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Archive for the ‘smears’ Category

Been reading a few hand-wringing blogposts around and about reinforcing the idea that after that truly appalling rant at the weird, “Citizen UK” rally, Brown had somehow found his voice at the eleventh hour. Of course, it’s in the nature of the media that these things become self-reinforcing narratives leading, usually at breakneck speed, to some sort of settled view or consensus, however totally detached from the truth – or reality – it might be. In fact, you could argue that the general election battle is a battle not just for a vote, but to influence that mercurial, flowing media narrative and try to alter, if you like, the course of the discourse – so to speak.

So in one sense – this sense – one could say that Brown sort of succeeded. He has shifted the narrative slightly – maybe – with the BBC on this morning’s Today programme being willing accomplices, typically, or even the initiators of this latest little change of tack. But we know that the whole narrative, whichever way it is leaning, is generally nonsense anyway; that the reality is rather different, regardless of whether it influences people’s minds or not.
The reality is that Brown, with his back against the wall and his campaign leaders pulling in three different directions, telling their own voters to vote for other parties (David Blackburn was pretty amusing on this in the morning), has decided unsurprisingly to get all atavistic on our butts; to go back to the old irrational, deceitful, Tory-hating, prehistoric Balls-Brown fake dividing line that Mandelson and Darling worked so hard to move away from and onto less toxic, less risky ground. They tried to decontaminate brand Brown. It seems they failed.
But they at least could see the bigger picture that concerns the whole future of Labour. I figure they calculated that if they allowed Brown to lie about phantom Tory cuts/ equally phantom Labour spending, won the election and then proceeded to cut everything in sight having been ordered to by the IMF, they would lose the next election (which would probably come soon afterwards anyway) by a country mile, be truly obliterated this time by a livid electorate, and secure 25 years of Tory government into the bargain without David Cameron even having to break sweat.
So, the upshot is that, despite the direction in which the media narrative is currently veering, apparently and irrelevantly, the fact is that Brown has got it disastrously wrong. He’s not only reverted to type (who could have doubted that he wouldn’t – that’s all he is, after all), but he’s actually going to lose the election on the back of it too, so we can skip the brief period of the total turmoil of a Labour government winning on a lie and collapsing within months as the economy tears itself apart and move straight onto the Tories.
All in all, the couple of more rational members of the former Labour cabinet must be tearing their collective hair out (that doesn’t include Liam Byrne, naturally) gnashing their teeth and generally wailing a lot. Thanks to Gordon Brown, the whole, elegantly triangulated (and exquisitely dishonest rather than brutally deceitful) Mandelsonian election campaign strategy has now totally imploded and will suck the party down with it.
As I’ve said before, they only have themselves to blame. They could have removed Brown a long time ago. Hell, they never should have taken the piss out of the electorate by giving the auld wrecker a coronation in the first place. But that’s all history now, and so is Labour. The one silver lining is that if there is any justice left in this world, or, indeed, sense left in this country, then even if Labour aren’t kicked into third place and kicked into touch for a generation – even if they manage by some miracle to keep Cameron down to a minority government – Brown will be gone.
Even I, ever the optimist who still firmly believes in the clear Tory triumph – if by some horrible, perverted twist of fate I’m wrong, even I would happily settle just for the end of Brown if I can’t have anything else. That outcome would be by no means satisfying, or even satisfactory, but it’d be one hell of a relief.

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The latest PEB from Labour represents a new low in hate politics, exploitation and smearing propaganda, even for them. This is it:

Fortunately, Iain Dale, having highlighted it in the first place, in one of the most apoplectic posts I’ve ever seen him write on his blog in the two years or so I’ve been reading it, quickly destroys the claims too. A GP has emailed him cataloguing the lies underpinning the most dishonest campaign video in British political history. Read it here.

Well done to him and to Mr Dale for knocking it down before it has a chance to gain any kind of traction. I trust this will be all over the MSM tomorrow – with the story being not only the Labour lies and filth about Conservative health and child support policy, but the abject bankruptcy of the Labour election campaign as a whole.

Mind you, they are totally desperate so they will probably get even worse.

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A lame one liner from Brown in the debate was the first sign that Labour’s campaign troglodytes have, quite simply – and completely – lost the plot. I’ve seen this image on a couple of blogs now this evening. I dismissed it, though, thinking it must be just another Toryish blogger agitprop spoof. Not so. A little trip to Labour.org reveals that, yes, believe it or not (and I still can’t believe it), it’s for real.

