Rory Stewart is an offensive Etonian charlatan

Faux 19th century Etonian explorer Rory Stewart traipsed across Afghanistan avoiding all laws including the need for a foreign visitor’s visa.  For him, the trip was a safari, in the colonial sense of the word.  He was a privileged visitor from a different world pretending to be interested in real people while benefitting from his investments in businesses that exploit them.

His PR campaign during the Tory leadership contest followed the same pattern.  Stewart popped up at Kew Gardens, he walked down streets and he hung around town centres pretending to engage people in conversation.  His encounters were filmed and used erroneously as proof that the Etonian enjoys listening to people; Stewart made little contribution to the conversations.  Funding for his street campaign came from typical Tory sources including £10,000 from investment banker Lev Mikheev and £10,000 from Khaled Said, son of notorious arms dealer Wafic Said.

Stewart’s campaign was focussed on trying to separate him from the rest of the contenders which was a difficult task because he voted in line with all vicious Tory policy throughout his time as an MP.  Behind Etonian bluster the only point he made was to claim he was willing to criticise Boris Johnson but there was no substance to his criticism; he simply said “look at me, I am bold enough to not agree with Johnson.”  However, that was enough for a torrent of centrist buffoons to exclaim gleefully that Stewart was the new saviour of British politics.

The desperation of the centrist gloop was unsurprising; they grasp despairingly at anything and anyone that they think could distract and con enough voters to stop Jeremy Corbyn being prime minister.  Stewart’s pretence at reasonableness and his gift of the gab, qualities that dazzle impressionable liberals, were merely tactics of conmanship he learnt on special courses at Eton.  The arts of persuasion, verbal sleight of hand and depiction of nothingness as something of substance are key components of an Etonian education.  

Channelling Alan Partridge, two absurd ideas Stewart offered as part of his imaginary plan were reintroduction of National Service, an idea he borrowed from Chuka Umunna’s incoherent manifesto for centrism, and an alternative parliament in a church close to Westminster if Boris Johnson prorogued parliament.  

“Youth hosteling with Chris Eubank?”

Stewart and Johnson are the same.  They attended the same machine masquerading as a school, they support the same destructive murderous Tory policies, they share the same imperialistic militaristic outlook on the world and they live in the same detached privileged bubble.  Both are charlatans, liars and con artists.  Both are extremely venal.  

In hypothetical isolation, away from the pitiful choices on offer in the Tory leadership race and away from the anything-but-socialism determination of worthless centrists and liberals, an empty chancer like Rory Stewart would have been given peremptory treatment immediately and then forgotten.  The fact that he has not been laughed off the streets is a symptom of the vacuous stupidity of British politics and British political journalism.

Recommended reading
Ash Sarkar on Rory Stewart
Rory Stewart: Billionaires’ Choice

Rory Stewart is an offensive Etonian charlatan

Jeremy Hunt: An obedient soulless inhumane broker for the arms industry

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt leapt into action yesterday when US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanded obsequious support for a false flag attack on oil tankers near Iran.  

Jeremy Hunt and Mike Pompeo

In his previous role as Health Secretary Hunt had continued the destruction of the NHS and its handover to invented healthcare businesses who paid him handsomely.  His goodboy work ethic was noticed by racketeers and their investors including disaster capitalists salivating at the prospect of making a quick buck or billion out of no deal Brexit.  The racketeers’ head puppet, Trump, made clear that the NHS would be up for grabs after Brexit.

A Foreign Secretary doesn’t have a public service or property to give away.  What is on offer is public money for the arms industry.  Hunt’s focus as Foreign Secretary is to agree to any fallacious reason to facilitate flow of cash to that industry.  He is unable to make any decisions himself due to abject lack of intelligence and knowledge; thus, he follows instructions.  Most of his instructions come from the US government.

