Laura Kuenssberg Meet Barbra Streisand 730

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:

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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.

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730 thoughts on “Laura Kuenssberg Meet Barbra Streisand

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    • Mark Golding

      A zoomer is urban for someone who lies to maintain or reinforce their standpoint and basically their integrity. This fits the context with ‘cunt’ which is one of the most hateful and powerful examples of verbal abuse in the English language.

      Naturally the present truth from CM is extremely painful without doubt being bulletproof and unassailable.

  • Matt

    Actually, cow only comes up twice, seeing as one of them occurs in the word “Moscow”.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain

      Perhaps less ‘gendered’ descriptions would be preferable. I can think of a few from the animal and vegetable kingdoms.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    What appears to have been overlooked in the chorus of anathema and condemnation over several threads on this blog is the following: it is deeply distasteful and indeed outrageous that this “petition procedure” – the objective of which is to gather enough signatures to oblige Parliament to consider holding a debate on the matter – should have been used with the objective of getting an individual (Mrs Kuenssberg) sacked by her employer (the BBC).

    It is – perhaps- just about acceptable to seek a debate on alleged bias in the BBC’s reporting of politics but it is unacceptable to seek a BBC employee’s dismissal from her job because a number of people believe they have spotted political bias in that employee.

    A slightly more acceptable and certainly less McCarthyite procedure would have been (1) to address any such petition to the employer and (2) as appears to be the case with the replacement petition, to ask the employer to investigate the matter and consider moving the employee to another post within the organisation.

    Perhaps the organiser of this particular petition had this in mind when he withdrew the petition.

    I also wonder whether commenters on this blog – whose political stance it would be fair to say stretches from the hand-wringing left to the extreme left (and beyond) would have been such keen supporters of a petition calling for Mr Paul Mason, the former economics editor of Newsnight, to be sacked by the BBC? (His reporting of the Greek crisis refers, as just one example).

    • Herbie

      Isn’t the argument that she’s an egregious example of bias?

      And there’s precedent surely.

      Haven’t the Israeli lobby, in the past, made strenuous efforts to have BBC ME correspondents sacked, sidelined or smeared.

      • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

        Yes, that (and whether the BBC is biased more generally) is certainly the focus of many – but it’s an accusation that could be…well, argued about. 🙂 ? But I was raising another point: do you think that the petitions procedure, in the form of the original 38 degrees petition) should be used with the objective of getting a BBC employee at the coal face sacked? I find it deeply shocking….and a slippery slope.

        • DomesticExtremist

          It’s actually a fair argument but one that cuts both ways when, for instance, various groups of social justice warriors want to no platform somebody they have decided they don’t like or governments decide to exclude politicians, comedians or other public figures they accuse of hate speech, being a bit tawdry etc, etc.

          So, as a society, we either do it or we do not, but let’s not be selective about it.

          • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

            “No platforming” (what do you mean, exactly?) and “excluding” (excluding from what?) are not, in my opinion, quite the same as calling for someone to get sacked by her employer. Preferably after a debate in the national legislature.

          • DomesticExtremist

            No-platforming is what “liberal” students have become fond of with visiting speakers whose views they find “offensive”.
            The UK government likewise moved to prevent Geert Wilders and Dieudonné, as well as some American pick-up artiste, from entering the UK each on very spurious grounds.
            Let us not forget that some of those (decietfully, it turns out) screaming ‘sexim’ over the sack Kuenssberg petition were also a couple of weeks ago howling for the suspension of Ken Livingstone from the Labour Party.
            Hence my calls for consistency.

    • Andy

      ”Perhaps the organiser of this particular petition had this in mind when he withdrew the petition.”

      So why didn’t he say and why the fabricated sexist abuse?

      • Mark Golding

        Exactly Andy CM has targeted a concoction and not the tangent of ‘petition procedure’ where political correctness can invoke ‘smoke & mirrors’ to obscure deceit.

        Sometimes the smoke from hell must be sniffed.

        • Mark Golding

          In plain sight Andy is the essence of deception. Rather than take responsibility for one’s actions we concoct in this case a misogynist lie from the few and far and screw 35,000 good and true. That is the bottom line and the genesis of nefarious establishment memes.

          OK let’s lie about WMD and murder 347 children having morning breakfast in a Baghdad province in 24 hours. Or, let’s draw a red line and lie about chemical weapon use by the Assad regime to expel 4 million families from their homes and murder those durable or infirm that stick around or cling on.

          Fuck you.

      • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)


        You know that any answer to your question from anyone other than the organiser can only be speculation.

        It may be that if he had explained what I suggested he would be admitting that the petitions procedure had been used for an illegitimate and McCarthyite end – and that would have been difficult. So he may well have (mistakenly, as it turned out) latched on to the couple of sexist comments that probably were made to give him what seemed to be a less embarrassing way out.

    • Chris Rogers

      His reporting on Russian requires a lot of work shall we say, but Varoufakis actually likes Mason, so that’s a plus.

      • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

        I’m not sure that being liked by Varoufakis is necessarily something one should consider as a feather in one’s cap, but my point was that Mr Mason could easily be accused – indeed, has been accused – of showing strong left-wing bias in many of his reports.

