Monthly Archives: June 2014


Rebekah Brooks

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Spot the Cuckold Competition

A jury has been unable to find that, beyond a reasonable doubt. Rebekah Brooks was a party to the industrial scale phone hacking that was going on all around her. A 5 million pound legal team did its job. Such things happen.

But take a considered view of what that means. While she was Editor, and while she was Chief Executive, numerous people who reported directly to her were engaged in an active criminal conspiracy, the results of which she was seeing almost every single day, and to which hundreds of thousands of pounds of company money were diverted without her noticing. The leader of the criminal conspiracy, Coulson, not only reported directly to her, but she was shagging him too. She still noticed nothing.

If we accept that as true – and the jury did – it makes her one of the most incompetent managers and company executives in corporate history. Her negligence and complete lack of grip, over years, on what those immediately beneath her were doing, wiped off billions in shareholder value and lost a major commercial asset in the News of the World title. It also tarnished the company’s image irredeemably. On top of which she was given to shagging people for whom she had line management responsibility – if she were a man the feminists would be screaming from the rooftops about that.

In a rational world she would never be employed in any position of responsibility again. If Murdoch really did not know about the phone hacking, if he were genuinely disgraced and sorry, he would be furious at her for her gross negligence. Instead he has given her 10.8 million pounds.

Outwith the gilded circle of the stinking rich Brooks would never work again, having destroyed the News of the World and the image of News International. But the gilded circle will close around her.

The ultra-rich are not like you or me. They are treated by totally different standards. They also behave differently. They have no problem with being cuckolded. Charlie Brooks sent his best wishes to Coulson in jail. If I were Brooks, I would be sending money in to pay very large men to help him find the soap in the shower. Although presumably like Aitken and Archer, Coulson is going to one of those jails for posh people where you can play golf and go home at the weekend. I never understood Brigadier Parker Bowles either, though apparently his wife’s shagging was good for his military career. Funny people, toffs.

Being a right slapper seems not to have harmed Brooks’ career (feminists please note, I here apply the term slapper purely in the technical sense that she gave Ross Kemp a good slapping). That particular asset of hers has faded fast. But I think we can be quite certain that her future will be very different from that of anyone outside the top 1% of earners who had totally failed in their employment. It rather removes the argument that the disgusting wealth gap in the country relates to achievement and risk.

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What 2,000 People Look Like

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Various unionist nutters have tried to claim that the outrageous BBC/MOD propaganda lie of 35,000 people at Armed Forces Day in Stirling is true. This picture was taken at 1.30pm when the crowd was largest.

There is a lot to give scale in this photo. Look at the vehicles. Look at the marquees.

Look at the marquee closest to the top on the left. There is a van parked right in front of it. From that van, we can measure that it is a sixty foot by forty foot marquee.

Using simple measurement techniques, it is easy to see that the entire crowd could fit into three – or at most four – of those marquees. Perspective is on the side of crowd overestimate as the marquee is further away from the camera than any of the crowd.

If you observe rationally, and look at the clues as to scale, it is not difficult to work it out. That the MOD can claim 35,000 people is a lie by a factor of about twenty times. That the BBC repeats this state propaganda is worse than anything I have seen recently on Russia Today or Chinese state CCTV.

And here is the crowd by the climax – the Red Arrows fly past at 5pm. I have seen more people at a garden fete.

rain

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Stirling Shenanigans

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Disappointing Crowd for Open Air Gilbert and Sullivan

1,600 people attended British Armed Forces Day in Stirling. 20,000 attended Bannockburn Live, 1 mile away. Guess which the BBC covered?

The unionists have long been obsessed by the fear that the 700th anniversary of Bannockburn would remind Scots that their ancestors were prepared to die for their national freedom. I have never seen any Yes campaigner even mention it, as the case for independence is nothing to do with the early medieval period. But the British state was so concerned, that it waited until the dates for the Battle of Bannockburn event had been set and all the permissions given by Stirling Council , and then announced they were holding National Armed Forces Day at the same place and same time.

