Tag Archives: Media

As police get access to #trackandtrace data, the public swaps stories about #ToryLiars

A load of bull: how many people believe the childish chatter the Tories give us every day in place of facts?

Public patience with the lies of Boris Johnson’s Conservative government is running out.

The latest revelation of their duplicity – that supposedly confidential information provided by people who use the Tories’ silly ‘contact tracing’ app is being passed to the police – has triggered a wave of social media posts under the hashtag #ToryLiars.

Here’s the story that triggered it:

It states that there is a legal requirement for contacts of people who’ve had a positive Covid-19 test to self-isolate for 14 days, but fewer than 11 per cent are actually doing so.

Police are being given their identity details in order to chase up enforcement.

Reasons given for breaking self-isolation include believing there was no point isolating from strangers if you cannot properly distance from those in your household; not developing symptoms; or visiting shops or a pharmacy.

Obviously the second excuse is made by idiots; we’ve already been told symptoms may develop over a period of up to 14 days, so failure to see them before the full period is over is no excuse for ending self-isolation.

But the point about not isolating from strangers if you can’t isolate from other members of your household who don’t have to self-isolate under Tory government rules is a good one. I have said before that, if symptoms develop, then the housemates may have spent many days merrily spreading the virus.

And my own knowledge of friends and family who were told to “shield” from the virus by isolating themselves while healthy is enough for me to understand why people have been forced to give up self-isolation to buy food and/or seek medication.

It isn’t a failure of intelligence because it was easy to see these problems coming and while I do believe our government ministers are stupid, I don’t believe they were not warned. I think they chose to ignore those warnings and left people to struggle – and spread the virus.

You see, a partial lockdown is as useless as no lockdown at all, when you’re trying to contain a disease.

So the Tories have created a situation where their own failure to create proper conditions for self-isolation has created a need for police enforcement that should not be there.

The public know this and resent it. Hence the charge that the Tories have lied about the app’s confidentiality.

I know some have pointed out that no information on the app itself is being shared – just registration details – but of course people hand those details over in order to use the app so it is a very flimsy excuse.

The claim that this is a lie has led to further comments on other recent Tory lies. And there have been a lot of them:

Undoubtedly the list is lengthening as I type this.

Look up the #ToryLiars hashtag on Twitter and learn something.

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Restless public holds up Jon Snow monstering of ‘death minister’ Hancock as example of how media should hold Tories to account

People are getting tired of the BBC and other Tory-supporting media letting Boris Johnson’s government get away with its mistakes.

That’s why this drubbing of Tory “death minister” Matt Hancock by Channel 4’s Jon Snow – carried out while Parliament was deadlocked over Brexit last year – has suddenly become hugely popular on Twitter.

Snow? It’s more like a blizzard:

People haven’t been holding back in their criticisms of certain hacks in the mainstream media:

Will it do any good? Of course not.

As I type this, the BBC’s Politics Live has been discussing Chris Bryant’s nomination of US Presidential candidate Joe Biden for the Nobel Peace Prize rather than any of the disasters that the Tories are bringing to the UK.

Perhaps they’ll get around to the Tory cowards who are abstaining on the Internal Market Bill that plans to break international law and return violence to Northern Ireland later but I doubt it.

Oh look! They’re discussing Boris Johnson’s daft speech about re-skilling people for the post-Covid economy as if he knows what he’s talking about.

Perhaps we should all just adopt the Jon Snow ‘blizzard’ approach whenever we see our own Tory MPs instead.

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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

Why is Israel’s latest bombing campaign against Gaza going unreported?

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Heavy damage: this is what Israel is doing to Gaza – and none of your elected representatives has anything to say about it.

I think we know the answer to the question in the headline but let’s establish the facts.

At the time the Morning Star article was published, Israel had been bombing Gaza for eight days, non-stop, in response to – Israeli authorities claimed – two missiles.

Civilian property – mark that: civilian property – has suffered heavy damage, according to the report.

