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Media 96: Corbyn slurs, “a farrago of falsehood and insinuation” – principled Conservative trounces author, journalists and publisher
Richard House draws attention to an article by Peter Oborne reviewing a book, surprisingly. published by William Collins, a respectable publishing house. Oborne writes about this ‘ugly hatchet job’:
“Dangerous Hero: Corbyn’s Ruthless Plot For Power, contains numerous falsehoods. It systematically omits relevant facts in order to portray Corbyn as a ruthless Marxist and anti-semite hell-bent on destroying Western liberal values”.
“The ugly truth is that Bower is not straight with his readers, let alone Corbyn. Again and again he withholds relevant information, with the result that the Labour leader and his colleagues come over in the worst possible light.” He adds:
“British journalists need to ask themselves a question. Is there something rotten in British media discourse which allows someone like Bower to get away with this?”
“Bower has made an astonishing number of factual errors – more than I have ever come across in a book from a mainstream publisher. While something has clearly gone horribly wrong with the editing process at William Collins, Bower is the author and must take full responsibility.
“This consistent inaccuracy is made worse by the fact that there are no references nor citations. Quotes are frequently provided without naming the source. Bower says that he does not provide references because he does not want to compromise those who have given him information. He also cites “legal reasons”, though he tantalisingly does not explain what they are.
“Time after time, Bower makes assertions that are not backed by any evidence. The problem is so bad that I resolved to carry out my own investigation into the truth of some of the assertions made in Bower’s book. This article is the result of my research. Again and again, I have been able to prove that his account of events is false, misleading and, in some cases, pure fabrication.”
After giving at least twenty examples of Bowers’ falsehoods and fabricated or misleading charges, Oborne asks:
“Are British journalists allowing hostility to Corbyn to get in the way of telling the truth? Has there been a balanced discussion of the anti-semitism claims against Corbyn’s Labour? The warm reception for Tom Bower’s ugly hatchet job on the leader of the opposition suggests that something has gone badly wrong with British public life.
“We need to pause and reflect”.
Peter Oborne won best commentary/blogging in 2017 and was named freelancer of the year in 2016 at the Online Media Awards for articles he wrote for Middle East Eye. He also was British Press Awards Columnist of the Year 2013. He resigned as chief political columnist of the Daily Telegraph in 2015. His books include The Triumph of the Political Class, The Rise of Political Lying, and Why the West is Wrong about Nuclear Iran.
Ed: then put the whole sad game in perspective by reading some social media reactions and Martin Odoni’s added revelations – from: http://guerillawire.org/politics/a-few-more-dangerous-hero-revelations/ – but this link does not work now though accessed recently, see:
Odoni graphics include:
If the economy ‘tanks’ post-Brexit, will shopping mall and carpark revenues be enough to compensate for government cuts?
“Years of chronic underfunding have left local government ‘on life support’ “
123 of England’s 353 councils sent information to the 2019 State of Local Government Finance survey, conducted by the Local Government Information Unit and Municipal Journal. Chris Tighe (possible paywall) reports that Jonathan Carr-West, chief executive of the LGIU, has warned of a future in which care for the elderly and for vulnerable children could be funded from shopping centre investments and car parks – “a significant risk if the economy ‘tanks’ “.
Survey findings include:
- More than half of English councils will eat into their reserves.
- Four out of five are investing in commercial developments to supplement their revenue this year to compensate for central government funding cuts.
- Nearly half of the local authorities are planning to cut services.
- Most will raise council tax this year and increase charges to stay afloat.
- A quarter said planned cuts to services in the coming year would be noticed by the public.
- 10 local authorities said they were concerned they would be unable to deliver the legal minimum service for residents.
- Last year, Northamptonshire county council was given special permission to sell its head office and rent it back after running out of money.
- Several other authorities have warned they are close to collapse.
- 8 in 10 senior council decision makers believed the current system for council funding was unsustainable.
- 82% were considering commercialising council services to raise extra money
- and 57% wanted to sell council assets.
- Children’s services and education were the top immediate financial pressures, for the second year running.