As a result, due to police fears about the overcrowding, Bannockburn Live was forced to slash capacity from 40,000 to 20,000.

Stirling Council should never have agreed to hold both events on the same day. In fact, it is a secret how they did agree. Stirling Council officials, called before a Scottish Parliament inquiry to explain, stated they could not say who at Stirling Council had given the permission, as because the process was irregular it was subject to an independent inquiry.

Only the Labour Party in Scotland could come up with that one – “because we have done something extremely dodgy, it is therefore secret.” Stirling Council is in fact run by a right wing Labour-Tory-Lib Dem coalition aimed to keep the largest party – the SNP – out of power. Stirling Labour Party is therefore the absolute epitome of just how disgusting Labour are.

So today the BBC News lead item was the Stirling Armed Forces Day commemoration, with David Cameron parading about with his soldiers in front of every Tory in Scotland (1,800 people). The BBBC had three crews at the Armed Forces Day plus two radio crews. Not one of them managed even a mention of the ten times larger Bannockburn commemoration just down the road.

On top of which the BBC coverage was as appalling a bit of state propaganda as you could ever wish to see. A fine old retired soldier, they reported, told David Cameron that he did not wish to see the country he fought for broken up. It really was, straight out, as crass propaganda as that. Evidently the BBC were unable to find a single ex-soldier who supports independence.

But for me the piece de resistance was the BBC’s conclusion. It showed that when the BBC really puts its mind to it, the BBC can try to be completely biased in a more subtle way – by use of body language, inflection and expression. In September, the female presenter opined, Scotland would have to choose between what it has to [spoken lightly, trippingly, frivolously high pitched voice] gain, and what it has to [stentorian, serious, loud, low pitch, serious expression] lose.

To explain Bannockburn, I feel the Declaration of Arbroath coming on. This is an astonishing document which predates Locke and Hobbes by well over three hundred years. It is the first declaration in history that puts forward the idea of the sovereignty of the people. It praised Robert the Bruce for defending Scots from the dreadful atrocities of English armies, but then goes on to say:

Yet if he should give up what he has begun, seeking to make us or our kingdom subject to the King of England or the English, we should exert ourselves at once to drive him out as our enemy and a subverter of his own right and ours, and make some other man who was well able to defend us our King; for, as long as a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be subjected to the lordship of the English. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.

The document is signed by named nobles but is in the name of the “freeholders and whole community of the realm of Scotland”. There is no document anywhere near it temporally that describes the idea of a nation state like this. Unionist historians have done everything possible to denigrate this very plain sentiment, making the obvious point that the signatories were nobles and clerics. Well, neither Locke nor Hobbes were refuse collectors. The appeal to the Pope was of course to be expected in the early XIV century. It cannot be denied, except by those who hate the Scots, that these sentiments encapsulate the “social contract” and an idea of the nation that was a major advance in European civilisation.

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Rusbridger the Worst Editor in the World Part II

Good grief!! This is absolutely beyond parody!! There is yet another terrible puff piece in the Guardian – the fifteenth in the last month now I think – about how Gordon Brown will save the union and what a great and respected sage Brown is. This one claims that Brown is the only man to have perceived that the independence referendum must be about the future of Scotland.

No, really, it does, read it through.

I think Rusbridger must be on heroin. Of course I realised something is seriously wrong for anybody to wear that bad a wig in public, but I really had not quite understood just how bad things actually are at the Guardian. I do now.

Freedland is at his most execrable in this piece in the absolute lie that Brown is speaking to packed out halls up and down Scotland. Completely untrue. Actually they might be less empty were it not for the fact that these meetings are strictly no entry except by invite. Not to mention that – and the fact no questions are allowed – shows as if we did not know that Freedland has no claims at all to journalistic integrity, and is just writing pure propaganda.