In addition, Israel has forced Palestinian fishing boats out of the sea and cut off the only commercial route into the enclave, stopping crucial supplies of fuel, meaning the energy supply will have to be cut to around three or four hours per day.

This Writer is reminded of an attempt by a noted celebrity who is strongly in favour of Israel’s aggressively-Zionist policies of extermination against the Palestinian people, to paint Israel as the victim.

A commenter to This Site tells us she said, referring to the recent explosion in Beirut:

“As soon as Lebanon happened, I can imagine the types that were ready to say, ‘Israel’s on the border, did they, would they, could they?’ I’m very grateful that Hezbollah said they did it.”

Journalist : “Wait, what? It was an accident resulting from political fecklessness, Hezbollah isn’t even the largest party in the Lebanese parliament, and definitely nobody said they did it. She makes a noise as though we’ll just agree to differ……”

You see how it goes?

As mentioned before on This Site, violence by either side in a conflict is abhorrent. But it behooves the better-equipped antagonist to respond to outbursts from a weaker foe in moderation – and that simply isn’t happening.

Every day – if we know where to look – we can find accounts of atrocities carried out by the euphemistically-named Israel Defence Force.

But we don’t see these reports on our national news because anyone reporting them would instantly be labelled an anti-Semite by people like the celebrity mentioned above.

It’s time that changed.

Much of Twitter seems to agree with me – those on the right side of history, anyway:

This thread shows what Palestine is being put through and why it is wrong:

And this response to the same tweet asks a question I think we’d all like to see answered:

It’s true. Who’s the foreign secretary now? Dominic Raab? Still? Oh well – where’s his condemnation of the Israeli government?

What about Keir Starmer? Does he really have nothing to say? Perhaps he’s too busy accusing Labour members of anti-Semitism for sharing a Vox Political post, or victimising people in some other way to get involved in the realities.

There’s only one way to get change, and that is to demand it – in a way that threatens the muttonheads in power.

Will you speak up for Gaza? Or are you afraid the nasty big boys (and girls) will call you a name?

Source: Electricity cut to three hours a day in Gaza as Israeli bombing continues for 8th day | Morning Star

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Covid-19: Tories admit their own incompetence as ‘test and trace’ app is unlawful

Matt Hancock: he was a Covid-19 super-spreader so it should be no surprise that his employees on the ‘track and trace’ programme have been publicising patients’ confidential information. It is a criminal offence and he should be punished by a judge. What do you think will happen?

Isn’t this criminal stupidity?

The Tories have been telling us their ‘test and trace’ app for finding people who’ve had Covid-19, in order to isolate those they’ve contacted, is vital to prevent the spread of the disease – and therefore stop unnecessary deaths.

But now we learn that it breaches privacy laws, with Sky News reporting that the programme’s staff have been sharing private information about patients on the social media.

What a Hobson’s Choice we’ve had – refuse to use the app and Tory twits like Matt Hancock accuse us of betraying the campaign against the virus; but if we do use it, our intimate personal information goes public!

It turns out that critics of the scheme, the Open Rights Group, were right and the government did not conduct a data privacy impact assessment (DPIA) which is required to ensure that breaches of patients’ information don’t take place.

But a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said there was “no evidence of data being used unlawfully” – and then clammed up when asked if a Sunday Times report that this is exactly what has happened was accurate.

The Open Rights Group reckons it has already seen evidence of confidential track and trace information being shared on social media – and This Writer is certainly more inclined to believe that organisation than a government that has built up a record of relentless incompetence.

Can anybody tell me a single thing the Tories have got right since December 13, 2019?

Of course, breach of Data Protection laws is a criminal offence and the person directly responsible for this one will be the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, one Matt Hancock.

How lucky he must feel, knowing that as a Tory minister he is above the law and the police wouldn’t touch him even if he committee murder on television.

Source: Coronavirus: Government admits its Test and Trace programme is unlawful | Science & Tech News | Sky News

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Propaganda: DWP sweet-talks mainstream news media about low Universal Credit pay

This is a blatant bid to manipulate the media.

