Monthly Archives: March 2012

Nightmare on King Street (Part 7)

The Cowan Report and HFConwatch both report that the Kwok brothers, who are involved in the massive CapCo project to destroy the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates under the aegis of the Earl’s Court redevelopment, have been arrested for corruption.

What does this mean for our slash and burn Tories? More importantly, will this spell the end of their cherished project? Watch this space!

1 Comment

Filed under Hammersmith & Fulham, Hammersmith & Fulham Tories, London

Nightmare on King Street (Part 6)

I popped into Hammersmith Library last week to look up some local information. I went upstairs to, what I thought, was the reference section only to discover that the shelves were completely bare and the tables, where people once sat to read, had been taken over by banks of computers. This was always the busiest part of the library and when I visited I counted no more than a handful of people sitting at computers.

Disappointed, I went downstairs to the issue desk and asked what had happened to the reference section. A member of staff was first reluctant to say anything (such is the culture of fear among council staff). Undeterred I repeated the question. “The books have gone to Westminster”, she replied. I was horrified. “There are some reference books on that shelf”, she added as she gestured towards a single bookcase that held the rump of the once-proud reference section. “No thanks, I’ll pass”, I said and left feeling rather annoyed.

You may recall that many of Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s functions have now been merged with the neighbouring borough of Kensington & Chelsea and the City of Westminster, both of which are Conservative-controlled authorities. The reference materials, it seems, are not available to those of us who live in the borough from whence they were taken. I cannot become a member of Westminster Central Library because I do not live there. Nor am I aware of a reciprocal arrangement between the libraries of the three merged councils. If there is such an arrangement, the Council has not made anyone aware of it.

Hammersmith Library is an old Carnegie Library and it is one of many that are dotted around London.  As we all know, the Tory-led government has cut funding for local government and as a result, some of the more zealous right-wing councils have slashed library budgets with a sort of enthusiasm that is redolent of an axe-wielding mass murderer. Indeed the attitude that many Tories hold towards public libraries is one of philistinism. It’s as if to say, “If you can’t afford your own books, why should we pay for them”? This rather misses the point, but then we cannot expect pathologically selfish people to understand the benefits of a decent public library system and their important function within the community.

I get the feeling that, for all its talk, this government and their followers want an illiterate and uneducated public who will then be easier to manipulate and control. The unspoken dictum here appears to be “Know your place”. The Orwellian phrase “Ignorance is strength” also seems apposite.

As for H&F council, it is doing all it can to destroy local communities in order to make this a borough for the rich, because the rich don’t use public libraries. They can afford to buy as many books as they like.

UPDATE: 3/4/12 @ 1839

I saw this on “Residents First”.  The Tories tell us that Hammersmith Library is due to be “revamped”. I suspect this means that there will be more computers installed. Computers represent an income stream for the council. While most ocuncils offer free Internet, LBHF only offers the first half hour for free.

However there is some clarity regarding the library usage across the three boroughs.

In addition to the huge cash saving, the agreement means that residents have access to around one million books across all three boroughs, hundreds of entertainment and cultural events and scores of weekly skills and education classes.

I find the tabloidese used here rather amusing, “huge cash saving” which when translated means rationalization or redundancies.

1 Comment

Filed under Hammersmith & Fulham, Hammersmith & Fulham Tories, London

Nightmare on King Street (Part 5)

The latest copy of Your Magazine, Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s glossy magazine was pushed through my door last week, accompanied by a copy of the Fulham & Hammersmith Chronicle.  Your Magazine is like the “Your Shout” column (It was not written by members of the public but the council’s editorial staff) of the old H&F News propaganda rag that the Council was forced to close last year.   To get around this difficulty, the Council took an unprecedented step and bought space in the Chronicle. Inevitably the council was accused of influencing the editorial independence of the paper. It is a charge that the paper and the council both deny.

The wonderfully but inaccurately titled, Your Magazine and the Chronicle  both carry the same story but tell it differently. First, the magazine tells us that our glorious and magnificent council has reduced homelessness in the borough. Then the nominally independent-minded Chronicle tells us that homeless people are being turned away. In other words, in order to make its homelessness figures look impressive, it refuses help to those in need who are then displaced to other boroughs. This is what is commonly known as ‘cooking the books’ or ‘massaging the figures’.

Not mentioned in the magazine, is the much-trumpeted revival of the disastrous Thatcherite policy of Right to Buy, which ‘Residents First’ describes as a “revolution”. But this is not a “revolution” at all, it is the renewal and possible re-marketing of an old policy that led to the current housing crisis. The article, which appears to have been written by one of the local party’s young Britons tells us that,

Right to Buy has helped thousands of council tenants in H&F to buy their own home since it launched over 30 years ago, but completions under the scheme all but collapsed when the maximum discount in the capital was reduced in 2004 from £38,000 to £16,000. The move led to a slump from 245 Right to Buy sales in 2003/04 to a paltry 7 in H&F last year.

