Tag Archives: astroturfing

Telegraph Comment of the Week (#23)

No matter how hard they try (perhaps they’re not trying at all) the Telegraph can’t stop the numbers of fruitcakes that flock to its comments threads. This is no doubt due to the kinds of blogs that are published on the site and, in spite of Dan Hannan’s complaint that the blogs shouldn’t be judged on the kinds of comments that appear below them, his complaint sounds like the insincere whining that’s born of a lack of self-awareness. “It’s not my fault, blame that lot over there”! These people know what they’re doing and the more clicks these blogs get, the more money for the Telegraph. Clickbait: it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3 clicks.

This week, a new horse arrived at the Telegraph stable. Posing as a recent history graduate, Jago Pearson wrote an article in support of Michael Gove’s education policies and complained that academia was “dominated by lefties”. The thing is, Pearson is actually working for a Tory-friendly PR company. This sort of thing happens a lot: the government has made much use of astroturfers and Twitter accounts that harass anyone who doesn’t support the government’s classist policies. Gove is not a pedagogue, he’s an ideologue and a former journalist and it shows. It’s all about the narrative. However, what Pearson seems to have forgotten is that universities do not fall under the auspices of The Department for Education, they are the responsibility of The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Oops! Perhaps he should have written an article in support of David Willetts instead?

Here are a couple of snippets from his first article.

The dominance of the Left is deep-rooted and for all to see, especially when it comes to the teaching of history. I write as a 21-year-old graduate of History and Politics, just six months out of university.

Don’t get me wrong: I had some superb teachers and lecturers, both throughout my time at school and while studying for my degree – individuals who enthused and inspired and knew their subjects inside out.

But the majority of them were rabidly Left-wing and the subjects they chose for their students matched their own misguided outlook on society.

Towards the end he tells us:

When it came to my dissertation, I managed to retreat to something more traditional, in the form of British defence policy and the Falklands conflict. Luckily, my supervisor was just about the only in the department without a Left-wing grudge to bear. To be expected I suppose, as an expert in intelligence and strategic defence.

Jesus H. Christ! Talk about paranoia. But “traditional”? What is that supposed to mean? Pearson’s prose style is reminiscent of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾, but not quite as entertaining.

After he was exposed as a fraud by Tom Pride, Pearson thought he’d ask Damian ‘Blood Crazed Ferret’ Thompson for another crack at those awful, horrible lefties. The result is even more hilarious than the first article.

The tactics of the Left are so predictable, especially where certain subjects are concerned. You give them a prod; shake them around a little and they stir into life. How dare we criticise their cosy stranglehold on education?

The point of Higher Education is to get students to think critically and to ask questions. Pearson appears to have done neither during his time at Loughborough University, the alleged hotbed of academic radicalism and focus of his ire. The rest of the blog reads like a sixth form rant and it’s hard to imagine how Pearson managed to obtain a degree at all. On the basis of this, I’d say he’d have been lucky to achieve a third.

Now for the comment. This one is full of the usual clichés and hackneyed phrases that we’ve come to know and love.

Jim Bilge

“Jim Blane” just vomits the words onto the page. He opens with “White middle /upper class Neo-Leftism is a racist anti-White ideology”. So we now know this person is probably a white nationalist and possibly a member of the BNP or UKIP. But what is “anti-White ideology” other than paranoid drool? Have a look at the spelling, it’s clear this person doesn’t much time for such trivial things as grammar and sentence construction. Such things are, no doubt, indicative of ‘Left-wing indoctrination’. We can’t have that.

This comment wouldn’t be complete without the obligatory “Cultural Marxist” thrown in but, in typical headbanging style, Jim Bilge crams far too many epithets into his sentences and the result is a sort of mush with long sentences like: “Most self described Lefties and most NeoCons are Cultural Marxists or have adopoted the core tenets of Cultural Marxist /Cultural Deconstructionism / Blank Slate Theory / Critical Theory and yet at the same time don’t even know what these things are”.  Get all those hatreds in Jim, time’s running out.

Critical theory offends the far-right mind because nothing should be questioned. The leader is always right. The world was created in seven days and the story of Noah’s Ark is better than any scientific analysis.  Evolution, dear friends, is a commie…no, scratch that, Cultural Marxist plot to destroy the White ‘race’. That is what passes for free speech in Toryland, a country in which people accept their place under a regime of bullies, dummies and their pals in the PR industry.

