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Interfering with Laura Kuenssberg

Last night the BBC was reporting on the Conservative manifesto. This is a document whose most striking pledge is to fill in some of the potholes in roads that have proliferated due to massive cuts in local authority funding, and to give free hospital car parking to those visiting a terminally ill relative. Just think of the last one. How do you prove your relative is terminally ill? What if there is a chance they might get better? The administration of this system is going to require people to have some form of certificate or token that all hope is now lost. For the car park. The Tories are all heart.

As the News continued, Laura Kuenssberg told us that the battle lines between the parties are now clearly drawn, and the major division is over how much the government “should interfere in the economy”.

Interfere. Not intervene. Not regulate. Interfere. It is a very deliberate choice of word. Let me turn to the Oxford English Dictionary:

Interfere

1) Prevent from continuing or being carried out properly
2) Handle or adjust without permission
3) Become involved in something without being asked
4) Sexually molest

Words matter. Kuenssberg chose a word with powerful negative connotations and no possible positive meaning, to describe the alternative to the Tories. Kuenssberg talking of government interfering in, rather than intervening in, the economy is in itself a very strong and explicit declaration of Kuenssberg’s belief in an Ayn Rand, “Britannia unchained”, free market, ultra neo-liberal world view. To explicitly frame the choice in the election as between the Tories and “interfering” is just another example of the way the BBC slants their election coverage, permanently.

Now I started to draft an article three days ago, before that particular Kuenssberg propaganda masterclass.

Here is what I wrote as a draft three days ago:

“Maybe I am just unlucky. I have had television news bulletins transport me to hear vox-pops featuring former Labour voters in Dudley who now want to vote Conservative to GET BREXIT DONE. I have seen vox pops in fishing wharves in Peterhead and Grimsby, in dismal cafes in Hartlepool, in bingo halls in Yarmouth, in pubs back in Dudley, on high streets in Wakefield, in a shopping mall in Thurrock, in hardware stores back in bloody Dudley again. The country is full of people who want to GET BREXIT DONE, and who will NEVER VOTE LABOUR AGAIN.

The strange thing is that I have not seen a single vox pop from Richmond, featuring an educated woman who is switching from a lifetime of Tory voting because they have become a far right party and are going to crash the economy with hard Brexit. But there are many people like that in Richmond, and indeed all over London, and throughout much of southern England. They exist but are not worth vox-popping, apparently. Because they are not the broadcasters’ chosen “narrative”.

The BBC, ITN and Sky will doubtless defend the very obviously targeted demographic and destination of their “vox-pops” on the grounds that this is the “narrative” of the election. But that is a self-reinforcing prophecy. The public are relentlessly being told that what ordinary people want is to “GET BREXIT DONE” and to vote Tory. But that is actually only what about 40% of the people want. We just aren’t being shown the other 60% as the broadcasters focus relentlessly on areas with the highest leave vote, and on vox pop subjects with the least possible education.”

While that passage was atill on the stocks, last night, alongside the Kuenssberg analysis, the BBC gave us a vox pop from the Rother Valley that fitted perfectly the above description. It came from a Yorkshire Labour seat that voted Leave. It featured Labour voters who will now vote Conservative. The ladies interviewed were perfectly primed with precisely the main Tory slogans. A lady told us she wanted Boris so we could “get Brexit done and get on with domestic reforms”. Another ex-Labour voter told us she would vote for Boris because “he may not be trustworthy, but I like him”. Trust and likeability are two factors the pollsters regularly measure. It is important for the Tories that voters prioritise likeability over trust, because Johnson’s Trust numbers are appalling. How fortunate that the BBC happened to find a little old lady in the Rother Valley who could express this so succinctly!

Or maybe it is not so surprising. With the mainstream media as such a reliable echo chamber of public slogans, perhaps it is not surprising to find the public just echo them too, as they do in North Korea. The state media in the UK is of course not the only propaganda outlet. Billionaires control 87% of print news media by circulation, and are aggressively Tory for obvious reasons of self-interest.

This leads to the incredible circularity of the “Newspaper Reviews” that take up such a high proportion of broadcast news output. The broadcasters “review” the overwhelmingly right wing print media. And who do they invite to do the reviewing? Why the billionaire employed journalists of the overwhelmingly right wing print media, of course! So we have the surreal experience of watching journalists from the Times and the Spectator telling us how great an article in the Daily Mail is, about how Corbyn is a Russian spy and Scotland not really a country at all.

If that was not bad enough, we then get deluged by “commentators” from “think tanks” which are again billionaire funded, like the Institute of Economic Affairs and scores of others, sometimes with money thrown in from the security services, like the Quilliam Foundation and scores of others. It is a never-ending closed circular loop of propaganda.

The truth is that it largely works. Social media is overwhelmingly sceptical of the government narrative, but we still live in a society where the power of mass broadcasting and even print retains a remarkable amount of influence, particularly on the old and the poorly educated. It is no coincidence that it is precisely the old and the poorly educated that are the targets of Cummings’ “Brexit election” strategy. If it comes off, Kuenssberg and her fellow hacks will have proven that the power of the mainstream media is as yet unbroken.

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Kuenssberg Goes Into Overdrive

170,000 Labour members voted against Jeremy Corbyn in the last leadership election. Any of them can expect to be made briefly famous by Laura Kuenssberg as she deliriously seeks to promote her “Labour members turn against Corbyn” message.

150723-kuenssberg

She broadcasts that Andy Slaughter’s resignation from an obscure shadow junior ministerial post is “different”, because he uses the word “comrade”, and is a sign that even Corbyn’s supporters are turning against him.

Let’s consider that a moment. Slaughter’s voting record shows that he is a strong supporter of nuclear missiles and Trident replacement, and voted consistently against an inquiry into the Iraq war. So Kuenssberg’s characterisation of Slaughter is false.

And did Slaughter support Corbyn for leader last time? No. Andy Slaughter actually nominated Yvette Cooper for leader.

But worry not. Kuenssberg has another, killing example that Corbyn has lost it. The former leader of Dudley Council, councillor Dave Sparks, is going to vote against him! Kuenssberg evidently expects this bombshell to move financial markets. And did Bob Sparks vote for Corbyn the first time? Er, no. But, Kuenssberg announces, some other Labour councillors will vote against Corbyn too! Amazing!

Kuenssberg concludes:

But other local council figures are expected to echo Mr Sparks and call for him to go. The wave of enthusiasm he built outside Parliament may be starting to recede.

If so, his confidence that he would win the likely leadership contest may prove to be misplaced.

Are you one of the 170,000 who voted against Corbyn (as opposed to the 225,000 who voted for him)? You don’t have to moulder in the obscurity of a dull office. You don’t have to feel that nobody pays attention to you. You can impress your friends! You can be famous! You might even get laid! Anybody who voted against Corbyn can get their name on the BBC!

Just contact the vile propagandist shill Laura Kuenssberg. Who gets £220,000 a year salary from the license fee payer for producing this cheap stuff for the “neutral” BBC.

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Laura Kuenssberg Meet Barbra Streisand

Over 30,000 people within two days had signed an old languishing petition against the Tory bias of Laura Kuenssberg. They were motivated by outrage at the undisguised bias of her election night coverage, though that bias had already been evident daily.

For 35,000 people to be outraged enough to seek out and sign an online petition, millions must have felt that outrage. But the real furore started after 38 Degrees cancelled the petition due to “sexist abuse”. Unfortunately for them, they were forced to admit there was virtually no sexist abuse from the 35,000 people who had signed the petition. They next claimed the sexist abuse was on unrelated social media, but refused point blank to present any evidence of it. Then an extraordinary group started to coalesce in defence of Kuenssberg – Laura Bates, Yvette Cooper, Jess Phillips etc – all of them denouncing this widespread sexist abuse. Not one of these people produced a single shred of evidence of the existence of this sexist abuse.

