Saturday 30 November 2019

No I couldn't spell Pinocchio, but I know when Boris Johnson is a lying

Boris Johnson's father  claim that  that all are illiterate is a one of and the jovial views of an eccentric but lovable toff
It represents a belief among the public School Oxbridge Class that they are somehow better than the rest of us and are destined to rule
In an interview Stanley Johnson responded to criticism of his son by questioning the public's literacy skills.
Presenter Joanna Gosling said: "Another point made in the comments from viewers was somebody calling your son Pinocchio."
The former MEP replied: "That requires a degree of literacy which I think the Great British public doesn't necessarily have."
Seeming surprised the host responded: "What do you mean by that?"
"I am not going to get into that," he replied seemingly trying to row back from his comments.
He was pushed further with Victoria Derbyshire asking: "Well that is quite a pejorative thing to say about the Great British public."
Presenter Joanna Gosling said: "Another point made in the comments from viewers was somebody calling your son Pinocchio."
The former MEP replied: "That requires a degree of literacy which I think the Great British public doesn't necessarily have."
Seeming surprised the host responded: "What do you mean by that?"
"I am not going to get into that," he replied seemingly trying to row back from his comments.
He was pushed further with Victoria Derbyshire asking: "Well that is quite a pejorative thing to say about the Great British public."broadcast shows he thinks we're stupid | Will Hayward
All pretense at diplomacy abandoned, he said: "They couldn't spell Pinocchio if they tried I should have thought."
Gosling responded: "Why would you say that?" with Johnson replying: "Well can you spell Pinocchio?"
Joanna Gosling added: "Whether I can or not I don't think it is something to be critical of."
It is a shinning example of the contept that the likes of Boris Johnson and William Rees-Mogg  have from the rest of us.
A  privileged upbringing and education, which if they hadn't received it would have seen them struggling to get anything like the degree level let alone into an Oxbridge college.
Voting Tory is voting for those who believe that it  was a mistake to extend the franchise to all men and women, but anyway they are still in power and can treat us with contempt.
Oh by the way I would struggle to spell Pinocchio and readers of this Blog will know it is notorious for spelling mistakes  and bloopers.
But tht's the way I am and some people have suggested that I have a form of Dyspraxia.
Sould that bar me from commuting on the issue of the day? I think not 

Friday 29 November 2019

Johnson avoids scrutiny and then complains when it's highlighted.

Last night's General election 2019: Row over Boris Johnson debate 'empty chair' gave many voters not only outside Wales but also here to see how Plaid Cymru  leader preforms in the leaders debate.

Of course the main story is that the Conservative Party reacted with fury  a row with Channel 4 over the broadcaster's decision to "empty chair" Boris Johnson and Nigel Farageduring its election debate on climate change last night.
Jo Swinson, Nicola Sturgeon, Adam Price, Jeremy Corbyn and Sian Berry, stand next to ice sculptures representing the Brexit Party and Conservative Party at ITN Studios in Holborn on November 28, 2019 in London, England.

Minister Michael Gove offered to take his place, but the broadcaster said the invitation was for leaders only.. though from what I understand Gove just turned up , having learned of Johnson being empty chaired

The BBC who themselves have behaved cowardly in not challenging Johnson's coincidence of scrutiny including not being cross examined by Andrew Neil tells us
The party wrote to Ofcom saying placing an ice sculpture on the PM's podium was a "provocative partisan stunt".
Labour has accused Mr Johnson of "hiding from scrutiny".
Urging the regulator to take action against Channel 4, the Conservative Party accused the broadcaster of breaking its duty to be impartial and citing other alleged examples of bias.

 n a letter to Ofcom, the party says Channel 4 News staged a "provocative partisan stunt, which would itself constitute making a political opinion in its own right" by substituting the PM with an ice sculpture.Conservative sources also briefed journalists at BuzzFeed News and the Telegraph that "if we are re-elected we will have to review Channel 4's Public Services Broadcasting obligations".
Channel 4's public service broadcasting licence is up for renewal in 2024.
Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson said it was "deeply concerning for Boris Johnson's Conservative Party to threaten Channel 4 in this way".

 Mr Watson has written to Ofcom to urge the regulator to "call out this meddling".

