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Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Julian Assange Is Unhappy

It was five years ago this month that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, having jumped bail, and clearly opposed to the idea of being extradited to Sweden, sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in Knightsbridge. And on this fifth anniversary of his confinement, The Great Man wants the world to know that he is not a happy bunny. Moreover, the years spent indoors have not confined the size of his ego.
Assange has been railing against the press, and indeed any form of mainstream media, but in between the exhibitions of petulance, there is the occasional hint at where his real sympathies lie, and an equal hint at why he exasperated journalists like former Guardian man Nick Davies, an exceptionally patient soul whose patience was routinely exhausted by the man with whom he had been tasked to liaise.
He’s been doing some research - about Himself. So he’s able to take to Twitter and tell “Did you know that 'journalists' are so cretinous they have launched 420k pages saying I live in a 'cupboard' and 261k in a ‘basement’?" At least they haven’t forgotten him - only one thing worse than being talked about, and all that.  But do go on. “What is the insecurity that drives this unprofessionalism? Imagining me stuffed in a cupboard soothes the pain. But what pain?” So he’s not living in a cupboard. And we should not diss his mates.
Who might they be? We do not have to wait long to find out. “Self-comforting by talking about Putin being short is surely an equivalent. I'm 6'2 (188cm) yet the cupboard snowflakes always avoid ‘tall’”. Don’t diss his pal Vlad, right? And “Constant references to Trump's ‘tiny hands’ are another pervasive example of reducing psychological threat through scale distortion”. Don’t diss The Combover Crybaby either.
We also get to discover which media outlets Assange hates. “Here's an anti-Syrian government propaganda account+site impersonating the UN and spreading fake CNN attack stories”. CNN. Just like Trump. “Twitter's increasing censorship points to the future: each person will live in an undetectable filterverse of one”. That’s a new one.
But predictable, given the blue tick is missing. Also, the Guardian is rotten and nasty. “After fellating UK spies and HSBC for years has the ‘Guardian’ (of what exactly is not clear--staff perks?) moved onto Chinese advertisers?” Davies and his then editor Alan Rusbridger may allow themselves a wry smile. And his immediate fears? “Senators try to force Trump to declare @WikiLeaks a ‘non-state’ spy service”. The CIA is out to get him!
Give us all a laugh and grass this clown up

Of course, Julian Assange could help himself and his situation significantly by coming clean on whether or not he is part of the Trump-Russia connection. That is something on which he is not so forthcoming. Why did Nigel “Thirsty” Farage come to visit?  And why doesn’t he quit farting around, accept the Swedish authorities are acting legitimately, and let justice take its course? He’s not going anywhere else any time soon.

In any case, WikiLeaks has become devalued of late, and with him holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy, that situation will only get worse. As will the number of hacks suggesting he’s living out of a cupboard. He wants to stop all that, he has to come out.

Otherwise, the only way the stories will dry up is when the world forgets him. And that’s a worrying prospect for such an ocean-going ego. Decisions, decisions.

Guido Fawked - London Bus Fib BUSTED

Sometimes the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog get it wrong. Sometimes they get it so wrong as to invite ridicule; this they have done today in no style at all. After once again sneering “Fake News” at left-leaning site Skwawkbox, the Fawkes folks have opened mouth and inserted boot as they have demonstrated that their knowledge of the transport industry is not unadjacent to Sweet Jack.
The Great Guido wants adoring readers - whomsoever they be - to not dwell on the gathering clusterf*** that is Brexit, by running lots of posts telling how wonderful things are going to be after Britain leaves the EU. The inconvenient fact that we have not yet left is never allowed to enter. Today’s variation on that theme is the deal assisted by UK Export Finance which will see benefits for a number of exporters.
That bus looks like ...

We’re Gonna Build Some Buses And Mexico Is Going To Payswagger the Fawkes rabble, seemingly unaware that it is normal practice for those who order buses to pay for them. To illustrate the post, an image showing a New Bus For London (NB4L), aka the BozzaMaster, is shown. And it is here where The Great Guido fouls up.

The UK will export 90 iconic red London buses to Mexico as export finance worth £1.7 billion enables buoyant Brexit Britain to break free into global markets. Theresa May will today visit the Alexander Dennis bus factory in Guildford today, just one of 137 firms helped by UK Export Finance (UKEF) since it was put under the control of the Department for International Trade” gurgles the post. But this is plain flat wrong.
... one of these, BUT ...

