Tag Archives: Lynton Crosby

Racism And The Bullying Of Diane Abbott

We’ve been here before.

I woke up this morning to discover that Diane Abbott had been taken ill and has withdrawn from the campaign. Her place has been taken by Lyn Brown. Furthermore, the recent attacks on Abbott, so close to polling day, can only have originated from the foetid mind of Lynton Crosby, whose reputation for dog-whistle racist campaigns is well known.

Few people, except those who have a blind spot for such things, can deny that the recent bullying of Diane Abbott has been not only disgraceful, but smacks of racism and sexism. The Cat has seen numerous people, many of them claiming to be Labour supporters, complaining about Abbott’s ‘competence’. When pressed to provide salient examples of her ‘incompetence’ the best answer these people can provide is “well, she had a car crash interview” and that is the sum total of their argument.

In all of her shadow roles from Public Health to the Home Office, Abbott has performed well. Yet few people when asked if she’s made mistakes in those roles, can’t answer the question, so they start flailing and splutter “I don’t like her”. Well, okay, that’s fair enough but once they’ve spluttered those words, they usually return to their original non-point of Abbott’s presumed incompetency.  Mention the word “racism” and they’ll get agitated. Why? Is it because they refuse to see it?  Of course, it is.

In the last week or so, we’ve heard May and her Tories say “Would you want Diane Abbott as Home Secretary”? Such a question is predicated on the knowledge of the Other. The idea that the Home Office will be run not only by a woman, but a black woman is too much to bear for our crypto-racists. Better to have a white woman or a white man in charge, eh? Where are the black faces in May’s cabinet?  There are none. There are a couple of Asian millionaires but no black people.

Diane Abbott has been attacked precisely because she is black and because she’s a woman. Boris Johnson is allowed to make as many gaffes as he likes and get away with it. He’s given plenty of latitude when he indulges in racism and his thuggish behaviour is regularly overlooked, even laughed off.  He’s a clown, so we’re told.

When you base your competency argument on a handful of gaffes rather than a person’s record, then you play the bully’s game. If you can’t see the obvious racism that underpins the bullying of Abbott and prefer to focus on her presumed incompetency, then you need to have a word with yourself.

 

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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.

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

Some thoughts about Falkirk

The Labour Party has enjoyed a lead over the Conservatives since the coalition was formed over three years ago. Recently, Labour extended its lead over the Tories by more than 10%. This must have alarmed those at Tory high command, because such a consistent lead in the polls contradicts their deeply held and delusional belief that they’re doing the ‘right thing’ for the country. The Tories so desperately want to win the 2015 election and will do anything to get themselves re-elected. This includes using dirty tricks. Indeed when it comes to dirty tricks, the Tories have plenty of previous.

Last year, Lynton Crosby was hired as the Conservative election campaign ‘consultant’ after winning the London mayoral election for Bozza. The contest was marked by a massive smear campaign against Ken Livingstone. This is Crosby’s modus operandi: use dirty tricks to scupper your opponent’s chances of winning fairly.

Yet, Crosby hasn’t always been successful. The 2005 general election was a disaster for him and led to defeat for Michael Howard, whose semi-racist “are you thinking what we’re thinking” slogan failed to deliver the goods. Howard was kicked upstairs, replaced by a younger and equally incompetent leader in the form of David Cameron.

When I first heard that the Unite union had allegedly been involved in ballot-rigging, I thought “this has Crosby’s fingerprints all over it”. This was confirmed when Dan ‘Hatchet-job’ Hodges was invited to various television studios to offer his apparently ‘expert’ view. Hodges, as many of us know, pens blogs for the Daily Telegraph where he is described as “The Blairite cuckoo in the Miliband nest”.

Here’s Hodges with Crosby at Bozza’s victory celebrations last year.

Hodges and Crosby1

On Wednesday, Hodges wrote in his blog:

There is fierce anger among Labour officials at the arrogant – and cack-handed – way Unite have been conducting themselves. “What did they think they were doing?” asked one. “They weren’t even trying to be subtle. They were openly bragging abut what they were up to.” Another points out that in a constituency like Falkirk, many of the trade union activists Unite were trying to hoover up were in fact nationalists. “Unite were basically letting the SNP fix a Labour Party selection,” he said.

Did you see what he did there? He’s insinuating that the SNP, through Unite, has taken over the local branch of the Labour Party. Those are Crosby’s words.

