Tag Archives: television

All Boris Johnson had to do to distract us from his latest Covid disaster was have a close-up

#HeadAndShoulders: Boris Johnson’s terrible turnout is a disgrace to the nation.

Who knew?

The UK’s prime minister managed to distract everyone from his new nonsense policy that won’t keep us safe from Covid-19, simply by looking what he is – a mess.

And now everybody’s talking about the fact that our prime minister can’t wash and dress himself properly:

This will set an unhygienic trend for the future.

I foresee times when Johnson will appear before the public with bad news – and also with no tie, or with his short untucked, or with his trousers at half-mast because he now knows that we’ll be so busy gossiping about the mess he‘s in…

… that we won’t realise he’s telling us the country is collapsing around us.

(Douglas Adams predicted this in The Hitch-Hikers’ Guide to the Galaxy, with reference to bad language: “In today’s modern Galaxy there is of course very little still held to be unspeakable….So, for instance, when in a recent national speech the Financial Minister of the Royal World Estate of Quarlvista actually dared to say that due to one thing and another and the fact that no one had made any food for a while and the king seemed to have died and most of the population had been on holiday now for over three years, the economy was now in what he called “one whole joojooflop situation,” everyone was so pleased that he felt able to come out and say it that they quite failed to note that their entire five-thousand-year old civilization had just collapsed overnight.”

(What a shame he never lived to see his comedy become a reality.)

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#Whitty and #Vallance TV briefing shows incompetent Tories failed to contain #Covid19UK while causing maximum public inconvenience

[Image tweeted by The Brexit Comic.]

There’s no way around it: Boris Johnson and his gang of Tory nincompoops have really cocked up the Covid-19 crisis.

That’s the message This Writer took from the televised briefing by chief medical officer Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance.

Here’s a summary of what they said, courtesy of that great critic of the Johnson government, Piers Morgan:

Those are the points I got from it too – and here’s my conclusion:

That’s right:

Here’s the rest of what I took from the briefing:

So what can we all expect in the future from Johnson?

More of the same.

He may impose more restrictions on our freedoms but he won’t tell us not to go to work again, because making money for his friends is more important to him than saving our lives.

His policies will be intended to keep hospital admissions within treatable levels – to prevent Covid-19 from overwhelming the UK’s doctors and nurses – as it always has been. But they won’t be about reducing levels of infection to zero because he has never been interested in that. Making money for his friends is more important to him than saving our lives.

Johnson may even try to justify his refusal to impose measures that would eradicate the disease by saying the effect on the economy would cause even more harm to public health. As I tweeted, that’s a political decision – he could legislate to ensure that any such harm is prevented. But he won’t, because making money for his friends is more important to him than saving our lives.

And that means many more people are going to die – your relatives and friends, perhaps. Maybe even you. Because making money for Johnson’s friends is more important to him than saving our lives.

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#SackWhitty and #SackVallance, people are saying – before they’ve even made their broadcast

Chris Whitty: the Chief Medical Officer is facing calls for his removal – before he has even had a chance to broadcast to the nation alongside Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance.

New hashtags on social media are calling for the UK’s chief medical officer and chief scientific adviser to be sacked – before they’ve even had a chance to address the public on television.

The broadcast was scheduled for 11am today (September 21) but platforms like Twitter have already been filling up with attacks on Chris Whitty and – notably – Patrick Vallance.

The attacks don’t make much sense.

In fairness to the advisers, we don’t know what their advice to the government has been. Their meetings have taken place behind closed doors and when they have faced the public it has always been under the shroud of shared responsibility – a line has been taken by Johnson government ministers and the advisers are obliged to support it.

So comments like this…

… seem premature.

Worse still is the “blame game” that some people are playing:

“Bent science”? We don’t know that the gentlemen concerned have been bending science in any way at all.

We do know that the politicians have been as bent as the figure “8”, trying to delay lockdown to keep the economy going, trying to shorten lockdown to prevent the economy from being harmed more than it already has been… trying to continue making money for their party donors while people die (or suffer serious health consequences).

And it’s the politicians who have been misusing emergency procurement procedures to funnel vast amounts of public money into the hands of private firms – some running companies that have been dormant for years – that happen to be run by friends of theirs; the socialism of the very rich.

So This Site tends to come down on the side of those who have been standing up for the scientists:

So let’s give them the benefit of the doubt – for a little while, at least.

