Tag Archives: row

The UK caved in to France over the Brexit fishing row. Don’t let Kuenssberg lie to you!

How curious to see the BBC still trying to claim a UK victory against France and the EU in the row over fishing permits!

For clarity: the reason France has released a British trawler it detained is that the UK has now handed out the fishing permits that France wanted. Boris Johnson caved in.

Under the Brexit agreement, the EU and UK have agreed they will give fishing licences to boats if they can show they have fished in each others’ waters for years.

But the UK had rejected applications from French fishing businesses, quibbling over the amount of evidence that is needed. It is suggested that only around 40 boats were affected, who had either not taken part in a monitoring survey, or were replacement vessels for firms that had fished in UK waters with their previous boats.

France had threatened sanctions against the UK unless more licences were granted by November 2 – but then suspended the threats ahead of new talks set to take place today (November 4).

BBC Political Editor and Tory propagandist Laura Kuenssberg span – but nobody who knows anything about the matter was fooled:

So there you have it.

It will be interesting to learn what comes of these talks today, considering the main issue has just evaporated.

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The Castex letter DIDN’T say the UK should be punished. Kuenssberg was WRONG

Laura Kuenssberg: by publicising an apparent mistranslation of a letter by the French Prime Minister, she has caused a major international political row. Can she even read French?

The BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, misrepresented a letter on the UK/EU fishing row by French Prime Minister Jean Castex – apparently to stoke international tensions on the eve of the G20 and COP26 summits.

The UK and France are sabre-rattling over rights to fish in each other’s waters, after the UK prohibited some French trawlers over a technicality.

Kuenssberg aggravated the row by publicising a letter from Castex to European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen, claiming it said the EU needed to demonstrate that there was “more damage to leaving the EU than remaining there”.

This is based on a translation publicised by Alex Wickham of Politico. In tweets, he claimed the letter said:

“It is indispensable to demonstrate to European public opinion that more damage is suffered by leaving the EU than by remaining.”

The implication is that the EU should actively punish the UK.

An alternative translation by Edwin Hayward states the following:

“The UK’s uncooperative stance today threatens to cause great harm not only to fishermen, especially the French, but also to them [European] Union as it sets a precedent for the future and challenges our credibility and our ability to enforce our rights in relation to the international commitments signed by the union.

“It therefore seems necessary for the European Union to show its full determination to achieve full respect for the Agreement by the United Kingdom and to exercise its rights in a firm, cohesive and proportionate manner using the levers at its disposal.

“It is important to make it clear to European public opinion that respect for commitment is non-negotiable and that leaving the union does more harm than staying there.

“If a satisfactory solution is not found in this context, the European Union must apply Article 506 of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement and take corrective measures proportionate to the economic and social damage that [violations] will cause.”

That makes it a little different, once it’s put into context!

As Hayward states in his own article,

It should be immediately clear from the above text that there is no active intent to punish the UK. All the French want to do is to highlight the problems that Brexit has been causing — they are not trying to inflict new ones on us.

And people know:

(He means “…can’t be as advantageous as being IN” of course.)

Robert Peston said in his tweet that Boris Johnson has swallowed the Wickham translation and is “visibly angry” about the letter. But is he?

If Johnson is as well-educated as he’s supposed to be (Eton and Oxford) then it is entirely possible that he can read French for himself and knows exactly what the letter said. If so, then he is simply trying to manipulate a situation created by reporters (who probably can’t – with apologies to Kuenssberg and Peston if they turn out to be fluent, but that just implies that they know they’re peddling falsehoods and don’t care either).

This Writer, as a journalist and editor of nearly 28 years’ standing, agrees with Marcus Chown, below:

Indeed. Or indeed any journalist-training organisation such as the one that taught me (the National Council for the Training of Journalists). Where did Peston and Kuenssberg get their qualifications?

Actually, let’s check.

Kuenssberg, it seems, has no qualification as a journalist. She studied History at the University of Edinburgh, then spent a year studying (but the subject is not clarified) at Georgetown University in Washington DC, where she interned at the NBC News political programme. Returning to the UK, she eventually joined the BBC as a trainee journalist – but that doesn’t mean she was doing any training. ‘Trainee’ is just the name applied to a working reporter who hasn’t passed the test to become a Senior Reporter. If she was trained in the States, it was in an American standard of reporting.

Peston’s degree at Oxford was Politics, Philosophy and Economics. He then studied at the Université libre de Bruxelles – but again, it’s not clear what the subject was. He entered journalism via another back door, writing for the Investors Chronicle after being a stockbroker.

Those details aren’t very reassuring!

But it shouldn’t be up to the Kuenssbergs, Pestons, or even the Johnsons of this world to sort out this row. It’s a matter for the French.

All Jean Castex has to do is come out and read the relevant part of his letter, along with a translation into English saying exactly what he intended it to say.

That should end any ambiguity. How about it?

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Is Johnson taking us back to war with France, over FISH?

Some of us have spent years saying the Tories are living in the past; now Boris Johnson’s Brexit is proving the truth of it.

He is putting us on the brink of war with France for the first time in 206 years.

Over fish.

He has made us the villains by trying to impose rules on fishing near the Channel Islands that were not part of the UK-EU trade deal. The French are – rightly – refusing to countenance them and are threatening to cut off Jersey’s power supply.

So he has reacted in a manner that is not only arrogant, it is also typically – for a Tory – archaic: he is sending a gunboat. Two, in fact,

Spike Milligan was writing jokes about this, back in the 1950s; rulers of a country whose empire is falling into ruins, desperately trying to hold on to a greatness they no longer have with brinkmanship. The comedy is that they would be fools to launch the military expeditions they threaten.

But there is nothing funny about this. It merely proves that those who claimed that the EU – a pan-European alliance of nations – was created to prevent another war on that continent were right; the UK’s hardly been out for five minutes and we’re setting ourselves up for a rumble.

It is ridiculous. It is insane.

Johnson will lead the UK into a humiliating defeat – both legally and militarily, if he takes it that far.

And he’s going to make the rest of us – right-thinking UK citizens – look ridiculous too.

If nobody reintroduces him to sanity, I wonder where it will end.

Source: UK sends Royal Navy to patrol Jersey port amid fishing row – BBC News

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Boris Johnson’s response to row over his NHS pay comments: he has run away

To judge Boris Johnson by both his words and his deeds, it seems he is a liar and a coward.

The UK’s current excuse for a prime minister caused controversy in a discussion on nurses’ pay during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.

Challenged by Keir Starmer over the government’s decision to renege on a promise to deliver a 2.1 per cent pay rise for NHS staff, cutting it back to a below-inflation one per cent (effectively a pay cut), Johnson claimed that “the last time that we put this to a vote, the right hon. and learned Gentleman voted against it”.

He was taken to be referring to the NHS Funding Act last year – wrongly, because nobody voted on it at all; with support from all main parties it went through “on the nod”.

His press secretary, Allegra Stratton, has now claimed that he was referring to the Queen’s Speech at the opening of the current session of Parliament.

This is odd, because I’ve just watched the relevant part of that speech and Her Majesty didn’t breathe a single word about a 2.1 per cent pay rise for NHS staff.

Looking at the NHS Funding Act, though, I can’t find any reference to a 2.1 per cent boost there either.

Starmer himself had been referring to the NHS Long-Term Plan document published by the Tories government of the day in June 2019. That was a policy document and nobody in Parliament voted on it.

So whatever Boris Johnson meant when he said it, Keir Starmer cannot possibly have voted against such a pay rise for NHS nurses.

At PMQs, Labour’s shadow Health Secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, called for Johnson to correct his statement – and the prime minister refused. Speaker Lyndsey Hoyle confused the issue by stating that Ashworth had corrected the record by making his intervention.

He has since issued a new statement saying the onus was on MPs to “correct the record if they make an inaccurate statement to the house”.

He said failure to do so would be “dishonourable”.

This means it was not enough for Allegra Stratton to make new claims in a press conference – or for Jacob Rees-Mogg to attempt to clarify the meaning behind Johnson’s comments in a short statement yesterday (Thursday).

To clear himself of the dishonour he has caused, Johnson must return to Parliament and explain what he said, what it meant and why he said it in a way that makes sense.

Will he do it? No.

He knows he can’t; it would only give Labour, the SNP and anybody else who fancies it a chance to stick the boot in, because there is no sensible explanation for his comment.

He can live with the dishonour because Boris Johnson knows exactly what he is.

Source: Boris Johnson resists calls to correct claim in NHS pay row | Boris Johnson | The Guardian

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‘Fake news’ row as ITV misrepresents Stormzy comment

I have no idea whether anybody running ITV is a billionaire, but this is a story about media misrepresentation so let’s roll out this cracking image again.

I blame the BBC as much as ITV.

After the likes of Laura Kuenssberg spent the whole of the general election campaign bigging up the Tories and belittling Labour – and got the result they wanted, it seems other TV news media are testing the waters to see how far they can mislead the public.

So when pro-Labour, pro-Corbyn rapper Stormzy was asked if he thought the UK was a racist country and he replied, “Definitely; 100 per cent,” ITV news reported it as “Rapper Stormzy says UK is ‘100 per cent’ racist”.

ITV was, of course, 100 per cent lying.

There is a huge difference between saying that there is definitely racism in a country and saying that everybody in that country is racist – but ITV chose to misinterpret the rapper’s words and go for the latter interpretation, for no particular reason.

This was not a mistake. The headline would have gone through several levels of management before it got onto the screen of anybody’s TV, computer or mobile device and all of those people would have known exactly what they were doing: misleading the public about the words of a left-wing cultural leader.

Note that there is not an iota of apology or explanation in the correction issued by ITV no less than 18 hours after the initial report was published:

In fact it doesn’t make much sense at all.

If you want sense, you have to go to the social media, where the response from anyone with a brain has been 100 per cent damning:

This is right on the nose:

https://twitter.com/LauraCatriona/status/1208434569839546368

The way ITV originally tweeted the link to its report has been removed by that company, but Shappi Khorsandi’s point is clear:

ITV’s misrepresentation has lent itself to satire, of course:

Here, Ash Sarkar makes an important point about the effect of ITV’s claim…

… then goes on to aim a particularly sharp barb at another media outlet:

Who’s that racist who writes for the Spectator, again? Not Boris Johnson – the other one.

And what about Stormzy himself? His response is actually laudable for its restraint:

https://twitter.com/stormzy/status/1208690066337480704

But I fear this is the shape of things to come for those of us on the left.

The mainstream – Tory – media will take every opportunity to mislead the public about the opinions, actions and philosophy of those of us who want a better deal for everybody, rather than a bigger slice of pie for the few who are already grossly obese while everybody else is starving.

They’ll do it in the knowledge that most of the people they are misrepresenting do not have the means to challenge them.

And when they are exposed, they’ll simply change their headlines, happy in the knowledge that the damage is done.

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PM candidate’s neighbours were unsafe no matter what they did about his row with partner

Speak no evil: Boris Johnson may be learning – at long last – that he must be much more careful about the things he says and does.

In the row over the row at Boris Johnson’s partner’s flat last weekend, my sympathy is with the neighbour.

If Tom Penn had reported a violent domestic incident between Mr Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds without proof, his political supporters would have been screaming that he was doing it for political reasons and “where’s the evidence?”

But because he recorded the altercation, Mr Johnson’s political supporters are still claiming a political motivation in revealing that Mr Johnson had a domestic argument.

It seems clear to me that he would have been unsafe from criticism, no matter what he did.

Apparently the recording reveals Ms Symonds shouting “get off” and “get out of my flat”, and telling Mr Johnson, “You just don’t care for anything because you’re spoilt. You have no care for money or anything,” after saying he had ruined her sofa with red wine.

It seems clear that Mr Johnson didn’t leave. Does this suggest that this candidate for the most senior office of state has little regard for the will of the people, except when it coincides with his own?

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POLL: BBC backtracks over Question Time row – Fiona Bruce DID make unwise comments about Diane Abbott

Fiona Bruce: The Mirror used this image on its article about her verbal indiscretion.

Well, how about that! It turns out the BBC was lying when it said Diane Abbott was not treated unfairly during the warm-up for the show in which she appeared nearly two weeks ago.

The Mirror is reporting that Fiona Bruce made “light-hearted personal comments” and “what she believed were good-humoured remarks” before recording of the show began.

Apparently the admission was made in a private email between the show’s editors and the Shadow Home Secretary.

This Writer had heard elsewhere that the remarks concerned Ms Abbott’s relationship with Jeremy Corbyn, with a suggestion that she is in her current position because of that relationship.

I don’t know about you, but I would say a suggestion that Ms Abbott only became Shadow Home Secretary because of a relationship she had in the 1970s certainly qualifies as an example of her being “treated unfairly”.

The implication is that she didn’t earn her job by merit and doesn’t deserve to have it – and Fiona Bruce had no right to make such a suggestion.

Ms Bruce has hosted just three editions of Question Time, after taking over from David Dimbleby. It seems clear that she is not capable of doing the job properly, considering the amount of political bias evidenced by her remarks.

But Question Time is in trouble for other elements of its production that day. Is it true that another member of the team also made prejudicial remarks about Ms Abbott to the audience? The BBC will have to release recordings of what was said before we know for sure.

And what about the claim that Ms Abbott’s microphone was turned down during the recording of the show itself, so she had to work harder to make herself heard?

The BBC has admitted that it lied about Ms Abbott’s treatment – but the extent of that lie has yet to be established. As for Ms Bruce – let’s have a poll:

I look forward to your responses.

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Theresa May’s husband works for a firm that didn’t pay tax for eight years. Has it started yet?

Philip and Theresa May.

A row over the amount of tax paid by the firm that employs the prime minister’s husband has been revived – just in time for Christmas.

It was reported last year that the investment firm that employs UK prime minister Theresa May’s husband, Philip, had not paid any Corporation Tax since 2009.

The tax is paid only on profits, and it seems Capital International Ltd had managed to make a loss of £125 million over the eight-year period between 2009 and 2017.

It did, however, have a turnover of £467 million – nearly half a billion pounds – in the same period, and has assets of £1.1 trillion.

And it managed to pay its board of directors a total of £43 million in salaries and benefits during that time.

Creative accountancy?

You have to admit, it’s a little odd for a firm to be paying out bonuses to anybody at all if it is losing money.

It seems the company, which is part of the international Capital Group, made its losses after making multi-million pound payments to its parent organisation which is based in the United States and pays its taxes there. Another subsidiary, Capital International Sarl, is bassed in the tax haven of Switzerland.

It does not pay tax in years when it makes losses or in years when those losses have been carried forward.

The amount paid to Mr May is not known as the prime minister does not have to declare it.

The company expressed an intention to start paying tax again in 2018 and it is possible that the row has erupted again because we have seen no evidence that this has happened.

What are we to make of this?

People are certainly asking hard questions on the social media:

Meanwhile, Mrs May has been spotted in an exclusive shop where a handbag can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds – a price she certainly can’t afford on her Parliamentary salary:

I would like to have some answers on this. Wouldn’t you?

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Islamophobic crime is on the rise – because Tories support it? [WARNING: VIOLENT/DISTRESSING VIDEO]

Divisive: The row over Boris Johnson’s comments about women who wear the burqa looking like “letterboxes” and “bank robbers” has uncovered a deep vein of hatred for Muslims in the Conservative Party.

The manufactured anti-Semitism row in the Labour Party continues to shield Conservatives from justifiable criticism of their own Islamophobia.

Consider this incident, reported on Twitter but not (to the best of my knowledge) in the Tory-supporting press.

https://twitter.com/TheFieldMuslim/status/1039288979642822656

Sickening. Mrs Mike asked where the parents of the perpetrators were and why they weren’t around to stop this attack.

Answer: I don’t know. Perhaps they are Conservatives who support Islamophobic violence.

The backlash has been predictable. Aleesha, who tweets on politics and Muslim issues, makes the obvious connection between incitement to hate Islamic citizens of the UK and the violence it encourages:

And Aaron links this violence directly with the national media:

Why is it allowed? Ask Baroness Warsi, who was no good as a Cabinet member and is now being systematically ignored by her fellow Tories and the Tory-supporting press – for raising the issue of Islamophobia.

In the tweets below, she correctly identifies the problem – that her fellow Tories are happy to get on the anti-Muslim bandwagon because, thanks to the divisive attitude they have encouraged in the press, it makes them more popular with the public.

Speaking out against “Muslim bashing” leads to a sharp drop in popularity, as indicated by a poll on a pro-Tory website:

The ConservativeHome article states: “Finally, there are two particularly large losses in the table, which appear to be linked. Brandon Lewis, who was as high as +46.6 in June, loses a further 31.2 points this month, falling from -2.7 to -33.9. That is a brutal verdict from Party members on their chairman, and seems to be directly linked to his handling of the Boris Johnson burka row and the ensuing investigation. Similarly, Ruth Davidson’s normally quite unassailable rating has suffered, dropping from +54.4 to +33.8, I suspect due to her intervention in the same dispute, when she compared wearing a burkha to wearing a cross.”

The conclusion is clear:

If there is a problem with racism and sectarianism, it has its home in the Conservative Party. And we are all being distracted from it with spurious claims about Labour.

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Bryant gets burnt over ‘gammon’ gag

Chris Bryant: He’s starting to learn that careless tweeting can cost careers.

If this wasn’t so deliberately disingenuous it would be absolutely hilarious. It’s still funny, but tinged with the malevolence that accompanies all right-wing Labour MPs claims of anti-Semitism in others.

You may be aware of the slang term “gammon” – used to describe (according to the Wikipedia page on the subject) “older white men, especially those who are particularly patriotic or supported Brexit, who appear pink-faced when emotional. The term is a comparison of their skin colour to the pink of salted pork hind leg, i.e. gammon.”

The term came into common usage after 2012, although its use can be traced back to Charles Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby, in 1838.

The Wikipedia page even carried a photograph of Labour MP Mike Gapes, listing him as “an example of prime gammon“, until it was edited off on August 27.

This may be the reason:

You may be aware of rumours that Mr Gapes has been set to resign from the Labour Party in response to the latest wave of (false) anti-Semitism accusations against Jeremy Corbyn.

As Mr Gapes is a member of Labour Friends of Israel, the organisation that was famously offered £1 million by Israeli government conspirator Shai Masot to remove Mr Corbyn from his position as Labour leader, this is unsurprising.

It attracted a tweet by “Damian from Brighton” to Mr Gapes, linking these two threads as follows: “Your departure from Labour is completely understandable. You are a supporter of an organisation associated with an apartheid state so it isn’t tenable for you to remain in the party.”

He added: “Could you confirm your leaving date? I will be holding a gammon supper to celebrate.”

Enter Chris Bryant, Labour MP for the Rhondda, who is not a supporter of LFI but seems to be a supporter of Mr Gapes:

Twitter did a collective double-take – and then piled on on Mr Bryant like a pack of hungry wolves.

Here’s part of the conversation. Note the number of different contributors:

https://twitter.com/matteoj17/status/1034151964718841856

At this point, Damin from Brighton re-enters the narrative, with a tweet to the Labour Party Whips’ Office, party general secretary Jennie Formby, and the party’s general purpose Twitter feed:

He was absolutely right to do so. At best, Mr Bryant was being wilfully ignorant; at worst, he was deliberately (and lamely) trying to create another false accusation of anti-Semitism.

Mr Bryant failed to retract his statement, so Damian decided to take matters further:

Anyone wishing to support him can email [email protected]

During this time, Evolve Politics (who brought my attention to this issue via the tweet at the top of this article) published a piece about the row, it’s well worth reading and contained a tweet from Mr Gapes:

One can only imagine he thought he could bully Damian off.

Not so:

This is what happens when people in authority abuse their position.

Both Mr Gapes and Mr Bryant are now facing the possibility of punishment for their attempts to bully, browbeat and otherwise batter a person who was expressing a perfectly acceptable opinion.

They thought the public would lie down and quietly accept that they knew best.

But the public has had enough of the false accusations and its members are determined to have their say.

We have the facts, we have the arguments and – by the way – we have the numbers.

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