- Adult social care is still under severe strain
Four out of five English councils are investing in commercial developments to supplement their revenue this year to compensate for central government funding cuts.
The government’s annual funding settlement for local authorities, outlined in December, assumed that every council in England would implement the maximum 4.99% council tax increase, including 2% ringfenced for adult social care, in 2019-20. Analysts say that would add around £80 to the annual average bill for a Band D, mid-market, home — currently £1,671. An additional £24 can be added to the charge to fund the local police force.
But the Local Government Association said the tax rise would not be enough to prevent service and job cuts after eight years of austerity. It said councils would have lost almost 60% of their central government funding between 2010 and 2020 and face an overall funding gap of £3.2bn in 2019/20.
Jonathan Carr-West warned: “In the future, care for the elderly and vulnerable children could be funded from shopping centre investments and car parks, which carries significant risk if the economy tanks.” This year’s government spending review would, the survey warned, be “make or break” for vital local services.
Farmers For Action’s NI Steering Committee claims that the time has come for a referendum on our future relationship with the EU.
William Taylor FFA NI co-ordinator states that “UK political failure is now causing hardship and stress for many businesses and people across the UK, Ireland and across the channel.
FFA understands that the EU will possibly only extend the Article 50 deadline of 29th March if it is combined with a UK referendum.
This time FFA claims there should be two questions only –
1) Do you wish to remain in the EU with present and future UK Governments tied to pushing for reform of it? and
2) Do you wish to leave the EU and remain only in the single market, customs union and EU security zone with no seat at the EU table?
The much-hyped third option of completely severing ties with the EU cannot be an option. Two years plus of debate has failed to validate this route
- It would clearly devastate not only the farming and food industry alike as well as thousands of other businesses.
- It would make life difficult for many UK citizens who have European family and friends.
- It would increase costs for those who wish to remain and those who wish to leave with no ties.
The leavers need to consider what make of tractor, what make of car they drive and what make of household appliances they use as those goods would rise in price substantially and particularly the spare parts – to give but one example.
Lastly, we must never forget why close ties with mainland Europe were forged after the Second World War and respect the wishes of those who fought for freedom – a hard won freedom. A complete severance from the EU, automatically re-erecting borders and strife yet again, would make no sense.
Any borders that could be created as a result of Brexit would denote complete political failure, and the politicians responsible should never again receive votes for achieving such a disaster.
Time to vote for commonsense and progress!
Farmers For Action
56 Cashel Road, Macosquin, Coleraine, N Ireland, BT51 4NU
Tel. 07909744624 Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
PRESS RELEASE: 21st January 2019
. . . which are not delayed, cancelled or prematurely terminated
Rail union leaders, politicians and passengers are demonstrating today outside stations including London King’s Cross, Cardiff, Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol, Leeds, Norwich and Birmingham as rail fares for the country’s unreliable rail service increase. It is reported that rail fares will increase by an average of 3.1% today, despite punctuality falling to a 13-year low.
The Labour Party is calling for prices to be frozen on the worst-performing routes
Widely quoted Labour research findings are that fares have risen nearly three times faster than wages. Examples of changes to annual season ticket prices include:
:: Brighton → London increasing £148 to £4,844
:: Gloucester → Birmingham increasing £130 to £4,238
:: Manchester → Liverpool increasing £100 to £3,252
Analysis by the Press Association – source not given – has shown that one in seven trains was delayed by at least five minutes in 2018 – the worst performance since September 2005. As Wolmar wrote in August, “Barely a day goes by without another nightmare rail tale . . .” – many relating to scheduled services cancelled by Northern Rail because of disruptions to the ‘new’ timetable introduced in May.
New Year cheer: new carriages and wifi – but no reference to reliability & affordability,
On Radio 4’s Today programme, transport minister Chris Grayling cheerfully promised passengers new trains with more seats, improved accessibility, mobile phone charging points, wifi and air conditioning. The Rail Delivery Group is calling this the “biggest introduction of new trains in decades”. Between now and 2021, 7,000 new vehicles will be introduced by train companies.
Critics of nationalisation should be reminded that Britain’s railways are already state owned
- Germany’s Deutsche Bahn owns Arriva, operates Chiltern, Cross Country, Wales & Borders, London Overground and Grand Central.
