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Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Defending Journalism

Years ago membership of the NUJ came with a declaration that the applicant would report fairly and impartially, without omission, distortion or misrepresentation. I've no idea whether it's still there but I think it improbable, given that much national 'journalism' in the UK is now openly partial, and extremist polemicists from Owen Jones to Yaxley-Lemon now masquerade as journalists.

A piece in the Guardian has a BBC film crew complaining that they were shouted at by objectors who called them "BBC paedo scum" and "fake news wankers". Fair comment, I would have thought. The BBC's problem lies in its dishonesty; broadsheet papers still distinguish between news reporting and Op-Ed and Polemic pieces; the BBC still pretends that all of its news output is just news reporting, when eight out of ten viewers and listeners know this to be false. And they did act institutionally to actively hide the activities of several child sex abusers they sheltered, and you only have to read a few posts down to find a prime example of Newsnight fake news.

Unfortunately for the BBC, which has now proven itself as the PR department of the new pro-globalist, metropolitan, privileged, elitist establishment and political class, a journalistic reputation is like virginity; once it's gone, it's gone. There is no way back for the BBC and I expect, once Brexit is over, a sustained campaign to decline to renew the BBC's charter in 2027, allowing them time to develop a pay-to-view or commercial model in good time for the ending of the licence fee in seven years time.

The true test for the BBC, and one that it failed spectacularly, was the mass child sex abuse in our old industrial towns and cities that went on almost openly for many years. Sure, the BBC, like the police, social services, pub landlords and local papers knew all about it - but didn't think it worth reporting. Not, I think, as many of you will believe because of the BBC's partiality towards a certain faith group, but because the BBC, in common with the police and local government, simply didn't think that the lives of poor working-class children were worth much. Plus ça change.

I miss my old drinking chum Sandy Fawkes. Not only did she report the Yom Kippur war and cross the continental USA with a mass murderer, her proudest accomplishment was getting an unpopular story run. Back when she was working for the Daily Express in the Lubianka days. The killing of Maria Colwell by her stepfather was doing the rounds of Fleet Street, but none of the papers was biting. Her editor killed the story saying "no one's interested in reading about some slum kid getting killed". Sandy had a stand-up blazing row with him and was ready to walk. Her passion and indignation persuaded him that there just might be some public interest there, ran her piece and the rest is history. That was the job of newspapers. That was the job of journalists. Sandy's Telegraph Obit actually understates her character. Emily Maitlis and Cathy Newman are talentless pygmies in comparison.

Steady in the comments please - usual restrictions apply.

Sandy in the French, about 2003

Monday, 19 August 2019

Hammond beware; leaking ex-ministers should be jailed

During the remainiacs' long campaign of sabotage and attrition from inside government against Brexit, they made full use of an often willing and compliant civil service in creating material to support their Project Fear narrative. Such, we suspect, was the Yellowhammer file, a document that has Hammond's Treasury all over it. Yellowhammer was a scare too far. Sunday's papers reported that even civil service hearts weren't really in it, so absurd and far-fetched were some of the inventions. The May-sanctioned semi-official leakers from Cabinet clearly decided at the time that the thing was just too ludicrous to be credibly leaked.

And so Mr Hammond, it seems, was left with this unused carefully constructed work of semi-fiction. All that creative energy to no end. Until it seems the last few days, when a copy was mysteriously left in a Whitehall pub used by journalists. Mr Hammond has denied that he was responsible, and we must believe him.

However, if Mr Hammond should ever be tempted to leak any other cabinet documents, or material that he is bound both by his privy-council oath and the Official Secrets Act not to disclose, he should be aware that this is not a government inclined to forgiveness, and any such actions could leave him banged up in Belmarsh. 

Saturday, 17 August 2019

The accidental Green

Without ever having made any effort to be 'green' I find, somewhat to my chagrin, that I actually have an ecological footprint substantially smaller than Saint Greta's. It emerges that not only is her trans-Atlantic yacht made of carbon fibre, which costs ten tonnes of CO2 per tonne of yacht, and is wholly un-recyclable, but that in place of her single airfare, the boat's five crew will all fly home from the US. In addition, we can expect the BBC to fly out a full crew with a tonne of equipment to report on her arrival, and doubtless the same goes for many other mainstream networks. So all-in-all, Saint Greta's trip is incredibly CO2 heavy. I digress.

