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Friday, 18 August 2017

Rebel Media In Meltdown

Many observers of the far-right will have heard of Rebel Media, the outfit run by Canadian conservative activist Ezra Levant, if only because it has been the conduit for the Muslim bashing hate speech peddled by Stephen Yaxley Lennon, aka Tommy Robinson, recently. Also involved with Yaxley Lennon has been Caolan Robertson, if only to hold the microphone and make the former EDL leader look more important.
Ezra Levant

And it was Robertson who announced yesterday that he had parted company with Levant, claiming not merely to have been sacked, along with his producer, but that Levant had tried to offer him “Hush Money” - the choice of words was Levant’s, and Robertson recorded the conversation - not to make waves following the split.

Levant could be heard suggesting that Robertson behave in a “smart” manner to make light of his separation from Rebel Media, citing the behaviour of former contributors Lauren Southern and Jack Posobiec. But just so that Robertson got the hint, Levant also talked about retaining the services of Kingsley, Napley - that means it’s expensive - who would make phone calls and otherwise prevail on those who had incurred his displeasure.

There has been no word from Yaxley Lennon yet - other than to claim that he doesn't know very much about what has happened - but it is clear from what Robertson says in his video exposé that Rebel Media is in potentially serious trouble. Levant is accused of making rather more money than he needs, and the Canadian revenue service wants to look at Rebel Media’s accounts.

So Levant, in response, totally lost his shit and claimed “that he's being blackmailed … He's alleging that there were repeated demands for money from former Rebel Media employees in the United Kingdom”. His problem is that Robertson’s recording of Levant’s words shows The Great Man offering several thousand pounds of “Hush Money”.
Caolan Robertson - sacked

Moreover, in the meantime “iPolitics has reported that more than 250 companies and institutions have ‘confirmed they will pull their ads from Rebel Media, according to an online group that targets far-right websites’”. The report noted “Right-wing broadcaster and Rebel Media cofounder Brian Lilley severed ties with the outlet earlier this week”.

Why might that be? Lilley explained “I am not comfortable being associated with a group that, rightly or wrongly, is being increasingly viewed as associated with the likes of Richard Spencer … Like many of you, I had family that fought the Nazis, I never want to be in the same room as one”. And there is another problem for Levant.

That is the long line of those he has defamed, and who have either taken legal action, or threatened it in order to force Levant to apologise. The roll of honour includes, predictably, George Soros. There have also been claims that Levant is using legal action, or the threat of it, just to silence critics. Caolan Robertson suggested that in his video. He also claims Levant tried to poach Paul Watson, aka Prison Planet, from Alex Jones.

All of which shows the alt-right in yet more disarray. Couldn’t happen to more deserving people.

Barcelona - Enter The Ghouls

The epicentre of Barcelona’s tourist circuit has to be Las Ramblas, a broad avenue that leads from the seafront - by the Columbus monument - to the Plaça de Catalunya in the city centre. The carriageways are separated by a central reservation that doubles as a pedestrian thoroughfare, made as wide as it is partly because it covers over Line 3 of the city’s Metro system, running just below the surface.
Boqueria Market - just off Las Ramblas

At the height of the tourist season - like now - hundreds, perhaps thousands, of visitors can be found milling around the area, shopping,visiting bars and restaurants, stopping off at the Boqueria market, or just out for a stroll. And it was that wide central reservation, with the crowds of pedestrians, who were targeted by an attacker driving a white van yesterday afternoon. Scores were injured. At least 13 have died.
There have since been arrests; another potential attack at the coastal town of Cambrils, south west of Barcelona, was foiled and those involved shot dead by Police. It looks as if ISIS have identified another soft target and have brainwashed enough of the easily led to once again divert attention from the group’s recent military reverses in Iraq and Syria.
So far, so grim, but then came the inevitable ghoulish scramble of the right-wing Muslim bashers to tell anyone who would listen that they were right about, well, something. And first to the nearest studio had to be former UKIP Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, appearing before a gravely nodding Tucker Carlson on Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) to rant about securing borders.
At least one of the suspects was a Spanish national, but hey ho. Opening another front, that of false equivalence and dishonesty, came Battersea basement dweller Paul Watson, to tell “The alt-left & CNN were more upset about Trump's General Pershing tweet than the Islamic terror attack in Barcelona. Let that sink in”. There is no alt-left.
How about a sneering Soviet-era smear to break the monotony? Alan Mendoza of the hard-right Henry Jackson Society was your man for that, disdainfully replying to Rupert Myers’ concerns with “And yet, despite your suggestion, there appears to be no shortage of terrorists and fellow travellers who disagree”. How very left-bashing 1980s.
Then came the self-promotion artists waiting to advance their bank balances off the back of this attack, and one was Raheem “call me Ray” Kassam, whose recent book claims there are “no-go areas” in the UK. He was serious about self-promotion, telling “Here's my ‘I'm sick of this shit’ face”. Not as sick as most people are of him, mind.
Meanwhile, and not to be upstaged by Farage, Doug Murray the K also went on Fox News to be “interviewed” by Tucker Carlson. Murray proudly told his Twitter followers “Discussing Barcelona, here's a video of my brief interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox last night”. This was held to be “explosive”. Not the wisest choice of words there.

