Archive for December, 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all our readers. May 2012 bring you and yours happiness, health and prosperity.

Rocket attacks on Gaza – school and house hit, civilians injured

If you keep a close eye on reports from the Middle East you might be wondering why you haven’t seen news broadcasts and pages of coverage on the BBC and CNN and in the Guardian and New York Times about these attacks that are harming Palestinians.

Perhaps this insightful blog post will explain why there has been no coverage about this outrageous onslaught.  It is food for thought about the media and its agendas.

Liverpool City Council’s latest money making scheme

In November a trawl of local newspapers unearthed this little story in the Liverpool Echo.

It is another example of local authorities looking for opportunities to use their official status to forcibly part people from their money, while increasing the powers and adding to the weight of regulation for which they are responsible for enforcing:

BUSKERS could soon have to hold a permit to play in Liverpool under new plans being drawn up by Liverpool Council bosses.

Proposals due to be put to the council’s cabinet before the end of the year could see street musicians told to buy a licence – and then being limited to when and where they can play and for how long.

Performers would also be required to take out costly public liability insurance.

Importantly, the article went on to tell readers that:

A council spokesman described the current arrangement as a “free for all” and said the proposals came in response to requests for better regulation from the public, city shopkeepers and even other buskers.

One thing that never rings quite true is a claim from a council that residents and businesses want more regulation and officialdom.  So AM sent a Freedom of Information request to Liverpool City Council to see their evidence for this claim.  The response arrived during the hectic pre-Christmas period, hence the delay in writing this up.  It is shown in full below:

Imagine my shock and surprise to find the response provides no formal evidence whatsoever for Liverpool’s council officers to justify the regulation and increase in council powers!  Yet the officers are asking councillors to put the regulation into force.  Clearly the questions are a little too inconvenient, hence the response being packed with text that is irrelevant to the FOI enquiry.

Liverpool City Council is setting itself up as the judge and jury of which performers are the ‘more professional entertainers’ thereby stopping others from plying their trade and perhaps being noticed by someone who might open doors for them to build a career.  The people who benefit are the City Council and their approved entertainers, creating the conditions for cronyism and backroom deals.

Drunk on power and free from anything approaching proper oversight and control by elected councillors, this is another example of councils serving their own interests at the expense of the taxpayers; who are treated as nothing more than cash cows to fund the whims and biases of officers and their bumper salaries and generous pension schemes.

AM has written back to Liverpool City Council asking for a copy of the papers officers have prepared for elected councillors about this recommedation to see all of the evidence the decision will be based upon.

Pure evil

Whether you follow a religion or not, the news that Islamist terrorists have blown up two Churches in Nigeria is sickening.

The Christian worshippers were targeted for no reason other than they were not Muslim. These bombings of Churches on Christmas Day are acts of unmitigated evil, perpetrated by the most cowardly, hate filled and vile creatures on the face of this earth.

Christianity teaches adherents to turn the other cheek. But there comes a time when it becomes necessary to preserve precious life -  by ending the lives of those who, because of their warped ideology,  are bent on visiting death and destruction on others.

The world should not be tolerant of such vicious intolerance. Rabid dogs cannot be cured, they must be put down.

Merry Christmas

Wishing you the joy of Christmas and hoping this special time is blessed with peace, health and happiness for you and your loved ones.

Aidan Burley – censorship, censure and cynical agendas

A look at the ‘news’ on any given day sums up the self destructive idiocy of those who try to hold sway over the rest of us.

Life in this country is now nothing more than a mission to censor and censure anything and everything that falls outside the narrow and bigoted worldview of a small number of spiteful morons, aided and abetted by the useful idiots who are terrified of getting on the wrong side of the thought police.  Even those who are supposed to be well meaning end up doing the dirty work for the control freaks.

Just look at the furore over Aidan Burley MP.  He’s a Tory MP so he’s bound to be an idiot by default.  He attended a stag do where one guest dressed as a Nazi SS officer and another gave a ‘toast’ to the Third Reich.  This lampooning has apparently has been portrayed as grievously offensive glorification of the Nazis.

