Aaronovitch Blusters to a Well of Silence 1213


Why Rupert Murdoch considers it worth his while to pay David Aaronovitch a large six figure sum for such puerile antics as tweeting that I am insane, is a conjecture I find difficult to resolve. Today this exchange occurred on twitter:

David Aaronovitch: This suggestion that if elected Corbyn could be quickly ousted is utter bollocks. Democracy allows Labour to commit Hara Kiri.

Mark Doran: @DAaronovitch I hope everyone is watching how these servants of the micro-elite try to paint “attracting popular support” as “committing suicide.”

Mark Doran: @DAaronovitch Craig finds the elite-serving contortions every bit as funny as I do

David Aaronovitch: @MarkJDoran I tend to find Craig Murray unpersuasive on the grounds of him being unhinged. I can see why you like him, though.

Mark Doran: Says the man who managed to find Bush and Blair credible. I can see why you liked them, though.

It is remarkably ironic that on being referred to an article which argues that views outside a very narrow neoliberal establishment narrative are marginalised and ridiculed by the media, the Murdoch hack’s response is that the author is unhinged. Aaronovitch could not have more neatly proved my point.

But something else struck me about the twitter record. Aaronovitch’ twitter account claims to have 78,000 followers. Yet of the 78,000 people who allegedly received his tweet about my insanity, only 1 retweeted and 2 favourited. That is an astonishingly low proportion – 1 in 26,000 reacted. To give context, Mark Doran has only 582 followers and yet had more retweets and favourites for his riposte. 1 in 146 to be precise, a 200 times greater response rate.

Please keep reading, I promise you this gets a great deal less boring.

Eighteen months ago I wrote an article about Aaronovitch’s confession that he solicits fake reviews of his books to boost their score on Amazon. In response a reader emailed me with an analysis of Aaronovitch’s twitter followers. He argued with the aid of graphs that the way they accrued indicated that they were not arising naturally, but being purchased in blocks. He claimed this was common practice in the Murdoch organisation to promote their hacks through false apparent popularity.

I studied his graphs at some length, and engaged in email correspondence on them. I concluded that the evidence was not absolutely conclusive, and in fairness to Aaronovitch I declined to publish, to the annoyance of my correspondent.

Naturally this came to mind again today when I noted that Aaronovitch’ tweets to his alleged legion of followers in fact tumble into a well of silence. I do not even tweet. The entire limit of my tweeting is that this blog automatically tweets the titles of articles I write. They are not aphorisms so not geared to retweet. Yet even the simple tweet “Going Mainstream” which marked the article Aaronovitch derided, obtained 20 times the reactions of Aaronovitch’s snappy denunciation of my mental health. This despite the fact he has apparently 10 times more followers than me. An initial survey seems to show this is not atypical.

In logic, I can only see two possible explanations. The first is that my correspondent was right and Aaronovitch fakes twitter followers like he does book reviews. The second is that he has a vast army of followers, nearly all of whom find him dull and uninspiring, and who heartily disapproved en masse of his slur on my sanity. I opt for the second explanation, that he is just extremely dull, on the grounds that Mr Aaronovitch’s honesty and probity were never questioned, m’Lud.


1,213 thoughts on “Aaronovitch Blusters to a Well of Silence

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  • Republicofscotland

    An astounding 40 earthquakes were reported within the period of a week in Oklahoma in late July. State Gov. Mary Fallin acknowledged the link between such earthquake clusters and waste-water disposal procedures used in fracking operations.

    Preview In 2013, Oklahoma experienced 109 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or higher. In 2014, the number skyrocketed to 585 such seismic events, according to state website Earthquakes in Oklahoma. This puts the current rate at some 600 times the historical average.

    A particularly intense bout of seismic activity occurred during a seven day period in late July, when 40 earthquakes with a magnitude of at least 2.5 were reported in Oklahoma, according to The Weather Channel.