His letter adds: "Boris Johnson has banned the Daily Mirror from its battle bus, ducked the Andrew Neil interview and now attempted to bully Channel 4."
Mr Gove, a former environment secretary, said he was disappointed not to be allowed to take part in the climate debate, adding: "We have a record we are proud of and we want to defend."
Channel 4 also replaced Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage with ice in the hour-long programme.
Channel 4 News editor Ben de Pear said: "These two ice sculptures represent the emergency on planet earth, not in any human form but are a visual metaphor for the Conservative and Brexit parties after their leaders declined our repeated invitations to attend tonight's vital climate debate."
The Emergency On Planet Earth debate featured Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, Scottish First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, Plaid Cymru's leader Adam Price and Green co-leader Sian Berry.
"Empty chairing" is where a debate or interview is conducted without one of its participants.
'Hiding from scrutiny'
Meanwhile, Labour has published 60 questions it wants Boris Johnson to answer, including on sexism, the NHS, Brexit and his ministers.
The party has accused Mr Johnson of "hiding from scrutiny" and its questions include: "Are you scared of Andrew Neil?"
On Thursday, Mr Johnson refused to say whether he would agree to an interview with the BBC's Andrew Neil, who has already grilled Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, the SNP's Nicola Sturgeon, and is planning to interview other party leaders.
When asked several times by the BBC's Ben Wright if he would take part, Boris Johnson would not confirm it, saying he would have "all sorts of interviews with all sorts of people".Mr Johnson - who was interviewed by Mr Neil during the Conservative leadership election in July - confirmed negotiations were still taking place, but he said it was "not my job" to make the final decision.
He added: "Other people than me are responsible for those discussions and negotiations, and I do not want to pre-empt what they may decide."

Meanwhile the BBC  have widened the debate beyond the Tories and Labour with Presenter Nick Robinson chairing the debate between the Conservative's chief secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak, Labour's business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price, former Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas and the Brexit Party's chairman Richard Tice.

Yes that's right in what could have been the clincher debate of the election bot Johnson and  Corbyn try to lower the status and the fact that people could see an alternative , by sending "B List "  MP to take their place and whilst Caroline Lucas is not the leader of the Green Party she is a MP and their highest profile candidate.

Oddly it is the people of England who need see an alternative to both Johnson and Corbyn and not just the Liberal Democrats.

Here in Wales as in Scotland we do and I suspect there will be many over the boarder watching  who will wonder why they can't vote for a party led by Price or Sturgeon.

This election has been portrays as a choice between Johnson or Corbyn  and whilst I respect the latter and lath the former if  I was in England I would have no problem in voting Green even if they have no chance of winning.

In our flawed electoral system skewed to the two major parties , the voice of those who don't want either will be completely ignored.

What kind of Democracy is this?

Thursday 28 November 2019

The UK Media will not expose Johnson's unsuitability to be PM.

With a Tory Landslide on the cards it  may be interesting to remind ourselves  that they were also heading for one just before the 2017

Predictions two weeks before the vote[edit]

as of 26 May 2017
as of 28 May 2017
as of 26 May 2017
as of 26 May 2017
as of 26 May 2017
Labour Party212196180188199
Liberal Democrats826105
Plaid Cymru2123
Green Party0101
Others1[n 8]18[n 9]19
Overall result (probability)Conservative

Predictions one week before the vote

as of 1 June 2017
as of 31 May 2017
as of 31 May 2017
as of 1 June 2017
Britain Elects[371]
as of 1 June 2017
Labour Party195208209253206
Liberal Democrats737911
Plaid Cymru2234
Green Party1111
Others1[n 8]18[n 9]219
Overall result (probability)Conservative

However the Media may have learned their lesson an will not this time show what a complete Dogs Breakfast  the Tories were making of their campaign

The Guardian reports that
Labour has expressed concerns about the BBC’s political coverage after it was revealed that Boris Johnson has still not confirmed whether he will subject himself to a cross-examination by Andrew Neil.
Jeremy Corbyn’s team agreed to take part in the series of one-on-one interviews with the journalist after the BBC told them the prime minister would definitely be doing a similar broadcast next week. However, a BBC source strongly denied they had told Labour that Johnson had confirmed.
The BBC has yet to confirm the date of Johnson’s appearance, leading to Labour concerns that Johnson could be tempted to sidestep scrutiny from one of the broadcaster’s leading political interviewers.
“For those asking when Boris Johnson’s interview will take place, we’re in ongoing discussions with his team but we haven’t yet been able to fix a date,” the BBC said. The Conservatives also said “discussions are ongoing”.
BBC sources insisted that they remained optimistic the prime minister will not be tempted to duck the challenge.
One senior Conservative source expressed surprise that Labour appeared to have been told all the party leaders had signed up to be interviewed by Neil, insisting no final decision had yet been made about Johnson’s participation.Sign up for Andrew Sparrow's Election Briefing The prime minister has agreed to other broadcast events during the campaign, including last Friday’s Question Time special, and the Tories believe that will insulate him from the charge of cowardice even if they decide to skip the Neil interview.
The prime minister has agreed to other broadcast events during the campaign, including last Friday’s Question Time special, and the Tories believe that will insulate him from the charge of cowardice even if they decide to skip the Neil interview.
Corbyn’s interview with the broadcaster resulted in widespread negative press coverage, after the Labour leader did not apologise directly over antisemitism within the Labour party and was grilled over his funding of a £58bn boost for women caught out by changes to the state pension age.

Andrew Neil it a right wing commentator  who  sometimes gives the impression that is aggressive  style of  "cross-examination"  is all about him and the coverage of both the Jeremy Corbyn and Nicola Sturgeon has been used by their opponents with glee.

So would he repeat this style in cross-examining Johnson ?

Certainly the current Prime Minister would fall apart under such scrutiny , but I suspect even if Johnson was to turn up, the BBC and Andrew Neil will give him much more of a easy time than the other leaders.

Certainly the news that   Boris Johnson’s claim that healthcare is “not on the table” in UK and US trade talks has been undermined by the release of official papers that reveal the two countries have repeatedly discussed dismantling protections that keep NHS drug prices down. may not be raised.

Indeed apart from the Guardian ne of the most shocking proof that the Tories plan to sell of the NHS , has been ignored by most of the other media.

Jeremy Corbyn has its faults and Jo Swinson  has not shone during the campaign.

But at least they have met their critics .

Whereas Boris Johnson campaign team banned the only Tabloid (Daily Mirror) who  is  not enthusiastically the Tories  from travelling on the party’s battle bus.

If you are hoping for a repeat of 2017 it might be in vain.

Wednesday 27 November 2019

Scottish Labour Ditches Opposition to Trident Renewal Welsh Labour already have.

When the Unionist Parties publish their "Welsh" and "Scottish",  Manifestos , it is always interesting to see our independent  the two branches are from their London masters.

Not much it seems. Bella Caledonia tell us that the Scottish Branch Office seems to have two policies depending whether its a UK General Election or a Scottish one.
As nuclear weapons go centre-stage in the UK General Election and in Japan, campaigners have criticised Scottish Labour for having one stance on nuclear weapons for Holyrood elections and another for UK general elections.Scottish Labour adopted a position against Trident renewal in 2015 and fought the 2016 Holyrood elections on that basis. However, in its manifestos for the 2017 and 2019 general elections it toes the UK party line. The current version states: “Defence is a reserved issue and UK Labour continues to support the renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent.”That’s a moral abandonment.UK Labour’s stance was confirmed this week by Shadow Defence spokesperson Nia Griffiths on Radio Four’s Any Questions1 this week – the familiar emphasis on the need to maintain a “deterrent” to be able to negotiate for disarmament.Following the formal signing of the ICAN Parliamentarian’s Pledge by SNP and Green MSPs, several Scottish Labour MSPs, including the Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard, signed the Pledge to ‘work for the signature and ratification of this landmark treaty by our respective countries, as we consider the abolition of nuclear weapons to be a global public good of the highest order’. This is a serious commitment. Richard Leonard also attended the visit to the Parliament by ICAN CEO Beatrice Fihn and the photocall that was arranged by the Nuclear Disarmament CPG of which he is a member.Lynn Jamieson, Chair of Scottish CND said:“Time for politicians to change the tired old script, waiving around a threat of exploding nuclear bombs to destroy people and planet. It is a perversion of sanity that makes this seem like good leadership. Politicians should have the moral courage to be honest and tell uncomfortable truths. Trident wastes money that we don’t have to make us a target. The world is moving away from nuclear weapons – two thirds of the countries in the world have signed the UN Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons since 2017 and so should the UK. We invite a change to the narrative from ‘will you press the button’ to ‘what steps will you to take towards global nuclear disarmament’, The majority of Scottish people don’t want 200 nuclear warheads based on our waters or anywhere. All politicians should keep this in mind.“Janet Fenton, ICAN Liaison in Scotland said:“In supporting the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, it is Scotland rather than the UK, that is in tune with the world view. Any Nuclear weapons use or accident will be catastrophic for humans and for our planet. Scottish Labour needs to decide what kind of internationalist influence it wants to have.Meanwhile Pope Francis, speaking of the need to eliminate nuclear weapons during his visit to Nagasaki, said: “We must never grow weary of working to support the principal international legal instruments of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, including the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.”

