Centrists Assemble! Getting a bit silly now

GAMMON!

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Mike Gapes MP

Stalwart Progress MP Chris Bryant dug a new nook of absolute bonkery down in the dank depths of the anti-socialist smear-hole this week.  He chose to pretend he thought a description of Progress member Mike Gapes as ‘gammon’ was an insult with anti-Semitic undertones.  

Even a Blairite numpty like Bryant knew that the comment was not meant as anti-Semitic and he knew that there is a definition of gammon as 

Middle-aged white overweight balding Englishman who expresses right-wing views angrily causing his face to redden.

Nineteenth century author Charles Dickens was credited as the creator of that particular use of ‘gammon.’

When challenged by patient observers, Bryant declined to own his absurdity and continued with his nonsense: Bryant shenanigans.

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Chris Bryant demonstrates the Blair thumb point

Bryant knows he has no future as a Labour MP.  Whenever the next general election is called – soon, hopefully – Bryant will not be a Labour candidate.  He could disappear before an election.  His future is as a think-tank contributor, quango member or consultant; all such jobs are well-paid but ethically worthless. 

Without a meaningful political future, Bryant does not need to care how daft or petulant he behaves.  This ‘gammon’ incident is unsurprising.  

The Unwin Window
Named after the entertainer Stanley Unwin who was a master of deliberate gibberish, the Unwin Window, a companion to the Overton Window, is the breadth of political verbiage that is not considered too idiotic or nonsensical from the perspective of prevailing popular opinion.  The closer to the centre of the Unwin Window any comment lies, the more likely it is an intelligent informed remark worthy of inspection, debate and analysis.

If the Unwin Window is stretched then not only does gobbledygook creep into its range but also its previous extremities move inward from the edge of the window and, thus, acquire more legitimacy.  If Bryant’s absurd remark about ‘gammon’ is allowed to be within the Unwin Window’s range then other stupid comments appear less dismissable, relatively.

UnwinWindow

For example, this week David Aaronovitch claimed that an extremist left-wing group planted a bomb in Warrington in 1993 in which two children died, and he claimed Jeremy Corbyn supported this group.  (The IRA had admitted planting the bomb.)  Such a claim by Aaronovitch is barely within the boundary of the Unwin Window but, if Bryant’s absurdity is allowed in, then Aaronovitch’s assertion is further in and, so, assumes more (spurious) legitimacy.

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Stanley Unwin

A greater quantity and greater stupidity of gibberish can be expected from the opponents of socialism.

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Centrists Assemble! Getting a bit silly now

Posh kids at the BBC

(All schools mentioned in photo captions below are private “independent” schools)

In news, current affairs and sport, the percentage of privately educated presenters, reporters and interviewers at the BBC is much higher than the percentage of people who attended a private school in the UK.  If all visible BBC employees were competent and intelligent their respective school backgrounds would not be important.  However, some of these posh boys and girls are well-equipped to do their jobs, some are just about adequate and many are inadequate.  

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Frank Gardner, Marlborough College

For any job in any profession, the school an applicant attended should play no part in her or his suitability for the post.  But, in some BBC departments, the best candidates for a job have not always been the successful candidates because the names of the schools on the CVs and/or applications have played their part.  

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Sarah Sands (right), Kent College

The BBC has woolly excuses for its recruitment bias.  It claimed (correctly) that a good education is preferable; however, the percentage of privately educated people with university degrees is lower than the percentage of privately educated successful candidates for public BBC roles.  A good degree and some good relevant experience are useful components of a CV; the school attended should carry no importance.

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Victoria Derbyshire, Bury Grammar School

The voice
How rarely is a real regional accent heard on BBC news and current affairs?  Occasionally, a Morningside accent is heard, or the softest of Welsh of Irish tilts.  But, Geordie, Liverpudlian, Glaswegian, Mancunian, Brummie, the great variety of Yorkshire and Lancashire accents, West Country, Cockney and many other London accents are all absent among the presenters of national news and current affairs programmes.  

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Nick Robinson, Cheadle Hulme School

Bizarrely, even on BBC Radio 5 Live’s sports coverage there are a plethora of posh voices pretending to have knowledge of sport. 

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John Inverdale, Clifton College

Why is attendance at a fee-paying school a necessity to speak on the radio about football, rugby, tennis, motor-racing, etc?

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Mark Chapman, Manchester Grammar School

Is it the voice that appeals to the recruiters at BBC sport?  Decades ago, there used to be a phenomenon of “the BBC voice” for broadcast on radio and TV.  This voice was accentless and spoken clearly.   Today’s privately educated 5 live voices sound as one, a screechy harsh sound that is unkind on the ears; it is definitely not similar to the traditional “BBC voice.”