The BBC, whose standard of reportage is, shall we say, markedly more accurate, has a photo of the kind of bus that will be built for the Mexico contract, and an “iconic red London bus” it is not. It’s an Enviro 500, and eagle-eyed readers will note that, unlike the BozzaMaster, it has a double rear axle, and so unlike Bozza’s folly, will have no problem carrying its design load. It is also readily available in left hand drive form.
... it's going to be one of these

This is because Alexander Dennis already exports to countries that drive on the right - like Canada - and has also exported the three-axle technology to places like Hong Kong. Had the Fawkes rabble been paying attention at the time, they would have known that when the BozzaMaster made its promotional trip to the former colony, operators stated firmly that they would not be ordering the NB4L. But they would be buying British.
And guess what that means? You got it

That is because they bought … the Enviro 500. They ordered hundreds of them. As I said at the time, there was a zero export market for the BozzaMaster. No operator was going to foot the bill for reconfiguring the chassis for left hand drive. And the vehicle’s useless air cooling system makes it a non-starter for warmer climates, like that in Mexico City.

There will be no “iconic red London buses” going to Mexico. The order has gone instead to the company prepared to build what operators want. Who have done export business with the UK firmly in the EU. ADL don’t need Liam Fox to help them get orders.

The Great Guido knows all about Fake News. That’s because the site churns out so much of it. Another fine mess, once again.

Tommy Robinson Breaks The Law

Back from holiday overnight has come Stephen Yaxley Lennon, aka Tommy Robinson, who has marked the event by flagrantly breaking the law at whichever airport his flight arrived. The area set aside for passport control - the one prominently marked “UK Border” - is always adorned with signs reminding those passing through that photography of any kind - still and video - is strictly prohibited.
Stephen Yaxley Lennon aka Tommy Robinson

That did not deter Lennon, who proceeded to not only video his encounter with the desk man who checked his passport, but then post it afterwards to show his adoring public that he was a victim of state oppression, or something. When he transits the UK Border, the automatic passport readers spit his document out, and then border officers stop him because his passport gets flagged up on their systems.
There are good reasons for this, as Lennon knows all too well: his criminal record, including passport fraud, means he can look forward to being flagged up for many years to come. But the need to play the victim clearly came first. “Just landed back in the uk. Usual at passports” he Tweeted, along with a video identifying the officer concerned.
The reaction was not all favourable. “Don’t mean this in a horrible way but do you think it could be because you have a criminal record mate?” asked one Tweeter. Another tried to point out gently that Lennon had broken the law with his Tweet: “Thought you couldn't film the people at border control?” You can’t.
Another Tweeter had come to a similar conclusion: “It's probably because you film them when it clearly says no cameras”. It clearly does, all the way through passport control. And then his significant previous got a mention: “Plus you have a criminal record re traveling on false passport”. A trip to the USA, wasn’t it? Most unfortunate.
And the same Tweeter, acknowledging the point about filming being prohibited, then added “Good point, according to Tommy we have no border control and let anyone in”. It’s true that many of those making supportive noises whined that followers of The Prophet would have been waved through (as if). But his past kept coming back: “Given that you have a history of passport fraud, I think you were handled very professionally and politely there”.
It came back time and again: “Didn't you get caught traveling to the US on a friends passport … maybe that's why?” The US rule that those with criminal records are not allowed in was clearly a handicap. But the law is the law, and if you want to break it, you can’t complain at the consequences. So the last pay-off should have been no surprise: “Poor snowflake Tommy, always the victim eh Tommy!” Quite.

Stephen Yaxley Lennon aka Tommy Robinson has no room to complain about being flagged up by the UK Border Agency. He has no excuse for breaking the law. And he’ll have no excuse when he gets his collar felt about the illegal filming.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Katie Hopkins Ship Abandons Mission

The people at Mail Online may allow themselves a brief sigh of relief: the mission by the group calling themselves “Defend Europe”, using a chartered ship called the C-Star, and enthusiastically supported by pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins, has finally come to an end, abandoned in the face of hostility from the authorities in Egypt, Cyprus, Malta, Tunisia, and even Libya. It was a complete and utter failure.
Viewers may still want to look away now

That mission - to cruise the Mediterranean Sea and find migrants they could send back somewhere - has faced arrest at Port Suez, exposure in the Republic of Northern Cyprus when caught people smuggling, bans from several ports in Tunisia and Malta, and the ultimate humiliation of being chased away from the North African coast by the Libyan coastguard. Yet Ms Hopkins backed it, and by implication so did Mail Online.

