Celebs Admit They Got It Wrong on Animal Sentience

It’s taken a while, but Guido is pleased to report that Ben Fogle, Sue Perkins, Debroah Meaden and Rachel Riley have all either retracted, deleted or apologised for their tweets, or clarified that they now support the government’s entirely sensible position on animal sentience. Tough 24 hours for celebs on Twitter. Still, at least they’re not Olly Murs… 

David Gauke v Russia Today

“Go spout Putin’s propaganda,” David Gauke tells RT as he explains no reputable politician would go on their programmes. Just John McDonnell.

Labour Call Centre Staff on 12 Hours a Week Get 30p Pay Rise

Staff at Labour’s Newcastle call centre aren’t exactly over the moon about a 30p pay rise they’ve been given in line with this month’s increase to the National Living Wage. A collective eye-roll took place as party’s call centre operators were told in an email:

“We are pleased to inform you that in line with the increase of the Living Wage rate, effective from 1st December your hourly paid rate will rise to £8.75 per hour.”

Labour’s manifesto demands a £10 an hour minimum wage for all workers over 18…

Labour insiders told Guido that staff are only guaranteed 12 hours work a week, and receive an email on Friday evenings telling them how much work is available the following week. A Labour Party spokesperson said: “The Labour Party is an accredited living wage employer. We don’t comment on staffing matters.” The party simultaneously claims to oppose work insecurity…

McDonnell’s Favourite Asset Manager Operates Offshore

John McDonnell is banging on a lot at the moment about all the City fund managers he claims he’s meeting. When pushed by Andrew Neil this week to name a firm he had met, the Shadow Chancellor couldn’t. Now Bloomberg reports one asset manager is indeed letting the self-sworn radical “Marxist” into their office…

Executives at BlueBay Asset Management, which has $57 billion of assets under its management, are to meet McDonnell next week. Mark Dowding, a senior portfolio manager, says: “We’re not giving a political endorsement to a political party here, but as macro investors we actively engage in dialogue with policymakers across the spectrum.”

Just one awkward problem for McDonnell: he claims to disapprove of the entire way BlueBay structures its business. A quick look at the accounts shows the firm has a Luxembourg fund management company and a Jersey based Employee Benefit Trust.

Not only that, but it’s shorting the pound and UK government bonds, meaning its investors will gain from Labour’s run on the pound. Quite aside from shorting the pound, Guido is surprised McDonnell would want to consort with a firm who manage funds in Luxembourg and have an Employee Benefit Trust in Jersey…

Friday Caption Contest (Hard Out Here Edition)

Entries in the comments…

Five More Years of Kay

Hurrah!

Tricky Start in Brussels

The Prime Minister’s aide Richard “Tricky” Jackson encounters the Brussels security team. Good to see Number 10 is taking no nonsense from the Eurocrats…

H/T John Stevens

Bad Al Flips at Gisela: “You’ve Got Another Country to Go To”

Ultra-Remainiac Alastair Campbell flew into a xenophobic rage at German-born Brexiteer Gisela Stuart before the pair appeared on the Sunday Politics. As Kevin Maguire reports:

“Tony Blair’s aggressive former spin doctor went a bit Ukip at the Labour Leaver Gisela Stuart before the pair appeared on BBC One’s Sunday Politics. “When are you going to stop fucking up my country?” growled raging Ali. “It’s my country, too,” shot back the upset German-born Stuart, the Birmingham Edgbaston MP for two decades until quitting last June.

“Campbell’s second verbal punch – “You’ve got another country to go to” – was so below the belt that, aimed by a Brextremist at a Stayer, might have had the snarling rottie denouncing xenophobia. Stuart has lived in Britain since 1974. Standing for Labour with the surname of her Bavarian parents, Gschaider, she was unsuccessful in the 1994 European elections. Three years later, under the Stuart name of her first husband, she won Edgbaston in Labour’s 1997 landslide. She never expected a loyalty test from a Labour Remainiac.”

Imagine if a Brexiteer used language like that. Bad Al going a bit Jared O’Mara…

Indy Retracts Animal Sentience Story

The Independent has retracted its story claiming that “the Tories have rejected all scientists and voted that animals don’t feel pain” and admitted that it circulated false information to potentially millions of people. In a clarification published last night, the Indy says its report “was not right”:

“Put simply, what happened is this: MPs did not vote that animals are not sentient creatures…

Campaigners – and some news coverage – initially said that the Government had voted against recognising sentience. The Independent was among publishers that reported the story in that way. But it became clear that this claim was not right, even though it had been interpreted by some campaigners in that way. (The Independent updated its coverage to ensure it was accurate).”

The original Indy story was shared thousands of times and was a key factor in half a million people signing a petition repeating the claim. Stories about the Tories and animal sentience were viewed by 2 million people this week. Doubt the Indy’s retraction will be seen by a tenth of that.