What the author neglects to mention is how councils weren’t permitted to use their capital receipts from council house sales to build housing to replace the lost stock. This is what is commonly known in local Tory parlance as “getting the message out” –  no matter how distorted or disconnected from reality the message happens to be.

From HF Conwatch we learn that Foghorn Phibbs has penned a “pompous letter” to Private Eye to complain about the council’s record appearances in “Rotten Boroughs” and the ongoing row about the Council’s tax avoidance.

Phibbs, whose title is “Cabinet Member for Community Engagement” is little more than the Council’s arch-propagandist; a sort of Cabinet Member for Misinformation. The Cowan Report says that Phibbs has,

used his Daily Mail Blog to attack the BBC’s award winning File on 4 programme for also exposing what’s happening in Hammersmith and Fulham in its special documentary titled “Tax Avoidance.”

Such arrogance. You will recall that when the residents of Gibbs Green and West Kensington estates tried to instigate proceedings to evict the coucil as a “rogue landlord”, The Dear Leader wrote to Greg Clark, the Minister for Housing pleading with him to intervene on the council’s behalf closing with the self-penned “I really need your help on this”.

This Tory council is not only arrogant, it is dictatorial and bullying. It cannot fathom dissent and disagreement and will work tirelessly to choke off any opposition to its rule or its policies. Phibbs and Greenhalgh have both exceeded their limited powers as councillors and have chosen to nobble and harrass those who dare to expose them for what they are: liars and crooks.

Leave a comment

Filed under Hammersmith & Fulham, Hammersmith & Fulham Tories, Local newspapers, London

Life on Gilligan’s Island (Part 37)

In the last week, the bulk of Kennite’s blogs have been ploughing the same furrow. If you doubted that he was obsessed, then doubt no more, it is official.

Today sees not one, but two blogs from Gilligoon. The first makes use of contested data from the Taxpayers’ Alliance and the second tries to paint Ken Livingstone as an “Islamist sympathizer”. That blog, as you would expect, deliberately conflates the word “Islam” with “Islamism”. I will come to that blog later.

Let’s look at the first blog. Kennite opens with,

Ken’s tax troubles – unlike his tax bill – continue to grow. As we report today, the legendary progressive was taken to court twice in the 1990s for non-payment of taxes and now faces a new HMRC investigation into his “exotic” (Nick Clegg) current tax arrangements. KenCo has been setting his election expenses against tax, effectively getting the taxpayer to subsidise his campaign. This, not surprisingly, is against the rules.

It’s all Ken, Ken, Ken. He continues,

In a fascinating sign of the panic the story is causing in Camp Ken, their first action when I put it to them yesterday was to leak a “pre-buttal” to Sunny Hundal, the sole blogger still bravely left on the burning deck of Ken’s tax arrangements. Give that man a (posthumous) VC! KenCo claims, through Sunny, that since he hasn’t filed his 2011/12 accounts yet, he can’t be accused of setting disallowable expenses against tax. Let me point out, as gently as I can, that Ken’s official campaign started in September 2010, within the scope of the accounts he has filed. And that Ken has at least three times  in the last week alone (here, here and here) explicitly admitted setting campaign expenses against tax.

You know for someone who is supposedly an investigative journalist with a quality paper, Gilligoon’s blogs are little more than tabloid tittle-tattle. This paragraph is revealing because he manages to drag in Liberal Conspiracy’s Sunny Hundal who wrote,

Read carefully what Gilligan said originally and what he’s saying now.

His [Gilligan’s] original piece said: “In three years, however, he has now channelled total earnings of £755,778 through the company, putting him comfortably in the top 1 per cent of all earners.”

That says Ken earned over £775k over three years. In his reply, he now says he got the £775k figure by adding the amounts invoiced. But that does not mean Ken earned that money personally.

Notice the difference?

That was the proverbial red rag to Kennite, who shot back with,

Sunny’s also claimed that I’ve been “lifting out-of-context quotes posted by the [tax avoidance campaigner] Richard Murphy on [his] blog” in the story. Richard’s quotes in the story aren’t in fact the same as those he posted, and aren’t out of context – for the simple reason that I didn’t lift them from anywhere; he actually gave them to me over the phone when we spoke on Friday. I’ve also been attacked for citing a figure for tax avoided – a highly conservative £50k – which has been accepted even by Ken himself.

