Tag Archives: Daily Telegraph

Memogate: Another Example Of Our Failed Democracy

We were warned that this election campaign was going to be one of the dirtiest fought for a generation. The Tories, having failed to win an election outright for 22 years, were always going to resort to gutter politics and dirty tricks to try and steal the election. It’s in their DNA. They began  their campaign in 2013 when they recruited Lynton Crosby . Crosby’s appointment as Tory election strategist happened on the back of his successful smear campaign that saw Bozza elected as London Mayor in 2012. Yet Crosby’s record on the national stage has been poor. He failed to get Michael Howard elected in 2005 with his crypto-racist “Are you thinking what we’re thinking” slogan. It’s funny how people forget that.

Tim Wigmore writing in the New Statesman last August observed:

The 2005 election showed the limits of importing successful electioneering from Australian to Britain. Australia’s use of the Alternative Vote forces every voter into a straight choice, between the (conservative) Liberal Party and the Australian Labour party. Crucially, voting is also compulsory in Australia, which lends itself to negative campaigning: offering a compelling reason why the electorate should not plump for the alternative is enough.

Britain’s electoral dynamics are very different. We live in a multi-party world; even if the Tories are successful in attacking Labour’s electoral weaknesses on welfare and immigration, voters may plump for Ukip or the Lib Dems instead. 35 per cent of the electorate did not vote for anyone in 2010: they need a positive reason to bother. Relentless negativity is less effective as a campaigning technique when voters can choose whether or not to vote.

In the last 24 hours and, coincidentally, after the leader’s debates on Thursday, which saw Nicola Sturgeon win what was, effectively a beauty contest; it was as sure as ‘eggs is eggs’ that CCHQ would try and make mischief (did you see Gove on Question Time?). Late last night, the Torygraph ran a story in which it was alleged that Sturgeon told a French ambassador that she would prefer to have Cameron in office than Miliband. The alleged discussion was allegedly contained in a Foreign and Commonwealth Office memo, which magically found its way to the Tory-supporting Telegraph. Sure, it did. Anyone with half a brain in their head would know that for Sturgeon to make such a claim it would surely be political suicide. The Tories and their friends in the media know this. Craig Murray claims that this story bears the hallmarks of an MI5 smear campaign. The Cat is inclined to agree with him.

Murray writes:

Ever since Treasury Permanent Secretary Nicholas MacPherson stated that civil service impartiality rules do not apply in the case of Scottish independence, I have been warning the SNP that we are going to be the target of active subversion by the UK and US security services. We are seen as a danger to the British state and thus a legitimate target. I spelled this out in my talk to the Edinburgh SNP Club on 6 March, of which more below.

The story, as Murray reminds us, appears to have echoes of the Zionviev Letter. Indeed, I tweeted a reminder to this effect this morning. It was because of this forged letter, printed in the Tory-supporting Daily Mail, that the first Labour government fell and failed to win the snap election on 29 October, 1924. This defeat and Ramsay MacDonald’s subsequent betrayal in 1931 has been etched on the memories of old Labour Party members, most of whom are no longer with us. Nu Labourites apparently have no memories of anything that happened before the Blair era.

Crosby’s crappy strategy is to create chaos and discord on the Left in an attempt to create an image of an effective and in-control David Cameron…a man whom, ironically, presided over a chaotic administration. One example of the coalition government’s ineptitude was the so-called ‘Omnishambles’. Another is Cameron’s lack of judgement, typified as it is by the hiring of men like Andy Coulson and Patrick Rock.

The ‘Memogate’ story appears to have had the desired effect among many Labourites, who have taken to social media in their droves to repeat their predictable “I told you so” message. None of them seems wise or, indeed, bright enough, to remember their history. If the Tories win this election, it will be because they used smears and scaremongering to do so; but it will also be because Labour were foolish and gullible enough to fall for it all.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under 20th century, Free Press Myth, General Election 2015, History, Journalism, Media, propaganda, Yellow journalism

Telegraph Blogs Is No More

Telegraph blogs has been quiet for the last month or so and the silence has been eerie. For the last few weeks, the only blogs on the site were written by Dan Hannan, Judith Potts and Pete Wedderburn.  According to Hannan, Telegraph blogs will cease to exist. The blog site, which has become something of a magnet for racists, Kippers and assorted ethno-nationalists is moving to the paper’s comments section. The reason for the change isn’t clear. It would be tempting to suggest it’s because the blogs have acquired a reputation for being a toilet bear pit and the paper is embarrassed by the numbers of racists it attracts. However, the Cat thinks the reason is more pragmatic.

