Tag Archives: Janet Daley

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 .

 

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Telegraph Comment of the Week (#3)

This one comes from Janet Daley’s blog about the Centre for Policy Studies’ (CPS) evidence-free and non-peer reviewed report that claims the BBC has a “left-wing bias”. Only in your dreams, Janet.

Here’s Daley’s appraisal:

The Centre for Policy Studies has published an impeccably researched report which offers objective statistical evidence of the BBC’s persistent habit of describing (which is to say, effectively dismissing) the proposals of think tanks such as the IEA, the Centre for Social Justice, the Taxpayers’ Alliance, and the CPS itself as emanating from “Rightwing” organisations, while offering up material from Leftwing or Labour-supporting groups without any such health-warning. The effect, needless to say, is to cast political suspicion on the published claims or policy suggestions of the outfits labelled “Rightwing”, even when the material they contain is factual and empirically indisputable.

Yes, but Janet, the CPS is right-wing. It was founded in 1974 by Thatcher, Sir Keith Joseph and Sir Alfred Sherman. You can’t get more right-wing than the CPS. But “factually and empirically indisputable” is something the CPS’s reports are not. Right-wing think tanks don’t think they need to bother with such trivial things as evidence as I pointed out in this blog.

Enter sage and nationalist wit, offaofmercia or “Offal of Mercia” as I prefer to call him (it has to be a him) with this week’s Telegraph Comment of the Week.

Offal of Mercia (cropped)

Let’s have a look at his points.

1. It “hates British history”… which is why there are tons of programmes about various aspects of British history on BBC Television at the moment. David Starkey is currently presenting a programme about the Tudors and Music.  Offal has also missed (some might say deliberately) the She-Wolves documentary presented by Helen Castor on BBC4 and Michael Wood’s series King Alfred and the Anglo-Saxons on the same channel. Massive FAIL.

2. Not sure where Offal gets his ideas that the BBC “hates that Britain was once the greatest power” drivel from. I guess he keeps missing those nationalistic programmes fronted by Dan Snow and others. FAIL.

3. It “hates Christianity and Christians”, which is why the dreary Songs of Praise is still running after 52 years. FAIL.

4. It “protects and promotes Islam”. I can’t see how that’s the case and like the CPS report, Offal’s assertion lacks evidence. FAIL.

5. It “promotes the welfare state which is destroying Britain”. In which case, it must be doing a pretty poor job of it. Offal hasn’t seen Saints and Scroungers or that shitty John Humphrys’  Future of Welfare that was recently slapped down by the BBC Trust. In the latter’s case, the right-wing press went into overdrive with claims of BBC’s ‘left-wing bias’. FAIL.

6. It “promotes the NHS which is killing women left, right and centre”. The BBC has said nothing about the NHS privatization plans and has actually danced to the government’s tune.  The BBC has actually failed to offer a voice that is against the government’s plans. As for “killing women”. How has the NHS done this? Offal offers no examples.  So that’s a FAIL.

7. It “promotes the EU and continental orgs/entities that want to destroy British sovereignty”. The BBC only promotes the BBC and the words of government ministers. FAIL.

8. It “promotes pc culture which has the entire nation walking on eggshells at all times”. What is a “pc culture” and how is it “promoted” by the BBC? Is it because The Black and White Minstrel Show was axed over 30 years ago? That must be it. In which case it is a FAIL.

9. It “despises anything to the right of the Labour party”, which is why it invites government ministers to appear without a dissenting point of view being put to them. Besides, the Labour leadership is right-wing and has been that way for years. Another FAIL.

10. It “promotes depriving a citizen of his/her freedom  because of his/her thoughts and words”. Truly silly stuff from Offal. I can’t see how the BBC does this. It probably says more about Offal’s paranoia than it does the BBC’s allegedly magical ability to control people’s thoughts and actions. I mean, that’s what the remote control is for: if you don’t like what you see or hear, turn it off or change the channel. Tin Foil Hat City. FAIL.