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The Muddle of Cameron

There was never the slightest chance that David Cameron will achieve any significant “renegotiation” of Britain’s EU membership terms. This fictitious “renegotiation” is the fig-leaf with which Cameron has sought to appease euro-sceptics, promising an in-out referendum once the non-existent “renegotiation” is completed.

When a non-existent process can be deemed complete is an interesting question.

On Cameron’s side, it has only ever been a fig-leaf to buy time, though I do not entirely discount Britain’s extraordinary capacity to delude itself about its ability to “punch above its weight” diplomatically. The book of modern British diplomatic triumphs would be a slim volume indeed.

But the Emperor has made the mistake of pointing to his dangling naked penis. Cameron stated starkly that the election of Jean Claude Juncker to head the European Commission would be evidence that Europe would not adopt Cameron style reform.

Yes, David. Exactly. Thanks for pointing it out. Personally I never thought you were wearing any trousers anyway, but if anyone did you have now dangled it right in their faces.

Cameron has made it even more plain by linking Juncker’s election directly to Cameron’s thesis that national governments must always be paramount in Europe. Juncker’s election is in accordance with an agreement that the leader of the largest party in the European Parliament will head the Commission. Thus, as Cameron pointed out, the very process itself is an advance of Euro-federalism and Euro-democracy, irrespective of Juncker’s views. Absolutely. Cameron’s thesis that national governments must be paramount over European institutions has already been defeated in what Cameron himself made a symbolic fight. The complete fatuity of Cameron’s re-negotiation claims is exposed.

Personally I am very pro-EU. But whatever your stance on the EU, the outright dishonesty of the Cameron approach must be condemned.

I published a couple of weeks ago that Juncker does not share Barroso’s hostility to Scottish independence: as a former Prime Minister of Luxembourg he does not see the problem with small nations. The British media has been extremely keen to puff up the opposition to Scottish independence by foreign leaders. Cameron and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have invested huge diplomatic capital into persuading Barack Obama and Li Keqiang to make statements against Scottish independence, while standing next to Cameron for the cameras.

The media failed to pay the same attention to a much more significant occasion – Angela Merkel refused to do it. Standing right next to David Cameron at a press conference in Sweden, Merkel rebuffed intense British diplomatic lobbying when she refused to back the continued existence of the state the man next to her was representing. It was a stunning slight, as Merkel knocked back the same question fed to Obama and Keqiang with the sensible (though entirely untrue) reply that she never answers hypothetical questions. Cameron stared at the floor, discomfited.

There was never the remotest chance that an independent Scotland would be excluded from the European Union. And the two people who are most important in that decision – Jean Claude Juncker and Angela Merkel – have not been amenable to the FCO’s frenetic anti-Scottish lobbying. They both are in positions much more vital to Scotland’s future than Barack Obama and Li Keqiang – both of whom will change their tune post-independence anyway.

Cameron’s headaches are multiplying.

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Rusbridger – The World’s Worst Editor

Alan Rusbridger, by royal appointment destroyer of hard drives, astonishingly has yet again given space to Gordon Brown’s witterings on Scottish Independence. That is at least twelve articles puffing Brown in the last month.

This one is quite probably the most stupid yet. Brown opines that Scotland will not be a more equal or progressive society after independence. It is a great shame that these Cassandra like powers of predicting the future were not working when his own policies of creating an economic bubble, based on massive boosting of irresponsive speculation in the City of London, led to a crash which has impoverished us all for generations.

Brown’s prognostication is based on his analysis that Alex Salmond’s policies are not progressive. The evidence that the SNP is to the left of the Labour Party is overwhelming. Leaving that aside, Brown makes the presumption that the SNP will be the government in an independent Scotland. It is much more probable that, independence settled, there will be a realignment of Scottish party politics. It will certainly not be a one party state. Pretty well the one thing we can be sure of is that a Conservative government is unlikely – and as that is what the UK is heading for in 2015, I think we can expect an independent Scotland to be at any rate less regressive.

