Tag Archives: Oliver

Hapless Conservative chairman donates ‘Partygate souvenir’ to charity

Perhaps it’s right that the Conservative Party should have a hapless fool like Oliver Dowden as its chairman – he reflects the state of the organisation he runs.

Dowden’s latest blunder is his donation of a bottle of champagne signed by Boris Johnson to a Hertfordshire charity, for inclusion in a fundraising auction.

That organisation cannily listed the item as follows [boldings mine]: “A bottle of champagne signed by Boris. Hugely valuable as a souvenir of partygate and the examplary behaviour and morality of our dear leader!”

See for yourself:

A spokesperson for Dowden said, “this item was donated in good faith several months ago” and “this is obviously not his view” after the auction leaflet was shared on Twitter.

Of course it doesn’t matter if the bottle was donated several months ago – the Covid-19 lockdown-busting Downing Street parties had been taking place under the prime minister’s nose since April or May 2020.

Whether Dowden knew about it at the time he passed on the bottle is more debatable. But we have video evidence of Allegra Stratton laughing and joking about a party that took place on December 18, 2020 (and for which 50 people have just been fined), that was taken four days later.

If Dowden didn’t know about this, then he’s clearly unfit to do his job, and nor was his immediate forerunner, Amanda Milling, if she did not have that information to pass on to him.

Then there’s the question of Dowden’s reaction to the way the lot was accepted by the charity:

Probably more damning still is this observation:

So we have a Tory chairman who should have known about the Partygate allegations at the time, donating a bottle of champagne signed by Boris Johnson that he should have known – or should have been advised – could cause embarrassment to his party and government, to a charity that greeted the donation with hilarity (indicating that this happened after the scandal became public knowledge); he apparently did nothing to counter that response at the time.

And now he’s complaining about the way it has been marketed in a fundraising auction.

This man is too stupid for words.

If the Tory leadership – Johnson – had any teeth, Dowden would be heading for the backbenches with his tail between his legs, there to stay for the rest of what we should expect to be a mercifully short career.

But it is a sign of the weakness of Johnson’s team that this embarrassment to the name of Conservatism will probably go unpunished in any way.

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Stable-heater Zahawi rushes to deny #OperationRedMeat to save #BorisJohnson’s bacon

Duper’s delight: Boris Johnson (wherever he is) may well be wearing this smile today, as his lieutenants rush to defend him and sway public opinion back in his favour with a dripfeed of drivel. Are you going to let him get away with it?

Nadhim Zahawi, the Education Secretary, wants us to know that he is refusing to recognise suggestions of an “Operation Red Meat” strategy to save Boris Johnson’s bacon.

Zahawi, who himself is no angel after trying to get the public to pay for his stables to be heated by claiming it on his MP expenses, wants us to think Johnson is in no danger of dismissal, despite votes of “no confidence” from 35 sitting Tory MPs and one suspended Tory (Anne Marie Morris), and revelation upon revelation every day.

“He’s human and he makes mistakes,” said Zahawi. Yes indeed, we all are and do. But most of us don’t make the same mistake continually over a period lasting at least 11 months, possibly much longer. That is a pattern of behaviour.

Zahawi has also denied some of the details of “Operation Red Meat”, saying sending the military to deal with refugee boats trying to cross the channel was something the government had been “seeking to address for a long time”  – and got into hot water on Sky News for doing so:

It’s true: You don’t crack down on people traffickers by sending the military to attack a flimsy boat full of vulnerable refugees from a country the UK abandoned.

Zahawi wasn’t the only one coming out with nonsense to the media.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, challenged by (Islamophobe) Trevor Phillips on Sky News yesterday (January 16), said Johnson would address the culture that allowed the Downing Street parties to happen:

There’s just one problem with that: Johnson won’t do anything about any such culture because he is the one who created it and fuels it.

All Dowden’s other comments – the vast majority of his speech, in fact – were tangential; Johnson’s decisions on Covid-19 have little bearing on the parties that were hosted at his house. And in any case, those decisions were either wrong or late, meaning the UK’s Covid-19 death toll has been far higher than it should have been.