Aidan Burley, spineless in the face of the politically motivated onslaught against him and the feartie over reaction of his own party leader, lest he lose a single vote by appearing to stand firm against the thought police, issues a grovelling apology.  Clinging on to a job seems to take priority over having principles these days.  But that’s the political class for you.

Since when has lampooning Nazis by playing dress up and throwing mock salutes been cause for such craven behaviour?  Stupid, yes.  But do these thought police seriously think for a moment the party goers were dwelling on the past and longing for the vicious Nazi oppression so many died to put down?  Come off it.  Yet there they are in the media, wetting their pants in their spittle flecked fervour to hound a man into submission and out of a job so a rival they approve of can take over from him.

No doubt some will try to paint me as an apologist, but nothing is further from the truth.  I write this as someone who fights against real anti semitism and hatred.  Someone who rails against the spite filled animosity directed against Jewish people and Israel every week in the pages of the Guardian – which curiously remains free from the ire of those who are demanding the demise of Aidan Burley.  I am proud of the distinction winning roles that members of my family played in the RAF and Army in fighting against Nazi Germany and the battles against extremism carried on by their sons and daughters in the years since.

Did these people at the stag do go to a far right rally?  Did they assemble to lament the defeat of Hitler?  Have they called for the eradication of Jews, gypsies or other minorities?  Do they endorse militaristic domination by an oppressive regime?  Are their political beliefs aligned with those of Goebbels, Himmler and Speer?  No, their ‘crime’ was nothing more than playing dress up and being immature and boorish.  But in a free society that is supposed to be allowed.

So do we see the offence seekers picketing fancy dress shops demanding the removal of Nazi uniforms?  Do they call for re-runs of ‘Allo ‘Allo to be banned because of the uniforms and salutes on show?  Do they rally outside the Guardian’s offices in London demanding the removal of anti semitic rants from the pages of Comment is Free?  Or do they only selectively take offence when someone – a friend of a political rival – puts on a mock uniform and lampoons in juvenile manner the behaviour of a hated and defeated foe that sought totalitarian control of a type some of these offence seekers are exhibiting?

We seem unable to move in this country without someone seeking to take offence at something or other and demanding other people modify their behaviour to suit the wishes of others.  What will it take for people to stand up against these miserable opportunist control freaks and tell them to bugger off?

I don’t care a toss about Aidan Burley or his friends.  But I do care about this accelerating slide towards defacto criminalisation of people, who have done nothing wrong, by a self selecting tribal group of agenda-driven witch finders who are determined to bend everyone to their will and authoritarian groupthink through such cynical means.

Arctic Sea Ice – How Telegraph furthers eco spin against substance

Richard North, writing on his EU Referendum blog, has a stonking post that demonstrates the power of substance over spin – while underlining how far the media’s standards have fallen as it publishes assertions in letters columns that are demonstrably false; written by people posing as ordinary members of the public but who are in fact part of environmental organisations.

The letter (below, scroll down on this page), sent in by one ‘Roger Plenty’ from Gloucestershire, takes issue with Christopher Booker’s column last week:

North is having none of it, and rightly so, as the historical evidence-backed facts about the use of the North East Passage roundly pull to pieces Roger Plenty’s fanciful fiction.  North’s post is a triumph of substance over eco spin.

But perhaps there is more to this story.  It seems Plenty’s flight of fancy on the Telegraph’s letters page can be attributed to misleading ‘news’ reporting by the Telegraph itself.  Booker’s inconvenient truths have got under Roger Plenty’s skin before because this isn’t the first time Plenty has been motivated to send a letter to the Telegraph in response to Booker on the subject of Arctic Ice.  In September 2007, Plenty contributed this letter (below, scroll down on this page) citing a source for his inaccurate claim:

So it is not just sloppy fact checking by the letters editor, the Telegraph’s news editor let misleading information through into publication.  Small wonder the eco activist Roger Plenty felt on safe ground to make his assertion four years on.  Granted he is referring to the North West Passage back then and the North East Passage today, but there is a reason they are both known as ‘passages’ – namely that shipping could transit through them, which is a matter of record.