Probably some abuse is there. I am a much, much less well known figure than Kuenssberg, but since I started writing on this topic I have been the subject of numerous extremely unpleasant tweets and facebook messages. Please note the same epithet applied to Kuenssberg would undoubtedly be claimed as misogynist abuse:

Screenshot (30)

I have cropped this to protect the identity of the sender, but I assure you it is perfectly real and not at all unusual. (This is actually sexist on my part as if it were a man I would not have cropped it. I can only ask you to forgive me, I am old). I am sure Kuenssberg, being vastly more famous, gets more abuse than I do. But the fact either of us receives abuse does not mean we are above criticism. The young woman tweeting above being unpleasant is not evidence I am right about anything. Still less does it mean criticism of me should be suppressed.

To say that abusers “hijacked” the petition criticising Kuenssberg for her terrible biased journalism, is like saying your car is hijacked by an insect landing on it.

But the extremely cheerful news is that the furore caused by 38 Degrees removing the petition has meant that tens of millions more people have heard of the petition, than if it had gone ahead. David Cameron standing up in the House of Commons saying Kuenssberg is not biased in itself will have made a million people realise that she is. Laura Kuenssberg, meet Barbra Streisand. The “Streisand Effect”, named after the actress’ attempt to suppress photos of her mansion, is the internet phenomenon whereby attempts to suppress information lead to far more people knowing it.

In this case, that is really important. Because what has struck me the last few days is the number of people who are saying “Wow, I thought she was pretty biased, but I thought it was just me.” No, it wasn’t just you. She really is the most appalling Tory shill. And now tens of millions more people are alert to it.

The Establishment, by its attempt to invent a “Misogynist campaign” and link it to Jeremy Corbyn, has just shot itself squarely in the foot.

You might enjoy this interesting word analysis of the comments of the 38 Degrees petition. The comments themselves can still be found from here. It should be understood that 35,000 people signed, but the large majority only sign and do not leave comments.

count [607052]

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Proof Positive that David Cameron, the BBC, Guardian, New Statesman and Entire Establishment are Peddling Blatant Untruths in the Kuenssberg Affair

Here are all the comments on the scrapped Kuenssberg petition. You know, the petition David Cameron condemned in the House of Commons today because it was accompanied by a storm of sexist abuse? Well, here are the comments in their entirety and out of 35,000 people who signed, there is virtually nobody whose comment can be seen as remotely sexist. See for yourselves. Can you spot the one sexist comment I found?

The comments show the petition was overwhelmingly signed by decent, concerned people who were sometimes quite eloquent. Also that the petition supporters are gender balanced and several specifically identify as feminists, and as supporters of the BBC. But neither Cameron, the Guardian and mainstream media nor 38 Degrees itself has any qualm about writing off all these decent citizens as a misogynist rabble.

The data link was left by a commenter on this site – I strongly suspect a mole within 38 Degrees has got it out. It is absolute proof that the politicians and mainstream media journalists have been pushing a plain lie about the nature of the campaign, and that 38 Degrees have colluded.

David Babbs of 38 Degrees appears to be setting new standards for lying. Now that the comments are public, he has changed his story and told Media Lens the abuse was not on the petition, it was on connected social media. I have repeatedly asked 38 Degrees for the evidence of abuse, but they absolutely refuse to show it. We have had five people searching all day. So far we have one single tweet, which was nasty – it called Laura K by a expletive reserved for women. And it did refer to the petition. But it was sent by a young man, 90% of whose comments referred to football and 100% of whose tweets used similar expletives. I unreservedly condemn what he did, but he was hardly a supporter of Corbyn or member of Momentum, as all the media are telling us. So far that is it – one young idiot – we have found nothing else.

But even if there are more nasty examples of abuse, that is not the fault of the 35,000 good people who signed the petition. And there is a disconnect between two establishment narratives, both unproven. One is that Kuenssberg has been a victim of terrible misogynist abuse since appointment. The other is that the abuse was caused by the petition. I utterly condemn any such abuse, but it does not negate the genuine concerns of the petitioners. Regular readers know I myself receive constant abuse, somethimes death threats. It does not mean I am not frequently in the wrong!

Now the lies have been thoroughly exploded. Of course the fact Cameron has been involved in peddling the lie may now be leading to some creative design, backdating and history creation in assorted Government establishments.

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38 Degrees Refuse to Release Evidence of “Sexist Abuse” of Laura Kuenssberg

This is the transcript of my conversation with the 38 Degrees Press Spokesman today about the scrapping of the Laura Kuenssberg petition, for which 38 Degrees were praised by David Cameron in the Commons today.

Hello Craig

Hello Adam. I hope you are not quite so busy today? Has it calmed down for you?

It is a bit less busy. Well we are very busy on other important things. Did you see the article by David Babbs in the Guardian today?

I did, but it doesn’t really answer my question. I haven’t received the evidence of the abuse connected to the petition which you said you would consider sending me. Are you going to send it?

I don’t really have the time for this

But you must have this evidence. You took a well-supported petition down. You must have the evidence you based your decision on.

There were abusive tweets and comments

Can you send them to me?

You can search for them yourself online

I have done so. But you must have the evidence?

Look yourself online

This is a big story. In all the national press. You must have kept the evidence on the basis of which you made the decision?

You said yourself you had seen misogynistic comments

I said I could find a single one – very unpleasant but only one – out of hundreds of comments I read

So you did see misogynistic comments

One.

Search yourself online. There were tweets.

So far I have been able to find one. That is one comment and one tweet. Have you seen more?

There were misogynistic comments and tweets

More than two? Out of thirty five thousand signatories? How many have you seen?

There was misogynistic abuse

How many have you seen. You personally Adam. You said yesterday you had seen the evidence. Have you, personally, seen more than two?

If you are going to start shouting at me

More than two? Simple question, yes or no?

I don’t expect you to be impolite and abusive towards me.

How much evidence did you see?

We had seen sufficient evidence.

Is that more than two? Is that more than two? That’s a very simple question.

We had seen sufficient evidence.

Have you seen more than two things? Have you seen more than two things? That’s a very simple question. I am recording you. Is that more than two things?

You can record if you like. We had sufficient evidence.

Is that evidence more than one tweet and one comment?

I could…I have got to go I have things to do here

Do you have more than one tweet and one comment?

Hangs up.

I do not claim the 38 Degrees do not have any evidence to show to “justify” removing this petition. But if they do, I find their attitude absolutely astonishing. It seems to me most probable they did so under establishment pressure with no serious consideration of evidence, and zero concern for the 35,000 people – about half of them female – they have now stigmatised as misogynists.

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The Establishment Rallies Around Kuenssberg

The petition to sack Tory propagandist Laura Kuenssberg from her role as BBC Political Editor has been scrapped by 38 Degrees after it gained over 35,000 signatures. The reason given is sexist comments and tweets.

Having both signed and endorsed the petition myself, I was taken aback by this. I had personally read through every single one of the comments on the 38 Degrees site, when 26,000 people had signed the petition. I was intending to publish a selection of comments on this blog, as many of them were really quite elegant, and some moving in expressing the loss some people felt in their disillusion with the BBC.

Of the many scores, possibly hundreds (there is no counter) of comments I read through, only one was sexist. That one was very unpleasant, but totally unrepresentative. I can see no reason why they could not just delete any such stupid comments. Everywhere on the internet gets them, including this blog.