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Mark Pougatch, Malvern College

At private schools pupils are taught how to dominate conversations via the use of loud voices, rude interruptions, distractions and vacuous verbosity.  These characteristics are displayed in job interviews because, for some jobs at the BBC, such behaviour is considered to be a necessity for an employee in a public-facing role.  These anti-skills obscure a lack of talent, a lack of knowledge and a lack of intelligence.

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Emma Barnett, Manchester High School

Political position
Intelligent pupils at any school will develop whatever political position that suits them.  Less intelligent pupils are more likely to be persuaded by the education they receive.  Pliable students can be easily led. 

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Mark Urban, Kings College School

For many employers who are seeking employees with a restricted political outlook, there would be more confidence that a private school will have ensured that an intellectually challenged candidate will fit the required restriction.  There is greater political safety for an employer choosing a privately educated candidate for a job. 

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Laura Kuenssberg, Laurel Park School

Understandably, the BBC, in constant fear of the Tories’ threats to destroy it, would favour a less capable but more politically trustworthy candidate for a BBC job over a better-skilled but more politically independent and informed candidate.

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Norman Smith, Oundle School

Consequences
The skewed policy of recruitment has the obvious consequence of exclusion.  The exclusion exists not only in recruitment but also in promotion. 

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Andrew Marr, Craigflower Preparatory School, High School of Dundee, Loretto School

A second consequence is an unnecessary variation in the quality of the presenting and reporting.  Much of the BBC’s news and sport presentation is very good but too great a quantity is very pedestrian, contentless and inept. 

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Nicky Campbell, Edinburgh Academy

The special courses at the private schools on how to talk incessantly in a pseudo confident loud voice are useless when critical analysis and imparting facts and information are needed.  It’s like teaching a dog a single trick which is to bark loudly.

Changes?
There is no need for government legislation or imposed quotas to solve the biased recruitment policy at BBC news and sport.  All that is needed is more intelligence by the corporation in its recruitment.  Being impressed by the name of a school is a stupid reaction. 

It is an issue that can be fixed easily without fuss.

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Tony Hall, King Edward’s School Birmingham, Birkenhead School

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Farage has broken wind. Will the media scurry to smell it?

Tax-dodger, bigot, rabble-rouser, expenses-fiddler, liar and conman Nigel Farage – a veteran of SEVEN failed attempts to be elected to UK parliament and an MEP with one of the worst attendance records in the European parliament – has stuck his fame-hungry offshore accounted nose into British politics again: He announced his intention to prance around the UK in a bus to promote a hard Brexit.  The mediocre ex-commodities broker and current puppet of disaster capitalists chose to express doubts about Theresa May’s commitment to a no-deal Brexit and he has been encouraged – and doubtless amply rewarded – to be a town crier again to con the public into supporting a disastrous event.

The only beneficiaries of a hard no-deal Brexit would be a tiny elite of financial gangsters who would vacuum up the remains of catastrophe, at cheap prices.  These filthy wealth terrorists are salivating at the prospect of the mayhem and destruction resulting from a monstrously stupid decision to waltz away from the EU abruptly without any plan.  They intend to meander among the debris, pocketing land, property and public services at fire sale costs, and buggering off to their tax safe havens.  

The disaster capitalists need an absence of public analysis of the consequences of a hard Brexit.  They want all knowledgeable and unbiased experts to be pushed aside and ridiculed.  They want clowns, confidence tricksters and shamans to dominate media coverage and to drive discussion.  They want to keep the public blisslessly ignorant.  Farage is one of their grotesque little gimps who has the gob to chatter incessantly and who has the necessary aversion to integrity, honesty, ethical behaviour and concept of society.  He is one of their hurlers of dead cats.

Farage could be ignored.  He could be driven around in his silly bus, he could pose for a few photos and he could meet a handful of gurning twerps, and be given no airtime or newspaper inches at all.  He could be treated as the gormless, unpleasant ogre that he is and receive the universal snub and the contempt that he deserves.  That is what would happen if the media was peopled by intelligent, balanced and skillful journalists and reporters who knew what was important and what was fraudulent tripe.

Will the media scramble to smell the malodorous emissions from the rancid racist rectum?  Recent behaviour suggested they will.  Newspapers, radio and television are obsessed with news as entertainment and any distraction from informed discussion is always given prominence.  Farage possesses the anti-intellect persona loved by producers and editors, and his constructed lack of self-awareness means he can lie continuously and repeatedly despite easy valid debunking of the nonsense he spouts.  He is a pantomime character and a political fraudster. 

For almost a decade, wilful compliance by the media has simultaneously fed on Farage’s hollow, corrupt rhetoric and fed it.  A duonanistic tragedy has mocked debate and stifled analysis.  Promulgation of circular uninformative verbosity has helped to enhance ignorance and deter inspection.  If Farage is farting all over TV, radio and newspapers then worthy debate and informative analysis are hidden by his scatological cloud.  The media’s complicity in the Farage-clouding has not been accidental.  Will it continue?