Tuition fees, Academy schools, PFI, NHS prescriptions, bedroom tax – these are all areas where Gordon Brown and New Labour advance the full neo-con agenda and which have been stoutly resisted by the Scottish government. Genuinely left parties and the Greens have consistent representation in the Scottish parliament and are listened to, not openly mocked and abused as Caroline Lucas is when she speaks in parliament.

This nonsense from Gordon Brown is perhaps to be expected. But why on earth does the Guardian keep publishing it?

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Stinking Hypocrisy

183 Egyptian political prisoners sentenced to death: international silence. One Australian reporter given prison sentence: international outrage.

Nobody wants to see the Al Jazeera journalists freed more than I do, but the western hypocrisy over the conduct of the CIA and Israel backed military dictatorship, which toppled Egypt’s only democratically elected government, is absolutely stinking. In the same week the Al Jazeera journalists were jailed, the United States resumed military supplies to its Egyptian puppet regime.

The BBC has been compounding the stinking hypocrisy by constantly broadcasting reports implicitly arguing that the Australian journalist should be released while the Egyptian journalists kept in prison. They have repeatedly broadcast the assertion that there is a difference between Al Jazeera’s English and Arabic output. The latter, the BBC say, was indeed biased to the Muslim Brotherhood (Egypt’s only democratically elected government) whereas the English language service, for which Peter Greste worked, was not.

The BBC thus seeks to square the circle of supporting the release of Peter Greste and at the same time taking the British government line of supporting the Egyptian dictatorship’s elimination of its political opponents.

The truth is that Peter Greste is only superficially the victim of an Egyptian dictator. At root he is the victim of a western foreign policy that believes the interests of Israel outweigh all other interests in the Middle East.

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Lord Byron, Terrorist

The brief wave of Islamic terrorism in the UK followed our invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and effectively stopped when those occupations ended. In every case of actual terrorist attack, the terrorists involved cited those invasions as a key part of their motive. There may yet be another residual attack, but as a campaign it is over, and historical perspective will show it related purely to our invasion of Islamic lands.

Yet we have suffered a week of media propaganda aimed at repeating the mantra that Isis’ success in Iraq will lead to terrorist attacks in the UK. The only apparent purpose of this mantra is to justify some degree of US/UK intervention in Iraq’s current civil war. As it was the US/UK invasion which caused this civil war in the first place, this is ironic. As any form of UK intervention is the only thing that might in fact provoke Iraq related terrorist attacks in the UK, it is a crazed argument; the absolute opposite of the truth.

The brief period of Islamic linked terrorism in the UK killed about eighty people – a tiny percentage of those who died in the UK from Irish linked violence in the 70’s and 80’s – but had two disproportionately dreadful effects. The first was a massive reduction in civil liberties in the UK. The second was the spawning of a vast and parasitic security industry, both within government, and in the private sector but government funded.

The patent absence of any genuine Islamic terrorism in the UK to fight is an obvious threat to the funding of this huge industry. Hence the current hype about the threat from Birmingham school governors or British residents fighting in Iraq and Syria. We have the usual propagandists for this threat thrust upon the airwaves again – Frank “Goebbels” Gardner and even the utterly discredited “Quilliam Foundation” who have been back on the BBC. At the moment they are peddling the utterly untrue line that 9% of those who travel from the UK to participate in fighting abroad, on return get involved in terrorist activity in the UK. Frank Gardner has been repeating this ad nauseam.

This claim is absolutely unfounded. It is brought to you by the same people who claim there are 4,000 active terrorists in the UK, or that MI5 foiled 34 active terrorist plots.

How gullible do you have to be to believe that in the last seven years this 4,000 committed terrorists in the UK, with their 34 active plots, managed to kill nobody at all, except for the two deranged and utterly disorganised Nigerians who murdered the unfortunate Lee Rigby? The other 3,998 must be the world’s least productive terrorists. Surely between 3,998 fanatical and committed murderous terrorists they could at least have injured somebody? The truth is that in the last seven years Irish political violence has again killed more people in the UK than Islamist political violence.