- Italy’s Trenitalianow runs Essex Thameside
- French state firm SNCF owns Keolis, which runs numerous franchises in joint ventures. As part of Govia, with Go-Ahead, it operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern, Southeastern and London Midland; with Amey it runs the Docklands Light Railway.
- Dutch state rail owns Abellio, wruns ScotRail and Greater Anglia, and Merseyrail.
- China Hong Kong state owns MTR, which holds the South West Trains franchise with First. MTR will also run Crossrail.
- Eurostar is owned by France’s SCNF.
- Heathrow Express is owned by Spain’s Ferrovial, with some investment from ADI Finance 2 Ltd – directors from Spain, Qatar, USA & UK.k
And even right-wing newspapers who had supported the privatisation of rail now regularly report the dramatic failures of the current system.
There have been twelve general articles about whistleblowing on this site, focussing on brave individuals who suffered for revealing unwelcome truths, including Paul Moore (former HBOS banker), Dr Raj Mattu, Julian Assange, Ian Foxley, Peter Gardiner, Bradley Manning, Osita Mba, Jerry Bryzan and the Glaxo 4.
Earlier in the century, before the site was set up, there were health sector whistleblowers; Marta Andreasen & Paul van Buitenen also revealed shocking cases of EU financial mismanagement and suffered for it.
In May this year Reuters reported that Saudi Arabia’s King Salman ordered protection for employees who report financial and administrative corruption.
A month earlier the European Commission launched a proposal for a directive to protect whistleblowers. MEP Molly Scott Cato writes:
“Without the patriotism of Shahmir Sanni we couldn’t know that two cabinet ministers are implicated in a breach of the funding rules by the Vote Leave campaign. If it weren’t for the courage of Chris Wylie we’d be ignorant on how data was stolen from Facebook and used to manipulate people’s inner fears in a way that probably turned the Brexit vote. Without the Panama Papers exposing how Nawaz Sharif embezzled public money and gave it to his children to buy posh flats in London, he might still be Prime Minister of Pakistan”.
Green Party MEPS advocate including a requirement to impose the burden of proof on the organisations whose data has been revealed rather than on whistleblowers themselves. It should be for the company or public body to show that the leak or disclosure was not of public importance.
As the UK prepares to leave the EU the issue of protection it will offer those disclosing information in the public interest is being debated. Some argue for a National Office for the whistleblower with statutory powers to oversee all regulatory bodies dealing with cases of whistleblowing and offer protection, advise and support to those blowing the whistle.
Ms Scott Cato ends:
“Whistleblowers are the people’s champions defending all of us from corrupting forces. No wonder the rich and powerful fear whistleblower protection. They also defend democracy by uncovering secrecy and exposing information that has led to a breakdown of trust between democratic representatives and those who vote for them.
“They deserve not just our gratitude but also the strongest possible legal protection available”.
Molly Scott Cato MEP is Green MEP for the South West and a member of the European Parliament’s special committee on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance.
In a recent Birmingham Press article, Beauchampé opens:
“Five friends have told me recently that they have either stopped – or severely curtailed – how much BBC news and current affairs output they digest.
“All were once avid consumers of such content, none could be described as being on the extremes of political thinking, none would claim that the Corporation is guilty of ‘fake’ news, and none have turned instead to social media or become keyboard warriors or internet trolls to get their views across. They are, in their different ways, frustrated at the BBC’s failure to adequately reflect their own political beliefs and the lack of balanced debate on issues that matter to them. And they are irritated at some of the Corporation’s presentational tropes and the cheapening of the discourse that often accompanies it”.
“I never felt this way about our national broadcaster. They have always been my ‘Go To’ media outlet for gaining an understanding and appreciation of world affairs. I’ve used – and contributed to – numerous alternative sources but none to the extent that I have with the BBC. Sure the Corporation wasn’t faultless, it wasn’t always as impartial and independent as I would have wished and it sometimes employed journalists whose reporting and approach to interviewing greatly annoyed me.