        (NB – I hope you don’t seriously think that events in Russia are of a left-wing nature)

    • bevin

      “..I also wonder whether commenters on this blog – whose political stance it would be fair to say stretches from the hand-wringing left to the extreme left (and beyond) would have been such keen supporters of a petition calling for Mr Paul Mason, the former economics editor of Newsnight, to be sacked by the BBC? (His reporting of the Greek crisis refers, as just one example).”
      Start a petition, like Joe, and find out. People tend to sign petitions which they agree with. At least the leftists that you lament do. Authoritarians and Conformists sign petitions which the Boss starts: they don’t need to be told.

      • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

        This is the point, you see, “Bevin” – I wouldn’t dream of expressing any disapproval I might have for Mr Mason’s left)wing bias through the instrument of a petition calling for him to be sacked.

        That might be because I’m not a McCarthyite absolutist, nor a witchfinder general.

        Unlike some (even on here 🙂 )

    • Alex Birnie

      “should have been used with the objective of getting an individual (Mrs Kuenssberg) sacked by her employer (the BBC).”……Oh come ON!….even you can’t believe that there was the slightest chance that this person was going to be sacked! Have you ever TRIED to complain about ANYTHING to the BBC? Even if the petition had reached half a million, there isn’t the slightest chance that “Fortress BBC’s” wall would have been dented. Craig is absolutely correct. If they had allowed this petition to stand, it would have peaked at some point, – maybe even mentioned briefly on the BBC (although that’s a bit far-fetched) – and been forgotten about. The fact that they reacted to it in this “bull in a china shop” fashion has backfired spectacularly – and could even end up in Ms Kuenssberg getting the elbow. Now THAT would be poetic justice – not for Ms Kuenssberg – but for the arrogant arses who run the BBC.

      • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

        Whether there was the slightest chance or not of her getting sacked is immaterial to my point. The point is that the petition called for her to be sacked – and those who signed the original petition bought into that objective (or desire, if you will).

        I’ bound to say that your comment, which appears to avoid the question of the immorality of the demand by focussing on the likelihood (or otherwise) of Mrs Kuenssberg actually getting the sack, is deeply worrying. You do not appear to grasp the moral dimension of the matter.

        • Alex Birnie

          Asking for something that has no chance of happening in order to make your point as strongly as possible is NOT immoral! On the other hand, is it morally acceptable for an employee of a publicly funded broadcaster tasked with impartiality to tout her blatantly biased anti-Corbyn agenda? Which part of the BBC charter was she fulfilling with her biased performance? Your concern for morality would sit a bit more comfortably, if it were coming from someone whose morality is a tad flexible when it comes to other subjects. Grasp of moral dimensions isn’t your strong point, sir!

      • lysias

        Once, when I brought up morality, the odious snitch gave me a Gamma double minus, or some such thing.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain

      Babblemuck, the word ‘mucilaginous’ was surely created precisely to describe the likes of you.

    • Republicofscotland


      I had a wee laugh at your comment, you and your ilk, would have no qualms if it was Corbyn under the spotlight, and calling for his dismissal, you hypocritical shit.

  • susan cliff

    thank you for your hard work, it’s a joy to see facts, rather than just opinion.

    • sevenshades

      I’ll go along with that.
      Wish I had a bore-filter for the comments, as some of them are pure brilliant.

  • lysias

    Well, RT has just been reporting on the White Paper that would replace the BBC Trust that is now being circulated. FT reports: BBC Trust to be Abolished, Replaced by Unitary Board:

    The BBC’s current governing body will be scrapped and replaced by a new unitary board, with the broadcaster free to appoint the majority of its members independent of government, according to plans announced on Thursday.

    Unveiling an overhaul of the corporation, John Whittingdale, secretary of state for culture, media and sport, said the BBC’s current chair, Rona Fairhead, will remain in post until the end of her term in 2018, writes John Murray Brown.

    • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

      Doesn’t sound very “fascist”, does it. Hope no one’s too disappointed.

      • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

        This blog is a wonderfully ecumenical thing, isn’t it – an American commenting on British afffairs on the basis of reports by Russian state television 🙂

      • Herbie

        It’s corporatist.

        Same thing.

        Rona’s background in corporate banking, bombs, chemicals and media refer.

        All the same thing ultimately.

        That’s why it’s called Corporatism.

        They’re all in it together.

      • DomesticExtremist

        Sounds like a recipe for yet more cornyism, not directly by the govenrment but by the powers that be at the BBC (current head of BBC Trust being Rona Fairhead, ex-banker…)

        Unfortunaetely, the licence fee payer, yet again, gets no say in the matter.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    Oliver Kamm generally pops up like some ugly jack-in-the-box during any Twitter spat involving Craig Murray, and he is veryu probably principally responsible for the characterisation of CM as a “rape apologist”.

    Whenever I see him, I point out his lies, which has earned me my own quota of vicious abuse recently. It’s a great place.

    • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

      As a matter of interest, John, has he popped up yet?

  • giyane

    A zoomer is a lot worse than that. It comes from taking magic mushrooms => crazy/ fantasist.

    By being labelled to the authorities as crazy I’ve been conned badly three times in my life. Once by the UK law that gave my ex my house, 2nd time by my ex who got my dad to share what he left to me in his will half with her because I wouldn’t put food on the table of her new partner, and lastly by the Kurdish (mad) mullah who found me my wife and took £18,000 to his own pocket ostensibly for charity and then told my Kurdish in laws I was an idiot.

    There is a chapter of the Qur’an about those who run other people down in order to fill their own pockets. The punishment is extreme for that.