11. It “forces people to give to it through ‘voluntary fees’ though it has NO TOLERANCE for views on the Right”.  First, the license fee isn’t “voluntary” it’s compulsory if you own a television. The Right’s views are given much more airtime on BBC News than any other views. So again, it’s a FAIL.

So Offal of Mercia thinks the BBC controls our minds and never has any right-wingers in their studios.  Yes and I’m King Cnut.

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Right-wing clichés (Part 4): There is no poverty in Britain

This is a new cliché.  The Right cannot understand how anyone in Britain can be impoverished – they are in denial.  Whenever I hear some chinless wonder tell us that the real poor reside on the other side of the globe on less than $2 a day, the words that spring to mind are “dishonest”, “blind” and “ignorant”.

Here are some facts from the Child Poverty Action Group  that the Right wishes would go away. We’ll take the top four points.

  • There are 3.6 million children living in poverty in the UK today. That’s 27 per cent of children, or more than one in four.1
  • There are even more serious concentrations of child poverty at a local level: in 100 local wards, for example, between 50 and 70 per cent of children are growing up in poverty.2
  • Work does not provide a guaranteed route out of poverty in the UK. Almost two-thirds (62 per cent) of children growing up in poverty live in a household where at least one member works.3
  • People are poor for many reasons. But explanations which put poverty down to drug and alcohol dependency, family breakdown, poor parenting, or a culture of worklessness are not supported by the facts.4

I would like to draw the Right’s attention to the last bullet point. I know they don’t want to see this and would like to dismiss these figures as “Leftist claptrap”, but that would show them up for what they are: liars.  It’s all too easy for the Right to make baseless allegations that the poor of this country fritters their money away on Sky TV and cheap booze and fags, but these people simply cannot afford these luxuries. But if people on low incomes own even the most basic television set, the Right will demand “How dare the poor desire luxuries”? We live in a consumer society where those things that were once considered luxuries are now sold as necessities (Bourdieu, 1986). Whose fault is that? It isn’t the fault of the poor. Besides, everyone – regardless of income and social class – needs some kind of diversion or amusement to make the hell of living under this Tory regime more bearable. Though in the case of the rich, life is always bearable because they have a financial cushion to protect them.

According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the UK has “proportionally more children living in poverty than most rich countries”.

Rising fuel costs have forced many people to make the difficult choice between food and heating.

Next month, the government’s welfare reforms will begin to kick in. Council Tax Benefit will go and the Bedroom Tax will be implemented, which both have the potential of forcing many more people into homelessness and/or destitution.  Again, the Right deny that anyone will be worse off by the changes. This is a kick in the face with a hob-nailed boot  for Britain’s poor as well as barefaced political mendacity.

Daniel Hannan, the Conservative Eurosceptic MEP, has never experienced poverty and uses an image of Wayne and Waynetta Slob from The Harry Enfield Show to make his point (I have a screengrab of the article in case he takes it down).

Hannan thinks this is a true representation of Britain’s poor.

Last year in a blog titled “Rising welfare budgets have failed to cure poverty; it’s time to try something different”, Hannan wrote:

Iain Duncan Smith is the first occupant of his office to recognise that increasing the budget has failed. Since the Second World War, benefits and welfare bills have ballooned, yet there has been no commensurate impact on either poverty or inequality. This is because of something which, when stated, is obvious, but which contradicts the old orthodoxy:poverty is not simply an absence of money. Rather, it is bound up with other factors, including low educational attainments, unemployment, substance abuse, family breakdown and paucity of ambition. It follows that you don’t reduce poverty by giving money to the poor. To take an extreme case, giving £1000 to a heroin addict will not improve his prospects. IDS grasps that, to tackle indigence, you need to address its root causes; and that part of the answer lies in so structuring the incentives that people are determined to find work. As JFK observed more than 50 years ago, the surest way out of poverty is a secure job.

