Tag Archives: central

Tories pretend their press office is a ‘fact check’ organisation. Public ridicule is hilarious

The Conservative Party seems to be getting desperate.

Its press office resorted to the dirty trick of pretending to be a ‘fact check’ organisation during the ITV leaders’ debate – presumably so it could tweet a (false) claim that Boris Johnson won the confrontation.

Well, that didn’t work!

Not only did people take extreme offence at the pretense…

… but they also decided to have their own laugh at the Tories’ expense.

Take a look at some of these examples:

https://twitter.com/HKesvani/status/1196893828529164289

Way to go, Tories. Not only did your man mess up his big TV appearance…

But you’ve also ensured that nobody will believe another word to come out of your publicity machine.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Dear Paul Nuttall of UKIP: I saw this and thought of you

Ukip leader Paul Nuttall, rallying the troops [Image: Ray Tang/Rex/Shutterstock].

Here’s a little piece of advice posted on Facebook by a friend of mine. I shan’t provide the link because I know some of the right-wingers here might get a little angry about it. Here’s what he had to say:

“How does one deal with being buttonholed by a far right party’s canvasser (or indeed any crushing bore) in the street? Wind them up…

“Feign surprise; then delight. Usher them in to a shop doorway, and start whispering conspiratorially. Say, “It is so hard to find Aryan recruits. THEY control the media. It is time we did something about THEM. My unit will be mobilising tonight and have drawn up lists of all of THEM in the area. You must join the Order, swear the blood vow and help us purify the Motherland tonight?”

“Shake a lot and keep looking up and down the street. If they start to protest silence them with a theatrical gesture and say something like “we have no time for race traitors or cowards!” and mimic slitting your throat. If they agreed do a passionate Hitlergruß and yell SIEG HEIL! loudly enough to get the whole street’s attention. Then walk off whistling cheerfully and go shopping.”

For some reason I immediately thought of Paul Nuttall and his attempt to win Stoke-on-Trent Central for UKIP.

May I encourage anybody approached by Kippers on the street or the doorstep to consider the above course of action?

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Are the people of Stoke Central ever likely to want THIS as their MP?

Paul Nuttall is parachuting into Stoke-on-Trent Central and intends to conquer the constituency for UKIP [Image: PA].

Despite This Site’s warnings of dire humiliation if he follows this course, UKIP leader Paul Nuttall has ignored my good advice and barged the 10 other possible candidates from his party out of the way to stand in the Stoke Central by-election.

Apparently the 10(!) other possible UKIP candidates stood aside to make way for their leader, who is from Bootle, and is therefore being ‘parachuted’ into the constituency.

The people of Stoke-on-Trent Central have prior experience of ‘parachuted-in’ candidates – Tristram Hunt, whose resignation forced this poll, is from Cambridge. His selection was extremely unpopular with Labour Party members in the constituency, leading to him getting the lowest turnout and majority of any MP in the current Parliament.

Labour has yet to choose a candidate. If the party decides on somebody from the constituency, who supports Jeremy Corbyn and accepts the decision of the EU referendum (Stoke Central supported Brexit), then Mr Nuttall is cruising towards his fifth consecutive defeat in a Parliamentary election.

Even more potentially humiliating is the possibility that he has overruled better candidates – who might win – in order to fail in his ambition yet again.

UKIP leader Paul Nuttall will stand in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election on 23 February, the party has said.

Mr Nuttall was confirmed as the UKIP candidate after the 10 other people on the shortlist withdrew to make way for their leader.

Mr Nuttall is striving to become UKIP’s second MP, joining Douglas Carswell who became its first MP in 2014.

It will be Mr Nuttall’s fifth attempt to win a seat in Parliament.

Source: UKIP leader Paul Nuttall to stand in Stoke Central by-election – BBC News

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UKIP leader Paul Nuttall urged to humiliate himself by losing in Stoke by-election

Paul Nuttall, leader of UKIP. He’ll be humiliated – on the advice of his party – if he tries to become MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central [Image: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire].


Remember when UKIP were going to capitalise on Labour woes by standing for Oldham West and Royton, after the death of the great Michael Meacher?

What happened there? Oh yes – UKIP lost.

Tristram Hunt was the least popular MP in Parliament, according to the local vote. Only 49 per cent of constituents bothered to turn up and only 19 per cent of his electorate voted him in.