The Telegraph has been charging people to view its content for some time now and if you look at more than 20 articles a month, you have to pay for them. The Cat suspects that once the bloggers have moved over to the comments section, you will have to pay to read their drivel. The comments section tells us:

The best comment, analysis and blogs from The Telegraph including Charles Moore, Peter Oborne, Boris Johnson, Dan Hodges, Fraser Nelson and Janet Daley

The “best comment and analysis”? Is that what one expects from Hatchet-job Hodges and Janet Daley? Is this some kind of a joke?

As for Hannan, he’s moving to a site called CapX, which proclaims on its homepage that it stands “for popular capitalism”… whatever that is. He’s also going to be writing for The Washington Examiner, a sister organ to the  Weekly Standard, which is edited by neo-con darling and warmonger, William Kristol. Kristol was the co-founder of the Project for the New American Century. Hannan will be in good company.

For six months, I kept track of comments on Telegraph blogs but gave up after I began to worry about its effect on my mental health.

Here’s the final Telegraph Comment of the Week .

 

5 Comments

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

Telegraph Comment of the Week (#20)

This week’s comment was found on Toby Young’s blog, which pleads for a “First Amendment” (sic) to protect verbal bullies and the orally incontinent. Free speech in Tobes’s mind is where people say anything they like regardless of how nasty and mean-spirited the words may be.  It’s ‘free speech’, right?

Tobes claims that Katie Hopkins is the subject of “visceral hatred” after a successful campaign to sack her from This Morning where she had been appearing as a reactionary rent-a-gob. A tad dramatic. No? Here’s how Tobes opens his article:

There are lots of good arguments for a British equivalent of the First Amendment, not least that it would prevent Parliament passing any law that abridged the freedom of the press, and I hope the next Conservative manifesto includes a commitment to replacing the Human Rights Act with a Bill of Rights.

What Tobes doesn’t realize is that a “First Amendment” or to be more precise, a right to free speech enshrined in law, would not actually apply to a campaign to remove her from our screens. La Hopkins hasn’t been arrested nor has she been charged with any offence. A “First Amendment” has to be part of an existing document and no such document exists, thus the use of the phrase is a little silly.

Nonetheless the Honourable Tobes whines on:

I made a film about JS Mill recently for the Daily Politics and he identifies this form of censorship, which he calls “the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling”, as a far greater threat to freedom of thought and emotion than any laws a tyrannical government might pass. Orwell wrote about the same danger in his essay on ‘The Freedom of the Press’:

In Tobesworld, the right to insult people is more important than making sense and advancing rational arguments. Therefore, challenging crazy ideas or offensive speech is indicative, in his mind at least, of “tyranny”.

Now to the Comment of the Week. This is from “Kentucky Straight”, who doesn’t think the Hon Tobes goes far enough.

Kentucky Warped

This guy is confused: Scousers come from Liverpool, while “Man Utd fans” are fans of guess who? In fact, you don’t need to be a Mancunian to support Man  United. Anyone can be one.  “Kentucky” moans that an unnamed MP (Labour’s Jack Dromey, in fact) used the word “pikey” to refer to a postal worker.  “Pikey” is a derogatory word that is used to refer to Romanis and Irish Travellers and since 2007  it has been an offence to use the word. “Kentucky Fried” then complains that “another councillor” (likely to be UKIP), who is being investigated for “racism” for his remarks about an unnamed council ward in an unnamed city.  You see, this isn’t about “free speech” at all: it’s about the right to be nasty and intolerant as well as offensive.

Now “Kentucky Fried” may deny that he’s a racist but he’d have a hard time convincing me. Today’s racists are more likely to use euphemisms in an attempt to avoid confrontation or, indeed, detection. “Kentucky” is quite clearly either a member of a far-right party or he sympathizes with one. How do I know? It’s the way he claims that “We are becoming a Marxist police state”.