Still it's not as bad as our own "Welsh" Labour which saw Carwyn Jones when he was First Minister saying in 2012  that Britain's nuclear-armed submarines would be "more than welcome" in Wales if they left Scotland,.

Of course despite Jeremy Corbyn long commitment to ending Britain's weapons of mass destruction his defence  spokesperson Llanelli's  Nia Griffiths has insisted a Labour Government will keep Trident.

So even if Trident was to be kicked out of Scotland we could find it here with the enthusiastic support of "Welsh" Labour.

Scotland of course have a real option of  removing Trident from their nation.

We in Wales can make a start by ousting Nia Griffiths , by electing Mari Arthur in Llanelli on December 12th.

It will of course not rock "Welsh" labour into standing up to their Westminster bosses as their fellow Branch Office managers in Scotland have proven.

But it will at least give us who find such Missiles of Mass Destruction something to smile about.

Tuesday 26 November 2019

BBC to end Red Button service is a disgrace.

I am avid reader of the BBC Red Button since the days of Ceefax  and are very disappointed that it is to  switch off the news and sport text services on the TV red button early next year.
The decision spells the end of reading headlines, football scores, weather, travel news and more on TV sets, 45 years after the launch of Ceefax.
Red button text launched in 1999, taking over as Ceefax was phased out.
TVs will still be able to access other red button services, like picking a stage to watch at Glastonbury or a court to watch at Wimbledon.
"From early 2020, viewers will no longer be able to access text-based BBC News and BBC Sport content by pressing red," a BBC spokesperson said.
"It's always a difficult decision to reduce services, and we don't take decisions like this lightly, but we have taken it because we have to balance the resources needed to maintain and develop this service with the need to update our systems to give people even better internet-based services.
"Viewers can still access this information on the BBC website, BBC News and Sport mobile apps - as well as 24-hour news on the BBC News Channel."

It's not the bloody same though I can switch on my TV and look up what I want immediately  and although I have a desktop and a tablet it is not as easy and if I want to see how a team I support did , then I don't have to plough through different pages to get it.

It is simple to use easily available and not dependent  on a internet access 

Indeed if I want  straight news free from journalist bias, i sometimes find the information I need that prompts me to dig deeper.


Once again those who do not have access to the internet from their living rooms are immediately at a disadvantage .

Rather ending the Red button it should have been handed to an Independent service and made more easily available.

What should have happened  is that the 5 biggest terrestrial channels should have got together and made the red button available on all their channels.

Once again we seem to have a decision made by those who because they have no problem with getting information from their Lap Top, Tablet or Mobile Phone eveyone can.

I can't help thinking that this has been made so that politicians who may have raised  this issue have other things on their mind.

Monday 25 November 2019

If the Left want Solidarity in Wales , then supporting the answer.

My twitter feeds have been inundated with posts from Gareth Leaman (@garethdwr) who seems to be throwback to the  old 2I am nor an Nationalist ,I am a Inter-Nationalist  claimed the left have made over the years

Here he is on Adam Price

This is a story of class struggle. Does anybody really think that if an independent Welsh state was plonked into existence in the nineteenth century its workers wouldn’t have been exploited in the exact way they were in the British state? No chance. It’s totally ahistorical
Quote Tweet
“The story of Wales, a country that was rich in natural resources, that was plundered...” @Adamprice of @Plaid_Cymru rightly angry about the bitter legacy of poverty as a result of Westminster misrule and exploitation. #colonialism
0:20 / 0:40

A country ‘rich in natural resources’ would still have had its citizens worked to death to mine them for private capital, unless this fantasy Welsh state would have been a priori socialist, unique among every modern western state to have ever existed
10:41 AM · Nov 24, 2019Twitter for iPhone

Replying to
“If not identical”. Ffs
Quote Tweet
Sophy Ridge on Sunday
"I don't want to see in the 21st century what happened to Wales in the 20th" @SophyRidgeSky asks Plaid Cymru leader @Adamprice about his claim that the history of Wales was "analogous if not identical to the experience of colonialism" #Ridge.
Here  he is writing in the New Statesman