    I don’t know how well Craig handles the insults he receives for telling the truth. But there is another chapter of the Qur’an dedicated to those who speak the truth – especially the truth of God’s omnipotence and who exercise due patience with the backlash for doing that.
    Basically Allah says that all those who do not tell the truth will be in loss. No heaven, no peace in the hereafter.

    I hope that offers some consolation to Craig right now, and generate some misapprehension in Laura K who has repeatedly insulted Jeremy Corbyn.

    • Mark Golding

      It is here at ‘angry voice’ we grasp the foul deed of another hemlock poison entering the bodies of the ‘hand-wringing left’ or more succinctly the ‘gadflys of justice’-

      Perhaps the worst aspect of all is the appalling precedent set by this deletion of an entire 35,000 signature petition over a single sexist comment. The ludicrous decision to delete the petition rather than simply delete any offending comment(s) is clearly a red rag to foul-minded Internet warrior types. Disgusting people like that have now been given a clear indication that an effective way to derail any petition they don’t like is to use sockpuppet accounts to post sexist/racist/bigoted/threatening comments in the hope of getting the entire petition deleted.

    • Chris Rogers


      Had you perhaps been following the entire chain of events, you’d have noticed that after the Petition was removed and an official “Statement’ concocted by 38 Degree’s and Joe Hayden and posted on 38 Degrees website, the fact remains that Joe Hayden made a FaceBook post to his FB friends, this personal message, which I captured and posted in its entirety on this Blog, contradicted the Statement 38 Degree’s initially posted, the key reference being that Joe Hayden clearly implies he’d been approached by media and an MP himself on the subject matter – no names were mentioned though. I’m afraid the horse had bolted and then many involved tried closing the stable gate and each time their story changed. But evidence I captured paints a different narrative to the one now being trailed.

  • Alan

    Ho-Ho-Ho! I just got an email from Joe at 38 degrees:

    Thanks for signing my petition about calling for the BBC to sack Laura Kuenssberg for biased reporting. I wanted to update you on what’s happening with it.

    You may have seen in the news in the last few days that my petition was hijacked by a small number of people on twitter who tried to use it to abuse BBC presenter Laura Kuenssberg about her gender rather than because of her reporting.

    Particularly on twitter, they used all sorts of hate filled language and turned a serious issue into something completely sexist. It meant that instead of reporting about the petition, newspapers started reporting about a group of sexists. A million miles away from the point of this petition.

    I spoke on the phone with the 38 Degrees office about what to do about this. We agreed together to remove the petition from the website. I issued the following statement in its place:

    When I started my campaign I was trying to raise a serious issue about what I saw as a reporter not being balanced and fair in the way that the news was covered. My petition has since been hijacked by a group of people who absolutely do not share my views.

    I would like to reassure everyone that I am a passionate advocate for equality in all areas, not just gender equality. This petition has precisely zero to do with gender.

    As a result of the sexist trolls who have attempted to derail my petition, I have decided to take it down.

    This wasn’t an easy decision to take, for me or for 38 Degrees. But I really didn’t feel comfortable with a petition started by me being associated with sexist abuse.

    This means the petition is closed to new signatures. I can assure you that the signatures already gathered have not been deleted. The petition was handed in to the BBC today.

    None of this means that we should turn a blind eye to any hint of bias in BBC reporting. Growing up I’ve always seen the BBC as the gold standard in reporting, it’s supposed to be completely impartial. I’ve got friends who work for the BBC and they are always incredibly aware of making sure they are seen as balanced and impartial.

    It was because of this that I thought Laura Kuenssberg’s reporting about Jeremy Corbyn was so out of line with how the organisation is supposed to act.

    I’ve ended the petition now, and it was handed in to the BBC today, but I’d encourage each of you to complain to the BBC if you ever see any of their reporters presenting in a biased way.

    You can officially complain to the BBC here:

    Thank you so much for signing my petition. It’s been bizarre, exciting, interesting, very illuminating and as it turns out, a little bit scary.

    Cheers, Joe

    OK, so should I reply and say “Surely what happens on Twitter is the sole responsibility of Twitter” or just accept that the establishment have crapped all over us yet again? Ah heck, I’m going for the reply.

    • Andy

      ”my petition was hijacked by a small number of people on twitter”

      How does twitter hijack anything? What has twitter got to do with the petition?

    • Alan

      This is the reply I made:

      Dear Joe,

      Surely, if there is a problem on Twitter, it is the responsibility of Twitter to police their own forum, not the responsibility of 38 Degrees? And if Twitter members broke the law, surely it is up to the police to track them down and prosecute them?

      But no, you at 38 Degrees have allowed the Press to dismiss all of us who signed the petition to be tarred with the same brush. Well thanks 38 Degrees, but no thanks any more! I don’t wish to hear from 38 Degrees ever again.

      OK, so I think I made my point, but I’m no great man of words like you Craig.

    • Chris Rogers

      Can you qualify if it’s actually Joe Hayden, or a PR blast from 38 Degrees purporting to be from Joe, given as the Petitioner, he had no actual access to the original XML details/content and the actual IP addresses of all those who signed – these businesses do not give data away like that I can assure you.

      Further, and let us not forget, Joe Hayden has a faceBook profile/page and was quite happily posting details about how his Petition had grown in import. Then all of a sudden over the weekend he’s approached by the London Media Witch Hunter Generals, and it would seem at least one MP condemning him for his Petition on the spurious grounds that it was generating ‘Hate’ Tweets on Twitter, Twitter of course having Zero to do with Joe or 38 Degrees.

