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“Alternate reality”: Rory Stewart despairs of the BBC’s televised debate between himself and the other Tory leadership candidates. Was it something they said?

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:

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:

“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:

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.

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:

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:

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.

It’s probably because he responded to the comments of his fellow candidates in the same way as the rest of the viewing public:

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:

He wasn’t alone:

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:

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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