What this shows is that the media has a lot to answer for, publishing information without context, or omitting key facts, that falls apart under scrutiny of the evidence.  To his credit, North was making this point in respect of the Telegraph back in 2008.  But it is time we found out whether it is mere sloppiness or if the Failygraph is deliberately complicit in furthering the spread of misinformation?

Regardless, Roger Plenty and his ludicrous claims have been completely discredited, which is an important part of ensuring more people get the facts and are reminded not to believe everything they read in the press.

A message for licence fee payers from the BBC

Yes, we take £145.50 from each household with a TV set unless they qualify for concessions. Yes, we have official guidance that says “Audiences should never be deceived or misled by what they see or hear.”  Sure, we stage manage things and make them look as if they were caught by chance and we don’t tell viewers during the programme.  But we do say on our internet pages how footage has been captured.  What’s the problem?  You just need to go and hunt for it on the web.  It’s not like we’re deceving anyone, for crying out loud.  What do you mean you haven’t got an internet connection so you can’t find out whether we’ve been up to our smoke and mirrors games of routine fakery again?  Do you live in a cave or something?  Next you’ll be saying you don’t even read the Guardian.  Well, if you want to find out if we’ve faked footage, go to your local library and use the internet there.  Philistine.  The BBC, thanks to the unique way we are funded, it’s what we do.

The Guardian’s decline continues

The fall of the Rusbridger Empire draws closer, as evidenced by the news that the insipid Guardian is to scrap its film and music supplement and reduce its sport supplement to just two days per week, while also reducing the number of pages in the paper itself.

The Barclay Brother Beano also reports that with the Guardian making losses of over £40 million per annum, an attempt to coax a number of its hacks into voluntary redundancy has failed and compulsory job losses are now on the way. Small wonder the Guardian Media Group (GMG) uses hedge funds to make money while railing against them in print, and employs tax avoidance measures in its own interest while lambasting others for doing the same.

Last week the Audit Bureau of Circulations figures for national newspapers for November was reported in the Press Gazette. It shows that newspapers continue their decline as readers turn away from them in increasing numbers.

The average drop in year on year average circulation figures across the dailies was 10.7% although the Independent’s huge drop is largely offset by transferring bulk circulation to its ‘i’ paper.  When that is taken into consideration one can see the biggest loser in the circulation war is the Guardian.  It comes as little surprise that GMG has even considered scrapping the print version of the paper and going exclusively online.

If public sector job advertising was taken away from the Guardian and moved to a dedicated online facility the taxpayer would not only save money, Rusbridger’s beast would cease to be fed.  Then even its online future would be in doubt.  We can but hope, but we will not hold our breath.

While we are on the subject, again it is worth reminding ourselves of the disproportionate influence the Guardian wields at the BBC.  Day in, day out, when a BBC programme wants media analysis or opinion on any given topic it turns to the hacks from Rusbridger Towers to hold forth from their left leaning, internationalist standpoint more than from any other outlet.  This despite the Guardian having a circulation smaller that the Daily Star and even the Daily Record.

The greater the number of readers turning away from the Guardian, the greater the number of BBC appearances as talking heads.  The incestuous links spawned from shared ideology are there for all to see.

David Leigh: Comment is Free but you can’t comment on what I say

One must possess a particular kind of arrogance to use the Comment is Free section of a newspaper, of which he is the investigations executive editor, to deliver one of his trademark hatchet jobs of an op-ed… but to then shield himself from any reply or challenge from commenters by hiding behind the excuse:

• For legal reasons this article will not be open to comments

David Leigh is not only a pathological liar, he is a coward too.  For how much longer will he cower behind Alan Rusbridger’s apron strings and perform escape and evasion tactics of which an SAS trooper would be proud?

