Tag Archives: Mail

Image of #Whitty confronting #Johnson over #Covid19 goes viral. What WAS he saying?

Whitty furious: but what was the UK’s chief medical officer saying to the prime minister who has bungled our defence against Covid-19 so badly?

Remember the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words? It seems the above image of Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty tearing Boris Johnson a new one has merited many thousands more:

That last tweet seems the most likely to be true, profanity-ridden though it is.

The image accompanied a Spectator article by Robert Peston in which that “magazine” heralded a report by the Office for National Statistics that is likely to say Covid-19 is on the march again everywhere, not just in regional pockets.

It is also likely to say that while the illness is rising in all age groups, it is now most prevalent in young people aged 17-29.

The article goes on to discuss the latest plan to stop the march of the virus, by forcing pubs, clubs and restaurants nationally to turf out customers at 10 pm or reverting to closing them altogether for a couple of weeks.

Apparently the name devised for this is “circuit breaker lockdown”, the aim being to interrupt the progress of the virus by stopping its flow along an established route.

Bit of a misnomer, that, as closing pubs at 10pm isn’t going to stop Covid being spread through them.

In any case, the damage has already been done; it’s fixing the barn door after the chicken has come home to roost.

The simple fact is that Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock and their cronies (who don’t like being challenged, according to London Mayor Sadiq Khan, remember) should not have reopened pubs in the way they did after such a haphazard campaign to keep a lid on the virus.

And that’s what I suspect Whitty was saying when the image was captured.

The article does highlight the real aim of Johnson’s Covid-related restrictions on our freedoms:

The priority of the Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, is to suppress the incidence of the virus to a level that doesn’t prevent the NHS from treating other diseases and conditions.

So the idea is to infect the whole nation, piecemeal – presumably in the hope of eventually achieving that mythical “herd immunity” Johnson mentioned to Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby back in March.

And never mind how many people die or suffer permanent health consequences as a result. Charming.

Peston, and the Spectator, also suggests that Johnson and his government “moved too late to prevent the first wave”, and “eventually applied the sledgehammer of total lockdown at huge economic cost”.

This seems characteristic of many right-wing periodicals; they are deserting the Tories – and in fact have started to criticise them hotly over the Covid fiasco.

Guardian article points out that the same magazine – The Spectator – ran a “Where’s Boris?” cartoon on its front cover “featuring a distant blond dot on a tiny boat bobbing rudderless and oarless on a stormy sea”.

The Daily Mail had reached a similar conclusion. “Boris: We’ve Failed” the front-page headline blared, with the paper claiming it had warned of a “looming test crisis five months ago”.

“Too often the government has over-promised and under-delivered,” concluded a leader in the Times on Friday morning. “Policies have had to be swiftly abandoned after the exposure of entirely predictable problems,” the centre-right broadsheet continued, adding the A-level fiasco and the problems with the contact-tracing app for good measure.

Of course they’re not willing to shift loyalty away from the Tories altogether… at least, not yet.

Labour leader Keir Starmer, for all his attempts to drag his party back into Tory orbit (and perhaps because of it) has failed to impress anybody apart from the most fervent haters of the man he replaced, Jeremy Corbyn. That party will need to find a new leader with a drop of socialism in his blood and a penchant for a decent soundbite. That’s not happening any time soon.

But just look at that picture.

This Writer has never seen a middle-aged bald man look so ready to smash somebody else’s face in – and I make that statement as a middle-aged, bald man myself.

It seems clear that Johnson is at a crossroads – but has probably sold his soul to the devil already. He’s on a road to a Hell of his own making – the question now is whether he’ll drag us all down with him.

Source: With scientists divided, it’s time for politicians to decide | The Spectator

Silly season stories: can you believe this desperate bid to blame Johnson’s Covid on Corbyn aide

This is very desperate, isn’t it?

Apparently the claim is that Seumas Milne, aide to Jeremy Corbyn when he was Labour leader, passed Covid-19 on to Boris Johnson – according to the Mail on Sunday:

Of course the real reason Johnson caught the virus is the one we’ve known all along: in the days before he imposed social distancing, he had been going around shaking hands with Covid-19 sufferers – getting right into the area where they could infect him.