In this blog he manages to tie this story to Ken Livingstone, one of the Right’s favourite hate-figures:

This is Ed Miiband’s Yellow Trouser moment. Just as the government was trying to get agreement on the Leveson report, David Cameron sent Oliver Letwin – resplendent in canary yellow cords – to the Labour’s leaders office to try and negotiate at deal. The fact he was going cap in hand to the leader of the opposition communicated the extent to which No 10 had lost control of the situation. It also demonstrated they have no idea of how power relationships in politics work.

Ed Miliband’s late-night phone call to Ken Livingstone is similarly revealing. It shows how vulnerable he feels politically, not just about this issue but his position in the party generally. And it again shows – as I wrote this morning – that Miliband has a gaping hole in his political management. If you’re running a serious political operation you don’t get the leader scrabbling around firefighting stories like a junior press officer

Now, I’m not a fan of Miliband or the Labour Party but there’s something about Hodge’s blog that looks suspiciously like a dirty tricks campaign that’s been initiated from deep within Crosby’s foetid brain. This final paragraph says it all:

Forget the ins and outs of who did what in Falkirk. This issue is indeed about who runs the Labour party. And Ed Miliband needs to show it isn’t Ken Livingstone.

The Tories have always complained about Labour’s relationship with the trade unions, whining that the party is ‘in hock’ to them. Unlike the shadowy networks and pressure group that support the Conservative Party, unions are made up of ordinary workers. This is a point that’s lost on the Tories and their friends in the press. The Labour Party was founded by the trade union movement. The Tories represent the interests of big business and the landed classes, which are unaccountable and unelected. By contrast, unions are democratically elected and accountable.

The Tories are past masters of dirty tricks. Their close relationship to the security services was brought into sharp relief with the production of the infamous forgery that was the Zinoviev Letter, which contributed to the fall of the first Labour government in 1924.

The Zinoviev letter – one of the greatest British political scandals of this century – was forged by a MI6 agent’s source and almost certainly leaked by MI6 or MI5 officers to the Conservative Party, according to an official report published today.

New light on the scandal which triggered the fall of the first Labour government in 1924 is shed in a study by Gill Bennett, chief historian at the Foreign Office, commissioned by Robin Cook.

It points the finger at Desmond Morton, an MI6 officer and close friend of Churchill who appointed him personal assistant during the second world war, and at Major Joseph Ball, an MI5 officer who joined Conservative Central Office in 1926.

The exact route of the forged letter to the Daily Mail will never be known, Ms Bennett said yesterday. There were other possible conduits, including Stewart Menzies, a future head of MI6 who, according to MI6 files, admitted sending a copy to the Mail.

My bold. This behaviour was repeated in the 1970s when groups like the National Association for Freedom (later renamed The Freedom Association) were launched with the intention of destroying organized labour under the rubric of ‘freedom’. This was vividly demonstrated in the year-long Grunwick dispute of 1977 – 78 when John Gouriet, one of NAFF’s founders, used volunteers to break the strike. The police also stood by and watched as strike leader, Jayaben Desai’s foot was run over by one of Grunwick’s managers. He was not prosecuted. NAFF or TFA has a very close relationship with the security services.

In 1995, the satirical and investigative magazine Scallywag was driven out of business by the Major government when it alleged that the Tories were involved in a dirty tricks campaign against Labour that was orchestrated by the Conservative Research Department, headed by Dr. Julian Lewis. Oddly, Scallywag wasn’t sued for libel. Instead, its distributor and anyone who handled the magazine was prosecuted. Lewis had previously stood as a moderate Labour candidate (sic) with funding from NAFF during the Reg Prentice deselection case in 1976. Prentice later joined the Tories and was made a life peer. If this wasn’t a perversion of the democratic process then I don’t know what is.  I can’t think of many countries in which one political party actively works to undermine the internal workings of its opposite number. There’s the Watergate scandal in the United States, of course and the various banana republics that are propped up with money from the US and UK. Yet, if this is supposed to be a democracy, I find it difficult to fathom how Lewis, NAFF and the Tories  could have avoided prosecution without support from the state’s more shadowy elements.

So you think you live in a democracy? Think again.

