Posts Tagged ‘Rupert Murdoch’

Private Eye Skewers Mogg’s Hypocrisy over BBC Presenters’ High Salaries

May 19, 2023

The Murdoch media has been running attack stories against the BBC for a long time focusing on the very high salaries enjoyed by star presenters like Gary Lineker. They’ve been joined by Tory politicians like Jacob Rees Mogg. This fortnight’s Private Eye for 10th May – 1st June 2023 neatly exposes the hypocrisy of Mogg and his gang by revealing the very handsome salaries and fees they get for presenting and appearing on their rancid, toxic programmes on GB News. The article runs

Jacob Rees-Mogg has previously queried the high salaries paid to BBC stars calling its presenters some of “the most well-off in our society” in a diatribe against the licence fee. Of course Rees-Mogg is himself now enjoying a very healthy media salary since he signed up to present a tedious weeknight evening show on GB News this spring, effectively becoming a part-time politician.

The latest register of MPs’ interest shows the ex-leader of the Commons earned just of £32,000 for 40 hours’ work on the show over just a few weeks. That equates to £802 an hour, and makes the already wealthy financier one of the best-paid MPs in terms of outside earnings.

GB News is a cash cow for Tory politicians. The latest register also shows it paid ex-chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng £1,000 for a single interview. In addition, it shells out a £100,000 salary to the party’s deputy chairman Lee Anderson, as well as recently paying around £10,000 each to married Tory MPs Philip Davies and Esther McVey for their pisspoor co-presented weekend offering.

Meanwhile, parts of GB News continue to be a haven for conspiracy theories. Earlier this month, regulator Ofcom again found it in breach of broadcasting rules for an episode of the Mark Steyn programme last year when guest Naomi Wolf said the Covid-19 vaccine amounted to “mass murder”, comparable to the “doctors in pre-Nazi Germany”. Executives have been told to go for a meeting with the regulator.

Despite the rap on the knuckles, GB News presenters show no sign of changing their crackpot ways. Last weekend Neil Oliver shared an image online of Bill Gates that featured the Microsoft founder holding vaccine vials while wearing symbols including a swastika and an Illuminati pyramid. Lovely!

While the vast salaries to MPs such as Rees-Mogg who aren’t very good at presenting might seem a waste of money, the political connections at least allow the channel to retain a veneer of respectability.’

Erm, not quite. One Labour MP has said that GB News presents two types of views on its programmes, the right and the far right. The head of Ofcom had an uncomfortable appearance before a Commons committee in which she was asked why the channel was allowed to break the rules against politicians presenting news programmes. One of the most notorious of these breaches was when one Tory MP interviewed Boris Johnson.

The channel was also in Private Eye last fortnight or so when it reported that GB News was in such dire financial straits that it was no longer paying guests appearing on their wretched programmes. Presumably the money saved helps to pay the inflated salaries of rich Tory presenters like Mogg. How very Conservative!

Another Attack on Labour Democracy as Starmer Bans Anti-Monarchist Group from Affiliating to Constituency Labour Parties

May 5, 2023

The Guardian posted a piece yesterday reporting that our shambolic, authoritarian leader in the Labour party has purged yet another group. Starmer seems to be trying to steal some of the Tories’ clothes as the leader of a patriotic party. Under Maggie Thatcher, the Tories draped themselves in all the imagery of traditional British patriotism – Union flags, references to Maggie’s hero, Winston Churchill and the Second World War. The 1987 Conservative general election film featured black and white footage of Spitfires zooming around while an excited voice declared ‘It’s great, to be great again’. Except she didn’t make us great. She nearly wrecked the country economically and institutionally while declaring she was. Starmer’s clearly seen how that worked, and wants to do it for the Labour party. Hence photos of him stood with a Union flag parked in a corner somewhere.

Now he’s passed another internal regulation preventing constituency Labour parties from affiliating to the anti-monarchist group, Republic. He justified this by stating that he was a patriot, and that was why he believed in a series of left-wing policies. Well, for now, at least, until he’s told otherwise by Murdoch or his donors. But the same could be said of Republic. Patriotism could be construed as wanting the very best for one’s country. If you adopt that point of view, then Republic are patriots in that they believe the country can be improved by ditching the monarchy.