It’s also fixing the barn door after the horse has bolted. The DWP’s Universal Credit supremo, Neil Couling, already gave the game away to Disability News Service on April 16.

So we know that the Tory government has adopted a hard line with people claiming UC because they have lost their job or their income due to the coronavirus lockdown.

As This Site already reported, he told DNS firstly that there is no way he’s going to speed the automatic processing of UC claims and they’ll all have to wait five weeks from the moment they claim, before they get any cash.

The system is designed to bleed you dry, weeks before you get any payments. Then you have to beg for a loan, and then you spend months trying to pay off that loan, while the lowered payments you get because you took the loan mean you go further into debt.

In the Torygraph today, Mr Couling is quoted, warning new claimants to brace themselves for the fact that their payments won’t be as high as they expect.

Look at the state of this reporting:

Director General Neil Couling counselled a “little bit of caution” over Universal Credit sums, saying that people may be “confused” about what they are entitled to.

He said: “People will get their result and they’ll say, ‘Hang on, that’s not what I was expecting’.

“There will be a few confused people out there for the first couple of weeks because they have not had experience of how Universal Credit works before.”

There are fears that new claimants will take home substantially less than they had anticipated because they received a redundancy payment in the past month or declared earnings from self-employment.

What a way to describe the financial enslavement of 1.4 million people!

Meanwhile, I hope you noticed that the Conservative government’s ministers have refused to take a voluntary pay cut, in solidarity with the working people whose income has been decimated by the lockdown:

Matt Hancock today flatly dismissed the idea ministers should take a pay cut in solidarity with millions of workers facing coronavirus hardship.

So much for us being all in it together!

Source: Coronavirus benefit claimants could be ‘surprised’ by low payments, DWP warns

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Chancellor’s Budget splurge reveals media hypocrisy


It seems Rishi Sunak has announced spending worth £640 billion in his Budget speech on Tuesday – to rapturous applause from the Tory-supporting media.

That’s £140 billion more than the £500 billion offered by Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell in their Labour election manifesto last year – that the same media voices ridiculed in a (successful) bid to get more people to vote for the Tories.

What has changed in less than four months, to make the Tory offer praiseworthy when Labour’s was dangerously reckless?

And where’s the money coming from, that wasn’t available before?

That’s what they’re asking on the social media:

https://twitter.com/LKTranslator/status/1238043747201568768

And doesn’t this announcement prove the truth of this comment?

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Is EHRC too busy scrabbling for anti-Semitism in Labour to bother with obvious Tory Islamophobia?

Islamophobia: the creator of this image thought it was bad enough in the Tories under Theresa May. Now, with racist Boris Johnson in charge, who knows how far the rot has gone?

How long has the Equalities and Human Rights Commission been looking for anti-Semitism in the Labour Party now? A year?

Either it is very well hidden – which would be odd, considering the number of (admittedly mostly false) claims made against the party – or the EHRC is determined not to stop until it has managed to concoct a convincing case.

It doesn’t fill one with confidence in that organisation.

And now we see that the EHRC is trying to squirm out of handling 300 documented cases of Islamophobia – in the Conservative Party.

Does anybody else smell a rat?

According to the Mirror, the dossier handed to the EHRC – by the Muslim Council of Britain – contains information about 16 Conservative MPs, one MEP, nine election candidates and 183 party members.

That’s 209 people, so presumably some are multiple offenders. I wonder if Boris Johnson is listed among them?

The allegations include:

  • A former councillor calling for “unconditional surrender” by Muslims, who they label “brutes who beat, kill and maim young women”;

  • A local party association chair who called for Muslims to be banned;

  • A member who called for Muslims to be thrown from bridges;

  • Another member who called for the forcible sterilisation of Muslims.

The MCB also condemns the Conservative Party’s failure to suspend MP Daniel Kawczynski after he spoke at an event alongside far-right leaders, and for failing to take action on MP Karl McCartney, who shared Islamophobic and anti-Semitic social media content by Tommy Robinson and Katie Hopkins.