But let’s also remember…

… other scientific opinions are available.

#Whitty and #Vallance to appeal to the public over #Covid19 – because nobody trusts the Tories any more

Whitty takes over: the chief medical officer – with chief scientific officer Patrick Vallance – will be making a televised address to the nation because nobody trusts the Tories any more. From the state of this image, not even Whitty.

Trust in Conservative ministers has eroded so badly that they have been forced to hand over a televised update to the UK’s chief scientific and medical officers.

Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty – who was last seen shouting at performing monkey prime minister Boris Johnson and his boss Dominic Cummings in a photograph published in The Spectator – will make an appeal to the public to stick to new rules on Monday (September 21).

Whitty and Vallance are likely to compare the UK with other European countries such as France and Spain, which have seen a sharp rise in cases translate – after a lag – into increasing hospitalisations and then deaths. The UK saw 3,899 new cases and 18 deaths on Sunday.

The scientists will set out the latest data on the spread of the disease, and urge people to exercise caution. Whitty is expected to warn: “We are looking at the data to see how to manage the spread of the virus ahead of a very challenging winter period.”

Their intervention comes after ministers were accused of eroding trust, from failings and broken pledges on testing and tracing to scandals such as Dominic Cummings’ lockdown journeys.

Covid-19 is now on the rise across the UK, among people in all age groups. Cases are doubling each week.

The Tory ministers – like Johnson and Matt Hancock (also seen recoiling from Whitty in that Spectator shot) – are said to be hoping the scientists’ broadcast will help bring home the message that tough new restrictions will be unavoidable if the situation fails to improve.

So it is the Tory mailed fist behind the velvet glove: comply with restrictions, including the “rule of six” limit on social gatherings, or see stricter measures imposed.

Source: UK at ‘critical point’ over Covid-19, top scientists to tell public | World news | The Guardian

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Cummings’s arrogance and ignorance mean he should face criminal prosecution – for his driving

Dominic Cummings’s presumptuous decision to hold a press conference in Downing Street over his decision to break lockdown rules so he could visit his parents should lead to a prosecution for dangerous driving, it seems.

As part of his defence, he claimed that he had driven 30 miles to Barnard Castle because Covid-19 had affected his eyesight and he wanted to see if it was possible for him to drive back to London.

Incidentally:

(For those who can’t read images well, it says: “‘Barnard Castle‘ – a Durham dialect term for a coward. It derives from the Northern Rebellion… by the Catholic earls in 1569, when Sir George Bowes refused, despite many opportunities, to leave his fortified position in Barnard Castle to engage in battle. Hence also the expression come, come, that’s Barney Castle, meaning ‘that’s a pathetic excuse’.”)

Driving with impaired eyesight – meaning that a driver cannot look properly – indicates dangerous driving, which is an offence.

Indeed, the chairman of the Police Federation took to Twitter to express his concern that anyone hearing Cummings’s excuses should not assume that they can do as he said he did:

It’s a microcosm of the entire Cummings scandal – a public servant doing something forbidden to the rest of us because he thinks he is above the rules that govern us all.

If you need information here’s an easy-to-read map of Dominic’s Travels:

There was plenty more of it in his statement, and in his answers to journalists who were on the scene. I commented on a few of these transgressions:

(In a statement release half an hour before Cummings started his press conference, Durham police said: ““We can confirm that on April 1, an officer from Durham Constabulary spoke to the father of Dominic Cummings. Mr Cummings confirmed that his son, his son’s wife and child were present at the property. He told the officer that his son and son’s wife were displaying symptoms of coronavirus and were self-isolating in part of the property.” Some have claimed that, as “the property” includes three buildings, it was possible for Cummings and his wife to have stayed away from his parents – but unlikely. They would have had to meet up with them to gain access and hand over the child – who could have been a carrier of the disease, remember. Also, we only have Cummings’s word for any of this, and I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw his boss.)

There can be no doubt about the rules we were all told to follow – all of us, including Cummings:

Also:

and:

See for yourself:

There has been a large amount of humour:

But far more bitterness. Both can be summed up in the letter by Alan Kell, mentioned in this tweet:

https://twitter.com/TVRav/status/1265030603654729730

The letter says:

“Dear Dominic,

“I hope that you don’t mind my informal mode of address but since you were calling all the journalists by their first name I’m assuming that this is acceptable.