But who are Republic anyway?

I admit, I’m a royalist, and so I don’t know anything about republican and anti-monarchist movements. The last such organisation I heard about was MAM – the Movement Against the Monarchy, who came and protested the Maundy Thursday service in which the Queen dispensed Maundy money several years ago at Bristol cathedral. I hadn’t even heard of Republic until Starmer acted and the Groan reported the issue. My guess Starmer is afraid that Labour would get embroiled in any controversy that flares up about the planned anti-monarchist demonstrations at the coronation tomorrow if it’s found that these organisations are connected to the Labour party in some way. But it’s still an attack on Labour grassroots democracy.

I realise many people, especially the older generation, strongly object to anti-monarchist demonstrations. This was especially true of the older generation who fought and served in the Second World War. Several of Mum’s older friends had done so, and had the privilege of receiving the Maundy money from Her Maj several decades ago. They were bitterly disgusted by the demonstration by MAM. But democracy says you tolerate opposing viewpoints. You might find Republic deeply offensive, but that shouldn’t deny individual parties the right to affiliate them. That’s their business, not Starmer’s. Although he did justify it by saying it was just putting into action regulations passed two years ago preventing local Labour parties from affiliating to organisations proscribed by the NEC. And boy, is there a list! It includes Jewish Voice for Labour, Sikhs for Labour, pro-Palestinian groups and so on. Any group that gives David Evans a fit of the vapours and causes Thatcherite apparatchiks to clutch their pearls.

There have always been anti-monarchists in the Labour party. When Clement Attlee and the great Labour government of 1948 came to power, the saw themselves in the tradition of a long series of working class radicals like Tom Paine, the author of Common Sense, which argued against the monarchy and aristocracy and supported the American Revolution. Back in the 1980s there was Willie Hamilton, who hated the monarchy as well as much of the British establishment. I remember all the jokes about him. On one of the Saturday morning radio panel shows, the contestants were asked to guess what was happening from a sound clue. You heard a swishing sound, then a scream. The panel’s fun answer was ‘the Queen knighting Willie Hamilton’. I haven’t heard of Republic, I haven’t heard of anyone affiliating to Republic, and I haven’t heard of anyone being put off voting Labour by Republic. I guess some of the radical London councils may have, but they’ve hardly caused a national panic.

This is Starmer trying to turn the Labour party into the Tories Mark 2. It’s more proof that he’s an authoritarian who’s totally unfit to rule. If does this in Labour, what will he do in government?

Donors Abandoning Conservatives as Not Conservative Enough

April 22, 2023

This is another headline I caught from either Mahyar Tousi, Michael Heaver or one of the other hard-right Tory vlogs. I didn’t watch the video, as it seems to me all too credible that some extremely right-wing donors to the Tories may be withdrawing their support. If you look at the comments for many videos put up by the Brexiteer hard right, you find people complaining that the Tories are high-spending ‘Consocialists’ supporting the welfare state, high tax rates and promoting un-Tory policies like diversity and the transgender craze. There is very definitely a feeling among these people that the Tories are not Conservatives, or not conservative enough. Hence they state they’re going to support Reform or one of the right-wing populist parties. You even find the ludicrous claim that somehow Sunak’s Tories are ‘Communists’, as shown by a caller to Julia Hartley-Brewer’s show. The caller confused ‘communism’ with authoritarianism, which shows how little the British public really knows about Marxism and how effective it is as a term of political abuse.

This could pose problems for the Tories, as, like Starmer’s Labour party, they’ve been ignoring their membership in favour of donors for a long time. Ordinary grassroots Tories have complained and the membership of the party has declined., so this could put a financial squeeze on them. I remember Robin Ramsay in old issue of Lobster making the point that such policies had decimated political membership in America. The number of activists in each state was tiny, perhaps as low as two or so, because the parties had ignored ordinary membership recruitment to concentrate on the interests of the donors who set up PACs to fund individual politicians. This was a decade before Corbyn over here and Sanders in America and the explosion of political activism that followed them. The observation is therefore somewhat out of date, but the point remains.