But those medical experts at MoS thought it couldn’t be that, and concocted this Milne story instead.

Clearly they had some column inches to fill.

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Why is the field Starmer bought for his parent’s rescue donkeys a scandal, but Osborne’s paddock wasn’t?

Keir Starmer: at least this time he has reason to look relaxed – he hasn’t done anything wrong.

Let’s get one thing clear: Keir Starmer has been a disaster (so far) as leader of the Labour Party.

It comes as a relief, therefore, to learn that he is at least a good son.

Using his own money, Starmer bought a field near his parents’ home, so his mother could look after rescued donkeys. This was before he was a member of Parliament, when he was working in the legal profession.

Apparently the land is now worth “up to £10 million”, but he bought it in 1996 when it is likely to have been worth a considerable amount less.

And reporters in the Mail on Sunday want us to believe that Starmer is set to sell this Green Belt land to the local council – for housing:

The claim is false. Even the MoS article features a quote from a Labour spokesperson, saying that the field is not for sale – but a strip of land next to his late parents’ house is being sold, in accordance with his father’s will.

Contrast this with George Osborne and his paddock.

Remember that?

I wrote about it in 2012, as follows:

“Osborne – who is, let’s remember, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and therefore should know the rules extremely well – included the mortgage for a paddock in his taxpayer-funded expenses.

“He bought a farmhouse in Cheshire, along with the neighbouring land, for £455,000 in 2000, before he became an MP – but then, between 2003 and 2009, he claimed up to £100,000 in expenses to cover mortgage interest payments on both the land and the building. The mortgages were interest-only. After 2003, he never paid a penny himself.

“When he re-mortgaged in 2005, he increased the amount to £480,000 – again on an interest-only basis – to cover the intial purchase costs and £10,000 for repairs. He was using public money to claw back his outlay on the property, so from then on, none of the money paid on that building or land was paid by Mr Osborne. It all came from the taxpayer.

“During the MPs’ expenses scandal of 2009 we learned that he had “flipped” his second home allowance onto the property and increased the mortgage. What we didn’t know was that the expenses payments were not just for the house, but for the paddock as well; it is registered separately with the Land Registry.

“Osborne sold the house and the land – both of which are now firmly established as having been funded with your money, not his – last year, for £1 million. That’s more than double the original price. He has pocketed that money; the taxpayer won’t get any of it back.”

Osborne did not need this building or the adjoining land to discharge his Parliamentary duties, nor did he pay back anything like the amount he claimed, when he was found to have overclaimed for mortgage interest on the farmhouse (and only the farmhouse).

The difference is clear.

Osborne used public funds to pocket hundreds of thousands of pounds. Starmer used his own money to help his mother.

And the Mail on Sunday attacked Starmer!

Perhaps this is because Osborne is a Conservative and could therefore do no wrong, as far as the Tory rags are concerned. Starmer, on the other hand, despite being practically a Red Tory, is Labour and therefore a target.

Fortunately the Twitterati feel otherwise:

That’s the truth of it; this is just a prelude.

Who knows what they’ll throw at him after the Covid-19 crisis finally subsides?

That’s likely to be a long way off yet (because the Tories are busily turning coronavirus into the biggest massacre of UK citizens ever to happen in peacetime).

But Starmer’s record as Labour leader suggests that this merely means they will have plenty of ammunition by then.

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Now Iain Duncan Smith has received something intimidating in a brown envelope

Iain Duncan Smtih: apparently the ‘pick’ of Tory candidates for Chingford.

Iain Duncan Smith is formerly the Conservative Work and Pensions secretary who oversaw the transformation of the DWP from a support system into a mechanism for brutalising the poor.

It is on his watch that millions of unemployed, sick and disabled people developed a phobia of the infamous brown envelopes.

They became terrified of opening the letters, fearing that they contained announcements that their benefits were being sanctioned, cancelled altogether, or that they were to be re-assessed.

Now Mr Duncan Smith has received an intimidating brown envelope of his own.