For a start, I like old buildings and old cars, prefer to repair and reuse than buy new, eschew air-conditioning, use wholly sustainable bulk local wood for heating and cooking and our electricity here is 84% renewable (a lot of hydro in there). My night-time house is a comfortable 18deg and in Winter only the kitchen and principal living room are over 20deg. For anything other than short local journeys I prefer to use the train, which allows me to do a host of interesting things other than stare at the road and twitch nervously at the stupidities of other road users. And in a couple of years all the oldie discounts will kick in.

For forty years, I've almost exclusively bought only good quality wool, leather, cotton, linen and in minute quantities (pocket squares and ties) silk clothing. It lasts a long time and I can wear it year after year. My shoes are all from good Northampton shoemakers and can be resoled - my oldest pair of Veldtshoen are now thirty years old, and my shoe repairer* told me sadly that they were on their last soles and heels - the welts would not take another stitching. So no microfibres or plastics, no Chinese shoes stuck together with glue that last only three months. Any phobias I had about the sewing box were dispelled long ago when I worked with an incrediby heterosexual ex-RN CPO who spent his lunch hours knitting golf-club covers.

I have long made my own pickles and bottled my own jam (the perfect Piccalilli has taken some years to master - the secret lies in not underdoing the salt in de-watering the raw veg overnight) have never bought what they call 'highly processed foods' which I always suspected were as bad for one as margarine and have long made use of whatever local, seasonal produce is in store. I've always made a point of buying nether Kenyan french beans nor the Spanish strawberries that arrive in the shops here when the snow still caps the landscape.

However, you're not looking at Saint Radders. Though LED lighting is fine for the barn and workshop, I won't have it in the house. And I'm told my internet use is also a carbon-heavy activity. But most of all, I've never, ever, actually tried to be green - it's all thoroughly accidental.

Sock-darning mushroom, turned in the workshop from a scrap of Beech firewood
*Original Cobblers, near Sidcup. Highly recommended. They also maintain the Household Cavalry's boots.

Friday, 16 August 2019

The future after Brexit

It is really time that the EU realised that we are leaving, and not on the terms of their Satrap 'treaty' that would enchain us and castrate our sovereignty. They have attempted to humiliate a proud and capable nation, and have failed. There has been absolutely nothing in the EU's conduct over the past three years that now deserves the hand of friendship. Boris' nuanced verbal description of them as our 'friends' carries exactly the right balance of contempt and malice.

However, the nations of Europe now have it in their hands to prevent Britain turning its face from the mainland. The crazed and unstable fanatics of the EU are personally cushioned against the disruption they will cause by refusing to negotiate. The EU will drain the last Euro of wealth from France, Italy, Spain and Denmark to preserve the power and privileges of the Berlaymont énarques. But the disruption of not concluding a win-win deal with the UK will go far beyond trade.

The last of the BAOR are now headed back for Tidworth, and our NATO training and deployment is now directed largely at the old eastern nations - the Balts, Poland, Hungary, Czecho. A bad-tempered Brexit will turn Britain, as it did the last time we were excommunicated by the European Empire, over the oceans and across the equator. Our face will turn Westwards - maybe for fifty years, some say. This will be as much Europe's loss as it was the last time. 

The EU has tried to enchain us in an anti-American, inefficient, third-rate little Empire. We have refused to be so enchained. That doesn't mean we want to be enchained instead as a satrap of an America getting used to the loss of Unipolar status. Most Brits I think would be happy as an Independent country with clout, a nation that punches above its weight, bridging the world between America and Europe, a locus of anglophone alliance, and as the coin says Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations. It's up to the nations of Europe now to disown the EU's destructive folly and take the proffered hand of friendship.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Hammond - Bercow - Juncker - Barnier Axis exposed

Nick Drake had it right
Take a look you may see me coming through
For I am the parasite who travels two by two
Yes, what we all suspected all along is now being confirmed. Allied troops are inside the conquered bunker and finding all the evidence - in this case of a malign and disloyal Axis of sabotage, an Axis in which Hammond, Bercow, Grieve and others conspired with the EU actors who seek to impose on Britain a treaty every bit as humiliating as Versailles or Brest-Litovsk. Bercow, Hammond and their destructive cadre want nothing more than to place their nation under the jackboot heel of an increasingly authoritarian and repressive EU empire. They are true Quislings.

