Giving Up on Honesty 170


I enjoyed, as much as anybody, Emily Thornberry’s ambush of Michael Fallon over his past cultivation of Assad. It is notable that the media themselves have interviewed Fallon continually during this election – he has been put out as May’s deflector shield – and no member of the media has ever mentioned it to him. Contrast that with the media’s treatment of Labour and SNP politicians.

I remember back further into Fallon’s past. 32 years ago, when I was the young occupant of the South Africa (Political) desk in the FCO, Fallon was a positive enthusiast for apartheid. Together with fellow St Andrews extreme Tory ideologue Michael Forsyth, Fallon was among those stiffening Thatcher in opposing all international sanctions against the apartheid regime, and opposing all British government interventions in individual cases of human rights abuse. I recall him arguing that apartheid South Africa had the “rule of law” and we should not interfere in its internal affairs. I recall him calling Nelson Mandela a terrorist.

Yet I do not recall any journalist bringing up Fallon’s past as a supporter of apartheid when he continually refers to Jeremy Corbyn’s association with Gerry Adams or Martin McGuinness as support for terrorism.

There are regulations in an election governing the broadcast media in giving equal time to political parties. But what they do within that time is not at all equal. On Marr, Fallon stated that a 1 billion dollar increased defence spending commitment would be met by “economic growth”. Marr let this go. Contrast this to the media ridiculing every single Labour spending proposal, routinely, as uncosted and “magic money”. It then became completely ludicrous when Fallon claimed a deficit of over 7 billion pounds in capital spending commitments would be met by “efficiency savings”. Marr should be congratulated on raising the issue in the first place, but there is no doubt that Fallon’s pathetic and risible retort would have been seized on and worried to death had it come from a Labour politician.

Just imagine Labour saying they were giving 7 billion dollars worth of equipment to the NHS to be met from “efficiency savings”. The media howl would be ear-piercing. Nick Ferrari would snap for hours and Andrew Neill would turn the sarcasm dial up to 11. But with Fallon, they just let the totally crazed claim slip. Obvious retorts like “if there are 7 billion pounds worth of efficiency savings in the defence budget, why haven’t you made them already?” were not deployed. Fallon went unchallenged.

Contrast this to Marr’s treatment of Nicola Sturgeon immediately afterwards. Her appearance on Marr this morning was a major part of the SNP leader’s allocated “fair time” by the BBC. Yet Marr chose to spend 90% of that allocated time on one single issue – school education tables – on which she is perceived to be weak. Sturgeon dealt with this very sensibly by saying that there is a problem with slipping basic numeracy and literacy, since the introduction of an ambitious new curriculum. This mistake had been acknowledged and was now being urgently addressed.

But Marr refused to move on. He asked question after question on this single point, and all his questions consisted of figures designed to prove that the problem existed, when Sturgeon had already said it existed.

What Marr was doing was simply adapting the favourite Tory attack on Sturgeon and refusing to discuss anything else, forcing Sturgeon to “admit” again and again that this problem existed, and not allowing her to talk about anything else in her allocated time. It was the starkest contrast to his willingness to let Fallon move on instantly from his ridiculous “efficiency savings” contention.

I could spend the next month blogging non-stop about instances of media bias, but I will just touch on one more because it is so startling. The Guardian has an “in-depth” account of the Tories winning a council seat in Ward 19 of Glasgow City Council. Incredibly, nowhere in the entire article do they mention that the election is under Single Transferrable Vote and the Tory got elected fourth in a four member constituency, and on the 10th transfer.

In fact I find it impossible to avoid the conclusion that the article has been deliberately written in order to create the false, indeed lying, impression that the Tories won this seat in a first past the post election. We have seen so much propaganda, across the entire media, of the “Tory surge in Scotland” that I suppose we are becoming used to it. But the fact remains that the 25% the Tories gained across Scotland at the local council election is the best they might achieve on 8 June, and is significantly below what Corbyn is regularly polling UK-wide. The media storm of “Tories take Scotland” propaganda, in the face of all fact, is unrelenting and deliberately designed to push and consolidate the Unionist vote.

Long term, it remains a happy fact that by pitching political choice in Scotland starkly between Toryism and Independence, there can only be one winner.

I have given up on expecting any honesty from the media. In future, I shall only blog on this subject when pleasantly surprised by an example of fairness or ethical behaviour in the media. I do not expect to do this often.

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170 thoughts on “Giving Up on Honesty

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  • John Spencer-Davis

    The always excellent Thomas Clark on Fallon’s car crash interview with Marr and his blatant lying to the public. Imagine what the media reaction would have been if Corbyn or McDonnell or Thornberry had been caught doing something like this. Any chance the mainstream media will pick up on it?

    http://anotherangryvoice.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/the-tory-defence-minister-michael.html

    I suggest that people read Another Angry Voice for themselves, and make up their own minds whether Clark is a sensible and reasoned commentator. Particularly paying attention to the extensive backup he provides, documenting virtually everything he says with links.

    • Theresas EU pawn

      Thanks for that link, JSD, last Thursday morning he was on the Toady program waxing lyrically, how the UK was one of four countries building aircraft carriers, and we were the only one building two.
      This need for the Tory’s to big up anything as accomplished, even when its not adequate and a sad story, is only exceeded by their lies.
      He was challenged as to the lacking aircraft and proceeded to be upbeat about six new F35’s with vertical lift off capabilities, it was an embarrassment to listen.

  • Frank Torr

    Giving up on honesty, it seems to me, is the same as not challenging dishonesty – which makes us accomplices.