It contained the decomposing remains of a rat – presumably a comment about what the sender thinks of the recipient.

But if it was intended to be intimidating, it didn’t work. Mr Duncan Smith simply used it to play the victim – and to blame the Labour Party and its supporters.

The reference to “kinder, gentler politics” is a clear attack on Jeremy Corbyn’s aspiration, when he became Labour leader in 2015, to encourage the Conservatives to be less confrontational and divisive.

Mr Corbyn’s wish did not come true because of people like Iain Duncan Smith.

None of Mr Duncan Smith’s complaints can be laid at Labour’s door and some are plain hypocritical.

The Tories are masters of smear tactics; we know that Mr Corbyn is the most-smeared UK political leader of all time.

(For example, when I used a search engine to find a reference to the smears against Mr Corbyn, look what was top of the results – because the Tories had paid for it to be there:

Hypocrisy.)

This writer does not approve of what happened.

Stunts like this simply give Mr Duncan Smith the opportunity to demand sympathy; he’s the victim here, right?

But he also has much to answer for, and should be brought to justice.

The best way to do that is to ensure he is voted out of Parliament.

Then we can seek justice for all the misery and death his policies have caused.

Source: Iain Duncan Smith is sent dead decomposing rat in post | The Independent

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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.

Mail goes Back To The Future with latest smear against Jeremy Corbyn


This is priceless.

Now the Mail is accusing Jeremy Corbyn of having given a speech at the wedding of a Holocaust denier.

The only problem is, the wedding happened in 2010 and Husam Zumlot’s claim that the Nazi Holocaust in Europe was fabricated by Jewish people was not made until 2014, four years later.

How was Mr Corbyn supposed to know?

Does Mail deputy political editor Glen Owen think Mr Corbyn is also a personal friend of Marty McFly and Dr Emmett Brown, and they gave him access to their time-travelling DeLorean?

Do that rag’s editors think he has personal access to the Tardis?

Perhaps they think he has a working crystal ball?

Are they deranged enough to believe that either of those time machines are real?

I doubt it. But here it is, in black and white:

Jeremy Corbyn was embroiled in a fresh anti-Semitism row last night after it was revealed that he gave a wedding speech for an alleged Holocaust ‘denier’.

Jeremy Corbyn spoke at alleged Holocaust ‘denier’ Husam Zomlot’s wedding, five years before the MP became Labour leader.

Mr Zomlot, 44, told the BBC in 2014: ‘They [Israel] are fabricating all these stories about beheading journalists in Iraq… as if they are fabricating also the story of the Holocaust, that it happened in Europe.’

Mr Corbyn became Labour leader in 2015. Five years before that was 2010, and the offensive comment was made in 2014.

He could not possibly have known that Mr Zomlot was going to say such a thing.

But I bet the usual suspects are lining up to make fools of themselves by pushing this lie as strongly as all the other smears.

Visit our JustGiving page to help Vox Political’s Mike Sivier fight anti-Semitism libels in court


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UN report defends disabled people against Tory policy; Tory newsrag attacks it with nonsense

If Tory austerity policies are "common-sense", why do they get the riot police out every time UK citizens hold a peaceful demonstration against them?

If Tory austerity policies are “common-sense”, why do they get the riot police out every time UK citizens hold a peaceful demonstration against them?

The Heil on Sunday is spearheading the Tory government’s campaign against the United Nations over a report attacking Conservative policy on people with disabilities. Unfortunately for both the newsrag and the government that leaked the information to it, their arguments are nonsense.

A draft of the report has been leaked to Heil reporters, two weeks in advance of its publication, along with an indication of the Tory response. We may therefore assume that it was leaked by Damian Green or one of his – for want of a better word – team.

The UN says disabled people in the UK are unfairly bearing the brunt of austerity cuts brought by the Tories, and that the government should spend more money on support for the extra costs associated with disability.

It also seeks “appropriate mitigation measures” for people with disabilities who are affected by Tory austerity policies.

The disproportionate effect of austerity measures on the disabled has been known for a long time. Here are the figures:

160908-heaviest-cuts

The Conservatives want to say that all the figures used by the UN are out of date. This is a false argument.

