in the past week’s blogging? Here are the six most popular posts on Zelo Street for the past seven days, counting down in reverse order, because, well, I have places to go and people to see later. So there.
6 Dan, Dan The Communist Fibs Man MEP and occasional Tory Dan, Dan The Oratory Man pretended that Hitler didn’t kill anyone, and in any case, Communism was much worse than what the Nazis did. So the usual Hannan rubbish, then.

5 Labour Student Debt Lies BUSTED The claim by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog that Jeremy Corbyn had promised to write off student debt if Labour won the General Election was another pack of lies.

4 Nigel Farage - Euro Pants On Fire The former UKIP Oberscheissenf├╝hrer used his LBC show to made a claim about Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty which was blatantly untrue. His burning trousers were duly detected, and the broadcaster said sorry on his behalf.

3 Katie Hopkins Ship ARRESTED The pro-am motormouth’s aim to join a bunch of Nazis and white supremacists patrolling the Mediterranean Sea looking for migrants to send back somewhere came to a shuddering halt after the ship they chartered was detained by the Egyptian authorities at Port Suez.

2 Katie Hopkins Pals Money Cut Off While Hatey Katie was left kicking her heels in the Sicilian port city of Catania, some of the far-right activists she had allied herself with had their Patreon pages deleted - because the activities they were indulging in were judged “likely to cause loss of life”.

1 Dan, Dan The Photo Fraud Man Back on the Top Six, this post from last October noted how Daniel Hannan had eulogised over his walks in the Hampshire countryside by posting photos which were not of Hampshire - or even of anywhere in England.

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

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Tory Corbyn Telford Attack WRONG

Those who look in regularly on Zelo Street may remember Lucy Allan, the Tory MP for Telford, who invented a death threat against her, blamed activists in her own constituency for her problems (Ms Allan lives in Wandsworth, which is definitely not in the Telford constituency), and became embroiled in a bitter and very public row with one of her own staff, her bullying attitude even making the front page of the Evening Standard.
Ms Allan has now become involved in yet another row, and one that she is unlikely to win: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn visited Telford last Thursday as part of the party’s push to increase its profile in marginal constituencies. Ms Allan’s majority is just 720; much more than a sneeze in the polling barometer and she’ll be on her way.
So when Jezza Tweeted “Great to be back in Telford today, which the @conservatives hold by just 720 votes. We are campaigning to win here at the next election” and followed with “Today I visited Newdale primary school in Telford, which is facing further cutbacks. Labour will end the @Conservatives cuts to our schools”, Ms Allen was incandescent.
This tells us all we need to know about @jeremycorbyn This school achieved outstanding Ofsted status - but Jezza wants to Tory bash. Shame” she snarked, this lame attempt to get her detractors to “look over there” convincing no-one. “Achieved outstanding Ofsted status” and “facing further cutbacks” are not mutually exclusive.
So,just to make sure, Ms Allan told Jezza “Dear @jeremycorbyn don't think you know much about @NewdaleP no cuts and no they are not political they are brilliant. Please don't exploit”. It’s not really political, except it’s explicitly political when schools and their budgets are under mounting pressure. Which she then admitted.
Telford was 2nd highest beneficiary of school funding formula gained 2.2%. All our schools got more cash except 2”. And the two were? We don’t get to find that out, just as the voters of Telford don’t get to see their MP being totally honest with them: inflation in the UK reached 2.9% in June. That made four months in a row above that 2.2% figure.
Moreover, the SchoolCuts website, backed by teaching and other unions, has estimated that Newdale Primary School and Nursery in Telford will, by 2021, lose over £91,400 of its annual budget, have its spend per pupil reduced by £224, and as a consequence will have to shed three teachers. So Corbyn’s “facing further cutbacks” claim is perfectly valid.
The Labour leader is quite within his rights rocking up in Telford, or any other constituency, as part of the party’s drive to oust more Tory incumbents at the next General Election. Given her track record of dishonesty, flakiness under pressure, and staff bullying, Lucy Allan should think herself lucky her party still considers her fit to be an MP.

Fortunately, the electorate is less easy to con. Lucy Allen - not waving but drowning.

Murdoch Skwawkbox Hypocrisy

The press establishment is forever telling its devoted readers not just what it thinks they should read - the collected outpourings of Themselves Personally Now - but also what it thinks they should not. And what our free and fearless press thinks its readers should not read is left-leaning blogs like The Canary, Evolve Politics, and Skwawkbox.
To press home its advice, the press establishment and its hangers-on has indulged in a series of attacks on these sites, notably by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, where newly anointed teaboy Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham called Skwawkbox “liars”, thus enjoying his own pot and kettle moment.