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Nigel Farage at one of many BBC Question Time appearances

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Farage has broken wind. Will the media scurry to smell it?

An example of BBC cowardice

Yesterday (9th August) the Israeli airforce bombed civilian neighbourhoods in Gaza.  Among the deaths were a pregnant woman and her young son.  The BBC website covered the incident with this headline:

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That headline was uncontroversial, accurate and balanced.

Later in the day, the headline was changed to:

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The second headline attempted to provide an excuse for air strikes on civilian areas.  It tried to present the air strikes as justifiable punishment.  

After the second headline was published, the Board Of Deputies expressed approval of the alteration:

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The BBC’s cowardice is clear.  A false, malicious and fraudulent complaint was made because the first headline was accurate and appropriate, and the BBC capitulated meekly.  Such cowardice is incompatible with the BBC’s charter and an embarrassment. 

The quick capitulation by the BBC demonstrated an abject lack of confidence in its own capacity to make informed intelligent balanced decisions.

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Bannon and his Tory troop

Last week (August 2018), Steve Bannon, former Breitbart chairman, former Trump advisor and present racist white supremacist, had a nice cosy chat with Murdoch gimp Michael Gove and old Etonians Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson.  It was a meeting to share stupidity, bigotry and venality.  Bannon wanted some help to create a series of extremist fascist states in Europe and the three Tory twerps wanted to get some advice on what tactics and strategy they can get away with. 

Looming Brexit encouraged Bannon and his Tory friends to get together now.  The latter three intend to do all they can to ensure that disaster capitalists make hay out of Brexit; equally, Bannon believes that Brexit’s calamitous consequences will be fruitful opportunities to rabble-rouse, organise and instill fascism on a grand scale.

The extreme-right is generally composed of two almost distinct groups: 1) Lumpen-headed foot soldiers with unbending, unchallengeable belief in the veracity of their views, and 2) financial beneficiaries and their servants (politicians) who direct the first group via misrepresentation and propaganda, and then reap the awards.  For example, an EDL street thug and an old Etonian, respectively.

Steve Bannon, as an extreme-right activist, is both a believer in the politics of racism and fascism and also an influential leader and organiser with connections throughout governments, media, business and think-tanks.  He straddles both of the above groups.  Unlike Donald Trump, who is in it for the money for himself and his family, Bannon really believes what he thinks, says and promotes.  Unlike street thug Tommy Robinson, Bannon has the influence to persuade people in power.

It is unsurprising that Rees-Mogg, Gove and Johnson were keen to meet Bannon.  Their view of him is of someone who has succeeded in a support role to a politician.  For this trio, Bannon’s use of racism, fascism and extreme dishonesty is not problematic, just tactical.  The Eton machine taught Rees-Mogg and Johnson how to treat the world as a competition bereft of ethics, morality and integrity.  Johnson’s racism has never been hidden by him.  Rees-Mogg has been delighted to acquire a fanbase of dim-witted racist thugs.

Soon after meeting Bannon, Boris Johnson wrote a newspaper article wherein he made a few childish comments about Muslim women’s clothing, written in the style of Katie Hopkins.  Most likely, these racist asides by Johnson were suggested by Bannon as a means of testing what could and what couldn’t be said and what would be the reaction and from whom.  Johnson, a moron, would have been confident to follow Bannon’s instructions without ado; Bannon is someone who Johnson reveres as an intellectual.  Of course, Johnson didn’t need encouragement to be racist.  

The reaction to Johnson’s racism has been mixed.  The right-wing media have used it as an opportunity to have debates about whether or not his racism is racism.  The centrist media and politicians have managed to force out a few words of criticism before returning swiftly to whatever point they are trying to make about Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism.  The media have been reluctant to use the word “racist” to describe what Johnson said, and have pitched their articles as people complaining about Johnson rather than his wrongdoing being the focus.  Socialists have condemned Johnson.  Prime minister Theresa May has, predictably, said absolutely nothing.  

Thus, Bannon’s experiment with Johnson’s utterances could be construed as a success for both of them.  The condemnation of Johnson’s racism has come only from the left, a section of the political landscape that Bannon has no interest in, and the media have used the racism as an entry point into a general discussion that questions whether racism is racism.

Steve Bannon cannot be dismissed as an opportunist, like Trump, nor as a barely human yob, like Robinson.  Bannon occupies all parts of the extreme right circus with considerable manipulative skills and a strong knowledge of propaganda. 

He is dangerous.Bannon

Bannon and his Tory troop

Three options for disruptive Labour MPs

The least scary threat in the history of democracy, a history that is two millennia old, is the threat that some Labour MPs and the Lib Dems will form a new centrist party.  This flaccid threat, never openly stated, elicits no fear in its intended targets because such a party would dissipate within seconds of its launch.  It would have no political position and nothing to offer.

