Another Media Setup? 351

This picture has been all over twitter, promoted by every high level Blairite you can think of, from JK Rowling down. Yet all may not be what it seems.

Screenshot (57)

On the face of it, the old gentleman has a message on a T shirt which, while we might understand it is calling for the deselection of Blairite MPs, uses intemperate language which can be interpreted as an incitement to violence.

But look again at that photo. The body language of everybody involved is somewhat strange.

That is because the lady on the right is Anna Phillips, full time employee of the Blairite pressure group Progress.

While the gentleman on the left is Lewis Parker, a professional “creative strategist and social media Guru”. Now if you wanted someone to think up a stunt like this and then get millions of people on social media to see it via J K Rowling etc, ask yourself this question. Of all the thousands of professions in this world, which profession is the precise profession whose major task is to invent and set up stunts like this one? Why, a “social media professional”. Is it not an amazing coincidence that one just happened to be going past, as Ms Anna Phillips has explained it, on the way to the pub?

And this only the day after every mainstream media outlet ran as headline news that Jeremy Corbyn was heckled at the Pride rally by a man who happened to see him, who amazingly happened to be another professional PR man, Tom Mauchline, who happens to work for the Blair/Alastair Campbell PR firm Portland Communications.

I really do find myself astonished by the sheer amount of happenstance in life. Of course it cannot possibly be more than happenstance. Otherwise it might be characterised as conspiracy theory.

The T shirt worn by the elderly gentleman appears to be brand new, given the clarity of the lettering and depth of the colours. The gentleman may just have had it made himself, indeed, or have bought or been given it at the rally. The question arises of who produced it/them. Although, as a general rule, the production of advertising T shirts is probably a process more familiar to creative media consultants than to the rest of us.

I concede it is a possibility it is his own T shirt, worn of his own volition. I would admonish him for his excessively intemperate language.

But what is Lewis Parker doing with his arm round the old gentleman’s neck like that? If this is truly a fake befriending, that is abuse of the elderly. If it really is his own T-shirt, then that embrace and the knowing smirks and pointing are really very unpleasant indeed. In contrast to Parker, who appears to have borrowed that haircut from an international footballer, and the smirking Anna Phillips, the elderly gentleman’s physical appearance raises to my eyes a few causes for concern about his condition, which I certainly hope are misguided.

And remember, a fake befriending, including physical contact, of an elderly and apparently vulnerable person, while making fun of him for social media, is Parker and Phillips’ own explanation of what is happening here. That is the best case. There are obvious worst explanations of the kind of set-up this is.

And who was the cameraman? Serious question.

Polly Toynbee in the Guardian today seeks to embolden the Blairites to strike against Corbyn with the phrase “the party can’t go on denying their heartlands’ demand for migration curbs.” To berate Corbyn for being not sufficiently pro-EU, and at the same time not tough enough on immigration, is to demand a logical impossibility.

But Polly is certainly right that a tranche of anti-immigrant Labour supporters are against Corbyn. I could go out now and find one of the 170,000 Labour members who voted against Corbyn last time, who is a racist. Probably an elderly person. Out of 170,000 there will undoubtedly be some. I could pretend to be their friend, and then expose them as anti-immigrant and humiliate them on social media. I could take smirking photos of myself as I did it.

But what would it actually prove? Not all those Labour people against Corbyn are racists, just as few Corbyn supporters would use the language on that T shirt, though I assume the gentleman meant political rather than physical elimination.

We can all find an extreme example and play these stupid games. The difference is that Progress, other Blairites and their paid PR hacks have the mainstream media to amplify their faked efforts.

351 thoughts on “Another Media Setup?

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  • glenn_uk

    @Wendy (Re: PMQ tomorrow)

    Indeed – crowing about the lack of a front bench. Typical, cynical yah-boo politics of the worst sort.

    Actually braying about the success of the government, the Establishment, all the corporate press, the BBC, most of the Red Tories in the Labour party, all coming down on one man. Yet there he stands, despite that type of pressure, while they smirk and deride him.

    Yet he (among very few) actually represent the interests of the vast majority of the country, in our supposed representative democracy.

    We’re all supposed to breathe a sigh of relief when that silly man – who only represents the interests of economic justice for heaven’s sake! – gets out of the way and lets this wonderful neo-con vision proceed swiftly along.

    • Clark

      Those from Labour criticising Corbyn’s leadership skills agree that he is principled and has great integrity.

      So instead of trashing him, shouldn’t they be helping him lead by adding their voices to his?

    • Enrique Ferro

      If the success of the Tories imply the wiping out from Parliament of these gang, it would be like a poetic justice. Indeed because of their warped policies it is a likely outcome, because should they not be removed by the rank and file on time from their candidacy it would be a fact.

