Sunday 12 June 2016

Open Thread

Wow! Our second-ever open thread...

Please ignore the tumbleweed.


  1. VOTE LEAVE! Ignore the continuing Remainiac propaganda offensive on the BBC. Just because Huw Edwards look serious when he intones: "Today the [fill in blank for EU-funded organisation]have warned that the UK face [fill in blank with suitably scary warning however unlikely]." and then several minutes later after various BBC reporters have confirmed how genuine and objective these warnings are, raises a sceptical eyebrow as he quotes a Leave spokesperson "claiming" this objective truth is actually not.

  2. Yes, having studied the facts, I shall be voting Leave. But I could have reached the same conclusion just by noting the kind of pond-life that wants me to vote Remain; their filthy, underhand, tactics confirm me in this view!

  3. Apologies in advance for the split comment, but it was an amusing and revealing Marr this morning worth going over the character limt. Andrew Marr introduced a guest this morning as a "former Bush adviser and Republican commentator". Quite a health warning, but the guest is David Frum, who is slightly less conservative than David Cameron and worshiped Obama. He's the voice of the center-left Republican establishment, not the majority of Republicans, and certainly not the majority of conservatives in the US. If Frum represented the conservative consensus, more people would have turned out to vote for Romney in 2012, and Trump wouldn't be the nominee this year.

    During the paper review, they noted that Hillary has a trust problem, but the only example mentioned is the latest scandal about how she appointed one of her big donors to an important national security committee where he could gather info for his business connections. Frum even pointed out that the evidence came from emails from Cheryl Mills, but NO MENTION AT ALL of Hillary's email scandal. None.

    Marr asked Frum, "You've been a Republican a long time" would he still vote for Trump over Hillary. Of course Frum is an establishment tool, and prefers Crooked Hillary, so he refused to answer the question.

    Baroness Kennedy now interrupting a good rebuttal from Dia Charkrabaty to her lie about how all of Remain's economic claims are facts, "all being looked at with great care," by shouting, "Is this BBC trying to be fair that you give 10 minutes to somebody...." before Marr stopped her. He helpfully moved the discussion on to save her sorry ass. She then went on to say the referendum debate has become "rather nasty". Kennedy dismissed it as unfair, panic from the Republican side.

    Frum told Kennedy that maybe they should try to act like they're listening to voters instead of telling them they're wrong and insulting them. Kennedy hated that. So he closed the topic by giving a "warning from America". If you don't make people think you're addressing their concerns, you get Donald Trump. Pretty much answers the previous question, then. Kennedy asked if he was for Brexit, and again he refused to answer. Moving on to the topic of David Cameron and his future after the vote, Frum expressed his admiration for the PM and said that he is the right man for the times. So that answers the previous question, then.

    On to Farage. Marr's first point to him was that FTSE and the market was down last week because of fears about Brexit. "It's a fact. It is a fact." These are honest people trying to "price in the risk of Brexit." Of course, Red Andy forgot that Farage actually worked in the real world for many years, and knows it has little to do with Brexit and everything to do with UK growth predictions being written down a couple points, and bad economic news from the US, and that the FTSE was at the same level it was in March.

    Marr basically couldn't touch Farage after that, and gave up on the economic points - an audible concessionary "okay" in reaction to an excellent point about the difference between the original Common Market and the sainted Single Market. Marr tried it again soon, but Farage had ready answers, concisely put, and managed not to blame the weather on immigration.

    (continued below)

  4. (2/2)

    Marr's next attempt was on the silly "The EU has brought peace to the continent, won't there be anger and fighting after Brexit?" Every time I hear some Remainiac idiot try this line out, I want to ask them if they're actually saying that Brexit would mean the breakup of the EU itself.

    Finally we get to immigration. Farage was again calm and had the ready answers to all of Marr's hyperbole. Every attack more or less easily swatted away. He tried many different angles which he and his producers obviously thought would be gotcha moments. Farage called him out on it eventually, it was so transparent.

    Anybody who says Marr destroyed Farage or made him look bad is lying. Marr did make several challenges, and it's not my fault he wasn't standing on solid ground when he made them. The only way this comes out as a defeat for Farage is if you just didn't like his answers before he even came on the show.

    Now Cameron. Great to see Red Andy cozy up to a Tory leader. I hope he's eating his own liver over having to do this. First question is about the latest scaremongering about pensioners being hurt by Brexit. Cameron didn't answer, but instead recited the boilerplate about access to 500 million consumers (a figure about as real as Leave's £

    "A wall of investment" will happen (I think he meant flood) if Britain votes Remain. Really? How so, and why then and not two years ago? Was the question Marr didn't ask before moving back to giving Cameron a second chance to back up his scaremongering about pensioners. The answer was that the government's pension promises were based on a rosy, successful economic scenario, so the economic crash after Brexit would mean he'd have to "make some difficult choices". So Brexit would be to blame for pensioners being squeezed, not him, he'd have no choice.

    It's a bad answer, Marr knows it, so tries again by quoting somebody about how the economic hit - short term, not long term - would be less than the 2008 crash. Cameron repeated the "Don't risk it" line, phrased with the points in a different order. "People believe you are over-stating the case," replied Marr. Scolding, almost. They've stopped listening to you, he tells Cameron, this Project Fear thing isn't working. "They simply don't believe you," and it's all a bit "Vote Remain or the puppy gets it!"

    Cameron doesn't want to hear it. "It's my job as PM" to tell the public important information about their future, etc. Marr thought he was throwing Cameron a lifeline, but Cameron used the rope to hang himself instead. