Tag Archives: row

‘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.

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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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?

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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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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If Chakrabarti would convict Livingstone without evidence, then perhaps she SHOULD quit Labour’s front bench

Ken Livingstone: It seems Baroness Chakrabarti would dismiss him from Labour because it’s the easy thing to do – not because it’s right.

I didn’t see the BBC’s Sunday Politics interview with Baroness Chakrabarti, but the Guardian report on it, below, is deeply disturbing.

Ken Livingstone was accused of bringing the Labour Party into disrepute after he made a series of accurate comments about the relationship between the German Federation of Zionists and the Nazi government of that country in the 1930s.

It seems certain people did not approve of those facts being aired, so they tried to smear Mr Livingstone as an anti-Semite. They are the villains of this story.

The attack on Mr Livingstone is just part of a wider assault on the Labour Party, based on entirely false claims that anti-Semitism is running rife since Jeremy Corbyn became leader. In fact, there are fewer anti-Semites in the party since he took over.

As a lawyer (she’s the Shadow Attorney-General), Baroness Chakrabarti should know that an accused person is innocent unless they are proven guilty. No such proof has been provided to establish any guilt by Mr Livingstone.

It is true that he has questions to answer, relating to statements he made during and immediately after his disciplinary hearing at the end of March last year.

But Baroness Chakrabarti does not seem to have been referring to that.

Instead, she spoke of “what has happened in the last two years”.

I take that as meaning she thinks it would not be expedient for Mr Livingstone to be allowed to remain a member, because it would attract too much criticism to the party from those who have stirred up what is, basically, a storm in a teacup.

Instead of trying to appease the aggressors, she should be advocating a thorough investigation of them – their methods, their motives, what they stand to gain.

She isn’t.

If she would rather take the easy option – if she doesn’t have the guts to do the right thing – then perhaps she should step aside in favour of someone who does.

Shami Chakrabarti has hinted she may quit the Labour frontbench if Ken Livingstone is not expelled from the party at his next disciplinary hearing.

The shadow attorney general, who authored a report on dealing with antisemitism and racism in the party, said she did not believe there were circumstances where the party’s disciplinary panel could decide not to expel Livingstone.

The former mayor of London, who is suspended from the party after comments he made about Adolf Hitler’s support for Zionism, is expected to face his latest disciplinary hearing within three months.

“I’m sorry to say it but I don’t believe that Ken Livingstone can any longer be in the Labour party,” Chakrabarti said when asked about Livingstone’s case on the BBC’s Sunday Politics.

She said she would have to “look at the rationale” before deciding how to respond, when asked if she would step down from the frontbench, but said she found it “very difficult to see that any rational decision-maker in the light of what has happened in the last two years could find a place for Mr Livingstone in our party at this moment”.

Source: Chakrabarti: Ken Livingstone should no longer be in Labour party | UK news | The Guardian


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This is the reason Theresa May’s own MPs are stabbing her in the back over the cost of Brexit

Here’s an argument that rings true: Hardline Brexiteer Tories think they can dupe us into blaming Brussels for blackmailing Britain, when the facts betray nothing of the sort.

They must think we’re all stupider than they are.

I do hope they’re mistaken.

The so-called Brexit bill – in fact a calculation to be made of the UK’s share of projects that we have already agreed to – is something that Theresa May cannot settle because of a deliberate strategy of the hard line Brexiteers on the right wing of her party.

They are in a panic because opinion polls are showing that public opinion has not rallied, as expected, behind Brexit. If anything, it is edging the other way and could well go further as the chaos, confusion and economic damage of the Tory Brexitshambles becomes more and more apparent.

The Brexiteers therefore want to have a row about money, and keep it going as long as possible.

They calculate that this is a subject they can portray as a grasping EU trying to blackmail Britain into paying an unwarranted exit fee. They rely on the complexity of the issue which they hope will deter people from looking beyond the headlines. The tried and tested tactic of Blaming Brussels will, they hope, deflect public disquiet away from them and lessen calls for a rethink on Brexit itself.

Source: Why May can’t settle on the money  – Richard Corbett


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Freud row councillor rents accommodation to people with learning disabilities

Tunbridge Wells councillor David Scott.

Tunbridge Wells councillor David Scott.

This was originally on the Benefits and Work website but the comments by Unemployed in Tyne and Wear are illuminating.

The councillor at the centre of the row over David Freud’s comments about disabled people and the minimum wage owns a property in Tunbridge Wells, which he rents to people with learning disabilities via a charity. He receives housing benefit payments from the local authority.

At the Conservative party conference, Councillor David Scott told Lord Freud:

The other area I’m really concerned about is obviously the disabled. I have a number of mentally damaged individuals, who to be quite frank aren’t worth the minimum wage, but want to work. And we have been trying to support them in work, but you can’t find people who are willing to pay the minimum wage.

> You can’t find people who are willing to pay the minimum wage to fully fit workers either – all those employers taking part in Workfare for example – the real something-for-nothing society : cheapskate employers.

“We had a young man who was keen to do gardening; now the only way we managed to get him to work was actually setting up a company for him, because as a director in a company we didn’t have to pay the minimum wage, we could actually give him the earnings from that.”

> In the wake of  dubious self-employment schemes, will this be the next scam to reduce the unemployment figures ?

Become the director of your own company ! Earn £2 an hour !

Councillor Scott, along with his partner, is the director of or has an interest in several limited companies. They also own several properties in Tunbridge Wells.

One of these properties is a house in Cadogan Gardens, known as Scott Properties, of which Councillor Scott is both the joint owner and landlord.

According to Zoopla, the average value of a property in Cadogan Gardens is over half a million pounds.

Rooms in the house are ‘Rented to disabled persons directly or through Pepenbury, a registered charity.’

According to their website, Pepenbury:

“. . . provides high quality care and support for adults with a learning disability and complex needs, some of the most vulnerable people in society. We give them choice and control over how they live their lives and believe that every individual has the right to live an independent and rewarding life, whilst feeling safe and supported.”

Councillor Scott told Benefits and Work that the young man he told David Freud about has never lived at Cadogan Gardens, has never worked at any property owned by Councillor Scott and has also not worked at any property connected with Pepenbury.

Councillor Scott has also talked to his local newspaper about the issue, saying:

If you have got some gardening work to be done you won’t pay someone for four hours when you could pay someone else for half an hour to do it. If you have a lawn in the garden and you employ a person who is doing it with support from somebody else there, you know you can employ them and it could cost you £10 to do it.

“If this person is going to take four hours to do that, would you be willing to pay £40? If you do not give them £40 you are not paying them minimum wage.”

When asked who the ‘we’ referred to in his discussion with Lord Freud was, Councillor Scott told us that it was:

“People working with my daughter when she was alive.

Benefits and Work also contacted Pepenbury for a statement about whether the young man was one of their service users, but we have not yet received a response.