And not wanting to be left out was pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins, also promoting Herself Personally Now and proclaiming “Great to catch up with my friends @KABCRadio - talking Barcelona, terror and its impact here on the streets of London”. There was no impact on the streets of London, Katie. It happened in Barcelona. Still, nothing quite like ghoulishly profiting from the dead and injured to promote hate. Pass the sick bucket.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Owen Jones - Pointless Centrism

Seemingly from nowhere, those on the left have a new bête noire called Centrism. This concept, whatever it may be, is taxing some pundits sorely, and one of the sorest who is unswervingly opposed to Centrism is Owen Jones. And here he has made a bad mistake.

I have a lot of time for Owen: there are few left-leaning voices allowed into the otherwise closed world of the Pundit Establishment, and he is one of them, but his new obsession with Centrism is just baffling, almost a caricature of his writing.
Centrists attack the left, but they are the true ideologueshe proclaims. How does he know? “To be a centrist, so this story goes, is to be above ideology: pragmatic, focused on ‘what works’, being grown up”. Following you so far … but then he loses it. “In this centrist worldview, the xenophobic, racist or indeed fascist right are deemed to be politically and morally equivalent to the radical left”. Would this be the “Alt-Left”, by any chance? That’s got stuff all to do with “Centrists” - it’s a right-wing diversionary tactic. To be ignored.

And soon he decides we should dispense with the concept: “‘Centrism’ is a misleading term which should be abandoned, though a viable alternative term is lacking: bearers of the ‘centrist’ flame regard ‘neoliberal’ or ‘Blairite’ as abusive rather than descriptive terms”. Well, for some on the left, they are abusive rather than descriptive terms, that’s why.

Have another go. “But centrists aren’t pragmatists, they’re ideologues, extolling a blend of market liberalism, social liberalism and - more often than not - a hawkish military posture”. How did market liberalism and social liberalism become the things of ideologues? And where is this military posture stuff coming from?

Claims of moderation in a British context do not readily sit with helping to unleash the murderous, never-ending bloody chaos in Iraq and Libya”. Ah, so this is a way of damning those MPs who unwisely committed the UK to messing in Libya without any kind of exit strategy or reconstruction plan. Not anything to do with Centrism, then.

But it is the economic order centrists defend that produced the insecurity and stagnation”. Ah, so it is about economics, then. And we need no new language for that - it’s just what the Tories, with the most unwise participation of the Lib Dems, inflicted on us.

But on he goes: “In Britain, there is growing chatter about a new centrist party. This, at a time when more than 80% of the electorate voted for a left-led Labour party or the Brexiteer Tories, the two parties’ highest combined share of the vote for nearly half a century, in an election in which the anti-Brexit centrist Liberal Democrats flopped”. Well, more than 80% of that part of the electorate that voted, anyway.

So this new party would be DOA -  what’s he worried about? Ah, but now we get to the main event, and it isn’t about Centrism: “It is revealing that the disgruntled centrists offer virtually no clues about their vision other than opposing Brexit”. If we want to stop Brexit, Jones contends, we need a better strategy. Fine. We have one. It’s called Don’t Do It.

Centrism” is an excellent opportunity for Owen Jones to build an extra large Straw Man in order to knock it down. Otherwise, this is a pointless exercise in misdirection. As ever, the enemy of the left is not in the centre, but on the right. Have a think about it, Owen.

Trevor Kavanagh - Pants On Fire

The blowback against faithful Murdoch retainer Trevor Kavanagh, following his talk earlier this week of “The Muslim Problem”, has overcome the usual Sun editors’ tactic of ignoring the ruckus, sniggering into their reassuringly upmarket coffee, and planning the next slice of bigotry. Kav is an IPSO board member. The condemnation came not merely from Muslim groups, but the Board of Deputies of British Jews. A response was needed.
So it has come to pass, with Kavanagh bringing forth a mealy mouthed apologia which will convince no-one. Here is a flavour of the snivelling excuse-making.

SOME Sun readers may have missed the concocted explosion of Labour and Islamic hysteria over a column I wrote on Monday about Muslim sex gangs”. It wasn’t concocted, and it wasn’t just Labour and Islamic.