Prehaps I lack Gareth Leaman intellectual ability , but I am at al oss to what extent he supports devolution or indeed independence.
"Plaid must also be made aware that greater powers for Wales will likely only be delivered through sympathetic support in Westminster: that is to say, a Labour government amiable to, at the very least, a federalised reconstitution of the British state. Their current ‘Progressive Alliance’ collaborators in Westminster will not be so kind, to the point of actively suppressing these goals, so a closer fidelity with Labour and with Corbynism will be essential. If Plaid are to be true to their socialist and humanitarian roots, they should also be agitating for a Labour government in Westminster to help facilitate rapid change in policy areas that no Welsh institution has power over: welfare, for instance, isn’t devolved, and as such presents an urgent problem that our most vulnerable citizens cannot wait for a long-termist solution to. As Leeworthy notes:
To be blunt: the people begging on the streets of Cardiff are not able to wait for ‘independence’. The people who cannot get housing or live in houses not fit for purpose are not able to wait for ‘independence’. Those communities which will be torn asunder by Brexit are not able to wait for ‘independence’. Those living in the care of the state are not able to wait for ‘independence’. Those elderly people who are living isolated in communities are not able to wait for ‘independence’. And those who deserve a twenty-first century education are not able to wait for ‘independence’.
As far as England is concerned, the Labour-supporting left there would do well to understand that it may find willing collaborators in parties other than its own (compare the personal politics of Leanne Wood, Bethan Sayed and Delyth Jewell, for instance, with those of Owen Smith, Stephen Kinnock and Nia Griffith), and that a grassroots non-Labour left in Wales is ripe for a greater circulation of ideas that both sides would find beneficial. The idea too that “Labour need Scotland and Wales if they have any chance of gaining power in Westminster” should be a cause not just for a greater realisation of how important it will be for the viability of English Corbynism for it to become less dependent upon supporting votes from an increasingly ambivalent Wales and Scotland. This would represent not a centrist-style non-partisanship that erases class differences in the name of ‘grown up politics’, as defines the Progressive Alliance, but one that forges class solidarity over and above party divides and national borders.
Finally, it must be incumbent upon the left in all parts of the UK to recognise that a radical and necessary re-distribution of power in this undemocratic, overly-centralised state will depend upon a flexibility to forward different solutions to different nations and regions. So while Leeworthy is correct to say that “changes that we seek are not constitutional so much as materialist” and “[your] antagonist is not a family living on a meagre income in Darlington but the state that enables that to happen”, it serves no community to homogenise austerity across the UK and be confident that the state in its current formation is the only means through which an alleviation can be delivered. Those feeling the full consequences of austerity may have “a common problem” but, as Macfarlane notes:
The only way to defeat [The Johnson government] is to seize the agenda by offering a radical shake-up of Britain’s democratic structures…Britain’s constitutional crisis has been a long time coming. It’s not pretty, and it might not be on the terms of our choosing. But we can’t afford to let the crisis go to waste.
It is only through considering these points, and through building new forms of solidarity, that we can build a better country (or countries in a federalised or post-British-state settlement), and a better movement. On the left we need to ensure that any ‘alliances’ formed are ones borne out of working-class solidarity – across ‘national’ borders, among communities and, where necessary, beyond party lines. These alliances must be deeper and beyond mere parliamentarianism, in service of forging a true coalition of class interests based on coherent material demands for a long-lasting and resilient socialist politics".

Aneurin Bevan. As one of the most distinguished Welsh politicians of all time, used ot state
The crux of his argument was that there were no problems exclusive to Wales, exemplified by his phrase “I do not know the difference between a Welsh sheep, a Westmorland sheep and a Scottish sheep”[2]. He referred to the issue of agriculture which was being discussed. He acknowledged that there was a problem in Wales of farming sheep on Welsh mountains, but he protested that debating the issue in Parliament on a special Welsh Day would be futile because sheep were also being farmed elsewhere. A problem for Wales was a problem for the rest of the UK.
I don't think Mr agrees with that but the problem with his Labour- Plaid alliance , is that somewhere on that journey , and as Scotland complete theirs ,there will be those who  want to complete in speedily for fear that Wales will not be in solidarity  with the working class across the boarder , but subdued  into a English Right Wing  permanent entity.
I have never seen any real evidence that Labour even if it lost its position in Wales to the Tories will not see itself as the natural leaders and Plaid and greater powers let alone Independece a mere side show.
Arguably i aspiring Nations like  Québec and Catalonia it is the parties of the left (Québec solidaire , Democratic Left of Catalonia , CUP) who are at the forefront  of their Independence campaign.
 If Labour and especially a Left Wing part want to embrace Class solidarity it must abandon Westminster .

The reaction of its sister party in Spain to Catalonia's Independence claims where it sides with the Heirs of Franco and jails Independista leaders.

They have an opportunity in Scotland to support Independence , but i susapect many on the left there who would have done so have already moved on.