    • bevin

      No, I think that he is just not going to comment again on the dishonesty of people who are invariably dishonest.
      If one of them is honest, then that will be newsworthy. And deserving of comment.

  • Herbie

    I still can’t believe that Labour will not win this election.

    In a time such as this.

    It’s bizarre.

    There’s Jeremy running around talking to large groups of ordinary people wherever he goes, all over the country.

    May invents fake events.

    Every sensible person supports the Labour manifesto.

    But the Tories.

    And the BBC.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    I have it on reasonably good authority, that the last thing David Cameron wanted was to win the last election. Of course he had to go through the motions – and try his best to give a good impression -but I could tell he really didn’t want to do it any more. A couple of friends of mine – actually met him surfing in Cornwall – they are not Tories – but thought he was a really nice bloke. So far as I am concerned the best thing about The Tories at the time – was Samantha Cameron recommending a Panasonic Bread Maker..

    Most of the rest is shiit and Boris has completely disgraced himself..No one believes your lies – I see you have been put down – no more communcations from Boris during this election – yet I thought he might have the balls to tell the truth (my wife has seen him) – but no, not even Boris is up for it..and all you guys will not dare to say the Truth. I can’t believe you are all that stupid.

    But maybe you are.

    Oh dear.

    WIMPS – you have simply got to stand up to The Americans Terrorizing You.

    Not impressed.

    Tony

    • Theresas EU pawn

      what a pity that some wimps still have to vote Tory, they say, they just can’t contemplate voting for Labour, they are conditioned to keep this status quo of lies alight.

  • RobG

    One of the most interesting things I find about all this (and will my words be wasted by a Mod deletion) is the definition of *rich* and *poor*.

    It’s actually a very complex thing that’s not easily described.

    I’m probably one of those very rare people who knows what it’s like to be piss poor,

    Because I come from extreme wealth, and I also know what that’s like, and I know what money does to people.

    I’d rather be piss poor in south west France, and retain my soul.

      • RobG

        Hull is a great place (or at least, it used to be?).

        It seems to me that the definition here is not being defined.

        They don’t want you to be British anymore.

        And don’t forget expats like me; there’s a huge number of us all around the world.

    • Tony_0pmoc

      RobG,

      Just get a flight to India and travel in the countryside. Your faith in humanity will be renewed once you get out of the airport. The poorest people in the world are the nicest..they will share with you – everything they have got.

      That is true of Africa too.

      Religion doesn’t come into it – especially when you are mainly communicating in sign language…just maybe a few words of English – maybe a bit of French or German.

      My wife and I just did it and we were welcomed.

      Ma femme et moi l’avons fait et nous avons été accueillis.

      મારી પત્ની અને હું હતી અને અમે વધાવવામાં આવ્યા હતા.

      Tony

  • fred

    What I don’t understand is how come Nicola Sturgeon gets so much time on British television. She isn’t a Westminster politician, she’s head of a regional assembly and doesn’t even have a majority in that.

    Can’t they find somebody important to interview? Somebody relevant to the upcoming election? I don’t think Nicola Sturgeon is of much interest to people in the rest of Britain.

    • Crabbit Geezer

      Erm, she’s leader of a party who has 50 odd members in Westminster? “leader” being the operative word!

      • fred

        Fifty odd members with 4.7% of the vote and she isn’t one of them, UKIP got 12.7% . She is just not relevant to the vast majority of people in Britain yet demands equal air time. They could at least have somebody who has been elected to the Westminster parliament representing them on TV.

        • fred

          Nicola Sturgeon was elected to the Scottish Parliament to govern devolved matters like health, education, policing.

          If she were devoting as much time and effort into those things as she is into matters she wasn’t elected for maybe they wouldn’t be in such a sad state.

        • JOML

          Yes, you’re right, Fred, Scotland’s MPs are just not relevant to the vast majority of the people of Britain. Under these circumstances, you’d have to be deluded to remain in such a union, where your democratically elected representatives are ignored. Keep up the good work. ?

        • Francis

          Like all the airtime Farage got and gets? How many mp’s do UKIP have in Westminster?

        • Harry Vimes

          Hmmmmmmm. This site is starting to resemble CIF with posts getting censored at a whim. To repeat:

          Well, at least the First Minister of Scotland was democratically elected to that post unlike the plastic prime minister of Westminster.

          However, it is revealing of the British Nationalist mindset at work that comments the likes of which Fred has posted here relegate the apparantly equal partner in this “United” (sic) Kingdom to merely a northern outpost of an English dominated internal empire on these islands rather than a country in its own right and equal partner. Another proudScotbut who puts down his own country. Much like the party of the establishment and their supporters who are so “patriotic” they have sold off just about everything which belongs to the people of these islands to other countries and their wealthy financial backers.

          • glenn_uk

            Fred – Sturgeon was elected to her post, May was not elected to her post. Your hatred of the SNP is clearly compromising your honesty.

          • fred

            I said she was not elected to Westminster.

            Nobody has denied she was elected to a regional parliament.

            I said she wasn’t elected to the British parliament at Westminster.

            Which part of that are you claiming isn’t true?

          • glenn_uk

            Fred, the point clearly under discussion was the validity of the vote that directly put May and Sturgeon into their respective jobs.

            May was not elected to be be PM. Not by the public anyway, to save your leaping on that weak distinction. In contrast, Sturgeon was actually elected to her post as First Minister of Scotland.

            Won’t you stop being so damned slippery just once in a while?