There is no depth the Guardian’s ideologues will not plumb in pursuit of their politicised agenda.  It’s nice to see more and more people seeing that bile filled rag for what it really is.

Associated Thought Control

When it comes to spinning the party line on the Climategate issue, the Associated Press can be relied upon by the warmists to shoehorn an entirely misleading assertion into its story.  Perhaps they should be called Associated Thought Control?

Both the Washington Post and CBC of Canada publish an identical report, spat out from AP about the Met Police and Norfolk Constabulary raid on Tallbloke and seizure of his computer equipment.

There is so much wrong about this police action that any journalist worth their highly remunerated salt could fill column feet with analysis of the legal basis for the raid, how they obtained a warrant to confiscate equipment of someone they admit is not suspected of any wrongdoing, and what on earth the police think they are going to achieve by it.

But we are talking about AP here, so of course the story has to reiterate the completely unproven allegation that the emails were stolen.  And of course AP goes out of its way to to tell the audience the scientists did nothing wrong, using a one line paragraph deliberately designed to stand out and hammer home what they want people to accept as fact despite the inquiries not looking for any evidence of wrongdoing.  Paragraphs such as that below are nothing less than naked propaganda:

Several inquiries have since refuted the charges.

Despite the massed ranks of government departments, NGOs, environmental activist groups, corporate giants and sycophantic media all lining up to parrot the warmist creed, people are still refusing to accept the narrative/  As bloggers continue to publish scientific findings that the likes of Mann, Jones, Trenberth and Briffa strive furiously to keep out of the public arena, the public becomes increasingly sceptical of the official line.

The result is the agents of the state being deployed against those bloggers who continue to share inconvenient information.

When it comes to keeping the taxpayer funded money train on the rails it seems the warmists are getting increasingly desperate.  The bloggers have got them on the run and now the warmists are trying scare tactics.

UK based Climategate 2 blogger has computers seized in police search

Question: Why have six police officers from the Metropolitan Police and Norfolk Constabulary searched a property and seized the computers and DSL router of a blogger for reporting the leak of the Climategate 2 emails, in order to clone his hard drives and inspect them, if he is not a suspect?

Details on Watts Up With That? / Jo Nova / Climate Audit

Welcome to the United Kingdom in 2011.

After its false allegations about Milly Dowler voicemails, what other falsehoods has the Guardian published?

You won’t find this update, about the Guardian’s allegations about Milly Dowler’s voicemails being deleted by people working for the News of the World, on the BBC News website.  The BBC, as the broadcast arm of the Guardian, has an editorial culture of omitting stories that paint the Guardian in a negative light and thus will act as if the story does not exist.

So rather than rely on the world’s largest news gathering organisation, with the unique way it is funded, we cross the globe to Australia’s Telegraph to learn that:

T Mobile, the company that bought the One-2-One network that Milly’s Nokia phone was registered to, yesterday confirmed that any voicemail messages left on her phone would have been automatically deleted after 72 hours whether they were listened to or not.

The Guardian, for all its lofty and self regarding cant about high standard and media ethics, went to print with allegations that were at best single sourced.  Its award winning investigations team, being fed information from police insiders, either made no effort to check if there was a technical reason for the voicemail deletions, or did check but omitted it from the story despite knowing their claims could be untrue.  This is not just shoddy, it is downright irresponsible.

But why did it happen?

Sitting in his comfortable ivory tower, the Guardian’s editor, Alan Rusbridger, saw within the story Nick Davies had drafted the vehicle with which he could escalate his petty, vindictive and politically motivated assault on Rupert Murdoch and News International.  The phone hacking story had been relentlessly pursued – not out of journalistic desire to expose unacceptable behaviour but to service an agenda to ruin Murdoch.  A nakedly political agenda of the centre left, big government, authoritarian establishment, dressed up as exposing abuse by a ‘power elite’:

Via a single campaign the Guardian could undermine Murdoch‘s desire to regain control of BSkyB – thus preserving the BBC’s monopoly of news broadcasting in the UK with its centre left editorial slant.  Sure, many people would be appalled at the behaviour of the News of the World, but it would take something more emotive to provoke the kind of outrage that could result in serious and permanent damage.