It seems to me astonishing that a tiny and unrepresentative number of people can get a petition scrapped which had been signed by many thousands of genuine people. I therefore today phoned 38 Degrees to uncover both the policy and the sequence of events.

What happened first was an article in the Guardian alleging the petition was linked to sexist abuse. Needless to say, the Guardian referred to alleged sexist abuse, by Jeremy Corbyn supporters, of Stella Creasy and Jess Phillips (in the case of Stella Creasy this was proven to be almost complete fabrication. I have not looked into the Phillips case). I have both phoned and emailed the Guardian to ask them on what evidence their story of sexist abuse of Kuenssberg was based, but they have not responded.

I asked the 38 Degrees spokesman whether they had personally seen the evidence of this sexist abuse. Their spokesman Adam said that they had seen it. I asked whether they would send me the evidence so I could check it. He said they would consider this. They have not done so. I asked him how many sexist comments there were? 2, 3, 10, 100? He said they had not looked through everything and would not give even a ballpark figure. I asked what impact their junking of the petition would have on the tens of thousands of non sexist people who had signed it, and why they felt able to slander those people as sexist. He replied this was not intended and they were still thinking about it. I asked why people opposed to a petition could not get anything taken down by adding a few nasty comments pretending to support. He said this had occurred to them as a problem too.

38 Degrees said that the petition originator had agreed to it being taken down, but I clarified they had contacted him to ask for his agreement. Whether he was shown the “evidence” or browbeaten I do not know.

So there we are. The petition has been binned and the people who supported it have all been libelled in the media as sexists. It is not apparently concern about a rampantly biased political editor, it is obvious sexism. Yet the only people who claim to have the actual evidence of this sexism – 38 Degrees and the Guardian – have not produced the evidence and refuse to produce the evidence when I ask.

Laura Kuenssberg is I think the most openly biased journalist I have ever seen on the BBC, particularly in her very obvious vindictive hatred of Jeremy Corbyn and of Scottish Independence. She does not in the least pretend impartiality. But she is by no means alone. Of course by targeting her we are only drawing attention to a particularly egregious symptom of the terrible disease of a rampantly right wing corporate and state media. Nobody believes that removing her would solve the problem. Nobody seriously believes the BBC actually would remove her even if the petition reached a million. It is purely a campaigning tool to highlight the injustice of media control, access and bias.

The fact we are denied even this tool of protest is deeply troubling. The continued process of stigmatisation of decent dissidents as “anti-Semitic” or “misogynist” is characteristic of a society in which deviating from the political line is rewarded with social stigma and exclusion. This poisonous climate should be seen as a reaction to the challenge the elite is currently facing to its neo-liberal certainties.

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BBC Lies and Statistics #SackKuenssberg

Here are the basic facts from Thursday’s plethora of UK elections, limited to those affecting the relative Labour and Conservative Vote

English Council Elections
Labour 1,291 councillors Conservative 828 Councillors

London Mayoral Election First Preferences
Labour 45.2% Conservative 35.0%

Labour also won the three other mayoral elections in Bristol, Liverpool and Salford

Scottish Parliament elections constituencies
Labour 22.6% Conservative 22.0%

Welsh Assembly Election Votes
Labour 34.7% Conservative 21.1%

And yet the BBC ran a claim all day that the “projected” national vote share was Labour 31%, Conservative 30%.

This simply cannot be true. Labour won the London mayoral election by over 200,000 votes. They were 130,000 ahead in Wales. Taking all the elections except the English local council seat elections, Labour were 360,000 votes and approximately 6% ahead of the Tories. To balance this plus the majorities of the 1,291 Labour English councillors elected, each of just 828 Conservative English councillors elected would have to have an average majority of approximately 1,000. Random sampling shows this is absolutely not the case.

My own calculations, based on knowing all the other results and extrapolations from samples of the English local council results, is that the national vote count was Labour 34% Conservative 29%. It might not be precisely correct, but is not far out.

But I can say for certain is that the BBC 31/30 figure is a despicable and quite deliberate lie. The BBC has become a caricature of a state propaganda machine.

UPDATE It has been pointed out that in the Scottish regional list vote the Tories beat Labour by 520,000 to 431,000, a huge disparity with the aggregate constituency vote which Labour narrowly won. But if you use the regional rather than the constituency total in the UK wide calculation, the extra 89,000 Tory lead only marginally affects the overall calculation.

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Guest Post by the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg

Project Corbyn, that astonishing tidal wave movement of a tiny minority of hard left activists and other entryists which swept Labour into the ocean of unrealistic economic policy and unelectable beliefs, has run aground within 48 hours on the issue of alphabetical discrimination.

Many senior Labour sources have, within the last hour, told me that Corbyn had proved he was out of touch and a complete throwback to the 1930’s by his appointment of a shadow cabinet consisting of “old people from the start of the alphabet.”

Most people believe it has been a terrific mistake to appoint a shadow cabinet dominated overwhelmingly by people whose names begin with just the first few letters of the alphabet. Is Corbyn totally unaware of the identity politics of the modern media, many are asking. One very senior former Labour Cabinet Minister told me “Look at the key figures here. Abbott, Benn, Burnham, Corbyn. That is four of the most important posts and it doesn’t take you past the first three letters of the alphabet. This is disgusting and Labour MPs simply may not put up with it. Eagle does not take us much further and her first name is Angela. Why was there no space for Umunna?”

This kind of whispering from his own benches has the ability to undermine the completely unelectable Corbyn. A great many anonymous people have told me they were hopeful that Watson would provide balance, but these hopes were dashed by the appointment of Abbott.

Significantly I tried to query John MacDonnell on this but the aged terrorist supporter kept talking about income inequality and seeking completely to avoid the genuine issues which are worrying so many formerly very important Labour MPs, and so many in the media, today.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior former Labour Prime Minister told me “I predicted the Labour Party would fall off a cliff and they ignored me. Corbyn will be out by Christmas.” It does seem that the unelectable Corbyn, who refused to answer questions on alphabet balance, has no answers to these key questions.

Laura Kuenssberg, BBC

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The UK’s Macabre Final Election

This is the final general election of the United Kingdom. The SNP has put Independence at the heart of its campaign, eschewing the dreadful error of the “don’t mention Independence” campaign of 2017 that led half a million potential supporters to sit on their hands on voting day. The SNP is going to win a thumping victory and eliminate the Tories from Scotland. Johnson’s hardline unionist pose, denying the sovereign right to choose of the Scottish people, would not be able to survive such a result. If the Tories were to think they would succeed in treating Scotland as Spain treats Catalonia, they would have a very rude awakening. Equally the SNP leadership will be politically unable to impose acceptance of whatever parameters Westminster attempts to impose. The divergence of politics and culture between Scotland and England is now so stark that the union is already over as a functioning political entity. It is now just a matter of arranging the obsequies.

It is essential to maximise the SNP vote at this election. Anything else is a distraction. It should be stated plainly that there is no seat in Scotland where an SNP vote risks handing the seat to the Tories. There are several where a Labour vote or a Green vote risks handing the seat to the Tories. To vote Labour or Green in Scotland in 2019 is an act of irresponsible self-indulgence. It must be SNP. After independence, which will be very soon, we can all go our own ways.

It is karma for the Lib Dems role in austerity that, just when the opportunity should arise for them to make massive gains as the major Remain party in England, they are saddled with Jo Swinson as leader. Her instincts are entirely right wing. When asked at her campaign launch why she said Jeremy Corbyn was unsuitable to be Prime Minister, by a journalist seeking more Corbyn knocking copy, her first and most immediate response was that Corbyn would not be prepared to give the order to British submarine commanders to fire nuclear weapons. Swinson combines inanity, delusion and ambition in a deeply unpleasant mix. It should not be forgotten that the Lib Dems were down to a handful of MPs after the last election and Swinson became leader from a very small field. Now some careerist Blairites have joined the sinking ship, Swinson’s right wing instincts are further reinforced. I am sure there are a few decent people still left in the Lib Dems. But they are invisible.