    • Paul miller

      Of course you mention UKIPs vote share but they have no MPs so they’re not relevant eithet

  • Sharp Ears

    Interesting article on Sky’s website on the use of Facebook for canvassing. The cost of the targeting is outside the Electoral Commission’s rules on expenditure too.

    The Invisible Election: Murky tactics used to target voters on Facebook
    As social media takes a starring role in the election campaign, Sky News is looking at the techniques used by political parties.

    ‘Facebook is the frontline of the digital campaign. In the 2015 General Election, £1.2m was spent by political parties on social media – and Facebook got more than 99% of that, according to the Electoral Commission.
    In 2017, it will be just as crucial. The Conservatives outspent Labour 10-to-one on Facebook two years ago; Labour have pledged to bridge that gap.’

    http://news.sky.com/story/the-invisible-election-murky-tactics-used-to-target-voters-on-facebook-10873895

    Theresa’s Topical Tactic for today is Workers’ Rights.

    ‘The i leads with a pledge from Theresa May to guarantee EU labour laws for the UK, in what the party is calling the “biggest extension of employee rights by any Conservative government”. The party will make a commitment to increase the living wage and introduce statutory rights for family care and training. The newspaper says Mrs May is seeking to win over Labour voters with a promise to help “ordinary working families”. ‘
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-the-papers-39917790

    Most of the other right wing corporate media follow suit on what May’s intentions are. Corbyn doesn’t get a look in. Only the Guardian mentions his agenda today.

    ‘The Guardian says that both main parties are “stepping up the fight” to win over working-class voters. As well as Mrs May’s launch, the newspaper reports that Jeremy Corbyn will promise to take one million patients off NHS waiting lists by 2020. During a speech to the Royal College of Nursing conference in Liverpool on Monday, the Labour leader is also extra to pledge an extra £37bn for the NHS over the next parliament.’

    • Sharp Ears

      That’s a cunning wheeze from Treeza. Allow a worker to have a year off UNPAID to look after a relative. The worker loses a year’s pay (how many people can afford to do that?) and the ailing/failing social care system is relieved of the responsibility of providing social care, and more importantly its cost.

      Also, what does the employer to replace an employee who might have received specialist training by another just for a year?

      Like most of her wheezes, it’s potty.

      • Sharp Ears

        (Also, what about the employer who has to replace an employee, who might have received specialist training, by another for just a year?)

      • Habbabkuk

        Well, the current attendance allowance is not – and was never meant to be – a replacement for lost earned income; it is an allowance to cover notional extra costs involved.

        The point of the new right the Conservatives are proposing to introduce – to which you appear to object – is to guarantee that people who wish to take up to a year off work to care for a relative are able to return, as of right, to the job they gave up temporarily. As such it represents an advance on current provisions and can therefore only be welcomed, surely?

      • Habbabkuk

        “Also, what about the employer who has to replace an employee, who might have received specialist training, by another for just a year)”
        ___________________

        Does the above indicate that the poster believes the proposal in question should be withdrawn?

        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        The proposal is, apparently, accompanied by a Conservative promise that existing workers’ rights acquired under (inter alia) European Union legislation will be maintained after Brexit.

        I suspect that the truth of the matter is that the inveterate enemies of the Conservatives are displeased that one of Labour’s foxes (it is also a Remainers’ fox) has just been shot……

        • Stu

          They will be brought in via secondary legislation so can be changed by ministers without a parliamentary vote ie not worth the paper they are written on.

    • Michael McNulty

      The irony is lost on the Tories it has been their removal of workers’ rights that gives them room to boast about what they’ll do for British workers. And as for taking a million off NHS waiting lists they’re likely to find reasons such as obesity and smoking to refuse treatments to people. They’ll soon find a million.

  • Hieroglyph

    It is, I think, an essential question to ask regarding the corporate media: should we ignore them entirely, or continue to call them out? Without any great conviction, I err to the former. They don’t appear to be worth even reading as a source, and whilst the various techniques of propaganda they utilize are vaguely interesting, as abstract study, this ground is covered in many other scholarly works. Basically, the MSM is an alternate reality: not Fake news so much as ‘Alternative Universe’ news. I also begin to suspect that much of what is taught as History is, in fact, Alternative Universe History – though perhaps we don’t want to wander too far down the rabbit hole here.

    May I also add the official polls to this Alternative Universe designation. If the Tories get 48%, I will make a living will, giving all my money to PNAC, to encourage them in all future wars. Probably JC won’t win, but I re-iterate my prediction: those polls will prove utter bullshit. Nobody, of course, will resign, or get fired.

    • Hieroglyph

      Note: when I refer to Alternative Universe history, I do not of course refer to the historical facts of the holocaust. Just wanted to clear that up, in case people thought I’d gone entirely nuts. There is a small subset of humanity who continues to deny the holocaust, but I’m certainly not one of them. Don’t really understand what they are on about, bluntly.

      As you were.

    • J

      You could be on to something. I see a range of alternative universes divided by language, regions, cultures, sub-cultures and in those under neo-liberal control, restrictions of access to economic opportunity. Most of all, divided by the capacity to imagine it differently.

      MSM obsessions change with the tides of industry, reflecting little more than whatever those who own and purchase programming want to sell. Whether that be private ownership of the fundamental pillars of our communities* or their profitable wars of aggression which kill our troops and demean our culture while destroying other cultures and murdering foreign peoples with whom we have no quarrel.

