Government Wants to Give State Power to Ban Websites

 

Last week Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced he was appointing Amal Clooney as the UK’s envoy on media freedom. Today Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright has put out a government White Paper on ‘Online Harms’ which includes proposals for a regulator which will have the power to ban the websites of non-compliant companies from being accessed in the UK at all. Someone tell Amal quick!

You would think that the likes of Facebook and Twitter would be up in arms – they are not because as Dom Hallas, Executive Director of The Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec), says

“Everyone, including British startups, shares the goal of a safer internet – but these plans will entrench the tech giants, not punish them. The vast scope of the proposals means they cover not just social media but virtually the entire internet – from file sharing to newspaper comment sections. Those most impacted will not be the tech giants the Government claims they are targeting, but everyone else. It will benefit the largest platforms with the resources and legal might to comply – and restrict the ability of Britissh startups to compete fairly. There is a reason that Mark Zuckerberg has called for more regulation. It is in Facebook’s business interest.”

86% of UK investors surveyed by Coadec say that proposals claiming to tackle tech giants could lead to poor outcomes that inadvertently damage tech startups and hamper competition. As with the GDPR and we are likely to see with the Copyright Directive, the tech giants are in fact best placed to absorb wide-ranging regulation. There is a real risk of the global platforms getting bigger and British startups suffering.

There is also a risk that a future Corbyn govenment will use the legislation against political opponents. When you see the likes of Owen Jones being applauded for describing the Spectator, Sun, Mail, Telegraph, Express and of course Guido, as “spreading hate”, you can easily imagine the legislation being used by a Corbyn government to close down dissident media. This is a dangerous path being foolishly and short-sightedly cheered on by newspapers who think it will scupper the global platforms who are eating into their advertising revenue.

See: Coadec report with the survey data referred to can be found in full here.

Twitter Bars Suzanne Evans For Saying Trans Woman Wasn’t ‘Ladylike’

Twitter has decided to bar Suzanne Evans from the platform after she sent a tweet about a Newsnight interview she had done in 2016 with trans woman Paris Lees, saying that Lees had been “unbelievably nasty and aggressive” and “Dare I say it, not the slightest bit ‘ladylike.'”

Owen Jones organised a pile-on, which resulted in Twitter decreeing that Suzanne’s tweet had violated their definition of “hateful conduct” and locking her account temporarily, with a warning that she could be permanently suspended if she violated their rules again.

Whatever anyone’s views on the trans debate, it is deeply troubling that Twitter saw fit to bar Evans from the site over what is at worst an insensitive comment, particularly given the cesspit of genuinely violent and threatening abuse which goes ignored on a daily basis. It’s yet another incident in the highly pernicious trend of free speech being suppressed and people being highly selectively barred from public platforms simply for saying things that hurt other people’s feelings…

Owen Jones ‘Disappears’ Chris Williamson

Chris Williamson became unceremoniously unpersoned by Owen Jones in a sly re-writing of history on one of his Medium blog posts defending the hard left. True Politburo style…

In an original version of a Medium article he wrote, Jones lauded the left-wing politicians, “Chris Williamson, Laura Pidcock and Clive Lewis among them” who are “subjected to relentless online pile-ons from both Tory and Labour MPs and hostile commentators.”

One of those examples has mysteriously disappeared. The sentence now reads just “ Laura Pidcock and Clive Lewis among them”, losing the rhetorical tricolon in the interests of writing problematic comrades out of history. The internet never forgets, Owen…

UPDATE: A co-conspirator has helpfully pointed out that the re-writing of history did not occur yesterday afternoon as Guido originally suggested, but in late April last year. Happy to correct!

UPDATE II: Owen Jones has clarified the matter…

Could Owen Jones Stand for Labour in Stockport Against Anne Coffey?

According to a local Labour source this fundraising event was only planned after Stockport’s former Labour MP defected to TIG last week. Owen’s from Stockport so rumours are that he is using this to help him get the nomination are circulating. Owen used to disclaim an ambition to become an MP “I’ve been asked to stand time and time again but I’ve said no.” More recently he has become less disinclined “There might come a time when I think, well actually getting elected as an MP, that’s a better way of doing it, fight for your beliefs, but to be honest with you, I wouldn’t end up as a minister, I’d end up as a back-bencher lobbying for things I believe in. I wouldn’t toe a party line because I get too frustrated, I’d want to stand up for my beliefs whatever I did. As long as I can do that, I’m happy you know.” Could it be that the grandson of a communist and son of Trotskyists could now find a home in Corbyn’s ideologically purified parliamentary Labour Party?