Who’s On Question Time Tonight?

Another Remainer-loaded panel…

Ben Fogle Sorry For Sharing Animal Sentience Fake News Story

Fair play to Ben Fogle, who tells Guido “I am happy to apologise and add clarity” after he tweeted the viral fake news story on animal sentience to his 336,000 followers. Sue Perkins, Rachel Riley, Caroline Lucas and the RSPCA have been less willing to admit they were wrong…

Welsh Labour Backed Amazon Plant Brings in Hungarian Workers

An Amazon distribution center given financial backing by the Welsh Labour government is again the subject of controversy after it emerged foreign workers are being brought in en masse to cover Christmas shifts. A concerned constituent wrote to Welsh UKIP leader Neil Hamilton to say they had been asked if their spare room could be used to accommodate Hungarian workers. The resident claimed they were contacted by a firm called Central European Contracts and Recruitment Services Ltd, who they suggested planned to accommodate workers ‘hot-bunking’ between shifts at the Amazon plant.

Carwyn Jones’ Welsh Government provided grants to Amazon to develop the facility. The Welsh authorities refused to confirm the amount given. But sources put the funding at a cool £8.8 million…

The Amazon warehouse was the subject of a 2013 Panorama investigation which suggested working conditions there could cause “mental and physical illness”. An Amazon spokesman said at the time the company “complies with all relevant legal requirements”. A UKIP spokesman said:

“How can Labour’s Welsh Government, which claims to champion the working class, support a facility that employs workers from Central and Eastern Europe and treats them in such an appalling manner? UKIP will continue to investigate and hold the Welsh Government to account on this.”

Awkward for Carwyn…

Viral Animal Sentience Fake News Story Seen By 2 Million People

This week a number of stories claiming the Tories had voted that animals are not sentient beings went mega-viral. An article on the Independent website – shared thousands of times on social media – reported “The Tories have rejected all scientists and voted that animals don’t feel pain”. The Evening Standard claimed they “just voted that animals cannot feel pain or emotions”. The Indy, which has truly become one of the most downmarket trash clickbait websites around, even named and shamed the Tory MPs “who voted legislation on animals feeling pain and emotion”. These attacks were tweeted out by celebrities like Ben Fogle and Sue Perkins, politicians including Caroline Lucas and failed LibDem MP Sarah Olney, and petitions were signed by hundreds of thousands of unwitting animal lovers. The stats are huge:

  • Analysis shows 2 million people have seen articles and tweets about the Tories voting against animal sentience
  • 155,157 signed a Change.org petition repeating the claim
  • 263,476 signed another petition on 38 Degrees
  • 43,081 signed a third petition on ThePetitionSite
  • Nearly 30,000 have signed smaller petitions (that’s almost 500,000 overall)
  • Sue Perkins shared it with her 1 million followers
  • Rachel Riley shared it with her 510,000 followers
  • Ben Fogle shared it with his 336,000 followers
  • Caroline Lucas shared it with her 276,000 followers
  • The RSPCA tweeted it out to their 248,000 followers

Just one problem. It is fake news…

During last Wednesday’s debate, Tory MPs repeatedly explained that the government already recognised animal sentience and that the amendment was flawed. Read it here in Hansard – Tory MP after Tory MP stood up and agreed that animals are sentient. No MPs argued against animal sentience. It is just not true to say, as the Indy did, that “The Tories have rejected all scientists and voted that animals don’t feel pain”. Anyone who has seen the Environment Secretary with his Bichon Frise Snowy, or indeed the hedgehog above, knows these viral articles are fake news. This made up story, circulated by the Tories’ opponents for solely cynical reasons, is cutting through to animal lovers who think they can trust things they believe on the Independent website. This morning Michael Gove categorically committed the government to animal sentience once and for all. He couldn’t be clearer:

“This government will ensure that any necessary changes required to UK law are made in a rigorous and comprehensive way to ensure animal sentience is recognised after we leave the EU.”

Will that go as viral as the fake news BS that hoodwinked thousands in the last week?

Labour Suspends Ivan Lewis

For being a Blairite sex pest…

UPDATE: Labour spokesman:

“The Labour Party takes all allegations of sexual harassment extremely seriously. Ivan Lewis is currently suspended from the Labour Party pending an investigation.” 

IPSO Clears Kavanagh Column

IPSO has dismissed a complaint about a Trevor Kavanagh opinion column which discussed Muslim grooming gangs in the wake of the Sarah Champion furore. Sorry right-on lefties of Twitter, there was no breach of the Editor’s Code.

A Sun spokesman said:

“This is a welcome reminder that the vitality of newspapers comes from the free exchange of ideas and opinions, perhaps particularly those which some might not like.”