The news that people working for the News of the World hacked the voicemails of a missing schoolgirl would be bad enough.  But the claim that NotW journalists or investigators deleted voicemails to make room for more emotional messages they could eavesdrop was the dynamite to hole the NotW below the waterline.  No matter what other evidence there was of NotW voicemail hacking, it was that claim that was intended to play to the famously sentimental British public and spark a kneejerk backlash that would benefit the Guardian.

Don’t be surprised.  The Guardian is well versed in underhand methods to suit its own agenda and interests.  It is already trying to wriggle out of its responsibility for repeatedly reporting so vehemently its claim about the deletion of voicemails.  Years ago the Guardian ran a vicious and hypocritical campaign to undermine the then owners of the Observer, Lonrho, its proprietor, Tiny Rowland and a number of Observer journalists so it could seize control of the Observer as a ready made Sunday stablemate.  Shamelessly using and manipulating the Dowler family and their lawyer, Mark Lewis, the Guardian machine swung into action – this time against the NotW – again to suit its own self serving interests.  This time Rusbridger and Co have been caught red handed and did what they could to bury the correction to their frequently used claim about voicemail deletions.

I’ve sometimes felt like I was wasting my time over the months trying to get people to see and understand the Guardian’s agenda, methods, and the dishonesty and hypocrisy of some of its prominent journalists.  Most people wanted to focus on other things that seemed more interesting.  But now it seems a lot of those who ignored the story being set out on this blog (including other newspapers and media), because the Guardian supposedly has prestige and this is, well, just a blog, are starting to see the Guardian for what it  is.  The number of hits in recent days shows this story is starting to pique people’s interest.

Where now from here?  This is almost certainly not the first time the Guardian has acted this way.  This is just the tip of the iceberg.  So, the question people must now ask themselves is what other falsehoods has the Guardian retailed to an unwitting public in support of a self serving agenda?  It is time to look at the Guardian’s editorial history with fresh eyes.

Civil Ceremonies – the latest Council cash cow

Regular readers will be familiar with this blog’s occasional focus on local authorities that take advantage of their largely unscrutinised position to fleece residents with unjustifiable charges and fees, on top of Council Tax.

One such reader, Alan Douglas, got in touch to share his story of how councils have seized upon Civil Ceremonies as the latest method of prising money from our pockets.

As Alan explains, by law each Registration District has to offer Civil Ceremonies at a cost of around £43.50. Councils fulfill this obligation, but in such a grudging manner no one in their right mind would accept the package on offer.  For example, Kent offers these £43.50 ceremonies two days a week, at about 10.00 and 10.30am, and the ceremony is held literally in an ordinary office.  Hardly the kind of memory a couple would want for their venue for such an important moment in their lives.

When Alan personally enquired about a Civil Ceremony at Royal Tunbridge Wells, he was told it could be performed at the council’s suite Monday to Thursday – but at a cost of £505, with weekend ceremonies being charged at up to £675.  The Council Officer dealing with Alan’s enquiry said that these ceremonies were the cheapest they did.  There was no mention of the £43.50 ‘waste transfer station’ version that has to be provided by law.  Another enquiry, this time to Crowborough in Sussex, saw a Civil Ceremony provided – for £75.00 – still with no mention of the basic version that has to be offered.

Alan did some more digging, phoning a number of local authorities to enquire about Civil Ceremonies in their boroughs.  It won’t come as a raging shock to learn that while all councils are meeting the letter of the law with the basic ceremony, many focus all their attention on flogging their up-market alternatives without giving the full facts to those making enquiries.

Most of the basic ceremonies are performed in dedicated rooms of various sizes and standard of decor.  But the investigation shows many local authorities are now “decommissioning” their rooms, only to redecorate and renamed them in order to charge higher fees.  Not only that, many councils are actively putting couples off from choosing a basic Civil Ceremony by providing so few “basic” slots that they don’t even come close to covering the demand.  In their impatience to join a long waiting list, couples are being kettled into paying much higher fees in order to solemnise their relationship.  Going back to Kent, there is only one office providing basic ceremonies for the whole county and it is providing only four ceremony slots per week.