My concern is that Starmer will try to hoover up these right-wing donors for the Labour party, just as Tony Blair did when donors and Tory-supporting businessmen and news magnates, like Murdoch, switched their support from the Conservatives to Labour. Blair was already a Thatcherite infiltrator, but the funding and support of these donors helped him continue Conservative policies, as well as reward the donors and their senior executives with positions in government. As a result, actual political engagement in Britain fell. People felt disenfranchised as it seemed whatever party you voted for, you got the same policies.

I can see this easily coming back with Starmer, accompanied by the alienation and anger this caused when Blair did it.

That Preston Journalist: Talk Tv Losing Money

April 12, 2023

Here’s another piece of interesting news from former Tory councillor That Preston Journalist. It seems Talk TV, another right-wing news station, is, like GB News, losing money. They’ve just signed Piers Morgan on a £50 million contract. That Preston Journalists thinks that the contract might be for three years. He also states that the channel is earning less than one month’s of the former Mirror editor’s salary. Which means that it’s revenue is less than £1.5 million. He wonders how long the channel can go on, as its other stars – Julia Hartley-Brewer, Andrew Tice and co – also don’t come cheap. The channel’s owned by Murdoch’s Scum, which has also been losing money for a long time, but Murdoch won’t close it down because ‘it’s his baby’. But it remains to be seen if he’s willing to extend this indulgence to Talk TV.

Okay, there are a few things that need to be said about Murdoch’s relationship with the Scum and its sister paper, The Times. Both of these have been losing money and in the case of The Times, if it was any other paper it would have been wound up long ago. Murdoch is keeping the going, but not out of sentimentality. The Times is Britain’s paper of record, and its cache allows the Dirty Digger to influence elite opinion, including that of senior politicians and the cabinet. One insider remarked that when Blair was in power, Murdoch was an invisible presence at cabinet meetings with the Gurning Liar wondering how various policies and decisions would go down with him. Murdoch has this influence over politicians because of the propaganda value of his papers, including, obviously, the Scum. He thus exerts considerable political influence on the parties, as each one tries to get him and his propaganda network on board, even though his papers are in serious financial trouble and their influence is waning. Murdoch may well decide to keep Talk TV going. But if he does, it’ll be because he considers it a useful propaganda outlet for his own right-wing views and commercial ambitions.

Is Anti-Trans Campaigner Kellie-Jay Keen Going to Stand Against Starmer at the Election?

April 6, 2023

Okay, I keep hearing rumours that the gender-critical, ‘femalist’ women’s rights campaigner Kellie-Jay Keen has turned her organisation, Standing For Women, into a political party, and is preparing to stand against Keir Starmer. She has said before that she doesn’t expect she’ll win, but simply wants to take the opportunity during the leadership and election debates to ask Stalin a few awkward questions that he’ll have to answer. No doubt these will be ‘What is a woman?’ and ‘Do women have cervixes?’, both questions that have had Starmer running away as fast as he could when asked them. The trans issue is an uncomfortable one for Stalin, especially as he’s zigzagged all over that issue – first stating he would back a gender recognition act, then saying it wasn’t an issue he’d pursue, before going back to saying he’d back it again. But there are other, equally important questions the scumbag should be asked, and no evasions or refusals tolerated. Like:

How can we trust anything that comes out of your mouth when every pledge you’ve made has been broken?

How can we trust you with our traditional freedoms when your leadership of the Labour party has been authoritarian in the extreme?

How can potential allies and supporters in parliament and local government trust you, when you’ve been treacherous in your treatment of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour grassroots socialists?

How can we trust you with the NHS after your hero Blair pushed privatisation up a notch or two and you’re bringing in a CEO from a private healthcare company? Blair also modelled his reforms on the American private healthcare company Kaiserpermanente. He thought they were more efficient than the NHS. They weren’t.

Why should the poor, the sick, the disabled and unemployed trust anything you say, after Blair brought in the work capability tests and under Ed Milliband the party showed very tepid opposition to the sanctions regime? Why should genuinely starving people on food banks, and those fearing that they’ll end up on them, trust you and your cronies, after Rachel Reeves said that in power Labour would be even harder on the unemployed than the Tories?