“But things have changed, and one issue above all has lead me to question my primary allegiance to the BBC’s news and current affairs output. It is the coverage of the Labour Party and anti-semitism”.
“I have never been a Labour Party member and have no intention of becoming one. But I voted Labour for the first time in thirty years at the 2017 General Election because the social democratic policies they offered resonated with me in a way that the centrist stance of New Labour never did. However, I do not regard Jeremy Corbyn as some Messianic figure (although he is a hugely important part of early 21st century UK political history) and there is no guarantee that I will vote Labour at any future election. But I cannot recall a senior politician so vilified as Jeremy Corbyn, nor one so slandered, slurred and libelled, so smeared, so wilfully misconstrued and lied about, so despised, so… so hated.
“It has been thus since his unexpected rise to prominence in mid-2015, but when it comes to the issue of anti-Semitism then the BBC’s reporting of both Corbyn and the Labour Party has taken things off the scale. The Corporation has been a crucial and extremely willing player in the debate yet in almost every measurable way they have shown immense bias and a failure to investigate and hold to account Corbyn’s critics.
“Since early spring – if not longer – the BBC has given the issue copious coverage, likely dwarfed only by that allocated to Brexit. Phrases such as: ‘It’s a problem that just won’t go away’ and: ‘Why can’t Labour seem to get over this?’ are endlessly and lazily repeated to the backdrop of a lack of understanding of the issue from those asking the questions, or insightful analysis from those answering them.
“Repeatedly the tenure and tone of BBC interviews, the terminology of its reportage, have been heavily slanted against Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters, with air time skewed towards the same coterie of MPs and Jewish community leaders the who consistently rail against the Labour leader and his allies. Corbyn’s opponents habitually receive sympathetic interviews, presenters offering them up free hits devoid of the level of intense scrutiny that those who support the NEC/Corbyn stance are always subjected to.
“Corbyn’s critics are simply never challenged over their refusal to acknowledge the party leadership’s attempts at rapprochement or why their language towards Corbyn is always confrontational. Factual inaccuracies pass unchallenged – or are even introduced by interviewers – and quotes taken out of context and myths are allowed to become cemented as truths. Whilst it is hard to disagree that Corbyn’s handling of the issue has left much to be desired, you don’t have to be a Jeremy Corbyn supporter to be alarmed at this lack of objectivity.
“This is especially important when most UK national newspapers and their online versions are so virulently anti-Labour (and particularly anti-Corbyn) and have long since exempted themselves from much that resembles the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth in their coverage of the story. Yet the BBC slavishly reports both the headlines and editorial stances of these papers, using the ‘expertise’ of their journalists and political commentators on news and current affairs programmes, helping to skew the narrative and fuel the story, arguably beyond the level which it merits.
“Not that anyone should dispute that racism towards the Jewish community has been an issue for the Labour Party, or that it did not increase substantially in the wake of Corbyn’s election as leader. With a membership numbering around 550,000, including many who share Corbyn’s lifelong support for the Palestinian cause, we should not be surprised that some have proved incapable of distinguishing between legitimate criticism of Israel and unacceptable attacks on Jewish communities.
“But the true extent and nature of the problem is harder to judge. When pro-Corbyn Labour activists are given air time (or if one reads their online message boards) there is an overwhelming view that the media grossly exaggerate the scale of the issue, that a range of extensive and effective steps have been taken by the party hierarchy, that self-policing and calling out of racist comments by members are further impacting on the matter. Meanwhile, the numbers facing disciplinary action is comfortably under 300, which maybe helps put the size of the problem into perspective.
“Some (perhaps many) of these cases might prove to involve appalling, indefensible behaviour. But those that have been highlighted, the ones that meet with such untrammelled outrage by Corbyn’s critics both inside and out-with the Labour Party, seem largely to fall somewhere between the use of clumsy language or behaviour (usually hastily retracted and apologised for), or historical actions in support of the Palestinian cause which suddenly now engender seemingly tenuous claims of being anti-semitic.
“The BBC has let us down badly with its coverage of the issue, and it continues to do so even on the day that I write this”.