But the constituency of Stoke-on-Trent Central is strongly Labour and has been ever since it was formed. Labour supporters were lukewarm on Mr Hunt because he was a Blairite, parachuted in by the party’s right-wingers who had dominance at the time.

Times have changed.

And just because the constituency recorded a large vote in support of Brexit, that doesn’t mean the Party of Brexit – UKIP – has any chance there. Labour’s position on Brexit is that it supports the will of the people.

Paul Nuttall will be humiliated if he stands as a candidate in this by-election.

Ukip leader Paul Nuttall is coming under increasing pressure from senior party colleagues to capitalise on Labour woes and stand in the Stoke by-election.

The MEP, who took charge of Ukip in November, has yet to confirm whether he will contest the by-election caused by Labour MP Tristram Hunt’s resignation from Parliament.

However, senior Ukip figures are adamant Nuttall should stand in the seat where the party came second by 5,179 votes in 2015, despite only running a skeleton ground campaign.

Source: Senior Ukip Figures Are Telling Paul Nuttall He Must Stand In Stoke By-Election

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Has the wrong Hunt resigned? Tristram Hunt quits as Labour MP

Tristram Hunt has resigned as an MP [Image: Skwawkbox].

Did Tristram Hunt see #HuntMustGo on Twitter and draw the wrong conclusion?

Seriously, there are questions to be asked about the second high-profile right-wing Labour resignation in a month.

Is Mr Hunt jumping before he is pushed, as his Stoke Central Constituency Labour Party membership is opposed to him?

Is he trying to embarrass Jeremy Corbyn by offering his constituency to UKIP in the by-election that must now be called?

Is he trying to split Labour’s resources, making it harder for the party to retain the Copeland seat that Jamie Reed quit last month?

Or is this simply an admission that right-wing ‘Red Tory’ Labour has accepted its time is up and the party is returning to what it should be?

Mr Hunt received only 39.3 per cent of the vote in Stoke Central at last year’s general election – and the constituency had the lowest turnout of any in the United Kingdom, meaning only 19 per cent of constituents voted for him:

He was Britain’s least popular MP, and was even hugely unpopular with his constituency party, having been ‘parachuted’ in for the 2010 election after failing to win nominations in Liverpool and London previously. The chair of the constituency party actually stood as an independent candidate in protest against his selection.

His constituency mostly voted for Brexit, but Mr Hunt has loudly claimed that Mr Corbyn was a closet Brexiteer, so that will most likely backfire in his face. All his CLP has to do is nominate a left-wing Eurosceptic and watch the votes roll in:

https://twitter.com/marthasydenham/status/819867048503287808

All of the above makes it hard to believe anybody can seriously think the resignation will make Labour vulnerable to UKIP – but some do:

https://twitter.com/EdwardTHardy/status/819847442984210432

His resignation letter to CLP members states that he is not trying to cause an upset: “I am sorry to put you, the party and the people of Stoke-on-Trent through a by-election. I have no desire to rock the boat now and anyone who interprets my decision to leave in that way is just plain wrong.”

Do we believe him?

Mr Hunt’s more notable actions include crossing a picket line to deliver a speech (what a way for a member of the Party of the Workers to stand up for the workers).

https://twitter.com/MissEllieMae/status/819844759019810817

Mr Hunt says he is leaving politics to take a directorship at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. As an MP, he called for the reintroduction of entrance fees for museums and art galleries, so his future direction seems clear:

If Mr Hunt was hoping for a strong response to his resignation, he’ll be disappointed. Sure, right-wing Labour colleagues were happy to provide endorsements, and Jeremy Corbyn tweeted a few kind-but-lukewarm words:

But this is indicative of the public attitude:

And this:

https://twitter.com/MissEllieMae/status/819848657461772289

And it can only be noted with sadness that the arrival of Pizza Express has been suggested as his greatest achievement:

If Mr Hunt’s resignation is an attempt to make Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership seem weak by surrendering Stoke Central to another party, then this would simply demonstrate how corrosive right-wing Labour has become to the party as a whole. The best choice for the constituency will be a left-wing candidate from within the local Labour Party, who understands the people of the area and what they need.

Getting back to this article’s headline, though: Isn’t it time you went as well, Jeremy?