      It’s the big industries who always have the quarrel. Whose resource is it? Who controls the resource? How cheaply can it be extracted? Which public infrastructure elsewhere in the world don’t we own yet? It’s the big industries who are dragging nations and empires in their wake. Creating our reality in their think Tanks.

      Perhaps we need a few more Newspapers from other alternative universes where things are different and better.

      *Our NHS is just one of these.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ J May 15, 2017 at 10:18
        ‘.. or their profitable wars of aggression which kill our troops and demean our culture while destroying other cultures and murdering foreign peoples with whom we have no quarrel….’
        You’re absolutely right; The only thing I find disturbing is the assumption that ‘Our Boys’ are any different from Hitler’s, Stalin’s, Pinochet’s, France’s, Mussolini’s or Franco’s ‘Boys’.
        Our ‘Boys’ have been engaged in wars or ‘interventions’ every day since 1914 (‘History Thieves’ by Ian Cobain). between 1949 and 1970 the UK INITIATED thirty-four foreign military interventions (‘British Military Interventions After WWII’ by Wingen and Tillema, p.293/4).
        ‘Our Boys’ trained Pol Pot’s murderous thugs; propped up murderous Medieval ‘Kingdoms’ in the Gulf area; assisted the murderous thugs in Nicaragua, the US-created and backed ‘Contras’; are still backing the murderous Suadi ‘Coalition’ commit genocidal bombardments in Yemen; are illegally in Syria, assisting the head-choppers.
        I used to think very highly of the RAF; not now. Now, I see them as soul-sold murderers.
        I do not agree with Kissinger that troops are just ‘ignorant cattle’; they are smart enough to know what they are doing is just plain wrong.
        Support the troops? My sympathy is with the brave patriots who are fighting and killing the NATO invaders and occupiers of their lands.

  • Sharp Ears

    Letter to the Guardian
    14 May 2017
    ‘It is unfortunate that the Guardian’s rejection both of Jeremy Corbyn as a viable leader and the party’s policies as “unlikely to win over Tory-leaning voters” (Editorial, 10 May) was published the day before the leaking of Labour’s draft manifesto. This contained a series of proposals on investing in public services, taxing the wealthiest and scrapping tuition fees that are not just viable but popular with millions of people.

    Our concern as media educators, however, is that whole sections of the media are already committed to a narrative that paints Labour as unelectable and Corbyn as a barely credible candidate. This is not a new phenomenon. Academic surveys have shown how newspapers belittled him from the moment he won his first leadership election, while broadcast bulletins systematically gave more coverage to his opponents than to his supporters. Serious discussion of Labour’s proposed policies has been negligible – drowned out by memes focused on Labour’s apparent lack of opposition and Corbyn’s lack of leadership. We are not asking for eulogies of Corbyn, but for reporting that takes seriously the proposals contained in the manifesto and that doesn’t resort to a lazy stereotype of Corbyn as a “problem” to be solved.’

    A list of the many academics (including Profs Greg Philo and David Miller) who signed the letter are on the link as are other letters on the same theme.
    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/12/labour-policies-drowned-out-by-corbyn-memes

    The Guardian editorial referred to in the letter is here.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/09/the-guardian-view-on-political-credibility-indispensable

    • johnf

      What is amazing about that long list of academics signing that letter is not a single one is from Oxbridge.

  • Christine anderson

    Thankyou for all that very clearly put and understandable information.

  • Neil Procter

    A depressing but truthful read. I have witnessed with increasing incredulity the media events that you have referred to. As I have thought at these times, and now, what exactly can be done about this? The media/political marriage seems to be perfectly designed, self-perpetuating. To call the loop that we are trapped in a vicious circle has never been more apt.

    • Theresas EU pawn

      The question is, Neil, if we all stop paying a licence fee for the incredulous spin we get, and don’t buy newspapers, will the Government bail out the state propaganda machine from our taxes? or will they have to be boycotted too?

      What would happen then? would they carry on paying benefits if they don’t receive taxes? How many hours would it take for people to be ‘aggrieved’?
      what would happen if total disobedience, as one may call this, brings their card house down?

      • Sharp Ears

        Ref licence fee, the BBC used to ask for a declaration that the user had a TV licence to obtain access to the iPlayer.

        Now a message comes up saying:

        You’ll soon need to sign in to watch. It’s quick & easy.
        And we’ll keep you signed in.
        Sign in to the BBC,
        or Register

         Why sign in to the BBC?

        I’ll do it later’

        There is no escape. Date of birth/e mail/password/post code/gender all to the back drop of a ghastly photo of Graham Norton.**

        Nosy lot aren’t they? Who do they pass all that on to? SIS?

        ** He has a good agent!

        Graham Norton earns £2.5m in fees and salary for BBC and other work
        Presenter’s So Television made £11.57m in revenues in the year to the end of July last year, accounts reveal
        https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/apr/11/graham-norton-fees-salary-bbc-so-television

        That is obscene is it not?

        • defo

          Obscene ? Crime more like, under the Trades description act. Markedly Not funny.

        • Habbabkuk

          re Sharp Ears @ 10h11

          There are two “points” here.

          1/. The BBC and iPlayer access.

          This would appear to be entirely justified in order to prevent free-loading. Human nature being what it is, there are already people who watch BBC channels while dodging the legal fee (and sometimes even adding insult to injury by complaining continually about the BBC). Do we want to encourage even more free-loading by offering licence fee dodgers to benefit also from the iPlayer facility?

          Free-loading is despicable and anti-social – in this field as in others.