Foreign policy: Blair launched at least one illegal war in the Middle East, the invasion of Iraq. That was nothing to do with democracy, but simply a grab for oil and the country’s state industries. It has reduced a middle eastern country with a reasonably secular government into a hell-hole riven by sectarian violence, one that became another theatre of war when ISIS raised the vile, barbaric heads. Brave, genuinely patriotic men and women were sent to risk life and limb on false pretences so that even rightists like Paz49 is wondering why Bush and Blair aren’t sharing a cell with Putin and the monsters of the former Yugoslavia looking at war crimes charges. Blair’s bombing of Libya in support of the rebels has also done much the same to that country, leaving part of it under the control of Islamist slavers. That’s S-L-A-V-E-R-S, in case your grubby mind can’t grasp how monstrous this situation is. How can we trust you not to start another fake, illegal, bloody war and waste more of our best people and destroy more countries?

Also: the Palestinians really are suffering terrible, racist persecution by the Israeli state. It has been repeatedly condemned by the international community. How are you going to stop this and not make libellous accusations of anti-Semitism against those campaigning against it instead?

Anti-Semitism: How can we trust you to take a genuinely objective, nonpartisan view of anti-Jewish hatred, when your definition of who is a true Jew is whether or not they support Israel? How can ordinary, grassroots Jewish members of the party trust you, when about 4/5 of those you’ve smeared as anti-Semites are self-respecting Jews themselves, as well as gentile supporters and activists against anti-Semitism?

Racism: Ditto. There’s been a rise in Islamophobia in the party, as well as notorious incidents of bigotry and bullying against Black and Asian members and officers. Yet again, all we’ve heard from you is lies: lies that you’re implementing the Forde report, when all the evidence says you’re doing nothing of the kind and are actively blocking people from putting it into practice. Why should people of colour trust you with this issue?

Transgender issues: I’m gender critical, but this is fundamentally about trust. Starmer’s attitude to trans people has changed with the political winds. How can trans people and their allies trust what you say? Are you going to throw them under the bus as well?

Channel Migrants: You seem opposed to their mistreatment and the various harsh policies of Cruella and the Tories, but how long’s that going to last? Your behaviour suggests that you have no policies except what the Tories do, and no real ideological criticism of them. How can we trust you to bring about a fair, human solution to this problem, one that doesn’t involve treating asylum seekers as criminals? Italy’s Far Right Prime Minister, Georgia Meloni has made speeches declaring that to stop the flood of migrants, we should be tackling poverty and exploitation in Africa. She has also demanded that the international community do something to shore up the banks in Tunisia, as the banking crisis there is likely to set off a fresh wave of desperate migrants. She’s an authoritarian, who has impounded migrant vessels. Her party, God help us! – is descended from Mussolini’s Fascists. But she seems to have a far better grasp of solving the problem at its source in Africa’s poverty than you do! And no, I am not recommending anyone vote for the Far Right.

Northern Ireland: At the moment Nationalists and Loyalists are on knife edge. Tensions are rising and there are real fears that the hard men are going to come back and destroy everything decent people have worked for. My local MP, Karin Smyth, respect you because of the work you’re supposed to have put in on the Good Friday Agreement. But so did a lot of other people, including Mo Mowlam, Jerry Adams and Jeremy Corbyn. I’ve come across very dark hints that you were involved in some of the nastier, terroristic tactics carried out by parts of the secret state, and in your actions as Attorney General or head of public prosecutions or whatever, you showed no compunction on cracking down on civil liberties in order to protect the establishment. How, therefore, can we trust you to help solve this problem and protect the North of Ireland’s ordinary people?

Economy: The majority of the people of this grand country want the utilities renationalised. Thanks to privatisation, people can’t afford their energy bills, sewages is being pumped into our rivers and seas by the private water companies and nearly every month or so – I exaggerate, but it feels like that sometimes – a railway company has to be taken back into public management. But all I’ve seen from you is more support for the failing, undead shambling corpse of Thatcherism, a corrupt corporatism you learned from you mentor, Blair, which rewards shoddy service and political donations with government contracts and bloated profits. How can ordinary people trust you with our utilities?