Gilligan is miffed that Hundal had managed to throw the first punch on Saturday by pre-empting today’s first blog. Sniff. It’s all too much for the wee fella. Sobs…

To bolster his ‘case’, Kennite reproduces a letter from Matthew Elliot of the Taxdodgers’ Alliance. It’s a big mistake.  At once, the facade is blown away to reveal nothing more than a shameless vendetta,

Powerbase tells us that,

The Taxpayers’ Alliance has strong connections with the Conservative Party. All of the TPA founders were affiliated with the Conservatives’ prior to setting up the TPA and both the TPA and the Conservative Party share many of the same key financial backers. Part of the TPA’s work can be understood to be an extension of the Eurosceptic element within and on the right of the Conservative Party; there are also links between the TPA and UKIP. The TPA also share close connections with the Stockholm Network and a host of other free market think tanks many of who are also part of Montgomerie and Elliott’s ‘conservative movement’.

So the TPA, like all the other self-styled non-partisan organizations, is another Tory front. Kennite, who labours under the illusion that because the TPA claims to be “non-partisan”, it is therefore best placed to conduct a fair investigation. But such an oversight has left Gilligan horribly exposed…though he seems to lack the self-awareness to realize that this is the case.  But for all the TPA’s protests on behalf of Gilligan, one of its own directors, Andrew Heath,  does not pay any tax. The TPA is hardly in any position to lecture anyone on tax avoidance.

At the time of writing, the blog about Ken’s tax affairs has only attracted 48 comments.

Kennite knows he needs to attract more comments. He’s lagging behind the Torygraph blog’s pack leader, James Delingpole. It simply will not do.

When all else fails, reach for the shotgun marked “Islamism” and the rest will fall into place.

And so it has.

As I write, the second blog has attracted 265 comments, the majority of which are from the usual crowd of anti-Jihadist headbangers. Give the audience what it wants. No?

I’ll skip most of the blog because it’s the final paragraph that is supposed to be the clincher,

In his last sermon, delivered in the valley of Mount Arafat, near Mecca in 632 AD, the Prophet Mohammed attacked discrimination, saying that “a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over white, except by piety and good action.” However, he also said that men had a right to ensure their wives “do not make friends with anyone of whom you do not approve.”

I’ve been following Gilligan for nearly two years  – not in a creepy, stalker kind of way, you understand – and in that time he has written scores of blogs about Livingstone the Islamist, Livingstone the Islamist sympathizer, Livingstone the anti-Semite, Livingstone the Nazi, Livingstone the newt-fancier. You get the picture.

When he isn’t grinding his “I hate Ken” axe, he’s laying into Tower Hamlets council, which he suggests is a hotbed of Islamic ‘extremism’. Occasionally, he unites his two hate-figures into a single blog. Well, it saves time. Right?

In his downtime, Gilly likes to hone his skills as a sockpuppet.

Such is Kennite’s near-blind adoration of Boris Johnson that he deliberately looks away from Emperor’s Windbag’s political vanity and casual racism.

The Independent reveals that Kit Malthouse, the Windbag’s Deputy Mayor, lobbied five times for the police to limit their inquiries into the phone hacking scandal.

By the way, Bojo’s campaign manager has been seen skulking the corridors of City Hall. It would seem that he has one of those “Access All Areas” passes… and maybe even a satin tour jacket to go with it.

Not a peep from dear Gilly.

But then again, it’s what we’ve come to expect from him. He’s the gift that keeps on giving.

UPDATE: 19/3/12 @ 2358

I see Gilly’s stablemate, Ed West, is getting in on the “smear Ken” act.  It’s a case of monkey see, monkey do at Canary Wharf. I also see that the comments are “closed” on his blog. What are you trying to tell us, Eddie?

Leave a comment

Filed under London, London Mayoral election 2012, Media, Yellow journalism

So who will speak up for the unemployed?

Have you ever noticed that when politicians – and I include Labour here as well as the Tories and Lib Dems – talk about the unemployed, they do so only to speak ill of them? If they aren’t speaking ill of them, then they’re telling us how they’re all too lazy to “find work”. We’ve also had a newly coined expression enter the Tory vocabulary: “job snob”. This government is great at formulating new insults but not so great when it comes to policies.

Politicians like Iain Duncan Smith and Liam Byrne tend to use the unemployed for target practice.  Why? Because they’re easy to attack. They have no political voice inside Westminster Palace. Yet none of those politicians who guardedly speak of the unemployed as “scum” think of them as people;  real people or as voters. I would wager that there are a large number of politicians, Tories especially, who would deny full citizenship to the unemployed if they could get away with it. Whereas Labour simply offers the same Tory approach but couched in different language.