“I’d like to summarise my main take-aways from your extraordinary press conference in the garden of No.10 Downing Street. Please excuse me if the points are a bit random, but I think that this resonates rather well with your rambling statement.

“1. The PM’s time is very important, but not apparently anyone else’s. If just 10% of the population spent 30mn waiting for you to appear you’ve just wasted around three million hours of the nation’s time. What were you doing, having a crap?

“2. You don’t possess a smart short-sleeved shirt. I can recommend many charity shops where you can pick one up for less than a fiver.

“3. You tend to panic when your wife is unwell. In view of this, I hope you are in no way involved with national security.

“4. Your family, friends and neighbours in London all hate you.

“5. Your Dad owns a farm with many houses, but not all of them very luxurious.

“6. You have a young niece who is prepared to put her life on the line for you and your family.

“7. Your parents shout in the woods. (I hope I got that one right.)

“8. When you can’t see anything you go for a 30-mile drive to test your eyesight. This tends to make your son want to piss himself, which is quite understandable.

“9. Your wife is a fiction writer.

“10. Any confusion related to this matter is all the fault of the press which persists in reporting on things, most of which have proved to be true, which you refused to confirm or deny for two months.

“11. You had some sort of conversation with Boris but neither of you can remember when that was nor what was said. Let’s hope that’s not the norm for your conversation.

“12. You are a very very important person, critical to the future of this nation, and you wouldn’t dream of resigning. You really couldn’t let your fag Boris down in that way.

“I trust that I’ve captured all the key points. Please do let me know if I’ve missed out anything important.

“Finally, thanks very much for going in to work on a Bank Holiday, I do hope that they are paying you double time.

“Hope to see you up in Durham some time. My family is from that part of the world, but you wouldn’t know them – they mainly worked underground in the pits.”

The comment that Cummings won’t resign because he doesn’t want to let Boris Johnson down is ironic as this scandal has turned out to be ruinous for Johnson’s popularity and for any credibility that his woefully inadequate government has had in handling the Covid crisis.

As a result, it seems Johnson has lost 20 popularity percentage points in just the four days this scandal has been frothing:

Boris Johnson‘s approval rating has plunged by 20 points in four days, amid the ongoing Dominic Cummings scandal, according to new polling.

Overall government approval turned negative, to -2 per cent, according to data from polling group Savanta ComRes. That represents a drop of 16 points in just a single day.

Mr Johnson’s approval also turned negative as the scandal continued. it dropped from +19 per cent to -1 per cent since Friday, the same data showed.

Public opinion of individual ministers such as Matt Hancock, the health secretary, and chancellor Rishi Sunak also fell. Both ministers publicly backed Mr Cummings over the weekend.

But Cummings won’t face prosecution, nor will he resign. Johnson will do his best to ignore the fact that his advisor’s actions have made it irrevocably clear that they, the ministers who supported them, and the entire Tory government consider themselves to be above the law that they impose on the rest of us.

And you know what? I think people are right to be angry about that!

So I hope you will all be opening your windows at 8pm today (May 26) to give a resounding “Boo!” for Boris Johnson and all his creepy cronies:

POSTSCRIPT: Incidentally, even the act of holding a press conference was against the rules that apply to Cummings:

It seems he cannot do anything right.

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Is Arcuri cashing in on relationship with Boris Johnson?

TV interview: It has been alleged that Jennifer Arcuri is charging six-figure sums for appearances and here she is on ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

Jennifer Arcuri, the woman implicated in the Boris Johnson ‘conflict of interest’ scandal, is apparently cashing in on her new notoriety.

According to The Guardian, a US lawyer claiming to act on behalf of Arcuri said he was inviting media outlets, including British publications, to bid six-figure sums for an interview with her.

It seems ITV’s Good Morning Britain may have coughed up that kind of cash – for all the good it did. Ms Arcuri appeared, but refused to say anything indicative about her relationship with Mr Johnson.

The latest development in the scandal is a claim that the prime minister, as Mayor of London, wrote a letter of recommendation for Ms Arcuri to get a job as head of a technology quango called Tech City.

She was a 27-year-old student when she applied for the £100,000-a-year job in 2012 – and didn’t get it.

She has claimed that Mr Johnson did not help her at all, although in an email leaked to The Guardian, she allegedly later wrote: “I still have the letter of rec from Boris. hahaha. To think that we asked him to write us a recommendation for the CEO of Tech City is just hysterical.”