Secretary General Harun Khan said the EHRC had failed to give any response to the MCB’s first formal complaint in May 2019, and says it was ‘extraordinary’ that the watchdog had taken no action in the 10 months since.

“There is no doubt that the Conservative party has an Islamophobia crisis: it is institutional, systemic and widespread” he said,

“The party’s response has been one of denial, dismissal and deceit – this results in clear discrimination against Muslims because of their religion”

The EHRC says it is waiting for information about a promised internal inquiry by the Conservative Party, which it is claiming will be “independent” even though it is to be carried out within the party structure.

This Writer can only wish them good luck with that. We’re all also awaiting publication of the report on Russian influence on the Conservative government, and on Boris Johnson’s relationship with Jennifer Arcuri.

Wise heads think it won’t just be a cold day in Hell, but their subjects may actually have taken up residence there before these reports are published.

Former Tory-supporting columnist Peter Oborne thinks – well, see for yourself:

In his article, he wrote:

The problem stretches from the lowest ranks of the Tory party to the very top. There is a massive problem with Islamophobic bigotry among Tory grassroots, where the MCB has provided a list of more than 100 cases.

Party members, councillors and officials have repeatedly made disgusting statements about Muslims, calling for them to leave the country, making provocative insults about the Prophet Muhammad and peddling malicious lies.

This should not come as any surprise to anyone, since poll results published by the anti-racist organisation Hope Not Hate last year showed that more than half of Conservative members thought Islam was “generally a threat to the British way of life”.

I’ve written before about Bob Blackman, the Conservative MP for Harrow East, who shared an anti-Muslim post by Tommy Robinson, the former leader of the English Defence League; hosted the anti-Muslim Tapan Ghosh, the right-wing Hindu nationalist; and shared far-right and Islamophobic content on Facebook.

Anti-Muslim bigotry is not a barrier to promotion. Nadine Dorries, who also shared a tweet by Robinson, is now a health minister. This is no surprise, given that Johnson himself has a long record of making anti-Muslim remarks.

Tellingly, Johnson is surrounded by Islamophobes. Dominic Cummings, his most senior advisor, reportedly had overall responsibility for The Spectator website in 2006, according to Stuart Reid, the magazine’s acting editor at the time, when a controversial cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb in his turban was posted on the site.

One of Johnson’s up-and-coming advisors is Chloe Westley. She praised Anne Marie Waters, leader of the anti-Islam party For Britain, as a “hero”, even though Waters has called Islam “evil” and also has links to Robinson.

But he made a very important point: the UK’s mass media are ignoring this story:

I could find nothing at all about the MCB report in the Financial Times or Daily Telegraph. There were seven paragraphs on page 16 of the Times and 11 paragraphs on page 7 of the Guardian. Nothing in the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, or the Sun.

Most British newspapers are as Islamophobic as the Conservative Party itself, and in some cases, more so. This means they are effectively giving Johnson and his senior advisers and ministers a free pass to reshape the Tory party as a far-right, populist organisation of the type we already know too well on continental Europe.

It shows how the media have been manipulating your opinions and – by proxy – the actions of organisations like the EHRC.

The papers kicked up a huge fuss about the imaginary crisis of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party (where I doubt if even 200 genuine cases have been found among a membership of more than half a million in the past four years).

But their silence over 300 evidenced cases of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party, which is much smaller than Labour, means few people know about it and any outcry is therefore minimised.

So the EHRC can say there’s no real demand for it to investigate, despite the fact that, in real terms, it is a bigger issue.

Source: EHRC Condemned For ‘Failure’ To Act On Tory Islamophobia

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Harry and Meghan step down as senior Royals – because of bad press?

Bye bye: Prince Harry and his wife Meghan wave farewell to the corporate mass media hacks who they have accused of “misreporting” and spreading “false impressions”.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex – that’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (still) to most of us – have announced their intention to step back as senior members of the UK Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while still fully supporting the Queen.

It seems they are unhappy with certain aspects of the job – one of which appears to be the way their activities are reported in the press.