Allister Heath has it in the Telegraph - still the only national newspaper not in the pockets of the Brussels Stasi
(The parasites) are being led by the increasingly ludicrous Philip Hammond, who as chancellor blocked no-deal preparations, vetoed crucial Brexit spending plans and was more responsible than anybody else for Theresa May’s catastrophic treaty. The new team at No  10 keeps uncovering fresh, shocking evidence of his handiwork. His strategy, shared with John Bercow and Dominic Grieve, appears to be to signal to Brussels not to compromise: the rebels will neuter the Government, so the Eurocrats should stick to their guns.
It's all now to play for. The global downturn is here at last and just starting to bite - and the EU is holed so close to the waterline that just a marginal increase in draught or a tiny list will flood the hold. Brexit as soon as possible is the only possible measure to decontaminate the UK from the coming EU implosion; contrary to Hammond's betrayals, Brexit will save our economy and nation from the coming continental turmoil. We are an International nation, whose hands reach in friendship around the world, but our need to protect ourselves from bigger, malign enemies has ever been clear -
This fortress built by Nature for herself Against infection and the hand of war, This happy breed of men, this little world, This precious stone set in the silver sea, Which serves it in the office of a wall Or as a moat defensive to a house, Against the envy of less happier lands
Fasten the harness, all, we're off!

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

People Vs Parliament - Bring it on!

A poll that has got lost in the noise of the past few days is critically telling. It revealed a massive divide between what MPs think their responsibility is and what those who elect them think it is. Voters, quite naturally, expect MPs to represent the interests of the constituency. MPs, on the contrary, think their job, once elected, is to represent just their own opinions.

I have long supported a General Power of Recall, with the bar set high enough to prevent vexatious use, triggered by a simple motion that 'The electors of Blankshire no longer have confidence that Max Musterman MP can represent their interests in Parliament'. The problem of long-sitting MPs appointed by Party central offices is the deep sense of entitlement and the high degree of pomposity, self-regard and self-love that it engenders. The only one of the demands of the 19th century Chartists not realised by the 21st is that of annual Parliaments - designed specifically to prevent the sort of rogue parliament we've seen for the past three years. Don't let the buggers get settled, the thinking went; their arses will get stuck to the green leather, and they'll forget they're just ordinary people.

Well, it's all now coming to a head. It's now People vs Parliament. Oh, we'll get Brexit, one way or another; if they scupper Boris, we've got Nigel waiting in the wings. They're fighting like cornered rats, but they can't win - we'll pitch them out of their cosy complacency, puncture their egos and throw them on the rubbish heap of history. The People will win.

And the longer they prolong the outcome, the deeper we will cut to root them out from every nook and cranny of public life. For too long have they lorded it over the people of Britain; their day has come. Bring it on!

Survation poll 14/8, polling 9th - 11th August
Preferred outcome of the Brexit process
Leave with or without a deal - 53%
Remain - 47%

Don't knows 9%

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Poll - Public trust Boris more than Parliament

Another Humdinger of a poll today - Comres for the Telegraph, with the paper's write-up here. However, here are my highlights -

Parliament is out of touch with the British public
Agree - 88%
Disagree - 12%

Don't knows were 12%

On Brexit, most MPs seem to ignore the wishes of voters and push their own agendas
Agree - 90%
Disagree - 10%

Don't knows 12%

Parliament is more in tune than Boris with the British public 
Agree - 38%
Disagree - 62%

And that's the tone of the poll; we don't wholly trust Boris, we don't think he can unite the country and the jury's out on his competence but by God he's miles better than this shoddy, anti-democratic Parliament, the country is saying. And that helps to understand the Telegraph headline from Q7

Boris needs to deliver Brexit by any means, including suspending parliament if necessary, in order to prevent MPs from stopping it
Agree - 54%
Disagree - 46%

It confirms the growing support from the last Opinium poll for 'Brexit now - deal or no deal'. And confirms my recent point that in any people vs parliament election if they force a vote of no confidence next month, they'll get slaughtered - rarely have I seen a parliament held in such contempt by the British people.

Right. Next .... the Lords.