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Even the most blinkered and most bubble-encased Progress and Lib Dem MPs know a new centrist party is a ticket to oblivion.  Equally, they know that the supposed recipients of the threat to form such a party – the Labour left – are not at all perturbed about the possibility of one being created.  Indeed, there is encouragement from labour’s left for the creation of a centrist party in order to hurry along the departure of some annoying MPs.

If the formation of  a new centrist party is a certain failure, what options do the self-penned “politically homeless” MPs and activists have in their centrist dilemma?

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Streeting, taking a rare break from “door-knocking”

They have three options.

Option 1: Continue the disruption
They could stay where they are, keep the MP’s salary, keep their access to media and continue to disrupt, both in parliament and particularly within the Labour party.  They could continue their relentless, spurious attacks on Corbyn and his colleagues to try to ensure that neither he or any of his like-minded colleagues ever becomes prime minister.  That is their top priority.  Anything else is secondary and a long way behind.  If Brexit leads to an absolute disaster, as seems likely, then at least the centrists would be keeping Corbyn away from power; if Johnson, Rees-Mogg or Gove replaces May and the Tories lurch even further to a Trump-like racist freedom-crushing extreme-right then at least Corbyn would not be in power.  Keeping a tendency toward socialism away from government is the centrists’ focus.  Nothing will divert them from that aim and they prefer any other type of government.

Option 2: Steal parliamentary seats
John Woodcock, a good friend of and employee of the arms industry, is currently stealing a parliamentary seat.  He “resigned” from Labour but has chosen not to call a by-election.  His decision to refuse to contest a by-election is understandable cowardice because, clearly, he would lose.  His constituents elected a Labour MP.  Right now, they do not have a Labour MP.  Woodcock’s disruptive colleagues might choose to follow his example and resign from Labour but stay in parliament unelected.  Their departure from Labour would be welcome.  Their theft of parliamentary seats would be an unsurprising demonstration of their opposition to democracy.

Option 3: Do one
They could just sod off.  Resign from Labour and step down as MPs.  Whether or not they stood in any ensuing by-elections would be irrelevant because they wouldn’t win.  Away from parliament they could console themselves by writing incoherent, inconsistent fact-averse columns for think-tanks and newspapers or set up secretly-funded talking shops and lobby groups.  They could do that, but that decision would be a relatively honest decision with integrity, and honesty and integrity are not qualities associated with the Progress mob.

Which option will they choose?

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Centrist media’s promotion of extreme right-wing clowns

Grubby violent crook Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (mortgage fraud, assaulting a police officer, travelling on a false passport, etc.) was released from a jail sentence recently via a technicality.  He had been jailed for contempt of court after physically harassing witnesses and defendants on several occasions at different courts.

Whether he should or should not have received a custodial sentence is of interest only to legal nerds.  His racist supporters used the conviction as an opportunity to grab media airtime.  Intelligent humane people snorted in derision. 

As soon as the racist twerp was free, liberal centrist media wrestled with each other to be the first to prostrate at Yaxley-Lennon’s feet and beg for interviews.  He was happy to oblige, of course.  But, why would the allegedly anti-racist section of the media be so keen to offer free airtime to such an extremist and such an idiot?  Their fraudulent excuse was “free speech.”  That argument would contain the smallest possible smidgen of validity only if characters like Yaxley-Lennon had a single opportunity to speak followed by a deluge of jacksons, but he and his ilk have had many such opportunities.  There is no longer any valid reason to hand airtime to them and, thus, the free speech excuse is a lie.

Free speech is not the reason that centrist media gave Yaxley-Lennon exposure.  Two motivations have driven their interest in him.

1) Ratings
Disgusting, dim-witted, bigoted scum on the extreme-right can give a temporary boost to the viewing figures for TV news shows.  Even the non-commercial BBC is very aware of ratings.  Ratings trump (no pun) integrity and ethics, always.

2) Shift the Overton window rightward
Normalisation of the extreme-right pulls the Overton window rightward with a resultant shifting of the position of the imaginary centre to the right.  The knock-on effect is that any view that is left-of-centre appears to be closer to the left extremity.  This false perception aids the rhetoric that seeks to describe the Labour leadership as far-left.  

TV and radio news, current affairs and political debate shows in Britain are increasingly geared toward entertainment and there is an absence of true objectivity.  The executive staff, producers and presenters do not have the intelligence or knowledge to differentiate between analysis and propaganda; they are easily (often very willingly) guided by professional lobbyists employed by hard-right think tanks; they do not understand how balance works.  The absence of courage, independent thought and confidence is palpable.

A consequence of the above is that a racist street thug is treated as a serious interviewee.

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