The cost of living: Inflation is rising all the time, and hard-working ordinary people really are wondering how they make ends meet. You’ve suggested some policies like using a windfall tax from the energy companies to put extra investment in some services. But I’ve seen absolute no evidence that you want to do everything necessary to tackle this crisis. That means going all the way to the root. But instead you quail and cower before the press and political establishment, falling over yourself to reassure Murdoch and the rest of the blackguards that you’re a safe pair of hands, won’t upset Thatcher’s raddled, shop-worn legacy. You’re not a tribune of the people, but an establishment puppet, dancing whenever the donors pull your strings.

And we could go on and on, with issues like schools. The academies are another flagship project of Blair, one that he took over from Maggie Thatcher. Except she and Normal Fowler had enough wits about them to know it was failing and were winding the city academies up. Since then, academy chain after academy chain has had to be taken back into public management because they were failing. But I’ve seen no sign from you that you have the backbone to realise this is another failed Thatcherite policy that should be brought to a close. Or indeed, do anything about education except what might look good on the pages of the Scum and Heil.

In short, why should anyone, anyone at all, trust you within a foot of power?

Nearly Half of the British People Are Right: Starmer Has No Vision

April 4, 2023

Looking along the headlines of the papers this morning, I noticed that one of the right-wing rags had put on their front page a story that nearly half of the British public don’t believe that Starmer has a vision. I think they’re right. He doesn’t. Every policy he’s ever supported he’s rejected at a later date. He has said that he intends to reform the NHS, which sort of sounds like he’s going to protect it from privatisation, but this is qualified with talk of using private hospitals and medical care to shift the backlog. And the Blairites’ record on the NHS is of privatisation, not nationalisation. There’s also some talk about using money from a windfall tax on the energy companies to lower energy prices or something, but to me it all sounds very half-hearted and heavily qualified. Unlike Corbyn, there is no grand, inspiring vision that packs out halls and public spaces. His tactic against the Tories seems to have been very much one of simply waiting until they made the mistakes that have now made them massively unpopular.

Which fits the Blairite strategy. Blair took over wholesale Tory attitudes on the welfare state, privatisation and immigration. His policies were partly those discarded by the Tories. They had rejected a report on the reform of the civil service or something by Anderson Consulting. So Blair fished it out of the bin and made it Tory policy. He took over Major’s Private Finance Initiative, and expanded it. In education, he took over Maggie Thatcher’s City Academies scheme, which was actually being wound up because it was a failure, and relaunched it as the new academies. No wonder Thatcher declared that he and New Labour were her greatest achievement.

Instead of any kind of vision, New Labour relied on triangulation, looking at what would go down well with swing voters in key constituencies and then appealing to them. All the while inanely chanting that things could only get better. And instead of drawing on genuine Labour traditions and ideology, Blair instead seems to have taken his ideas from whatever Murdoch wanted at the moment. He’d also have liked to have appealed to the Heil, but they stuck to their guns and remained a Tory rag. Under Blair, people left the Labour party in droves, driven away by the Thatcherism, control freakery and managerialism that replaced spontaneity with heavily stage-managed, scripted performances. Blair and Brown’s attitude seemed to be to see what the Tories were doing, and then announce that if you elected them, they’d do it better.

And I think this is pretty true of Starmer’s regime in the Labour party. He doesn’t have a vision, just a desire to rule and copy the Tories.

A Labour Commentator Likes My Idea of a Worker’s Parliamentary Chamber

March 8, 2023

If there were more people like this, I think Starmer would be worried. A little while ago the Labour party invited their members to send in their suggestions for the policies the party should put forward. I responded with a raft of Old Labour, Corbynite policies – nationalisation of the utilities, renationalisation of the NHS, reformed and strengthened welfare state, strong trade unions and so on. All the good stuff that would have Blair, Mandelson and the rest of their evil clique, not to mention Murdoch, screaming in rage and horror. But I also mentioned that I thought the country needed a special parliamentary chamber, elected by working people for working people, to counteract all the millionaires in parliament. I got an email from the Labour party this morning telling me that somebody had left a comment on it and providing a link to it. This was from a Labour member, ‘Paul’, who liked the idea. He wrote

‘I love the idea of a workers’ chamber.