The US businesswoman accompanied Mr Johnson on three overseas trade missions led by the then mayor, after initially being turned down for two of them. Her companies were also awarded £126,000 of public money.

Now it seems she is getting the same kind of cash for five minutes saying nothing worth hearing on national television.

It seems her relationship with BoJob is still paying off.

Source: Johnson reportedly wrote letter backing Arcuri for quango job | Politics | The Guardian

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From this showing, ‘Our Next Prime Minister’ will be a worse embarrassment than the last one

“Alternate reality”: Rory Stewart despairs of the BBC’s televised debate between himself and the other Tory leadership candidates. Was it something they said?

What the hell was Emily Maitlis doing, agreeing with Michael Gove that Jeremy Corbyn indulges anti-Semitism when he so obviously does not?

She came out with her extraordinary outburst during the BBC televised Conservative leadership debate, in which Michael Gove responded appallingly to concerns over Islamophobia raised by a Bristolian imam. Here’s that gentleman, explaining himself on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/AbdullahPatel94/status/1141088399241207815

https://twitter.com/AbdullahPatel94/status/1141088403984986113

Yes he did. Here it is – Michael Gove is so proud of his defamatory statement that he turned it into an infographic:

He went on to highlight the moment when Mr Corbyn accused two Zionist activists of failing to understand irony when they disrupted an event at which a Palestinian representative was speaking as an example of the Labour leader’s behaviour. The incident has long since been explained: Mr Corbyn was correctly referring specifically to the two individuals concerned but politically-motivated critics had, in bad faith, reinterpreted his words to claim that he was referring to all Jews. The claim is utterly ludicrous.

And Emily Maitlis – the host – supported Mr Gove! She cut off any further comment, saying: “I’m sure you all do agree.”

Quick reminder: The BBC is under investigation by Ofcom, under suspicion of violating its first duty – impartiality. It seems clear that Ms Maitlis was keen to ensure that Ofcom finds against her employer, all by herself.

Result: Public outrage:

“Her bias was showing,” tweeted ‘Biker Wolfie With Pilllion Daniel Blake.

“And people say BBC news isn’t biased,” added Nick Mapson.

“Really! That is outrageous!” exclaimed Linda Scott.

The only one who came out of that worse than Ms Maitlis was Mr Gove himself:

Mr Gove seems to have a Corbyn fixation. He also said: “Jeremy Corbyn isn’t interested in helping working people; he’s interested in standing up for the Iranian regime,” in a direct reference to the controversy over attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman (The US and the UK foreign office have blamed Iran without concrete evidence and Mr Corbyn has said proof is required).

https://twitter.com/SkyeCitySeries/status/1141085970328096768

If anything good came from that debate, it was Sajid Javid’s apparent securing of agreement from all the candidates that an independent investigation should be held into Islamophobia in the Conservative Party.

Another question was about what the candidates would do to lift the tax burden on the working classes – and Rory Stewart attracted undue flak, despite being the only person giving a realistic answer.

He said he wasn’t thinking about promises for the next 15 days, but about the next 15 years.

The questioner’s response defies belief:

What a swivel-eyed loon!

Jeremy Hunt shamed himself when he said the Conservatives had cut social care funding too much. The problem with that answer is obvious:

Mr Hunt also came out with a howler when he claimed that the UK was one of the most open and accepting countries for people of other ethnicities than the majority. That simply isn’t true any more, and the reason is divisive rhetoric from the Conservative government that has set racism soaring.

At least he got through the whole hour without hearing his name mispronounced once.

Who came out of it best? Rory Stewart, according to the public.

It’s probably because he responded to the comments of his fellow candidates in the same way as the rest of the viewing public:

Interviewed afterwards, he was questioned on why he took off his tie (and on why his performance was “lacklustre”, which seems to be another example of BBC bias). He replied that he had felt as though he had been drawn into an “alternate reality” and was trying to re-establish a sense of what was genuine:

He wasn’t alone:

Boris Johnson – the front-runner in terms of votes cast by his follow Conservative MPs – was absolutely nowhere. Asked if, as prime minister, he would do the decent thing and call a general election in order to gain a mandate from the public, he said no.

Ms Maitlis pounced: “‘It’s the arrogance’ – that’s what you said when Gordon Brown became prime minister. ‘That’s what gets me. Gordon Brown will now be in 10 Downing Street without a mandate from the British people. No-one elected Gordon Brown as prime minister. Let’s have an election without delay.’ Why does the same not apply this time?”