The brazen cockiness of Pompeo’s false flag attack on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman was matched by its ineptitude.  The captain of one of the oil tankers disputed the US government’s concocted account immediately; his assessment included noting that the source of the explosion was above the water but a torpedo – the US government’s story – would have hit the ship below the waterline.  That oil tanker is Japanese-owned and the incident occurred while Japan’s Prime Minister met Iran’s President in Iran.  Pompeo claimed that a Japanese oil tanker was targetted by Iran because the Iranian government was unhappy with the progress of talks between the two leaders.  Japan buys a lot of Iranian oil.

Iran’s lucrative oil supply was a factor in the decision to launch the false flag attack.  Hunt is known to the oil industry.  He has a close one-sided association with Rupert Murdoch co-owner of Genie Energy that is stealing Syrian oil under the Golan Heights.

There was nothing surprising about Hunt’s rapid and unconditional display of complicity with the promotion of Pompeo’s creation.  Hunt is a good worker for those who pay well.  Nothing he does is in the interests of the British people and he acts directly against the British people.

Related blogs
Gavin Williamson
Michael Fallon

Jeremy Hunt: An obedient soulless inhumane broker for the arms industry

Theresa May: Political obituary

The day after another electoral embarrassment for the Tories in the Peterborough by-election Theresa May scurried away from her job as party leader.  Her grey ghost lingers as prime minister while the Tories try to find a new leader who isn’t hated by everybody.

Brexit terminated May’s tenure by exposing brutally her stupidity and ignorance.  Theresa May is a very stupid person.  She lacks knowledge, vision and analytical acumen and she has no intellectual capacity for deductive reasoning.  Throughout her political career she protected her dimness by avoidance of scrutiny and evasion of debate.  Her cowardice when faced with questions from opposition MPs and from media was both a tactic and her only option.

The consequences of stupidity – lack of self-awareness, no shame and a sociopathic personality – make it an asset for a conservative (small ‘c’) politician; the task of enabling a political ideology and associated strategy that is intrinsically opposed to the benefit of the majority requires a detachment from natural reactive and deductive thought processes.  But, eventually, when an issue arises that needs intelligence, the deficiencies of a stupid politician become problematic.

May combined stupidity with a basic brand of stubbornness.  Kind or dishonest observers characterised her stubbornness as determination or fortitude but May was simply unwilling and unable to acknowledge her voluminous shortcomings as leader and as decision-maker.

Her departure was welcomed by those for whom the Tories work but May was a very useful tool for these enemies of society.  During almost three years as prime minister May enhanced the destruction of society, particularly public services, begun by Cameron and his lapdog Clegg and she enacted policies that increased hugely the wealth of the wealthiest at everyone else’s expense.

Austerity and Social Murder
Ideological strategy of austerity and its accomplice Social Murder were expanded by May and her government with a variety of vicious cuts to welfare provision and to services.  Destitution, debt, homelessness and death were the intended outcome of these policies.  People with disabilities, mental health issues and chronic or terminal illnesses were hit hardest by May’s assault.  Universal Credit was designed as a means of causing misery with the ultimate aim of a cull. 

A United Nations report by Philip Alston, that had collected evidence of the effects of Tories’ policies against the poorest people in Britain, damned the Tory government but May and her colleagues responded to it with contempt.  When any Tory minister was asked about austerity or Social Murder they denied seeing any or they laughed derisively.  May, chancellor Philip Hammond and DWP ministers Esther McVey, Iain Duncan-Smith and Amber Rudd all denied any destructive effects of their policies and they complained petulantly if questioned about such effects.

Laughter was May’s favourite reaction to being presented with the awful facts of the consequences of her policies.  In parliament, if Labour, SNP, Green or Plaid Cymru MPs spoke about the desperate situation of people as a direct result of Tory Social Murder policy May led her party in a chorus of laughter.  The laughter’s intent was to mock the people whose lives had been destroyed by Tory policies.

Destruction of public services and NHS
Necessary public services were wrecked by May: Cuts to police numbers and closure of police stations; closure of fire stations; collapse of probation service; rapid decline in quality of prison service; archaic, unreliable and expensive rail service; huge budget cuts in state schools; closure of libraries; rapid, catastrophic decline in care services; extortionate cost of utilities.  For May, any public service, anything necessary, was merely a cash cow for swindlers who invented companies out of thin air and were handed public money to ‘operate’ the service but pocketed most of the money leaving a poor service and high costs for users.