Stockport is a Labour safe-seat, the party won 63.3% of the vote at the last election. Owen has been tweeting about how “I shoved leaflets through doors to support Stockport’s MP Ann Coffey when I was 8. Now she’s abandoned her party – and with local elections coming up – Stockport Labour need support and solidarity.” They also need a candidate. Even if Ann Coffey stood again for TIG and split the vote in half, Labour would still beat the second placed Tories. That has got to be tempting for a local boy who openly says he is now bored of journalism…

UPDATE 28 February, 2019: Owen says the local source is wrong, that the event was planned before Ann Coffey defected and he is definitely ruling himself out of standing for the seat. How disappointing for the locals…

Friday Caption Contest (Valentine’s Edition)

Entries in the comments…

McDonnell’s Possible Other Way

When the Corbynistas say another way is possible it is true. Venezuela’s humanitarian crisis, with millions of refugees crossing the border, is usually characteristic of war torn nations. The reality of socialism, with nationalisation, the attacks on private enterprise, the shuttering of opposition media, together with the silencing, demonising and threatening dissident journalists. It is like all the threats in Owen Jones’ Twitter feed made real…

Chuka’s Local Party Making Deselection Moves This Evening

Streatham Constituency Labour Party is this evening holding a special all member meeting to vote on whether future meetings should be switched from a delegate based ‘General Committee’ structure to an ‘All Member Meeting’ structure, whereby any member can vote – a move recommended by Corbyn’s ‘Democracy Review’. By switching to All Member Meetings with one member one vote, it will be a lot easier for the new influx of Momentum members to successfully move to deselect Chuka…

But local left wing members are worried that the Blairite controlled local party executive are deliberately not publicising the meeting so that they can keep the General Committee structure and keep pro-Chuka control of the local party.

The meeting was originally supposed to take place in November but was abruptly cancelled without a reason being given. Now the hard left are so worried that the meeting will be poorly attended by new Corbynista members that they have drafted in left wing websites and even Owen Jones to promote the new meeting. One to watch…

Abbott, McDonnell and Owen Jones Rally to Maduro’s Support Alongside Red Ken

Perhaps the only thing more predictable about a socialist government than brutal crackdowns on civil liberties and economic collapse is the UK’s hard left coming out in solidarity with it. Sure enough, the usual suspects are out in force in the Guardian, with numerous senior Labour MPs including John McDonnell, Diane Abbott, Richard Burgon, Chris Williamson and Clive Lewis co-signing a letter along with Owen Jones condemning the “US attempt at regime change” in Venezuela and instead calling for “dialogue”. Classic…

Never mind the fact that it’s millions of ordinary Venezuelans who are taking to the streets to demand regime change after seeing their lives ruined by the crippling socialist policies of successive dictators Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro – obviously they’re just part of a grand “far right” US conspiracy which must be resisted to keep Maduro in place.

At least they’ve got some renowned moral authorities on their side, the letter was also signed by antisemitism scandal-ridden Pete Willsman and the disgraced Ken Livingstone. When you’re on Ken Livingstone’s side of history you know you’re on the wrong one…

UPDATE: Labour MP Angela Smith has condemned the letter as a “disgrace”, as well as the fact that Baroness Massey’s name was wrongly attached to the letter.

UPDATE II: Labour peer Baroness Massey insists her name was wrongly included in the list. “I disassociate myself from this letter,” she told PoliticsHome, “I know nothing about it. My name is Doreen E Massey and I’ve never heard of this letter – it’s nothing to do with me. They have pursued this in a very unprofessional way. It’s crazy.”

