The once-popular soap ‘Downing Street’, having taken a backseat of late, has recaptured the public’s imagination in recent weeks. The dramatic downfall of Dominic Cummings – the JR Ewing/Nick Cotton/Alan Bradley bad guy of the series ever since his unforgettable entrance as the Vote Leave villain of 2016 – has been one notable ratings-grabber; the sudden rebranding of Carrie Symonds as the Lady Macbeth of No.10 (a role so memorably defined by the legendary Cherie Blair back in the 90s) is another – and her character’s life-affirming ‘journey’ has come a long way since she was portrayed as being in an abusive relationship; the arrival of another privately-educated metropolitan posh girl character in the shape of ex-‘Newsnight’ hack Allegra Stratton as Boris’s new press secretary means Carrie now has an ally she can go riding and discuss pressing Woke issues with. The introduction of fresh faces into a long-running series is vital to its survival and to keep the audience interested.

Thankfully, we can still thrill to the ongoing saga of the programme’s resident Alexis Carrington-like power-bitch Priti Patel kickin’ ass at the Home Office for a bit of old-school excitement, even if it now has the strong scent of just another desperate plotline designed to win back audiences wooed away by the new kid on the block, ‘Covidnation Street’. This gate-crasher has also affected that other never-ending soap set in and around the inner-M25 intrigues of the wealthy political class called ‘Champagne Socialist Street’; that show even had to scrape the anti-Semitic barrel in order to get viewers interested again. Alas, the departure of the cult character Jezza and the arrival of bland new leading-man Keir Starmer has seen a loss of student viewers and the series is struggling in the ratings.

There’s a degree of competition from US imports like ‘Pennsylvania Avenue’, though the imminent exit of that show’s most popular villain, Donald Trump, and the return of veteran character Joe ‘Blake Carrington’ Biden, just seems like an uninspired move by producers to rekindle some of the old magic. North of the border, STV provides its own serial called ‘Holyrood’, in which a comedy Minister proposes people should be arrested for something offensive they said out loud in the privacy of their own homes, whereas the long-running Welsh language soap with the unpronounceable name on S4C now features a country sealed off from its neighbours, reduced to an extreme Royston Vasey where not only will you never leave, but you’ll never get in either. The lockdown plotline has run through all these shows this year, but the Welsh one has taken it and run with it to the point whereby bored viewers have begun switching off in their droves.

It’s a curious form of escapism, this; because it doesn’t venture into the fantastical or supernatural, it could almost pass for reality – if reality itself hadn’t become so removed from what we’ve always recognised as such. Perhaps we’re receiving a revival of the Westminster soap opera because the MSM senses there could be a nostalgic desire to reconnect with the memory of reality now that what passes for reality feels closer to a Dystopian JG Ballard novel as Chernobyl ensembles dominate the urban catwalk. According to the current headlines, Westminster is apparently an exciting powder-keg of old-fashioned melodrama that isn’t dominated by those depressing real world totems of 2020 such as mask-wearing, social distancing, social isolation, shop closures and suicides; it looks like life used to be, albeit slightly heightened. As if to maintain this theme, the prospect of the annual ‘Worst Winter Since 1963’ (along with the similarly recurring favourite, ‘Crisis Christmas for the NHS’) promises the traditional seasonal plot in which several outcomes have been filmed and the audience is left wondering which leading character might meet an untimely end; it should keep the country distracted and the broadcasters happy.

After all, ‘Downing Street’ ratings have plummeted ever since the heights of the BAFTA-winning Brexit narrative, a slow-burning plot which gathered pace over three years and reached a climax with the classic ‘Proroguing Parliament’ episode last year. Even the drama of a leading character on his potential deathbed a few months ago failed to win back the audiences of old. However, enough time has passed and enough brows have been beaten to ensure these audiences are now far more pliable and trained to respond in a Pavlovian manner to whatever morsels of rationed fun the PM deigns to throw in their direction. As astonishing a revelation as this may be, quite a few people actually spend Christmas alone most years and consequently aren’t especially concerned with the festive season and the nonexistent flood of family and friends into their chilly homes. These folk might not be overwhelmed with gratitude that they’ve been given permission to breathe for a couple of weeks in December, knowing full well the drawbridge will come crashing down on life again as soon as we enter January. Not everyone has yet to succumb to the Stockholm syndrome symptoms that render our leaders benign captors in whose hands our lives gratefully reside.

Let’s not spoil the show by focusing on those antisocial saddoes, though. They received enough attention before, back when we were reliably informed that loneliness and social isolation were more damaging to an individual’s health than smoking, excessive drinking or a bad diet. We don’t hear that so much now, do we? No, suddenly being afflicted with alienation from one’s fellow man is a design for a healthy life and staying safe. Don’t love, don’t touch, and stay away from everybody just in case you kill them. Even if your granny’s already dead, you could still kill her, so steer clear of her grave. You are King Midas with the Plague and must never come into contact with anyone ever again. Lock your door, save the NHS and go back to the Westminster soaps; boo and hiss Priti; cheer Carrie; and count down the days to Christmas as though you’re sharing a mulled wine with Noddy Holder.