The most necessary public service is the NHS and, thus, it has the greatest potential for free money for the swindlers.  Tories claimed constantly that the NHS received sufficient funding but a large percentage of that money was siphoned off by privateers and disappeared into their offshore accounts.  For May, the NHS was a magic money tree for racketeers.  For patients, waiting times for operations increased, access to GPs disappeared and A&E became a death zone.  One of May’s last acts was to stand obsequiously next to Donald Trump as he stated firmly that any post-Brexit deal between UK and US would include access for US parasites to the remnants of the NHS.

Building social housing ceased while May was prime minister and property developers were allowed to dodge legal commitments to building so-called affordable housing.  Consequently, homelessness among people with full-time jobs increased.  Meanwhile, apartments for the wealthiest sprung up all over major British cities, often replacing previous homes that were accessible to everyone, built by developers based in tax havens, sold by companies based in tax havens and bought by people or landlords based in tax havens.  This theft of living space was deliberately enabled by May.

Grenfell Tower fire
Two years ago Grenfell Tower in Kensington, London caught fire and was destroyed.  Seventy-one people died and hundreds were made homeless.  May’s immediate reaction was to adopt the cover-up mode and she maintained that stance over the following two years.  Grenfell Tower was the responsibility of a Tory council; within the council’s borough live a lot of very wealthy people including donors to the Tory party; the loss of that council in an election to Labour would be difficult for the Tories.

An inquiry into the fire has dragged on aimlessly and has been a constant battle for the survivors, many of whom are still homeless.  Obstacles, delays and lies have been the government’s response to the fire.  

When Home Secretary, May concocted a plan to wreck the lives of people who had moved to Britain from Commonwealth countries from late 1940s to early 1970s.  She ordered the destruction of documents that were proof of their arrival and their legal status in Britain and then she changed the law to demand they prove their right to live in Britain.  As a direct and intended result, thousands of people, mostly elderly, were threatened with deportation, were banned from working and denied welfare benefits, lost free access to all NHS services and had their pensions stolen.  Some people were deported, some of whom died destitute.  Others lost their life savings and homes.  For those with serious illnesses, death came earlier due to no available healthcare.

May’s plan was a tactic of her policy of displaying racist intent.  It’s only purpose was to prove her racist credentials.

Arms industry profits and Yemen
The arms industry is lucrative for freeloading investors.  The relationship between disreputable governments and that industry is deep.  May had a personal interest in feeding the arms industry given her husband’s considerable investments in it.  She brokered deals between elements of the industry and Saudi Arabian government.  One such deal was the sale of forty-eight Typhoon jets for carpet-bombing of Yemeni civilians and civilian infrastructure.  As part of the deal, British military personnel were stationed in Saudi Arabia as trainers and consultants and Saudi pilots practiced in British airspace.  Hundreds of thousands of Yemeni civilians were killed directly by Saudi airstrikes or indirectly by lack of healthcare – hospitals were deliberately destroyed – and by starvation and associated diseases because food and medical supplies were destroyed and blockaded.

Voter suppression
May knew that poorest voters might not have a passport or driving licence so she created a voting requirement for photo ID; consequently, thousands of people were denied their right to vote. 

For the European elections non-British EU citizens resident in UK who have the right to vote in Britain were deliberately misinformed about registration necessities and there were non-accidental delays in administration that caused hundreds of thousands to be unable to vote.

Tory MP Chloe Smith was handed the invented title of Minister for the Constitution by May and asked to develop reasons to justify removal of the right to vote and the right to stand in an election for people who had “intimidated politicians.”

Goodbye access to justice
Denial of access to justice was May’s biggest contribution to the removal of democracy: Legal aid was almost abolished.  Consequently, it is very difficult for people without wealth to defend themselves adequately in criminal or civil court and it is impossible for someone to take legal action against any large business, council or government agency.  Justice now has a price.  Justice is now dependent on wealth.  The wealthy evade justice and the poorest suffer from it.  