    “We are almost seven months through the year and we’ve almost tied the number of earthquakes we had in 2014. And of course, 2014 was an absolute record-breaking year for the number of earthquakes in Oklahoma,” state seismologist Austin Holland told a local Fox affiliate.

    http://21stcenturywire.com/2015/08/07/fracking-nightmare-40-earthquakes-in-oklahoma-last-week/

    This is one of the reasons I’m against (UCG) underground coal gasification in Scottish waters.

    Setting fire to coal seams under the seabed then collecting the run of gases as fuel might sound good to some, but to me, the thought of huge burning coal fields under the seabed, that could in all possibility cause earthquakes or seabed floor collapse leading to tsunami style waves is very daunting indeed.

    In my opinion renewable energy is the way forward.

    http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2013/12/could-burning-coal-under-the-sea-provide-200-years-of-‘clean’-energy/

  • Don't forget the Isle of Wight

    Paedophile abuse on the Isle of Wight, including at the Priory Bay Hotel

    Heath abused children from children’s homes not just in Jersey but also on the English side of the Channel, on the Isle of Wight.

    As well as on the boat itself, children from Isle of Wight care homes were abused by both Edward Heath and Peter Mandelson at the Priory Bay Hotel, near St Helens on the eastern side of the island.

    Sometimes Heath abused the children in the company of local extreme-right Tories who thought that joining the EEC was tantamount to surrendering to the great unwashed and communism. Despite their Powellite views they were still very fond of Heath, the PM who signed Britain into the EEC. Even today they recall how he used to entertain them by playing the piano – an activity he used to enjoy during his frequent sex-abuse visits.

    Other “visitors” included convicted paedophiles from the jails on the island. Isle of Wight dued “Paedo Island” (Daily Mirror). Abuse involving the convicts took place both in the prisons and on the hotel’s large estate.

    The estate extends to some 60 acres and provides a lot of privacy. Once owned by Eton College, it was MI5’s HQ on the island during WW2. (A number of German landings were attempted, away from the cliffs. Many British special operations against the occupying forces on the Channel Islands, including commando raids, were run from the island.) The estate even has its own beach which is highly secluded and which Heath sometimes accessed from the sea.

  • OldMark

    Jonathan King, the predatory, and token, gay groper in a stellar cast of hetero gropers at the Beeb in the 70s, gets it right in his Speccie article on Heath when he writes-

    But we queens can spot the signs.

    By the mid 70s, when King had his encounter with Heath on the plane, and when most of these incidents of pederasty on Heath’s part are alleged to have occurred, Heath’s sexuality, such as it was (he was born in 1916)was either completely repressed, or had waned into utter insignificance. In his case therefore I very much doubt the veracity of the latest allegations.

    However the rumours which were first aired several years ago, namely that in the 1950s, when Heath was first ‘vetted’ as a junior minister, he was warned off indulging in any further cottaging escapades, do sound more plausible. After that most likely he repressed what urges he had, and sublimated them to his political ambitions.

  • N_

    Anyone know what tie this guy Anthony Jordan is wearing?

    He and his wife were “house-parents” at Haut de la Garenne and were both handed (short) jail sentences in 2011 for assaulting children.

    The tie has stripes of dark and light blue on a cream background.

    Says a leading trade unionist on Jersey, who was sent to HDG as an orphaned child, “The abuse was anything from rape and torture. It happened every night. And it happened to everyone.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    It’s pretty scandalous actually that someone like Jonathan King is given any platform at all from which to propagate his views.

    **************

    On another note, I think that people like David Icke are helpful to the ‘establishment’. This is partly because they mix rational speculation and analysis (eg. about Heath and others, or about militarism, foreign policy, etc.) with complete insanity (eg. lizards) and anti-Semitic nonsense, thereby effectively debunking the former. Anyone who then alludes to the former will easily be condemned as a believer in nonsense.