In surprisingly candid admissions, two authorities contacted by Alan confirmed they would not tell an enquirer about the basic charge wedding, preferring to push their much more profitable alternatives.

This all leads to a simple question.  Do these councils exist to serve the local community, or does the local community exist to serve the interests of the council?  Draw your own conclusions.

     With thanks to Alan Douglas.

And David Leigh still tries to con the public

My, even ‘Johnny on the spot’ Guido Fawkes has caught up with the changing story about the Milly Dowler phone hacking story.

The Guardian’s David Leigh, not for the first time in his career, is under pressure about his part in the ‘nothing to do with us’ piece in Saturday’s Graun.  This is what the self regarding snake had to say on Twitter in response to disquiet at this reversal of narrative, which of course formed the central plank in the assault on the News of the World…

Good journalism?

Let’s see.  Curiously, the story Leigh co-authored at the weekend maintained the NotW probably did delete Milly Dowler’s voicemails.  However, even more curiously, Leigh’s ‘good journalism’ failed to mention anything about the fact the police had accessed Milly’s voicemail inbox as part of their investigation – before the NotW even had her number – and may have been responsible for deleting all her messages.

Perhaps a sign of good journalism at the Guardian is telling people half the story in order to perpetuate, by innuendo, the myth that they retailed repeatedly over months as part of their effort to bring down the Murdochs.

Guardian duo cover backs on Milly Dowler hacking story

In the reader comments on our previous post about the incestuous relationship between the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, his close friend and mentor and Guardian contributor, Geoffrey Robertson, and the Guardian’s David Leigh, ‘DB’ brings our attention to a story in today’s Guardian concerning the Milly Dowler phone hacking story.

It is accepted that messages left on the mobile phone voicemail belonging to Milly Dowler were listened to by private investigators or journalists working for the News of the World.

However the claim that sparked more anger and revulsion than any other in the whole phone hacking saga, and which swept around the world in news reports, was that News of the World reporters deleted some of Milly Dowler’s voicemails after listening to them in order to free up space for more messages to be left by her distraught family and friends, so they could listen in to those as well.

Milly Dowler’s mother has been widely reported explaining how messages being deleted from Milly’s voicemail gave her family hope that Milly was alive and listening to them.  No one could have been failed to be moved by such emotive comments, and feel contempt for those NotW staff who were responsible for those actions.

Only, it has now emerged that police have concluded that the NotW were not responsible for the particular deletion which caused her family to have false hope that she was alive.

This has forced the Guardian to race into print with what ‘DB’ rightly describes as a nothing-to-do-with-us article by Nick Davies and David Leigh.  Before revealing in the article that…

Evidence retrieved from Surrey police logs shows that this “false hope” moment occurred on the evening of Sunday 24 March 2002. It is not clear what caused this deletion. Phone company logs show that Milly last accessed her voicemail on Wednesday 20 March, so the deletion on Sunday cannot have been the knock-on effect of Milly listening to her messages. Furthermore, the deletion removed every single message from her phone. But police believe it cannot have been caused by the News of the World, which had not yet instructed private detective Glenn Mulcaire to hack Milly’s phone. Police are continuing to try to solve the mystery.

… Davies and Leigh try to maintain the ‘NotW did it’ meme in the third paragraph, which reads:

It is understood that while News of the World reporters probably were responsible for deleting some of the missing girl’s messages, police have concluded that they were not responsible for the particular deletion which caused her family to have false hope that she was alive.

It is a spiteful and desperate effort to cling to the most damaging claim despite the reality that, as things stand, there is absolutely no evidence for this claim.

It is possible that NotW journalists inadvertently caused the deletion of messages as evidence has now revealed that Milly’s phone would automatically delete messages 72 hours after being listened to.  But nothing revealed by the sources shows that the original police claim that journalists had deliberately deleted some messages because Milly’s voicemail box had filled up, and they wanted to be able to listen to more.