    • Barry Keightley

      Exactly! And of course in contrast to their own lack of principle and/or integrity

    • Barry Keightley

      Exactly! And of course in contrast to their own lack of principle and/or integrity

  • Paul Browne

    Fascinating insight into the Progress campaign against the Left Wing. They are running scared.

  • Mon Dieu Monday

    Mendevilson has no standing with labour voters on the ground, so yesterday they brought up the blind adulterer blunkett instead. A blind fool who reduced the wages of British labour voters single-handedly (by opening the gates to hordes of low wage workers from abroad), with the profits from 25m brits in low/zero hour wages ending up financing corporations,banksters and wars.

  • Pink

    As you are a thoughful bunch here on Craig’s page you may already know about Guy Standing and the Basic Income idea that a friend has just sent to me ,I had not seen it before and thought it worth passing on for consideration as now seems a good time to be looking at options.
    I am usually on a different part of Craigs blog and I am not sure where to place it or even if I am allowed too so will let the mods decide.

      • Pink

        Cheers Clark I thought I was a little off topic on the most recent post at the time never mind I will peruse the subject a little more and see if it has sparked any interest out on the web and thanks for getting back to me .

  • Jeremy Stocks

    Craig I know you were the ambassador for Uz. My wife worked there under the EU TACIS ISEAM project. She went over the border to Kyrgisstan to Issik Kul lake which she described as awesomely beautiful.

    Did you ever meet the ISEAM TACIS bloke Trevor Beaumont whilst there? I worked for him in Mongolia.

  • nevermind

    Was it a false flag?, was it a rotten flag, even a flagging flag? ah it so could change your life if you’d only knew.

    well it doesn’t, Turkey is eating itself, just as Israel is tearing itself apart.

    Not all at once, all you keyboard worriers, have breakfast first and have another cuppa, look who’s there and what has been added this morning, reading is such a glory.

    If the public is aware that the chilcot report is released, by having a gathering in various places at the same time, the impact would be much greater.

    but why am I wasting my breath for this eclectic fraternity I do not know.

    • Lambchop (Ba'al, dodging spamfilter)

      Nevermind, your opinion is valued. Neverdespair….

      Turkey is indeed tearing itself apart, and Erdogan’s retreat from the secular state is to blame. If the latest atrocity is IS, he’s been winking at radicalisation for years, and it’s biting him on the bum now. Renewed violence from PKK may in part be due to the same cause. The Kurdish heartland is the religiously conservative east of the country. Though that certainly isn’t the whole story.

      • Lambchop (Ba'al, dodging spamfilter)

        Very strongly recommended reading for anyone who wants an insight into Turkey; here the untouristed east, and the historical conflict between secular state and religious orthodoxy there –

        Better yet, visit the country and then read the book to get even greater resonance. Pamuk will probably be remembered centuries hence for his works based on Istanbul, too.

      • nevermind

        Looks like he is replacing the kurds with IS and hence got a fight on his hand. Turkey is at the brink of a civil war,imho, the Kurdish people will not give up the tows were they live and Erdogan, now friendly again, accepting Bibi’s antics, has probably a pincer move on its mind.

        both are smarting to get at Assad and will attack as soon as Kerry is dropping his hat.

    • Lambchop (Ba'al, dodging spamfilter)

      The only possible response is bwhahahahahahaha. Or pffft.

      Got any spare change, mate?

  • Burnt

    The British have been ignorant enough to vote leave, but certainly they cannot be so beyond-the-pale stupid to vote for any of the conservatives that have just destroyed their country. Look at who the conservatives are putting forward – they all stink to high heaven, to put it mildly. That leaves one candidate. Is it really so idealist to believe that if an election were called, Corbyn would take it? Or is the quality of education so rock-bottom low in this country that the masses are so completely incapable of thinking, and so easily manipulated as the Germans were between the two wars?

    • nevermind

      what you gonna do about it? write a little. We are all shell shocked, but we have to realise that there is a battle in hand that will take over the last vestiges of socialism and replace it with right wing slogans and business speak.

    • Chris Rogers


      So in your opinion, nearly 52% of 72% of the UK that voted in Thursday’s EU Referendum are ignorant – could you issue some actual evidence for this claim, rather than alleged Google statistics, later proved false, or other evidenced submitted on social media, who’s intent is to discredit a democratic vote on a highly divisive subject matter.

      As an educated person who has worked first had at a senior level with officials of key EU Institutions, among them the Commission and ECB, I can assure you my own vote as expressed was neither ill informed or taken lightly, indeed my vote was informed by both economic and political considerations, among them the neoliberal bias contained within the Lisbon Treaty, which gives birth to austerity, particularly for Euro Zone member states, and bars democratically governments from conducting fiscal policy to alleviate the very conditions adherence to the Euro and Stability and Growth Pact have produced – perhaps you should acquit yourself with Prof. Wynne Godley, or, have a closer look at what DIEM25 is actually saying.