Nevertheless, there are many seats in England where people need to vote Lib Dem to defeat the Tory. The best practical scenario for the end of the UK is a Labour/Lib Dem/SNP alliance, that will eschew hard Brexit and agree a second Independence referendum for Scotland. Another scenario will also end in Independence but be messier and more dangerous. Even if we achieve Independence through a second referendum (and other options are available), that referendum would be a much dirtier fight even than 2014. We are already seeing in this election just how unrestrainedly pro-Tory the British media now is, and another Scottish referendum campaign would suffer not only that, but every dirty trick in the playbook of the British security services. Nevertheless, I have no doubt of the result.

Of course it is true that the media has always been biased, but it has got much worse. There has been a radical shift in the culture of the media in exactly the same way there has been a massive shift to the right in the Tory Party. While plutocrats always owned almost all of the media, in the complex relations within media institutions there were countervailing currents. Of course it was never true that editors and journalists had perfect ethics or integrity, but there were some notions of decency, balance, fairness and simple respect for the truth which did actuate, to some extent, editors and journalists. Even though these cultural factors might on the whole be outweighed by deference to the wishes of the bosses, by party allegiance or by personal ambition, these notions of proper conduct did on occasion provide some influence on behaviour and thus on media output.

Those journalistic standards have been almost entirely abandoned and you will scan the media in vain for evidence of fairness and balance. It is not a coincidence that at this time two of my good personal friends in the media, with whom I have major political differences but who are good professionals and decent people, John Sweeney and Peter Oborne, have left their posts at BBC Panorama and the Daily Mail respectively.

The state media is as bad as the plutocrat owned media. The BBC’s complicity in the Tory attack on Corbyn has been absolute, including the Tory set up interviews with Ian Austin and yesterday’s long anti-Corbyn plug by Sajid Javid on Marr. The Tory campaign is a disgrace. Johnson like May before him is being kept well away from any actual voters, and the BBC lights and frames his entirely artificial events with the careful precision of a Leni Riefenstahl. Kuenssberg and Robinson are simply Tory propagandists.

When realism does break through it is through citizen journalism, not the media. The outrageous statements of a ranting Boris Johnson in Northern Ireland, contradicting the EU withdrawal agreement, would never have been mentioned by the media if they had not gone viral from an individual’s mobile phone.

The claims that Johnson did not understand his own deal are wide of the mark. He is not stupid; he knows what is in it. If you listen very carefully to what he said then and subsequently, he is not claiming his deal does not specify any checks between Northern Ireland and the mainland. What he is stating is his assurance that there will be no checks. This confirms the fears I have been reporting within the FCO, that Boris Johnson simply has no intention of actually implementing the withdrawal agreement. He has been negotiating in bad faith with the EU, and signing up to things he has no intention of doing in order to “Get Brexit Done”. He has no moral scruples over lying, it is not his style to think beyond immediate personal advantage, and he is still enamoured of the idea that in the end the EU will always buckle because it needs the UK market.

The stars have aligned perfectly for those of us who support Scottish Independence, and I am delighted that both Irish unification and Plaid Cymru have been given a bigger boost than seemed plausible just a very few years ago. This election is sordid, tawdry, corrupt and uninspiring; a fitting end for the UK and its long history of callous exploitation. Never has a state been more adept at using its system of law to shift resources from the poor to the rich. Never has a state’s dissolution been more overdue.

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An Unpopular Article

This article is probably unpopular. The point of this blog is not to make you agree, but to make you think; if I did not express views which are not the view of the majority, there would be no point in writing at all. This is not an applause seeking echo chamber of popular sentiment.

Boris Johnson has no more ardent political opponent than I. But some of the hysteria about him is overblown.

As a teenage delegate to a Liberal Party conference in 1976 (I think in Llandudno), I had to fend off the amorous advances of a politician who persisted even after I plainly told him I was not gay, and I ended up stabbing his wandering hand with the pin of my delegate’s badge, after which he went away. I regarded his behaviour as over drunken and over randy, but took the attitude then and now that humans are not perfect and inclined occasionally to fall prey to their basic instincts, especially when drinking. If we expected everyone to be perfect, we would live our entire lives in a state of disappointment. I expect a majority of sexually active adults have similar experiences at some time. I do not believe it healthy or sensible to elevate them to serious crimes.

(For the sake of clarity, I should add that I have never personally been accused of an unwanted physical advance).

I really do not care whether Boris Johnson squeezed Charlotte Edwards’ leg 20 years ago. I firmly believe women are every bit the equal of men, and I do not understand why it is somehow reckoned that Ms Edwards, and others in the same position, were unable to stab his hand with a fork, throw a drink in his face, or embarrass him by telling him clearly to stop. I do not accept the notion that difference of age and status between full adults makes firm rejection impossible – that thought did not cross my mind with the politician in Llandudno, who was a good deal older, more famous and wealthy than I, and in a position to further my political ambitions. Ms Edwards saying nothing at the time, saving it up for twenty years and then attempting to use the claim to cause major damage, appears to me behaviour as bad as the original.

I do realise that in this I have outlived the mores of the times. But no matter how fiercely I oppose a no deal Brexit – and I think it would be disastrous for every one but a few nasty financial speculators – I do not think the approach of throwing the kitchen sink of accusations against Boris Johnson is good for the long term health of politics. It also obscures with chaff the allegations of real wrongdoing, like directing public funds and assistance to the company of a woman with whom he was in a sexual relationship. That should be investigated. That is real wrongdoing.

Johnson’s arrogance before the Commons in refusing to apologise for the prorogation of parliament was deeply unpleasant, but I do not approve of the effort to delegitimise his use of language. Words like “surrender”, “betrayal” and “traitor” have centuries of political use behind them. Boris Johnson is as entitled to free speech as anyone else. It is perfectly legitimate for opponents to argue that his language is deliberately divisive and thus people ought to vote against him in the interests of harmony. The electorate can pay heed or not to such argument, as they see fit. But it is quite another thing to argue that such language should be excised from public life. Robust debate is an important aspect of free speech. Controlling the language of your opponents is the antithesis of democracy. I am firmly with John Stuart Mill on this one.

People were offended by Galileo and Darwin, by Gandhi, by Jesus and Mohammed. Causing offence is important to human development. Everyone is entitled to do it, even Boris Johnson.

Finally I had the misfortune to see Jess Phillips on BBC Breakfast TV yesterday morning and she gave, as an example of abuse of MPs the fact that every time she speaks about anti-semitism in the Labour Party she receives emails stating that she is exaggerating, or is a puppet of Israel. A great deal of what MPs plainly see as abusive online activity looks to me simply like people expressing their disagreement. People can be entirely right or entirely wrong in their views, but they still have a right to express them to Members of Parliament. I found Ms Phillips objection to people expressing disagreement deeply worrying.

I have no doubt MPs do receive death threats – I do myself sometimes, generally originating in Florida for some strange reason. But I do wonder how much exaggeration there is of this.

The Laura Kuenssberg case is seminal here. You may recall that 35,000 people signed a 38 Degrees petition calling for her removal for pro-Tory bias and after a major headline news campaign headed by the Guardian and BBC, claiming that the petition was full of abusive and misogynistic comments, 38 Degrees deleted the petition. However I went through all the comments personally and could only find one comment and a single related tweet which was in any way abusive or misogynistic. When I challenge 38 Degrees to produce the evidence of abuse, there was none. That was a very worrying example of the limiting of perfectly legitimate protest against Kuenssberg, on an excuse of “abusive social media” which was a lie.