This fake fury was largely confined to a small circulation, mostly-online newspaper and a letter from Labour lefties dragooned by the Muslim Council of Britain”. Whining at the Guardian is pointless. And you forgot the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

My offence was to write about the attitude of predatory Muslim men towards white women - what I called ‘the Muslim Problem’ … I was instantly denounced for fomenting a Nazi-style “Final Solution” comparable only with the Jewish Holocaust. It was a ludicrous, offensive and perverse distortion of the truth”. The response was to the point, and the only offence came from the person who wrote the original article.

A letter calling for my dismissal signed by 105 cross-party MPs was led by Labour’s Naz Shah, the Bradford MP suspended last year for anti-Semitism”. No thanks, I don’t want to look over there. You missed the Board of Deputies again. Tories like Sayeeda Warsi and Anna Soubry signed that letter. Going to smear them? No, thought not.

At the outset I want to state the vast majority of Muslims in Britain are decent, generous, hospitable and law-abiding men and women who add to the fabric of this nation … They have nothing whatsoever to do with the customs and primitive practices referred to in my article. Indeed they are as appalled as the rest of us by extremism”. Didn’t say that on Monday, did you? This is just back-pedalling.

But it is impossible to write about Muslims without catching the eagle eye of MCB assistant general secretary Miqdaad Versi”. Muslims can read Shock Horror!

I have been on the receiving end of his vigilance - he has had two IPSO adjudications against The Sun”. Your racist drivel is so far beyond the pale that not even sham press regulator IPSO is prepared to wipe your arse over it.

As a Sun journalist and as a board member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation, where he is a regular complainant, I represent a particularly juicy target”. No, but you do have a responsibility to behave half-decently.

And then he gets to the Sun’s exploitation of Labour MP Sarah Champion. “I cited Rotherham Labour MP Sarah Champion who bravely broke ranks and identified the problem everyone else on the Left had shied away from … The Sun asked Ms Champion if she would write an op-ed piece for the following day’s paper, expanding on her comments … She happily agreed and filed an article that was approved by her office … Sarah was delighted”. Until she realised she’d been had for a mug.

Presumably got at by Corbynistas, she has subsequently sought to distance herself from her own article and has now resigned for her ‘poor choice of words’”. The Labour leadership won’t speak to you, so you’re just making it up.

Then comes the shameless attempt to pin Kavanagh’s excursion into Nazi territory on to Ms Champion. “On Monday, I paid tribute to Sarah’s courage, saying: ‘Thanks to ex-Equalities chief Trevor Phillips and Labour MPs like Rotherham’s Sarah Champion, it is acceptable to say Muslims are a specific rather than cultural problem’”. Acceptable to say Muslims are a specific problem. Very Third Reich 1930s.

And then he gets to the point. “My mistake, apparently, was to describe this as ‘the Muslim Problem’ … I can honestly say it never occurred to me that this could be interpreted as a play on ‘the Jewish Problem’ and I will happily apologise to anyone who is thus offended”. It was stark staring obvious to anyone with brain plugged in and a hole in their backside. And never mind waiting to apologise - do it now.

Plus, hey, free speech! “This fake outrage is more than simply a personal attack on me or upon the Sun newspaper. It is a pernicious attempt to stifle and smother free speech”. So said every racist bigot for the last 100 years and more.

And cue the get-out clause. “The letter from the MPs fails to pinpoint a single mistake or error of fact in my article. It even concedes there are no grounds at all for referring this to Ipso for adjudication. It infringes none of the Editors’ Rules of Conduct”. Because the Editor’s Code prevents religious groups complaining. Next.

Proportionality, too. “The letter is nothing less than an attempt to gag not just me but anyone else who dares to venture an opinion which contradicts their narrow point of view”. That nasty leftie attacked my peaceful steel toe-cap with their vicious groin!

Oh, and “Nor can The Sun be accused of Islamophobia. Thousands of our hardworking newsagents are Muslim and have our respect”. Some of his best friends are Jewish.
Trevor Kavanagh remains a racist bigot. He also remains a faithful servant of Rupert Murdoch, now CEO of Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) which is shilling relentlessly for Combover Crybaby Donald Trump, even as he excuses white supremacists and neo-Nazis. The agenda of the Murdoch press is as transparent as it is repugnant, as it is little more than incitement against a convenient minority target.

In the 1980s, under the less than benign editorship of the disgraced Kelvin McFilth, the Sun merely picked on black people and those from the island of Ireland. Now it targets followers of The Prophet. In a generation, the target may have changed, but the vicious bigotry remains the same. Kavanagh’s whimpering will not do.

The Murdoch press has been caught bang to rights once more. Don’t Buy The Sun.