Did you notice how Hannan brought heroin addiction into his ‘argument’? He then closes this paragraph by offering us a quote from John F Kennedy that suggests that the disease of poverty is magically cured by work. But he does not bother to ask two important questions: 1) What if there are no jobs and 2) Shouldn’t people be paid a living wage that allows them to live with dignity? Low paid work actually keeps people in poverty.

For Hannan and his Tory chums, poverty in Britain is created by addicts who have a lack of an education and no ambition. Those who are poor, in the eyes of the Right, do not deserve help of any kind and you will notice the way he says “…you don’t reduce poverty by giving money to the poor”. Translated, this means “If you’re poor, tough shit. Become our slaves or die”.

Dismal Janet Daley claims there is a “poverty lobby”. She tells us, “The poverty lobby – as opposed to those who actually want to put an end to poverty – uses the “poor” as a political weapon in its ideological war against the market economy”.  What this amounts to is a smear on those institutions that work towards alleviating poverty. But what Daley also does is to invite us to avert our gaze from the real causes of poverty: low or no wages (of which poor diet is a symptom), poor housing and a lack of opportunities. Indeed, one’s relationship to capital is what defines poverty.

Daley denies that the market or neoliberal economy does nothing to alleviate poverty. Instead she relies on the notion that the “Invisible Hand of the Market” and “trickle down” will provide. She supports this notion by citing an article written by Philip Booth of the very right-wing Institute of Economic Affairs.

This paragraph is the centrepiece of her article:

In spite of the fact that being in work has been shown repeatedly to be the best (and most permanent) antidote to poverty, the public relations arms of the Child Poverty Action Group and the Rowntree Trust (among many others) have been notably disinclined to support the government’s welfare reform programme even though it is designed precisely to free the poor from the benefits trap. Nor can I recall them campaigning for tax cuts on the low paid: instead of allowing people to keep more of their earnings which would relieve their hardship and give them more independence, they clamour for the continuation of tax credits which subsidise (and perpetuate) low wages, and foster dependence on the state.

But Janet, if people have no work, they cannot benefit from tax cuts. Where is your logic? Furthermore, tax cuts will not make up for the pathetic wages being paid to people.  The fact remains that if people were paid proper living wages instead of peanuts, there would be no need for in-work benefits. Moreover, the structural deficit – that is often conflated by the Right with the national debt – will never go away if the Treasury isn’t making money through taxation. The Right’s calls for welfare cuts is predicated, not only on their ignorance of the lives of the poor, but also on their inbuilt social Darwinian prejudices and their deep-rooted class disgust.

Rather than see things as they really are, the Right would rather view the lives of the poor through the distorted lens of the fictional characters of Wayne and Waynetta Slob.  For them, the poor and the low-waged are pizza-eating, beer-swilling schlubs with no ambitions other than to own loads of bling and watch aspirational crap on their flat-screen tellies, and who also neglect their children as a lifestyle choice. For me, their use of televisually-mediated images and apocrypha to support their morally indefensible arguments perfectly illustrates the Right’s inability to comprehend the causes and definitions of poverty and the solutions to it.  Evidently, they would much rather deal with fantasy than the reality of everyday life. No wonder they’re so fond of nostalgia!

Obsessed with a nostalgic image (I could suggest spectacular image) of the Victorian age, the Tories are currently resurrecting the old Poor Laws. It’s only a matter of time before someone like Hannan demands the reintroduction of the workhouses.

Reference

Bourdieu, P. (1986) Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, London: Routledge.

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Prisoners to get the vote

I’ve just heard that prisoners are to get the vote. The European Human Rights Commission has declared Britain’s penal laws to be in violation of human rights.

The move comes after government lawyers advised that failure to comply with a 2004 ECHR ruling could cost the taxpayer hundreds of millions of pounds in litigation costs and compensation.

David Cameron was said to be “exasperated and furious” at having to accept that there was no way of keeping the UK’s 140-year-old blanket ban on sentenced prisoners voting.