There is insufficient plain speaking already in politics and the attempt to further contain and constrain, and limit political thought to acceptable channels and vocabulary, is worrying. Let Johnson say what he wills, and let the electorate judge that.

As for behaviour, I do not wish to see any further correspondence of the Overton window with sex negative feminism. I can personally think of one mutually fulfilling physical relationship in my own history, where the crossing of that difficult line from friendship to physical intimacy did indeed start with the squeeze of a leg under the table. The initiation of more intimate physical contact is the most critical point in the complex courtship rituals of developed human societies. To insist that verbal agreement must always be sought before a move to kiss or an exploratory caress of a leg or a shoulder, is a fundamental change in culture which I am not at all sure is desirable. The essential qualifier is of course that, if the other person either verbally or by action does not welcome the tentative first move, then the initiator must desist immediately. It is my own belief that sex-negative feminism seeks quite deliberately to invalidate perfectly normal heterosexual courtship and that the chattering classes have far too readily adopted this, in the interests of identity politics.

I am perfectly aware that what I have written will offend some pleasant people and is against current fashionable thinking. I am also well aware that less pleasant people will utterly misrepresent what I have written as a justification of sexual assault. I deplore entirely any non-consensual sexual activity forced on anyone, and I believe that the slightest indication of disapproval should lead to an instant stop. But to deny the existence of non-verbal communication, and make an issue of non-violent initiation of contact outside an erogenous zone, is to me not legitimate. I would also refer you to my last post, and the extraordinary difference in the treatment in these matters by the media and political classes purveying identity politics of those within the neo-liberal “centrist” consensus, like Bill Clinton and Brendan Cox, and those outside it, like Boris Johnson, Alex Salmond or Julian Assange. This is a misguided and an extraordinarily selective outrage.

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A Question of Loyalty

I was just talking to an old friend in the European Commission about Scottish Independence. He said within the Commission there would now be overwhelming support for it and for immediate Scottish membership of the EU. He then added “But please can you leave Dr Fox with the English?”.

He was joking, but it led me to think about the loyalties of Unionist politicians. I don’t doubt Dr Fox would stay with the English – there will be no power in prospect for Tories in Scotland.

When asked in an interview during the last Indyref where his loyalty would lie if Independence won, then Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael replied without hesitation that of course he was a Scot and he would be loyal to Scotland. Where, I wonder, would Fluffy Mundell’s loyalties lie? The border is a short hop for him. Colonel Ruthie Davison has always had her eyes on high office at Westminster, and I expect she would be quickly down the A1. As for Labour, I don’t suppose anyone in England especially wants Richard Leonard. To be fair, I suspect Gordon Brown is not going anywhere and would reconcile himself to being the Scot who, in his own mind, saved the World. Wouldn’t it be lovely if J K Rowling upped sticks and went to be closer to her beloved Tony Blair?

With Scotland in the EU and England outside, would Andrew Neil be allowed to “queue jump” and stay as a top Tory at the England and Wales Broadcasting Corporation? Or would he fall victim to a hostile environment? Surely the mighty Laura Kuenssberg would demand a larger field for her snide right wing jibes than her home country?

I offer the “which way would the unionists jump” game to those of you whose minds have been frazzled by the banal spectacle of the results of British hubris, as relayed to us from Westminster all week. The game works much better with a few drams of Caol Ila.

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The Manufactured Smears of the Establishment

Miko Peled, target of the latest Labour anti-Semitism allegations, is a Jewish Israeli, former member of Israeli special forces, son of a famous Israeli general and grandson of a signatory of Israel’s founding Declaration of Independence. You can object to his views, but he can hardly be anti-semitic in any sensible meaning of the term. Nor is he either British or a member of the Labour Party, nor was he speaking at an official Labour Party event.

Given all of the above, in what rational world can Miko Peled said spark newspapers from the Guardian to the Daily Mail to carry, as their lead stories, articles on anti-semitism in the Labour Party, centred entirely on Peled’s comments to a fringe meeting last night?

What Peled is alleged to have said is that discussion of the Holocaust ought to be allowed – with an apparent inference that means discussion of its existence or extent. Now we only have versions of what he said put out by his opponents, so I do not know the precise words he used or their context. I have always banned holocaust denial from this blog, because having had occasion to serve in Poland and both meet survivors and be involved in commemoration events, I have had much closer contact than most people with the overwhelming evidence for what happened. I also find it to be true that those who espouse holocaust denial are often using it as a vehicle for actual anti-Semitism and even for Nazi sympathy. So it is not allowed on this site. But neither do I think it should be actually illegal to hold that view. In context, Peled may have been saying no more than that.

If Peled was saying holocaust denial ought to be a valid subject for party political meetings, I disagree with him very strongly. It also contradicts what he is reported to have said immediately afterwards. He said that platforms are not given to neo-Nazis and were not given to supporters of apartheid South Africa, so they should be denied to Zionists too. I broadly agree with that – but would deny a platform to Holocaust deniers on the same score.

Peled’s remarks have been a great boon to the mainstream media who have had a great deal of difficulty in finding a way to denigrate Corbyn’s leadership sufficiently. They had fallen back on the old “Misogynist” charge related to Laura Kuenssberg, with the BBC’s extraordinary propaganda decision to give her a bodyguard in case she was yet again subjected to joking pantomime hisses.

Which brings me to one of the great unanswered emails of our time:

Jasper Jackson is the Guardian’s assistant media editor who had published a piece on online abuse of Kuenssberg. It seemed reasonable to ask whether he had actually seen any evidence, as I had been unable to find any. He did not reply – and I am willing to assert he did not reply because he had no evidence.

Jackson however is not in the same category as David Babbs of 38 degrees, who lied through his teeth about the existence of misogynistic comments on an anti-Kuenssberg petition. Babbs refused to speak to me but I did manage to interview their press spokesman on 11 May last year, and it is a piece of real journalism of which I am very proud:

Hello Craig

Hello Adam. I hope you are not quite so busy today? Has it calmed down for you?

It is a bit less busy. Well we are very busy on other important things. Did you see the article by David Babbs in the Guardian today?

I did, but it doesn’t really answer my question. I haven’t received the evidence of the abuse connected to the petition which you said you would consider sending me. Are you going to send it?

I don’t really have the time for this

But you must have this evidence. You took a well-supported petition down. You must have the evidence you based your decision on.
There were abusive tweets and comments

Can you send them to me?

You can search for them yourself online

I have done so. But you must have the evidence?

Look yourself online

This is a big story. In all the national press. You must have kept the evidence on the basis of which you made the decision?

You said yourself you had seen misogynistic comments

I said I could find a single one – very unpleasant but only one – out of hundreds of comments I read

So you did see misogynistic comments

One.
Search yourself online. There were tweets.

So far I have been able to find one. That is one comment and one tweet. Have you seen more?

There were misogynistic comments and tweets

More than two? Out of thirty five thousand signatories? How many have you seen?

There was misogynistic abuse

How many have you seen. You personally Adam. You said yesterday you had seen the evidence. Have you, personally, seen more than two?

If you are going to start shouting at me

More than two? Simple question, yes or no?

I don’t expect you to be impolite and abusive towards me.

How much evidence did you see?

We had seen sufficient evidence.

Is that more than two? Is that more than two? That’s a very simple question.

We had seen sufficient evidence.

Have you seen more than two things? Have you seen more than two things? That’s a very simple question. I am recording you. Is that more than two things?

You can record if you like. We had sufficient evidence.