The only way Tory Covid policy could be linked with the parties is if it is pointed out that Boris Johnson made a decision to enjoy drinkies with his party buddies while the rest of us were losing loved ones because of his decision not to fight Covid-19 in the proper way and at the proper time.

We need to keep that in mind, no matter what drivel the Tories and their mouthpieces in the media throw at us.

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#Tories are ignoring the message of the #NorthShropshire by-election – but YOU can bring it home to them


It must take years – maybe decades – of practice to be this ignorant.

After Liberal Democrat Helen Morgan humiliated the Conservatives in one of their heartlands – North Shropshire, defeating their candidate with the seventh-biggest vote swing in by-election victory, Tory chairman Oliver Dowden appeared on the morning media round, telling us all that his party had heard voters’ message “loud and clear”.

He then demonstrated, loud and clear, that his party was ignoring the message of the by-election and would carry on as though nothing had happened.

According to the Mirror,

he claimed the circumstances were “unique” and Boris Johnson “has the vision to get us through this period. He added: “Voters are clearly fed up and they want us to get on with the job and focus on the job.”

Oh, really?

On BBC Breakfast, Dowden said, “Voters … were fed up with a byelection that was called because of sleaze allegations; they were fed up with all the sort of stories that are going on at the moment.”

Elsewhere, 78-year-old Tory veteran Sir Roger Gale told the BBC’s Today programme that Boris Johnson had taken “two strikes” this week, with his own party’s rebellion against him over new Covid-battling measures and the by-election: “One more strike and he’s out.”

He said: “The Conservative Party has a reputation for not taking prisoners. If the Prime Minister fails the Prime Minister goes.

“We got rid of a good Prime Minister to install Mr Johnson.” [If he really thinks that, then perhaps he should go, too. Theresa May was considered the worst British prime minister since Lord North.]

“Mr Johnson has to prove he’s capable of being a good Prime Minister, and at the moment it’s quite clear the public don’t think that’s the case.”

Clearly, even though he was taking a harder line, this MP was showing that he hasn’t got the message either.

Voters don’t want Boris Johnson to have another chance because they know he’ll only mess it up and create worse problems for us. We want him to go now.

On the social media, members of the public are sending messages to their Tory MPs, saying Johnson has done enough harm to the UK – after the by-election result was announced, they were being called “unforced errors”.

Certainly the scandals over his alleged Christmas parties, over his redecoration of the Downing Street flat he occupies, and over corruption (that led to the resignation of Owen Paterson and the calling of the North Shropshire election) were all such “unforced errors”.

And while Dowden was happy to trot out the sad old 2019 election line that Johnson managed to “get Brexit done”, we now know that his Brexit is a huge attack on our living standards that will reduce the UK economy by four per cent – double the effect of the Covid pandemic that caused whole industries to collapse overnight.

This Writer would certainly encourage anybody who’s had enough of Johnson to write to their MP – if that person is a Tory – and ask them to hand a letter of ‘no confidence’ in to the chair of the backbench 1922 Committee, who will call a vote on it if 54 such notes are received.

You can contact your MP via WriteToThem.com.

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Young Labour joins ‘Trots Jamboree’ after Starmer’s general secretary cancels their conference

Keir Starmer (left) and his right-wing ACTING general secretary David Evans: they’re doormats to any right-wing organisation that wants to attack Labour, but have no problem attacking left-wing young people.

A new event has been added to the programme of The World Transformed – the left-wing political festival running alongside the Labour Party Conference this year.

Youth Rising for Palestine will take place on September 28, between 3-4.30pm, sponsored by Young Labour and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, in what can only be a bitter humiliation for Keir Starmer and his unelected general secretary David Evans, who – it seems clear – tried to prevent the event from taking place at all.