Brown said during the EU bit of the debate: “They’ll turn Great Britain into Little Britain”. Just another pathetic, throwaway Brownist soundbite and, as always, instantly forgettable. You would think.

But no. Know this: it wasn’t just a prepared line for Brown to chuck in. It’s part of what looks like a new, concerted campaign tactic, with the diabolically unethical picture below as its visual support:

This was published hours before the debate. Given the hideousness of the image, not least because of Cameron’s experience as a father caring for a severely disabled son (now sadly deceased), but also its exploitation generally of disability for cynical political purposes, it’s just incomprehensibly sick – and the Labour party must be held to account for it. Severely.

You have to ask, what kind of thought processes are at work in the creation of a thing as brutally horrible as this? Damaged ones, I would say. Very damaged.

Did Brown not know about this either? He said the line in the debate, so one should conclude that, just like with his leaflet smear campaign against the Tories and the SNP, he knew full well about it.

That alone should be enough to bury him in totally justified, universal condemnation.

And I thought we’d seen the worst of him, the lowest.

Not yet, it seems.

=Update=
And…pulled. Don’t expect we’ll be seeing that particular line of attack again from the corrupt Labourists (a couple of whom were stupid enough to leave comments here). Good, but the harm to what’s left of their reputations – and to the disabled – has been done. The grim last gasps of a heartless regime, and party, rotten to the core.

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If you want to take out a troublesome enemy tank, in this case an obsolete knockoff Russian T62 (also known as the Liberal Mk1 Main Battlebus), you don’t use a bunch of tracer bullets. However accurate the rounds might be, and however many you loose, not only are they simply going to bounce off the turret of the lumbering, sputtering war machine (in this case the 360 degree swivelling Nick Clegg), they will give away your position too. The newspapers that profess a bluish bent have done just that with their suspiciously timed, well-aimed but poorly armed, poorly co-ordinated full frontal assault. Over the top, chaps!

No, what you need to do, tactically, is to bide your time, choose the correct ordnance and then open fire with the radar-guided, state of the art heavy guns. A battery of that nature would be (would have been/will be?) decisive; the fireworks delightful and the result, devastating. So Iain Dale and John Ward are dead right in their assessment, that the attack was ill-conceived, will backfire and the Tories should have nothing to do with it.

Having said that, I recognise the possibility that a charge of hypocrisy might be coming my way. Well, so what? It would be unfounded. What I deposit here is personal opinion. And I stand by my opinion that nothing has happened to alter my long-held view that Nick Clegg is a two-faced, overhyped, establishment lightweight that no one in their right mind should ever consider as prime ministerial material. He’s benefited from the anti-politics thang, for sure, and the TV media’s desire for a Close Run Thing (hung parliaments mean higher ratings), but that’s it. On policy he’s nowhere. At least with Labour you just have universally bad ideas, most of which have been discredited already after thirteen lost years, and involve, if we were to have to suffer five more lost years of them, plunging an increasingly authoritarian UK into social and economic oblivion.

With Clegg’s Libdums, you get either conflicting policies, badly thought-out policies, unfundable policies or policies (and these are the really interesting ones) that will lead us to being kicked off the UN Security Council, subsumed by a federal EU and relegated to third rate power status (see Simon Hughes). I’m not entirely certain anyone in this country is quite ready for any of that particular brand of ‘change’, or ever will be.

But it’s up to the Tories, and the pisspoor papers (if they can get their heads out of their collective fundaments) to make people see that.

PS:
One online rag really does provide a case in point:

Nick Clegg dossier reveals his Martian roots

DAS BUNKER, Whopping, Tuesday (MSBBC) — Your Super Soaraway SUN has found the blueprint for Nick Clegg’s top-secret TV debate strategy in the back of a CAB, revealing he is a MARTIAN INVADER.

It reveals the Lib Dem leader STOLE DNA from David Cameron to DUPLICATE his style and cover Britain in a ROBOT ARMY OF CLEGGS, with BlackBerrys to be installed in all citizens.

“It’s very SLOPPY to just leave it in my CAB in a locked and alarmed SUITCASE,” said the cab driver, Andy Coulson,” and I thought people should know. That’s why I SOLD it to The Sun.”

Clegg DISGRACED himself in the television debate last Thursday, winning a mere 37% in BIASED COMMUNIST POLLS, while TORY SUPERSTAR Dave “Dave” Cameron topped the charts with a SURGE to 31% — despite foolish commentators claiming Clegg was less terrible than GORDON BROWN attempting to SMILE or the picture of DAVE CAMERON someone had PHOTOSHOPPED onto the screen.