Sarah Champion - You’re A Fool

For ordinary members of the public, the rule is as simple as it is instructive: never, but never, go to the tabloid press. It will only end badly - not for the press, but for those foolish enough to go running to it, in the misguided belief that they might work any given situation to their advantage. And for politicians on the left, a similar rule holds true: never, but never, go to the Mail titles. And don’t even think about going to the Sun.
Sarah Champion

This last warning was recently disregarded by Labour’s Sarah Champion, who has represented Rotherham since 2012, and who has earned significant respect among her peers on both sides of the House for her work on young people’s issues. Ms Champion agreed to write, or at least see her name on the by-line of, an article for the Murdoch Sun, to be published in the wake of the Newcastle sex abuse trial verdicts.

It should have been clear from the outset that anything appearing in the Sun would form part of the paper’s Muslim bashing agenda, and so it proved. Ms Champion claimed the opening paragraphs had beenstripped of nuance”. But her office had passed the final wording, indeed approved it enthusiastically. Perhaps her staff were a little too keen to see her name in lights, and less careful about studying the wording.
The result of the article was that the Sun’s Trevor Kavanagh, faithful Murdoch retainer and practitioner of racist smears of many years’ standing, used it as part of his attack on Britain’s Muslim communities, an attack which ended with asking what we might do about “The Muslim Problem”. The blatantly racist language shocked not just the Muslim Council of Britain, but also the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

As a result of allowing herself to be manipulated as little more than a pawn in the latest dirty Murdoch game of bigotry and hatred, Ms Champion has had little alternative but to resign from the shadow front bench, Jeremy Corbyn accepting her resignation but stressing he looked forward to working with her in the future. Jezza had backed her until the Sun showed that her office had approved the fateful wording.
None of this was allowed to enter over at the Northcliffe House bunker, where the Mail has opened up on the Labour leadership this morning with the screaming and dishonest front page lead “Labour MP forced to quit equalities role after she confronted groomers’ race … HOUNDED OUT FOR SPEAKING UP ON CHILD SEX GANGS”. The Sun is in the mire over Kavanagh’s vicious bigotry, but the Dacre doggies are happy to take up the baton.

But no-one has been “hounded out”. The Mail’s legendarily foul mouthed editor knows his hacks are lying through their teeth. This, though, is what happens when a Labour MP goes running to the tabloids, and especially to the Sun. Whatever deal is struck, it will always be to the advantage of the Murdoch mafiosi. And when it comes to anything involving Scary Muslims (tm), that deal will involve thinly veiled and vicious racism.

Don’t go to the Sun, Labour MPs. It’s like a scrap with a pig: you end up covered in crap, but the pig enjoys it. Leave the pig to wallow in its own shit. And Don’t Buy The Sun.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The Vindictiveness Of Leon Daniels

While the various aspects of the questionable practices of driver and rider matching service Uber have been examined on this blog, one name has been missing, that of TfL’s head of surface transport Leon Daniels. Daniels came to TfL from transport conglomerate First Group, where those at the bottom of the pile do as they are bloody well told, and woe betide anyone who so much as peeps out of turn.
Leon Daniels

Perhaps he thought this was an acceptable way to proceed in his new job. If he did, he could not have been more wrong. Daniels arrived in 2011. By 2016, it is not over-egging the pudding to say that the overwhelming majority of the taxi trade held him in utter contempt. Uber had apparently been given carte blanche to effectively make up the rules as they went along. And then came a host of other concerns.

London’s buses were experiencing a worryingly high number of accidents. A number of factors was blamed, but the thought entered that some drivers were putting in more hours than was good for them, and that tiredness way playing a part. Then came the Croydon tram derailment, a nailed-on example of an overspeed accident, with suspicion once again falling on tiredness. It was not an isolated incident on that system.

Daniels was ultimately responsible for bus safety, and that of the trams. If any action has been taken recently to prevent drivers taking to the road in a fatigued state, it was kept unusually quiet. Similarly, no action seems to have been taken to prevent another overspeed accident on the Croydon trams, like installing overspeed trips on the approach to sharp curves, as at the approach to Sandilands.

Into this cauldron of mistrust, one evening, stepped a London taxi driver called Sean Stockings. He is a cabbie of many years’ standing, highly respected by his colleagues, and of course one of thousands in the capital to have had to complete The Knowledge before being given his green badge. Stockings “doorstepped” Daniels at an upmarket London restaurant one evening and quizzed him about the safety and Uber questions.

So far, so cheeky, but then came the news that Stockings had been traced and was to be stripped of his green badge. You read that right. He was deemed not to be “fit and proper” to be a cabbie. It was, let us not drive this one around the houses for too long, an act of petty vindictiveness. And it seems Daniels was the driving force behind it.
Sean Stockings - a humble cabbie

While Uber’s drivers are falling asleep at the wheel, misbehaving with their passengers, breaking traffic laws, clogging up London’s thoroughfares on the off-chance of snaring a decent fare, or perhaps nipping off to Brighton to give the authorities there a regulation headache they could do without, one of London’s cabbies has been picked on by the rich and seemingly unaccountable pour encourager les autres.