      I’ll go further, given the actual dialogue on both sides of the debate was dire, given that only 72% of the electorate could be bothered to vote, in the Scottish IndyRef it was more than 80%, could you please instruct me who actually is at fault, apart from unelected bureaucrats in Brussels, 28 elected governments within the EU and the Conservative Party itself within the UK, closely followed by the Labour Party, which failed to offer a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, which should have been rejected out of hand.

      If you wish to apportion fault, please don’t call those who actually participated in the vote ignorant, because it is this kind of elitist, besmirching attitude to my working class peers that is radicalising them and encouraging them to vote for Populist parties pushing rightwing policies that are an anathema to what actually is required to get our country on an even keel where all can enjoy economic security.

  • Barry Keightley

    I’m worried, really worried. This kind of propaganda tactic by both Blairite and Tory is on the increase. It is becoming difficult to know whether a photo is genuine or set up
    On a different point I notced on the BBC News NW, that when interviewing members of the public, not one Corby supporter was shown

    • nevermind

      what you gonna do about it, Barry and Buirnt? write a little. We are all shell shocked, but we have to realise that there is a battle in hand that will take over the last vestiges of socialism and replace it with right wing slogans and business speak.

  • Macky

    Best response tweet to JK Rowling;

    NAZIS: *assassinate an MP*
    LEFTISTS: *wear a rude t shirt*
    JK ROWLING: i literally cannot tell you two apart

  • Pykrete

    dgp said … His natural inclinations are not the battling PMQ warrior or feisty campaigner

    Herein lies the problem.

  • Lambchop (Ba'al, dodging spamfilter)

    The Combat

    It was not meant for human eyes,
    That combat on the shabby patch
    Of clods and trampled turf that lies
    Somewhere beneath the sodden skies
    For eye of toad or adder to catch.

    And having seen it I accuse
    The crested animal in his pride,
    Arrayed in all the royal hues
    Which hide the claws he well can use
    To tear the heart out of the side.

    Body of leopard, eagle’s head
    And whetted beak, and lion’s mane,
    And frost-grey hedge of feathers spread
    Behind — he seemed of all things bred.
    I shall not see his like again.

    As for his enemy there came in
    A soft round beast as brown as clay;
    All rent and patched his wretched skin;
    A battered bag he might have been,
    Some old used thing to throw away.

    Yet he awaited face to face
    The furious beast and the swift attack.
    Soon over and done. That was no place
    Or time for chivalry or for grace.
    The fury had him on his back.

    And two small paws like hands flew out
    To right and left as the trees stood by.
    One would have said beyond a doubt
    That was the very end of the bout,
    But that the creature would not die.

    For ere the death-stroke he was gone,
    Writhed, whirled, into his den,
    Safe somehow there. The fight was done,
    And he had lost who had all but won.
    But oh his deadly fury then.

    A while the place lay blank, forlorn,
    Drowsing as in relief from pain.
    The cricket chirped, the grating thorn
    Stirred, and a little sound was born.
    The champions took their posts again.

    And all began. The stealthy paw
    Slashed out and in. Could nothing save
    These rags and tatters from the claw?
    Nothing. And yet I never saw
    A beast so helpless and so brave.

    And now, while the trees stand watching, still
    The unequal battle rages there.
    The killing beast that cannot kill
    Swells and swells in his fury till
    You’d almost think it was despair.

    Edwin Muir :

  • Sue Channing

    I can tell you for sure that this is a fake befriending. I have known the ‘old gentleman’ for many years and I can confirm that it is his t-shirt which he had made personally and unadvisedly because it amuses him. I agree that the wording is inappropriate but he is a gentle soul with a somewhat perverse and in this case unfortunate sense of humour, who has been supporting workers’ rights for many years and supports everything that Jeremy Corbyn stands for. He proudly told me of the interest at the rally in his t-shirt, and that he had his photo taken. Cringe.
    He has given me permission to write on his behalf, as he doesn’t ‘do’ social media. And by the way, regarding your concerns re his age and vulnerability, he is actually 59 years old and not quite in his dotage yet. Having undergone 8 hours of surgery for mouth cancer and 6 weeks of chemo, I think he’s looking rather well, don’t you? He just no longer has the luxury of teeth.

    • Lambchop (Ba'al, dodging spamfilter)

      I’m sure everyone here will wish him the very best. I know from personal experience that a .’somewhat perverse’ sense of humour can sometimes go awry, particularly in an increasingly sensitive world. I can imagine the approach from the roving Blairites: “Hey, that’s a great t-shirt. Yup, they’re vermin. Can we get a photo with you?”