Now all we have is the Guardian’s slopey shouldered duo of Davies and Leigh retailing speculation in the absence of evidence. These chuckle brothers are cyncially using the Dowler family lawyer as cover for their face saving actions, as shown by the inclusion of this in their article:

The Dowlers’ lawyer, Mark Lewis, said last night that although Mulcaire had not been instructed by email at the time of Sally Dowler’s “false hope” moment, it remained possible that the voicemails had been deleted by a News of the World journalist, or that Mulcaire had been instructed earlier by phone.

‘Probably…’ ‘possibly…’ it’s all a far cry from the certainty with which Davies leaped upon what now amounts to ill informed claims by police who seem to have kept the latest revelations under wraps for some time. Even now they cannot let the facts get in the way of their narrative.

So what are we left with? The Guardian’s bestselling author of Flat Earth News, a book about falsehood and distortion in the media, engaged in maintaining a smear against rival journalists despite the lack of any evidence – aided and abetted by the Guardian’s investigations executive editor, a self confessed phone hacker and ‘blagger’ of information who without any sense of shame or irony puts his name to this piece which includes a tut-tut reference to a NotW journalist blagging confidential phone records.

No doubt they will be expecting another media industry award from their fellow dissembling hacks.

Director of Public Prosecutions perverting the course of justice?

Is it possible that the Guardian frames the law in this country?  Many people would rightly laugh at such a question.

But it appears, from the weight of circumstantial evidence that exists, that the Guardian’s journalists are capable – or at the very least have an expectation – of using their close relationships with people in the highest echelons of the legal establishment to subvert the course of justice for their own ends.

A case in point is kindly provided by the Guardian’s David Leigh, who with typical arrogance, argued before the Leveson Inquiry that the law regarding ‘phone hacking’ should not apply to him for his admitted instance of criminal activity because he believes it was in the public interest. The look on his face as he spoke suggested a confidence that other people opening admitting a crime in public just do not have. As the Daily Mail reported, Leigh argued:

I like to think that if the incident I have described came to the attentions of the DPP [Director of Public Prosecutions], and I was asked about it, the DPP would conclude that there was no public interest in seeking to prosecute me or another person for doing something like that. That is a backstop that the law has to stop it making an ass of itself.

Ordinarily this would seem a quite staggering assertion to make. Particularly as there is no public interest immunity from prosecution for that criminal offence.  But Leigh’s circumstances are anything but ordinary. Leigh appears to feel in a strong enough position to effectively challenge the DPP to prosecute him. And that is because of his close ties to the man this blog has previously identified as the Guardian’s Angel, the DPP himself, Keir Starmer.

Unlike the vast majority of the population, there is more than a hint that Leigh enjoys protection and preferential treatment reserved for good friends and colleagues who inhabit the same ideological, activist plane on the distant left of the political spectrum.

In our Guardian’s Angel post we showed how Keir Starmer’s career had been nurtured by his close friend and mentor, the activist left wing lawyer Geoffrey Robertson.  We reminded readers of Robertson’s direct involvement as contributor to the Guardian and its legal counsel in court actions.  We also established the clear conflict of interest Starmer has personally as a former contributor to the Guardian and also its legal counsel in court actions.  What we did not show was the professional links between Robertson/Starmer axis and Leigh.

Many people do not realise that David Leigh (then at the Observer) actually worked as an aide to Geoffrey Robertson during the Neil Hamilton sleaze action.  This was explained in Leigh’s co-authored book ‘Sleaze’ shown in extract below:

Then of course there Robertson’s fawning adoration of Leigh in his book ‘The Justice Game’ shown in extract below:

Taken in the round it can be of little surprise that this very cosy network of friends and allies working in a mutally supportive manner to further their aims.