The event’s blurb states: “May 2021 saw thousands of Palestinians killed by Israeli air strikes in the Gaza strip, in the wake of a wave of protests against violent evictions in Sheikh Jarrar and across occupied Palestine. In response to these attacks, millions mobilised across the world in solidarity with the people of Palestine, including the largest ever UK solidarity demonstration in London attended by overwhelmingly young people. But it is not enough to protest in the streets when thousands of Palestinian lives are lost. As the Israeli state ramps up its regime of apartheid and occupation, while the British political establishment seeks to suppress Palestinian voices and those acting in solidarity with them, how can we build on the explosion of youth-led organising we’ve seen this year to build a long-lasting and cross-generational UK solidarity movement?”

You can see how this would upset Starmer, who has aligned Labour firmly with apartheid Israel through his fawning subservience to the Board of Deputies of British Jews – which has itself just admitted its own strong ties to the Israeli Embassy; apparently it is not a UK organisation but an arm of the Israeli government that is being used to influence UK politics.*

I’m not the only person to see it this way. Consider:

How was Young Labour forced to take its event outside the Labour Conference? It’s quite complicated, but I’ll try to take you through it painlessly.

Events had been unfolding for many months but we only found out about them yesterday (August 31) after Young Labour co-chair Jess Barnard finally gave up trying to reason with Starmer (who never responded anyway) and Evans – who, it seems, was more interested in exercising powers he doesn’t actually have:

Right – so Young Labour were told they would not be allowed to hold their annual event this year, even though the Labour Party is required by its own rules to host it. Already, Evans was breaking party rules.

If he had provided a reason – even one as flimsy as Covid-19 (it wouldn’t work because then he wouldn’t be holding a full conference) – it wouldn’t have been as bad, but he simply didn’t bother.

Okay, so Evans at least promised to provide more resources for a Young Labour presence in the main event. Did he?

No:

You read that right. YL provided all its required information months ago and was ignored until yesterday – August 31 – when Ms Barnard was given the excuse that the party had “no capacity for due diligence checks” until September 20.

To me, it looks like Evans (and Starmer?) found a reason to want YL’s events cancelled – quietly and without any nasty publicity. Why would they want that? Read on…

Is the picture clearer now? YL wanted to host an event with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and Evans (and Starmer?) wanted to put a stop to it. But they didn’t want to be seen to be stopping that particular event, so they created an excuse about “due diligence” checks.*

Ms Barnard, at least, is still willing to work with the Labour leadership…

… but I fear any hopes she has are forlorn.

One reason for this feeling is the arrival of a journalist named Oliver Kamm (I had never heard of him either). After Ms Barnard tweeted her thread, he responded with the comment below – claiming that Young Labour is anti-Semitic and wants to see a second Holocaust.

There is, to This Writer’s knowledge, absolutely no evidence to support such a wild claim, so Ms Barnard’s response is entirely understandable.

And take a look at Alex Tiffin’s comment.

Where are Starmer and Rayner (and, for that matter, Evans)? Nowhere to be seen. Now, why on Earth would they not want to defend their elected Labour Party representative? And isn’t it a dereliction of duty that they have said nothing about this?

Fortunately a few other people have chimed in to have their informed say. Personally, I have no knowledge of this Kamm person so must rely on their information:

Fortunately, given all of the above, it seems certain that the following tweet will prove inaccurate:

So that is the reason Young Labour will be co-sponsoring an event at so-called “Trots’ Jamboree” The World Transformed – alongside the PSC. I wonder if Jeremy Corbyn will attend.

This Writer has no doubt that it will be a much more worthwhile use of your time than whatever vapid puff of hot air will be put up by Starmer’s mob at that time. When’s his leader speech?

Meanwhile, I can only agree with the following two tweets…

… and endorse James Foster’s words of encouragement to Young Labour members who will be attending the conference:

*Or so it seems to This Writer.

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Dowden’s Minack mess-up: was he incompetent or was he lying?

Boris Johnson’s Tory government can’t seem to get anything right, can it?

While the G7 summit was taking place, partners of the G7 leaders were invited to visit the famous Minack Theatre, a clifftop amphitheatre on the coast, facing the Atlantic Ocean.