Owen Jones Turns on “Absolute Disaster” of People’s Vote Campaign

The People’s Vote campaign have been getting an absolute kicking overnight on the back of Alex Wickham’s big expose, following Guido’s report on the campaign infighting last month. Surprisingly, much of it is coming from the left, with Owen Jones leading the charge against it:

“Whatever the rights and wrongs of a second referendum, the official People’s Vote is an absolute disaster, has undermined the case for another vote, and if there is one and they run the Remain campaign, we might as well chalk up a second Leave victory now”

The New Statesman’s George Eaton also piled in with a quote from a ‘senior Labour insider’:

“People’s Vote campaign has a worst of all worlds strategy. It’s fronted in the media by Blairites who are deeply unpopular with voters but knew how to win stuff. Its back room is run by Milibandites who are less elitist but don’t know how to win stuff.”

Predictably, second referendum-backing MPs like Sarah Wollaston have been getting hilariously flustered by the criticism, with Steven Doughty even pinning it on a right-wing conspiracy. Including that well-known right-wing agitator Owen Jones…

Second referendum campaigners are still in denial about three basic facts – firstly there isn’t a majority in Parliament for a second referendum, as significant numbers of Labour MPs will oppose one, secondly there isn’t a majority for a second referendum in the country, as Britian’s leading pollster John Curtice exposed yesterday. Thirdly, sending Tony Blair out as your spokesman on the slopes of Davos is not going to change the first two facts in your favour…

Owen Jones Buys £500 Indulgence for Sin of Writing for The Sun

T’was the yeare of 2019 and ranteth greatly didde the blessed Owene Jones at The Sunne, for as Owene spake its authores didde “whippe up bigotrie and hatred” moste foule. But becameth it then well-knowne that in the yeare of 2011 the blessed Jones didde himself authore writings for The Sunne, for so to floggeth the sales of his owne veritable tome that be knownest as “Chavs”. A hypocrisie moste horrible…

The blessed Owene didde thus resolve to maeke amends for his moste sinneful deed by proferring the princely summe of five hunderedde pounds to buye indulgence for his sinnes, and saw that alle the goode folkes of Momentumme shoulde know that puritie was restored forthwithe upon his moste blessed soule. Per Corbynum dominum nostrum, amen.

Owen Jones Scraps With Andrew Neil

Things got personal last night on the This Week sofa when Owen Jones, who was appearing on the show to talk about the threat poised by the British far right, went for Andrew Neil over his role as Chairman of the Spectator. The whole kerfuffle meant that there was no time for Owen to actually answer the question on the distinction between far right ‘thuggery’ and far left ‘activism’. It gets heated…

Owen Jones Mobbed By Silly Yellow Vests

Wannabe Yellow Vest protesters in Westminster seemed to confuse Lexit sympathising Owen Jones for a second referendum proponent. One asked him “how many people attended the [anti]-Brexit march”… that Jones did not attend or endorse. The half-dozen protesters really don’t do themselves any favours here…

h/t Owen Jones

Owen Jones Mass Deletes Thousands of Old Tweets

A handy feature of the ‘Deleted By MPs’ Twitter account is that it also notifies followers when a tweet retweeted by an MP disappears – meaning if someone who is regularly retweeted by MPs deletes a whole load of their old tweets, it’s easy to spot. This evening, it’s very easy to spot Owen Jones’ mass deleting spree. What is he trying to hide?

Owen Jones’ Reality Check for Remainers

Owen Jones had a reality check for the Remainers getting overexcited after Arron Banks was referred to the NCA yesterday. As hard as it is for SW1 to grasp, the vast majority of people don’t have lives which revolve entirely around Twitter…

Owen Jones Called for Fascists To Be “Punished With Death”

Fascism is a word that Owen Jones is usually very careful with. He has repeatedly stated that authoritarian leaders like General Pinochet could not be classified as fascists. Recently though Owen has been using the word with aplomb, saying that the Prime Minister of India, and President of the US are “sympathetic to” fascists, calling Italy’s Governing Lega Nord “semi-fascist”, and calling Brazil’s new President-elect, Jair Bolsonaro, an “overt fascist”. He has tweeted the word seventeen times this week alone.

In Owen’s eyes there is a global crisis of fascism and fascists around every corner. Fascists who can only be stopped by the hard-left. A handy global bogeyman…

Not to worry, young Owen has a solution (the internet never forgets) to dealing with the not-at-all-exaggerated threat of fascism and fascist tendencies once and for all!