Comments Off on Telegraph Comment of the Week (#20)

Filed under Telegraph Comment of the Week, Tory press

Telegraph Comment of the Week (#17)

The thing about today’s racists is that they don’t like to be called racists. Yet that it is what they are and describing yourself as an ‘ethno-nationalist’ doesn’t let  you off the hook either. In fact, an ethno-nationalist is exactly the same thing as a racist. If you look at blogs like those on the Telegraph or Express websites, you will always see the racists jumping up and down and whining that they’re being labelled ‘racists’. Seriously, these racists doth protest too much. Diddums. Life’s so unfair.

This blog from the Torygraph’s token black blogger, Selena Grey, has the kind of title that gets all the racists chiming in with their tuppence worth. Indeed the fact that she’s black is enough to get some ranting and raving about ‘white genocide’.

Grey opens with this paragraph that’s bound to get the racists  baying for blood and demanding there be such a thing as ‘white history’ on the school curriculum.

Black History Month is all about learning. I certainly learnt something this year. I trekked across England as a panelist on the Great Debate Tour. The tour travels to university campuses through October and November and invites black and ethnic minority students to Question Time style debates on immigration, integration, voter registration and enterprise.

She then goes on to describe how some black students defied her expectations and complained about the amount of racism had poisoned the so-called immigration ‘debate’.

At Goldsmiths University the panel was asked whether immigrants take jobs from Brits or merely do the jobs that Brits are unwilling to do. I shared how my hardworking British friends in the construction industry found themselves undercut and almost unemployed when the Polish builders first arrived on the scene. In response to my contribution an enraged black female student raised her hand and yelled “if your friends couldn’t compete with the Polish maybe they’re just crap businessmen”.

Did you see how she set up that paragraph? She fell back on the auld canard that immigrants come here and “take jobs from Brits”. She’s a crowd-pleaser and no mistake.

To press her point, Grey carefully selects the correct black voices to lend support to her dreary argument. Here’s one:

At Oxford University, a black female student was furious at our politicians’ inability to discuss, address or control immigration. At Manchester University, a black female student was annoyed to find herself in the English-speaking minority on her Medical Science degree course. At Greenwich University, a black charity worker from East London shared his deep-seated irritation at how the local culture had been transformed by Asian and Somali immigrants: “I feel uncomfortable” he said. His candid comment led to an awkward silence.

Nothing like divide and rule, eh? The sad thing is that Grey has fallen for it. Yet if the anti-immigrationists ever got their way, guess who they’d turn on next? Uh huh, that’s right, people with black or brown skin. That hasn’t crossed Grey’s mind nor the minds of second generation immigrants who think it’s reasonable to enter into the same side of the knee-jerk ‘debate’ on immigration as white racists.

Grey closes with this paragraph:

One concern of the Great Debate founders is that blacks are not as politically active as whites. But immigration was the one issue black people in these audiences did have a political opinion about. And black Brits are uncomfortable with it.

If she’s trying to ingratiate herself and the black people she claims to speak for to a bunch of xenophobes, then she will fail.

Now for this week’s comment. This one is from “tedsanityville” who’s appeared on this blog once before.

tedinsanityville

Notice how the racists can’t avoid using zoological terminology to describe non-white people. Other cultures – the filthy hordes – “breed”, unlike pure white Brits (itself an oxymoron) who also breed, though the racists will often referred to it as ‘shagging’.  This is how white racists see others: as lesser beings, even animals.

See how “tedinsanityville” extends the ‘crowded island’ canard to “mainland Europe”. Their countries “are shitholes” declares this racist without a trace of irony. Everyone else lives in a ‘shithole’ but these people.

“brendalacluster” then chips in with an ‘Amen, brother’. Her suggestion is that the reason for “failing hospitals, schools etc” is because of those immigrant darkies, who come over here with the intention of destroying Britain’s infrastructure. It never occurs to people like this that the country is being destroyed by a ruling class that uses the NHS and education as political footballs. Like the ruling class, these xenophobes and racists would much rather blame someone else. Why? Because it’s easy and they’re incapable of critical thinking.

I have a simple proposition: if people who are against immigration don’t want to be called ‘racist’, they could start by not being racists in the first place. See? It’s easy.