          2/. Mr Norton’s salary

          This is of course an entirely separate point. The salary is certainly more than many think Mr Norton is worth. It would be interesting to read possible solutions to this “problem” (assuming it is a problem) other than implicitly encouraging people to avoid paying the licence fee.

          • Paul Barbara

            @ Habbabkuk May 15, 2017 at 12:10
            ‘…Free-loading is despicable…’
            Strong condemnation – I suspect a lot stronger than you have (or would) use against the attack to topple and murder Qadaffi; train Pol Pot’s ‘troops’; Pinochet’s Chile coup; Isr**l’s bombardments of Gaza or Lebanon; NATO’s illegal interventions in Syria and Iraq, and so on.
            Warped sense of priorities?

          • Sharp Ears

            @ 12.10 So it is considered to be quite in order for the BBC to be given confidential information (date of birth/e mail/password/post code/gender as I said), when all that was needed was a Yes or No and a Licence No if Yes. If No, then no access. Simples.

            Also on the question of BBC being totally funded by the licence fee payers and the need to check, ‘Habbabkuk’ believes that the £billions spent on constructing and equipping their new palaces in Portland Place, Salford Quays and Glasgow come from licence fees.

            The new BBC Broadcasting House: So what does £1bn buy?
            It was 10 years in the making, it cost a fortune and it lost its architect along the way. But the BBC’s new Broadcasting House is finally finished. Jonathan Glancey gets an early look inside
            https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2011/jan/23/bbc-broadcasting-house

            Salford move could cost BBC nearly £900m
            Leaked documents put high price on 2011 transfer of staff and resources to MediaCity development
            https://www.theguardian.com/media/2009/aug/06/salford-move-could-cost-bbc-1bn

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC_Pacific_Quay
            A snip @ £72m

            Extravagance as obscene as their bias and propaganda. That was OUR money they spent. No wonder that they get blood out of stones on TV licence revenue.

      • Michael McNulty

        I used to wonder if the papers went out of business would the government fund any and I think they would, no doubt claiming altruistic reasons because we get far than just political news from them. Otherwise people would think for themselves about what’s going on, and they’d soon realize it’s much worse than they were led to believe when they were swathed in a bubble-wrap cocoon.

        • Node

          Many papers are already unprofitable. The Independent has never made a profit.

          Newspapers give their owners power. If it costs them money, well it’s cheap at the price. If the newspapers actually make a profit, that’s a bonus. A double bonus actually – it also obscures the true motive behind newspaper ownership.

        • Paul Barbara

          @ Michael McNulty May 15, 2017 at 11:06
          Why do you think the Evening Standard is given out free, and people are actually employed outside many London tube stations to actually hand them out? ‘Where there’s muck there’s brass’.

  • mickc

    Fallon is another utterly loathsome politician who never answers questions and just sneers at any criticism.
    God knows why the UK would have to spend more on defence; presumably to do what Trump wants. No doubt it will be spent buying equipment from the USA….

  • Alexander Sutherland

    The conservatives abusive control using the BBC and other media systems just shows the contempt they have for the voting process and the voting population. That’s why i never buy printed comics any more so so deplorable that the people who we think should have higher standards show us the deplorable standards they will drop to.gutter politics is not an excuse. I was once a proud unionist you have now contaminated that belief. I was always a proud Scottish individual who longed to be recognised now i truly believe Scotland can only find this place in Independence. 60 years of my life supporting a Union that never existed Thatcher Blair Brown May thank you all for showing me the waste of space you truly are.

    • Theresas EU pawn

      The BBC, the CPS, 80% of the media,or more, their banking backers, the establishment of 0.1%, the industrial military complex reliant on taxpayers to underwrite their ‘goods’, the PLP, they are all conspiring against Labour and its leader they don’t like. And they want to teach our young that we are living in a democracy?

  • Habbabkuk

    BBC Radio 4 reports this morning on Labour’s intention – if elected to office – to spend another £35 billion-odd in the NHS over the next five years.

    If memory serves, that comes hard on the heels on a Labour promise to spend another £30 billion on education and life-long education.

    All to be funded from a higher income tax rate on incomes over (a highly convenient) £80.000 and an increase in corporation tax.

    It looks as if corporation tax is flagged as the gift that will keep giving.

    In his latest book, Yanis Varoufakis – a hero for many on the far-left – recalls that he fought against the Troika’s demand that Greek corporation tax should be increased, on the grounds that such an increase would act directly against a recovery in investment, growth and employment.

    Curious, that…..

    • Sharp Ears

      Yes. Transaction tax good. No wonder there’s an objection on here. All the rogues in hedge funds don’t like the sound of it up ’em.

      Killings were made when the Royal Mail was sold off. Who was I/c of that giant flog off of OUR assets. I seem to remember Fallon popped up.

      Royal Mail sale: ministers set to go where Thatcher feared to tread …
      https://www.theguardian.com › Business › Royal Mail
      29 Apr 2013 – Business minister Michael Fallon has fired the starting gun on a £3bn privatisation of Royal Mail and described the sell-off as a “practical, …

      Royal Mail sale underpriced by £1bn, says scathing select committee …
      https://www.theguardian.com › Business › Royal Mail
      10 Jul 2014 – Royal Mail was privatised in October when the government sold 60% … and his minister Michael Fallon defended the sale price by saying the …

      Royal Mail sale commercial not ideology – Fallon – GOV.UK
      https://www.gov.uk/government/news/royal-mail-sale-commercial-not-ideology-fallon
      29 Apr 2013 – Business Minister Michael Fallon will say that the government’s sale of shares in Royal Mail is based on commercial reality, not ideology.