Even before Defend Europe’s mission got started, its questionable connections had been exposed: “On 17 July a HOPE not hate investigation exposed that the owner of the C Star, a Mr Sven Tomas Egerstrom, was a convicted fraudster who was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail” reported HnH. And it got worse.

Those Mail Online and Ms Hopkins found themselves in bed with included David Duke, white supremacist and former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, Richard Spencer, arch anti-Semite, white supremacist and giver of Nazi salutes, Jared Taylor, white nationalist, segregationist and another white supremacist, Nazi website the Daily Stormer, and the convocation of the irredeemably batshit otherwise known as Breitbart.

Ms Hopkins also palled up to Peter Sweden, who has since been revealed to be Peter Imanuelsen, a purveyor of hate speech and a Holocaust denier. Still Mail Online continued to honour Ms Hopkins’ contract. Fundraising website Patreon removed several accounts related to Defend Europe “including leaders Martin Sellner and Patrick Lenart, and vocal supporter and activist Lauren Southern”. Anyone at Mail Online listening?
They certainly won't make Europe home. Or anywhere else

Defend Europe claimed to have “made friends” with the Libyan coastguard, until the HuffPost produced a recording which showed the Libyans had in fact ordered the C-Star out of the area. They held a press conference in France at the weekend to announce that their “successful mission” was being temporarily suspended.

But, as the HuffPost pointed out, this was “an event slightly marred by the absence of their ship’s crew who were (and still are) stranded off the coast of Malta”. The mission, such as it was, served no purpose other than to allow deluded right-wing extremists, and some who were only moderately intolerant, to spray lots of money up the wall to no purpose.

It also served to show anyone and everyone in UK media exactly what kind of people Hatey Katie is prepared to pal up with: white supremacists, anti-Semites and Nazis. Mail Online has been silent about Ms Hopkins’ encouragement of Defend Europe and has pulled her dispatches from the Sicilian port of Catania.

Isn’t it about time they admitted defeat and cut her adrift for good, without waiting for that contract to run out? And before the next legal action hits them? Just a thought.

Brexit Talks Press Spin Pointless

The faith our free and fearless press has in its ability to bend reality to its will is truly a thing of wonder. Negotiations resume next week on the terms of Britain’s departure from the EU, the agenda is set, our side has effectively agreed to it, the negotiation will proceed on the EU’s terms, and yet there is the right-leaning part of the Fourth Estate trying to pretend that we have the whip hand over the Rotten Eurocrats.
Thus we have the Mail telling “David Davis yesterday demanded that British goods are not forced off the Continent’s shelves the day after Brexit as he warned any disruption to trade would be disastrous for the EU … The Brexit Secretary pointed out that the EU’s £250billion annual exports to the UK are more than it sells to Brazil, Russia, India and China combined … He called for new arrangements ‘to the benefit of all’”.

His energies would be better directed at the negotiating table, where Michel Barnier and his team are not running to the press, but have set out their stall and are waiting to get down to the real and serious business. Instead of letting their readers know this reality, though, the likes of the Murdoch Sun peddle “Time is running out for EU to do a good deal with us over Brexit - as Europe risks signing its own death warrant”.

But then, that was from dishonest bigot Trevor Kavanagh, but it was not the only example. The paper’s non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn has added the similar claim “Brexit Secretary David Davis warns failing to secure a deal would be ‘disastrous’ for EU businesses”. Successive editorials push home the swaggering and delusional tone.
It is vital for Britain’s future prosperity that we cut a trade deal with EU - and it would save pointless clashes with Brussels if Mr Barnier cottoned on to thiswas yesterday’s effort, and today’s is in the same vein: “Remainers like to pretend the EU holds all the trump cards - but it’s in their best interests to work with us”. Readers are told that the German finance minister will ride to our rescue. And it’s all totally untrue.
We can see this from Michel Barnier’s Twitter feed, where he has set out the EU position, telling “3rd round of #Brexit negotiations with #UK begins next week. Focus on orderly withdrawal. #EU positions clear and transparent since day one”. Yet still this has provoked ignorant and misinformed reaction, not least from Iain Dale, of whom one might expect better: “Sorry, but I understood this was a negotiation, not a diktat”.
The term “position” means “negotiating position”. The knee-jerk reaction from respected commentators is enough to make one weep. That Barnier is talking negotiations is evident from his follow-up comment “Looking forward to discussing these papers with #UK. Essential to make progress on #citizensrights, settling accounts and #Ireland”. He looks forward to discussing the EU’s position. And he is ready, while the UK side is not.