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It isn’t that John McDonnell WON’T intervene if Hilary Benn is deselected as an MP – he CAN’T

John McDonnell and Hilary Benn together at an event supporting the remain campaign in June [Image: Dylan Martinez/Reuters].

John McDonnell and Hilary Benn together at an event supporting the remain campaign in June [Image: Dylan Martinez/Reuters].

It’s bizarre to have to point this out – especially in response to reports by newspaper journalists who should know this – but John McDonnell has NOT refused to intervene over Hilary Benn’s future as a Labour MP.

The Shadow Chancellor simply has no power to do so. As he made perfectly clear in his Radio 5 Live interview, Parliamentary candidates are chosen by Constituency Labour Parties.

So Rajeev Syal’s article in The Grauniad, for example, is misleading. I’d like to say I hope this is not deliberate, but it still reflects on the professionalism of the author.

It doesn’t matter whether close allies of Jeremy Corbyn remain angry with Mr Benn after he sided with the Conservative Government over air strikes and Syria, or any involvement of his in the attempted ‘Chicken Coup’ over the summer.

If it is true that supporters of Mr Corbyn have been elected as officers in Mr Benn’s constituency party, Leeds Central, then they can propose any action they see fit – within party rules.

That includes deselection of the incumbent MP, so he may not stand as a candidate in a future election (it would not affect his position as an MP in the current Parliament).

And it is important to clarify that, if anyone has “taken over” positions in Leeds Central CLP, they would have done so by democratic means.

I question why Rajeev Syal mentions that Patrick Hall, a vice-chair of Leeds Central CLP who has spoken against Mr Benn, is a national executive member of the Labour Representation Committee, described as “a radical grouping” chaired by McDonnell.

What’s the implication?

Mr McDonnell will not influence any decision on Mr Benn’s future in any way. If Leeds Central CLP deselects Mr Benn, it will be because Leeds Central Labour members wish it.

That’s democracy.

Source: John McDonnell won’t intervene if Hilary Benn faces deselection fight | Politics | The Guardian

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Ministers unveil plans to cut spending. They’ll hit the poor again because they’re lazy

Local authorities and their representatives have called for £60 billion of government spending to be devolved to them in order to achieve £20 billion of savings – a forlorn hope!

George Osborne, who called for proposals on how to make the savings in advance of November’s spending review, will go for anything that attacks the poor.

He knows his party, you see. Tories are rich and they are lazy – and they want to continue being rich and lazy. Therefore they support policies that support their wealth and indolence, and hammering the poor does that just fine.

There is a reason Tories support austerity – it transfers money away from the poorest in society (who can starve or freeze to death in the street as far as Tories are concerned – and have done so since the Conservatives took office) and hands it to the richest.

Osborne may offer a sop to the Local Government Organisation but This Blog does not expect him to alter course now.

George Osborne is to be given proposals from cabinet ministers on Friday about how they plan to cut their departmental budgets by 25% or 40%, marking the start of negotiations about how the government will slash £20bn in central government spending.

The chancellor set the deadline for submissions from departments with non-protected budgets for Friday, asking them to model the two different scenarios of cuts before November’s spending review.

The reductions will affect all departments except health, spending on education per pupil, national security and international development.

Source: Deadline arrives for ministers’ plans to cut spending by up to 40% | Politics | The Guardian

Is the Telegraph withholding emails that could help the inquiry into child abuse?

Tom Watson MP

Tom Watson MP

Thanks today go to Vox Political commenter concernedkev, who brought this writer’s attention to a piece by Labour MP Tom Watson. It’s self-explanatory so here it is:

I have had cause to write to [the Telegraph] about a disturbing allegation shared with me by Chris Bryant MP. They just ignored me.

My letter was prompted by a conversation I had with Chris. He told me that he’d had lunch at the Quirinale restaurant with Telegraph political correspondent Matthew Holehouse. [We won’t quote this part because there is a direct quote from Mr Bryant later in the piece, as follows:] “Matthew Holehouse told me at lunch at Quirinale that he had been accidentally included in a series of email exchanges between senior figures at Conservative Central Office who were speculating about which Labour sitting MPs were paedophiles and how they should deploy this ‘information’. Matthew seemed to think that this showed that CCHQ was run by a bunch of children and he said it was worse than Damian McBride. He reckoned the paper would be running the story later that week, unless the powers that be intervened. I asked him which senior figures were involved. He said ‘very senior’, but refused to elaborate. He also refused to tell me which Labour MPs were speculated about. He didn’t believe that any of the emails’ allegations were anything other than nasty vindictiveness and an attempt to smear Labour MPs.”