“I used my PSYCHIC POWERS to talk to ADOLF HITLER after the debate and he would DEFINITELY vote Lib Dem now,” reveals luscious, pouting MYSTIC MEG in her political opinion column on Page 3 today.

The Tories have responded by DISTANCING themselves from the Liberal Democrats’ WASHED-UP, SOCIALIST POLICIES and put out new posters blaming the recession on the people responsible: POLISH ASYLUM TERRORISTS on THE DOLE.

“The Conservative Home web forum got out MS Paint and came up with some great stuff,” said Tory webmaster Andy Coulson. “Though they thought we should distance ourselves from those WISHY-WASHY, NUT-CUTLET-EATING LIBERALS at the Daily Mail, who are SOFT ON VOLCANOES and soft on the CAUSES of volcanoes.”

An article in the Völkischer Beobachter on Sunday by Andy Coulson REVEALED Clegg’s SPANISH wife, RUSSIAN grandfather and MARTIAN allegiance, and how he would definitely fail a proper Tory BRITISHNESS test.

“Fuck,” said Rupert Murdoch, speaking to his editors about the ACTUAL poll numbers.

I mean, shocking scaremongering!

+Update+

This is what Clegg really said (just in the spirit of accuracy, you understand – no smearist I):

“Watching Germany rise from its knees after the war and become a vastly more prosperous nation has not been easy on the febrile British psyche.”

“All nations have a cross to bear, and none more so than Germany with its memories of Nazism. But the British cross is more insidious still.”

“A misplaced sense of superiority, sustained by delusions of grandeur and a tenacious obsession with the last war, is much harder to shake off. We need to be put back in our place.”

Hmm. The change we need.

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Yesterday, we were greeted with the second morning in a row of that nauseating LibDum father and son double act (the Cable and Clegg show) on the BBC. Full coverage of two very dull press conferences. Today, it was the turn of the Marx (as in Karl) brothers: Mandy, Balls & Burnham. The BBC provided them with as much live airtime as they wanted to spread what I can only call, having read (bits of) the Conservative manifesto (it was free!), outright, barefaced, scurrilous, amoral, wickedly misleading lies. From start to finish, you had the three of these strangers to reality, let alone the truth, dishing out scaremongering propaganda that simply wasn’t true. None of it. Nada. Not a thing. Labour’s dirty tricks are big news for the BBC.

I didn’t have time to wait for the Q/A section. Was there one? Or has the BBC finally given up even the pretence of impartiality now and decided to allow any attacks on the Tories, however perfidious and, in this case, outrageously smearing, in some cases personally, to go unchallenged altogether? It’s a fair question and the answer to it, if the past two mornings of its coverage are any evidence, is disturbing.

Don’t get me started on the Today programme. Suffice to say, its editors appear to be attempting to maintain some kind of ‘balance’ – by at least allowing a few, you know, Conservatives actually to answer the critics wheeled on, conveyor belt-style to trash policies, especially good ones. But the agenda is crystal clear. Treat the Tories like they’ve been in power for thirteen years – and treat Labour like the official opposition. Clever. But a nightmare to listen to and watch, a sign of how corrupt and contaminated the BBC really is, and bad news for the Conservative party.

Even I’m beginning to think that the political bias of the BBC, ever-more flagrant, and the hard-nosed commercial agenda of Sky/Murdoch (hung parliaments sell papers and boost viewing figures) is beginning to influence the direction of this general election campaign. If these factors influence the outcome, then the outcome will be meaningless and the country will have been betrayed. That much is at stake so wouldn’t it be nice to hear a little more complaining from the big boy bloggers from now on, too? Or don’t they care?

If you think I’m exaggerating, just ask yourself this question: where is the BBC’s coverage of a Tory press conference? If there isn’t any coverage in the next few days, maybe then people will begin to realise what is happening; it’s not just tinfoilhattery on my part.

I’m assuming the Tories have planned a few press conferences. They have, haven’t they? Well, if they haven’t, they damn well should!

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This pretty strange report in tomorrow’s Telegraph, about an interview with Alistair Darling in which he claims that “Brown unleashed the forces of hell” on him for predicting the recession, suggests that at the very least, as Iain Dale says, he’s just signed his own “political death warrant”.

In an frank interview, the Chancellor said that people working for Mr Brown tried to damage him because he told the truth about the economy.

His remarks follow reports in a new book by Andrew Rawnsley that Mr Brown’s aides tried to undermine Mr Darling after the Chancellor forecast the worse economic downturn for 60 years.