If you have 4,000 totally non-productive fantasy terrorists, then it is not surprising that you think that one in nine of those who go to fight abroad are involved in such “terrorism” in the UK. In fact, the terrorist threat in the UK is miniscule and the entire narrative is a nonsense. You have a much greater chance of drowning in your own bath than of being killed by a terrorist. The death of Gerald Conlon should be a sobering reminder of the willingness of English juries to make completely improbable terrorist convictions on the say-so of the authorities.

There has probably not been a war abroad in the last two hundred years in which some UK resident did not go and fight. The BBC and Sky news headline today is about someone from Aberdeen who went to fight for Isis. That is meant to terrify us about terrorism here.

Nonsense.

Somebody else from Aberdeen went to fight in a war abroad. George Gordon, Lord Byron, went to fight for the Greek revolt against Ottoman rule, and died of fever in a Balkan swamp. (Under Blair’s “anti-terror” legislation, that would have made Byron guilty of terrorism in the UK). In the same decade George De Lacey Evans went to fight for the Spanish Infanta against her uncle. Several Britons including David Urquhart fought against the Russian invasion of Circassia. I am talking in all these cases of politically motivated volunteers, not mercenaries. A number of British residents fought in the Franco-Prussian war. Several Britons fought for the Confederates in the US civil war – almost certainly some fought for the Union as well, but I can’t claim to know of them. Garibaldi had a Welsh officer called Griffiths. We should all be terrifically proud of the Britons in the International Brigades in Spain. British residents fought on all sides in the recent civil wars in the Balkans. I should be astonished if some British residents of Ukrainian and Russian heritage had not gone to join militias there at present.

Nor should we forget that the same political establishment which so deplores Britons going abroad to fight, has legalised, massively encouraged and financed the mercenary activities of hired killers like Tim Spicer and Tony Buckingham. The hypocrisy is rank and stinking.

The dreadful violence and destruction the West has inflicted and promoted in recent years in its efforts to gain control of the mineral resources of the Middle East continues to play out. Those who see communities with which they identify abroad engaged in military conflict will always produce a small number of people going to join the fight. This is in no sense unusual, and in no sense a threat to ordinary citizens in the UK. The link to terrorism here is entirely a fiction. The unfortunate thing is that the mainstream media allows no outlet for people to mock its false assertions and point out its sinister agenda.

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Deadly Fiasco

The present problems of Iraq are 100% down to our murderous invasion and occupation. The idea that further western bombing will make things better is so deluded as to beggar belief.

I was surprised to find during my Burnes research that the imperialist powers of Britain and Russia were explicitly exploiting Sunni and Shia divisions to further their conquests of Islamic lands as early as the 1830’s. This has been the major tool of the neo-con Middle Eastern gameplan for some time, spreading disunity and crippling war throughout the Middle East, with the hope that this will benefit the interests of Israel.

The peculiar result has been that in general the West is very actively supporting Sunni armies and miscellaneous forces, but in Iraq is supporting the Shia. ISIS – which is heavily backed by the Saudis, who hate al-Maliki – brings this paradox into sharp relief. The current US and UK strategy is to persuade Saudi Arabia to get ISIS to reconcentrate their efforts against Assad, on the understanding they will be allowed to keep the Sunni areas of Iraq (the old neo-con plan of dividing Iraq is firmly back on the agenda).

The BBC News this morning said that ISIS would not be capable of using the billions of dollars of sophisticated western armaments they have captured. I think you will find the Saudis remedy that one quite quickly. It is quite possible we will see some token airstrikes to kill civilians in Mosul, in order to appease Obama’s domestic backers who are never happy if Americans aren’t killing enough people, but only after agreement has been reached with the Saudis that no serious harm will be done – except to the ordinary people neither Obama, the Saudis or al-Maliki care in the least about.