The necessities of life – human rights – were systematically eroded by May.  Millions of people were left with insufficient money to survive, with reduced access to healthcare and with nowhere to live.  

Normal aspects of civilised society were diminished by May.  Education, policing and access to justice are no longer guaranteed.

Evasion and dishonesty were the driving forces of May’s mode of communication with a consequential collapse of trust in her government and in all agencies of governance and authority.

May normalised racial prejudice and anti-Islam rhetoric.

May normalised extreme selfishness and erosion of humanitarian philosophy.

May galvanised xenophobia and othering as tools of division.

May demanded hatred of people with disabilities, mental health issues and chronic illnesses.

May gave billions of pounds of public money to made-up businesses who pretended to run public services including a huge contribution to Capita, her husband’s employer.

May made tax avoidance easy for the wealthiest.

May cavorted with brutal authoritarian leaders of countries who are committing acts against human rights daily.

May offered Donald Trump her hand.

May is violently opposed to society and to humanity.  She is an enemy of people.  She is a willing puppet of thieves, swindlers and mass murderers.  She should not be allowed to retire in peace.


Recommended reading

Austerity, Universal Credit and Social Murder
UN report
The Poor Side Of Life
The Sanctionary
Universal Credit Sufferer
Frances Ryan
Universal Credit Diary
Scottish Unemployed Workers’ Network
Disability News Service
Kate Belgrave blog
Calum’s List
Aditya Chakrabortty on austerity
Aditya Chakrabortty on Universal Credit

NHS privatisation
Kane Shaw: ACOs
The Great NHS Heist on Section 75
Aislinn Macklin-Doherty

Kitty S. Jones
Lucinda Hiam on access to healthcare
Another Angry Voice
List of wealthy property owners in Kensington
Gary Younge

Gary Younge
Benjamin Zephaniah

Mike Lewis on UK support for Saudi
UN facts about Yemen war
The War On Yemen
Raising a child in yemen

Political obituary
Jonathan Lis

Related blogs

May: Achievements and failures
May’s stupidity
Social Murder
Universal Credit
DWP and UN report
Tory ghouls at food banks
Hillsborough and Grenfell
Opportunist statement on Grenfell
48 Typhoon jets to Saudi Arabia
May collaborator with despots
Removal of right to vote
Voter suppression
Lies in 2017 Tory manifesto
May’s invisibility in election campaign
Respect a Tory?

Theresa May: Political obituary

What centrists said about Independent Group

Independent Group/Change UK collapsed at the beginning of June five months after it began.  Its demise was inevitable given its abject lack of vision and policies and its reluctance to work with other Remain supporting parties in the EU elections.

When Independent Group launched itself professional centrists danced with glee.  Below are some of their comments made at the time.  

Ian Dunt

Columnist Sonia Sodha in Guardian 18th February – In today’s uncertain political climate, this small group of independents may well pick up a few MPs from the Tory ranks and have a greater impact on Brexit and British politics than one might expect from their numbers in the coming months.”

Columnist Katy Balls in Guardian 18th February – As the Conservatives can keep any losses to a small handful of MPs then the creation of the Independent Group will be seen as a win for the Tories.”

Columnist Ian Dunt in 20th February – It was meaningful, in a way that went far beyond the events of today and spoke to something far deeper in our national character.  It stood against the poison of the age: the constant toxic tribalism that has infected our political debate.  It wasn’t just that they sat together.  This was a cultural moment as well as a political moment.  The signs are positive.  A YouGov poll for the Times today found extraordinary levels of support for the new group.  It is perfectly realistic to imagine that within a month or two, they could have 30 or so MPs.  Once they get past 35, they overtake the SNP as the third party and get a guaranteed place asking questions at PMQs.  The moment is primed for something to truly shake up the way this country does politics.  This could be it.”

