Saturday, 28 November 2015

If this had been Labour ...

... there would be a slew of conspiracy theories about how it wasn't suicide, but a deliberate act of murder, carreid out with the PM's knowledge and approval.

Still, it's a filthy enough story without that.
Grant Shapps and Lord Feldman should resign over revelations the Conservative party failed to act on complaints about an election aide at the heart of a bullying scandal, says the father of a young activist believed to have killed himself. 
Ray Johnson – the father of 21-year-old political blogger Elliott, who accused the youth organiser Mark Clarke of bullying him before he was found dead in September – said his son would still be alive if the Conservative party and its chairmen had acted responsibly. 
Earlier this month, the Conservative party said it had not received any written complaints about Clarke before August. “We have been checking and rechecking, but have not been able to find any records of written complaints that were made but not dealt with – but we are determined to get to the bottom of what’s happened,” it said. 
Evidence that Clarke had been subject to a written complaint as early as January will increase pressure on the party to reveal who knew Clarke had been the subject of complaints over his behaviour, which allegedly included claims of sexual assaults against female activists, attempted blackmail and intimidation of young supporters. 
Accusing the Conservatives of turning a blind eye to Clarke’s alleged behaviour, Ray Johnson said: “They should have seen this coming but for their own selfishness, their own desire to climb the greasy pole over the bodies of other people.” 
He said this was not the first example of political scandals which could have been avoided if complaints had been dealt with sensitively and seriously.
I'm no friend of the Tories (you may have noticed) but it is sickening to see how the party has become infiltrated with spivs and hucksters. This is the right's version of Militant Tendency entryism into Labour, and these self-serving fellow travels need to be expunged. Or the Conservative party needs to accept that it is no longer a conservative party but a neo-liberal party and rebrand itself appropriately. The Nasty Party or the Party of Blackmailing Selfish Shits would do nicely.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Although I hadn't seen him in more than ten years, I know I'll miss him forever

I interrupt the general political discourse of this blog to announce the recent death of my friend Bob.

Bob always had rather average taste in music.  Neil Young was one of Bob's favourite musicians.  Bob Dylan was the other.

Still, liking music like that is no excuse for dying of meninfuckingitis in some dismal hospital in India.

Cheers, marra.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Mail playing politics with paedophile allegations

In an impressive new low, the Daily Mail has resorted to using the investigation into a allegations of child abuse by MPs and other powerful individuals to attack Tom Watson, one of the people who has pushed the issue into the light.

In a long-on-fulmination-but-short-on-credibility piece penned by Guy Adams and Stephen Wright, they accuse Watson of selectively targeting Conservative MPs in his campaign.

Their 'smoking gun' is that Watson refrained from putting his name to a letter calling on police to invesigate Lord Janner, a Labour peer and Britain's second least convincing victim of dementia after Ernest Saunders, and echoes claims made in the Telegraph that Watson is singling out Conservative MPs for his attention:
In April, for example, he called the Daily Telegraph a ‘disingenuous, lazy’ and ‘failing’ newspaper.

Its crime? To have published an editorial suggesting that party politics meant Watson was not pursuing (Labour’s) Lord Janner with the same vigour as he had gone after the (Conservative) Lord Brittan.

Watson denied double standards. He claimed his differing levels of activity with regard to the two cases were down to a simple fact: ‘I have spoken directly to survivors of Leon Brittan. I have not spoken directly to any survivors of Lord Janner.’ A fair explanation. Or at least, it would be if it were true. But it isn’t. For, as Watson revealed in an interview with the Guardian newspaper last year, he very much has met Exaro’s witness ‘Nick’, in what he called a ‘very, very traumatic and difficult conversation’.

This is important because ‘Nick’ claims to be a former victim of Lord Janner. Earlier this year, Exaro reported: ‘Janner, now 86, sexually assaulted him at several unidentified venues in London between 1979 and 1982.’ It is possible, of course, that ‘Nick’ and Watson never discussed Janner during their meeting, and that Watson was unaware of ‘Nick’s’ allegation against Janner. But still, Watson has met one of Janner’s alleged victims.
Dates are important here.