And, lest we forget, there’s a Happy New Year hovering on the horizon in the shape of The Vaccine! That’ll sort out the men from the boys – or the rams from the ewes. A rushed-released serum injected into the bloodstream of a grateful nation without the due development and testing that any successful antidote to a virus has traditionally required; sounds sound. And, of course, it will henceforth be the badge of honour that grants its wearers access to the life they’d previously been able to access quite easily without the need for a Government-sponsored syringe stuck in their arm; those who express reservations as well as those who are vehemently opposed – file alongside Brexiteers, Tory Scum, Nazis and assorted racists, naturally – will be blacklisted and excluded from the Christmas party.

The vaccine stamp of approval looks set to be the American Express of inoculations, guaranteeing unlimited entry to everywhere for those eagerly volunteering to be drugged into obedience – a drug administered by yet another private company owned by someone who went to school with Matt Hancock or is married to a member of his family instead of being handled by the GPs who once saw their patients as people rather than numbers. Those who refuse shall henceforth be cast out into the wilderness; they shall be barred from patronising the corporate chain-stores that will be the sole retail outlets mysteriously still standing in the dust-settled, curve-flattened future. Not to worry, though – ‘Downing Street’ will keep our spirits up in the same way Gracie Fields did in WWII; stay tuned.

© The Editor


Oh, there are so many open goals – I mean, Rule of Six, Number Six; I shouldn’t have to elaborate. After all, it only seems like yesterday that I penned a post on ‘The Prisoner’ when I last gave it an outing a few months back; the remarkable ability of that programme to mirror the present tense whenever one happens to watch it never fails to amaze. Even without rushed legislation intended to enforce the unenforceable in the light of a pandemic that kills less than annual seasonal influenza, there’s enough of the here and now in Patrick McGoohan’s 1967 masterwork to show us that the tools of the future were busily being forged in the past, even if few wanted to admit it. But, of course, to point this out places me alongside the online loonies, the whole ‘It’s a weapon of global social control concocted by China and Israel and the Bilderberg Group to enslave us all’ professional conspiracy theory set, so I have to watch my words. One might almost conclude that conspiracy theorists have been allowed to flourish because their insane endeavours serve to cast doubt upon concerns that an actual conspiracy might be afoot, therefore meaning it can progress unimpeded.

I watched the performance of Priti Patel on Julia Hartley-Brewer’s Talk Radio show yesterday, in which the Home Secretary was presented with a hypothetical scenario whereby her neighbours were hosting a children’s birthday party in their back garden, one in which the guest-list exceeded six by one child. Would Ms Patel dial 999 to report the crime? The fudged response made a mockery of a politician who has built a reputation for herself as a no-nonsense hardliner, the kind of politician Westminster is sorely lacking at a time when the nation needs someone in a position of power to grow a pair; alas, her credentials as a potential successor to shagged-out, burned-out Boris should he decide to throw the towel in next year were damaged in a way that made her look as ineffective and lightweight as Matt ‘scary’ Hancock. Moreover, it further highlighted just how clueless this Government is as it stumbles its way through a crisis by making it up as it goes along, too willing to take the word of scaremongering ‘experts’ relishing the spotlight to devise a consistent strategy.

Today we have been informed that the mediocre administration in control of our shared destinies has given itself a fortnight to see if its Rule of Six works before deciding whether or not to reverse the recent easing of nationwide restrictions and plunge us all back into full-on lockdown. Local lockdowns have already been in operation in certain corners of the kingdom where cases have risen, such as Leicester and Bolton; but this is a threat to return us to where we were back in the spring, albeit with add-on caveats sparing schools and a few social environments. However, whereas recorded cases may have risen in a way that was utterly predictable once the general public began to repopulate the world beyond their doorsteps, the actual death rate has plummeted compared to back in April, when well over a thousand died on the darkest day. The Government is placing great emphasis on testing, but the haphazard manner of its programme so far doesn’t quite match its ambition – even if most of us no longer expect anything less from the current shower.

If one might be inclined towards a more benign frame of mind and look favourably upon a Government confronted by an unprecedented situation in modern history, one could say its initial tactics in preventing the wider spread of Covid-19 achieved its aim; that said, one still cannot assess September’s state of play and come to the conclusion that this cat-and-mouse policy of easing restrictions and then tightening them up again once cases inevitably rise as a result can be employed indefinitely. Yet, it would appear this is indeed the plan. It’s getting to the point where any venture outdoors seems weird without a mask on and a recent poll showing over half of those asked were in favour of continuing tough measures suggested Project Fear has succeeded way beyond the Government’s wildest dreams – or should that be the media’s, as the MSM had a far bigger part to play in the pandemic panic than Whitehall. Gatherings of more than six people being banned in England is intended to prevent cases from rising again, but when the rule is eased the cases will rise; so, it comes back in and they go down; then it’s eased and they go back up. And so on and so on forever.