      All that property and land that was ripped off the public including Mount Royal. ‘ Lubbly jubbly’ they laughed as they rubbed their greasy palms together.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      That holier-than-thou economics schtick is just a little tired, Habb:

      http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2016/12/28/the-conservatives-have-out-borrowed-labour-for-a-century/

      The Tories, even more than New Labour, have punted their problems into the future by simply doing what you did when you bought that (insert hideous, expensive, polluting and unnecessary 4X4 of choice)…going into debt. Which creates what is hilariously syled ‘economic growth’ Which is what will pay for bringing our defences up to scratch, according to Monotone Mike.

      I am getting the distinct impression that this universe must have been created as a conscious parody of a better plan.

      • Habbabkuk

        Ba’al

        I hear what you say and you may well be right that Conservative govts have borrowed more than Labour ones. But what makes you think that I’m in favour of high govt borrowing whether by Conservative or Labour govts? There is much to be said for govts (and for individuals) living within their means.

        • Ba'al Zevul

          I.m delighted to think that you are against high government spending, and that you have taken the opportunity to agree that the Tories are at least as bad as Labour in this respect. I urge you to consider the notion that an economy based on the creation (out of nowhere) and servicing of debt is one to which borrowing is an unavoidable necessity for both individuals and governments. ‘Our means’ then becomes a meaningless phrase. ‘Our means’ are limitless, constrained only by how much interest and how many half-concealed service charges we are prepared to pay our benefactors for their ceaseless invention of notional value.

          But assuming the term has some meaning, ‘living within our means’ does not consist, IMO in paying private companies -including French and Chinese state-owned corporations – to run those of our own enterprises which were previously run more cheaply and efficiently by our own State. Yes, bad as BR could be, it never hit the crazy pricing, incompatibility of routes and general inconvenience now seen on our investment-starved rail network. For instance.

          For tonight’s exercise, please attempt to reconcile ‘living within our means’ with ‘punching above our weight’ in military matters. (Responses advocating the further curbing of real wages. expansion of service industries and inflation of house prices will not be treated seriously)

  • Peter Beswick

    British politicians, media and Justice system are plagued by dishonesty unlike the US

    US politicians and media are dishonest but their Justice system still has a spark of integrity.

    The rumour was a that a sealed indictment has been issued against Trump, the rumour has grown into many 10’s of individuals are now in the frame.

    Its just a pity that US justice couldn’t catch up with Bush.

    google Mensch Taylor sealed indictment

  • Jed Bland

    I noticed this morning on a BBC page there pictures of May and Corbyn side by side. Carefully balanced you might think. It looked as someone had trawled through videos of the two to screen grab the most attractive of May and the most grotesque of Corbyn.

  • fred

    One has to wonder, when your reasonable comments on Jeremy Corbyn are met with “Only this sites court jester/ professional court fool seems blissfully happy to go down this route.” and my own comments on the BBC air time donated to Nicola Sturgeon met with “What you have here is just a bitter old geezer pouring out spite and bile at the world and those in it” just what it is this blog represents.

    When valid points of discussion can’t be raised without being met with the bullying and intimidation of personal abuse they are using the tactics of the extremists from both ends of the spectrum.

    Here in Scotland campaigners for candidates in the election are being harassed and intimidated to the extent they cannot get their message to the public.

    http://www.midlothianview.com/news/snp-activists-reported-to-police/

    • defo

      They’re all far too busy, deleting their social media evidence trail more like.

  • Sharp Ears

    I seem to remember reading that Fallon’s holding in this outfit of which he was a director are being held in one of those blind trusts that Tories like Lansley used and Hammond uses so that when they leave office, they just resume activity where they left off.

    Tullett Prebon PLC (TCAP)
    Tullett Prebon PLC
    Annual Information Update
    https://www.trustnet.com/Investments/Article.aspx?id=20110512165919P33ED

    His appointment as a non-exec director is recorded here. Then resignation. Then re appointment. Then resignation. MP>minister>MP>minister LOL

    Wonder why motivated his trip to the Cayman Islands with his wife (nice little hol) in 2008.
    ‘•23-29 July 2008, to the Cayman Islands with the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Cayman Islands, accompanied by my wife. My flights and accommodation, and my wife’s accommodation, were paid for by the Government of the Cayman Islands. My wife paid for her own flight. (Registered 28 August 2008)’ An even bigger LOL

    https://www.theyworkforyou.com/regmem/?p=10194

    Doncha love They Work for You ?? They Work for Themselves.

  • Velofello

    Ah Fred, you need to read and submit the second article by midlothianview.com. – claims that the complaint by Tory canvassers is fake news, and that the policewoman intervened to ensure that the Tory canvassers deleted photos of the SNP canvassers’ children from their cameras.

    And please identify where in you comments here on Nicola Sturgeon are valid points forwarded for discussion? Read more like embittered fake assertions to my eyes.

    • fred

      Your article says SNP activists were holding a protest in front of the Conservative stand. What exactly were the SNP activist’s children doing that the Conservative campaigners felt they needed evidence of?

      Everyone has the right to protest but also everyone has a right to campaign for the election and to my mind the SNP activists choosing to protest in front of the Conservative stand is intimidation.

      http://www.midlothianview.com/news/snp-msp-says-it-is-fake-news/

      The relationship between the SNP and their activists, including cybernats, gets more and more like the Sinn Fein relationship with the IRA all the time.