This kind of rant against “left-wing intellectuals” is typical of the anti-intellectualism of, well, right-wing dictatorships. Oddly enough, it’s also the kind of thing that’s been happening in the States for decades where students are asked to report “left-wing” academics, who are then hounded out of their jobs.

Truth? These people haven’t got a clue.

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Filed under Media, Telegraph Comment of the Week, Tory press

Nightmare on King Street (Part 14)

Yesterday, as I was looking at my Twitter timeline, I saw this tweet from H&F Council’s propaganda department,

H&F propaganda1

So I followed the link to this article on the Council’s website. I will quote the first two paragraphs,

A judge has thrown out a legal challenge that threatened £1billion worth of community benefits to North Fulham and Earls Court, describing it as ‘absurd’.

West Kensington Estate resident Harold Greatwood, applied to court to launch a judicial review of Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council’s decision to enter into a Conditional Land Sale Agreement with EC Properties to include the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates in the wider regeneration of Earls Court.

Gloating? You ain’t seen nothing yet!

Finding that the challenge to the Council’s consultation was “not reasonably arguable”, Mr Justice Mitting said: “The analysis of the consultation responses put to cabinet on 23 April 2012 and 3 September 2012 was balanced and fair. The suggestion that the results of the consultation were hidden is unwarranted”. He went on to say that “The time for the consultation – nine weeks – was adequate” and that “The suggestion that because the defendant did not address the consultation documents to tenants by name or to the ‘tenant’, the process was flawed, is absurd.”

Justice? Justice only exists for those who can afford to pay for it. As for justice being “blind”, that’s another myth. Judges are ideological too. I suspect the Council has a dedicated legal team whose job is to deal with this and other property and land deals.

I saw another tweet on H&F Council’s Twitter timeline.

H&F tweet

This isn’t riding roughshod over the majority of the tenant’s wishes, it’s getting into a steamroller, putting a brick onto the accelerator pedal and running over the tenants again and again. I clicked on the link.

There’s a quote from Council Leader, Nicholas Botterill.

Cllr Nicholas Botterill, Leader of H&F Council, said: “We believe that the residents living on the estates have negotiated the best deal of any regeneration scheme in the country. They will only have to move when their new home is ready to be occupied. That new home will be the same area as they are already living in. People will be compensated and we will keep support groups and neighbours together.

Whoa! Hang on! Botterill says, “The residents living on the estates have negotiated the best deal of any regeneration scheme in the country”. Which “residents” are these? Not the residents who oppose this development and he can only mean the astroturf group of residents that was set up by the Council to give the impression of a consensus for the redevelopment project. It’s an old PR con trick that Edward Bernays would have admired.

Here’s some more,

“Residents, their current and future children will be living in an even better, safer neighbourhood environment with access to new leisure and community facilities. Most of all local people will benefit from the thousands of new job opportunities that will be created”.

“Local people”, says Botterill. Most of those “local people” will be forced out of their homes to make way for the affluent and those who will take, at face value, the words of the developer and the vendors who will sell shoebox properties that have a luxury price tag on them.

At the end of the article, which was quite possibly written by the Council’s propaganda minister, Harry Phibbs, it asks,

What happens next?

  • Hammersmith & Fulham Council will make an application to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government  for consent for the transfer of the estates to EC Properties. This is likely to be considered in March.
  • When the Section 106 agreement with the developer is firmed up, the Planning Authority will refer the planning application to the Mayor of London, while the Secretary of State also has the discretion to call it in.

The Secretary of State, the immensely rotund Eric Pickles, is already on board and so is Emperor Bozza. It looks like a done deal… or is it? The Council, in its arrogance, believes that it can do no wrong. We’ll see.

The former Council Leader, Stephen Greenhalgh, is facing a criminal investigation over the alleged “VIP list” where tenants who signed up to support the redevelopment were promised preferential treatment. If this investigation goes ahead, I expect other councillors and council officials to face charges. For all the Council’s gloating, the VIP list could come back to bite them. The Council and Greenhalgh deny any wrongdoing.

Funnily enough, when I click on any link on the pages I’ve linked to, I get the following message,

http://www.lbhf.gov.uk is unavailable or may not exist.

Amusing. No?

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

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: https://buddyhell.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/the-tottenham-riots-the-racists-of-fleet-street-and-their-friends/

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