I should be so lucky to assemble six people, anyway. I’ve spoken to half that number face-to-face in the last six months – three f***ing people in the last six months. I was fairly accustomed to living my life in the style of a medieval anchorite as things stood before any of this happened, but choice and personal circumstance had a hand in that. When Government intervenes and imposes such severe restrictions on the entire population, the majority of who have no experience of house arrest and understandably took their freedoms for granted, the amount of fire being played with is lighting one hell of a future fuse. I dread to think what the long-term psychological effects of this will be, but I’m already seeing signs of it in friends who are exhibiting worrying symptoms of becoming used to their withdrawal from society and have no outlet to alter that anymore. For me, this set up has exacerbated many things that have been part of my internal complexion for a long time; but for those with no ‘previous’ – well, all I can say is that the one industry that will profit from this above all others once a semblance of normality asserts itself will be that of psychotherapy.

I strolled up to my local cinema earlier on today and felt a palpable chill as I looked at posters for movies scheduled to be screened in the spring that never were; it’s been mothballed since the end of March. Those posters reminded me of the bricked-up pedestrian tunnel of a closed London Underground station recently excavated, a preserved time capsule displaying decaying posters for Ealing comedies showing at long-gone picture houses and so forth. Studying their 2020 equivalents today, it was as though I was looking through a portal into a parallel world whereby these movies were indeed shown at the cinema in question and life proceeded along its usual path. But, of course, they weren’t and it didn’t. I think it just reminded me – as if I needed reminding – that this half-and-half excuse for a life we have at the moment is no substitute for the real thing, and it doesn’t feel as if the real thing will be with us again anytime soon.

What this situation has done more than anything is to underline our absolute collective powerlessness. Sure, thousands can march in support of a cause that chimes with the consensus of the ruling elite, but that’s just a narcissistic performance bearing little relation to the limitations placed upon those who have no interest in brandishing placards, pulling down statues and throwing bikes at police horses, those who just want to get on with their lives and can’t. When it comes to the genuinely important stuff, we have no say and can do nothing about it. The powers-that-be can bend us to their will and that’s that. If a rule was brought in tomorrow that proclaimed everyone had to wear bowler hats on public transport and had to wear stilettos in supermarkets, we’d go along with it because we need to get from A to B and we need to eat. As the old saying goes, when you’ve got ‘em by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow – and Patrick McGoohan knew that 53 years ago. Be seeing you.

© The Editor


A shadow backbench MP nobody beyond her constituency had heard of was ‘owned’ by the Home Secretary last week. Hot on the heels of a staggeringly condescending letter to Priti Patel signed by various Labour MPs that accused the Home Secretary of using her race to ‘gaslight other minority communities’, this latest desperate leap on the BLM bandwagon by Her Majesty’s Opposition wheeled out the usual Labour copyright claim on race issues. Florence Eshalomi sought to uphold the oppressed immigrant victim narrative so beloved of the left and it was immediately evident the gambit had backfired brilliantly. Priti Patel disputed the accusation that her government doesn’t understand racial inequality.

‘On that basis,’ Patel retorted, ‘it must have been a very different Home Secretary who as a child was frequently called a paki in the playground, a very different Home Secretary who was racially abused in the streets or even advised to drop her surname and use her husband’s in order to advance her career, a different Home Secretary recently characterised in the Guardian newspaper as a fat cow with a ring through its nose, something that was not only racist but offensive both culturally and religiously. This is hardly an example of respect, equality, tolerance or fairness; so when it comes to racism, sexism, tolerance or social justice, I will not take lectures from the other side of the House…and sadly, too many people are too willing, too casual to dismiss the contributions of those who don’t necessarily conform to preconceived views or ideas about how ethnic minorities should behave or think. This…is racist in itself.’

The Labour MP didn’t call Patel an ‘Uncle Tom’, but the implication was inherent in her arrogant assumption that only Labour has the right to narrate this saga. Four great Offices of State and two of them held by British Asians rather than the evil white men who should always occupy them in order to validate the left’s story arc – that wasn’t in the script. And what a script; primarily penned by the self-loathing white middle-class that has echoes across the Atlantic at the heart of the Democratic Party, the politically-correct facade of tolerance obscuring a myriad of old-school bigotry and nastiness. Priti Patel doesn’t fit the narrative, so she’s fair game to be demonised in a racist character assassination as vile as any the left routinely accuses its enemies of.

Ditto the recent graffiti on the statue of Queen Victoria in Leeds – look beyond the historically inaccurate ‘slavery’ sloganeering and notice the statue’s breasts and genitals have been highlighted in spray-paint; what does that say to you about the ‘artist’s’ attitudes to women? Funny how so many who wear their Woke colours with pride are – beneath the approved T-shirt and the perceived immunity that comes from occupying the moral high ground – utterly guilty of everything they are quick to weaponise and aim at anyone who doesn’t fall into line; one might conclude the shame over their own thought-crimes is manifested as transferring them onto the enemy. One particular Facebook ‘friend’ of mine is such a prolific virtue-signaller for all the correct causes that her posts imply she’s one of the kindest, most compassionate people you could ever wish to meet, when she is in fact one of the most unpleasantly manipulative and nastiest individuals imaginable. But I keep her in my newsfeed because I derive amusement from her hypocrisy.