    They also, in the post-religious (wrt the economic North, or the West, at any rate) age, seem to appeal to a human religious need for a simple explanation, a fairy tale, a narrative that explains everything.

    Finally, they divert people away from active campaigning against those in power towards arcane, magical thinking.

    To use a typical Icke-like approach: If David Icke did not exist and I were the King of the Spooks, I would quite like to invent ‘David Icke’. But even if there is no covert dynamic – after all, there are plenty of mad preachers out there – the impact is the same.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    “Two expert witnesses had argued Janner may find the court distressing, which could lead to a “catastrophic reaction”. But Riddle ruled that the law required Janner’s presence. “It seems to me that for the brief duration of these proceedings Lord Janner is fit to attend,” he said.

    The case comes after a review overturned a Crown Prosecution Service decision not to bring charges because of his dementia. Janner is likely to be sent to the crown court, which will decide whether he is fit to plead and face a trial…

    “If a crown court judge decides Janner is fit to plead, a full trial may take place. If not, there will be a trial of the facts, where a jury will decide only if he committed the physical acts of abuse.”

    [from article below]

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/aug/07/lord-janner-fails-to-appear-in-court-for-hearing-on-child-abuse-charges

  • RobG

    @Suhayl Saadi
    8 Aug, 2015 – 4:44 pm

    Actually, what David Icke is talking about with the ‘lizard creatures’ (I believe he calls them Arachnons, or something) is just demons and devils, which is what most of the world’s religions subscribe to, and, sadly, a majority of the human race. In that context there really is nothing mad about David Icke.

    From my tone I’m sure you’ll realise that I think all religion is a complete crock, but what can I do if folks have a weird need to believe in fairies, et al?

  • Mary

    Saad Dawabsha, aged 32, the father of the little one burned to death in the settlers’ arson attack has died today from his injuries. He has taken 9 days to die since the attack. His wife and his four year old son remain in a critical condition.

    Shame on the evil people who carried out these murders.

  • Don't forget the Isle of Wight

    [ Mod: Caught in spam-filter. ]

    Paedophile abuse on the Isle of Wight, including at the Priory Bay Hotel

    Heath abused children from children’s homes not just in Jersey but also on the English side of the Channel, on the Isle of Wight.

    As well as on the boat itself, children from Isle of Wight care homes were abused by both Edward Heath and Peter Mandelson at the Priory Bay Hotel, near St Helens on the eastern side of the island.

    Sometimes Heath abused the children in the company of local extreme-right Tories who thought that joining the EEC was tantamount to surrendering to the great unwashed and communism. Despite their Powellite views they were still very fond of Edward Heath, the PM who signed Britain into the EEC. Even today they recall how he used to entertain them by playing the piano during his frequent sex-abuse visits.

    Other “visitors” included convicted paedophiles from the jails on the island. Isle of Wight dued “Paedo Island” (Daily Mirror). Abuse involving the convicts took place both in the prisons and on the hotel’s large estate.

    The estate extends to some 60 acres and provides a lot of privacy. Once owned by Eton College, it was MI5’s HQ on the island during WW2. (A number of German landings were attempted, away from the cliffs. Many British special operations against the occupying forces on the Channel Islands, including commando raids, were run from the Isle of Wight.) The esate even has its own beach which is highly secluded and which Heath sometimes used to access from the sea.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    RobG, at 6:12pm, I see what you’re saying and that’s kind of what I meant really, he and others like him fulfill a human need. The difference, though, b/w Icke and religions is that he does not claim to be proselytising a religion. He claims to be propounding rational oppositional politics.

  • Mary

    Stuart Svyret was silenced of course.
    http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2008/feb/26/ukcrime.childprotection1

    Paisnel

    ‘His visits in the 1960s to Haut de la Garenne, when he was often dressed in a Santa Claus outfit, were first revealed in a book written by his wife, Joan, in 1972, after he had been sentenced to 30 years in prison. Paisnel, who asked children to call him Uncle Ted, died in 1994.’