BBC reporter Norman Smith 20th February – Visuals matter and on that front methinks these guys r up and running.”

Columnist Gaby Hinsliff in Guardian 20th February – “I know as hacks we’re always claiming things are historic moments/tipping points/pivotal but this genuinely feels like one.”

Broadcaster Robert Peston 20th February – “Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen all big hitters.  Significant loss to the Tories.  These are remarkable days in British politics, both main parties fraying at the seams and at risk of total ruptureMore Labour defections to come, and maybe quite a lot more.”

Columnist Jane Merrick in iNews 21st February – This year, it is the turn of the centrists to get their own back: the disrupted have become the disrupters.”

Columnist Jonathan Friedland in Guardian 22nd February – This grouping could benefit from its very vagueness, becoming a blank screen on which disenchanted voters, looking for something new, project their hopes.”

Columnist Matthew D’Ancona in Guardian 24th February – “The foundation of the 11-strong Independent Group of formerly Labour and Tory MPs has been so refreshing.  They must continue to act with dignity in the face of seething social media fury – especially strong from some Corbynites, whose treatment of the escapees has been reminiscent of Scientology’s hounding of ‘suppressive persons’.”

Broadcaster Gavin Esler in The National 25th February – TIG MPs have sent such a shock through Labour and the Conservatives that even the dimmest and most stubborn leaders might recognise they need to change course.”

University lecturer Richard Carr in Independent 26th February – In under a week and a half the new Independent Group of MPs has changed the course of British politics.  Luciana Berger, Mike Gapes, Chuka Umunna and others have shown that there is still an innately reasonable element within British politics.”

Related blog: Change UK: Soft conservatism







What centrists said about Independent Group

An awful family at Buckingham Palace

A privileged family enjoyed a day at Buckingham Palace yesterday.  Dressed in expensive attire the family members dined lavishly at British public’s expense and posed for photographs to promote their brand. 

Family members meet another family

No-one in the family deserves an elevated position in society.  None has any talent, skills, expertise, knowledge or enterprise that should be requirements to hold a lofty position with power and influence.  Each member of the family attained their status by being a member of the family or by marrying a member.  

The wealth of the family is partly inherited, partly handouts from tax-payers and partly attained from property and offshore investments.  None of the wealth was earned.  Shady business deals including many tax-avoiding investments and “ownership” of swathes of land and property are the norm for this family: Income for no work and with no tax.

The family members interfere in politics around the world and associate with the worst authoritarian despots.  In particular, the family has a close relationship with the brutal leaders of Saudi Arabia.

Each member of the family has a specific public role, devised by a PR army, to fool the public that she or he has worth and importance and to justify their elevated personal stature and the exaggerated deferment to them.  One of them pretends to care about society, about people’s lives and about the future of mankind; another pretends to care about the plight of veterans of armed conflict; another pretends to care about the environment; all are charlatans.

Patriotism is a stated concern for all members of this family while they enjoy unearned income from investments in international businesses that are fleecing the people of their country and while they avoid their full contribution as tax payers.  They express sympathy for the victims of war – military and civilian – while profiting from investments in the arms industry.  The key role of one member of the family is to broker arms deals.  The family glorifies military conflict and sacrifice as it profits from it.  

The family’s history includes support for extreme-right politicians who promoted racist ideology and extreme financial exploitation of the poorest in their own country and throughout the world.  Failed marriages litter the personal history of key members of the family.

Everything about this family is fake.  It exists simultaneously to distract the public gaze from their exploiters and as an enabler of exploitation.  The family is full, without exception, of idiots, swindlers, confidence tricksters and liars.  They are permanently fleecing the public and enabling others to do the same.  They are enemies of the people.  The Windsor family is a truly awful family.

An awful family at Buckingham Palace

Woody Johnson: $300 million tax-dodger

On BBC’s Andrew Marr show US ambassador to the UK Woody Johnson stated his government’s desire for the NHS to be destroyed as part of a deal between the two countries after a no deal Brexit. 