Mr Johnson replied: “Because he wasn’t taking over in the context of a national political crisis in which we have to get Brexit over the line.”

It doesn’t take a genius to come up with appropriate response to that howler:

https://twitter.com/mattforde/status/1141072808904187905

The final verdict:

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Tories to inflict poverty on millions of pensioners after secret licence fee deal with BBC

Conservative pensioners: Why do you vote for a party that is determined to reduce you to poverty and misery?

The latest step in the Tory attack on pensioners is a stealth tax on television and the radio: From June 2020, 3.7 million pensioner households will have to stump up £154.50 a year for a TV licence.

The change will push many elderly viewers and listeners into poverty, according to charities including Age UK.

The BBC says it needs the money – it says the cost of the over-75s subsidy is £745 million (if you check that against the number of households affected and the cost of the licence, those numbers don’t add up, by the way) – equivalent to the cost of BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC Four, the BBC News channel, CBBC and CBeebies.

What does that leave? BBC1 and the radio channels? And they cost 80 per cent of the licence fee?

It seems to This Writer that someone must be drawing down an extremely fat salary!

That’s a question we need to discuss, but there is an even more important issue here:

This is another stealth tax by the Conservative government.

The intention is to ‘nudge’ people into believing that the BBC is greedily demanding money from vulnerable pensioners but this is not true.

The subsidy was brought in by the New Labour government in 1999, when Gordon Brown promised to pay the BBC to provide the service.

Tory Chancellor George Osborne reversed that agreement in 2015 when he told the BBC the government would stop paying the subsidy by June 2020.

It’s a typical Tory tactic.

They starved councils of funding, forcing them to cut services to the public. Who got the blame? The local authority.

They privatised huge swathes of the National Health Service, meaning that public funds were diverted into the profits of private firms and services suffered while the Tories were claiming to be increasing funding massively. Who got the blame? The NHS.

Now this.

Worse still, the Tories are using this as an opportunity to introduce means-testing for over-75s. They will demand to know how much money each household receives, in order to determine whether it should have a subsidised licence.

But the idea of means-testing by asking whether households are in receipt of pension credit is fatally flawed.

Many households don’t even know they qualify for the benefit because the Conservative government hasn’t bothered to tell them.

So bravo to the BBC for announcing the change on the day the Tory leadership contest got started.

Hopefully it will become an issue that a new Tory leader will promise to address – although we should all know by now that a Tory promise isn’t worth the air used to speak it.

Source: BBC confirms plans to make over-75s pay TV licence fee | Media | The Guardian

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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BBC announces support for right-wing anti-Semitism by hiring man who taught dog to do Nazi salute

One man and his (Nazi) dog: Mark Meechan, otherwise known as “Count Dankula”, with the dog he taught to Nazi salute when he shouted “Gas the Jews!”

What kind of a person calls himself “Count Dankula”, anyway?

Not a very nice one, to judge by his actions.

Mark Meechan, who is better-known under that bizarre brand, was convicted of an anti-Semitic hate crime last year after he filmed and broadcast a clip of his girlfriend’s dog performing a Nazi salute while he repeatedly shouted, “Gas the Jews!”

Apparently this is not enough to earn him the opprobrium reserved for people on the Left who have had their names mentioned in connection with anti-Semitism.

We had a clear demonstration of that when Rachel Riley, the Countdown co-host who is quick to condemn Labour Party members and supporters she is told are anti-Semitic, spoke up in favour of this “Dankula”:

Now BBC Scotland is giving a platform to this right-wing anti-Semite.

According to reports across the mainstream media, “Count Dankula” will be featured alongside James English – who admitted assaulting and spitting on a woman in 2015 – and dominatrix Megara Furie in a new talk show tackling controversial topics.

https://twitter.com/jamesenglish0/status/1098993043087286272

If you want the full details of this sordid story, visit Evolve Politics.

So we come to the headline on this very article. Do you think it is reasonable to suggest that featuring “Count Dankula” on a BBC programme indicates supporting right-wing anti-Semitism? I do.

As you can see from that piece, the BBC has refused to discuss the amount being paid to “Count Dankula” – which implies that he is at least being paid something.

He would not have been invited to participate in this show if he did not have a reputation as a controversial character, and that reputation is based on the anti-Semitic video clip.

