Tag Archives: Daily

Is this plan for daily Covid testing of MPs simply to shore up support for Johnson?

Speaker: Lindsay Hoyle in action.

Why is the Commons Speaker, who is supposed to be neutral, suggesting a plan to re-fill Parliament with braying Boris Johnson loyalists?

Johnson made a fool of himself at Prime Minister’s Questions last week when his pre-scripted attack on Keir Starmer about a spurious connection with terrorism exposed him to ridicule.

Some commentators said Johnson was finding it hard to stand up to Starmer without the support of hundreds of Tory backbenchers behind him, egging him on.

So now Lindsay Hoyle has proposed a plan to pack the screaming mob back in:

MPs could be tested daily for coronavirus to allow them to safely fill the chamber of the House of Commons, the Speaker has suggested.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle told Times Radio he had spoken to the NHS and government about getting “a quick turnaround of tests” to allow more MPs in.

Of course, some of us have been asking why MPs have been saying it is safe for our children to be packed back into schools when they are still working from home because they fear catching the virus so much.

It is possible that a return to full attendance at the House of Commons will encourage some of them to claim that it was a silly criticism.

If so, we’ll have to remind them that the situation isn’t the same – because I don’t see the government authorising daily testing of every school attendee. Do you?

Source: Coronavirus: Test MPs for Covid-19 every day, says Speaker – BBC News

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Is the Torygraph being a snake-in-the-grass about over-75s’ TV licences?

I don’t trust the Daily Telegraph‘s advice to the elderly on the fact they’re being asked to pay for their TV licences again.

“The elderly should be in no rush to pay the BBC,” the Torygraph‘s headline proclaims – and the piece itself seems to go on in confrontational manner, making Auntie out to be the villain:

“TV Licensing will write to all licence holders aged over 75 with clear guidance about how to pay,” says the BBC, which is a polite way of saying, “We know where you live.”

Admittedly, I can’t see more than the first paragraph of Charles Moore’s article because, being published by a Tory paper, it’s behind a paywall.

But it seems to be pretending that the BBC is forcing over-75s to pay TV licences unnecessarily, and this is a lie.

The change is happening because George Osborne didn’t want the government to pay the subsidy for senior citizens that was brought in by New Labour.

He announced that the Tories would stop paying it and the BBC would have to decide what to do about it.

The choice was between asking pensioners to pay up again, or drastically reducing the BBC’s output.

Either way, there was going to be an outcry. But whatever the decision, the BBC is not to blame.

George Osborne is, along with his Tory government and its successors.

Don’t let the Torygraph fool you into believing anything else.

Source: The elderly should be in no rush to pay the BBC

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This could be a preview of every day’s coronavirus TV briefing by the Tories [SATIRE]

I’m just using this shot of Dominc Raab looking clueless at the daily briefing to hammer home the fact that the satirical clip (below) is right-on-the-button.

Larry and Paul (apparently that’s who they are) have got this exactly right:

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Coronavirus: largest daily death toll so far is reported by government

The government has reported the largest daily death toll from coronavirus so far: 786 people.

Bearing in mind the latest information from the Office For National Statistics, the actual death toll is likely to be 78 per cent higher than that: 1,400 people.

All things considered, it seems impossible to expect the government to end the coronavirus lockdown and let people stop staying at home and time soon.

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Daily Mail website flagged as fake news by Microsoft mobile web browser

A new feature on the mobile version of Microsoft’s Edge web browser has flagged the entire Daily Mail website, Mail Online, as fake news.

The site has been given a credibility rating of one out of five by Newsguard.

Visitors see a statement asserting that “this website generally fails to maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability” and “has been forced to pay damages in numerous high-profile cases”.

That is certainly This Writer’s experience of that website, although Mail Online wasn’t forced to pay damages to me. I wonder how I missed out on that? Perhaps I’m not rich enough already and didn’t have enough clout.