Is that evidence more than one tweet and one comment?

I could…I have got to go I have things to do here

Do you have more than one tweet and one comment?

Hangs up.

It is also worth stating that there was no evidence at all the two nasty comments – out of 35,0000 signatures – aimed at Kuenssberg had any connection to Corbyn supporters.

To threaten someone with violence is very serious, a crime. The police act on such complaints. Stuart Campbell of Wings over Scotland has been harassed by police over his non-threatening tweets. If there was serious abuse and threat made towards Kuenssberg, there would be police investigations and people would be appearing in court. Where is the evidence for all of this happening? There remains a complete dearth of evidence, yet that did not stop the Guardian alone from running five articles about the Corbynite threat to Kuenssberg this week – every single one of which was 100% evidence free.

That was before they diverted on to the story of the Jewish, ex Israeli Special Services veteran being an anti-Semite.

I do not doubt Kuenssberg receives some abuse. Everyone in public life does. I receive abuse including threats of violence. But if there is evidence that there is a genuine and unusual threat to Kuenssberg, that evidence has never ever been shown. God knows, I have very genuinely tried to access that evidence (I have also asked Kuenssberg if I can see it – she did not reply either). What does exist is a huge volume of complaint about her obvious right wing bias. The established media is desperate to portray this kind of challenge to their authority as illegitimate.

I am obliged to conclude that both the “anti-Semitic Corbynites” meme and the “misogynist Corbynites” meme are Fake News. They are Establishment media concoctions designed to protect the interests of the Establishment from political radicalism. I also conclude that the BBC gave Kuenssberg a bodyguard, not because there is any danger at all she will be assaulted by Corbynites, but in order to boost that propaganda.

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I continue urgently to need contributions to my defence in the libel action against me by Jake Wallis Simons, Associate Editor of Daily Mail online. You can see the court documents outlining the case here. I am threatened with bankruptcy and the end of this blog (not to mention a terrible effect on my young family). Support is greatly appreciated. An astonishing 4,000 people have now contributed a total of over £75,000. But that is still only halfway towards the £140,000 target. I realise it is astonishing that so much money can be needed, but that is the pernicious effect of England’s draconian libel laws, as explained here.





On a practical point, a number of people have said they are not members of Paypal so could not donate. After clicking on “Donate”, just below and left of the “Log In” button is a small “continue” link which enables you to donate by card without logging in.

For those who prefer not to pay online, you can send a cheque made out to me to Craig Murray, 89/14 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, EH8 8BA. As regular readers know, it is a matter of pride to me that I never hide my address.

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A Sense of Proportion

The Establishment is fast losing its grip on the loyalty of the populace. That decline in the respect of the population for their masters has coincided with the rise of the importance of the internet and social media, and the corresponding decline in consumption of traditional print and broadcast news and current affairs media. It is a little more complicated than simple cause and effect – at precisely the same period the income gap in western society has opened out massively, and the palliative protections of the masses, particularly trade unions, have been rendered impotent. But the overall impact is that respect of the people for their “betters” is vanishing. Indeed, very few people would accept anybody in the political class as their “better” today.

There have been a number of Establishment reactions to this development. One is the cry of “Fake News” and desire to find excuses for censoring the internet and re-establishing control of the narrative. The “Fake News” alarm is perhaps too transparent a device to work in this respect, but they will keep mining away at the national security/paedophilia/terrorism excuses for ending this period of unprecedented freedom in mass communication.

Another device continuously deployed is for wealthy and/or powerful members of the Establishment to use identity politics to claim that they are themselves under attack. Hillary Clinton’s defeat is continually explained by her acolytes as due to “misogyny”. We had the entirely faked up story that the anger at Laura Kuenssberg for being blatantly anti-Corbyn was also misogyny. There is not a single Blairite female Labour MP who has not repeatedly claimed that political opposition from the left is conditioned by her gender.

Now we have a new meme, where MPs are complaining that their children are being verbally attacked at school. Now it is very wrong that any child is ever bullied or made unhappy. If Bob Stewart was telling the truth of his child facing adverse comment from a teacher, that is bad. But life is not without its troubles, even for children. I suffered some veiled taunts from one particular teacher about the fact my father was absent from the home. When I was going through my very high profile dispute with the Foreign Office, people said things to my children. Stuff happens – I don’t want any child to be unhappy, but MPs’ children have pretty charmed lives and manage to do often “surprisingly” well at getting their first job.

Today we have Hanna Flint in the Guardian apparently traumatised by a teacher asking her when she was 13 if her mum, Caroline Flint, would vote for the war in Iraq. Again I am sorry if that upset Hanna. No child should be upset. But there are hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children a very great deal more traumatised by having close family members blown to pieces in the Iraq conflict, thanks to the hardened and nasty right wing piece of work that is Caroline Flint. I imagine their trauma is rather worse. There are plenty of Iraqi children who got maimed themselves. There are plenty of Iraqi children who, unlike Hanna, never got the chance to grow up at all, thanks to Hanna’s warmongering mum. I am sorry for your childhood pain, Hanna, I really am. I hate to see any child unhappy. But forgive me if you are not first in line for my sympathy.

Remember, if your mum was not a Blairite MP, a young journalist as bland as you would be most unlikely to get an article published in the Guardian. See, its not all that bad. being in the Establishment.

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I continue urgently to need contributions to my defence in the libel action against me by Jake Wallis Simons, Associate Editor of Daily Mail online. You can see the court documents outlining the case here. I am threatened with bankruptcy and the end of this blog (not to mention a terrible effect on my young family). Support is greatly appreciated. An astonishing 4,000 people have now contributed a total of over £75,000. But that is still only halfway towards the £140,000 target. I realise it is astonishing that so much money can be needed, but that is the pernicious effect of England’s draconian libel laws, as explained here.





On a practical point, a number of people have said they are not members of Paypal so could not donate. After clicking on “Donate”, just below and left of the “Log In” button is a small “continue” link which enables you to donate by card without logging in.

For those who prefer not to pay online, you can send a cheque made out to me to Craig Murray, 89/14 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, EH8 8BA. As regular readers know, it is a matter of pride to me that I never hide my address.

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The Real Problem With the BBC

Mainstream media debate this summer focused on the fact that some extremely overpaid women at the BBC are not overpaid to quite the same extent as some extremely, extremely overpaid men. This is reminiscent of the fuss over the US having a male kleptocratic president, when it could have had a female kleptocratic president.

Personally I support the notion that pay should be equalised at the BBC – provided it is equalised down at the top and up at the bottom.

But the real problem of massive salaries at the BBC is one the media entirely missed. The BBC has 98 bureaucrats who are each paid more than the Head of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or the UK’s Ambassador to the European Union. What is more, this great store of ludicrously overpaid non-jobs is simply an additional resource for pillaging public funds by the right wing political class.

The British media is obsessed with Scaramucci doing the fandango, but there has been little or no adverse comment on his UK opposite number, Robbie Gibb, appointed by Theresa May as Director of Communications in No. 10. And where had Gibb previously been picking up a very large salary? The BBC, as the editor of the programmes of arch Tory, Andrew Neil. Now Gibb is on the right of the Tory Party with close personal contacts to UKIP. He had picked up his plumb job in the BBC straight from working for – the Tory Party. He was a very junior journalist very early in his career, but it was his Tory Party connections that got him the executive BBC job. His brother is a Tory minister. And now he has gone back again through the Tory/BBC revolving door to continue his career as a Tory propagandist – the entire career entirely paid for by you and me, as taxpayers and license payers.

The other candidate for the No. 10 job was another highly paid BBC Tory, Diplomatic Editor James Landale.

