Orban Goes Full Dictator

Victor Orban has gone far beyond the emergency measures implemented in any other democracy, in passing a new “anti-coronavirus defence law.” Orban’s Fidesz party, which has a large majority in the Hungarian Parliament, this afternoon passed a law granting the Hungarian Prime Minister enormous power with no time limit attached. Dictatorial…

During the open-ended Coronavirus state of emergency, Orban will be able to rule by decree, with no need for Parliamentary approval of his new laws. The legislation also allows the government to sentence anyone spreading the “fake news” about the virus or the measures against it, to five years in prison. Will the EU do anything about it?

mdi-timer 30 March 2020 @ 15:0030 Mar 2020 @ 15:00 mdi-comment View Comments
Louisa Compton New Head of Channel 4 News

Channel 4 has appointed Dispatches editor Louisa Compton as the channel’s new Head of News, replacing Dorothy Byrne following the abrupt news she is standing down. Byrne’s departure was widely seen as an attempt to thaw relations with Number 10, who were not happy with Byrne’s ‘Boris is a Liar’ speech over the summer…

Compton, however, is unlikely to inspire confidence in the former Vote Leave team running Number 10. At Dispatches, her programme targeted the Leave campaign and ignored Remain’s rule flouting… 

Before Channel 4, Compton previously worked at the BBC, as launch Editor of the Victoria Derbyshire Programme, and before that Editor of youth focussed BBC Newsbeat as well as BBC Radio 5 Live. She takes on the Channel 4 gig at a moment when both her current and former organisations are set to face heavy scrutiny from the new Government…

mdi-timer 30 March 2020 @ 14:2430 Mar 2020 @ 14:24 mdi-comment View Comments
Thatcher Did Believe in ‘Society’

The media got very excited yesterday about a line in Boris’s latest video update, where he says the country’s response to Covid-19 shows “there really is such a thing as society.” Immediately journalists jumped upon the remark as if to say this signals a step change from Thatcherite “no such thing as society” mantra…

David Cameron used a similar ‘break with Thatcherism’ line first, in his 2005 Conservative Party leadership victory speech. The then newly-elected Leader of the Opposition made a point of saying “There is such a thing as society, it’s just not the same thing as the state.” Many of the same pundits declared Thatcherism dead then too…

The problem with this analysis is that Margaret Thatcher would have wholeheartedly agreed with the ‘society’ lines from both Boris Johnson and David Cameron. Her quote about society has long been ripped from its original context. In reality, her comments about individuals taking responsibility for their own actions go hand-in-hand with a caring, generous, warm, and even ‘big’ society…

“they are casting their problems on society and who is society?…

… it went too far. If children have a problem, it is society that is at fault. There is no such thing as society. There is living tapestry of men and women and people and the beauty of that tapestry and the quality of our lives will depend upon how much each of us is prepared to take responsibility for ourselves and each of us prepared to turn round and help by our own efforts those who are unfortunate.”

In a later explanation to the Sunday Times, Downing Street said:

“She prefers to think in terms of the acts of individuals and families as the real sinews of society rather than of society as an abstract concept.”

The widely acclaimed sermon from Bishop of London Richard Chartres at Margaret Thatcher’s funeral should have put the ‘no society’ misinterpretation to bed in 2013:

Guido suspects her enemies will continue to choose to ignore what Thatcher actually believed, instead taking seven words from one interview with Woman’s Own as the be all and end all…

mdi-timer 30 March 2020 @ 13:4430 Mar 2020 @ 13:44 mdi-comment View Comments
Salmond’s QC Denies Saying the Things he was Caught Saying on Camera

A jaw-dropping video published by the Sunday Times yesterday shows Alex Salmond’s QC, Gordon Jackson, talking openly on a train about his client’s high-profile court case, including calling the former First Minister a “sex pest”, “inappropriate”, “an arse hole”, “a bully” and “stupid”, as well as risking contempt of court by naming two of the women involved in the trial. QCs do get to know their clients well during a trial…

Salmond’s QC has done the old trick of referring himself to the legal watchdog, and denied he regards Salmond as a “sex pest” – despite saying the exact phrase in the video. After Salmond’s acquittal, SNP politicians called for resignations – Guido suspects they didn’t have Salmond’s own lawyer in mind…

mdi-timer 30 March 2020 @ 12:4530 Mar 2020 @ 12:45 mdi-comment View Comments
Police Attack Stephen Kinnock for Essential Traveling

Since the lockdown came into force last week, along with the emergency powers act being passed, it’s not gone unnoticed by the public that the police have gone ever so slightly maniacal with power. Today South Wales Police have taken to shaming MP Stephen Kinnock for dropping off supplies at his dad, Neil’s, house before having a brief, socially-distanced birthday chat.

Thankfully it seems an amicable relationship has returned between Kinnock and his local police

South Wales join a pool of police forces which, in addition to allowing newly-received powers to go to their heads, are going far beyond their legislated-for powers, including:

  • Using drones to photograph those doing their daily allowed exercise
  • Dyeing a beautiful local lake black to deter tourists
  • Dictating to shop owners what are the essential items they can sell
  • Telling off shop owners for chalking two-meter lines outside their shops to enforce customer social-distancing
  • Claiming outdoor exercise is limited to one hour

The police can’t be given carte blanch to incorrectly interpret the law in their own authoritarian way – far beyond what the Government has actually legislated for…

mdi-timer 30 March 2020 @ 11:4830 Mar 2020 @ 11:48 mdi-comment View Comments
Dominic Cummings Self-Isolating with Coronavirus Symptoms

It’s been reported that Dominic Cummings is self-isolating with Coronavirus symptoms, after his boss came down with the virus last week. It seems Dom didn’t run away from No. 10 fast enough…

mdi-timer 30 March 2020 @ 10:2830 Mar 2020 @ 10:28 mdi-comment View Comments
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