Afterwards, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden turned the event into a pantomime by tweeting: “This unique venue was one of more than 650 theatres helped through Covid with support from the £2bn culture recovery fund, ensuring that it can entertain visitors for years to come.”

All together now: Oh no it wasn’t!

Theatre bosses responded: “Sorry @OliverDowden but this is not true. We did not benefit from any CRF money as we were not eligible to apply. It turned out having a good level of cash reserves meant we had to fend for ourselves and utilise our own reserves.”

Zoe Curnow, the Minack’s executive director, said on Sunday she was surprised to see Dowden’s tweet. “To try to score a political point is unfortunate, to be completely honest. Obviously the DCMS [Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport] didn’t think to check we were on the list.

“We weren’t on the list because we didn’t qualify, and we didn’t qualify because we run ourselves in such a way that we had enough reserves to see us through.”

That’s not to say that the Minack hasn’t been hit by Covid lockdown restrictions, though!

It lost £300,000 last year and was forced to lay off 15 staff members – something Ms Curnow described as “soul destroying”.

She went on to make the political point that open-air theatres like the Minack should be allowed to go back to full operation sooner than their indoor counterparts because conditions are far less conducive to the spread of Covid-19.

But – again – Dowden and his colleagues are unlikely even to have thought of this.

If they can’t be bothered to check whether a theatre is receiving grant money, they’re never going to be interested in fiddling details like whether meeting conditions to reopen mean it should, even if that makes the difference between prosperity and job losses.

Dowden’s only interest was in winning PR plaudits. Instead he was not only panned but proved that his own career should close – due to bad reviews.

Source: G7 partners’ trip to theatre backfires after minister’s gaffe | Politics | The Guardian

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Ollie Robinson/Shamima Begum: why are the LEFT being attacked over racist tweets?

Tory hypocrite: Oliver Dowden. His only previous contribution to public debate is a claim that it was safe to go into a swimming pool with loads of other people who had never had a Covid-19 test in their life. That was right before the second wave (of the virus).

This is a weird one.

It seems cricketer Ollie Robinson has been found to have published racist and sexist tweets 10 years ago, when he was 18 or 19 years old.

The messages were unearthed by somebody who, one can only conclude, wanted to harm Robinson and timed their release to take place at a moment when he was on the field, making his debut representing England.

I would suggest that there is a certain amount of malice involved in that.

Robinson apologised immediately on being told about the revelation, but has been suspended from the England team for its next match, pending an investigation.

He has been criticised for failing to delete the tweets. It seems likely, to me, that he had simply forgotten about them. Such things happen. I’m not trying to defend him; I don’t have to. He has apologised.

But when Tory Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden stepped in saying much the same, the responses were extremely revealing. Here’s his tweet:

Here’s a response:

Far-right headbangers leapt to the conclusion that “The Left” in its entirety must be saying that Shamima Begum should be allowed to return to the UK, despite her support for IS and her former status as an IS bride.

That’s not what was being said. And it isn’t the Left being hypocritical here.

Dowden is a member of the government that barred Begum from returning to the UK, because of her attitude when she was 15. He also wants Robinson to be forgiven for his attitude when he was 18.

That is hypocritical. It is also a false comparison.

Robinson has apologised. Begum has not. In interviews with her, she made it clear that she still held the views that took her to the Middle East; still supported the ideology of IS that beheaded its opponents. She had seen decapitated heads and thought nothing of it.

So the right-wing attack dogs who are attacking the left are not only supporting a Tory hypocrite; they are themselves taking a hypocritical attitude.

And then they complain about “cancel culture”!

Source: Ollie Robinson: ECB ‘has gone too far’ in reaction to tweets, says Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden – BBC Sport

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Policeman who attacked terrified woman WHO WAS JUST WALKING HOME is spared jail

Police: even in the illustration it seems the policeman doesn’t want to be anywhere near the police woman.

It’s as though the last two weeks never happened.