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Greenhalgh becomes Deputy Mayor

The Dear Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, Stephen Greenhalgh, is to become Boris Johnson’s Deputy Mayor for Policing. Shepherd’s Bush blog has the story. As does the Evil Bastard Ailing Standards Der Sturmer Evening Standard

The question that Nowhere Towers wants to ask is how will Greenhalgh be able to ‘guide’ through the massive White City development if he is ensconced at City Hall? Will he wear two hats? Will he continue to be a councillor? Probably. The ousted Brian Coleman was also a Barnet councillor and cabinet member as well as Fire Authority Chairman.

Meanwhile, Shepherd’s Bush blog also tells us that Lynton Crosby won’t be going to Number 10 after all. He’s joining good old News Corp. The Australian writes,

Mr Crosby says. “I hate all this right-wing, left-wing stuff. The voters just want to know that you’re focusing on what’s best for them.” He can’t offer any magic solution to the Tory problems in the North and does not think that Mr Cameron should start ramping up the rhetoric on dog-whistle issues such as immigration, crime and tax. “People are not ideological, they just want a Government that delivers a better life for them,” he says. “Overwhelmingly Mr Cameron’s focusing on what he needs to focus on, which is the economy.”

What a load of rot. Everyone has an ideology, whether they want to admit to it or not. This is how Crosby managed to transcend the left-right political dichotomy:  he lied about it. Boris Johnson is a right-winger and no amount of airbrushing can change that. By the way, The Australian is a News Corp title.

UPDATE: 9/5/12 @ 1200

According to this BBC News report, Greenhalgh has not been “confirmed” in his new role. Here’s the kicker,

London Labour Assembly Member Val Shawcross responded saying that the appointment breached the Local Government Act 1989 which states that a person is disqualified from taking a local authority post if they already have one.

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Hatchet-job Hodges and Lynton Crosby: best of friends

This wonderful snap came my way on Twitter last Saturday. It shows Hatchet-job Hodges and Lynton “The Australian Karl Rove” Crosby embracing like the best of friends.

Hodges and Crosby1

I think this image proves just how close Johnson’s campaign was to the Tory-dominated press. Those right-wingers (and some left-wingers) who deny that the media had anything to do with Ken Livingstone’s defeat are deluding themselves.  You can’t get better evidence than this.

I heard that Crosby is being tipped to replace Hon Gid as Tory campaign manager… or that’s what some Tory backbenchers are calling for.

As for Crosby’s credentials, let’s go back to 2008. This article tells us,

Behind the casually racist turn of phrase that has seen Johnson describe black people as ‘picanninies’ lies a more consistent playing of the race card, orchestrated by his campaign strategist Lynton Crosby. Crosby was behind a 2005 Conservative Party campaign that denigrated immigrants, then asked voters ‘Are you thinking what we’re thinking?’

Thankfully, they weren’t. But this same style of ‘dog-whistle politics’ has been successful elsewhere. The trick is to speak in a code that chimes with racist assumptions, without making ostensibly racist statements. In this case, the Tories are building on a discourse established by the Evening Standard, the right-wing Daily Mail’s London stablemate, which has vilified Livingstone for lavishing money on anti-racist groups. Crosby may or may not have orchestrated these attacks, but his campaign message feeds off the racist fantasy that Ken ‘gives all the money to minorities’ just the same. And it is not just Johnson who benefits: come 1 May, there is a strong chance that the far right British National Party (BNP) could gain seats on the Greater London Authority.

If Crosby gets the job, we can expect more of this sort of thing.

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Filed under Ideologies, London, London Mayoral election 2012, Media, Tory press

Life on Gilligan’s Island (Part 43) or Kennite’s Worry

The latest blog from Boris Johnson’s unofficial deputy mayor for information tells us “Boris Johnson camp worried at low turnout” (sic). Taking words straight from the horse’s arse mouth, so to speak, he writes,

Lynton Crosby, Boris’s campaign director, said: “The poll leads have led some to think that Boris has won, and this is not the case.”

Is he trying to do an ‘Alex Ferguson’ and play mind games with us? Or is Bozza’s camp really bricking it? We won’t know till after the polls close at 2200. The results won’t be in till some time after that.

If you haven’t voted, don’t leave it too long. Do it now!