Barnier describes nine position papers, all publicly available. They were prepared several weeks ago. The UK side belatedly offered up two papers yesterday. Yet all our free and fearless press can do is to tell their readers that we’ve got the dastardly Eurocrats on the run, and it’ll hurt them more than it will hurt us.

Our Government is manifestly unprepared for next week’s talks. That inconvenient fact may not sink in with the EU bashers for some time. But sink in it eventually will.

Sun Hate Speech Lies BUSTED

The Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun are clearly worried about the prospect of people having their collars felt for online hate speech, so much so that they are prepared to lie through their teeth about it. Right from the untrue headlineTwitter users could be arrested for ‘unfriendly’ tweets as part of the CPS’s clumsy crackdown on hate crime”, to an opinion piece packed with more lies, this is clearly a concerted campaign.
Tom Wells’ article tells “The Crown Prosecution Service has ruled hate crimes on social media must be taken as seriously as offline offences … But lawyers say the official definition of what constitutes an online hate crime is so wide that outspoken social media users could end up hauled into court”. How so?

CPS guidance says hate crimes must be motivated by hostility such as ‘ill-will, spite, contempt, prejudice, unfriendliness, antagonism, resentment and dislike’”. The guidelines from which the Sun is quoting do not just apply to social media. Moreover, what is quoted is not the sole criterion on which a prosecution may proceed.

So far, so routine, but then to back up the Murdoch agenda has come an opinion piece from professional contrarian Brendan O’Neill, in which The Great Man veers across the dishonesty line in no style at all, right from the headline “The CPS’s decision to crack down on online mockery is a recipe for tyranny … In elevating online slights to the level of hate crime, the CPS has written a Snowflakes’ Charter” [Abuse of dissenters: check!].

YESTERDAY, this country crossed over to the dark side … We went from being a free-ish nation proud of its democratic traditions to one where officials talk openly about suppressing certain ‘views’ and ‘opinions’”. They do? Wow. Who knew?

The Crown Prosecution Service announced that online abuse, the hurling of barbs on Twitter and other platforms, would for the first time be treated as a hate crime”. No it didn’t. That’s a flat-out lie. But do go on. “Under new CPS guidelines - going into Stalinist detail about when online speech is criminal - virtual verbal mockery will be treated as seriously as a real-life scuffle in the street”. Whoops! Another flat-out lie.

This is what the CPS guidelines on social media say: “Satirical, or iconoclastic, or rude comment, the expression of unpopular or unfashionable opinion about serious or trivial matters, banter or humour, even if distasteful to some or painful to those subjected to it should and no doubt will continue at their customary level, quite undiminished by [section 127 of the Communications Act 2003]”. Not done his research, has he?

Have another go. “But Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, gave the game away with a Guardian column justifying this expansion of hate-policing online”. Another flat-out lie. There is no expansion of anything being signalled.
This does not deter O’Neill in his search to justify another fat paycheque: “The CPS guidelines should worry us all. They will open up a Pandora’s Box of authoritarianism … In elevating online slights to the level of hate crime, the CPS has written a Snowflakes’ Charter”. The guidelines do no such thing.

Still, onwards and, er, onwards, eh? “The CPS says it is any crime motivated by ‘hostility’ towards another person on the basis of their disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender status … But get this. It defines hostility as ‘ill-will, spite, contempt, prejudice, unfriendliness, antagonism, resentment and dislike’”. Another flat-out lie. Can he pull another porkie? He can make it two more, actually.

We don’t need more laws. We don’t need more state intrusion into the realm of speech”. No new laws are being introduced, or even proposed. Nor is any “state intrusion”. One has to wonder if this article was fact-checked before publication. But I digress.

This is what the guidelines say about hostility: “Hostility is not defined in the legislation. Consideration should be given to ordinary dictionary definitions, which include ill-will, ill-feeling, spite, prejudice, unfriendliness, antagonism, resentment, and dislike”. The guidelines do NOT define the term. This is unforgivably shoddy research.