Through the good offices of the London Cab Drivers Club (LCDC), Sean Stockings is appealing against this arbitrary removal of his livelihood. But he is not the one who should be being called to account. We need to ask questions of Leon Daniels, who, after all, is being paid out of the public purse. Quite apart from the concerns on safety raised by Sean Stockings - which Daniels chose not to answer - there is the New Bus For London.

When London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson was running for re-election in 2012, shamelessly buttering up the taxi trade prior to then washing his hands of them and selling them down the river, the bus that is not a Routemaster existed only as a series of eight prototypes. Only after Bozza was re-elected was it ordered in its hundreds. And Daniels must have been involved.

None of London’s bus operators wanted the NB4L. It had to be imposed on them, hence TfL - exceptionally - having to buy them. It was overweight, too heavy to carry its maximum design load, had zero secondhand value, had no export potential (as was later proved), cost more than an equivalent hybrid bus, and turned out to also be adept at roasting its occupants in warm weather, due to an inadequate air cooling system.
The New Bus for London

Had it been First Group, or indeed any other major bus operator, the NB4L would have been killed stone dead and no more money wasted on it. Yet there was Leon Daniels, sitting and seemingly waving this white elephant through. London now has a thousand of these useless buses. Did he not act? Was there no protest to the Mayor?

It gets worse: the NB4L, like the Garden Bridge, was allegedly subject to a “competition” for the prize of designing it, but just like the bridge that has just been canned, the prize went to Heatherwick. Who had never designed a bus before. One reason a thousand had to be ordered was that only at that point did TfL get access to the intellectual property rights to the design - a moot point, now that nobody else wants it.

The NB4L, the worrying safety record of London’s surface transport, and the vindictive attitude to London’s cabbies - the people who we depend upon to move punters around the capital swiftly and securely - put together pose disturbing questions for Leon Daniels. He is a public servant. He’s not in the private sector now. He should be accountable to London’t taxpayers, as well as AMs and MPs, not remain mute and aloof.

So I look forward to his proposals for reducing the possibility of bus drivers being in a fatigued state and behind the wheel, as well as his proposals for eliminating overspeed accidents on the Croydon tram system. And his involvement in the fiasco that has been the NB4L should be subject to the fullest investigation.

Moreover, how a cab driver is subjected to such brutal and disproportionate action for nothing more than a prank born out of sheer frustration with the disdain TfL appears to hold for the taxi trade will be an interesting one to see.

There will be more on Leon Daniels later. Londoners need answers. And they deserve better.

Mail Big Ben Bong Baloney

The slow and sad decline in the power, influence and above all credibility of the Daily Mail’s legendarily foul mouthed editor Paul Dacre has been sad to see: from the bizarre hatchet job on Leveson Inquiry advisor David Bell, through the hypocritical and vicious attack on the memory of Ralph Miliband, to his meltdown after Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson suggested the Mail may be peddling Islamophobic hate, it was all downhill.
What the f*** do I care about workers' safety, c***? Er, with the greatest of respect, Mr Jay

This cycle of increasing desperation has now arrived at the point where the Mail has become a parody of itself, as if the front pages were being devised by someone at NewsThump. One look at yesterday’s effort, and today’s follow-up, tells you all you need to know. “DEATH KNELL FOR COMMON SENSE … Big Ben silenced for FOUR years to protect workers’ hearing … yes, it’s all down to Health and Safety!” came yesterday.

The idea that those working on the restoration of what is now called the Elizabeth Tower should have their hearing permanently damaged, and perhaps worse, so that Big Ben can continue chiming while they work on all four clock faces, the mechanism that drives the clock, the structure of the tower, provision of better access and emergency egress, and still keep to the four year timescale, is little short of preposterous.
But the Dacre doggies returned to their vomit this morning, telling readersBONG! NOW A BIG BEN CLIMBDOWN … MPs who signed off facelift say they didn’t know about bell’s four-year silence and pledge: We’ll think again”. They sodding well won’t. The cost of the restoration is already high enough, thanks. If Dacre and his goons want the whole exercise revisiting, they can open their wallets to fund the difference. They won’t.

Instead, the Vagina Monologue has appointed tedious and unfunny churnalist Richard Littlejohn to whineThe Blitz could not silence Big Ben, but the Little Hitlers of elf’n’safety have succeeded where the Fuhrer failed … Their entirely predictable excuse is that the precaution is necessary to protect the hearing of building workers … Fair enough, but surely issuing noise-cancelling headsets would be sufficient. Bose will sell you a top-of-the-range number for a couple of hundred quid”.
So speaks a Briton so proud he lives in North Vero Beach, Florida.