According to The Guardian, “NewsGuard is run by news industry veterans and says it is trying to establish industry-standard benchmarks for which news websites should be trusted. It employs analysts to manually check whether sites meet a series of journalistic standards, making all its judgements public and inviting outlets to respond to criticism and improve their standards to gain a higher rating.”

Some believe this may lead to legal action between Mail Online and Microsoft:

But there is a strong precedent for the rating. My case is just one example; the website Tabloid Corrections has found that the Mail is the most unreliable news source in the UK for the third year in a row, having been sanctioned more times by press regulator IPSO than any other title.

The site states: “The right-wing tabloid is the worst offender for the third year in a row, chalking up 28 offences in 2018. This puts it ten clear of The Times, which moves up three places to 2nd with 18 sanctions. The Sun stays at 3rd with 16, then the Daily Mirror with 10, the Daily Express and the Daily Telegraph with 7 each, and the Daily Star with 4.

“Almost all of the offences involved inaccurate reporting. Four of the Mail’s and two of The Sun’s violations didn’t involve accuracy of reporting and were against other clauses of the Editors’ Code of Practice (e.g. invasion of privacy, harassment).

“Although the Mail is the worst performer, it has improved on 2017 in terms of number of offences. Last year, the paper broke the rules 50 times. The bad news for the Rothermere-owned publication is that its total for this year would still have placed it first in both 2016 and 2017.”

I don’t think Mail Online will suffer much as a result of this – because I think most people consider it little more than a humour comic in any case. They read it to laugh at the nonsense. And, sadly, some read it to ogle the images in the extremely sexist newsroll down the right-hand column of that site’s layout.

As I write this, the BBC’s Politics Live has been covering the issue of fake news – without mentioning the Mail Online case once. Instead it focused on a Facebook post that claimed to refer to the UK Parliament but had its origins in the US political system. It’s perfectly reasonable to do so, although the omission is questionable.

The issue is one that This Site has highlighted recently – that anyone claiming to quote facts about political issues must provide proof, usually in the form of references to their sources. Then readers can check those sources.

If there aren’t any references then you assume the claim isn’t true – and draw your own conclusions about the person or organisation making it.

Anti-Semitic ‘Jewish conspiracy’ story about Soros confirms the businessman’s own fears

I await with resignation what I expect will be a sorry lack of support for George Soros from those who claim to stand up against anti-Semitism in the UK.

Our good friends in the Campaign Against Antisemitism, for example, have failed to condemn the Torygraph‘s anti-Semitic article. Apparently co-author Nick Timothy is a friend of the organisation (besides being a former chief advisor to Conservative prime minister Theresa May), by its own admission.

Is that why the lie that Mr Soros is covertly funding pro-EU groups (he declares all such payments) is allowed to go unchallenged? It very clearly presents that classic anti-Semitic trope, of an international conspiracy by rich Jews who are secretly running the world.

And now I wonder if I’ll be accused of the same offence, just for mentioning it. After all, I was accused of it after responding in good faith to a commenter’s query about another version of it. It seems that, for some campaigners, anti-Semitism is in the eye of the beholder.

Mr Soros is on record as a critic of Israel’s government and those of its policies which his Open Society Foundation describes as “racist and undemocratic”. He has funded groups which support the BDS – Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions – movement against the Israeli government. And he has warned that Israeli policies may be stoking anti-Semitism indirectly, in that attitudes towards Israel are shaped by the way people perceive the behaviour of a country that is determined to be synonymous with the Jewish people.

And he admits that his own success contributes to that attitude as, he says, the new anti-Semitism holds that Jews rule the world.

This is what the Torygraph article implies – that Mr Soros, a Jew, is using his vast wealth to covertly influence world affairs.

It seems, to This Writer, that he won’t have any help fighting that smear from those who claim to stand against anti-Semitism, or their supporters…

Because they don’t like his politics.