Common sense at last in the week when hard left fronts like Stop Funding Hate are attacking freedom of speech…

Corbynistas’ Shameful Milosevic Defence

The conviction of Ratko Mladić on war crimes charges presents yet another awkward moment for despot-friendly Corbynistas, who cosied up to the brutal Milosevic and his murderous regime for years. Guido can reveal an extraordinary online defence of Milosevic written by Momentum social media supremo Harry Hayball. Goldsmiths PhD Hayball, who is a director of Corbynista media firm People Powered Productions Ltd, bemoaned the 2006 death of Milosevic as a “tragic”. He wrote in a post on the BBC News website:

“This is tragic news. Slobodan Milosevic was a committed opponent of nationalism and discrimination, as is evident from his speeches, and was the biggest factor for peace in the Balkans throughout the 1990s. The prosecution failed completely in proving anything, and the defence case, has been refuting all their lies. It is tragic that he has not been able to clear his name while alive. I wonder how the ICTY will view its over-ruling of his doctors’ judgements that he needed 6 weeks of rest now.”

To be fair to Hayball, he’s in the right company. Here’s an EDM Jeremy Corbyn (and John McDonnell) signed back in 2004, playing down the Kosovo crisis and spinning the line for the Milosevic regime denying the existence of mass graves as “war propaganda”:

“That this House welcomes John Pilger’s column for the New Statesman issue of 13th December, reminding readers of the devastating human cost of the so-termed ‘humanitarian’ invasion of Kosovo, led by NATO and the United States in the Spring of 1999, without any sanction of the United Nations Security Council; congratulates John Pilger on his expose of the fraudulent justifications for intervening in a ‘genocide’ that never really existed in Kosovo; recalls President Clinton’s Secretary of Defense William Cohen claimed, entirely without foundation, that ‘we’ve now seen about 100,000 military-aged [Albanian] men missing…..they may have been murdered’ and that David Scheffer, the US ambassador-at-large for war crimes, announced with equal inaccuracy that as many as ‘225,000 ethnic Albanian men aged between 14 and 59’ may have been killed; recalls that the leader of a Spanish forensic team sent to Kosovo returned home, complaining angrily that he and his colleagues had become part of ‘a semantic pirouette by the war propaganda machines, because we did not find one mass grave’; further recalls that one year later, the International War Crimes Tribunal, a body de facto set up by NATO, announced that the final count of bodies found in Kosovo’s ‘mass graves’ was 2,788; believes the pollution impact of the bombing of Kosovo is still emerging, including the impact of the use of depleted uranium munitions; and calls on the Government to provide full assistance in the clean up of Kosovo.”

And as for Seumas?

Classic…

Stella’s Fake News

There has been a lot of political controversy about Twitter bots spreading fake news. Guido found another example of one yesterday. The government is actually planning to spend £127 billion on the NHS. Which is a lot more than the £3 billion being put aside for Brexit preparations. Stella is fake news….

McDonnell Asked 8 Times How Much Labour Would Spend Servicing Debt


John McDonnell was again unable to say how much Labour’s spending plans would cost Britain in two further shambolic interviews this morning. Asked on both the Today programme and 5 Live how much extra would be spent on servicing government debt under Labour, a rattled McDonnell was eight times unable to give a figure. He snapped:

“This is a trite form of journalism, that’s why we have iPads and advisors… It’s minimal… I’m telling you, it pays for itself, it pays for itself.”

Alas the Shadow Chancellor was unable to explain how borrowing would “pay for itself”. Someone get him that iPad for the next media round…

PMQs Sketch: The Grey-Some Twosome’s Budget Panto

Theresa May and Philip Hammond have the least sexy Prime Minister-Chancellor relationship in British political history. Thatcher-Lawson, Major-Lamont, Blair-Brown: these titanic battles of personality and politics had real zing. There was a dangerous chemistry about each, and like two reactive elements thrust together, the mixtures would eventually explode. Our grey-some twosome are too dull even to destroy one another…

How utterly similar they looked: like two wan Waitrose shoppers. You can imagine them now, plodding down the high street in any nameless provincial town. We are told there is no love lost between them, but today, they co-ordinated to stage the crumbling theatre’s final panto. Both seemed to know they had little to lose…

Continue reading

Doubting John McDonnell’s Honesty

When the presenters on the BBC’s Budget Show expressed scepticism about John McDonnell‘s claim that asset managers supported his nationalisation plans, the Shadow Chancellor followed Corbyn’s lead from earlier and lost his temper: “Are you doubting my honesty?” Yes, they were…

Talking of McDonnell’s honesty, he told Brillo that he never used Paris’ water supply as an example of how his nationalisation plan could work on Marr.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Michael Gove delivering Brexit for pets…

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