Readers will remember that this isn’t the first time that young Owen’s message board days have resurfaced. Owen Jones called for fascists to be put to death, and those with illusions in fascism to be sent to corrective facilities. Just a taste of the foundational beliefs of those behind the Corbyn movement…

Owen Jones Cancels Building a New Britain

“Due to unforseen circumstances” Owen Jones has cancelled his one man show in Leeds. Guido’s man with the ticket stubs highlights “the poor ticket sales at Newcastle online – seating plan showed less than a hundred sold when the event disappeared from the website.” Owen’s tour with tickets at £20 seems to have stalled.

The Newcastle Box Office responded to a query saying “Unfortunately we have recently found out that the whole of Owen Jones’ tour has been cancelled.” Can this be true?

UPDATE: Owen responds:

“They got cancelled weeks ago for family reasons, along with campaigning events. Why would I cancel events months in advance over tickets.”

Fortunately he’s managed to make it to Birmingham for the Conservative Party conference…

Clause for Owen Jones Moment

Guardian journalists have today been emailed by the editor, Kath Viner, a detailed set of company “social media guidelines.” “This document explains how we expect Guardian News & Media (GNM) employees and contributors to behave on social media”. Guido – an occasional contributor to the Guardian – the word rate means it is not worth abiding by the rules at the cost of lost banter. Buried inside the document there is specific clause that was apparently included as a result of complaints about Guardian journalists baiting Owen Jones on Twitter in an uncomradely way.

The ‘Owen Jones Clause’ appears under the subheading of “Tone”.

“Do not use social media to air internal disputes with colleagues or contributors, or with the Guardian”

Traditionally a drunken punch up outside the Coach & Horses in Clerkenwell was the accepted way to resolve internal disputes between Guardian hacks. Bloody tweeting snowflakes…

Hat-tip Mark Di Stefano

Denial of Anti-Semitism is Normalised on Labour Fringe

Multiple Labour fringe events are to be addressed by the union boss who suggested the Labour anti-Semitism row was ‘created’ by Israel.

“Now I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I’ll tell you what – one of the best forms of trying to hide from the atrocities that you are committing is to go on the offensive and to actually create a story that does not exist for people on this platform, the trade union movement or, I have to say, for the leader of the Labour Party.”

Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of the PCS Union, who publicly insinuated anti-semitism is “a story that does not exist” in the Labour Party, will be speaking at:

  • Labour and Palestine’s ‘Speaking Up for Palestine’ alongside Len McCluskey and Richard Burgon.
  • CLASS’s ‘Review Of The Year’ alongside Owen Jones and Clive Lewis.
  • Public and Commercial Services Union’s ‘Social Security Under a Labour Government – What Would Need To Change’, alongside John McDonnell.

Labour are normalising people who deny that their anti-semitism problem exists. This shouldn’t be considered normal…

Owen Jones “Discredited From the Start”

Guardian columnist Owen Jones has been taking aim once again at the hard left’s public enemy no.1 – a certain T. Blair, natch – using his latest column to decree that “A new party would just be a Blairite tribute act, discredited from the start”. Nothing to do with the rampant entryism and anti-Semitism infesting the once-great Labour Party, of course…

As well as getting a bit too friendly some admittedly pretty unpleasant dictators, also on the charge sheet was today’s revelation that the Tony Blair Institute has been receiving funding from the Saudi Arabian regime. Blair was dismissed as “beholden to the wealthy and powerful, including the headchoppers of Riyadh”.

Let’s hope Owen wasn’t reading, er, the Guardian on March 7th this year, where there were no fewer than three giant adverts paid for by none other than… the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia:

If Blair’s Saudi funding renders his political efforts “discredited from the start”, will Owen start applying the same standards to his own Guardian columns? Of course, the current leader of the Labour Party would never dream of cosying up to murderous dictators or taking funds from repressive regimes either…

h/t @jamesprice_tpa

Owen Jones v The New European

It seems to Guido that everyone on Twitter could do with being a bit nicer to each other. Take this almighty brouhaha between Owen Jones and Matt Kelly, editor of the Remoaner newspaper The New European. The paper’s front page depicted OJ in tears, imagery Owen denounced as homophobic:

He accused his Remainer critics of Trumpian rhetoric:

[…] Read the rest

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