And, whether he is being paid or not, mere exposure to the public of this kind will undoubtedly boost this man’s popularity.

So it seems clear that the BBC is rewarding this man for anti-Semitism. That is support.

We’ve heard supporters of Jeremy Corbyn and high-profile members of Labour who have been linked with false accusations of anti-Semitism have been labelled the “wrong kind of Jew”, to quote an unsavoury phrase.

Are we to conclude that there is now a “right kind of Jew-hater“, to coin an equally-unsavoury phrase?

And what are we to make of BBC coverage of the Labour anti-Semitism row?

How can we trust the BBC’s impartiality when it vilifies left-wingers who face the flimsiest accusations of anti-Semitism – and employs somebody who has been convicted of an anti-Semitic hate crime?

EXTRA: Well, that lasted a long time.

It seems BBC Scotland has dropped “Count Dankula” from its show – called The Collective – claiming his contribution was removed “during the edit process”.

Heaven forbid that BBC executives should actually admit bowing to the will of the public who pay their enormous salaries!

I stand by my words. The decision was made to include a man convicted of anti-Semitic hate crime in a BBC show. Whoever commissioned it knew what he was and so did whoever approved the commission. Weasel words won’t get around that.


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Rachel Riley’s wrongheaded accusations of anti-Semitism should disqualify her from mainstream politics

Happier days: We all enjoyed this kind of political comment from Rachel Riley (referring to a certain claim about former Tory prime minister David Cameron).

Countdown brainbox Rachel Riley isn’t so clever when it comes to the facts about anti-Semitism, it seems.

She seems to have fallen under the influence of some highly unpleasant characters who have been mixing false and real accusations of anti-Semitism in order to achieve deeply dubious political ends. Mostly, it seems, they want to legitimise the racist, apartheid behaviour of Israel’s Likud government and undermine anybody who speaks out against it.

If you have been following the ongoing saga of the false anti-Semitism accusations against me, you’ll only have to visit Ms Riley’s Twitter feed to know who I mean.

If you haven’t: I was accused of anti-Semitism over articles I wrote about comments by Labour MP Naz Shah and then-prominent Labour member Ken Livingstone, referring to Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, which happened in 2014. Her comments about it were raised two years later by a rabid right-wing blog, in an attempt to discredit the Labour Party, and Mr Livingstone was accused after he commented on her.

The accusations against me led to news stories in five national papers. None of the claims about me in those papers were accurate and all five have been ordered to publish corrections (the last should be appearing in the next edition of The Sunday Times).

False accusations of this kind not only have the potential to be extremely damaging to a person’s reputation and career, they are also offensive on a personal level. People who would never consider criticising others on the basis of their religion or ethnicity – some of whom are themselves members of often-persecuted minorities – have found themselves witch-hunted, often with the only evidence against them being that “someone was upset by something they said”.

(That was the evidence against me, by the way. Nothing I wrote in my investigation of Ms Shah and Mr Livingstone breached the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism. The only evidence against me was an unsupported claim that I had upset an unnamed person.)

And a false accusation against a named person encourages the easily-led to victimise that person.

This is what happened to a teenage girl, with anxiety issues, who spoke out against the fake accusations late last year. Somehow Ms Riley saw the comments and denounced their author, who was promptly dogpiled by Ms Riley’s followers (and, no doubt, the followers of her friends – the politically-motivated demonisers I’ve mentioned above).

Dogpiling on the social media happens when a person writes something that another person (usually one with influence, like Ms Riley) decides is offensive and responds accordingly – triggering a serious of responses from their followers beyond any reasonable time limit. They do this because they see the offender as an easy target and consider attacking them to be a way to gain popularity points.

So yesterday, when it was suggested that Ms Riley was going to appear on the BBC’s Newsnight, discussing her approach to the anti-Semitism debate, you can imagine the effect on the teenager she had bullied:

Fortunately the programme’s producer was able to reassure the youngster that Ms Riley was not going to appear.

Instead, she has been on Channel 4 News, and had a spot on ITV’s Lorraine today (January 10).

The interview with Krishnan Guru-Murthy exposed some of the faults in Ms Riley’s reasoning, as she invoked stereotypes that, if she saw someone else using them, she would condemn as anti-Semitic and denounce the person saying them as an anti-Semite.