When what he told me had sunk in I was furious. It showed that senior offices at CCHQ were either a; holding back vital intelligence from the police abuse inquiry or b; engaging in a smear campaign against their opponents. Either way, it showed appalling conduct.

I felt it needed addressing at a senior level in both the Conservative party and the Telegraph.

Here’s the letter I wrote to David Cameron about the matter on 26th January:

Dear Mr Cameron,

Child Abuse Allegations

As you know, the scandal of child sex abuse at every level of society, including in the highest reaches of political life, has caused deep distress to many thousands of sex abuse survivors. Your party, with others, has been arguing for a full, open inquiry into these matters and for the police to pursue perpetrators.

You have also rightly been among the first to deplore the fact that — amid the speculation that this scandal has caused — a number of individuals have found themselves the subject of baseless, hurtful and defamatory allegations, often spread in an irresponsible way on social media networks and by email. Just this weekend Lord Selwyn Gummer condemned online “innuendo” as “wicked”.

With the above in mind, I understand that there has been an email exchange between several members of staff at CCHQ in which the staff are reported to speculate about which sitting Members of Parliament might be paedophiles.

It is possible that it is a serious piece of investigative work. In which case I urge you to hand this evidence over to the police immediately, so that they can investigate -rather than keeping it in the confines of the party. You recently publicly declared that all documents held by party whips will be made available to the police. I trust the same is true of internal party emails.

If, however, it is a scurrilous and puerile attempt to smear sitting politicians, then that is a different but no less serious matter.

First, I am sure that you would consider it your duty to report the existence of such an email and the identities of those who originated and circulated it, in the same way that other instances of unfounded smears disseminated by political advisers have rightly been condemned by you in the past.

Second, I would hope you also see it as your duty privately to share the relevant material with the MPs who are mentioned in this email, so that they can take necessary legal action to protect their reputations if they want to do so.

I hope you would agree that it would be wholly inappropriate for you and party officials to sit on these emails and refuse either to confirm their existence, or inform those whom it defames. That would be a disservice to the public interest, it would further harm the proper process of getting to the truth of child sex abuse and it would damage your personal reputation.

I do not intend to publicise this letter at this stage, as I appreciate you may not be aware of this matter. I do not want to put undue pressure on you while you are investigating the issues I have raised and taking the necessary actions.

However, I look forward to hearing your response as a matter of urgency.

[Needless to say, he didn’t get an urgent response and had to write a follow-up letter which got the brush-off from Grant Shapps, Tory party co-chairman. He continues:]

We tried to chase up the Telegraph for a formal response but they kept ignoring us. I even asked my researcher to call the switchboard to ask for Robert Winnet’s mobile number but they refused to give it him. If I’m being honest, at this point I gave up. You can only fight so many battles.

Despite giving up I still think that Chris’s account of Holehouse’s allegations are in the public interest and would ordinarily have been jumped at by a newspaper editor.

When I read Peter Oborne’s article yesterday I felt I should at least explain that he was not alone. He did a brave thing and today he is being mocked by his former employers and others in the industry.

They’re closing ranks and trying to traduce the character of a respected journalist because he spoke truth to power like he’s supposed to, though on this occasion it was a powerful media mogul.

It’s not right.

You can read the full article (this is just an excerpt) here.

Withholding evidence is a serious offence. If the Telegraph does have this material, and does not intend to use it in a story, then its writers, editors and publishers may be accessories to the crimes of child sexual abuse to which they are said to relate; by holding them and not releasing them to the police, they would be allowing the perpetrators to remain at large.

That is criminal.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Our upstart politicians have an important lesson to learn: Respect.

vote

Sometimes events coincide to create a coherent pattern, apparently by accident.