The Guardian interview took place in 2014, when he refers to talking to Nick.  It can be read here.

The exchange between Watson and the Telegraph took place in April 2015.  The Telegraph editorial is dated 17th of April, 2015.  Watson's response is dated the same day and can be read here.  Amusingly, Watson highlights a tweet he issued on the 16th of April, about the Janner case that makes a joke of the Telegraph's claim that "There was a strange silence in some quarters yesterday".

Only, there wasn't, and the Telegraph would have known this if they'd had the sense to look at Watson's tweets.

Like the man said, a lazy newspaper.

 Nick's claim that he was abused by Lord Janner appears in an Exaro piece by Mark Conrad, published on the 18th of April, 2015.

So the Mail's damning evidence of double standards is that Tom Watson didn't know, six months before the story broke, that 'Nick' was going to implicate a Labour peer.  Tom Watson's statement, when he made it, was absolutely true as far as he was aware.  It's pathetic stuff, essentially a tarted-up version of yelling,  "Tom Watson is a big fat discredited LIAR because he can't see into the future."

The Mail is trying to destroy Watson's reputation, for a political purpose - the very crime it accuses him of.

There are oddities in the column.  It describes a woman who accused Leon Brittan as 'discredited':
The discredited testimony of ‘Jane’ was among the matters detailed in a sensational BBC Panorama documentary entitled ‘The VIP Paedophile Ring’.
In fact, Jane was not 'dscredited,' at least not as a result of any information provided by the Mail. Her claims were not substantiated - not surprising, given the incident was alleged to have taken place in 1967.

'Nick' also described the murder of a school friend that had been staged to look like a hit and run accident.  The Mail blandly advises that, "And no public murder of that nature was reported in the media at the time."

Obviously, the incident would not be described as a murder!

I assume Adams and Wright are intelligent people.  So why are they making such obvious efforts to mislead and confuse readers?

They say they are sceptical of the stories being put out by the likes of 'Jane' and 'Nick'.  Fine.  Then examine their stories carefully and judiciously.  Don't make laughable tenuous aspersions based on Tom Watson's lack of precognitive powers, or attack a claim on false grounds such as their deliberate murder / man slaughter mix-up,

I am also very concerned about some of these stories, and expect that some of them will turn out to be false.  Unlike the Mail, I am less concerned about the reputations of a few MPs than I am about the likely impact it will have on genuine victims of child abuse.

And the Mail's politically motivated attacks isn't making things any easier for them.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Tel-LIE-graph forced to retract evil smear of Corbyn

The Independent Press Standards Organisation has slammed the Telegraph as vile liars and distorters of truth (whodathunkit?) and forced them to RETRACT, CORRECT and GROVEL in apologetic apoplexy before the feet of the People's Darling, Jeremy Corbyn:
The Independent Press Standards Organisation has upheld a complaint from Ivan Lewis, the shadow Northern Ireland secretary, about a 15 August story headlined “Labour grandees round on ‘antisemite’ Corbyn’”.

The story claimed Lewis had attacked Corbyn’s “antisemitic rhetoric”, saying the party must have “zero tolerance” for such views.

It later cited an article the MP had written for Labour List stating “Some of his stated political views are a cause for serious concern. At the very least he has shown very poor judgment in expressing support for and failing to speak out against people who have engaged not in legitimate criticism of Israeli governments but in antisemitic rhetoric.

“It saddens me to have to say to some on the left of British politics that anti-racism means zero tolerance of antisemitism, no ifs, and no buts. I have said the same about Islamaphobia and other forms of racism to a minority of my constituents who make unacceptable statements.”

Lewis lodged a complaint that the Daily Telegraph had misrepresented those comments, and he had not accused Corbyn of antisemitism.
Echoes of the Zinoviev letter, anyone?