And it’s all total crap. How can the bells be taken away for X-Raying if they’re going to be chiming every hour, or more frequently in the case of the smaller ones? How do the Dacre doggies expect the glass in the clock faces to be removed for restoration and cleaning if the mechanism is still active? Since when was Northcliffe House the repository of all knowledge on building restoration and project management?

The whole faux outrage is part of the modern tabloid tendency to dismiss the experts in their fields in favour of hacks and pundits with no knowledge of the subject areas other than the hot air they generate when discussing them. Climate change? Nah, not happening. Vaccination? Nah, don’t need it. Cuts in services could be dangerous? Nah, just send more of the ungrateful oiks down the road. Dacre knows best.

Except he doesn’t, this is going nowhere, and politicians of all parties should quit treating the Mail’s pointless ranting with kid-gloved reverence. The old fool is out of time.

Guido Fawked - Chapman Gaslighting BUSTED

How are the mighty fallen: once, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog stood ever ready to call out bad behaviour among politicians and the press, but have now been reduced to taking dictation from the establishment, their true masters. This has been demonstrated by their crude and amateurish gaslighting of former Daily Mail political editor, and later SpAd, James Chapman.
Behold the arbiter of taste and decency

Chapman has recently caused significant discomfort to The Great Guido (among others), and word has clearly gone out to administer a suitable punishment beating: somewhere, a Mr Bridger figure has got the word out to Camp Freddie for Chapman to be given A Good Going Over. If only it had been done by someone who knew what they were doing.

The post, “Concerns Raised About Chappers … BREXDOWN” (Geddit?!?!?), suggests genuine insider knowledge. But here a problem enters: what the Fawkes massive now says about Chapman, and what it said at the time, are not remotely comparable. Worse, none of the Fawkes principals have put their names to the hatchet job - not Staines, nor teaboy Alex Wickham, nor sandwich monitor Ross Kempsell.

It is authored by “order-order”, which suggests it was either given to the current intern, or nobody wanted to be associated with it. Which of those is true I will leave to others to figure out. But let’s start at the beginning, as it’s a very good place to start.

It is not hard to understand why Chapman is anguished. He was being eased out of the Daily Mail pol-ed role when he took up Osborne’s offer to spin for him … He haughtily told everyone on the way out of Northcliffe House that he would be in No. 10 in due course, lording it over them when Osborne ascended to the premiership” claims the post.

And here is what The Great Guido said at the time: “With Mail Political Editor James Chapman off to spin for Osborne and not expected to write another word in the paper, the race to succeed him in one of the best jobs in political journalism is well under way”. Not a peep about being “eased out”. Not so much as a murmur about “lording it”.

It gets worse: the hit piece claims “For some time after Osborne’s sacking he was in limbo, eventually taking the role with David Davis at DExEU for which he was so unsuited”. And at the time Chapman went to work for Davis? “Osborne’s former aide and Project Fear spinmeister James Chapman is to be David Davis’ SpAd at the new Brexit department … It will certainly surprise many Leavers that a prominent Remainer will be taking such a key role”. No talk of his being “so unsuited”, or of him “eventually” taking up the role.

The best the Fawkes rabble could manage was, when Chapman left Davis’ service at the General Election, to muse “Was always a bit of an odd move for Chappers to go from Project Fear to the Brexit department. Good luck in the undisclosed new job (expect inevitable rumours that the former Mail pol ed could reunite with his old boss George Osborne at the Standard)”. The “inevitable rumours” were wrong, too.

But we do get confirmation that The Great Guido has been obsessively pursuing Chapman via his social media presence: “On Facebook and Instagram there have been grim late night posts - subsequently deleted”. Nothing better to do at night? Get a life.
James Chapman

And then comes the ultimate hypocrisy: “Chapman was escorted out of parliament a few weeks ago after a particularly drunken episode”. Oh, just f*** right off. What colour is the pot, kettle? The Fawkes blog, run by someone with a string of alcohol related convictions, including two for drink driving, whose favourite lunchtime tipple as disclosed to Esquire magazine is a bottle of Chablis - a whole one - and who was caught on video being ejected from the IoD for drunkenness (see it HERE) calling “drunk” on someone else?

Then it’s on to the clumsy English - perhaps it really was the intern writing the post - as we are told “He has also to some extent gone public himself with his hundreds of round-the-clock tweets”. An open Twitter feed is publicly viewable? Wow! Who knew?