The figures are those that were available at the time the UN was collecting information for its inquiry. I believe the cut-off date for submission of information was the end of October 2015 – that is when I sent in my own, lengthy, report. It is unlikely that the facts have changed hugely since that time – and readers should note that the Tory source provided no evidence of such change.

The figures quoted showed a change between 2010 and 2016 and are therefore not indicative.

The same source said the UK spends more to support people with disabilities than the average among developed countries – meaning nothing. What is the cost of living in those countries? Is it as high as here in the UK? This is doubtful as, under the Tories, the cost of living has skyrocketed. Was it the mean average or the median average among developed countries?Which developed countries – were they countries with a notable similarity to the UK or just some countries that could be used to create a lower average figure?

You would have to be stupid to accept these comments at face value.

The Heil dredges the depths with an attack on one of the report’s authors, for opinions he has expressed that have nothing to do with the report – an ad hominem argument against him as a person, rather than anything written in the report.

I couldn’t care less what Stig Langvad thinks should happen in his own country – where prostitution has been legal since 1999, by the way. It isn’t relevant here. He is not arguing that anyone should do the same in a country where buying sexual services is still an offence.

The article follows up on this with a misleading comment from a Tory MP, Andrea Jenkins. Her attempt to confuse Mr Langvad’s comments about his own country with UN policy is utterly disgraceful and she deserves to be rebuked for it – in Parliament.

In the opinion of This Writer, she also deserves to be rebuked for calling Tory policies “common sense”.

Finally, let’s look at the comments from Damian Green, which are lifted from a speech he made last week.

I agree that sitting at home alone isn’t good for people with mental health problems – but the “common-sense” policies of Mr Green and Ms Jenkins’s Conservative Government demand that, if people are receiving sickness and/or disability benefits, that is what they must do.

They are not allowed to engage in any meaningful hobbies, activities or social life. It would infringe their benefit conditionality.

But putting them to work is not the answer; there is a reason they have been signed off.

The attitude on display shows very clearly why the Conservative Party should never be put in charge of sensitive matters like care for the disabled: Tories simply are not capable of handling these matters in a mature way.

But we should be grateful to the Heil on Sunday for providing a preview of the silly arguments they’ll put forward to justify themselves.

It gives advocates for the sick and disabled – and their MPs – the opportunity to develop their own responses, which will need to be factual and inarguable.

Theresa May is braced for criticism of her welfare policy after a controversial United Nations task force concluded that disabled people in Britain are unfairly bearing the brunt of austerity cuts.

The UN report, due to be published in the next fortnight, is expected to be highly critical of the UK’s support for people with disabilities or serious health conditions.

Ministers are planning to fight back by arguing that the findings are out of date, and by questioning the credibility of the authors, one of whom has called for state funding for disabled people to visit prostitutes.

A senior Whitehall source said they intended to ‘push back hard’ by pointing out that the UK spends more on disability welfare than the average among developed countries.

The source added: ‘This committee has chosen the UK for its first report and we fear they are trying to make a name for themselves.

‘Their evidence period runs up until the end of 2015, so it is already out of date. We intend to point out that the UK spends around £50 billion a year on benefits to support disabled people and people with health conditions, which is over £6 billion more than in 2010.’

One of the authors, Stig Langvad, has argued that the Danish government should pay for disabled people to visit prostitutes.

Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green set out plans last week to confront the ‘prejudices and misunderstandings’ which prevent those with physical and mental health difficulties from finding employment.

He said he wanted to raise awareness of the health benefits of being employed and to make clear that ‘the idea that sitting at home living on benefits is in any way good for people – particularly people with a mental health condition – is completely wrong’.

Tory MP Andrea Jenkyns said last night: ‘If the UN’s benchmark is spending taxpayers’ cash on prostitutes, no wonder the common-sense policies of the UK fall short.’

Source: UN task force slams Britain’s welfare cuts and says disabled people are ‘bearing the brunt’  | Daily Mail Online

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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.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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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.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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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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