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Eastenders Threat to Scots

I am sitting now in Andalucia watching Andrew Neill on the Daily Politics. To do this will apparently be impossible in an independent Scotland.

The Guardian has just published its eighth article in three days pushing Gordon Brown’s views on independence. This one warns Scots they would not be able to watch the BBC after independence. Just as presumably I can’t be watching it in Andalucia, but am suffering some delusion. Apparently we won’t be allowed to read Harry Potter either.

This nonsense gives me the excuse I craved to link to this absolutely superb article from my friend Robin McAlpine of the Reid Foundation. I republish the start but do read it all through here.

Gordon Brown exists only in an intensive care unit manufactured for him by certain sections of the Scottish media. They keep him politically alive through regular injections of myth.

For example, a myth such as that he had a firm grip of the UK economy and knew what he was doing. Can we once and for all put this idea to bed? The UK economy was substantially weaker after Brown was finished than when he began. The decline in manufacturing (as a proportion of the overall economy) was actually three times faster under Brown than under Thatcher. It was this shift from skilled labour to a low-skill ‘post industrial’ labour market which caused the UK to end up as the second lowest paid economy among advanced economies. Brown was not a visionary but someone who adopted the opinions of whomever was the most powerful lobby (in his case the financial and equity industries – which did most to strip away the manufacturing economy). When there was a global economic shock (the US sub-prime mortgage fiasco) it affected countries in proportion to how robust their economy was. In Europe, Britain was in a gang with Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Ireland (though none of those came out of the crisis anything like as heavily indebted as did the UK). We should have been in the gang of Nordic and Germanic economies which were only mildly affected – or even in a middle category with France and Holland that suffered a bit but not catastrophically.

The profile of the UK economy was less balanced, less productive, lower-paid and much less resilient when Brown was finished than when he began. That is on him

.

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FIFA

A Brazilian defeat would have been a disaster for FIFA, sharpening the Brazilian anti-corruption, anti-FIFA protest movement. A conspiracy theorist might say that explains the appalling refereeing decisions. Others might say that is nonsense and the referee was just honestly incompetent. As a complete neutral who loves football, my evening’s enjoyment was ruined either way. If the officials are going to behave like this, why not skip the next month and just give the cup to Brazil now?

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The Blair Legacy

For years, neo-con apologists for the invasion of Iraq have parroted the lie that at least life is better than it was under Saddam Hussein. That was always blatantly untrue, from the massive destruction of water, power and healthcare infrastructure; not to mention the million dead, two million maimed and five million displaced. The neo-con commentators, of course, have not actually been there. Those of us who have, found the situation far worse than anything reported in the mainstream media. Indeed, perhaps the most irrefutable proof of the propaganda model of Western media is that 59% of the population believed less than 10,000 people died as a result of the Iraq War. That poll itself only made the mainstream media in a letter by known dissenters published on the Guardian’s letters page – a way of “othering” the information.

It is now extremely difficult for the media to pretend that everything is OK in Iraq, bar the odd car bomb. The AL-Maliki regime has been in the remarkable position of being both pro-Iranian and supported by the West with masses of military hardware – substantial quantities of which is now in the hands of ISIS. I don’t expect Al-Maliki to fall soon, but his area of control is decreasing by the hour. Whether the Al-Maliki regime has been any less vicious than that of Saddam Hussein is arguable. Certainly there has been a great deal less social freedom in Iraq.

I abhor dictatorship, but waging massive high technology war on a country, destroying its infrastructure and many of its people, because it has the misfortune to suffer under a dictator, is crazy. Those who genuinely believe in “liberal intervention” must finally admit that the revival of the concept of the “civilising mission” of imperialism has failed, disastrously, and brought massive misery to the world.