 

 

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The London Mayoral Circus (or Bring Back the GLC)

There is a lot written in the papers about Ken Livingstone and not all of it is good. As we know, there is a reason the press writes awful things about Ken and it has nothing to do with his alleged (and entirely unproven) anti-Semitism or his supposed love of Islamism. It is because those papers are owned by Tory-supporting proprietors and they are unlikely to print anything that actually applauds Livingstone’s achievements as mayor. While they do this, they deliberately, some would say, wilfully, ignore the defects of their anointed mayoral candidate, Boris Johnson. Indeed, many of the right-wingers that rock up on Dave Hill’s blog tend to complain that Hill isn’t having a go at Livingstone. But then, why should he when the Tory press is working overtime to produce a never-ending stream of smears and baseless allegations that have been cooked up by the foetid mind of Lynton Crosby?

Naturally, Gilligan has been working overtime churning out smear after smear on behalf of his paymasters. As one person remarked on Twitter last week, Kennite has produced 27 blogs about Livingstone in a single month. That is an obsession. Moreover, it is the sort of obsession that is redolent of a thwarted lover-turned-stalker. In ordinary circumstances, Ken would be entitled to report Gilligan to the police and take the matter to court. Perhaps he should. I know I would.

The mayoral contest has been overshadowed by this silly tax evasion row. If it has adversely affected Ken, then it has also damaged Boris – though to hear his supporters talk, you would think that his shit doesn’t stink. I’ve encountered several of Johnson’s supporters on Liberal Conspiracy, all of them repeat the same lies. One of them, who called himself “hobson” even told me that “decent people won’t vote for Ken”. When I pressed him on his use of the word “decent” and told him that it was a value-loaded word and that he may well have used the words “good versus evil”, he replied with a load of gibberish about Ken being a “racist”. When I asked him to produce evidence to support his claim, he merely repeated the same nonsense. Is “hobson” an astroturfer? Quite probably. You will find more than a few Boris cheerleaders/astroturfers commenting on this Liberal Conspiracy blog.

BBC London recently grilled the mayoral candidates. Ken did well and Boris bumbled and avoided questions. Johnson’s attitude to the questions betrays his lack of substance and a worrying dearth of ideas. Indeed, since he has been mayor he has done relatively little aside from take Ken’s ideas and call them his own. His ‘Routemaster’ has become an expensive laughing stock. To get the bus on the road, he had to lie about bendy buses killing cyclists.

I’m now going to level with you. I never wanted a London mayor. I wanted a return to the Greater London Council. The idea of mayor came from the United States and has literally been grafted on to an entirely different political system. It doesn’t work. It was a pathetic compromise on Tony Blair’s part to appease the rabid right of the Tory party who complained that the GLC was “loony left” and a “waste of money”. The Greater London Assembly would be a different beast, he argued, and so it was.

The GLA is a fraction of the size of the old GLC and does not properly represent the people of London. London has a population of over 8 million and its assembly only has 22 assembly members – which is less than a quarter of the GLC’s 100 members.  The Republic of Ireland, for example, has a population of 4.5 million. There are 166  Teachta Dála in the Dail Eireann. Ireland’s population is half the size of London, yet the Irish people are better represented. In fact, the people of Northern Ireland, with a population of 1.7 million, are better represented by their 108 assembly members at Stormont. London’s legislature, such as it is, has limited powers to the extent that it may as well not exist at all.

In spite of my misgivings about mayors and tiny, unrepresentative assemblies, I am still going to vote for Ken Livingstone because I believe, that for all his faults, he has the best interests of Londoners at heart. Boris Johnson, on the other hand, regards the role of mayor as a stepping stone to other things. Johnson has also demonstrated his penchant for vanity projects.

You can have a laugh and follow Lynton Crosby’s Twitter feed here. He has 1230 followers and is following 6 people. He also has another Twitter account. Question: why does he need 2 accounts? Is his ego really that big? Probably not as big as Johnson’s enormous ego.

Speaking of Bozza’s huge ego, I found this story in the Daily Mail from 2009, from which I shall quote a portion.

Boris Johnson’s rivalry with David Cameron intensified yesterday when the London Mayor said he could one day try to become Prime Minister.

Mr Johnson hinted he might not stand for a second term in his current role and would be prepared to lead the country.

In a newspaper interview, Mr Johnson likened himself to the ancient Roman nobleman Cincinnatus, who was plucked from his farm to become dictator.

When I joked about Johnson being like a Roman Emperor, I wasn’t far from the truth. Even he admits it…though, admittedly, Cincinnatus was a dictator of the Roman Republic. Personally, I think Johnson is more like one of the minor but totally ineffectual emperors of the late period of the Western Empire: he’s full of hot air and vainglorious to a fault and like them, he has done nothing for those he claims to represent.

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