What the hell was Emily Maitlis doing, agreeing with Michael Gove that Jeremy Corbyn indulges anti-Semitism when he so obviously does not?
She came out with her extraordinary outburst during the BBC televised Conservative leadership debate, in which Michael Gove responded appallingly to concerns over Islamophobia raised by a Bristolian imam. Here’s that gentleman, explaining himself on Twitter:
Yes he did. Here it is – Michael Gove is so proud of his defamatory statement that he turned it into an infographic:
“If there are Islamophobes in our Party – and there are – we should root them out. But we also cannot have someone aspiring to be Prime Minister who indulges antisemitic hate speech in the way Jeremy Corbyn has.” #Gove4PM #BBCOurNextPM pic.twitter.com/Q7K9t20u3j
— Michael Gove (@michaelgove) June 18, 2019
He went on to highlight the moment when Mr Corbyn accused two Zionist activists of failing to understand irony when they disrupted an event at which a Palestinian representative was speaking as an example of the Labour leader’s behaviour. The incident has long since been explained: Mr Corbyn was correctly referring specifically to the two individuals concerned but politically-motivated critics had, in bad faith, reinterpreted his words to claim that he was referring to all Jews. The claim is utterly ludicrous.
And Emily Maitlis – the host – supported Mr Gove! She cut off any further comment, saying: “I’m sure you all do agree.”
Quick reminder: The BBC is under investigation by Ofcom, under suspicion of violating its first duty – impartiality. It seems clear that Ms Maitlis was keen to ensure that Ofcom finds against her employer, all by herself.
Result: Public outrage:
Emily Maitlis saying that everyone would agree with the accusation that Jeremy Corbyn engages in anti-Jewish hate speech might go down in history as one of the blackest days in the history of the BBC. The BBC as I knew it has ceased to exist. Just blatant Tory propoganda now.
— Stuart Wheeler (@StuartWheeler28) June 18, 2019
“Her bias was showing,” tweeted ‘Biker Wolfie With Pilllion Daniel Blake.
“And people say BBC news isn’t biased,” added Nick Mapson.
“Really! That is outrageous!” exclaimed Linda Scott.
The only one who came out of that worse than Ms Maitlis was Mr Gove himself:
I despise Michael Gove a hundred times more than any other Tory. He is smearmongering scum. Jeremy Corbyn has got absolutely nothing against Jewish people. This is just an easy and lazy way to smear him, but also the most atrocious as it incites hatred and fear.#BBCOurNextPM
— Perky Warbeck 🏳️🌈 (@PerkyWarbeck) June 18, 2019
Mr Gove seems to have a Corbyn fixation. He also said: “Jeremy Corbyn isn’t interested in helping working people; he’s interested in standing up for the Iranian regime,” in a direct reference to the controversy over attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman (The US and the UK foreign office have blamed Iran without concrete evidence and Mr Corbyn has said proof is required).
If anything good came from that debate, it was Sajid Javid’s apparent securing of agreement from all the candidates that an independent investigation should be held into Islamophobia in the Conservative Party.
Another question was about what the candidates would do to lift the tax burden on the working classes – and Rory Stewart attracted undue flak, despite being the only person giving a realistic answer.
"We do not need more tax cuts" says Rory Stewart, adding that if there is more money it should go to public services
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) June 18, 2019
He said he wasn’t thinking about promises for the next 15 days, but about the next 15 years.
The questioner’s response defies belief:
Highlight of that debate:
Tory voter: “Can you promise tax cuts we can’t afford?”
Rory Stewart: *Gives answer showing he is in touch with the fact public services are under strain*
Tory voter: “Sorry Rory but you’re completely out-of-touch” #BBCOurNextPM #BBCdebate
— Eddie 🐎 (@EddieSmith1415) June 18, 2019
What a swivel-eyed loon!
Jeremy Hunt shamed himself when he said the Conservatives had cut social care funding too much. The problem with that answer is obvious:
Jeremy Hunt “I believe we cut social care funding too much”
— Andrew Gwynne MP (@GwynneMP) June 18, 2019
Mr Hunt also came out with a howler when he claimed that the UK was one of the most open and accepting countries for people of other ethnicities than the majority. That simply isn’t true any more, and the reason is divisive rhetoric from the Conservative government that has set racism soaring.
At least he got through the whole hour without hearing his name mispronounced once.
Who came out of it best? Rory Stewart, according to the public.
— Emer Patten (@emerpatten) June 18, 2019
It’s probably because he responded to the comments of his fellow candidates in the same way as the rest of the viewing public:
— Niall McGarry (@MrNiallMcGarry) June 18, 2019
Interviewed afterwards, he was questioned on why he took off his tie (and on why his performance was “lacklustre”, which seems to be another example of BBC bias). He replied that he had felt as though he had been drawn into an “alternate reality” and was trying to re-establish a sense of what was genuine:
— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) June 18, 2019
He wasn’t alone:
It’s been suggested that @UKLabour has a few problems!!
— Ian Lavery MP (@IanLaveryMP) June 18, 2019
Emily Maitlis increasingly looking like the supply teacher who's drawn the short straw handling the detention class from Hell. #BBCOurNextPM
— Phil Dore (@PhilJDore) June 18, 2019
“It was a deeply depressing occasion… I’m disenfranchised.”
Former Deputy PM Lord Heseltine says tonight's debate “was a masterclass in avoiding the answers to questions… and there were a lot of assertions which make no sense”#newsnight | @maitlis | #BBCOurNextPM pic.twitter.com/XF8ZE8vvHz
— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) June 18, 2019
— Adrian Dumdum (@AdrianDurham_) June 18, 2019
— Rosa (@rosagg_) June 18, 2019
Boris Johnson – the front-runner in terms of votes cast by his follow Conservative MPs – was absolutely nowhere. Asked if, as prime minister, he would do the decent thing and call a general election in order to gain a mandate from the public, he said no.
Ms Maitlis pounced: “‘It’s the arrogance’ – that’s what you said when Gordon Brown became prime minister. ‘That’s what gets me. Gordon Brown will now be in 10 Downing Street without a mandate from the British people. No-one elected Gordon Brown as prime minister. Let’s have an election without delay.’ Why does the same not apply this time?”
Mr Johnson replied: “Because he wasn’t taking over in the context of a national political crisis in which we have to get Brexit over the line.”
It doesn’t take a genius to come up with appropriate response to that howler:
The final verdict:
Dear #BBCOurNextPM I want my hour back.
— John Smith (son of Harry Leslie Smith) (@Harryslaststand) June 18, 2019
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
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