    ‘Paisnel – who died in 1994 – was found guilty of 13 counts of assault, rape and sodomy in 1971.’

    No child shall be harmed.

  • doug scorgie

    N_
    7 Aug, 2015 – 11:14 pm

    Friends, I think I have detected an editorial weakness at the Torygraph which suggests that the elite are unnerved. This may bode well. Just look at this headline:

    “It’s easy to talk ill of Ted Heath, but it was a different world then”
    ………………………………………………………………………..

    So some now admit he was gay (but not a paedophile); it’s all an anti-gay witch-hunt!

  • RobG

    @Suhayl Saadi
    8 Aug, 2015 – 6:35 pm

    Yes, my apologies: reading your previous post again, we do seem to be saying much the same thing.

    I snatched barely three hours sleep last night, and have had a heavy workload today. I’m going to do a bottle of vin rouge and then crash out for the night.

    I do find the whole David Icke/religious thing quite fascinating, and if you have any further thoughts on it all I’d be delighted to read them, and perhaps comment tomorrow, once I’m feeling a bit fresher.

  • Giyane

    Mark Golding:

    “On the phony pretext of fighting IS at least two disguised SBS personnel supported by encrypted communications are operating in Syria with instructions to destroy Syrian Arab Army command & control units, murder their commanders and force desertion of junior officers.

    It is believed other British special forces are using handheld laser designators to provide targeting for US laser-guided bombs, missiles, or precision artillery ammunitions.”

    Thank you for the link, but I didn’t find the quoted article there.

    I’m not sure that Assad is in any sense popular in Syria. He is a brutal dictator out of the Saddam CIA box and anybody voting against him is likely to get locked up or worse.

    Al Qaida is also out of the CIA box, and IS, and the leaders of Iraq and Kurdistan, and Iran, Pakistan, and Europe etc etc.
    North America is like a very bright light which attracts all kinds of moths indiscriminately. Is there a commonality between those attracted to power? Yes, when it comes to covering up for the crimes of the power source, if not for anything else.

    What is increasingly obvious in this proxy war in Syria is that the bugs attracted to power are demented in their own right and becrazed by the intensity of the source of the light.

    This makes them all behave intensely badly, which is highly risky in the age of the web.

  • RobG

    Half way through that bottle of vin rouge here’s a classic by John Cooper Clarke, called ‘Beasley Street’, released in 1980. I know, younger readers will think I’ve got cobwebs on me, but just listen to this, recorded one year after Thatcher came to power. Does it have any resonance with what’s happening in 2015..?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euD0o0x-jAo

  • N_

    Anyone know what tie this guy Anthony Jordan is wearing? He and his wife were “house-parents” at Haut de la Garenne and were both handed (short) jail sentences in 2011 for assaulting children. The tie has stripes of dark and light blue on a cream background.

    @Mary

    N_ The tie belongs to the Royal Society of Buggers, Rapists and Torturers

    I didn’t think it was a silly question. He and his wife were house-parents at Haut de la Garenne for several years. I assume they didn’t want to go to prison. That picture may have been taken on the day of the sentencing, and many a defendant who belongs to some club or other wears his club tie in the dock to send a message to the judge.

    I was wondering whether it was a sailing club tie. Or possibly regimental. It would be nice to identify it. It could be an old school tie. Jordan is from Kirriemuir in Angus in Scotland if that’s any help to anyone.

  • Mary

    Broken Britain contd.

    Social care chief savages failing system for elderly
    Chief inspector blames poor leadership and cuts as fresh figures show 150 abuse claims each day
    8 August 2015

    The chief inspector of adult social care has issued a damning judgment on standards in England, warning that a broken system is turning good people into bad carers.

    Huge cuts in funding in recent years, and a lack of political leadership in dealing with the realities of an ageing population, have left the social care sector under “stress and strain”, with demoralised carers working long hours in difficult conditions for poor pay, Andrea Sutcliffe told the Observer. Her warning comes as figures reveal that regulators are receiving more than 150 allegations of abuse of the frail and elderly every day.