In that respect, This Writer thinks they’re right up with the rest of us.

Complaints and criticism of the way the general election has been reported are rife. And it seems these Royals are equally unhappy with the way they have been treated by the Fourth Estate.

In a statement on the Sussex Instagram page, they ripped into the Royal correspondents working for the UK’s mass media organisations [boldings mine]:

“Britain’s Royal Correspondents are regarded internationally as credible sources of both the work of members of the Royal Family as well as of their private lives. This misconception propels coverage that is often carried by other outlets around the world, amplifying frequent misreporting.

“Regrettably, stories that may have been filed accurately by Royal Correspondents are, also, often edited or rewritten by media editorial teams to present false impressions.”

The statement also announced a new publicity plan that takes them off the Royal Rota system, in which only a limited number of mainstream media organisations are allowed to attend Royal engagements – so they are obliged to share material that they gather there.

Instead, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said they will be adopting a revised media approach to ensure diverse and open access to their work:

“This updated approach aims to:

“Engage with grassroots media organisations and young, up-and-coming journalists;

“Invite specialist media to specific events/engagements to give greater access to their cause-driven activities, widening the spectrum of news coverage;

“Provide access to credible media outlets focused on objective news reporting to cover key moments and events.”

They will continue to share information directly to the wider public via their official communication channels.

This could really shake up the way Royal events are covered in the news.

Being somewhat long-in-the-tooth, This Writer doesn’t expect to benefit from the engagement with young, up-and-coming journalists – but I look forward to find out who these may be, and what grassroots organisations they Sussexes choose to carry their stories.

The idea of “widening the spectrum” of those who cover Royal news could really shake up a stagnant system, and if it jolts some of our more complacent reporters and corporations out of their smug security, I’m all for it.

Of course, it is entirely possible that the Sussexes want to go to the grassroots because they think less-established media organisations may be easier to manipulate.

I’ll be watching for that, too.

But at a time when the so-called media Establishment may have thought they had news coverage sewn up as propaganda for their chosen (right-wing, let’s face it) causes, this should come as a body blow.

Members of the UK’s fundamental institution don’t trust the Tory media – and they’re telling us not to trust them either.

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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Tory propaganda war to push over-65s back into the workforce

Over 65? LOOK OUT: the Tories are backstabbing senior citizens by forcing them to stay in the workplace longer. In some cases, they could be literally working people to death.

This is sick from the Tories and their shills in national papers like the Express.

The state pension age is rising steadily, month by month, after successive attempts to stop the changes have failed.

This means hundreds of thousands of people at a time are being forced to wait longer for the pensions that their elders received earlier in life.

And how do papers like The Express report this?

BRITAIN’S booming economy will be powered to new heights by over-65s who want to carry on working.

Because they are being forced to work the extra time!

The nonsense continues:

The 282,000 expected to take up jobs when over 65 will be crucial to British economic performance in the years to come, say experts.

Really? Why’s that, then? And what experts?

But last night employers were urged to end age discrimination against those who still have much to offer.

Were they? Or were they just told that they have to retain people who would have retired otherwise?

You can read the Express story (if you’ve got the stomach for it) to see comments by the shills (including one from Age UK) who are supporting this propaganda bid to make pressganging people into work acceptable when they should be drawing their pensions.

You may be particularly sickened by the paragraph claiming it is “ageist” to turn down older job applicants.

It is unreasonable to accuse employers of ageism for rejecting somebody who is only looking for work because the Tories have raised the retirement age without anybody else’s consent.

If they genuinely wanted a job because they wanted to work, and were rejected, that would be ageist – but that isn’t what’s happening here. Be prepared to hear a lot of whining from Tory apologists who want to use this as justification, though.

This is pro-Tory propaganda of the lowest, sickest, vilest kind because it tries to put a shine on cruelty. But (of course) 14 million people voted for it and dragged us all into the Tory mire with them. Expect much more of this in future.

Source: Job boom for older workers: Britain’s economy to be boosted by 282,000 over-65s | UK | News | Express.co.uk

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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