At times like this, it’s always apt to defer to a man who nailed it 80 years ago – George Orwell. How long, one wonders, before some possessed fanatic discovers such a wry critic of the British Empire in its decrepit redundancy was actually employed as a colonial copper in Burma and decides his statue outside the BBC deserves the ‘racist’ epithet? You heard it here first. Of course, Orwell’s impression of the Empire came from the one thing today’s obsessive experts on it don’t have – first-hand experience; but his experience – and gradual disillusionment with – the left in this country seems the most relevant and timeless when placed in a contemporary context. His 1941 essay, ‘England Your England’, is as well worth a read as either of his two most famous works of fiction in what it has to say about where we are now.

‘It should be noted that there is now no intelligentsia that is not in some sense Left,’ he writes – and with the mainstream media of 2020 forbidding any diversity of thought or opinion, that certainly rings true. ‘The mentality of the English left-wing intelligentsia can be studied in half-a-dozen weekly and monthly papers,’ he goes on. ‘The immediately striking thing about all these papers is their generally negative, querulous attitude, their complete lack at all times of any constructive suggestion.’ When was the last time you saw anything but what he describes in the pages of the Guardian? Everything is shit, everything is rotten and corrupt, everything is beyond repair, and – it goes without saying – everything is racist.

When he writes ‘under this is the really important fact about so many of the English intelligentsia – their severance from the common culture of the country,’ one cannot help but instantly think of the political class’s failure to anticipate – and its reaction to – Brexit. ‘England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality,’ he writes. ‘In left-wing circles, it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution.’ The contemporary left narrative certainly endorses that statement; in Orwell’s day, naturally, most Englishmen were white; if one were to insert the word ‘white’ before the word ‘Englishman’, that last quoted passage would make even more sense in 2020, where the disgrace is embodied in ‘taking the knee’.

But perhaps his opinion on how the left of the 1930s was complicit in creating a sense of the English being a defeated, redundant race that they themselves should be ashamed of highlights how doing so leaves the English vulnerable to the enemy within. ‘All through the critical years,’ he writes, ‘many left-wingers were chipping away at English morale, trying to spread an outlook that was sometimes squashily pacifist, sometimes violently pro-Russian, but always anti-British. It is questionable how much effect this had, but it certainly had some. If the English people suffered for several years a real weakening of morale, so that the Fascist nations judged that they were decadent and that it was safe to plunge into war, the intellectual sabotage from the left was partly responsible.’ Witness the response to what happened last weekend – or this – from the left; the violent desecration by their side was justified because the hymn sheet is the same one passed around the whole congregation, and those at the top have been distributing it for years.

Fear of reprisals governs discourse. One is not allowed to question or query the incoherent manifesto of an organisation that wants to defund the police, destroy the nuclear family and effectively reorganise society along the lines of a neo-Marxist kibbutz. As the FA follows the same cynical line as all other public bodies, institutions, companies and corporations in enforcing BLM on football shirts with the ‘you must wear this or else’ decree previously applied to the LGBT rainbow logo, any resistance will result in instant dismissal; ditto the black square on social media. Funnily enough, the same sporting authority informed any England player refusing to give the Nazi salute when the team lined-up to play Germany in Berlin in 1938 that they would never be picked for their country again. Wonder if Orwell watched the game?

© The Editor


There’s an especially memorable ‘Yes, Prime Minister’ episode in which an exasperated Jim Hacker decides to clip Sir Humphrey’s expanding wings a little by locking the interior adjoining door that enables his cocksure Cabinet Secretary to stride into No.10 from the Cabinet Office; incensed and outraged by this sudden challenge to his overbearing authority, Sir Humphrey is forced to walk the long way round along Whitehall and protests with characteristic ‘how dare you?’ pomposity. Enjoying seeing the power behind the throne losing it, Hacker then takes things a step further by removing Sir Humphrey’s Downing Street pass, thus denying him access altogether. Eventually, all is back to normal by the end of the episode; but the PM has made his point.

I was reminded of this over the weekend when one of the Home Office’s top civil servants, Sir Philip Rutnam, resigned his post as Permanent Secretary in melodramatic fashion by delivering a vociferous critique of Home Secretary Priti Patel. The usual sympathy that might accompany a resignation prompted by alleged bullying in the workplace was tempered somewhat by the detectable Sir Humphrey-like sense of entitlement in Sir Philip’s statement. This is a man who himself had a reputation as being difficult to work with and appears to have embodied all the arrogance that comes with a lengthy stint in the upper echelons of the civil service. Choosing to resign in such a public and narcissistic manner was almost reminiscent of a TV personality begging for forgiveness after being caught on camera snorting coke with rent boys; and only an idiot or opportunist could express empathy with Sir Philip’s tragic plight.

Promising to issue a claim against the Home Office for ‘constructive dismissal’, Sir Philip accused Priti Patel of being behind an orchestrated smear campaign against him, alleging she held him responsible for briefing the media about the Home Secretary’s rumoured conduct towards employees. Patel is apparently guilty of ‘swearing, belittling people, and making unreasonable and repeated demands’, so up stepped Sir Philip in an act of (in his own words) ‘bravery’ to out the Home Secretary and shine an unflattering light on the clandestine machinations of the Home Office under Patel. It is worth noting, however, that Sir Philip’s stint in the top job is poised to be exposed in similarly unflattering light with the imminent report into the Windrush scandal and the part he played under the regime of Amber Rudd; his recent actions could therefore be viewed as something of a pre-emptive strike.