    [..]

    “There is an important responsibility in the role of those funding care – local authorities or clinical commissioning groups – to really understand what the true cost of care is, what true quality looks like and to make sure they are commissioning services that meet those standards and providers are given the appropriate funding to enable then to do that.”

    According to local authorities £4.6bn has been cut from social care budgets in the last five years. Leaders in the sector recently warned that George Osborne’s decision to raise the minimum wage to £7.20 an hour, and £9 by 2020, will only add to the crisis by increasing the cost of delivering care.

    /..
    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/08/social-care-chief-inspector-system-failing-elderly

  • lysias

    More on Edward Heath: Daily Mail: A vanished file and troubling claims about Heath and young musicians: There’s no smoking gun. But after a week of shocking headlines, the Mail’s unearthed fresh allegations. Article has many unproved allegations, but what seems definitely to be true is that a file concerning Heath and the Paedophile Information Exchange has gone missing from the Home Office:

    In an intriguing development, the Mail learned this week that a file relating to Sir Edward and the infamous Paedophile Information Exchange group is one of those missing from official Government records.

    It is among 114 missing files concerning child abuse identified by an independent review of how allegations were handled by the Home Office.

    The title of the missing document, ‘Edward Heath MP [redacted] RE: PIE’, refers to the activities of the Paedophile Information Exchange.

    Investigators discovered that the file disappeared more than 25 years ago after being moved to a Westminster record centre. They concluded that there was no evidence of any orchestrated attempts by officials over three decades to cover up child abuse.

    But the unexpected absence of the file raises questions about the exact nature of the connection between Heath and the PIE group.

    One possible connection between Heath and the PIE is mentioned:

    Former Fleet Street journalist Alun Rees, who spent 20 years investigating the PIE, told this newspaper that Heath’s name had appeared in a dossier of Westminster paedophiles compiled by the controversial Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens, who made a number of allegations about sex abuse among the political elite during the 1980s.

    Meanwhile, award-winning local journalist Don Hale, long-time editor of the Bury Messenger, says that he was approached in 1984 by Labour Party grandee and child protection campaigner Barbara Castle, with what he understood to be a feature from the Magpie magazine published by the PIE group.

    It was, he told us this week, ‘about Heath offering weekend trips for boys from Jersey on his yacht. Heath had a number of racing craft named Morning Cloud.

    ‘She deliberately showed me this and asked what I thought. I was a little confused and asked her “You don’t mean [this is true]?” — and she nodded, and said yes.’

    More revelations in a Mirror article, Edward Heath fixed it for Jimmy Savile to receive OBE and attended Paedophile Information Exchange meetings:

    Edward Heath backed ­paedophile Jimmy Savile for a royal honour – two years after the previous Prime Minister warned the Queen against it, reports the Sunday People.

    Savile was passed over for an MBE a month before the former Conservative leader moved into No10, the Sunday People can reveal.

    But less than two years after Heath took office, the TV presenter – exposed after his death as a serial child-sex abuser – was awarded the HIGHER honour of an OBE.

    Heath later appeared on Savile’s BBC TV show Jim’ll Fix It when it was one of the nation’s favourites.

    We can also reveal that Heath, under investigation by seven police forces over child abuse claims, was present at more than half a dozen Westminster meetings of the notorious Paedophile Information Exchange.

    . . .

    A dossier of files compiled by former Labour minister Baroness Castle showed Heath was present at Westminster meetings ­with paedophile rights campaigners from the PIE group.

    Heath is said to have attended at least a quarter of the 30 or so monthly or bi-weekly meetings.

    His name is said to have appeared on minutes of the private gatherings, also apparently attended by other MPs, along with scoutmasters and headteachers.

    But the Castle files have been ­missing since the mid 1980s.