      • JOML

        Fred, are you not thinking about Ruth Davidson’s relationship with the unionist brigade, most recently John Buchan? Do you agree or condemn Buchan’s desire for “somebody to take that Nat bitch out”? Ruth certainly keeps some unsavoury company.
        As an aside, Fred, do you have any evidence of SNP supporters murdering anyone or are you just getting carried away with your daily hate campaign against anything SNP?

        • fred

          I’ve seen reports of SNP activists using the same tactics in Stirling and Loanhead this weekend. Nearer to me they have been destroying campaign signs.

          https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C_2PK2qXoAEa_5O.jpg

          Is this the sort of society you want to live in? Don’t you think people have the right to object to harassment and bullying by the party in government?

          • JOML

            So Fred, have these experiences resulted in you agreeing with Mr Buchan’s desire for someone to murder the First Minister? Would be easy to condem Mr Buchan’s desire if you didn’t agree.
            I’m more than happy to condemn those responsible for the bullying and harassment you describe.

          • reel guid

            One party’s posters were damaged and a rival party’s posters remained undamaged.

            So presumably not the work of apolitical vandals since they would not have discriminated about which posters they damaged.

            So that leaves the likelihood that it was done by a person or persons with a political motive. But what benefit does a party get from supporters doing such a thing to rival posters? Minimal at most, and more likely – if the vandalism is widely reported – it would be detrimental to the party’s image.

            Which brings us to the observation that we cannot assume anything about who carried out the vandalism and which political cause, if any, they adhere to. Secretly damaging one’s own property in order to have the blame attributed falsely to others is a very old ruse in human history.

          • glenn_uk

            Fred: “Don’t you think people have the right to object to harassment and bullying by the party in government?

            Since you do little _but_ bitch and whine about the SNP, I’d conclude the “right to object” is quite safe. But don’t let that stop you claiming victimhood regardless.

          • fred

            What on earth are you babbling on about this Buchan for? How is he relevant to the Intimidation of canvassers? Why should I either defend him or condemn him I don’t vote Conservative he’s nothing to do with me.

            It’s SNP tactics again, anyone points out the SNP’s record on education just chant “rape clause” at them as loud as you can till they go away.

          • reel guid

            fred

            Why would someone have to be a Conservative voter in order to condemn the behaviour of John Buchan?

          • JOML

            Well, Fred, your blind hatred for all things SNP seems to stop you from taking an objective view of the bigger picture. You know full well about Buchan and Ruth Davidson’s relationship and your hatred stops you from condemning a unionist who is inciting murder – by highlighting party posters getting torn down. Quite pathetic really and you are more to be pitied than scorned.

  • Anonymous

    A report that US and UK troops have entered Syria near al Bukamal near the Syria-Iraq border. The attack was supported by US coalition air-strikes. Some time ago, the SAS were reported training ‘Syrian’ rebels in Iraq. I wonder how the SAS vetted the ‘Syrian’ rebels? Possession of a Syrian passport? Maybe they checked the passport wasn’t forged by contacting the Syrian embassy (/sarc). By what authority are UK troops in Syria? Maybe May could answer that? (yeah, right)

    https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/breaking-us-british-forces-enter-southern-syria-rebels/

    https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/us-launches-several-airstrikes-deir-ezzor/

    • Michael McNulty

      Our elite and special forces have been tainted by what our duplicitous governments have forced them to do since the false flag attack of 9/11. Our best soldiers are forced to work with the very people who for years western governments called terrorists and because of whom we are losing our liberties. Then politicians wonder why so many of us want to shoot the bastards?

  • Charles Howie

    It’s like a Lewis Carroll story. A bottle marked ‘drink me’ has appeared, and many have drunk. They are now in a state of hypnotism.

  • Tony

    ” Fallon was among those stiffening Thatcher in opposing all international sanctions against the apartheid regime, and opposing all British government interventions in individual cases of human rights abuse.”

    Time, perhaps, for Ed Miliband to pop up and tell us what a ‘decent guy’ Fallon is.
    That was his abysmal response to Fallon’s attack on him made during the last general election.
    His attempt to appeal to Fallon’s ‘better mature’ was absolutely pathetic and probably cost him support.

    Craig’s comments remind us that a lot of Conservatives are much more extreme in their actual views than they are in their actions. This was certainly true of Margaret Thatcher who had a keen sense of what she could actually get away with.

  • J Galt

    After council houses and worker’s rights next Teresa will be promising to re-nationalise the railways!

  • Sharp Ears

    Theresa May confronted by angry voter over cuts to disability benefits

    Telegraph.co.uk-29 minutes ago

    Theresa May
    has been challenged by an angry voter while on the … her: “Theresa, are you going to help people with learning disabilities?
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/05/15/theresa-may-confronted-angry-voter-cuts-disability-benefits/

    The disabled but feisty lady wants her Disabled Living Allowance back. She cannot live on the Personal Independence Payment of £100 per month.

    • Sharp Ears

      PIPs were slid in under the Cameron/Clegg coalition by the very cruel and very rich Iain Duncan Smith,

      ‘Although PIP was expected to cut costs by 20% over the longer term, costs were forecast to rise by £1billion to £15.4billion in 2015-16, partly due to a rise in mental health issues and learning disabilities. New rules were introduced in 2017 and many charities say disabled people will be left without support. The Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) (comprising charities including Parkinson’s UK, The MS Society and Mind) claimed about 160,000 people receiving PIP would be affected by proposed changes. Phil Reynolds of the consortium said, “Across the DBC we have had our helpline and advice services inundated by calls about PIP since it was introduced. Instead of supporting disabled people, the benefits system seems increasingly rigged against them. The whole system needs urgent improvement, in order to accurately assess the support they need. Disabled people cannot afford to wait.” Charities that represent mental health and learning disability groups claim the changes do not recognise that the costs connected with those conditions are as severe as for other impairments.’