It is hard to ascertain a true understanding of what is going on, and whether Jeremy Corbyn’s most trenchant critics are motivated by anything other than genuine concern about racism against the Jewish community, when the BBC has failed to delve below the surface or ask basic questions. The Corporation has been keen to treat the issue with great significance. Sadly, it has consistently failed to imbue its coverage with the unerring impartiality and quality of journalism that such a profile deserves and its charter demands.
And if they can’t do that, then who can any of us turn to when all we want is an even-handed and balanced account of such a major news story?
As Birmingham City council managers spend £12million on consultants to tell them how to merge the service with NHS services in 2019/20, they propose to save a mere £2million at the expense of care workers’ working conditions.
Social care, home care, community care, is needed by the young disabled, post-operative patients, and frail elders. Dave Prentis (Unison) reported earlier this year that after seven years of austerity the social care workforce in Birmingham has fallen from 7,000 to just 2,000.
Birmingham City Council has 280 staff working for the ‘enablement service’ which helps vulnerable and elderly people regain their independence at home after a spell in hospital.
They are in dispute with council over new working patterns and are threatened with redundancy unless they conform.
They wanted undertakings that there would be:
- no compulsory redundancies,
- a joint management and union working party to develop the service
- and the withdrawal of a rota proposal that involves triple split shifts, leaving workers effectively on duty from 7am – 10pm, because the two hourly gaps between shift – after travelling – would rarely allow them any useful time at home
Full timers will given a choice of taking reduced hours, taking redundancy or moving to another job within the city council.
Labour council cabinet member for health and social care, Paulette Hamilton, said the service is currently very inefficient – a management responsibility:
- staff spend 40% of their time away from patients,
- and only 20% of clients are independent after receiving the service.
But unions, workers and others fear that the measures proposed will be inhumane and unworkable.
Though the government is responsible for these and so many other cuts to the lowest paid, Birmingham City Council managers appear to be squandering £12 on ‘advice’ from highly paid consultants, whilst saving a mere £2m by imposing poorer conditions on those who do the actual work.
The latest march and strike rally to defend the Homecare service will be held next Saturday 15th September 12 noon in Victoria Square, Birmingham. http://www.birminghamunison.co.uk/news.aspx/New-home-care-strike-and-protest
After a year of disasters (documented in detail here), the reinsurance industry travelled to Monte Carlo for its annual get together (8-14 September).
Hurricane Irma was accompanied last year by Hurricanes Harvey and Maria, along with earthquakes in Mexico and wildfires in California. In all, there was $136bn of insured losses from natural and man-made catastrophes in 2017 according to Swiss Re, the third highest on record.
A report, “Climate Change and the Insurance Industry: Taking Action as Risk Managers and Investors”, was written by Maryam Golnaraghi, Director, Extreme Events and Climate Risk research programme for The Geneva Association, which is described as the industry’s leading thinktank.
It notes that following the adoption of the Paris Agreement, there has been a burst of initiatives and activities across a wide range of stakeholders to support the transition to a low-carbon economy (mitigation side).
Latest developments include:
- growing but highly fragmented and in some cases conflicting climate policy and regulatory frameworks at national to local levels and across regions;
- innovation in clean and green technologies, with some gaining market share;
- rising interest in green financing, with efforts to reduce barriers to green investment on the part of shareholders, asset managers, standard-setting bodies and rating agencies, and growing demand for low-carbon commodities.
As well as building financial resilience to extreme events and other physical risks by providing risk information, improving distribution channels and payout mechanisms, Ms Golnaraghi reports that the insurance industry is supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy through its underwriting business, investment strategies and active reduction of its carbon footprint.
There is no reference to this support in the FT’s report of the insurance industry’s response to escalating disasters, summarised as:
- ‘a wave of merger and acquisition activity’ as insurers and reinsurers reconsider their business models,
- some are ‘bulking up’,
- others have decided to get out.
Reinsurance companies should call for immediate greenhouse gas mitigation efforts, as climate change continues to progress and extreme weather is becoming more frequent and dangerous and heed the Environmental Defense Fund warning that if these are not ramped up, last year’s unprecedented disasters may soon become the norm.