Yes, using the term, “Bloody Jews again” does mean you’re an anti-Semite, if there’s such an intention behind it. Ms Riley’s problem – as you can see by the look on her face – is that she’s clear she didn’t mean it that way, but cannot distinguish whether other people are or are not.

And conflating all Jews with the nation of Israel, as Ms Riley does here, is also anti-Semitic. They are not the same and nobody should ever refer to them as such.

Many people have picked up on this – “I don’t look like a typical Jew”. Stereotyping Jews as having a particular appearance is classic anti-Semitism.

The simple fact is that Israel does exist and has a right to do so because it was brought into being by a decision of the United Nations. The problem is that the current government of Israel is racist and supports apartheid policies, but this should not be used to suggest that the nation itself should be dissolved. Of course Ms Riley should not be mixing reference to Israel with complaints about anti-Semitism in the UK – it is itself anti-Semitic to claim that Jews in this country have a disproportionate loyalty to that country.

Some of the people Ms Riley has denounced are themselves Jewish – the “wrong kind of Jew”, one must assume, referring back to a previous debate in which people claiming to represent Jews in the UK attacked other Jewish organisations that held different political beliefs.

One such claim was that the revered Jewish academic Noam Chomsky – I often use his comment about the tactics of privatisation – is an anti-Semite.

Part of this seems to be about the fact that Chomsky wrote the introduction to a piece by the late Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson. It seems she claimed Chomsky was “promoting anti-Semitism”.

The blog Zelo Street puts Chomsky’s behaviour in its proper context: “Chomsky said of his introduction – the text is available online with very little searching required – “I made it explicit that I would not discuss Faurisson’s work, having only limited familiarity with it (and, frankly, little interest in it). Rather, I restricted myself to the civil-liberties issues and the implications of the fact that it was even necessary to recall Voltaire’s famous words in a letter to M. le Riche: ‘I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.’

He went on “Faurisson’s conclusions are diametrically opposed to views I hold and have frequently expressed in print … But it is elementary that freedom of expression … is not to be restricted to views of which one approves, and that it is precisely in the case of views that are almost universally despised and condemned that this right must be most vigorously defended. It is easy enough to defend those who need no defense or to join in unanimous … condemnation of a violation of civil rights by some official enemy”.

I raise this because it seems Ms Riley has been garnering support from showbusiness colleagues who have not realised what she has been saying – Stephen Fry being a prominent example. He said he was standing by her, as I understand it, in the belief that she was being bullied by others (as we have seen, the opposite is the case).

Let’s look at what happened when he was challenged by George Galloway, who has himself been accused of anti-Semitism by Ms Riley:

So Mr Fry, in reaffirming his support for Ms Riley, echoed Chomsky’s statement that “freedom of expression … is not to be restricted to views of which one approves”. Perhaps Ms Riley would be wise to take that on board.

Considering her failures with the teenager she bullied and with Chomsky, in the light of my experience of false accusation, and recognising the fact that she herself used anti-Semitic language in a television interview, perhaps Ms Riley should also remember the following:

The accusation of Jews as anti-Semites has hit a raw nerve. Harry Tuttle tweeted a lengthy thread demonstrating how they have been falsely accused. It makes for some horrifying reading:

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1082923983228620800

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1082925099815194624

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1082925803262881793

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1082926730476699648

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1082928141121794048

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1082929009321750528

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1082930045360971776

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1082931611614830592

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1082932488790528000

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1082933943752634368

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1082935908549230592

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1082947378154532864

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1082979583870332930

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1082985024587218945

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1082999371820662785

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1083056638305755138

Considering all of the above – and the many other incidents I understand Ms Riley has initiated – I doubt I was the only person to be concerned when a rumour emerged that she was in discussion with Jacob Rees-Mogg, of all people, about a career in politics for the Conservative Party.

The possibility of Ms Riley using her popularity as a showbusiness personality to boost the Tories would be extremely unpalatable. Fortunately, it seems to be untrue:

I mention it because she needs to be held to this – at least until she gains a little more perspective.

It would be nice to believe Ms Riley’s assertion in the Channel 4 interview that she is a “nice person”. Until she started speaking out about anti-Semitism, I had always enjoyed her contributions to some of our favourite TV shows.

My impression is that her comments are influenced by the malign elements I mentioned at the top of this article.

My hope is that she will realise what they are – before she inadvertently does something that causes irreversible harm to her career. They won’t care.

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


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