So it seemed today, with publicity surrounding the legalised corporate theft of all our images on the Internet, the part-privatisation of the government unit that has been carrying out illegal psychometric experiments on jobseekers… and the publication of my letter to the local newspapers, deploring a previous missive from a Conservative politician who was determined to parrot disproved assertions from his superiors in London, rather than treat us like intelligent creatures and try to connect on an equal footing.

We’ll start with the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, which received Royal Assent last week. Under this act, any image that does not contain information identifying the owner (or has had that information stripped away) will become available for exploitation by commercial organisations.

These so-called “orphan works” are placed into “extended collective licensing” schemes. Any user wishing to, say, put that silly photograph you uploaded to Facebook onto a T-shirt, only has to perform a “diligent search” for the owner which, when it comes up with a blank, will allow them to proceed with impunity. And they won’t have to pay you a single penny for the use of your work.

What can you do about it? Nothing, unless you can afford costly and cumbersome legal action – despite the fact that, previously, ownership of your creation has been automatic, enshrined in the Berne Convention and other international treaties where it is still considered to be a basic human right.

Would you like to know how the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills describes the changes? Like this: “For the first time orphan works will be licensed for use; these are copyrighted works for which the owner of the copyright is unknown or can’t be found.”

That makes it seem like a good thing; in fact, it’s quite the opposite – as you’ll soon find out.

Meanwhile, we see that the government’s Behavioural Insights Team – otherwise known as the Cabinet Office’s ‘Nudge Unit’ – is being part-privatised after causing immense embarrassment to the government when it was revealed that a psychometric test it had devised for the Department for Work and Pensions to use on jobseekers was not only fake but, in fact, illegal.

The team was established after the 2010 election to – according to the government – find ways of getting people to make better choices themselves, rather than through state intervention.

But the psych test foisted on jobseekers by Iain Duncan Smith’s Department for Work and Pensions was the exact opposite of this. Firstly, workless people have been forced to take the test or lose their benefits. Next, the results have been proven to be a sham – it seems you get the same set of personality results, no matter what answers you enter – so there is no possibility of personal choice. Finally, it turns out that the whole exercise is illegal according to both UK and EU law, as “informed consent” is required before anyone takes part in a test of this kind. This is because the test has been presented as research – a “randomised control trial” (see that use of the word ‘control’? Dodgy!) according to a Cabinet Office blog.

As fellow blogger Steve Walker stated in his Skwawkbox blog on the subject earlier today (which I have reblogged), “the test itself is not the point – what is being trialled here is the supposed effect of going through it on the subjects of the trials – the unemployed people being made to participate”.

Informed consent must be given before people take part in such trials, according to the law. A person cannot be pressganged into it; they must freely make a decision to take part – written, dated and signed – after being informed of its nature, significance, implications and risks.

There is also a data protection issue.

Apparently a competition is to be held to find a business partner for the Nudge Unit. It might be hard to envisage many reputable firms seeking to collaborate with an organisation that is known to have been acting illegally, but even worse is the possibility that this will be the first of many instances where parts of the publicly-owned, operating for the benefit of everybody in the country, civil service will be hived off into private, profit-making ownership by a government of privateers who can’t wait to get their hands on all that lovely moolah – that should belong to the people, not them.

Finally, the letter I wrote last week, in answer to one from the local Conservative Parliamentary candidate, was published today in the local newspaper. It responded, with evidence-based information, to a series of groundless assertions about the bedroom tax, the benefit cap and Employment and Support Allowance, that had clearly been handed down to him from Conservative Central Office. Particularly incendiary was the parroted claim that 900,000 people dropped their claim for ESA rather than take the work capability assessment. This had been disproved and ridiculed on the same day Grant Shapps originally came out with it!

It takes a special kind of contempt for your intelligence to repeat, as fact, a claim that we all know is false. The Coalition government seems to be trying to make a living out of it.

The attitude that we see, time and time again, is “oh, they’ll take what they’re given. As long as we put a nice spin on it, they won’t even notice what’s happening to them”.

What’s happening is, of course, that our freedoms are being stolen from us, and all we’re getting in return is meaningless soundbites.

There is an election tomorrow (as I write this). You can see that certain politicians, currently in office, have no respect whatsoever for you, your opinions or your freedoms. You can’t shift them out yet.

But you can – those of you who are voting tomorrow – send a message to them and, if you have any self-respect, you will.

I hope you get the representatives – and the respect – you deserve.