And, as the man said, there’s more: “We live in a world in which more and more beliefs and opinions are being redefined as ‘hateful’ … Consider the ever-expanding use of the term ‘phobia’ … Criticise Islam too stingingly and you are Islamophobic … Question whether men can become women, as feminists Germaine Greer and Julie Bindel have done, and you are transphobic. Religious critics of gay marriage are branded homophobic”. Try reading those guidelines you’re slagging off.

The guidelines specifically talk not only of hostility, but also intent and malevolence. O’Neill has to insert a logic leap to transform this into mere “criticism”. He also proceeds to sell the pass by letting the world know who he’s really batting for here.

The potential for people who simply have old-fashioned or politically incorrect views to be branded hate criminals is palpable - and awful … In his brilliant book Censored, Paul Coleman describes how hate-crime laws across Europe have been used to punish moral and religious opinions … Evangelical pastors have been arrested for criticising homosexuality … People have been fined for ridiculing Islamic practices”.

Paul Coleman is Senior Counsel and Deputy Director of ADF International. Who they? Well, ADF stands for Alliance Defending Freedom. It is a conservative Christian organisation which advocates forreligious freedom, sanctity of life, and marriage and family”. It has been characterised not only as anti-LGBT, but virulently so.

So Brendan O’Neill, with the encouragement of the Murdoch mafiosi, is not only peddling a whole pack of lies, but also standing with the intolerant Christian right. While lecturing the world about free speech - and tolerance. You really couldn’t make it up.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Ofcom Tells BBC Basher To Shove Off

Since the beginning of April this year, Ofcom has had regulatory responsibility for the BBC, superseding the BBC Trust. This followed a series of what were classified failings by those shouting loudly enough, which usually means the Tories and their pals in the right-leaning part of the Fourth Estate, all of whom dislike any organisation which declines to serve the news up in a way that meets with their approval.
Sadly for The Blue Team, merely subjecting the hated Beeb regulation by Ofcom was not enough. There had to be more, although what exactly that means was not at first told. But then came the bid by the Murdoch mafiosi for the 61% of Sky that they do not yet own, and thus a superb opportunity for culture secretary Karen Bradley to be proactive - and get Ofcom to look over there at the BBC, instead of noticing all the Murdoch misbehaviour.

And so it came to pass that Ms Bradley issued a stern missive to Ofcom. She was concerned! “While a number of existing BBC Trust quotas for radio have been retained in the draft operating licence, there are some significant omissions … In my view some of the most critical aspects of our Charter reforms seem to have been left to retrospective review … The government reached very clear policy conclusions and the Charter sets out a new vision for the BBC which requires them to be more distinctive, more collaborative and more diverse”. Her conclusion was short but to the point.
I would be grateful for a response which clarifies your position and the rationale for these decisions in the operating framework, and confirms Ofcom’s continued commitment to hold the BBC to account and deliver the government’s ambitions and expectations for the BBC”. The letter, though, had to be made public. And others immediately smelt a rat.

For Labour, Tom Watson also smelt interference, and observed “For a secretary of state to try to influence Ofcom in such a heavy-handed way is a serious mistake. I hope Karen Bradley will realise, on reflection, that she should let Ofcom get on with its job and get on with her own”. An unstated Murdoch Sky bid hint there.

And as the Guardian has noted, “The minister’s letter drew a firm response from the chair of Ofcom, Dame Patricia Hodgson, who said in a reply to Bradley that it was important that the regulator was ‘transparently independent’”. After all, there was plenty to occupy Ofcom on the Sky front, much of which was happening Stateside.
The source of the disquiet, to no surprise at all, is Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse), which has generated such recent headlines asA former guest who appeared regularly on the Fox News channel says a senior producer solicited sex in exchange for a paid job at the network” and “Per Fox News Spokesperson, Eric Bolling has been suspended. An investigation will be conducted by law firm Paul Weiss”.

Bolling was accused of sending “lewd messages” to women colleagues. The channel is also accused of being behind illegal eavesdropping. Also, Karen Bradley doesn’t seem to want to ask the Murdochs whether it’s son James’ more enlightened approach that will rule over a 100% Murdoch Sky, or Rupert’s two-fingers-up-to-critics one.

But she does want to stick her nose in on the BBC. Priorities, priorities.