      No disrespect to Joe, but he’s playing with fire. I myself have been in a similar position with State agencies here in Hong Kong and had to seek legal advice from one of the Territories best Barristers, his advice was to tell them to ‘fuck off’ as the chain of events detailed in email correspondence clearly demonstrated no ill intent on my behalf, quite the reverse, it demonstrated a lot of goodwill – nonetheless I shit myself for a few weeks, but the authorities were quick to reverse course once they became aware I had high quality legal representation, all pro-bono I hasten to add.

      Again, I believe this is a PR blitz and would recommend Joe actually seek assistance from someone like Craig Murray, who actually could guide the lad in blowing the whistle.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain

      Alan, what a load of garbage, Joe spouts. It was not ‘his’ petition-it was that of the 35,000 signatories, and those to come. The excuse of ending it because of a few, possibly planted, ‘sexist’ comments is utter bull-dust. In my opinion he either caved under pressure in a cowardly fashion, or was involved in a conspiracy to launch another front of vilification against Labour, this time not the rapidly becoming radically over-used ‘antisemitism’ smear, but the ‘misogynist’ one. What will be next? ‘Corbyn is ‘speciesist’?

  • Andy

    The Guardian today….

    Sir Michael Lyons tells The World at One that he could understand people’s concerns about a loss of editorial impartiality……L

    It comes after more than 35,000 people signed a petition calling for Laura Kuenssberg to be sacked as political editor of the BBC over accusations that she was biased against Corbyn. It was taken down by the organisers after some people used the petition to make sexist remarks about her.

    ”some people used the petition to make sexist remarks about her.”?

  • bevin

    Media Lens has a new alert:
    It is about propaganda which is what these threads have been about for some time now. The question of Laura’s place at “the coal face” (as wahHabbakkuk so elegantly phrases it) has been overshadowed by the orchestrated propaganda offensive waged by The Guardian (which is to the media what Blair was to Bush-a handy ‘left’ organ which greatly enhances the impact of right wing propaganda by giving it a varnish of identity politics apologetics) The BBC and Cameron.
    Good to see that Habba has successfully graduated from Re-education Camp to the extent that he now denounces McCarthyism like one of the Hollywood 10. Let us hope that the conversion takes.
    Welcome back and Habbaniceday.

    • Chris Rogers


      I’m not one for re-education, not even for Habbabakuk, who it seems has recognised, rather belatedly, that if you actually conribute your opinion is treated with respect, even if one may disagree with it. Indeed, I’d say we actually require contrarians on here to actually keep us in check lest we become a echo chamber or no better than the social justice warriors we detest.

      Indeed, given Habbs determination to rehabilitate himself and imbue him with a ‘Conservativism’ we may all applaud, may I suggest he and others actually visit the latest post by The Archdruid Report, who’s output I consider good:

      • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

        Oh dear!

        To be patronised by “Chris Rogers” is really to have reached one’s nadir 🙂

        • Chris Rogers

          Not one for patronising Habbs, and actually suggest you do as I advise as the article in question is right up your street, as are many of the comments its elicited. Again, may I remind you I have no enmity towards Conservatives. However, finding an actual Conservative on the Tory benches is as difficult as finding democratic socialist on the Labour benches, they exist in both Parties, but are but a minority, something Craig has touched upon here today in a response to one poster.

  • Aidworker1

    On a recent Sputnik with George Galloway and Neil Clark, George revealed he receives a death threat almost every day.

    The comment you received was just abusive – but still disgusting.

    The Hasbara are just so active.

  • Justin Dillon

    Is anyone else in this country in favour of a TV Licence strike? I am, because I can no longer bear to watch the blatant propaganda it spews out and I don’t see why we should be forced to pay for our own brains to be washed. The BBC does not follow it’s own guideline of impartiality and therefore it is in breach of it’s contract with us. It does not serve the ordinary people of the UK, it serves the interests of the wealthy and powerful elite who run the show in their own interests. Yes Kuenssberg should be sacked but she is only the tip of the iceberg. We pay for the BBC, so why shouldn’t the licence payers elect it’s Board of Directors? Do we any longer live in a democracy? I have my doubts.

    • Summerhead

      I’ve not paid the TV licence for about 3 years now although not as part of a strike – I just don’t watch live broadcast TV at home, it’s crap. When I cancelled, I said that Capita (who administrate the licence) had no implied right of access to my property and got the person at the call centre to repeat it back. Since then I’ve had one slightly threatening letter. I called Capita and informed them I did not wish to receive any further correspondence and they should remove my deteils from their data bank ( I doubt they have ) and touch wood I’ve not heard anything for about two years now. I recommend everyone does it and just follows the steps above and you shouldn’t be harrassed as is so often claimed.

    • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

      On a point of clarification, what do you mean by a TV “licence strike”?

      Do you mean simply refusing to pay the licence while still watching, or are you on the Summerhead line of no longer paying the licence fee in return for no longer watching live TV?

      Would you still watch BBC TV in the non-live (catch up) way?

      On the same topic: you know that the BBC regularly compiles wireless audience statistics. Would you also cease listening to BBC Radio and, since there is no licence fee which you would stop paying in order to make your point, would you also inform the BBC of your intention no longer to listen to its wireless broadcasts?