The Mail and Sun, meanwhile, attacked Skwawkbox via its main man Steve Walker, making a number of creative accusations about his business. And although the Sun later apologised, even issuing a “clarification”, the message was clear - blogs like this were not to be trusted by the news-consuming public. Well, until today, that is.

All those right-leaning papers are having trouble getting the Labour leadership to take them into its confidence, meaning that Jeremy Corbyn and his team have seen them coming. But there is a need to generate anti-Labour copy, and so some of those papers have resorted to making it up. And those making it up now includes the Murdoch Times, which made a totally made-up story its front page lead today.

Hard left in plot to oust Labour No2 … Corbyn supporters target Watson for removal” shrieks the headline, going on to tell “Hard-left Labour supporters are plotting to depose the party’s deputy leader over what they see as disloyalty to Jeremy Corbyn … the activists are pushing to replace Tom Watson, a centrist, with Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, who is close to the party leader”.
The only problem is that the “disloyalty” cited by the Murdoch goons is from some time ago, and the best citation they can muster is “a Labour source”. But the story was clearly of sufficient interest to be shared with the rest of Rupe’s empire, and so the Sun has lifted it, telling readersRED MAN WALKING … Corbynistas plotting to oust Tom Watson as Labour debuty [sic] leader – and replace him with Emily Thornberry”.

So how do they stand up the story, add an air of credibility to this routine smearing of a mainstream centre-left party as “Hard left” in the style of Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse)? You’ll love the hypocrisy of this.

Here’s the Times: “Skwawkbox, a pro-Corbyn blog, wrote this week about the re-emergence of reports that Ms Thornberry could mount a challenge”. The Sun agreed: “Pro-Corbyn blog Skwawkbox talked up Ms Thornberry’s chances of a challenge this week”. Praise the Lord, Skwawkbox is redeemed in the name of the Lord Murdoch!

This is not just jaw-dropping hypocrisy, but also flagrant dishonesty: as I had to point out to the Fawkes rabble recently, Skwawkbox has NEVER had any contact with Jeremy Corbyn’s office. The Times and Sun have run a fake story, so fake that they have been forced to U-Turn on the press’ view of Skwawkbox in order to stand it up.

The Murdoch press is utterly devoid of principles. But you knew that already.

Nigel Farage MUST REPAY £80,000

For some less than totally principled politicians, it helps to have friends in the press, and there is no finer example of this friendship than the almost total news blackout yesterday of the latest setback to afflict former UKIP Oberscheissenf├╝hrer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage. The European Parliament has demanded that Nige pay back around £80,000 of expenses to which he was not entitled. That might cause Mr Thirsty a problem.
Squeaky £80k finger up the bum time

Why the problem? As EU Today has reported, the EP “has objected to the fact that one of his staff, paid by the EU to assist him in his work as an MEP, is also working for UKIP, the party of which Farage was formerly leader. This is against the Parliament’s rules”. Zelo Street regulars might also recall the potential misuse of MEP’s staff by former head Kipper Paul Nuttall, aka the “Bad Bootle Meff”, in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election.

Reminding us that “This will not the first time that money has been reclaimed from UKIP MEPs by the European Parliament for such a breach of the rules”, EU Today then reveals the lame “look over there” tactic employed by Farage: “Whilst not denying the facts of the matter, Farage has defended his position by claiming that the staff member in question was working for the party ‘on a voluntary basis’”. A voluntary fiddle, then.

And it gets worse, as Nige proceeds to play the victim. “Without any formal procedure of any kind at all, the letter tells me they’re going to take £80,000 from me…. And it’s now my job to prove my innocence and so what we’re actually dealing with here, these unelected people are behaving frankly like people back in Stalin’s day did”. Yeah, right.

What happens when Westminster MPs get caught over-claiming their expenses? Do they start whining about “unelected people” and comparing IPSA to Stalin? Does this form some kind of valid defence when caught with their hands in the till? Damn right it doesn’t.

But at least Farage is in good company. “The employment of party officials through the members assistance allowance is in fact a very common practice amongst MEPs of all nationalities: Marine Le Pen has also been caught out recently, and UKIP is certainly not the only British party to have done this”. It’s still against the rules, though.

So when is he going to pony up the £80k? Not until he’s once again misused the platform given to him by LBC to indulge in a little creative retelling: “What I’m guilty of is not in any way misusing public money. What I’m guilty of is blasphemy. I’ve spoken out against their beloved Union, I’ve helped Brexit to happen, and therefore I must be punished”.