Lest we forget, the Whitehall civil service was itself accused of an overwhelming Remainer stance during last year’s Brexit battles, suspected of playing its part in obstructing progress and allying itself with Labour and Lib Dem aims to thwart the implementation of the outcome of the EU Referendum. The civil service was exposed as an autonomous establishment mole at odds with government policy – something it could get away with during a period of minority administration; for a majority government whose intentions to resolve the issue by honouring the electorate’s 2016 mandate to then come into office was bound to shake the foundations a little, so Sir Philip was perhaps looking for an excuse to make a getaway with handsome redundancy package intact. This was apparently arranged in advance, though the egotistical craving to air his sour grapes placed that severance payment in jeopardy, hence his headline-grabbing stunt and opportunistic signal to the left by playing the victim.

The left has latched onto Sir Philip Rutnam as an unlikely ‘heroic’ whistleblower, though this symbol of the privileged and unelected autocracy of the Whitehall civil service is only really being feted because the language of his resignation speech upholds the ‘we told you so’ mindset of the left re Priti Patel. The incumbent Home Secretary seems to embody everything they find objectionable about British-born Indians – i.e. the refusal to adhere to the ‘immigrant victim’ narrative and tendency not to vote Labour due to their aspirational ambitions. Patel herself is a descendant of Ugandan Asians, though her family migrated to the mother country before Idi Amin expelled the architects of the independent Ugandan economy in 1972. Like many of Hindu descent raised during British rule, Patel has inherited the Protestant Work Ethic and instinctively resists playing the patronising part assigned to her by the opposition. She may not be the brightest button to hold one of the major offices of state, but the ill-advised liaison with Israeli officials that provoked her ejection from Theresa May’s Cabinet in 2017 earned her the undying enmity of the left, so the latest storm in a teacup was the gift that an increasingly desperate Labour Party was looking for to condemn her further.

The recent resignation of Sajid Javid as Chancellor, which he claimed was down to pressure from No.10 to replace his own personal advisers with SPADs of Dominic Cummings’ own choosing, has fed into the current ‘crisis’ storyline re the Government, though Patel has been under disproportionate scrutiny for months. The below-the-belt Andrew Marr accusation that she was smirking during an interview as the subject of society’s less fortunate members was raised highlighted the somewhat pathetic straw-clutching by her opponents, something that has resurfaced in the wake of Sir Philip’s grandstanding exit.

Obviously, not being a Home Office minion myself, I cannot comment with any accuracy on the validity of the accusations against Priti Patel regarding her ‘bullying’ tendencies, but the media reaction to such allegations do speak volumes as to what kind of individual we want running the Home Office. I would surmise most of the holders of the post of Home Secretary have been guilty of displaying ‘bastard’ tendencies over the years; but do we want a primary school teacher with a touchy-feely Call me Tony/Dave approach at this moment in time – or do we want a whip-cracker who will lay down the law and not take any shit from civil servants at odds with government policy? Nobody gets to such high office by being a nice guy/girl, so we shouldn’t necessarily expect a potential CBeebies babysitter to be in charge of an institution most would agree is in need of an iron fist.

Were Priti Patel a Labour rather than Conservative MP, she would no doubt be celebrated as an example of Britain’s ‘diversity’; she would be a multicultural poster-girl demonstrating that ethnicity is no impediment to achievement. As it is, her unfashionable views on capital punishment and steely-eyed attitude to Radical Islam have turned her into a trendy hate figure in the same way that Sajid Javid’s successor at No.11 has already been targeted because of his similar reluctance to adhere to the expectations his origins demand. An online campaign against such an innocuous brand as Yorkshire Tea simply because Rishi Sunak posed with a box of said beverage a week or so ago says so much about how low the opposition will go when their main priority is arguing over ‘Trans-rights’. And they can’t understand why they’re not in office?

© The Editor


Yes, amidst the relentless Woke propaganda that constitutes the morning schedule of Radio 4, there are still some shows that are good to shave to; I heard one this morning, part of a series going behind the scenes of one-time headlines and examining the way in which the media re-jigs a story to suit its particular agenda. This edition of ‘The Corrections’ dealt with the 2016 street attack and murder of Harlow-based Pole Arkadiuz Joswik by a gang of juvenile delinquents; the horrible incident was almost immediately labelled a hate-crime inspired by Brexit, despite little evidence that the teenage perpetrators had Leave in mind when they inflicted the assault. Harlow has a large East European immigrant community and the distict is pro-Brexit; join the dots.

However, as a journalist interviewed for the programme pointed out, Fleet Street scribes are rarely dispatched to any newsworthy location without a remit. He gave a made-up example of being sent to somewhere like Blackpool. Commanded to write a sorry story of urban decay, said hack would visit all the most deprived parts of town out-of-season, study derelict high-streets, speak to depressed locals, Labour councillors etc. Then turn things around – write a tale of Blackpool’s regeneration: make the journey on a crowded Bank Holiday Monday, describe a swarm of happy holiday-makers, have some civic dignitary show-off plans for a new leisure complex or shopping centre etc. One person’s fake news is evidently another’s truth.