      May I also be allowed to point out that if you were no longer to pay the TV licence fee you would be excluding yourself from those who should elect the Board of Directors according to your suggestion?

      Finally, in the event of elections for the Board of Directors, how would you go about ensuring that candidates for office do not present themselves along party political lines, as is the case at present with the elections for Police Commissioners?

      Grateful if you would flesh out your thoughts by answering the above questions?

    • Mulga Mumblebrain

      Justin, what on Earth makes you think you live in a ‘democracy’? Free Market fundamentalist capitalism and democracy in any meaningful form are utterly antithetical. The UK, where an Evil and malignant Rightwing regime is in power based on 24% of the electorate’s vote, is a perfect example of that truth.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    I’ve just been looking at Hansard, 11th May 16. You really couldn’t make it up.


    Lucy Allan (Telford) (Con) (I fabricated a death threat against myself on Facebook and said it was from a constituent and I’m still in my job)

    Respected journalist Laura Kuenssberg has been subjected to an online hate campaign, which appears to be a sexist witch hunt to silence her. Increasingly, this is a tool used against people in public life by those who take an opposing view. Will my right hon. Friend condemn this kind of harassment, and will he work with media and social media platforms to preserve the right to speak freely without intimidation or hate? (My italics.)

    The Prime Minister (I condemned Conservative voter Imam Suliman Gani in Parliament on no evidence for supporting Islamic State and now he and his family get death threats and I’m still in my job)

    We must be able to speak freely and we must have a robust and lively democracy, but some of the things that people say on Twitter, knowing that they are in some way anonymous, are frankly appalling. People should be ashamed of the sort of sexist bullying that often takes place.


    Allan’s question is what this nonsense is all really about. Enabling people like her to make up vicious lies like that to throw to the Prime Minister in Parliament. This is a tool used against people in public life by those who take an opposing view.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain

      John S-D, need I ask, but is Allan a member of the ‘Conservative Friends of Israel’?

      • John Spencer-Davis

        I don’t know, but CFI themselves claim that 80% of Conservative MPs are, so it would be surprising if she were not. Why?

      • Ba'al Zevul

        Yes. Last seen accepting the Likud shekel in Israel in November 2013.

        Incidentally, did you know that CFoI organised Johnson’s ‘battle bus’ tour? I didn’t, but Conservative Home did.

  • Becky Cohen

    Sorry off-topic, but whilst on the subject of petitions and sexism please sign the petition below if you want to support the ending of sexist dress codes in the British workplace against women. This petition was created by a woman who was sent home without a day’s pay for refusing to wear high heels on reception:

    The agency – called Portico – that supplies admin temps for accounting giant PwC doesn’t require men to wear high heels to look smart. In fact, the plaintiff above was told that men in high heels are ridiculous (yeah, tell it to Eddie Izzard who has more talent in his little finger than a whole office full of boring, grey-suited, impossibly dull accountants!) Anyway, sexist dress codes that discriminate against women are OUTRAGEOUS in the 21st century. The west is quick enough to accuse certain middle-eastern countries of being ‘backward’ when it comes to gender equality because women over there wear headscarves, yet western capitalism does exactly the same to women but in a different, more insidious way. Besides, it’s been proven that having to wear high heels all the time causes permanent damage to your feet. Modern day foot-binding, much?!!!

    • John Spencer-Davis

      I wonder if it’s legal for a company to have a dress code that requires a man not to wear high heels to work in order to look smart. Perhaps I should start a petition to make it legal for me to wear high heels to work if I like.

      When I am working for myself full time, I will wear high heels to work every day if I want to, and a dress as well if I feel like it.


    • Mulga Mumblebrain

      Becky, this is just another manifestation of the Right’s basic misanthropy, this time manifested as misogyny. But they have a hatred for every type of creature unlike themselves ie racism, xenophobia, class hatred, inter-generational hatred, ideological hatred and speciesistic hatred etc. And, truth be told, they hate one another and, often enough, themselves as well. The global triumph of the Right has ushered in an age of unremitting hatred, growing ever more virulent as the whole rotten, evil, system collapses under the weight of its own moral and spiritual corruption, amidst an even graver ecological collapse.

    • Shatnersrug

      Signed. I wish I could say I’m shocked by that, but I’m not, it’s all too depressing somedays.

    • giyane


      The last time I applied for agency work, some overgrown teenager called me to say there were gaps in my CV, like May to July 2001 for instance. I remembered what I was doing later, building a shed in my garden and other household repairs.

      They insisted that big corporate customers would not accept a CV with gaps in it. It’s called Life, silly.

      • Ba'al Zevul

        Respectfully suggest that you rewrite your shed-building interval along the following lines:
        ‘From (date) to (date) I became self-employed in order to complete a construction project facilitatinge the storage of horticultural machinery, tools and materials. This gave me valuable experience in time management, logistics and the safe use of natural materials in a domestic setting, within the constraint of national and local planning requirements.’

        Zevul Consultants is pleased to offer you this advice for nothing.

        • giyane

          Under equal opportunities legislation very ugly lizards with long grey, forked tongues will be considered for employment on Star Trek if they speak fluent American English and uphold true American values at all times.

  • Becky Cohen

    Btw…re the abuse from Laura Bates, Craig. Last year, my friend posted a message on Laura Bates’s Everyday Sexism Project website about her experiences of being harassed as a transgender woman and they never published it. I guess this must mean they are those hypocritical transphobic type of feminists like Germaine Greer and Julie Bindel et al.