Leave a comment

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

Telegraph Comment of the Week (#15)

This week’s comment isn’t so much a comment as it is an exchange between two xenophobes. I found this exchange on the comments thread of an article by Julia Llewellyn-Smith, which is entitled “The great gluten-free scam” . It’s hysterical. She suggests, using a photograph of Gwyneth Paltrow and citing a few celebs, that gluten-free food is faddish. She tells us:

But coeliacs make up only one in 100 of the population, while one in five of us is buying gluten-free products. Surveys of US consumers show that, of these, only five per cent are buying to combat coeliac disease, with the vast majority citing their reasons as “digestive health”, “nutritional value” and “to help me lose weight”. People have been eating bread since biblical times without reporting adverse effects. So why has it recently become demonised? The gluten-free “community” points to a recent surge in the number of people being diagnosed as coeliacs. Not so long ago GPs expected to see one case during their whole career, but now one per cent of the population has it. (Though others say the rise is simply due to improved diagnostic methods and greater awareness of the condition.)

What Llewellyn-Smith has failed to consider is the way in which wheat has changed over the millenia. The wheat that we currently have in our bread and cakes is completely different to ancient wheat, which had a lower gluten content. Llewellyn-Smith appears to be suggesting there is a conspiracy of left-wing hippy do-gooders who are out to contaminate our precious fluids.

Now onto that exchange. It doesn’t matter what subject is under discussion, there’s always someone who wants to come along and racialize it. First we have “Mithrandius” suggesting that “Caucasians” aren’t affected by sickle cell disease and then “StoutCortez” spouts a load of ignorant rubbish about its causes.

Coeliac disease and sickle cell

Sickle Cell Disease affects people of African extraction and those from the Mediterranean. This includes some Italians, Greeks, Maltese, Turks, Arabs, Bulgarians and South Asians. It is not, as some would suggest, confined solely to black people, nor does Vitamin D or the apparent inability to “synthesize it” have anything to do with the disease.

This map shows the distribution of Sickle Cell Disease:

A lack of sunlight and a poor diet leads to rickets, which is now making a return to Britain. Funny how it always seems to reappear when the Tories are in power. No?

8 Comments

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

Telegraph Comment of the Week (#12)

Brendan O'Neill: let them eat donuts

Brendan O’Neill: poverty is a leftist conspiracy

At Nowhere Towers, Brendan O’Neill is known as one of the Telegraph’s worst bloggers (James Delingpole is the other one). A Murdoch lackey and an acolyte of The Great Furedi, O’Neill rails against anything that looks vaguely left-wing and this  is in spite of his repeated insistence that he’s a “man of the Left”. Is he a hypocrite? Yes, he is.

Yesterday, O’Neill penned a blog with the title “What’s fuelling the food bank frenzy? The hunger for publicity for anti-poverty activists”.

O’Neill knows what his readers like and they like anything that puts the poor and the needy in their place. They also like their ideas half-baked and O’Neill knows this and plays them like a fiddle.

Here’s my theory, for what it’s worth. Today’s food banks are not fuelled by the needs of the poor so much as by the needs of charities and campaigners. I think the main beneficiaries of the fashion for opening food banks, and for press-releasing these openings to every media outlet in the land, are the poverty industry rather than the poor. The poverty industry is made up of those campaigners who depend, for their very existence, on the idea that there exist hordes of helpless, hapless poor folk – and so the more these campaigners can fuel that idea, the better. Just consider how loose is their definition of poverty.

“Here’s my theory” he says. The trouble is, Brendan, it isn’t a “theory”; it’s a collection of prejudices strung together like diamante pearls. Furthermore, there is no “poverty industry”. That’s blatant hyperbole. What O’Neill is saying is that those who help others are to be despised. So the food banks, which many people rely on, are just publicity fronts? Did I get that right? Yes, I did.

They define “food poverty” as “the inability to afford, or have access to, food to make up a healthy diet”. But who defines what is a healthy diet? If a family can afford unhealthy foods – like cheap white bread, processed meat, beans – can they still be said to be suffering from “food poverty”? In these campaigners’ eyes, yes. Using various modern and ridiculously stretched definitions of poverty, the Trussell Trust, which runs most of Britain’s food banks, says 13 million people in Britain are living in poverty. They mean relative poverty – effectively “not being as wealthy as others” rather than “having nothing”. For them, the important thing is not having a serious debate about living standards in the 21st century but rather promoting the Dickensian idea that millions of people are poor, desperate and starving.