Being unemployed in Britain is no picnic. I know. I’ve been there. You get £67.50 a week and Housing and Council Benefit – if you’re lucky.  The benefits system, far from what is commonly claimed by the right-wing press, is less than generous. The process by which you claim benefits is dehumanizing. You’re stigmatized and excluded. Some local authorities will do their utmost to ensure that benefit payments are delayed and Jobcentres will trick people into losing their Jobseekers Allowance to meet targets.

The current government is doing all it can to make sure that the unemployed pay for the economic crisis. The benefit cap and The Quiet Man’s Universal Credit are two means by which the unemployed will be further punished. The Tories’ allies on Fleet Street do the  rest by producing a near endless stream of stories about “dole cheats”.

When this government took power in 2010, they immediately signalled their intention to wage war on the unemployed.  Ministers like IDS, Grayling and Gove told us how unemployed people were living the life of luxury at the expense of the taxpayer. They told us how these people were living in “expensive houses” and even produced sets of figures that were designed to impress us. But it is all a massive distortion. The real villains continue to enjoy special privileges under this coalition. And the Tories wants them to continue to enjoy these privileges at our expense.

Ministers have told us how they want to “cut red tape” in order to “stimulate” the economy.  What they’re really saying is how they want people to work more hours and for nothing. They also want to remove any workplace legislation that protects workers – so that companies will be absolved of any responsibility to provide hazard-free working conditions – safe in the knowledge that the Health & Safety Act no longer applies to them.

To date, not a single politician from the 3 main parties has said how unreasonable it is for the unemployed to exist on less than £68 a week and how this needs to change. Of course not. They would rather use the jobless as a scapegoat. Furthermore there isn’t a single MP on the government benches or the opposition benches who has been unemployed, therefore they will never understand what it’s like to scrape by. They will never be able to comprehend what it’s like to be stigmatized and excluded; to live without dignity. Unemployment for these people is “God’s punishment” or something like it. It was the same in the 19th century and little has changed in the minds of our political leaders, who continue to circulate the same stale ideas ad infinitum.

Benefits for the unemployed need to be increased. It’s as simple as that. The cost of even the most basic of foodstuffs has increased exponentially in the last year. Rents have increased and travel costs, which are the highest in Europe, are prohibitively expensive.  Many unemployed people cannot afford the fares and are tempted to dodge, for example, train fares. So not only are the unemployed being scapegoated, they are often forced into criminality. This suits the government narrative of a mass body of unemployed ‘parasites’ who are draining an otherwise healthy, virile country of its life-force.

Even if you are lucky to have a job, the chances are it is not one that pays enough for you to live comfortably. Wages have remained stagnant for the best part of 25 years, while the cost of living has spiralled. People are encouraged to supplement their income by taking on debt through credit cards and loans (in some cases, many people have to resort to using loan sharks). None of this matters to those in the Tory Party who are, without exception, well-off. I mean, have you ever encountered a Tory politician who didn’t have independent wealth that comes from either a trust fund, dividends, shares or rents? No, I haven’t either. They don’t need to supplement their income with credit card debt, they just ratchet up their rents and get their tenants to subsidize their income.

IDS told us that he wanted to “make work pay”. I can’t see that happening either for the unemployed or for those who work. If this government wants to make work pay, perhaps they should introduce a living wage and consider price-capping. But we know that won’t happen. This government wants to wind the clock back to 1862 and the mythical age of classical liberalism.

Given that the 3 main parties continue to regard the unemployed as beneath them, I would suggest that the jobless move their votes to a party that is prepared to speak up for them. The Socialist Party, for example. There are others too.

The Tories complained that”left-wing militants” and “Trotskyites” have derailed their “work experience” scheme. But this denies the fact that the government’s scheme was a sham from the start and most sensible people could see that making people work for nothing was nothing more than a form of slave labour. Furthermore, such a scheme has the effect of undercutting wages and those who perform menial tasks for the minimum wage could find themselves eventually joining the dole queue.

In 1986, Tory MP and former National Democratic Party member, Piers Merchant spent a week on the dole to “see what it was like”.   Yes,  just a week [rolls eyes].  These days,  no Tory MP, let alone a Labour MP, would dream of doing such a thing. They’re far too used to their comforts for that.

Leave a comment

Filed under Conservative Party, Cuts, Government & politics, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Public spending

Life on Hannan World (Part 4) or the victimhood of the British right

The right loves to play the victim. If they aren’t complaining that the BBC is “left-wing” then they’re moaning and bitching that they can’t get their own way (which is odd given the fact they’re in power). They groan about Britain’s comedians being “left-wing” and often get their knickers in a twist about the Question Time audiences. Is there no pleasing  these people? Oh, I know what would please them… the imposition of a right-wing dictatorship run by Dan and his wibertarian chums. Or perhaps our Danny would rather a wibertarian nation ruled by some semi-fascist man-of-steel like Augusto Pinochet Ugarte?