Okay, I appreciate it’s hardly revelatory that impartiality and objectivity are absent from the newsprint medium; it has always reflected the interests and bias of its editors and proprietors, not to say its readers. When it comes to broadcast media, on the other hand, the BBC has traditionally prided itself on impartiality and objectivity, even though this stance has taken rather a battering of late. Attempts to uphold the alleged breaching of editorial guidelines by ‘Breakfast’ presenter Naga Munchetty via her reaction to a report on Trump have left the Corporation with egg on its face once again; and on the subject of Brexit, the BBC’s pro-Remain position is woefully blatant, not only in the field of current affairs, but in every genre from drama to comedy; the subtext is both persistent and consistent. Hah hah hah – stupid racist Brexiteers; ooh – dangerous racist Brexiteers.

But this is the age of the nodding dog echo-chamber, lest we forget. If you have a point of view and you’d rather have it reinforced than challenged, there’s a whole community out there that agrees with you. Just make sure you don’t upset them. The online obsession with child abuse of a historic nature gave rise to some of the most extreme fanaticism yet seen, and it’s telling that even when certain untruths were belatedly exposed as such by the MSM, the refusal to accept what certain brave souls had been ripped to shreds for saying years before is still the line to take for some. As the main focus of R4’s ‘The Corrections’ reminded listeners, once a story is set in stone, for many that means it remains that way for good, especially if it chimes with an individual’s rigid beliefs.

Amazingly, regardless of the trial and sentencing of the discredited Carl Beech for his litany of lies that ruined many lives, a few fanatics continue to give credence to the convicted paedophile’s lurid fantasies – perhaps because some of those fanatics helped feed them in the first place. Despite the 2016 publication of a damning report into Operation Midland, one that referred a Deputy Assistant Commissioner and four detectives to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, it still took until Beech was in the dock before it became safe to say out loud that he was full of shit. And now a more uncut version of ex-high court judge Richard Henrique’s report has reinstated the redacted confirmation that the men from the Met conspired and agreed to irresponsibly announce that Beech’s tall tales of Westminster’s VIP Paedo Ring were ‘credible and true’ when the investigation had barely begun.

Scotland Yard’s ‘institutional stupidity’ is laid bare in the report. The decision to publicly back Beech was made by Det. Sgt Kenny McDonald (now retired) and then-Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Rodhouse, in response to which Henriques writes ‘I find it an error for two very senior officers who have never met a witness and, in the DAC’s case, not in himself read either Nick’s interviews or blogs, to announce to the press and public that they believe the witness.’ Current Met Chief Cressida Dick was, at the time, assistant commissioner of specialist operations, which included sexual abuse cases, though she is understandably reluctant to sanction further probing. Ditto Labour’s Deputy Leader, whose own grubby role in the sordid affair is writ large by Henriques. Tom Watson, who met Beech and encouraged him to pursue his allegations, is blamed for putting further pressure on officers; Henriques says ‘there can be no doubt’ Bunter ‘believed Nick’. Well, bugger me.

Though not the brightest of buttons in a Cabinet admittedly hardly overflowing with intellectual giants, Priti Patel this week followed in the footsteps of another female Home Secretary (AKA Mrs May) by refusing to kowtow to the police force. Patel has ordered a fresh inquiry into the damaging moral crusade that was Operation Midland, something Cressida Dick continues to resist, as do those rewarded with retirement or transferred to a cushy job at the National Crime Agency (i.e. McDonald and Rodhouse respectively). Whether any of the guilty men responsible for the ‘43 failings by investigators’ or the impressive waste of taxpayers’ money – £2.5 million, of course – or the needless tarnishing of reputations will ever answer for this disaster remains to be seen. Over to you, Home Secretary.

Unfortunately, as stated earlier about stories set in stone, there will forevermore be the ‘ah, but…’ factor even if innocence has been proven and a lie has been confirmed. Once a ‘fact’ is fixed in the public perception, it’s very hard to dispel it; whether proof of a myth comes via a Court of Law or an editorial apology, it makes no difference; for some, the belief that if smoke was once sighted there’s bound to be a fire somewhere is a permanent position. As Derren Brown has shown for entertainment and bad therapists with the default setting of childhood abuse as a response to any adult calamity regularly demonstrate, planting seeds in pliable minds is easily done. And if those seeds were obtained from the agendas of broadcasters, so be it, alas.


© The Editor


It’s funny, but 2016 already seems like a long time ago – much further back in time than a mere three years, anyway. Yesterday, I skimmed through a few posts on here from the moment at which Theresa May moved into Downing Street and there was mention of her mini-‘Night of The Long Knives’ reshuffle. I can barely even remember that now, but there it was in black-and-white, describing how the post-Cameron clear-out of the Cabinet saw P45s handed to the likes of Dave stalwarts Osborne, Gove, Morgan and Whittingdale; yes, the last name has all-but vanished from memory, though I seem to recall talk of liaisons with an ‘escort’ making the headlines at some point. Perhaps the fact that Mrs May fired a few Ministers when she grabbed the poisoned chalice has been utterly forgotten due to the record number that left of their own volition during her brief tenure in office; some of them have now come in from the cold at the behest of Boris.