Have another go. “His tweets suggest that in his mind he thinks he is Britain’s answer to Macron leading his own party”. The Fawkes rabble are now psychoanalysts. Or something. And so we come to those “friends” who are “concerned”.

Some former colleagues are going public, most are keeping their counsel private”. Keeping their counsel private? Whatever. Moving on from the shonky English and typically empty suggestion that the silent majority somehow agrees with The Great Guido, perhaps we can see who these caring and concerned friends are?

And there it falls apart in short order. Isabel Oakeshott? You’re having a laugh. Nadine Dorries? No, stop it, it’s hurting. Iain Martin? Mr Picture of Tolerance? The one who called Labour Party supporters “Socialist Worker middle class twats”?

This is so obviously a hit job done to order, right down to the “we’re really worried about him, honest” drivel - the Fawkes rabble have about as much collective empathy as a flying brick - and the sign-off “It’s sad to watch”. James Chapman is exercising the freedom of speech that The Great Guido usually rushes to defend. Why so reluctant to defend that freedom now, apart from the need to keep in with the press and political establishment?

Ah well. There is one snippet from the Fawkes post on Chapman going to work for Davis that I held back. A snippet that reveals rather a lot in just seven words.

And it is this: “Chappers hasn’t been replying to Guido’s texts”. Staines and his rabble aren’t important enough for the real movers and shakers to bother with.

But they are useful for taking dictation. Another fine mess, once again.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Kavanagh Racism - IPSO In Trouble

The disquiet among not just the Muslim community, but the Jewish community as well, over the undisguised outpouring of bigotry by faithful Murdoch retainer Trevor Kavanagh in yesterday’s Sun has not died down, and nor should it. We have seen a journalist of decades’ standing, a supposed exemplar of his profession, and, whisper it quietly, a board member of press regulator IPSO, recycle race hatred from the 1930s.
Then, it was “The Jewish Question”, or “The Jewish Problem”. Had Kavanagh used those words yesterday, he would no longer be employed by the Murdoch mafiosi, and nor would he be welcome at any other reputable newspaper or other media outlet (pace Kevin Myers). But thus far he has got away with it, because his targets are Scary Muslims (tm) and it is deemed acceptable within the Fourth Estate to smear them at will.

That the disquiet over Kavanagh’s racism is not confined to followers of The Prophet has been demonstrated by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who have joined forces with TellMAMA and Faith Matters to submit a complaint to IPSO.

This states “The printing of the phrase ‘The Muslim Problem’ - particularly with the capitalisation and italics for emphasis - in a national newspaper sets a dangerous precedent, and harks back to the  use of the phrase ‘The Jewish Problem’ in the last century, to which the Nazis responded with ‘The Final Solution’ - the Holocaust”.

It also bears noting that, firstly, Rupert Murdoch has significant previous for this kind of targeting, having clumsily gone after the New York Times by talking of the “Jewish Owned Press”. And secondly, this is not Kavanagh’s first excursion into Muslim bashing territory, as Zelo Street pointed out at the time. IPSO could, and should, make an example of Kavanagh and the Murdoch press. But the signs are that it will not.
As Miqdaad Versi has observed, the Editor’s Code excludes religious groups, and it is this loophole through which Kavanagh and his masters no doubt expect to effect their escape.

But that does not need to be the end of the matter: given the content of the offending article, which, like its predecessor, is little short of incitement, IPSO could, and should, exercise its powers to act on its own initiative. Kavanagh is one of their board members; there would be no clearer signal of disapproval but to dismiss him forthwith, following up with requiring the Sun to publish - prominently - an apology.

This, though, does not consider the reality of IPSO’s situation: the press establishment has this so-called regulator by the financial windpipe. IPSO dare not offend its paymasters if it knows what is good for it. Were it truly independent, there would be no such constraint. Thus the clearest demonstration of why the press was so aghast at the Leveson recommendations. Not being able to control the regulator would be unthinkable.

Moreover, as I pointed out during an edition of Al-Jazeera Listening Post recently, Rupert Murdoch has got his man on to the IPSO board; having Kavanagh there shows how he is giving the finger to press regulation campaigners, and showing that he is still strong.

IPSO is a sham regulator. It will do next to nothing about Kavanagh’s bigotry. And in so doing, it will strengthen the case for truly independent press regulation once more.

It’s Daily Mail Fox News!

Share values are down by a fifth at Daily Mail and General Trust, with investors worried about falling advertising revenue, and the failure of online advertising income to make up the shortfall. Sales of both the Daily Mail, and Mail on Sunday, are in steady decline. The accountants have been imposing cuts, with allegedly star pundits having to take significant reductions in the contents of their wheelbarrows. What to do?
Mail Online? It's f*** all to do with me, c***. Er, apart from the money I invested in it

But Mail Online, or DailyMail.com as it is known on the other side of the North Atlantic, is gaining market recognition in the USA, and DMGT bosses have clearly been taking notice at the money generating propaganda machine that is Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse). Starting their own TV operation? The temptation has clearly been too much, the lure of new revenue streams too tempting.