      Rather confirms the shirt’s message, doesn’t it?

    • John Spencer-Davis

      Let him know that I wish him well, as I am certain everyone else will on here. In particular, if he discovers that these miserable people have been utilising his image for their own purposes, let him know that we would not want him to feel bad – his sentiments are, after all, in the honourable tradition of Nye Bevan.

      Disgusting, isn’t it.

      • Sue Channing

        Haha, isn’t it just. Actually, I’m now going to disclose that he’s my little brother… I will send your best wishes, thank-you.

        • Chris Rogers


          I hope the treatment your brother is undergoing has some success and most were ware the T-Shirt and message certainly contained no real evil intent, the only evil to come out of it is by those who wish to undermine democracy within the Labour Party and pervert democracy within the country.

          • Sue Channing

            Yes Chris, and he’s not planning on wearing it again any time soon… teehee… even though it was met with good-natured humour and ‘Where can I get one?’ when he wore it both at the rally and on the May Day march.
            And yes, what a raw nerve it’s hit among those it was aimed at. I just googled the words on the t-shirt, and a whole page full of links came up. Some claim that the t-shirt was worn by many, one even says there were banners with the words! All are linking it with Corbyn, which makes me sad but also shows how desperate these guys are to discredit Jeremy Corbyn, when actually they have absolutely nothing on him.
            Thank-you for your good wishes, his treatment went really well and he has the all-clear. Just will never be able to wear teeth again for fear of biting his tongue/ mouth. I’m really proud of his courage in speaking at rallies and meetings.
            Thanks for your responses. Today’s been a bit tough and your input has helped a lot.

  • Rachel

    This is fascinating and just shows the level of insidiousness. Progress behind it. No suprises there. Have done some research on social media and can confirm the protester, Tom Mauchline is also a supporter of Progress.

    • Ba\'al Zevul

      Please provide details of the parameters, windows and iterations you used. Otherwise, as in ‘I used a few filters’ and ‘compression levels’ this is meaningless. My understanding is that .jpg encoding is heavily dependent on boundary contrast among other things, and that is what we are mostly seeing there: the contrast between the red shirt and the black lettering. Not to mention the very adequate, and much simpler, explanation a few posts above, which suggests even nastier intentions by the perpetrators.

      • michael norton

        It does seem that real news is harder to get, they all have an agenda but the Guardian are despicable, slightly in front of the BBC.

      • Robert Lewis

        I used an online tool called Foresnsically, with a 90 on the quality scale, 20 on the error scale, no magnification enhancement and an opacity of 0.95.

  • Chris

    Maybe they told him they would buy him some teeth if he let himself be photographed??

    • Sue Channing

      Hmmm…. unfortunately, teeth are no longer an option at any price. He no longer has feeling in his tongue and is concerned he might bite it!

  • Tony

    And of course if the conspirators wanted to ensure they wouldn’t get found out, they’d get their photos taken and posted online. Doh!

  • Bill Taviner

    Corby gas always been a eurosceptic so was never going to be an effective speaker in favour of remaining in the EU.
    It was deceitful for him to do so and on the basis we need honest politicians he should go along with Johnson, Gove and rest who used the referendum to further their own political ambition.

  • pete Cuffe

    Love it, Craig, succinct & insightful: Good reminder the Blue Blairite mudslinging media-ists are using considerable resources to insist on maintaining food bank Britain rather than getting on and addressing inequalities… Catalogue and move on… It’s going to make interesting reading historicly and at any election in the foreseeable future. Keep on keepin’ on. ☺

  • H Coombes

    The slogan on that T shirt appears to my eye to have been media manipulated/photoshopped.

  • Jack

    This is a very obvious photoshop – I work with elderly people and the stature and body form does not fit with the persons head – Look at the clean cut line round the neck of the t shirt – it just does not look right.

  • Dave

    I may be wrong, so I apologise in advance, but the face of the person wearing the red t-shirt with the anti-Blairite message looks like a down and out, who has probably been paid to wear the t-shirt or being unknown, has had the t-shirt and/or message photo-chopped on him/her.

    Following Brexit there has been a coordinated government/media campaign alleging an increase in “anti-immigrant violence” and a picture featuring a man who also looks like a down and out, wearing a green t-shirt saying “send them back” went viral can be googled as “man in green t-shirt saying send them back”.

    Craig could you take a look, because the green t-shirt is the same design as the red t-shirt and the message is in similar type-face. Different messages, although arguably both from a Blairite/EU source, so perhaps from the same source and they both appear photo chopped and therefore part of a dirty tricks campaign. Do you agree?

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