George Soros isn’t a universally-known name in the UK. But in the US, he is the bogeyman of the far right. Trump supporters and right wingers claim the Jewish billionaire is lurking sinisterly behind every liberal campaign and media outlet going.

Now, the antisemitic flu has crossed the Atlantic. Because on Thursday 8 February, The Telegraph newspaper published [the story in the image above].

In reality, Soros has provided financial support to pro-EU groups openly.

So, The Telegraph article is wrong. But what makes it antisemitic? Put simply, it promotes the long-running antisemitic conspiracy theory that rich Jews run the world.

Source: The Telegraph has published an antisemitic ‘Jewish conspiracy’ theory about Brexit [IMAGE] | The Canary


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In the Labour anti-Semitism debate, Daily Politics hosts a genuine Tory racist

Racism: George Freeman [Image: BBC].

What a shocking display of racism on the BBC’s Daily Politics programme today (January 23)!

George Freeman’s outrageous claim that it isn’t racist to call black people “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles” went unchallenged by host Jo Coburn.

He made his comments in defence of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, while attacking the Labour Party, alleging that it tolerates anti-Semites in its ranks.

The outburst was condemned by Jackie Walker, a Labour member and former vice-chair of Momentum who, like This Writer, is facing disciplinary action by party authorities over alleged – and allegedly vexatious – allegations of anti-Semitism.

Here’s the exchange:

As you can see, Mr Freeman hypocritically attacked the Labour Party for abuses while claiming that obviously racist remarks by Mr Johnson were simply “inappropriate language”. And he tried to dismiss counter-claims that right-wingers on the social media had made equally shocking attacks.

If I were to claim that the anti-Semitism alleged against me was merely “inappropriate language”, my accusers would have a field day – and rightly so. My case is much stronger than that.

Interestingly:

Apparently some prejudice is more objectionable than others in their opinion.

Fortunately there were others who did take offence at Mr Freeman’s behaviour. Here’s a selection of their (and my) comments:

https://twitter.com/Daniel_Grigg/status/955787930177597440

My interpretation of that is, we’re looking at Mr Freeman and Mr Johnson.

It’s definitely worth a complaint via the BBC website.

He doesn’t care when it’s anti-Semitic – the accusations against Labour members like Ms Walker are without basis.

https://twitter.com/Mathewdcx/status/955800700012974080

This seems more likely.

Emma Picken, to whom Janice Barnes was responding, is one of the anti-Semitism trolls on Twitter – they gang up to accuse people of anti-Semitism, posting their version of evidence, which isn’t evidence at all. If you look at the image she included in her tweet above, you’ll see it’s by another person, alleging that the Church of England has capitulated to the pro-Israel/Zionist lobby. Personally, I don’t know anything about the issue in particular, but it is very clear that the matter is political, to do with the nation of Israel and the policy of Zionism – and has nothing to do with anti-Semitism at all. But Ms Picken quotes it in support of her claim that Ms Walker is an anti-Semite.

You see how these people work?

Ms Walker is currently under suspension from the Labour Party after attending a so-called “training” session run by the Jewish Labour Movement in which, discussing Holocaust Memorial Day, she asked why the event did not commemorate all holocausts, including that against Native Americans. The event had been advertised as a “safe space”, in which people could air their concerns without fear of reprisal, so the appropriate response would be to discuss the event, perhaps visit its website and see whether Ms Walker was mistaken and the event that concerned her is commemorated after all, and discuss asking for it to be added if it isn’t.

Instead, the JLM either recorded her comments, or allowed them to be recorded and released to the mainstream media (I think it was the Huffington Post as an example of her vile anti-Semitism.

Can you see any hatred of Jews there? It seems to me that Ms Walker was advocating for another ethnic group, rather than denigrating Jews.

Of course, the definition of anti-Semitism seems to be highly subjective, as the discussion on Daily Politics made clear:

I agreed with her:

I also agree that further definition does indeed draw people into very “murky water” – and the definition recognised by Labour, against which Ms Walker will be judged, won’t stand up in a court of law.