Over ten years ago I was invited to a BBC symposium in Cambridge where BBC bureaucrats, producers and writers were introduced to “interesting” people to spark their creative juices. I first met Armandio Iannucci there. I also met a young BBC executive named Craig Oliver. It is not with hindsight, he genuinely did strike me as an extremely unpleasant young Gordon Gekko, and for his part he could barely conceal his contempt for me as a whistleblower. When he left the BBC to join No. 10 as David Cameron’s Director of Communications, I was unsurprised. But again the question arises – how do these politicians get those BBC jobs, presumably against competition from media professionals?

Looking at both that BBC “talent list”, and that BBC top bureaucrat list, there are a number of people whose politics we really do know – from their history and statements. They range from the right wing Blairite loyalist James Purnell, through the ultra Tory James Harding, former editor of Murdoch’s Times, to “out” Tories like Sarah Sands (editor of the Today programme), Nick Robinson, Andrew Neil and James Landale. There are others like Kuenssberg who make their personal views entirely clear in their reporting.

But the truth is this. While I am certain of the politics of 13 people on the BBC highly paid talent or senior staff list, and I am pretty sure I know the politics of some twenty others, they span the political spectrum from Tony Blair to UKIP.

There genuinely is not one person on the BBC highly paid staff list whom I have any reason to believe is to the left of Blair. In a country where 4% of the British population are Scottish nationalists, there should be ten of those between those two lists too. I can’t identify a single one.

It says a lot that the most left wing senior person at the BBC is Gary Lineker.

40% of the country voted for a Labour Party well to the left of the identifiable views of any one of the BBC’s highly paid staff. The lack of socialists and Scottish nationalists on the lists is a far more important issue than the question of why a few more women do not earn over £300,000 a year.

How the BBC’s highly paid staff came to mirror precisely the BBC’s well-established version of the Overton Window is an interesting study in the interplay of cause and effect. But one thing is very plain. The kind of revolutionary change that is needed by the mass of the people requires a personnel clear-out and reform across the BBC, the judiciary and many other public institutions, that goes much deeper than changing some politicians at Westminster.

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The Bleating of the Blairites

A sleepless night and day of drama over, I should congratulate Jeremy Corbyn and his team on a fantastic job done. This really was a watershed election. I suspect that what happened is that the mainstream media realised it is losing influence, and tried to compensate by becoming so shrill and biased it simply lost all respect. This election may be the one where social media finally routed the press barons. They may in turn start to wonder if it is worth sinking millions into a newspaper if it can’t buy an election

New media beat old media, the insurgents routed the establishment, the young insisted the old also consider their opinion, hope beat fear, altruism wrestled with selfishness, and I would personally go so far as to say good stood up to evil. The result against the combined power of state and media was fantastic. We have nonetheless still got Theresa May as PM propped up by climate change denying, misogynist, creationist, homophobe, anti-abortion terrorist-linked knuckle-draggers from the DUP. But cheer up, it won’t last long.

Tomorrow I will publish an article on the SNP. It is on the stocks, but I want to look at it again when my anger dies down. But for now, let me think about the Blairites.

The Blairites hate Labour’s good result, even though it saved their own jobs. They had put so much work into preparing the ground for their next coup attempt against Corbyn. There was a fascinating campaign to demoralise Labour chances undertaken by Blairite MPs and the Blairite Westminster commentariat.

Here for example was Michael Savage, political editor of the Observer.

Here was my response.

His Guardian colleague Polly Toynbee was on the BBC on Thursday morning explaining coming defeat would be Corbyn’s fault, and her colleague Anne Perkins, the Guardian leader writer whose soul is but a shrivelled husk of right wing hate, wrote the most horrible diatribe in the Guardian on Tuesday advising “Corbyn supporters” not to hope.

These Blairite journalists and the Blairite politicians all live in the same bubble where everybody hates Jeremy Corbyn, and nobody will vote for left wing policies.

Labour Uncut, aka Corbyn Hate Central, had a wonderfully delusional piece by the ludicrous Atul Hatwal, who went and visited a lot of Blairites all over the place and published his firm conclusion that everybody hates Jeremy Corbyn.

Just over two weeks ago I posted a projection of huge losses for Labour – over 90 seats – based on dozens of conversations with activists, candidates and officials who cumulatively had sight of tens of thousands of canvass returns.
Since then, I’ve continued those conversations as Labour has apparently surged in the polls.
In every seat, canvassers are encountering lifelong Labour supporters who still identify with the party but not Jeremy Corbyn.  This group tends to have voted for Ed Miliband reluctantly and are now either sitting out this contest or ready to vote Tory for the first time to prevent a Corbyn premiership.
These switchers represent a new generation of shy Tories, located deep inside Labour’s core vote. They are embarrassed at voting Tory, sufficiently so to deny their intent to friends, families and pollsters. Some of the older Labour officials and campaigners have reported familiar doorstep cadences from 1992 – “It’s in the eyes,” one said to me.

But Hatwul is not alone in his drooling imbecility. If anything he is out-drooled by Jason Cowley, the editor who has dragged the New Statesman to the right of the Economist. Both Cowley and Perkins quote Hatwul’s “research” and Cowley on Tuesday expected a “catastrophic” loss of 90 seats. It is a shame that a magazine with a great history has come to be edited by a bigot so blinkered he has lost the faculties of perception. This is funny from Cowley’s anti Corbyn hate fest – written just three days ago:

In recent days, I have been speaking to Labour candidates, including those defending small majorities in marginal seats, as well as to activists. The picture emerging is bleaker than the polls would suggest and the mood is one of foreboding: candidates expect to lose scores of seats on Thursday. There’s a sense, too, that two campaigns have been conducted simultaneously: candidates with majorities under 10,000 are trying to hold back the Tory tide, while Corbyn is, as some perceive it, already contesting the next leadership contest – one in which, at present, he is the sole candidate.

What a stupid arse Cowley is. Do read the whole thing, he is hilariously wrong on all counts. Anybody can make a mistake. But Cowley is making a dishonest mistake. Blinded by Blairite affections, consumed by a passionate rejection of the idea that socialism might be popular, the Labour candidates he has spoken too share his Blairite outlook and they were all engaged in a circle of delusion. A circle which includes Laura Kuenssberg, who at the start of the BBC election night coverage assured us that senior Labour figures she knew had been telling her from the doorstep that the anti-Corbyn reaction would belie the opinion polls.

This was all of course intended to be self-fulfilling prophecy. The Blairites and their media fellow travellers were engaged in a deliberate attempt to reinforce the Corbyn bogeyman narrative to the public in the last few days before the election. They were deliberately trying to make the party they ostensibly supported lose, so they could take back control of it again. The Manchester Evening News claimed “Labour insiders” as the course of its nonsense story that Labour stood to lose seats in Manchester owing to its stance on anti-Semitism.

The BBC were quick today to suggest that Corbyn should use his success to broaden his cabinet and his policy platform, to bring the Blairites back onboard. They meant that if he squeezes himself inside the Overton window he may win power eventually. I remain confident Corbyn will ignore any such blandishments and go on to further develop a radical alternative to neo-liberal policies. The Blairites need to be stamped out, not encouraged.

The parliamentary boundary review will now be a top legislative priority for May as it is reckoned to be a net advantage to the Tories of 18 seats at the next election, which may be soon. That will be an interesting negotiation with the DUP as it will cost them a seat. But the boundary review provides the perfect opportunity for Corbyn to force through compulsory re-submission of candidates to members. Jeremy also needs to concentrate on seizing the institutional control of the party that he lacks to date. His enhanced prestige at the moment needs to be ruthlessly exploited.

I rather hope we will hear a good deal more bleating by the Blairites in the near future, as they are hurtled towards political oblivion.