Yes, the Express reported the story, but only so they could kick the hated EU and rally to their pal’s defence. But that defence is worthless: Farage knows the rules, knows he’s been caught bang to rights, and knows he has to find £80,000 somehow.

And that could be the problem: my information is that Nige can’t lay his hands on that kind of money right now. So the European Parliament will just have to take it out of his MEP’s salary. Playing the victim won’t work this time. Serves the dishonest SOB right.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Tim Montgomerie Launches Another Flop

Some journalists tend to think rather a lot of themselves, imagining that what they say and write shakes the political establishment” wrote Roy Greenslade of the serially clueless Tim Montgomerie recently. Greenslade is one of the few commentators to have, like me, seen through Monty’s faux, overhyped pundit expertise.
He concluded his appraisalyou have to admire the man for rising from nowhere to become a media ‘star.’ Then again, you have to wonder at journalists for giving him so much unwarranted attention”. Then, it was Monty leaving the Tory Party in a huff over its stand on the EU. Now, he is again being feted, because he has launched, along with some others, a brave new website called Unherd.

Unherd comes hard on the heels of Monty’s failed The Good Right, which was an attempt to put a human face on the Tories in particular, to campaign for social justice. The project fizzled out, not least because most of his pals out there on the right couldn’t give a crap about those at the bottom of the pile, save to use beggars for kicking practice.

And Zelo Street regulars will need no reminding of Monty’s ultimate wrong call, when in response to the news of phone hacking at the Murdoch Screws, he claimedThis is about revenge, not phone taps”, and said the story was a Labour attempt to get payback for Damian McBride. The Screws was being run as a borderline criminal enterprise, and was later closed down as part of the Murdoch’s original failed bid to takeover 100% of Sky.

Still, on he goes, seemingly following in the footsteps of the likes of Piers Morgan, and failing upwards: now he is launching Unherd. And sadly, what is being produced there does not inspire confidence. Take, for instance, Monty’s article “Biased. Negative. Remote. News industry gets low marks from Brits and Americans”. This is no more than the recycling of old news where the UK is concerned.
Two months ago, Press Gazette reported on the EBU’s research on trust in written press, and showed Britain at the bottom of the pile on a lousy -51 trust score. But Monty’s worst howler is to suggest that the news industry - in which he has been a willing participant for several years, unlike those of us out in the New Media world - is somehow “not working”.

To enable him to progress his inquiries, he has turned to the kinds of people in, er, the same industry he is investigating and criticising. Terms like Pointless Waste Of Time And Space do not adequately describe this poor, yet predictable, move. Nor does employing the dubious talents of Doug Murray the K to pass adverse comment on reporting of terror attacks. And then there is the controversy over who is paying the bills.

Unherd has offices in The Shard; no slumming it in the cheaper and less well appointed parts of the capital for Monty. Rumours are circulating that Paul Marshall, a Brexit backer who bunged Vote Leave £200,000, has opened his wallet for the cause. Just how independent can Unherd be, if it’s dependent on hedge fund bosses for its existence?

A few “names” have agreed to talk to Unherd. Others have agreed to contribute, in order to generate More And Bigger Paycheques For Themselves Personally Now. But the result is a mish-mash that is as confusing as it is pointless. Nevertheless, I wish Unherd well, and look forward to celebrating its first birthday. If there is one.

Katie Hopkins Pals Money Cut Off

While the C-Star languishes in Port Suez, having been intercepted by the Egyptian authorities en route from Djibouti to the Sicilian port of Catania, all those who thought they had gone out to the Mediterranean to join the ship are now left kicking their heels. That includes pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins, who has been reduced to Tweeting the movements of search and rescue vessels and snarking about them.
Viewers may want to look away now