In a Sky News interview, Mr Darling confirmed that No 10 worked against him. Mr Darling made his 60-year prediction in an interview in Scotland in the summer of 2008. Afterwards, No 10 aides briefed journalists that he had harmed the economy and should be sacked.

“Nobody likes the sort of briefing that goes on,” Mr Darling said, “the forces of hell were unleashed”.

It might sound like Darling is getting his own back for Brown’s desperate disloyalty when the bust came, which he knew was all his fault and not Darling’s, but I’m not so sure. If past experience is anything to go on, Darling, if challenged, will simply issue another humiliating “clarification” tomorrow and say that Brown has his “full support” and always has, clearly total rubbish though that now certainly is. But there was more in the report about Brown’s henchmen, one of whom is still in business, bankrolling the Labour Party with the membership funds of the union he’s been given to play with (Charlie Whelan):

Asked if he believed Mr McBride and Mr Whelan had briefed against him, Mr Darling said: “Of course you have people saying things.”

In a reference to Mr McBride’s resignation last year, the Chancellor added: “My best answer for them was: I’m still here and at least one of them is not.”

During the summer of 2009, Mr Brown planned to remove Mr Darling from the Treasury and replace him with Ed Balls, a long-standing ally.

The plan to oust the Chancellor brought a new confrontation between the two men.

But, as I said, I think Iain Dale is right, this could well be a step out of line too far given the current coverage Brown is (quite deservedly) receiving, clarifications or no clarifications. However, for the time being, I suspect it will be business as usual in the bunker, at least superficially, mainly because Darling, for all his genuine niceness, is as much of a politically self-interested jellyfish as any other Labour MP or minister.

But, in putting the boot in to Brown, Darling was not trying to perform some sort of a public service (perish the thought!). He was indulging a minor act of political revenge that merely provides us with further proof of the factionalism and mutual loathing that’s always existed at the rotten heart of this Labour government, but especially so under the utterly disloyal political thug that is Gordon Brown. Darling offers conclusive proof – as if we needed it – of two things. One, that the facade of government unity under Brown, peddled by the likes of the slimeball Mandelson (et al), for reasons of personal aggrandisement and vanity, has always been just that, a complete myth. Brown’s government is one of the most factional and dysfunctional of all time. Second, that working under Brown is hell.

Given that the future of the country is (or “was” – it might well be too late) at stake, this calamitous state of affairs at the top of the government is a lot more serious than a mere case of bullying. This is a major case of a man promoted way beyond his abilities (Brown or Darling – you pick). What’s crystal clear is that when Brown is finally ousted, the kind of revelations that come out about his behaviour while in politics, let alone while in charge, will ensure that his historical reputation will lie in total ruins. Couldn’t happen to nicer man.

No wonder he’s so desperate to cling on – preferably, no doubt, without the inconvenience of the democratic process.

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So today we have the first counterpunches from the sputtering Brown smear machine, on the back of some dumb remarks about Labour’s debt crisis and out-of-control deficit spending by a bunch of tame Keynesians in a brace of suspiciously timed letters to the Financial Times. Well, more power to them but I prefer to listen to the previous day’s crop of economists who rightly warned that we need to bring Labour’s economic chaos under control now, or risk an even deeper crisis going forward. And as for Lord Mandelson of La La Land’s latest slimy nonsense on the BBC a few minutes ago about businesses telling him that cutting the so-called stimulus now would be ‘daft’, well, Sir Richard Branson’s comments two days ago pretty much shoots that drivel down in flames – and he’s a pretty good businessman! Oh, and top work over Redcar Corus, Mandy. That was really slick. What a useless piece of vastly overrated spinning nothingness Mandelson really is.

But Brown. My God, this man is a piece of work. Let’s just have a quick look at some of the latest, increasingly desperate claptrap coming out of his gawping piehole today. His claim, first of all, that this crisis was caused by the banks, suggests that he’s retreated into the kind of cowardly, “bunker” mentality that caused people to realise how unsalvageably flawed he was, and totally unsuited to the office he took by default, in the first place. For the record, it was his policies and his light-touch, hopelessly inadequate system of regulation that allowed the banks to behave with such recklessness in the first place. It was his actual encouragement of the property bubble and the massive personal debt bubble that left people so exposed when the bust came. His behaviour, and blinkered, hateful arrogance in suggesting that he had ‘abolished boom and bust’, virtually guaranteed that when the bubble burst, Britain would be the most exposed major economy in the world and the British people would be the biggest losers. The point is, his ridiculous claim that this was ‘all the banks’ fault’ is palpably ridiculous – and was proved as such long ago.