One of Trump’s first acts as president was to remove healthcare from tens of millions of Americans.  Premature deaths due to inability to afford healthcare are normal in USA and medical costs are the country’s largest contributor to personal bankruptcy.

Woody Johnson on Andrew Marr show

Johnson is more than an obedient servant of his president.  A recipient of billions of dollars of inherited wealth, Johnson has always been committed to gathering as much unearned wealth as he can while avoiding his legal financial obligations to the American people.  In 2000 he partook of a tax avoidance scam whereby he dodged three hundred million dollars of tax.  Jeffrey H. Birnbaum reported in Washington Post that

Two companies set up on the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea traded paper back and forth until it looked like they were selling a portfolio of stocks that had lost value equivalent to the profit Haim Saban and Woody Johnson wanted to eliminate for tax purposes.  As evidence that the trades were ‘phantoms’ rather than real, Levin [Sen. Carl M. Levin] noted that the Isle of Man firms, called Jackstones and Barnville, had paid-in capital of 2 pounds sterling yet claimed to be transferring stocks worth $9.6 billion.”

In 2003 The Inland Revenue Service challenged the transactions’ legitimacy and legality but Johnson didn’t pay what he owed until 2006.  He paid before being ordered to do so by a court; a pre-court payment avoided a possible conviction and lessened any bad press.

The scam Johnson used was so blatant and it was such a large sum of money that mere greed was insufficient to explain his motivation.  For characters like Johnson, born into wealth and trained at a top private school in the art of wallowing in undeserved superiority, normal social empathic attributes of being part of humanity are absent and there is no knowledge of their absence because there was never any knowledge of their existence.

Theft of hundreds of millions of dollars from the American people was acceptable to Johnson because discrepancies in US tax laws coupled with the invented status of Isle of Man as a tax haven allowed him to do it.  To not take advantage of what was available to him would have disturbed his entire well-nurtured outlook on life.  

Such an attitude cannot be reasoned with and is impervious to logic.  Pleas to the community of mankind, to fairness and to justice have no effect.  Any attempt to describe to the perpetrator the wrongdoing of the acts of financial violence would be met with a shrug because Johnson’s type does not ever consider they are doing something wrong or unjust or unfair.  The apparent malice is not a conscious malice; the malice is so precisely imbued that it is as natural and as unnoticeable as breathing.  It is an ingrained sociopathic psychosis.

Johnson wants the NHS to end.  If the NHS disappeared then healthcare (funded by insurance or by direct billing) would be a huge earner for racketeers.  The public would have no option but to pay, except the option of dying.  Johnson cannot perceive the morality of universally available healthcare because he has had the capability to understand social concepts erased from his cognitive process.  He is unable to see an ill person or an injured person as anything other than a potential cash cow. 

The NHS is being privatised.  A large percentage of its funding is being siphoned off by made-up companies who pretend to provide healthcare services.  Consequently, hospitals are increasingly unable to provide the care that is needed.  The Tories use people’s ill-health as a means of channelling public money into the hands of parasites.  The next step of privatisation is to remove public funding and make access to healthcare dependent on wealth. 

Complete privatisation of the NHS would be a windfall for the likes of Johnson.  An endless supply of free money for nothing while people die.  There would be no mercy shown; unearned income from others’ illnesses and injuries would be the only objective.  Relentless inhumane pursuit of personal gain powered by ingrained sociopathic psychosis.



Woody Johnson: $300 million tax-dodger

NewsGuard: Censorship of independent news sites

NewsGuard advises people on the reliability of news websites via a system of ratings.

NewsGuard’s sales pitch – NewsGuard uses journalism to fight false news, misinformation, and disinformation.  Our trained analysts, who are experienced journalists, research online news brands to help readers and viewers know which ones are trying to do legitimate journalism and which are not.” – positioned its journalists as arbiters of the veracity of news on independent news sites.

Pre-use warnings by journalists dissuade inspection and disallow analysis by the public, and they elevate corporate journalism to heights and respectability it doesn’t merit.  NewsGuard’s staff are neither “experienced” nor “trained.”  