    • John Spencer-Davis

      I am sorry to hear that, especially because the website makes very interesting reading.

    • Chris Rogers

      No, I think you’ll find Ms. Bates, like most London-based Social Justice Warriors, in reality are not warriors at all and essentially care not one hoot about what they write about or concern themselves with. If you desire real Feminists who actually talked the talk and walked the walk, look at Greenham Common – real gals taking on the UK establishment and US military complex, and that actually took balls.

      I have also signed the Petition you mentioned as don’t want my daughter wearing high heels given the damage they do to feet. Indeed, if high heels were at all useful, nurses would wear them on duty, that they don’t is all you need to know – I have no objection to well cut women’s boots made by craftsmen in the UK, which are both sensible and last a long time.

      • RobG

        Chris, as I’m sure you are aware, Greenham Common was the longest lasting peace protest in modern history. It started in 1981 and ended 19 years later in 2000. Many reading this will, sadly, have no memory of the Cold War.

        As for Laura Bates, I will continue to stand up for her right to put forth an opinion.

        Bates was foolish to get embroiled in this latest row. Hopefully she’ll learn something from the experience.

        • Mulga Mumblebrain

          RobG, ‘no memory of the Cold War’??? The Cold War never ended, it just changed the name of the ‘Evil Empire’ from the USSR to Russia, and China remained just the same.

    • Shatnersrug

      Becky, on cif once I told a story about riding through soho on my bike, when a drunk but happy Trans woman smacked my arse and said “I’ll have a bit of that” I laughed – you take all the flattery you can get when you’re a 40 year old man! Anyway a police man came up to me and said “that’s sexual harassment you know you could press charges” we laughed and off I went. the comment was immediately removed and about four hours later I was put on pre-mod.

      The guardian has become a very warped place which is why I no longer visit their site.

  • RobG

    Some Guardian headlines before I crash out for the night:

    John Major: EU leave campaign at risk of ‘divisive’ immigration stance

    Prince Charles: I use homeopathy in animals to cut antibiotic use

    China may take over Hinkley Point nuclear project, claims Lord Howell

    Number of suicides in England and Wales reaches 20-year high

    It’s a funny old world…

    • Shatnersrug

      You don’t want to pay too much attention to it, Rob, they make most of it up.

  • LordSnooty

    What is a “zoomer”, and are there any drawbacks to being a massive one?

    • Phil the ex frog

      It is suggested a zoomer might be:

      -a penis
      -an eater of hallucinogenic mushrooms in Scotland
      -someone with an over inflated sense of self importance
      -someone over the age of 45

  • Merlin

    I think someone should start a 38 Degrees petition calling for David Babbs to be sacked unless he can provide verifiable evidence of the supposed abuse which led to the petition being taken down!

  • glenn

    The Greenham Common women were mentioned by Chris and Robg, wondering if Millennials would know about them. They won’t hear of it, because it’s never mentioned.

    Anyone recall the hate-campaign, the vilification of those women? It’s astonishing how the far-right Establishment structure has gone all PC now it suits them, and they can affect shock and horror about even the idea of sexism, or racism, among the ranks of their opponents.

    Right-wing and unfunny comedians like Bob Monkhouse used to mock Labour MPs as all being gay, and “all wanting to do it to each other”, I recall him saying. Knee-slapping stuff. The Tories were openly racist, Thatcher had a few in her Cabinet. They all knew a woman’s rightful place.

    To turn it around now, and accuse those who oppose their economic agenda as being sexist, or racist, is a coordinated work of quite evil genius. It is worthy of the most vile example – Carl Rove himself. I wonder if he and Lindon Crosby ever bumped into one another, these circles being surprisingly small.

    If it was, I wouldn’t be surprised that 38 Degree members would be a little intimidated by people like this. They can take down people like Don Siegelman, and get him put in jail for trying to do his job, and looking into their dodgy election fraud shenanigans.

    A little digging should tell you all you need to know – these are people you don’t want to mess about with, unless you want your life screwed up.

  • giyane

    I’m a bit surprised that anyone thinks 38 degrees is anything other than an establishment insider outfit. It has an extremely aggressive email presence. My way of dealing with spying, which I assume all collectors of info about me are doing, is to give their snooping ears a very good bending as a reward for their institutional nosiness. And a black eye for good measure to include all the orifices.

    The ‘hate’ which this petition has attracted would in fact be targeted at the message-bearer, 38 degrees the data-collector, rather than the subject of the petition, Laura K.. The establishment has twisted our instinctive dislike of the internet snoop-tool, an online petition, which we use as a last resort kicking and screaming against the system and then they claim our anger is directed against a group ( females in this case ).

    Really I would much prefer to have an MP that represents my views, Liam Byrne is a fascist Blairite millionaire war-monger so not much hope of that, a GP who cares about my health, a PM who does not genocide my fellow Muslims and an MSM that reports the truth.

    • giyane

      Why do I say the Blairites are fascist? Because New Labour thought, like Erdogan in Turkey, that the winning of an election means you are now the Sultan, the dictator, imperator, and you can ignore the advice of your advisors and your people and take your country to war for the benefit of another nation, the nation of Israel.