Today, Dissembling Dan Hannan has produced this blog in which he whines,

The Australian version of BBC Question Time is called Q&A. As you can see from the above clip, filmed when I was in Sydney a couple of weeks ago, the two shows are remarkably similar in format and furniture. There are, though, two differences. First, Q&A is live, which allows for real-time interaction with electronic media. I’m not sure why QT doesn’t do the same: one of the reasons it has avoided the slide in audience share that other current affairs programmes have suffered is that it was quick to understand the importance of Twitter; the hiatus before the broadcast drains much of the drama from the online debate.

This is the UK, Danny, not Australia.

While the Australian show’s viewers are perhaps a touch more liberal and metropolitan than the general population, they don’t exhibit anything like the Left-wing militancy of their British counterparts. This is true both of the studio audience (the Australian producers invite political parties and organisations to distribute places, rather than asking applicants to state their affiliation on a form); and, far more strikingly, of those following online.

“Left-wing militancy”? He’s lost the plot. He continues,

The Internet is never a place to go for subtle and nuanced debate, of course, but something about the #bbcqt Twitter tag attracts trolls and sociopaths. It’s especially noticeable if there is a Right-of-Centre woman on the panel. When Nadine Dorries was on recently, or Emma Boon from the TaxPayers’ Alliance, they hadn’t opened their mouths before a torrent of puerile, vicious, semi-pornographic abuse began. Here’s something one doesn’t expect to write very often: we should try to be as decorous and restrained as the Australians.

Aw, diddums. The Lyin’ King doesn’t like the #bbcqt Twitter feeds. Listen, Danny Boy, if you don’t like them, then don’t read them. There is a such a thing as agency or is that word too left-wing for you? I love the way he tells us that #bbcqt “attracts trolls and sociopaths”. Let me tell you something, my little capitalist cupcake, most of the trolls and sociopaths are in your own party. Some of them take umbrage at the slightest thing. In fact, many of them are too politically correct for their own good.

These “left-wing” QT audiences are something of a myth. Perhaps he missed all those editions of QT in the shire counties? Or perhaps the mood of the country is such that it can no longer tolerate whingeing, lying Tories? I think that’s it.

Perhaps Hannan would like the QT audience to be vetted by him and some of his hand-picked supporters. Can you imagine what sort of questions he’d include on the application form?

  1. Do you own a Che Guevara T-Shirt?
  2. Have you now or ever been a member of the Communist Party, the Socialist Workers Party or any party that has the word “socialist” in the title?
  3. Do you support unbridled capitalism?
  4. Are you selfish?

If you answered “yes” to questions 1 and 2, Hannan’s goons will take you out back, shoot you in the head and bury you in a lime-filled pit. If you answered “yes” to questions 3 and 4, you will be allowed to take part. You may even get to meet The Lyin’ King himself.

I’ve always thought that wibertarians weren’t particularly mature and this latest outburst from Hannan serves to underline my point. Hannan will only be  happy if this country became a one-party state where the left (or what remains of it) is imprisoned, disappeared or thrown out of a helicopter or plane that has been hired by a private hit squad (it’s a free market, don’t you know?).

If you were ever in any doubt about how The Lyin’ King feels about Pinochet, then doubt no more. He managed to squeeze something about Pinochet into this blog about  Tzipi Livni, the current leader of Israel’s Kadima party.

Pinochet arrived in Britain as an ally who had supported us during the Falklands War. Koussa came as a foeman, implicated in the Lockerbie atrocity and accused of arming the IRA. Guess which one was arrested.

The Tories never tire of telling us how Pinochet was our “ally” and “friend”. Yet, they’re rather fond of telling us how socialism has killed “millions”. It’s a pissing contest and Tories love pissing contests. Point out to them the millions killed by their favourite dictators and watch them foam at the mouth and swivel their eyes a full 360 degrees.

Not wanting to be seen as an admirer of the General, Hannan says,

Never mind Pinochet: ally or not, he was a harsh and corrupt autocrat.

Was he? Well, knock me down with a feather! That didn’t stop your idol Thatcher from cosying up to him – Falklands War or no Falklands War. In fact, Hannan’s party has previous form when it comes to supporting dictators… until the dictator in question develops a mind of their own. Saddam Hussein, anyone?

So when Hannan and his buddies tell you that the QT audience is too left-wing or that the BBC is “left-wing”, you know what they’re really saying and it has nothing at all to do with ‘balance’.