One can only imagine how the bods at the Torygraph will react to this. I suspect The Great Lord of Darkness will be foaming at the mouth at the prospect. But then I also suspect that many of the newly enfranchised cons will end up voting for the Tories in large numbers. I am sure that Jonathan Aitken and Jeffrey Archer will do their best to use their prison connections to convince prisoners to vote for the party.

I’ve just had a look at the Telegraph blogs and so far, there is nothing about this story. But give it time. I’m sure Janet ‘the Tea Party is misunderstood’ Daley will have something to say on the matter –  if she’s not occupying herself with Tea Party celebrations that is.

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Janet Daley: the Tea Party is misunderstood

I read this blog by American Republican-in-Britain, Janet Daley in yesterday’s Torygraph. She says that “the BBC sets about the American Tea Party Movement as if it were a cross between the Klu Klux Klan and the German neo-fascist brigade”. I am not surprised that Daley is defending the Teabaggers; she’s one of those journos who would defend the indefensible because they are, in her eyes, ‘defending liberty’ (sic). In her blog she regards the Tea Party through the prism of economics. Bad move. I remember how the Ludwig von Mises Institute tried this tack with their revisionist history of the US Civil War. It has the stench of denial about it.

Here, she presumes us to be thick because we are reading this on the other side of the Atlantic, but the fact remains that the Tea Party or teabaggers are overwhelmingly white.

Note to BBC editors: the movement is named after the Boston Tea Party because it is protesting about the imposition of higher federal taxes and over-weening controls on citizens who believe their voices have been ignored

This would be the same ‘Tea Party’ that was organized by the wealthy merchants of Boston? Of course. Daley would quite happily accuse her opponents of myth-concoction but there are no bigger myths than those that are articulated around  the Boston Tea Party.

The reason why we see the Teabaggers the way we do has nothing to do with their claims of liberty but because they claim that the English Defence League are ‘patriots’.  They also hold up racist placards and shout racist abuse.  The Tea Party has also attracted a sizeable number of white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

As Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia) walked to the Capitol, the teabagger crowd repeatedly called him a “nigger”. Lewis (pictured) is a veteran and hero of the civil rights movement in this country, having put his life on the line for his fellow citizens and to make this country a better place. He does not deserve this kind of treatment [and this atrocious behavior was witnessed and verified by his fellow congressman — Rep. Andre Carson (D-Indiana)].

Then Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri) received even worse treatment. He was not only called “nigger” repeatedly, but the crowd also spit on him. Frankly I wouldn’t spit on my worst enemy. It’s not only disgusting behavior, but it says more about the boorish and reprehensible nature of the spitter than it is an insult to the person spat upon.

The Tea Party are also anti-gay (is there anything they’re not ‘anti’?),

Protesters also hurled anti-gay comments at Rep. Barney Frank, D-Massachusetts, who is openly gay, as he left the same health care meeting that Lewis attended in a House office building.

A CNN producer overheard the word “faggot” yelled at Frank several times in the lobby of the Longworth building. Frank said he heard someone yell “homo” at him.

Daley is unsurprisingly silent on these matters. So Janet, this has nothing to do with alleged BBC ‘bias’. The Tea Party do these things to themselves. As Mark Williams of Tea Party Express demonstrates,

“We are dealing with people who are professional race-baiters who make a very good living off this kind of thing. They make more money off of race than any slave trader, ever. It’s time groups like the NAACP went to the trash heap of history where they belong along with all the other vile, racist groups that emerged in our history.”

But it doesn’t stop there. Here’s an excerpt from a ‘satirical’ piece that he wrote,

Perhaps the most racist point of all in the tea parties is their demand that government “stop raising our taxes.” That is outrageous! How will we Colored People ever get a wide screen TV in every room if non-coloreds get to keep what they earn? Totally racist! The tea party expects coloreds to be productive members of society?Mr. Lincoln, you were the greatest racist ever. We had a great gig. Three squares, room and board, all our decisions made by the massa in the house. Please repeal the 13th and 14th Amendments and let us get back to where we belong.

I have tried and tried but I cannot find a single trace of irony here. Maybe Janet could help me out? On second thought, maybe not.

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