      The reason Chilcot is frozen is that if it was published we would make comparisons with the present Tory scum. Cameron is doing the same thing now in Syria and previously did the same thing in Libya that Blair did in Afghanistan and Iraq.

      OK the rmethods of shutting people up isn’t the same as Turkey’s. We don’t just silence opposition by putting people in prison. But this last few weeks has shown how in the UK the establishment controls the media. The Medialens analysis goes into every detail.

  • Tom

    It’s the usual tactic when ever our corrupt media wants to shut down debate – start publishing abusive messages allegedly sent by the other side. I wouldn’t be surprised if these weren’t generated by sympathisers. Strange how our ‘free press’ don’t want the BBC’s political editor criticised any more, when they’re usually quite happy to criticise the BBC.

    • Andy

      I don’t know if there are any abusive tweets. I believe the sexist abuse on Twitter didn’t happen.

  • Doug Scorgie

    Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)
    May 12, 2016 at 21:28

    “Maybe – but our transatlantic Friend preferred to source the Russian state broadcaster.”


    If the report is true Habbabkuk then the source doesn’t matter does it?

  • KingofWelshNoir

    I agree with Habbabkuk on this. I didn’t sign the petition because I felt distinctly uncomfortable signing a petition calling for someone – anyone – to be sacked. The petition should – in my view – have been aimed at the BBC management calling upon them to take action with respect to the bias LK so clearly manifests. There are lots of things they could have done to address the situation that did not involve summarily firing her. When you think about it, the petition is counter-productive in this respect since there is no way the BBC – or any management – would fire someone due to receipt of a petition. Wouldn’t that violate employment law anyway?

    • Macky

      KOWN would you not call of the sacking of anybody who was clearly not fit for their job ? How about a crap Science teacher teaching children that Global Warming is a myth ? If you think about it the damage is the same, feeding propaganda as accepted fact.

      • KingofWelshNoir

        Imagine the teacher was teaching Creationism. I would demand that the school authorities do something about it. That wouldn’t necessarily mean firing as a first resort, it might mean forbidding the teacher from teaching Creationism and maybe getting him/her to teach maths or some other subject within their competence. If the teacher carried on teaching Creationism then he/she would have to be sacked. I think that is a reasonable position.

        • Macky

          Finally you ARE prepared to sack somebody employed in a responsible position of influence if they were abusing that position for an ulterior agenda; so why on earth were you quibbling to the extent of expressing agreement with a disingenuous troll who absurdly tries to claim that this is an “immoral” position ?!

        • deepgreenpuddock

          I am not sure you understand fully the position of a science(or any other ) teacher and the teaching of evolution. It is indeed a minefield because one of the fundamental tenets of being a teacher is respect for the diversity of religious beliefs. This is not always easy to interpret because many religious beliefs and utterences do not command much intellectual respect, and some are even quite contemptible, but be assured, somewhere lurking in the intellectual shadows of nearly all schools, and all school systems are people who are ‘believers’ and they will not tolerate any kind of less than utterly bland and non-committal material lest it drive the young people away from the realm of God and into the hands of satanic rationalists. For instance it might be problematic to say that Genesis is a creation myth and there are a people who believe in the literal interpretation of Genesis and that such a stance is wrong because it places a belief before evidence.some parent is quite likely to rush t the defence of literal believers.
          I also have to say that ‘out there’, away from people who follow blogs such as this, and are for, whatever reason, politically and intellectually committed, astute and aware of the rational processes, there are probably a largish (2/3) majority who are unable to process the scientific ideas or are fully committed to one or other of the belief systems and are prepared to go to huge lengths to propagate these beliefs.
          I once visited the Creationism ‘museum’ about 12 miles south of Cincinnati in Kentucky. It was a truly astonishing place because it is not a museum but a kind of exhibition of wonky ideas such as Adam and Eve wandering about among dinosaurs. It is really quite intellectually ‘random’. I could say more but the realisation of and full understanding of America came when to my amazement i found that the gift shop at the place had a large number of books, mainly children’s books, that were not creationist in outlook but were conventionally ‘scientific’.
          I was slightly perplexed because it suggested that there was some kind of balanced policy WRT the opposing views, until the penny dropped and I realised that the management had made no distinction. They had not position-they just piled them high and hoped they would sell.
          The museum was entirely and ruthlessly cynical in the way that only capitalists can be- someone had realised there were large numbers of believers out there who would be prepared to spend $20 (about 7 years ago) per head to entertain the kids in a God fearing and righteous way. And so they aimed to please all shades and variety of confusion.
          Incidentally the car park attendants were packing six guns. They directed people to particular spaces and I wondered whether, if some unfortunate had the temerity to select his or her own space, would they be shot?
          A strange sort of place, Kentucky.

      • Phil the ex frog

        I would never dream of calling for the sacking of a bad teacher. I would never dream of calling for the sacking of workers for not doing their job in a way not considered optimally by others. Sometimes the problem is misplaced expectations. Other times the worker needs some training or something explained.

        Having defended people over these issues it is never as simple as you might think. Are you really 100% certain there are no myths perpetrated by the climate change cause? Enough to ruin someone?

        Of course I have zero sympathy for Keunnsberg. I didn’t sign the petition. However, not only do I not want to be party to calling for a sacking out of principal. But it also misunderstands the problem which is systematic (no mater how much signatories say the call is symbolic). Mostly it is a futile waste of time that demorialises signatories – playing into the hands of the propagandists.