And so it has come to pass, as Press Gazette has told: “Mail Online has announced a major move into broadcasting with the launch of [a] daily TV show which will be syndicated across the US”. Today mere syndication, tomorrow a Daily Mail channel!

So what’t the deal? “DailyMailTV will be available on a variety of terrestrial TV stations across the US  and may also be offered for sale internationally … Former America Football quarterback Jess Palmer is to host the programme, joining from ABC News where he is a special contributor for Good Morning America”. And what will be the offering?

The press release claims “From exclusive stories to breaking news, showbiz, politics, crime, health and science and technology, DailyMailTV will be must-watch television … Sharing captivating stories from across the United States and around the globe, viewers will become addicted to DailyMailTV, just as they have to DailyMail.com

What will be offered can be deduced by the presence of Martin Clarke, head man at Mail Online, as an executive producer. We’re most likely talking shock, Slebs and smears, with a nod to Fox News, a Dacre wet dream, the ability to beam unfiltered and unregulated prejudice and spite direct into the homes of millions of viewers.

Indeed, the Guardian has confirmedThe 60-minute programme will focus on many of the topics that are popular with readers of Mail Online, including ‘showbiz, politics, crime, health and science and technology. Its first broadcast is scheduled for 18 September, and deals have been signed that will allow it to reach up to 96% of the US population, DailyMail.com said”. So climate change denial as well, then.

Take that BBC! Up yours Channel 4! Nyaah Nyaahdy Nyaah Nyaah ITV! And if the Murdoch mafiosi get their mitts on 100% of Sky and inject a little of the Fox News poison into it, who’s to say that Daily Mail TV won’t be following right behind?

The press won’t let falling sales stop them from wanting to keep hold of the megaphone. If they can’t get to the public via their breakfast tables, a TV show, and then a whole TV channel, will do just as well, if not better. The propagandists are down, but not yet out.

LSE Brexit Poll - Not What It Seemed

The Europhobic press had entered the rapture: a reputable and well-researched poll, from an organisation so often dismissed by them as another bunch of Rotten Lefties (tm), had brought them the news they wanted to hear: Britain really was a nation of Eurosceptics, and most of the population favoured that good, hard Brexit their editors and proprietors dreamed about. It was truly manna from heaven.
Over at the Baby Shard bunker, the Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun could hardly believe their eyes: “NEARLY SEVEN in ten voters back a ‘Hard’ Brexit with full border controls - a staggering survey claims … The London School of Economics yesterday said the British public had ‘accepted’ the decision to leave the EU”.

And at Northcliffe House, the obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre was equally cock-a-hoop, telling readersEven Remainers now back a 'hard' Brexit: Most Brits want to regain full control of our borders and to become free of meddling EU judges, survey reveals”. Dirty Des’ finest at the Express were similarly overjoyed.

The massive study of more than 20,000 voters by the London School of Economics and Oxford University revealed that Theresa May’s blueprint to free Britain from Brussels rule is backed by more than 70 per cent … The findings are a huge blow to Remainer campaigners who have been told there is no popular support for their hopes to thwart the democratic will of the British people and keep the UK in the EU”, they eulogised.
But then, the old adage that something which looks too good to be true just might be too good to be true comes into play. The survey over which the right-wing EU-bashers are getting so worked up is not some kind of conventional opinion poll, but a far more nuanced and complex undertaking. Take this paragraph from an article describing the process.

In our design, respondents were shown a series of possible Brexit negotiation outcomes in pairs and were asked to choose which one of the two that they liked best (there was no ‘don’t know’ option). This requirement that they choose - that they make trade-offs between the different aspects of the negotiations - is crucial to the conjoint approach and to our results. A screenshot of what the respondents saw is below”.
After describing the process of evaluating the results, the authors warn “What we caution readers to avoid, however, is looking at these numbers as raw measures of support for particular features (as in conventional public opinion polling). This they are not. At no point did we ask respondent to evaluate individual features – they were only asked to make judgments of bundles of outcomes” [my emphasis].

They also note “The answers aren’t always easy and what we see consistently is that the public - both Leave and Remain voters - are willing to make trade-offs. Indeed, they appear to be almost completely indifferent over some aspects of the negotiations … It is not easy, as the government must now do, to make trade-offs between complex and interconnected aspects of Britain’s relationship to the EU”.

But it is all too easy for the anti-EU press to tell readers it has found the magic Brexit bullet. It has not. The press saw what it wanted to see. No surprise there, then.