The harder-headed men on whose behalf Blair and Bush were acting, who never believed or cared about spreading liberal democracy, but simply wanted to gain vast wealth through control of natural resources, are less likely to be disillusioned. “Liberal intervention” has successfully acquired for these men assets in the diamond and rutile mines of Sierra Leone, and the oilfields of Iraq and Libya. My main hope from the current violent convulsions is that as few people are killed or harmed as possible. But over the next few years, it is essential that mineral riches are removed from Western interests in those countries that suffered “liberal intervention”. Otherwise we will see more of it, if it continues to appear a viable business model to the establishment.

What is Tony Blair’s current personal wealth?

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Israeli Abuse of Palestinian Children

This is a heartrending documentary from Australia’s national broadcaster, ABC. The terrible fate of the Palestinians at the hands of a world which has accepted the ludicrous claim to a religious Israeli right to their land is incomprehensible in a rational world. The brutality of Israeli soldiers, motivated by views of racial and religious superiority, towards children is sickening.

But it is also deeply sad that it is now impossible that the BBC would ever make a documentary like this, or indeed that anybody in the BBC would ever dare to consider doing it. It must be twenty years since I saw anything remotely as honest on British mainstream television. I am not sure if I will ever live to do so again.

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Motes

The nation that supplied Baroness Ashton to head EU foreign policy describes Juncker as a non-entity. This causes much mirth in Brussels.  One fact that the British media have singularly failed to address is that UKREP Brussels (the UK’s Embassy to the EU) has reported that Juncker is believed to be sympathetic to the idea of continuing Scottish membership of the EU after independence.  That makes sense given his record as an EU expansionist and his own background from the small independent state of Luxembourg. It helps explain Cameron’s furious opposition.

The Tories’ frenetic attempts to find an alternative candidate to Juncker are floundering.  This is in part because of a fundamental illogicality in the British position.  Cameron claims that he wants to reform the EU in part to address its “democratic deficit”.  But he wants to start by cancelling the most important democratic advance the EU has made – that the Commission President should be nominated by the winning party in the European Parliament elections.  On top of which, in 2010 Cameron pulled the Conservatives out of that winning party in order to form an alliance with the anti-semites of Poland’s Law and Justice party.  He now wants this losing party to choose the Commission President.

The Tories are hoping Merkel can produce an alternative candidate from Central and Eastern Europe.  The problem is that the parties like Civic Platform in Poland which are in the winning European People’s Party in the European Parliament and in government, are anathema to the right wing loonies with whom the British Tories are grouped.  As a result the names being canvassed by UKREP Brussels are now so obscure as to make Junckers look like Ronaldo, and British diplomats are being obliged to extol the virtues of obscure Czech politicians that they have never heard of.  Meanwhile Carl Bildt is quietly involved in pushing on Merkel a candidate directly involved in the persecution of Julian Assange.  My money is still on Juncker.

 

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BBC Lawbreaking

I despair sometimes that society as a whole has lost all sense of how a democracy ought to operate.  State abuse has become the norm.

I am astonished that there is not greater reaction to the BBC role in Obama’s statement against Scottish independence.  It is now confirmed that not only did No. 10 ask Obama to make the statement, they set up the BBC to ask the question that prompted it.

For a state broadcaster, with a legal obligation to neutrality in the referendum campaign, actively to participate in a stunt plainly aimed to boost one side in the campaign is beyond disgraceful.  There is obviously a realisation at the BBC that they have done something very wrong indeed – all of the BBC’s own coverage with unprecedented reticence omitted totally the fact that it was the BBC that asked the question.

This ought to be an absolutely huge scandal which leads to resignations at the BBC.  Yes, it is not unprecedented for officials to ask a journalist to ask a helpful question.  The Tories might well ask the Sun or Telegraph to ask them something.  But it is a completely different thing when it is a state broadcaster legally obliged to neutrality and part of a referendum or election campaign.

That the BBC truthful report that there were no WMD’s in Iraq led to forced resignations, while this twisted propaganda interference has no result, is a sign of the collapse of democratic values in society – and the expectation of them.

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