But that’s just he start of it. Instead of stopping the digging while the hole wasn’t too deep, he brings out the JCB. This is the Telegraph’s report of his, quite frankly, lunatic remarks:

2010 must be the year of growth. It must not be the year when the economy dips back into recession.

”Instead of admitting the mistakes of private banks and institutions in causing the recession, the well-financed right-wing are not only trying to blame governments for the crisis but trying to use legitimate concerns about deficits to scare people into accepting a bleak and austere picture of the future for the majority, and then to use what’s happening as a pretext for public services to be marginalised at precisely the moment they should become smarter and more personalised.

”They are using the talk of action on debt to conceal the hard fact that their real position is that they remain wedded, as they have always been, to an ideology that would always make government the problem and deny people the helping hand that government can be.”

While seeking to ”frighten” voters about the scale of the debt, Conservatives failed to mention that growth would automatically cut into the UK’s deficit and bolster investor confidence, said Mr Brown.

”Instead of helping the recovery in our country, Conservative dislike of government, bordering on hatred of government action, would risk recovery now,” he said.

Never had I really understood how unhinged this guy actually is until I heard this stuff. Aside from the truly awe-inpiring level of economic illiteracy on display, there’s the spiteful reference to the ‘hatred’ of the ‘right’. With the former, someone needs to bellow this at the fraud relentlessly: it’s not rocket science, Brown, it’s basic economics: rising debt means rising inflation; rising inflation means interest rate hikes; interest rate hikes mean higher credit costs with the inevitable consequences of increased business failures, personal insolvencies, higher unemployment, worse public services and, you guessed it, a recession. Not growth, Brown, a r-e-c-e-s-s-i-o-n. Do you think it’d get through that four inch thick skull of his in the end? No, me neither.

Of course, though, we know the ulterior motive here. Brown does not give hoot-one about the catastrophe his “policies” would cause over the next few years, all he cares about, in his fevered political calculations, is the time when he finally, finally!, has to face the electorate. He thinks he can buy votes and sod the future. We are, quite simply, with Brown, back to square one. It’s 2008-9 all over again. The guy is incapable of any other mode of thought or operation.

Only this time, with this horribly divisive speech, he’s shown a little more of the true, tribal, irrational, Tory-hating core that we know is what fundamentally defines this appalling man. And this is where we see the incoherence:

…their real position is that they remain wedded, as they have always been, to an ideology that would always make government the problem and deny people the helping hand that government can be

This is a smear, obviously, but the scale of the misrepresentation is only topped by the scope of its implausibility. It hardly warrants scrutiny (it certainly doesn’t bear any). However, I’ll have a crack – again, just for the record. Clearly, as with most smears, it’s what’s omitted that’s most revealing. For instance, it’s not ‘government’ that the Conservatives have ever seen as ‘the problem’ (as far as I can discern, Tories aren’t anarchists), it’s big, inefficient government. Further, though, you notice how he confuses (and I don’t believe this is deliberate – I think he actually might not understand the distinction, which, if true, is most revealing) the term ‘government’ with the term ‘state’. Government makes policy and enacts law accordingly. The instruments of government (like the MoD), and taxpayer-funded institutions of public service (like the NHS), of which there are many, are what is generally understood, at least in the real world, to be ‘the state’. When the instruments of government, public service institutions and government itself have been permitted to become so bloated, inefficient and unaffordable that they begin to cause, overall, more harm than good, then yes, they must be pruned, reformed and reset so that once more (or, in the case of some state institutions, ‘for once’) they can fulfil their putative functions. To deny any of this is to defy rational thought. But that’s what Brown does, in choosing smear and mere narrow-minded tribalism over common sense and, simply, the truth. Plus ca change? Not really: this is Brown we’re talking about.

The only difference this time is the incoherence. We’re used to the Tory-hating smears – they go with the Brown territory. But combined – and total – confusion over the economy and the difference between government and state is something fairly new, at least to me. I can understand the economic incoherence. Given the state of the British economy after a decade of Chancellor Brown and three further years of him as First Lord of the Treasury, it’s not hard to see where that comes from. But this government/state thing: I feel that he really, genuinely, doesn’t see a difference; he thinks they are one and the same. Government is the State; people are merely units of that State whose sole purpose is to service it in order that it can provide for them.

Oh my God! Brown really is a socialist! So that’s what’s been bugging me all this time…

New Labour might have fooled some of the people some of the time, but Brown is fooling no one. His brand of state socialism, masquerading as some kind of government altruism, is not what Britain needs just now, thanks very much (did it ever?). Bring on the election so we can have done with it.

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