With the rising cost of fuel, travel and foodstuffs, combined with stagnating wages (stagflation), life for the low-waged and those on benefits is tough, but you’ll get no sympathy from O’Neill who thinks poverty is a leftist conspiracy. He nitpicks over the definition of “food poverty” but he hasn’t actually produced an coherent argument to challenge it. Instead he tells us that poverty is a “Dickensian idea”; old-fashioned and no longer ‘hip’. In the last sentence, he shows us that not only is he spiteful and mean, but he’s in denial.

That is what is driving the food-bank frenzy – not Britons’ desperation for food, but poverty campaigners’ desperation for publicity. The opening of a food bank is ultimately a very fancy press release about the need to keep the charity sector and welfare state flourishing. It’s politics dolled up as emergency aid. It’s poverty porn, providing a kick for those activists and commentators who like nothing more than to feel the thrill of pity for the less fortunate.

O’Neill hasn’t got any evidence to support this provocative assertion. “Politics dolled up as emergency aid” just reinforces his selective misanthropy. Better to let people starve. Eh, Brendan?

Now we come to the comment of the week. This one is from “MHammer47”, whose class hatred oozes from every word of this comment:

MHammer Twat

“MHammer47” channels Marie Antoinette by saying “let them eat donuts (sic)”. They’re only “69p”. Living on doughnuts will lead to serious health issues but for people like this, such things are incidental; mere collateral damage.  For MC Hammer, finding oneself in dire financial circumstances is about making “bad choices”. If only it were that simple.

There’s an old saying that Hammer and O’Neill need to learn and understand: There by the grace of God go I.

2 Comments

Filed under Ideologies, Journalism, Media, social class, Society & culture, Telegraph Comment of the Week, Tory press, Yellow journalism

Telegraph Comment of the Week (#11)

This week’s Telegraph comment comes from “Sir Tabby” who left his rather naive comment on Will Heaven’s blog, which is little more than an anti-Guardian hatchet-job of which I shall quote a portion.

Starting on p.9 of today’s Guardian, you’ll find an impressive range of voices sticking up for the paper’s coverage of what it calls the “Snowden files” (they’re not actually his, but whatever). The first belongs to the editor of the New York Times, Jill Abramson, and on p.13 the very last voice is Dilma Rousseff’s, the president of Brazil. (They could also addVince Cable to the list.)

Fine. But it’s also worth revisiting the comments below – all made this week by respected public or establishment figures. Alan Rusbridger, the Guardian’s editor, would probably dismiss them out of hand. “They would say that,” he’d argue. Or: “Spies and politicians have been making the same arguments since the early 1990s.” “We’re living in a golden age of surveillance.” etc etc.

Heaven  quotes a few people, one of whom is the spooky Jack-in-the-box head of MI5, Andrew Parker.

Andrew Parker, the director general of the Security Service (MI5)

“It causes enormous damage to make public the reach and limits of GCHQ techniques. Such information hands the advantage to the terrorists. It is the gift they need to evade us and strike at will. Unfashionable as it might seem, that is why we must keep secrets secret, and why not doing so causes such harm.”

Heaven then goes on to quote an anonymous “Downing Street spokesman”.

Downing Street spokesman, speaking on behalf of the Prime Minister

“The Prime Minister thinks [Andrew Parker’s] was an excellent speech and we are, as you would expect, always keeping under review the measures that are needed to contribute to keeping our country safe. I would happily point you to all parts of the director general’s speech.”

I never trust anything that purports to come from a “Downing Street spokesman”. Usually such people tend to be low-grade pen pushers. This is the “free press” in action, guys. It works tirelessly to promote the view of the security services and the party that represents those views in Parliament – the Tories.

Here’s Sir Tabby the Alley Cat’s contribution:

Sir Tabby Alley Cat

Poor gullible, naive “Sir Tabby”. He thinks the security services “know what they’re talking about”. The security services couldn’t catch a cold, let alone a terrorist cell. MI5’s job is to keep people in a state of fear and to blackmail ordinary citizens, and fit up politicians and foreign dignitaries by photographing them in compromising situations.

Leave a comment

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