Interestingly, in media reports from the Leveson Inquiry, there was no mention of Leigh’s involvement in other criminal activities concerning the infamous Benji ‘the binman’ Pell, which show the same contempt for the law exhibited in his phone hacking and ‘blagging’ behaviour.

The focus now turns once again to Director of Public Prosecutions Starmer.  Arrests are being made as journalists suspected of being involved in the commissioning of phone hacking are pursued by the Met Police’s Operation Weeting investigation team.  Here, in the shape of David Leigh, the Weeting investigation has a journalist who has openly admitted personally hacking the messages on a mobile phone.  It’s an open and shut case.

So where is the arrest and where is the Crown Prosecution Service action?  As the police and CPS are aware there is no public interest defence for the action Leigh has confessed to.  So what is holding them back?

Could it be that with these evident conflicts of interest and biases, Leigh’s former colleague and ideological soulmate who currently occupies the office with DPP on the door, has got Leigh’s back?  Could it be that to protect a former colleague and ally Keir Starmer is perverting the course of justice?

David Leigh evidence at the Leveson Inquiry

Later today we will be taking  a careful look at this story, after the Guardian’s self confessed phone hacker incriminated himself once again, this time before Lord Justice Leveson.  Posting this evening…

Our lazy press and its appeals to authority

Scenario.  You’re a highly paid journalist working for what is considered by many as a heavyweight broadsheet with an international reputation.

The world economy is convulsing and an entire currency is sliding towards collapse, barely being held together by political interventions and actions that increasingly bind nations using that currency into fiscal and political union.

You secure an interview with one of the chief architects of that currency to talk about how this currency crisis came to be and whether he got it the design wrong.  It is time to prepare.

Do you:

a) Revise by looking back in detail as far as the interviewee’s report in the 1990s which formed the plan for the currency

b) Go back to the origins of the bigger project of which the single currency was merely a milestone, and the method of implementing change without stirring the people into revolt

c) Rock up to the interview with pad and tape recorder, ask if he got it wrong and accept whatever answer he gives as truthful fact and report it accordingly

If you answered ‘c’ then the Barclay Brothers might be interested in hiring you to work on their comic. It would explain the uncritical acceptance of the comments made by Jacques Delors in this piece by very grand Charles Moore (whose bio states he covers politics with wisdom and insight!), which is notable for the lack of any challenge of the points Delors makes.

There is a reason this blog describes the Telegraph as the Barclay Brother Beano, and Richard North’s tour de force on EU Referendum brings it into sharp relief.

While Moore faithfully relays the answers Delors provided to his lightweight questions – demonstrating a classic appeal to authority and lack of journalistic rigour – North does the job Moore should have done and gets into the history, the detail and the methodology to put into proper context what is happening now and why.

It puts a very different hue on Delors’ deceptive attempt to rewrite history and keep the masses in ignorance of the nature of the beast he loves and cherishes.

Update:  The BBC News is leading with the Delors interview furthering the ‘faulty execution’ line.  This is the derivative, unthinking media at its worst.

But what really stands out is how UKIP’s Nigel Farage has jumped into the story – spectacularly missing the point of the strategy behind the plan – to use Delors’ interview comments as evidence that the Euro was always destined to fail.  When Farage blows it this badly it vindicates my decision not to support his party.

How to stoke the fire of an economic crisis

Lesson 1: Call yourself Andrew Verity.

Lesson 2: Get a job as financial journalist on BBC Radio Five Live.

Lesson 3: Join in an interview with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury live on air.

Lesson 4: Ask said politician if they have heard talk/rumour that a European Bank is bust.

Lesson 5: When said lightweight politician avoids giving a straight answer, ask the question a couple more times.

Lesson 6: Leave studio and connect to the internet.

Lesson 7: See how long it takes for the rumour to gain traction and spread around Twitter and the Blogs.

Congratulations!

You have now successfully given a low key rumour of unknown origin a huge shot of steroids and prepared the ground for world’s biggest ‘news’ organisation to fill a news cycle with more speculation; promoting fear that the banking sector of an entire economic area, is on the verge of collapse.


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