One thing that our right-wing friends have deliberately, nay, wilfully ignored is the fact that when Labour was in power, the QT audience routinely rounded on them.  Yet I didn’t hear a single Labour MP or MEP claim that the QT audience was composed of “right-wing militants” or that the programme showed bias. Grow up.


Filed under allegations of bias, BBC, BBC, Media

Life on Gilligan’s Island (Part 36)

You can tell the London mayoral election is getting ever-closer because in the last couple of weeks, Kennite has churned out blog after tedious blog, all on the same subject: Ken Livingstone’s alleged tax avoidance. You would be forgiven for thinking that there were no other candidates in the contest and that Livingstone is about to do an “Omar Bongo” and win 96% of the vote. Fat chance of that happening. In Kennite’s ideal world Ken would have no votes and be led in chains through the streets of the ancient and curious Cittie of London to be pelted with ordure by the wyzards, alchemystes and other denyzens of the Square Myle.

Today’s blog looks suspiciously like the previous 6 blogs. Does the Torygraph really pay him good money to churn out this crap? I guess they do and it would seem that the paper has money to burn.

This blog is possibly the funniest… well it’s unintentionally funny. How’s this for an opening paragraph?

Quite an interesting attack on Ken from the Chancellor, who told the annual dinner of the Community Security Trust that London needed a leader “who respects all its citizens,” describing Livingstone as “no friend of the Jewish community.”

Oh? Like anyone actually cares what Hon. Gid says. Anyway, how on earth would the Heir to the Baronetcy of Ballintaylor know who is a “friend” of the Jewish community and who isn’t? Gilly and Gid both labour under the delusion that British Jews are some homogeneous mass. Kennite thinks that by quoting Hon. Gid it will lend gravitas to his blog. It doesn’t. It makes him look foolish and juvenile.

Kennite is undeterred. He uses the second paragraph to drive his non-point home while, at the same time, taking the opportunity to infer that Ken prefers to associate with ‘Islamists’.

Osborne is right, of course. Ken’s “respect” for British minorities, and for other nationalities, can be selective. British Muslims, along with India, China, and Venezuela, are in the good camp; British Jews are with Japan and America in the groups that Ken has insulted.

You know something? If someone wrote half the stuff that Kennite writes about Livingstone, Gilligan would threaten them with a law suit quicksmart.

Here, Gilligoon tries to go for the auld thinly-veiled anti-Semitic line,

Slightly chillingly, Ken blames his election defeat in 2008 on the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who he says collaborated with the Evening Standard to “get rid” of him. (I was the main reporter in the Standard’s 2008 investigations of Ken and I have never, to the best of my recollection, spoken to anyone at the Board in my life.)

Livingstone also has a long record of deeply offending many of London’s Jews. His biographer, Andy Hosken, says that as far back as 1982, when leader of the GLC, Ken insisted that the left-wing newspaper he controlled, Labour Herald, publish a cartoon (above) showing the Israeli prime minister as a Nazi. In 1984, Ken said the Board was “organising paramilitary groups which resemble fascist organisations.”

A couple of things: first, the Board of Deputies of British Jews does not represent all Jews. It is only described as “representing the Jewish community” because the media likes it simple and it thinks we do too. Second, not all Jews are Israeli, so to say that Ken Livingstone has a ” long record of deeply offending London’s Jews” is a distortion. But notice how, in the first paragraph, he tells us how he “investigated Ken”. “Smeared” would be the operative word. As for Nazis, I’ve noticed that Kennite is oddly quiet about the Nazi fetishists in the Conservative Party.

Today’s blog gives the impression that there is division in Labour ranks over Livingstone. Yet, the divisions that exist behind the scenes vis a vis Emperor Windbag (aka Bojo the Clown) are glossed over.

Liberal Conspiracy observes that the Ailing Standards has snapped back into its default position of supporting Johnson.

I find it odd that in a country in which we are often told that we have ‘freedom of speech’, satire shows on television are banned in the run up to any election. Yet, smear stories can be concocted by hacks and printed on a daily basis without so much as a slap on the wrists. What kind of twisted logic is that?

Leave a comment

Filed under Journalism, London, London Mayoral election 2012, Media, Tory press, Yellow journalism

CiFWatch: imagined slights, smears and closing down debate

No, not that Cif!

I originally wrote this blog last August in the aftermath of the worst rioting this country has seen in a generation. I discovered CiF Watch while trawling the net for some information about a Guardian article that I’d read about the first night of rioting in Tottenham.

All, if not most, right-wing self-appointed moral guardians (excuse the pun) and  media ‘watchdogs’ imagine slights where there are none. A good case in point is a site that calls itself “CiF Watch”, which claims that it is,

dedicated to monitoring antisemitism and combating the assault on Israel’s legitimacy in the Guardian newspaper’s ‘Comment is Free’ blog.