NewsGuard’s advisers are the cream of the political and military establishment including a former director of the CIA, a former secretary-general of NATO, a former Secretary of Homeland Security (USA), a former Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy (USA), a former White House Communications Director and a former speech writer for a Secretary of State (USA).

NewsGuard’s former Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy, Richard Stengel, had described his role in that job as “chief propagandist” and said “every country does it [propaganda] and they have to do it to their own population and I don’t necessarily think it’s that awful.” Quoted by Aaron Kesel in Activist Post (see link below).

NewsGuard’s biggest investor (and its co-CEO) is Louis Gordon Crovitz.  As Kesel noted, Crovitz’s professional history had a voluminous helping of deliberate promotion of fake news including false claims about who invented the internet.  He worked for American Enterprise Institute and Heritage Foundation, two notorious right-wing propaganda think-tanks.  Another investor is Publicis Groupe whose subsidiary Qorvis is a key propaganda arm of the Saudi government to misrepresent actions of Saudi military against Yemeni people.

Louis Gordon Crovitz

The combination of

  • Insufficient staff and insufficiently-trained staff to monitor online news adequately
  • Investors and senior staff from political propaganda organisations with a history of censorship
  • Advisers from government and military

showed that NewsGuard is a tool of censorship.

NewsGuard was welcomed by newspapers and broadcasters with a deluge of supportive articles.   “Those articles portray Newsguard as using ‘old-school journalism’ to fight ‘fake news’ ” – Whitney Webb for MintPress (link below).

NewsGuard acted differently toward established media outlets and independent media outlets.  Jim Waterson reported in the Guardian that “after the Guardian highlighted an untrustworthy rating given to MailOnline, NewsGuard faced a barrage of attacks from the online news outlet.  NewsGuard re-evaluated its judgment and upgraded MailOnline’s ranking to trustworthy.”  But, such “re-evaluation” was not available to independent news site Mint Press – see Mnar Muhawesh article (link below).    

NewsGuard in Britain
NewsGuard is based in USA but it recognised potential for profit in Britain and politicians in Britain recognised how they could make use of Newsguard. 

Tory MP Damian Collins, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport parliamentary committee, gave NewsGuard free promotion in parliament in a speech in February that formed part of his campaign against free speech on social media platforms.

In particular I agree with her [Frances Cairncross] that there needs to be a broad-based code of conduct to rebalance the relationship between news providers and social media platforms, and that this should include an obligation on behalf of the platforms to help their users distinguish between quality journalism, and stories coming from organisations that have been linked to disinformation or are regarded as being unreliable sources.  The social media companies could develop tools like this for themselves, or work with existing providers, such as NewsGuard.  The requirement for social media companies to introduce such measures could form part of a new system of content regulation on these platforms, based on a statutory code, and overseen by an independent regulator, like Ofcom.”

Collins’ fear was palpable in his speech.  Interaction between members of the public online, expressions of political solidarity and the usefulness of social media as a tool of political organisation frightened him.  That was why he wanted to “rebalance” and why he wanted social media platforms to “help” users to spot fake news.  His “new system based on a statutory code overseen by an independent regulator” was expression of a desire for state control.

It [social media interaction unfettered by state control] is a direct threat to our democracy” declared Collins in his speech.  Last year he was a signatory to a pretentious declaration that sought “protection of representative democracy in regard to the internet.”

Collins’ fearful campaign is part of the Tory government’s policy of preparing for censorship of oppositional politics.  Minister for The Constitution Chloe Smith stated an intent to deny the right to vote and to deny the right to stand in an election – remove the right to vote – as punishment for  statements made online.

At Newsguard’s UK launch on April 24th Collins’ comments were quoted approvingly.  NewsGuard is happy to profit from and to enhance his fears. 

Recommended reading
Aaron Kessel – Activist Post
Mnur Muhawesh – Mint Press
Whitney Webb – Mint Press
Jim Waterson – Guardian

NewsGuard: Censorship of independent news sites