Labour’s disputes panel isn’t a court of law, of course, but the smirk Ms Coburn sent towards George Freeman when she suggested Ms Walker take these issues up with Labour may soon be permanently wiped off her face because, like me, Ms Walker’s case is that, like mine, her actions do not conform to any of the definitions of anti-Semitism that have been adopted by the Labour Party.

Most particularly, we do not express hatred towards Jews, simply because they are Jews.

George Freeman, on the other hand, is very clearly a racist.


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The Mail was wrong about ‘feminist’ t-shirt

THIS is what a feminist looks like: Actress Emma Watson has recently been using her role as UN Women's Goodwill Ambassador to promote HeForShe, a campaign that fights for equal rights - for both genders - by inspiring men and boys to support gender equality. If the Fawcett shirt is good enough for her, it's good enough for us!

THIS is what a feminist looks like: Actress Emma Watson has recently been using her role as UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador to promote HeForShe, a campaign that fights for equal rights – for both genders – by inspiring men and boys to support gender equality. If the Fawcett shirt is good enough for her, it’s good enough for us!

It’s all bad news for the Mail on Sunday.

Not only did it target the wrong people with its report stating that t-shirts proclaiming “This is what a feminist looks like” were made in a sweatshop, but now the charity that commissioned them has made it clear that the claim isn’t even accurate.

The Fawcett Society had the shirts made and sold them in Whistles shops. Yesterday it revealed that “expansive and current evidence” showed that the CMT factory in Mauritius that Whistles used to produce the shirts “conforms to ethical standards”.

The evidence shows that all of the workers are paid more than the government-mandated minimum wage and all are paid according to their skills and years of service.

The standard working week is 45 hours, and workers are compensated, at a higher rate of pay, for any overtime worked.

There is a high level of staff retention and employees are offered training and development. Workers are able to join a union and there is a union presence in the factor.

In addition, an audit into the CMT factory was carried out only last month (October 2014), by an independent not-for-profit organisation, and this did not reveal any material concerns on the working conditions, welfare or the health and safety of workers.

In many ways, it seems this factory provides better conditions than are currently available in the UK, with no zero-hours contracts, overtime paid at a higher rate, and staff training available.

Fawcett’s deputy CEO, Eva Neitzert, said the charity was not taking the evidence at face value and was examining it with the help of an international trade union.

“The evidence we have seen categorically refutes the assertion that the ‘This is what a feminist looks like’ T-shirts produced by Whistles were made in a sweatshop,” she said.

“Whilst we have confidence in the evidence provided to us, we are currently working closely with an international trade union body to scrutinise it so that we can be absolutely assured of its provenance, authenticity and that all findings are robust and factual.

“Further, whilst Fawcett has a UK remit, we are nonetheless acutely concerned with the inequalities women across the globe face. We recognise that investment in developing countries is vital and support this provided decent labour standards are adhered to.

“We will continue to work with Elle and Whistles on this project.”

The Mail on Sunday raised its objections to the shirts after Labour Party leader Ed Miliband was photographed wearing one for a special feminism-based issue of Elle magazine, and Harriet Harman wore one in the House of Commons to mock Tory leader David Cameron.

It seems Mr Cameron – who has very few women in his cabinet – had declined to wear the shirt, claiming that he did not have the time to put it on.

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The Mail is silly to whip up a storm over a t-shirt

zfeministshirt

It wouldn’t be a Sunday without a bonkers story from the Mail, would it?

This week, that pillar of the rabid-right press has got the knives out for Ed Miliband – because he put on a t-shirt without knowing its full history.

The shirt, emblazoned with the words, “This is what a feminist looks like,” was given to him by the women’s-interest magazine Elle, in association with equal rights charity the Fawcett Society, in the hope that he would agree to be photographed wearing it for a forthcoming special issue of the magazine on feminism.