Pretending to understand the terminology, she Tweeted “Rescue boats now in holding pattern over in zone 1 (the Heathrow of the Med). Vos Hestia eta at holding point 0600hrs 22.07.17 … Vos Hestia progressing to the 'Heathrow of the Med' - (Libyan rescue zone 1) & into holding pattern. Pick up date est 22 July”. The Vos Hestia is the ship she didn’t get anywhere near. They, like so many others, saw her coming.
Moreover, she won’t be going anywhere near the Search and Rescue area for several weeks, if at all, after the C-Star got nicked in Suez. This boat is slow enough for it to take several more days from when the Egyptians release it to get to Catania, and even then, it may not be allowed into port. And what is worse - much worse - for Hatey Katie, some of her pals have been summarily cut off from their funds.
Joe Mulhall told his Twitter followers “Great news @Patreon have taken the principled stance to remove @Lauren_Southern and @Martin_Sellner from #DefendEurope from their website!” So that’s another way of getting paid that the Defend Europe stalwarts can’t use. Ms Southern simply commented “Patreon just deleted my account”, while Sellner owned up as to why Patreon had taken their action.
It appears that you are currently raising funds in order to take part in activities that are likely to cause loss of life. We have therefore decided to remove your page from Patreon, and paid out your final balance of $441.05 to you … Please know that we have come to this decision after a long review process and will not consider an appeal” was the verdict handed down by Patreon. Note “Activities likely to cause loss of life”.
And these are the people with whom Katie Hopkins is teaming up. Not only that, because she’s been advertising this jaunt via Mail Online - and the latter’s Twitter feed advertised her most recent dispatch from the Med, before someone at Northcliffe House saw sense and pulled the piece - these activities impact directly on the reputation of the mainstream press. Did they realise what they were getting into?
Whatever knowledge the Mail Online people did or did not have, they have no excuse now. They were told that Ms Hopkins was joining a motley convocation of Nazis, white supremacists, Holocaust deniers and other specimens of forthright bigotry. The C-Star then got arrested in Port Suez. Now Patreon has distanced itself after concluding that what this group is doing is “likely to cause loss of life”.

Mail Online now has no choice. It cannot continue its association with Katie Hopkins until her contract expires, most likely in November. They must dispense with her services, and do it now. Otherwise they are as guilty of promoting this deadly charade as she is.

Nigel Farage - Euro Pants On Fire

[Update at end of post]

Already in trouble over his on-air claim thatSweden have taken more young male migrants than any other country in Europe [not true] And there has been a dramatic rise in sexual crime in Sweden, so much so that Malmo is now the rape capital of Europe, and some argue, perhaps the rape capital of the world, and the Swedish media, frankly, just don’t report it”, former UKIP Oberscheissenf├╝hrer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage is at it again.
Squeaky lying on air again finger up the bum time

Nige once again used the platform inexplicably given to him by broadcaster LBC to expound on his favourite prejudice, the EU, and in particular, Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. He had decided that, as he believed Britain did not need to make any payments to the EU as part of the “divorce settlement”, there must be something in Article 50 to back him up. Sadly, there was not. So he made it up anyway.
This is Article 50 ...

Farage could be seen holding up a piece of paper, which did not bear the signature of himself or the German Chancellor. It bore the words “Article 50 … The rights and obligations deriving from the Treaties would therefore extinguish”. Here, he concluded, was his evidence that Britain would not have to pay anything to the EU after 2020. He Tweeted out “Even Article 50 claims we would have no obligation to pay anything to the EU after 2020”. Take that, cheese-eating surrender Europhiles!
... and this is NOT Article 50

But, as Captain Blackadder might have observed, there was only one thing wrong with this idea - it was bollocks. One, that wording does not come from Article 50 (no surprise there). Two, the wording, which comes from a February 2016 European Parliament briefing paper on Article 50, has been taken out of context. It actually reads “The rights and obligations deriving from the Treaties would therefore extinguish, at least to the extent agreed between the EU and the withdrawing state”. Subject to agreement.
So it was no surprise that Mr Thirsty later decided to delete the Tweet he had sent out, in which he held up the piece of paper with his fraudulent “Article 50” statement on it. Sadly for him, the assembled Twitterati were on the ball, and wasted no time in passing adverse comment on yet another pack of lies from the former head Kipper.
Davide Denti, over in Brussels, pointed out “1. That's not what [Article 50] says, you just made it up … 2. Nobody can see that piece of paper, Nigel, you're *on the radio*”. Minor point, eh? Nige probably saw the late Ian Paisley do something similar in the European Parliament once and thought it might be cool to emulate him.
Steve Peers was also on Nige’s case: “No such words in Article 50. Check for yourself” he replied, giving a link for Article 50, rather than a highly selective form of words from something that was not Article 50. He added “Put another way: he's lying to you (h/t @SebDance)”, tagging the Labour MEP who called out Farage in the European Parliament for lying. Which he seems to do rather a lot.

Do not take anything Nigel Farage says on Article 50, the EU more generally, or anything politics related as true unless you have a reliable second source to back it up. He’s an habitual liar and cannot be trusted any further than he could usefully be chucked.

[UPDATE 1435 hours: LBC has now come clean and effectively admitted that Farage had his trousers alight during his show yesterday evening.
Under the heading "Nigel Farage On Article 50: A Clarification", the excuse note tells "LBC can clarify that a comment made by Nigel Farage on his show last night was not accurate".

That's a most charitable way of putting it. But at least the broadcaster knows about Mr Thirsty's propensity to rank dishonesty now]