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Tories Leap Into the Unpopularity Abyss

The official Conservative party spokesman, Laura Kuenssberg, has just announced that Theresa May will remain as Prime Minister, supported by the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland. Now the DUP are probably the most unpleasant bunch of individuals in organised politics in the UK. The “No Surrender” arch protestant bigot party founded by Ian Paisley.

It is fascinating that, after an election in which the Tories and their mainstream media acolytes attacked Jeremy Corbyn at every opportunity for his alleged sympathies with the IRA, the Tories have come to an arrangement with a party that was from its inception and still is the political wing of the loyalist terrorism. The mainstream media never even mentioned the existence of Loyalist terrorism during its sustained attack on Jeremy Corbyn.

The loyalist terrorists murdered 1,016 people in the period 1969-2001. They shot someone dead in a supermarket car park in an internecine dispute actually during the election campaign. In all the media attacks on Corbyn about the IRA, there was no acknowledgement that Loyalist terrorism even existed. I think we can be pretty certain that the media are not going to start digging into the terrorist links of the Tories’ allies now. But social media is going to discredit them.

The DUP are corrupt, homophobic, racist and above all religious bigots of the worst kind. The nastiest people in politics. The utterly discredited Theresa May refuses to resign and intends to continue to rule over us with the support of this ugly faction. Popular support for the Tory government is going to plunge to unprecedented levels. This gruesome malformation of a bigots’ alliance between Brexiteers is not going to last long as a government, and the popular retribution will be massive.

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The Sins of the Father

UPDATED: Having spent the afternoon researching, the evidence tends to support Emma Barnett’s claim that she had been personally unaware that her family’s wealthy lifestyle was funded by the pimping and sex-trafficking activities of her parents. The emails between herself and her father about “whores” referenced by the Manchester Evening News, contained denials by her father to Emma that he remained involved. I therefore have here deleted my earlier entry which suggested the existence of these emails may argue against her claim of ignorance.

But it is the wealth of her background rather than the source of the funds which concerns me here. As a Telegraph and Sunday Times columnist, it is pretty hard to argue that Barnett is not “out” as a wealthy Tory – just like Robinson, Kuenssberg, Paxman, Andrew Neil et al. In choosing a Telegraph columnist to interview Corbyn today for Women’s Hour, the BBC yet again is making no attempt at all to hide the massive Tory bias of its political journalism.

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Tories Rely on BBC Lackeys

Astonishingly the Tories have today banned Murdoch’s Sky News from interviewing senior ministers, as they think Sky asks too many difficult questions. For now they are only allowing senior ministers to be interviewed by the reliable Tory house propagandists Kuenssberg, Robinson, Smith and their colleagues at the BBC. The stark contrast between the level of critical scrutiny the Tory manifesto is getting from the BBC, compared to their scathing sarcasm about opposition proposals, shows Tory trust in the BBC is well placed.

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The Cottonwool Election

On 13 March I blogged “I can assure you the Tories are already considering how to avoid having Leaders’ Debates on television for the next general election. For Corbyn to be able to put a radical message directly to the public, and May’s deficiencies in debate to be so directly exposed, is something they will not want at all. May should be seen and not heard, is their motto.”

When I assure you of things, you should believe me. I do not use such language unless based on direct knowledge. Please revisit that entire article: I promise you it is worth reading.

In the quite extraordinary public politics of the terminal phase of the existence of the United Kingdom, the system of controlled democracy has reached its apotheosis. The media message has achieved a startling degree of unanimity. The Overton Window has become the Overton Slit.

This will be the most controlled general election ever. Never will the message have been so focussed, debate and alternatives have been so excluded. Attempts to query or challenge the Tory narrative will be ridiculed and marginalised.

Theresa May is simply not very bright, is hopeless in debate and has all the charisma of a rabid ferret. She will appear only when speaking from on high to an utterly deferential setting, as in yesterday’s general election announcement. The media’s election will consist of an unremitting barrage of propaganda continuing its xenophobic theme, based upon a few May set pieces. Expect softball interviews by Tory Kuenssberg and Nick Robinson, to give the impression of democratic challenge.

Nicola Sturgeon and yes, Jeremy Corbyn, would demolish May in debate. If any party other than the Tories was declining to take part in debate, the media would quite rightly attack them for it. Do not however expect any more than token remonstration from the broadcasters; they are far too complicit in the cottonwool packaging of May, and have too deep an investment in the Unionist project, to rock the boat. Indeed, the media will now seek to frame any debate between opposition leaders which does go ahead as a gathering of losers, a carnival of grotesques.

Any resemblance between this British general election and democracy is purely coincidental.

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BBC Daily Distortion

The BBC has appointed arch Tory Sarah Sands as editor of the flagship Radio 4 Today programme. She is best known to the public for a leaked policy memo she wrote while at the Telegraph, including memorably advocating

“Play on people’s fears… stop just short of distortion”.

The extraordinary thing is that if Sands does “stop just short of distortion” she will actually be improving the performance of BBC News. The BBC Trust has upheld a decision against Laura Kuenssberg for a most disgraceful piece of lying, a breach of every journalistic ethic. At the time of the Paris attacks, Kuenssberg had this interview with Jeremy Corbyn.

Kuenssberg “If you were prime minister, would you be happy to order people – police or military – to shoot to kill on Britain’s streets?”
Corbyn “I am not happy with a shoot to kill policy in general. I think that is quite dangerous and I think can often be counter-productive.”

Kuenssberg deliberately distorted this to make it appear a response to the Paris attacks, and what was broadcast was the following:

Kuenssberg “I asked Mr Corbyn if he were the resident here at number 10 whether he would be happy for British officers to pull the trigger in the event of a Paris-style attack.”
Corbyn “I am not happy with a shoot to kill policy in general. I think that is quite dangerous and I think can often be counter-productive.”

What makes the malice in Kuenssberg’s dealings still more evident is that she had in fact asked Corbyn a question specifically about Paris, and received a very different answer from Corbyn: “Of course you’d bring people onto the streets to prevent and ensure there is safety within our society.”

But she broadcast neither the actual question nor the actual answer about Paris.

The deceit, malice and deliberate bias could not be more obvious. The BBC Trust really had no choice in its finding, and it specifically noted that Kuenssberg “had not achieved due impartiality.” That is an extremely important word – it was not just a lapse in judgement, it was a clear indication that Kuenssberg is partial in her political affiliations.

That of course has been blindingly obvious to a great many people for a long time. You may recall the petition against Kuenssberg’s bias that was signed by 35,000 people before 38 Degrees took it down on the complete lie that it had attracted a significant number of sexist comments.

My personal favourite remains Kuenssberg’s frenetic anti-Corbyn broadcast of 28 June 2016 in which she prophesied that Corbyn’s confidence of winning a second leadership election was misplaced. I cannot imagine a more blatant example of gleeful bias. The piece is headlined “Jeremy Corbyn’s Support Begins to Show Signs of Fraying” and was, as a matter of provable fact, gloriously wrong about everything.

Being a completely biased charlatan will do no harm at all to Kuenssberg in the modern BBC. I leave you with the Head of BBC news, extreme Zionist James Harding, and his reaction to the decision of the BBC Trust, the body which “ensures” the BBC’s impartiality, about Kuenssberg’s blatant lack of impartiality. “We disagree with this finding” says Harding, adding that BBC News “formally notes it.” It could not be plainer said – the BBC no longer has any intention of not reflecting political bias. Mr Harding is no doubt delighted to welcome his new colleague, Sarah Sands, ex Daily Mail, ex Telegraph, and who as editor moved the Evening Standard way to the right.

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