    The baroness, a former MP for Blackburn and Euro MP for Greater Manchester, died in 2002. It was claimed by Savile’s nephew Guy Marsden last week that a boy of 14 was abused by Heath at a London party.

    The unnamed victim is said to have been targeted by the politician just over a year before he became Prime Minister after the boy was picked up by Savile.

  • lysias

    Another Mirror article, Edward Heath’s secret Jersey hideaway at centre of child sex abuse probe, says Heath spent six months in the early 1970’s in a secret penthouse hideaway in Jersey while he was convalescing from an operation. I’m wondering about the chronology here. Does anybody know when he had the operation. Presumably it was not in the run-up to the 1970 election or during Heath’s time as prime minister, or I think I would have read about it. If it was after Heath lost office in 1974, that would put it close to the loss of the two Heath yachts in early September 1974. And one of those yachts was allegedly released from its mooring in Jersey before being dashed against the Jersey coast.

  • lysias

    That Mirror article about Heath’s penthouse hideaway has a photograph that shows that from the penthouse one had a view of the harbor, where Heath is said (by the article) to have been in the habit of mooring at least one of his yachts.

    I wonder if Heath continued to have use of Morning Cloud I (the one that was dashed on the Jersey shore) after he had sold it. I wonder who he sold it to.

  • lysias

    Something else that the Mirror article reveals is that the penthouse getaway occupied the top floor of a Jersey hotel owned by a friend of Heath’s who was also head of the Home Office in Jersey.

  • OldMark

    Heath spent six months in the early 1970’s in a secret penthouse hideaway in Jersey while he was convalescing from an operation. I’m wondering about the chronology here.

    And so you should Lysias- the ‘six months in convalescence in Jersey’ story is sourced to a single, unnamed Jersey resident whose memory must be seriously unhinged. Heath was PM from June 1970- March 1974, and was not unseated as Tory party leader until Feb 1975. In his government no minister had the ‘Deputy PM’ title so an illness in the PM requiring such a long convalescence couldn’t be hushed up, as was the case with Churchill (who effectively handed over to Eden for a long period in his second premiership).

    According to this deeply unflattering Telegraph obit, Heath did suffer from a thyroid deficiency, which may at some point have required an operation, after which he MAY have convalesced at the Jersey hotel named by the Mirror- but for 6 months whilst he was PM ??

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1494246/Sir-Edward-Heath.html

  • N_

    Wow! Today’s papers!

    1) Heath and the Paedophile Information Exchange: if Heath attended meetings of the PIE, that is a major national security issue, not just a police issue.

    I have long suspected PIE of being run by MI5, but if they were then it’s still a major national security issue: what were they doing? why? who knew?

    2) What was the flag state for Heath’s yachts? (Jersey has its own register.)

    3) From that Sunday People article:

    (Edward Heath) spent six months in the early 70s living in this luxury top floor apartment. The Waters Edge hotel in Bouley Bay – once considered the best on the island – was then owned by Heath’s pal, a former nurse called Mike Wavell. Mr Wavell later became President of the Defence Committee, in charge of Jersey’s police force.

    I’ve yet to find any 1970s newspaper reports about Heath spending six months living in Jersey. I find it unlikely.

  • N_

    Edward Heath did spend a long time convalescing in Jersey, but that was in 2003:

    Richard Kay, diary column in the Daily Mail, 25 Nov 2003:

    IRASCIBLE Sir Edward Heath has been recuperating in a Jersey nursing home for so long that friends were starting to think he was permanently indisposed.

    Not so. Happily, the former Tory PM is due to be released any day. Sir Edward, 87, was rushed back to Britain from a holiday in Austria in August when he was struck down with a blood clot on the lung.

    ‘He’s in great form and will be back home within the next two weeks,’ says his long-serving PA, Patsy Lightfoot.

    Let’s hope the old boy’s blood pressure can stand the just-published description of him by the late historian Lord Blake: ‘The least loyal of all Conservatives.'”

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