        These petitions are worse than useless. They are a distraction.

        • Phil the ex frog

          In a week’s time Craig will have moved on and this will be never mentioned here again. Most people fior whom this was an eye opener will have signed the petition and subsequently learnt that nothing can be done to oppose the stablishment. They will leave misunderstanding the problem (have you seen the comments saying they want a nice BBC) and feeling defeated. The reuglars will move on, consuming the next outrage laid out before them. It’s a merry go round.

          • Macky

            What’s funny, it that you misunderstood my “awareness” point; ie many people who would be inclined to sign any particular petition, need to be aware that it exist in the first place !

        • Macky

          I’m very much hope that you have no responsibility iro of children’s education !

          This is not about somebody not “optimally” doing their job, or of “misplaced expectations”, that a spot of “training” can fix. Rather it’s about people in positions of trust & influence, roles that specifically require openness, fairness & as much neutrality as possible, deliberately & cynically abusing that position by pursuing an undeclared & forbidden ulterior agenda.

          Petitions are not useless; it’s takes awareness, time & effort for people to bother with them, so it’s a good indication of the level of feeling on a particular issue when this is extrapolated among the general population. Next you’ll be saying that marches are a waste of time also !;

          • Phil the ex frog

            Petitions are not useless; it’s takes awareness, time & effort for people to bother with them, so it’s a good indication of the level of feeling on a particular issue

            Really too funny. Petitions are the exact opposite of what you claim. They can be, and judging by many of the comments are, signed with little or no awareness of the issue. They take about five seconds to complete. You call a few seconds time and effort?

            Being so effortless they are a very poor indication of a level of feeling that is inclined to do anything beyond spend 5 seconds whining online. Anyone who has been involved in trying to convert online commitments into anything else knows this.

          • Macky

            This new threading-reply system is rather haphazard; why are there no reply tabs on some comments ?!

    • John Spencer-Davis

      This is clearly not a black and white issue, and I think you are to be commended, KOWN, in the context of this forum, not only for having the courage not to sign the petition but also to say so straight out.

      There is much in what you say, and I think few people will have signed without the slightest misgiving. I signed the petition, although I was not fully happy with the wording, and I think the alternative petition on is a much better one. My reasoning was this. It is not unusual to publicly call for someone’s sacking if they are not doing their job properly. Or even if they are. Public figures such as politicians and football managers get that all the time: it goes with the position, and without doubt Kuenssberg has chosen voluntarily to place herself in the public eye about as prominently as any journalist possibly could. It has no legal effect. It would in no way bypass the proper mechanisms that the law requires before dismissing somebody. Kuenssberg would retain all her legal rights to sue for unfair dismissal if it ever came to that, which I did not believe that it would. It was intended as an expression of popular disapproval, and that seemed to me to outweigh the objections to the particular wording. Finally, it was gaining traction at an extraordinary rate, and to attempt to derail that popularity seemed to me to be a foolish idea. Actually, I believe that that was why it was unseated. It could easily have hit 100,000 signatures or many more, I think, and that probably horrified the establishment, which might for once have to have taken actual notice of what ordinary people thought.

      Nonetheless, had I written the petition I would not have worded it in that way. I think you can hold your chin up, because there are definitely arguments on both sides. Thank you for letting us know.

      • John Spencer-Davis

        And by the way, I didn’t see all the great and the good making all this fuss when the world and his wife were calling for the instant dismissal of Sharon Shoesmith. if people remember that case. And when Ed Balls sacked her, he made her a present of nearly a million pounds in unfair dismissal and legal fees, courtesy of the tax payer.

  • Carl Olsen

    Habbabkuk tries to convince us that it’s immoral to call for the sacking of a person who has allegedly abused her powerful and influential position to flog her personal point of view, rather than even try to maintain the neutrality required of the job. Keep in mind the allegation isn’t that she has failed, but rather that she’s made a mockery of the neutrality she’s bound to uphold. If the allegations are true, this malicious attempt to destroy a politician through slant and innuendo is a blatant and naked abuse of power. Fact is, to not fire her would be immoral. That abuse of power to pursue a personal political agenda is reasonable grounds for termination – particularly for one in such an influential position – is so self-evident that some might wonder why Habbabkuk would argue otherwise.

    I believe this is the reason: Habbabkuk’s overarching agenda is to shut down by whatever means any argument that seeks to weaken the establishment position, as the establishment foreign policy in particular rather suits him. He’s also afraid of the possible foreign-policy implications of a Corbyn-led government. So he conveniently supports the alleged pro-establishment and anti-Corbyn LK continuing her role as an establishment propagandist.

    The second problem for Habbabkuk is he can’t actually find fault with Craig’s expose (which makes a mockery of the establishment media, etc.), so he seeks to divert and obfuscate by making a bogus and irrelevant claim. Note that Habbabkuk despite his angst on the “immorality” of the petition, has expressed no opinion on the very real immorality of smearing the petitioners by lying, to “justify” pulling the petition. Nor will he, because he can’t. It is clearly, unequivocally immoral. So instead he makes the risible case that the petition itself was immoral. Pathetic, but typical of this individual.

    I don’t waste my time engaging with trolls, so if Habbabkuk should choose to respond, I will not engage him directly, though I might nevertheless comment.

    • Macky

      Well stated; it’s amazing how many people cannot see through the Troll-Clown’s transparent agenda, and so fall for his disingenuous nonsense.

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