Not sure a 'correction' is enough.

Burning an editor or two at the stake might be sufficient, as we leftists are not vindictive or cruel.

Unlike the telegraph.

Well, that didn't last long

David Cameron went all Daily Mail in his conference speech, echoing that rag's infamous "The Man Who Hated Britain" smear on Ralph Miliband.  He's working hard to paint Jeremy Corbyn as a leftist monster:
My friends, we cannot let that man inflict his security-threatening, terrorist-sympathising, Britain-hating ideology on the country we love.
In doing so, he's making himself, not Corbyn, sound like an extremist idiot.

Trying to frame someone as faintly nice as Corbyn as an extremist and hater of anything other than sausages only makes Cameron look like a tool. They managed to frame Ed Miliband as a bit of a weirdo dork but that's because Ed was a bit weird and dorky.

Trying to make Corbyn out as the fifth horseman of the apocalypse only makes an idiot of Cameron because, gosh, renationalising the railways isn't really that extreme.

It's strange how people ... well, the right ... slam Corbyn for 'appealing to his core vote' and yet when Cameron basically does a Daily Mail, it isn't seen as the same thing. It's a pretty nasty bit of bottom scraping.

Of course, blustering about threats to national security and hating Britain doesn't really fit in with the 'irrelevant ... unelectable ... barely worth noticing' theme the Tories are trying to advance. Mixed messages. An unelectable threat to Britian? An irrelevant hater?

Not really a convincing narrative.

Still, interesting to see that Cameron is opting for the strident, imminent-threat-to-our-way-of-living idea. Putting a clear distance between himself and Corbyn, but not - I think - in a way that really flatters him. Makes him look like a silly, spiteful clown.

Nice to see he's really embracing the new, nice, gentle political style Corbyn offered.  Cameron managed to make nice for about three weeks before reverting to type.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Fun fact - homelessness soars under Tories!

As an aside at the end of a rare positive story about Jeremey Corbyn, the Independent noted that the number of people sleeping rough in England rose from 1,768 in 2010 to 2,744 last year.

That's a 50% in just four years. Why isn't this a bigger story?

Oh, wait, a Kardashian is not wearing clothes ...

Do we just no care about the marginal? Yeah, that's kinda a rhetorical question.

 Margaret Thatcher supposedly once said that Tony Blair's Labour Party was her greatest achievement - a Labour party that repudiated socialism to get elected, and effectively embraced her market reforms and privatisations.

She under-valued her other great achievement, which was to usher in a new era of gutter press and yellow journalism, where important social issues are ignored because people - created in Thatcher's image - just don't care so much any more.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Labour trounce Tories in by-election STUNNAH!! 6% swing!!

Taking back Britain, one seat at a time:
Jeremy Corbyn has been given a boost in his bid to prove his ability to win over Tory voters after Labour won a council seat off the Conservatives in a by-election. 
It was the first victory at the ballot box since Mr Corbyn won a landslide victory in the Labour leadership election last month. The party won a marginal ward on the Conservative-controlled Cherwell District Council on a swing of more than 6 per cent.
Tories tremble! The International Socialist Supreme Command has identified Cherwell as a crucial battleground in the war to establish the dictatorship of the Corbyntariat. Once Cherwell District Council is in our hands, Downing Street will fall soon after.

This is a body blow to Cameron, in the heart of Oxfordshire. Who says Corbyn can't in the shires? Though oddly, the Guardian - which made no secret of its admiration for Yvette Cooper - did not see fit to cover this remarkable triumph.

Has David Cameron still not resigned? Staying in Number 10 would be like Stuart Lancaster remaining as coach following England's elimination in the pool games! A travesty! A shame on the nation! Surely a public school boy has some understanding of the Proper Course of Action for a man in his position.

Do not hesitate, Dave! Quit now and restore a shred or two of dignity for your family name and the old school!