I’ve seen plenty of anti-Semitic comments on the Telegraph blogs. I wonder if they’ve seen them too? Probably. But they’re not interested in the Torygraph because they’re on the same side… ostensibly. CiF Watch is a virtual [right wing] vigilante group that patrols the Internet looking for people to misrepresent or rough up… whichever takes their fancy.

In this particular blog, they single out an article by Paul Lewis, who described the scene in Tottenham and who debunked the myth that it was just black kids on the street. I’ve noticed that he’s amended the article (which does not appear in Comment is Free), perhaps under pressure from CiF Watch. It’s likely that they got upset by the suggestion that some Chasidim (as well as many blacks, Turks, Asians and so forth) were onlookers (they would do well to look that word up in the dictionary) and they think that by saying such a thing automatically makes Lewis ‘anti-Semitic’. We’re dealing with a school-kid analysis here, dear readers. I daresay the Chasidim who live in Tottenham and Stamford Hill know the local issues a damned sight better than the bourgeois smear artists of CiF Watch. It’s their “manor”, to use a common Londonism.

CiF Watch deny that they are trying to shut down debate but as this passage tells us, they’re not telling the truth,

By labelling something antisemitic are you not shutting down debate on what is perhaps a legitimate subject of debate?

Absolutely not. We support vigorous and open debate about Jewish related issues, including issues of controversy, as long as such debate does not violate the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism.

In particular, it bears emphasizing that we support open and honest debate about the Israel-Arab conflict including harsh criticism of Israel as long as the criticism of Israel is similar to that leveled against any other nation of the world.

The last paragraph is the kicker. In other words, there will be no discussion of Israel unless it is to give unequivocal praise.

CiF Watch has linked to my blog. This commenter called “yvetta bagel” says,

Some creep makes the most of this, repeating the Guardian crap to score cheap points against Melanie Phillips:

Such was her haste to rush and label me a “creep” that “yvetta bagel” failed to spot the update. No matter. At any rate, Morality Mel  makes some pretty nasty remarks that I often find to be  borderline racist.  Not just borderline racist but anti-gay too. But these people aren’t capable of reason or ,heaven forfend, understanding and tolerance. Nor do other ethnic groups matter much to them, such is their deeply ingrained sense of ethno-supremacy. They’d rather make an ideologically-weighted extrapolation from a decontextualized word or phrase.  Why? Because it’s easy. It’s the lazy way do do things. It makes you look morally superior to your enemies but, in the end it’s no better than self-congratulation.

These people aren’t too concerned with exposing anti-Semitism either, they’re more interested in closing down any discourse that runs counter to a pro-Zionist position. It’s a position that would make a Manichean green with envy: for in their minds, and in spite of what they say, anti-Zionism always equals anti-Semitism. It’s an easy a leap to make. You can read how they define anti-Semitism here but this passage is key.

Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.

The rest is fair enough and I would suggest that it was done to render their mission appealing to outside eyes.   CiF Watch, being right wing (they would deny it), no doubt regards Palestinian people as dreck. They won’t say it in so many words, but they’ll no doubt claim that there is no such thing as a Palestinian. Nowhere Towers has heard this before. It’s a way to further dehumanize an already dehumanized people. What could be more dehumanizing than to declare that an entire people are quite literally no more? For CiF Watch, history is viewed rather selectively.

Funny how they failed to see this blog. Isn’t it?

The racist Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs applauds them,

Bless these folks for documenting the vile Jew hatred that The Guardian happily hosts. That “publication” is a sewer for the worst kind of incitement to violence.

Well, cyber warriors have documented it all. And will do it daily. Evil unmasked! We love that.

“Evil unmasked”, Geller shouts. Evil. It’s such a value-loaded word. It’s so easy to use. Handy stuff for those who aren’t great at making real arguments. It’s the speech of demagogues. Oh yeah and if you’re reading this, CiF Watch, I called Geller a “racist”.

Here’s a broken link to the site.

You will understand that I don’t want this blog to be  infested with a  load of  racist knuckledraggers and swivel-eyed conspiraloons, the latter of which are often deeply anti-Semitic. Be careful of the company you keep, eh?

Many of the other blogs on CiF Watch are completely unrelated to their stated mission. Take this blog, for example. It seems to me that this blog alone indicates support for this Tory-led government’s policies. Are they on close terms with the Conservative Friends of Israel? More than likely.

Powerbase has a stub on CiF Watch. I reckon further investigation is likely to reveal that CiF Watch is closely connected to a host of other right-wing groups – many of which are on the other side of the Atlantic. Groups like blacklisters Campus Watch, for example, and other self-styled ‘grassroots’ movements.