Following the now-customary exercise in sentimental insincerity that accompanies the farewell performance of a Prime Minister at the dispatch-box, Mrs May was swiftly dispatched to the past tense by her successor – as were most of her Ministers. The speed that the new PM employed was undoubtedly necessary; after all, he only has 99 days to keep his most important promise; but the scale of the ‘massacre’ perhaps reflected the urgency he exhibited during his rapid-fire inaugural address before the press yesterday afternoon. He doesn’t have the luxury of test-driving Ministers with L-plates; it makes much more sense to assemble essentially the same ‘Team Boris’ he would have put together three years ago had his anticipated coronation not been postponed and he’d had a little more breathing space than he has now.

Some of the most inflexible Remainers – Hammond, Stewart, Lidington, Gauke – walked the plank voluntarily, whereas Jeremy (he’s an entrepreneur) Hunt decided to jump rather than face demotion. All would have been obstructive obstacles to Johnson’s intentions, yet a notable Brexiteer such as Penny Mordaunt has also been shown the door, presumably because she supported Hunt in the leadership contest. One of the first to sign-up to the Leave side in 2016, the incomparably incompetent Chris Grayling, has gone too – though I was quite looking forward to seeing which Ministry he’d be let loose on next. Plenty of Ministers whose names are so forgettable that their faces are impossible to evoke have been axed as well, the kind like Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley or Culture and Digital Minister Jeremy Wright (no, me neither), whose lack of interest in (or qualification for) the posts they were awarded mirrored the cluelessness of the woman who awarded them.

Back in March, the avalanche of resignations left 15 ministerial posts vacant; it began to look like either nobody wanted them or the dearth of talent within the Conservative Party meant there was nobody to fill them. The return of Amber Rudd to the Cabinet, a year after the former Home Secretary had been forced to carry the can for Windrush policies instigated by Mrs May, highlighted the PM’s desperation. Now Rudd is one of the few survivors of the cull, having shrewdly amended her opposition to the No Deal option. She breathes a sigh of relief alongside Sajid Javid, Michael Gove, Liz Truss and Matt Hancock. Amongst the notable returning ex-Ministers are Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Andrea Leadsom, Esther McVey, Nicky Morgan, Theresa Villiers, and that crafty Gavin Williamson, creeping back in with the stealth of a certain tarantula after a mere 84 days in the sin bin. Brother Jo is back too.

Swapping the Home Office for the Treasury is not the most optimistic of moves when one is made aware of Sajid Javid’s somewhat questionable grasp of figures. In his senior managerial role at Deutsche Bank before he entered Parliament, Javid enthusiastically embraced a tax-avoidance scheme that resulted in a courtroom defeat when it was exposed; as Business Secretary, he ended the Business Growth Service, a much-needed and profitable sponsor of small businesses; and he also gave the green light to the sale of Tata Steel’s Scunthorpe branch to a company with a disastrous track record, a company which upheld its reputation with the swift slide of British Steel into administration. Let’s hope he remembers to pack his calculator when he moves in to No.11. Like the resurfacing of Priti Patel’s previous (?) views on capital punishment now that she has been promoted to Home Secretary, Javid’s present will inevitably be viewed through the prism of his past if he buggers it up.

Ironically, for all the talk of the hard right and its rigid racial/social elitism having seized control, some have pointed out the accidental ‘multicultural mix’ at the very tip of the Tory iceberg. On Twitter, journalist Tom Harwood asked if this was the most ‘Woke’ the four great offices of state have ever been – ‘The grandson of a Turkish Muslim, the daughter of Indian-Ugandan Hindus, the son of Pakistani Muslims, and the son of a Jewish Czech refugee.’ Or is this backdoor diversity, achieved organically and without any inclusivity committees, shortlists and affirmative-action initiatives? Of course, the ethnic origins of those mentioned should be irrelevant to the skills required for the job, but it’s not difficult to imagine how the Labour Party would have made something of a song-and-dance about having a ‘Diversity Cabinet’ and milked it to the max.

The Ministers May fired in 2016 were expected to be troublesome from the backbenches, though Mrs May found those actually in the Cabinet (certainly after 2017) far more troublesome than the odd Rees-Mogg outside the tent pissing-in. But May’s concerns were initially eased by the fact she inherited a working majority from her predecessor; the same does not apply for Boris. If the Tories lose the upcoming Brecon and Radnorshire by-election to the Lib Dems, Johnson’s majority will be reduced to two. There’s no doubt the absence of time before a certain deadline has prompted the new PM into acting with such ruthless swiftness, but I suspect a motion of no confidence emanating from a Labour-Lib Dem alliance will only come when/if a package from Brussels sprouts before the Commons. However, if the Tory ‘rebels’ will be sufficiently irked at losing their jobs and sufficiently dedicated to the Remain agenda to vote down their own Government, the General Election to follow could well make real their recurring nightmare of a Corbyn administration. We shall see.