The man attacking a woman while she was walking home in this video was a serving police officer – and remains a serving police officer after appearing in court and admitting the offence:

Let’s look a little more closely at that point about the victim facing an uphill battle to get justice:

So the first thing Warwickshire police did on receiving the complaint was ignore it.

Let us be clear: this was an unprovoked and violent attack by a large, drunken man, perpetrated at night against a much smaller woman.

And rather than treat it with the seriousness it deserved – especially as it related to one of their own – our law guardians did nothing.

I understand they would have brushed it under the carpet altogether if the CCTV footage had not been produced.

As it is, we can see that Oliver Banfield, 25, hurled a stream of misogynistic abuse at Emma Holmer, 11 years his senior, as he tried to employ techniques he learned from police training to drag her to the ground and put her in a headlock.

Apparently this has been described as an “unlawful arrest”. I’m sure you can think of a much better description for what is clearly a hate attack against a woman.

And how was she affected?

Miss Homer said the attack had a devastating effect on her.

She has suffered from anxiety, stress, panic attacks and insomnia and is undergoing therapy and counselling.

Miss Homer said being attacked by a police officer had shaken her belief system “to the core”.

“I often ask myself if the impact of the attack would have been so severe if my assailant was not a police officer,” she said.

“During the assault as I struggled to get to safety I was sure this drunk man was fulfilling a violent cop movie fantasy.

“To be verbally abused with misogynistic slang, grabbed by the neck and forced to the floor on a dark road by a drunk man, a foot taller than me, is terrifying.

“But to then find out he was a police officer shook my belief system to its core.

“Immediately after the assault I was in shock. I could not sleep

“I found myself compulsively running through the streets going through the events of the assault.

“What if I hadn’t got away? What if he had attacked another woman drunk?”

What, indeed?

Yet despite the aggravating features of this case – the use of police techniques, the misogynistic hate speech, and the slowness of his colleagues to prosecute Banfield – a judge at a magistrates court let this man – who should be stripped of his police career – walk free.

He was ordered to pay £500 compensation and £180 court costs, and was put under a 14 week curfew that means he may not leave his house between 7pm and 7am – after he cried off community service, his lawyer saying it would be difficult for him to work with criminals.

WITH criminals? Perhaps somebody should point out that this man IS a criminal.

And let’s remind ourselves that Sarah Everard was “just walking home” (the words have been used as a slogan ever since the incident) when she was attacked and murdered – allegedly by another serving policeman.

Two incidents cannot suggest that such behaviour is epidemic in the UK’s police. But they are enough to instil fear in every woman who has to walk home in the dark because they know they cannot automatically rely on the police to keep them safe.

When a trust is betrayed, it can be extremely difficult to win back. Sometimes it is impossible.

It seems clear that the police – and the justice system – isn’t even bothering to try.

Source: Off-duty police officer, 25, who attacked ‘terrified’ woman walking home spared jail – Mirror Online

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Johnson must seek Brexit extension as MPs vote for Letwin amendment

It does not matter whether Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal – which is worse than Theresa May’s, don’t forget – is passed by Parliament. He will still have to write to the EU to seek a delay after MPs supported the so-called ‘Letwin amendment’.

The vote took place on what has been described as ‘Super Saturday’ – an extraordinary sitting of Parliament today (Saturday, October 19).

The vote was won by 322 votes in favour, with 306 against.

Under the amendment, the House of Commons would withhold support for Mr Johnson’s deal until relevant legislation takes place. It is considered insurance against the possibility that MPs could vote for the deal today, then go against the Withdrawal Act that would follow, paving the way for a “no deal” Brexit.

Government sources have suggested that if this amendment wins majority support, the whips will tell Tory MPs to go home – boycotting the amended motion.

But will they break the law that they must now seek to delay Brexit?

ADDITIONAL: This amendment does not block a further threat of “no deal” Brexit – that the UK could still leave without a deal if trade talks collapse after a vote in favour of Mr Johnson’s deal:

Do you want your MP to support that?

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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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