Big Ben Campaign HAS FAILED

Falling sales, faltering advertising revenue, and now failing influence: the iron belief of the Daily Mail’s legendarily foul mouthed editor Paul Dacre that he could somehow bend politicians to his will with no more than a thundering front page assault was put on notice as long ago as 1997, when he instructed his readers to hold their noses and vote Tory, only to see many of them help sweep New Labour into power.

And now that iron belief has been well and truly busted: after last week’s sudden realisation at the Northcliffe House bunker that the chimes of Big Ben were to fall silent for all of four years, in order to allow long-overdue restoration work to be carried out, and the successive days’ front page leads suggesting the Mail would stop the silencing in its tracks, has come the realisation that it was all in vain.

Big Ben chimed at noon today, as a crowd gathered in Parliament Square and around 20 MPs with nothing better to occupy their time looked on forlornly, and that was that for the next four years. Fact. End of story. That has not stopped a last defiant tirade from the Mail, which has told readers “Crowds expected at Parliament Square at midday to hear bells for last time … Plans to silence Big Ben for four years met with outpouring of anger by public”.

Yeah, right. There have been perhaps a thousand onlookers in Parliament Square, and very little anger. That number will have been a tiny fraction of the tourists milling around central London today. Still, on with the Phil Space copy and the compulsory getting out of the ritual onion: “As Big Ben is silenced for up to four years today, MPs are set to gather outside Parliament with ‘heads bowed’”. The campaign has failed. Get over it.

That has not deterred the Sun’s non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn, who has claimed anexclusive” for “Dropping a clanger … Commons boss vows to fight to get Big Ben’s bongs back as bell falls silent for renovations”. Readers are told “Efforts are continuing to shorten Big Ben’s silence”, but no evidence is ponied up, and none will be.

Then we are told “But the move has sparked an angry backlash, led by PM Theresa May”. So angry, in fact, that the PM is working in her constituency today. In any case, where’s the “exclusive”? You’ll love this. “Commons leader Andrea Leadsom last night pledged to ensure Big Ben is heard during the work … She said: ‘It is right that the House of Commons Commission has the opportunity to review the decision’”. And that’s it.

Someone will have the opportunity to review the decision. And what d’you think they will do with that opportunity, take no action at all or suddenly decide that the Dacre Doggies and Murdoch goons know best, and reverse it? There will be no reversal. No change of mind. No pandering to the obscenely overpaid, swaggering, sneering, boorish, misinformed know-all dinosaurs scrabbling around the dunghill that is Grubstreet.

There are plenty of other clock and bell combinations around London chiming the hour. And the public, whose opinion our free and fearless press didn’t bother asking before ranting on their behalf, overwhelmingly couldn’t give a fig about Big Ben’s bongs.

All of which means Toby Young is not the only Bellend in town right now.

Katie Hopkins Flouts The Law

Head of the CPS Alison Saunders has signalled a crackdown on social media hate crime, telling Guardian readers “Left unchallenged, even low-level offending can subsequently fuel the kind of dangerous hostility that has been plastered across our media in recent days. That is why countering it is a priority for the CPS … Whether shouted in their face on the street, daubed on their wall or tweeted into their living room, the impact of hateful abuse on a victim can be equally devastating”. Who could she be meaning?
Viewers may want to look away now

That was not hard to deduce, after pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins, back from being feted by the more delusional part of the US right-wing, decided to indulge in a little borderline incitement against her favourite target, followers of The Prophet, as well as suggesting we start another war on her say-so.
Governments were cracking down on van hire operations, which does not seem such a bad thing, given the white van attacks in places like London and Barcelona used hired vehicles - as did the Westminster Bridge attacker. But Ms Hopkins wants her devoted followers to know that this is just namby-pamby, wishy-washy poo.
Hatey Katie sneers in their silly faces! “Now Mohammed, are you hiring this van for the purpose of running over innocent women & children in the street to please your god. Yes or no”. Gosh, that was so impressive, well, to her anyway, that she instantly promoted it to Pinned Tweet status. And there was more. “NEW: govt approved HURTZ van hire authorisation”. Hirers could tick “shady business” or “Jihad” as reasons for hiring.
Laugh? I thought I’d never start. Also on her mock form was “Christian - former religion of Western Europe”. Because some people don’t understand that Western Europe does not have an official religion. But she does need to avoid getting sued (again), and so let everyone know “Respectfully @Hertz and @PilotPenUK have nothing to do with my satire. They either sold me a pen, or let me wear the headset of Jedi power”.
Incitement against Muslims is now satire! All those 60s pioneers of the genre missed out big time. Still, she wanted us to know that this Government crackdown was rubbish, and so had her mock hire form done properly, with the observation “A very British response to watching our women & children slaughtered by jihadi maniacs in hired vans”. No men were killed in Barcelona? And what is her preferred solution to the problem she has identified?
As if you need to ask. “We used to send young men to fight for our country. Now our babies die because we don’t”. And where does Ms Hopkins propose they go and fight? On what pretext? Can’t she get it in to her head that the last time we did that, the consequence was ISIS, which is most likely behind the current wave of vehicle attacks? How much bloodshed does she want others to indulge in to satisfy her bigotry?