This week’s heat-wave may not last as long as the dry spell that made last summer so uncomfortable for those of us averse to a tropical climate, but I’ve a feeling the temperature will remain extremely high in Westminster until the autumn. Boris knows he has to deliver and deliver fast. If he’s to avoid presiding over the shortest tenure at No.10 in history, he needs to keep the knotted hanky mothballed and work through the holiday season. He’s made a start.

© The Editor


Yes, it’s inevitable, but it’s also irresistible; and I’m going to say it. To lose one member of the Cabinet may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two seems like carelessness. Okay, I’ve said it, but Theresa May has lost it. Granted, she never really had it; her premiership has been a slow suicide from the off. But to have an already shaky administration disrupted twice in seven days raises yet more questions of leadership – or lack of. Boris putting his foot in it again is par for the course, but it didn’t matter as much when he was a chat-show backbencher or even Mayor of London; when you hold one of the four great offices of state, however, getting by on buffoonish charm isn’t enough – especially when the liberty of a British subject imprisoned in Iran could be threatened further by the Foreign Secretary’s clumsily cavalier attitude towards his job.

Boris is safe for the moment, though; in a Cabinet infected by subversive Remainers eager to throw a spanner in the Brexit works, a cheerleading Brexiteer like Boris is vital to uphold Theresa May’s pre-Election promise of a Hard Brexit. There’s also the old Lincoln maxim about keeping your friends close and your enemies closer, of course. It’s no coincidence the PM brought Michael Gove back into the fold; the prospect of Boris also exiled to the backbenches, given free rein to make mischief and plot her downfall from afar, is the kind of additional anxiety she could do without. Better to have those with an eye on her job in the same room, where she can see them – a bit like when teachers move the most troublesome pupils to the desks at the front of the classroom.

Gideon quitting as an MP to become full-time editor of the Evening Osborne undoubtedly helped the Prime Minister in the Commons, though his anti-May agenda being broadcast to Londoners on a daily basis must irk her. The forced resignation of her International Development Secretary, however, is a more pressing headache she could have done without. Patel’s error in meeting senior Israeli politicians in an unofficial capacity, and without Foreign Office clearance, may seem a minor infringement of diplomatic protocol, but whether or not her error was mere naivety or simple stupidity, the resulting furore left her position untenable.

The PM’s problem is losing a Bright Young Thing who contradicts the electorate’s image of privileged, privately-educated conveyor-belt Conservatives; and the last thing a Government bereft of a majority needs is to keep shedding members that make it look as if it couldn’t run the proverbial brewery piss-up.

Priti Patel was one of the Prime Minister’s predecessor’s pet projects to upgrade the public perception of the Conservative Party – young, photogenic and Asian. When David Cameron made a point of announcing he once met ‘a black man’ during the TV leaders’ debates during the 2010 General Election, it complemented his promotion of the unelected Baroness Warsi to his inner circle as Minister for Tokenism…sorry, Minister for Faith and Communities; the emergence of a figure such as Priti Patel, actually voted for by the electorate of Witham (in Essex), was a further feather in the Tory diversity cap. But a week on from the loss of Sex God Michael Fallon for the gross moral turpitude of touching the knee of an Express scribe fifteen years ago, the loss of a fairly inconsequential Parliamentarian is nevertheless another body blow to a PM who is widely regarded as being about as effective as a weak supply teacher incapable of controlling an unruly class.

Brexiteers without Portfolio such as Jacob Rees-Mogg have hinted that Priti Patel’s forced resignation was engineered by Cabinet Remainers, whereas Labour’s porky deputy Tom Watson has suggested the Foreign Office was aware of Patel’s presence in Israel whilst publicly claiming it had no idea what the International Development Secretary was up to on her ‘holiday’. Whatever the truth of Patel’s odd activities, the fact remains she’s lost her job in the May administration and the PM now has to undergo one more reshuffle that has been thrust upon her; but it seems resignations – voluntary or otherwise – are the only way Theresa May can be prompted into rearranging her Cabinet furniture.

Patel’s exit comes just hours before Brexit negotiations reach their sixth round; to use an FA Cup analogy, that means we’re only two games away from Wembley – or it did before football’s governing body decided the national stadium could be devalued further by hosting the competition’s semi-final matches as well. The Times today reported that the EU is preparing for ‘the fall of Theresa May before the New Year’ as a result of the past seven days, which will trigger ‘a change of leadership or elections leading to a Labour victory’. This was rebuffed by IDS on ‘Today’ this morning, though his belief that the PM is ‘the one person who can actually still unite the Cabinet, the country and the party’ says all you need to know about a man who blames the decline and fall of Western Civilisation on unmarried men.

For the moment, Theresa May will cling on – and on, and on; but it’s hard to come away from the latest car-crash without concluding this is a Government treading water, feeling more like the Major administration of the mid-90s or the Brown one of the late noughties than a party that technically won a General Election just five months ago. As has been pointed out before, however, the most accurate comparison one can make is with Jim Callaghan’s Government of 1976-79, particularly during the testing time following the collapse of the 1977/78 Lib-Lab Pact. What happens next is anyone’s guess; but I can guarantee it won’t be Priti.

© The Editor