You can imagine how our chums feel about  Neturei Karta.  Uh huh.


Filed under Ideologies, Internet, Media

Nightmare on King Street (Part 3)

I never thought that I’d reach Part 3 in this series so quickly. After Hammersmith & Fulham Tories voted through cuts worth £60 million on Tuesday, I found this propaganda video that has been produced by the Council (hat tip Political Scrapbook).  Warning: this is self-congratulation at its worst.

Residents first, my arse.

Leave a comment

Filed under Hammersmith & Fulham, Hammersmith & Fulham Tories, London

Nightmare on King Street (Part 2) : a round up of recent events

HF Conwatch reveals that public services slashing Hammersmith & Fulham Council has been accused of tax-dodging There is an update here.

The Guardian, Private Eye and The Financial Times all report that the Council for the Rich has been employing executives as consultants through private companies to avoid paying tax. Unfortunately for the Council these shenanigans may well lead to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs taking a closer look at their accounts.

I seemed to have missed this Guardian interview with the Dear Leader when it was first printed.  Greeno, who is stepping down as Council Leader, is going to guide the White City Redevelopment from the backbenches. He tells us that he will be an “unpaid champion for White City”. Nowhere Towers finds this whole thing a little curious.  While we understand that he is the owner of Biba Medical and draws a not-too-insubstantial salary from it,  it is odd that he would do this sort of thing for the ‘love of it’. Tories, especially the current crop of laissez-faire cultists, don’t have an altruistic bone in their bodies. For them, altruism is a dirty word.

Greenhalgh also defended himself from accusations that he was socially cleansing the borough,

“I’m the son of a refugee, I’m the son of someone brought up by their single mother, not in public housing but as sub-tenant with all of the insecurity that involves, [… ] I understand poverty because my family came from very humble origins”.

At the end of the article we learn that he went to St. Paul’s School, which charges £6,275 for day pupils and £9,297 for boarders,  which is well outside the reach of those on fixed incomes or, indeed, those from “humble origins”. Unless he’s trying to tell us that he went there under the assisted places scheme? He also went to Trinity College, Cambridge. An ex-girlfriend of mine went there at the same time as Greeno. I wonder if their paths ever crossed?

Not that any of this really matters, what truly matters is the way in which the Dear Leader and his fellow Tories are smashing up communities and cutting services.

“You have to have the safety net,” he says, insisting that councils will not abandon vulnerable people, but may “change the rules of engagement”. He says: “They might say, ‘We’re about opportunity, we’re not about dependency’.”

I beg to differ. Nowhere Towers understands that the borough’s social housing tenants run a higher risk of being evicted than in many other areas. There are also numerous tales of how vulnerable people have been turned away from the Town Hall.  In 2010 a heavily pregnant woman was forced to sleep on park benches because the council refused to provide assistance.  Last year, the numbers of homeless people in the borough rose by 92%.  This lack of concern for those who aren’t in receipt of 6-figure salaries has earned  Hammersmith & Fulham the dubious distinction of appearing in Private Eye’s “Rotten Boroughs” a record number of times.

Greenhalgh has also recently been appointed the government’s Housing Champion. I kid you not.

Mr Greenhalgh, who is stepping down as council leader later this year, has been asked to carry out a review of housing regulations in support of the Government’s Housing Strategy published in November last year alongside Simon Randall, a solicitor specialising in social housing.

Key areas highlighted in the strategy included improving environmental standards, building more affordable housing, security of tenure, legal protection for tenants and leaseholders, and support for the elderly, vulnerable households and those on low incomes.

But this job isn’t necessarily about housing as this revealing article from tells us. Here he is not a “Housing Champion” he’s a “Construction Champion”. And yes, there is a difference.

Last night the Council voted through another public services slashing budget, while reducing the rate of Council Tax by 3.75%. Sounds attractive doesn’t it? The local council cuts tax to ‘put more money in your pocket’… it makes great copy… except the reality is altogether different. Residents in the borough can expect to pay more in parking and other charges. While most boroughs offer free Internet in its libraries, for example, this council charges £0.50 for every half hour after the first free half hour. The rich won’t feel a thing because they don’t use public services. Those on benefits and low to middle incomes will find that the reduction in Council Tax will hit them hard.

Shepherds Bush blog says that Greenhalgh likes the number 3. Nowhere Towers thinks that Greeno really likes the number 2, especially when it comes to the borough’s less wealthy residents, on whom his party keeps dumping.

Leave a comment

Filed under Hammersmith & Fulham, Hammersmith & Fulham Tories, London