I’m fed up of being trodden on by former Eton pupils.

As well as no more wars, we should rejoin the EU. Be part of the world again, not just an isolated, xenophobic country run by corrupt racist millionaires.’

Absolutely. I’m glad someone liked my idea. If only there were a few more!

Kernow Damo Destroys Starmer and the Tories with Memes

February 28, 2023

According to the right, the left can’t meme. I beg to differ. Kernow Damo is a left-winger, who, as his name suggests, comes from Cornwall – Kernow in Cornish. Over the past couple of days he’s posted some excellent memes from himself and Agitate4Change. tearing apart Starmer’s lack of any principles and the vacuity of his five ‘missions’, as well as the biological level the Tory party is currently at.

Here’s his meme,taken from Agitate4Change, on Starmer threatening to give his five missions the same treatment he gave the principles he claimed to support when he fought the Labour leadership election:

And here’s his real principles.

This is true. According to some Labour insiders, Murdoch was an invisible presence at every cabinet meeting Blair held. And Gordon Brown, you’ll remember, flew to American to visit the Dirty Digger. Murdoch had supporter the Tories, but threw them overboard and switched to Labour, thus incurring the wrath of the doomed John Major. But it was too late by the time Major finally woke up and realised that giving Murdoch a near monopoly on the press gave him too much power. And Blair was all too willing to cave in to his demands in return for the support of his media empire.

Coarse, but accurate. Over the past forty years there’s been a massive transfer of wealth upwards – the rich have got richer, the poor have got poorer, and the Tories and Thatcherism are solidly responsible for all of it.

GB News In Trouble for Conspiracy Rant by Neil Oliver

February 11, 2023

Novara Media posted a video tonight about GB News’ continuing problems. The channel has managed to annoy some of its audience for the departure of far-right host Mark Steyn. Steyn had been off-air for a little while due suffering two heart attacks. He has refused to come back because of the new contract the station sent him. This included the statement that if he returned, they’d have to keep a defibrillator on hand. This, however, is not a problem, as apparently the station is able to provide one. The problem is that they’ve been trying to shut him up about the subject of the evil Covid vaccine after Naomi Wolf, a noted Covid sceptic, turned up on the programme and made a few choice comments. But this isn’t all. Neil Oliver, one of the archaeologists from Coast, has managed to get them embroiled in a row about anti-Semitism.

Oliver gave a full, bug-eyed conspiracist rant on his programme, entitled ‘Silent Wars’, about how we were having our national sovereignty slowly taken away from us by THEM, who are intent on creating the One World State. Matthew Sweet, a campaigner against anti-Semitism, sent a tweet stating that this was a reference to a document, Secret Weapons for Silent Wars. This piece of literature is very much of the same type as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and similarly popular on the paranoid right-wing fringe. Complaints have been made to Ofcom, and Oliver’s rant was condemned by the all-party parliamentary group against anti-Semitism.

GB News is in trouble, but probably not to the extent that it’ll be taken off the air. However, their presenter Dalia Gebrial stated that the broadcaster wanted to be a British version of Fox News, but forgot that Fox is allowed to get away with its nonsense because America doesn’t have a broadcasting regulatory authority like Ofcom. She also made the point that the broadcaster was created by a couple of very rich men, and so it naturally shows their own irrational concerns and dangerous prejudices.

But, Novara concluded, just in case GB News is taken off the air, we can still look to Talk TV, owned by Murdoch, for quality right-wing journalism. For example, there’s Piers Morgan interviewing the older woman who allegedly took Prince Harry’s virginity. Actually, that at least may have some facts behind it, as opposed to anything Julia Hartley-Brewer has ever said about Brexit or people on benefits.

I have to say, I’d never heard of Secret Weapons for Silent Wars before, so that’s another conspiracist screed spreading hate. As for Oliver, it was evident that he was very right-wing – he gave a talk to the New Culture Forum, for example – but now he’s crossed into conspiracy theorist nuttiness. It’ll be interesting to see what happens about this. It’s just a pity that Talk TV isn’t having similar problems.