      Go to see ‘I, Daniel Blake’ if you need confirmation of the harshness of the benefits system under the Tories.

    • Sharp Ears

      Just about 2 secs was shown on the Six O’clock News of the disabled lady challenging May in Oxford. May was wearing her f off pearls and that strange suit of many colours and tweeds. Looks like a bad attempt at quilting. I expect it cost many £x like the rest of the contents of her wardrobe.

      La Kuenssberg was interviewing Jonathan Ashworth doing her sneer and furrowed brow act of contemptuous disdain. I think she was a drain inspector in a previous life.

      Hunt did his frightened rabbit act and had the BBC security stooge Corera onside. The BBC have this interactive map showing where else in the world the hackers have struck. I imagine someone in Portland Place sticks a pin on the map and a red flashing light is put on the place.
      ‘Corera worked on the re-election campaign of President Bill Clinton. He joined the BBC in 1997 as a researcher and later became a reporter. He has worked on Radio 4’s The World Tonight, BBC2’s Newsnight, and worked in the US as the BBC’s State Department correspondent and as an analyst for the BBC’s coverage of the 2000 US presidential election. In 2001 he became the foreign reporter for Radio 4’s Today programme. He was appointed BBC News’ security correspondent in 2004.

      Corera presented the 2009 Radio 4 programme MI6: A Century in the Shadows, a three-part history of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service.’
      Way back, I had him as a consultant working for one of those large consulting firms – in Slough from memory. That was prior to the BBC in the gap here from 1996-2004.
      https://uk.linkedin.com/in/gordoncorera

      The BBC election coverage is a total joke and there is no sign of any improvement.

  • Theresas EU pawn

    Bojo and his minions have definitely given up on honesty. After the British Government delegation blocked the creation of an EU military planning control central, citing purdah, when they previously agreed to it. The EU suspects that Brexit is the real reason for this, as well as the assumption that an EU military capacity might be in competition with NATO.
    Since there is still some time to go before 2019, when article 50 stops the UK’s ability to block what they deem appropriate and in their interest. The gist of this

    http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/brexit-briten-blockieren-militaer-hauptquartier-der-eu-a-1147741.html

    That you will not hear of these moves, as the whole election is apparently Brexit related, is the reason why you can only read it in German.

  • Sharp Ears

    Just a reminder that today, May 15th, is the 69th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba when up to one million Palestinians lost their homes and land, and their country. Many are in refugee camps all these years on. Some are in the diaspora. The Nakba continues for those Palestinians who remained.

    BDS: Upholding our Rights, Resisting the Ongoing Nakba
    May 15, 2017
    Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC)
    The BNC Commemorates the 69th Anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba

    It is possible…
    It is possible at least sometimes…
    It is possible especially now
    To ride a horse
    Inside a prison cell
    And run away…
    It is possible for prison walls
    To disappear.
    For the cell to become a distant land
    Without frontiers
    – Mahmoud Darwish

    May 15, 2017 marks the 69th anniversary of the 1948 Nakba, the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland. Between 1947 and 1949, Zionist paramilitaries, and subsequently Israeli forces, made 750,000 to one million indigenous Palestinians into refugees to establish a ……-majority state in Palestine.
    /..
    https://bdsmovement.net/news/bds-upholding-our-rights-resisting-ongoing-nakba

    • Theresas EU pawn

      And another reminder to add, following the Nakba anniversary, is that on Wednesday the 17th is the anniversary of the much flouted Balfour declaration.

      • Republicofscotland

        Is Nakba day not the 15th today?

        Palestinians are commemorating the 69th anniversary of the “Nakba”, the “day of catastrophe” in which Israel was officially declared a state following the forced removal of more than 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and the destruction of over 500 villages and towns.

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nakba_Day

    • Theresas EU pawn

      Just had an email message in my inbox from the PSC team inviting me to celebrate Nakba, but I can’t view it, my server has blocked it for some reason and is ‘NOT DOING ME PROUD’ their slogan.

      If it turns out to be an invite to a meeting, and or follow up on their BDS campaign, how come its now being blocked by my provider? baffled.

  • Mike Nolan

    Great analysis and timely but, as he says, the abuse of truth will go on regardless.

  • Rob

    Re: Marr v. Sturgeon

    We have to remember that the SNP has held power in Scotland for 6 years, Sturgeon has been in charge now for nearly 3 years. It is not unreasonable for Marr to press her on issues about the governance of Scotland in preference to endless wittering about the constitution. For those outside the bubble, everyday things like schools, health care and housing really matter. Why shouldn’t the First Minister be questioned in detail about these legitimate subjects?

    • D_Majestic

      Did you watch the program? Thornberry was quizzed about Corbyn’s alleged intentions, Sturgeon was grilled about Scottish education standards. Both in very robust terms. However Fallon was handled with kid gloves by Marr. There’s a surprise. It was left for Thornberry to go for him. Beeb bias strikes yet again. If further proof were needed,as Sharp ears has posted above-the encounter with the disabled lady in Oxford entirely missed out the heroic £100 a month lady giving May the what-for-and May’s condescending answers. I expect they will claim to have been short of time, or the Stable needed mucking-out, or the wind was in the wrong direction, when I fire off another complaint tonight.

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