The Fawcett Society had commissioned the shirt and said it had been told the garment would be made ethically.

But Mail on Sunday reporters weren’t satisfied with such assurances! Stung by the criticism attached to their idol David Cameron, after he refused to wear it (on the basis that he didn’t have the time, if the BBC’s News Quiz is any kind of reliable source of information), they travelled to Mauritius, where the shirt was made.

There, they learned that “Migrant women in Mauritius are making the £45 tops for 62p an hour” and that, when they weren’t working, they “sleep 16 to a room and earn less than average wage on island”.

Two thoughts occur: Firstly, the Mail on Sunday is wrong to direct its anger at Mr Miliband (and at Labour’s Deputy Leader, Harriet Harman, who wore the shirt in the House of Commons during Prime Minister’s Questions, to highlight the lack of women in Cameron’s cabinet).

Everybody who put on that shirt and allowed themselves to be photographed wearing it did so in good faith. They did it for the Fawcett Society – a charity that supports ethical employment and equality – and for Elle, to support its edition on gender equality.

How many times have you ever asked if anybody was exploited in the making of a clothing item before buying it?

If anyone has been caught in the wrong, it is whoever the Fawcett Society contracted to manufacture the shirt. If the Mail allegations are accurate, then the organisation was misled, the t-shirts will have to be withdrawn from sale and the charity will (now) have to apologise to anyone whose name has been besmirched by association with it.

Secondly, it is hypocritical in the extreme for the Mail to be criticising the treatment of migrant workers who have been paid less than the average wage and forced to live in overcrowded conditions.

The Mail‘s attacks on people who immigrate into the UK are now the stuff of legend; it supported Lord Freud after he commented that some disabled people could be made to work for less than the minimum wage; and it is a strong supporter of the Bedroom Tax and other changes to housing-related social security benefits which can lead to eviction for families who cannot make ends meet in David Cameron’s low-wage, no-benefit Britain. When people become homeless, their local council has to pay for them to be housed in bed-and-breakfast accommodation, often sharing with many other people, often in entirely inappropriate conditions.

In writing the article, the Mail set out to expose Ed Miliband as a hypocrite.

In fact, all it has done is expose its own double-standards.

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Are they having a laugh? Mail suggests people are confusing Gaza for ‘Gazza’

This is a genuine tweet.

This is a genuine tweet.

Another Mail hoax – or does this one have the ring of truth? You decide:

“Fans of former England footballer Paul Gascoigne, popularly known as ‘Gazza’, were left confused and fearing for his future as a Free Gaza campaign took off online,” according to Mail on Sunday reporter Stephanie Linning.

“Tweets with the hashtag #freegaza have been trending on Twitter in response to the violence in the Middle East, with users using their posts to urge Israeli forces to stop their assault on the Gaza Strip.

“But followers of the troubled player, who has become known for his battles with alcohol and drugs, mistakenly thought that he had been arrested and that the campaign was in support of his freedom.”

Readers who are familiar with the Mail – both Daily and on Sunday – will be aware of its apparent determination to become the nation’s purveyor of bizarre fictional ‘news’, in the wake of the Sunday Sport. Amazingly this story seems to have a basis in reality, as it featured images of tweets sent by real people.

“Confused fans took to Twitter to write messages that used the hashtag #freegaza, while others changed the hashtag to read #freegazza,” the story continued.

“One loyal fan posted on the social network: ‘Didn’t know the great man had been locked up, but I am jumping on the bandwagon #FreeGazza’.

“Others turned to the social network for answers. One user wrote: ‘What has Paul Gascoigne done now has he been arrested #freegaza’.”

Meanwhile, on another social network (Facebook) an altogether better-considered commenter, sharing the story, lamented the fact that “these people have the vote”.

Perhaps that’s why the Tories get elected, and why the Green Party doesn’t…

These people see “Conservative” on the ballot paper and think it says “Conservationist”.

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