Still, good to see that the CPS had someone in mind when those guidelines on hate speech were being drawn up. Fortunately, when it comes to combating terrorism, others are in charge of the situation. And Katie Hopkins is not. Just rejoice at that news.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Tommy Robinson’s Popularity ISN’T

[Update at end of post]

As part of his drive to promote a book claiming to give a reliable interpretation of the Qur’an, which has mainly been authored by someone else and has, as far as is known, had no input from any Islamic scholars or clergy, former EDL head man Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who calls himself Tommy Robinson, has decided to organise an event in Manchester to promote his work, and of course Himself Personally Now.
Stephen Yaxley Lennon aka Tommy Robinson

This has involved not only promoting himself - not difficult, he’s had plenty of practice - but also securing a venue where he can meet his adoring public. But here a problem has entered: not all the public, and certainly not those in Manchester, are as adoring as others. Moreover, Yaxley Lennon’s peddling of hatred towards followers of The Prophet , and his past in the EDL, means that where he turns up, so, inevitably, does trouble.
Yes, that's the Britain First duo on the left. But he's not racist, honestly

Indeed, the last time he was involved in a gathering in Manchester, as the BBC reported, “Eight people have been arrested following a march by protesters in central Manchester opposing extremism … Bottles and flares were thrown as the UK Against Hate group and counter-demonstrators clashed and police said the protest ‘turned nasty’”. Mayor Andy Burnham was particularly severe on Yaxley Lennon’s “UK Against Hate”.
These EDL-types who came today need to have a look at themselves … To those saying they weren't EDL - I honestly don't care … I care about our Police being unnecessarily distracted when they are worn out & still working hard to investigate a major incident”. The gathering took place in the wake of the Manchester Arena bombing.
Nevertheless, “An Evening With Tommy Robinson” was duly advertised earlier this month. Yaxley Lennon took to Facebook to tell “Thank you for the tremendous support you have shown for this event. At this rate we will sell out within two weeks so if you do not have a ticket I urge you to buy now to avoid disappointment”. A link was provided.

So, almost two weeks later, has the event, which will not be held until early November, sold out as predicted? Seemingly not. Worse, there appears to be a problem with the proposed venue. But it’s still going ahead. Apparently.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham - not impressed

“My Manchester event on November 3rd will now be moved to a secret location. Everybody who has bought a ticket do not worry they are still valid, and tickets are still on sale. 50% of tickets have now sold, we will reveal the new venue location 7 days prior to the event which will be in city centre Manchester. This is an all ticket event with no pay on the door”. So it hasn’t sold out. And the subterfuge won’t stop protests.
After all, giving the opposition seven days’ notice, and telling them well in advance that the event will be held somewhere in Manchester city centre, means that anyone wanting to use it as an excuse to kick off will be there, ready and waiting.

And if Stephen Yaxley Lennon is so “against hate”, it has to be asked why he devotes so much time to dispensing hatred towards a significant part of the population - and encouraging others to join him in his endeavours. I’ll just leave that one there.

[UPDATE 21 August 1720 hours: as has been pointed out by several commenters on Twitter, sales of Yaxley Lennon's new book are also not going as well as some are claiming. Amid the fantasy claims of hundreds of thousands being sold, the reality of real-world information from Amazon makes for more realistic, and much more sobering, reading.
Although "Mohammed's Koran: why Muslims kill for Islam" is indeed shown as a #1 best seller, this is only in the "Koran" category. And the total sales up to the point a screen shot was taken this afternoon, was 1113.

Still, helps to keep all concerned out of trouble, eh? Real world intervenes once more]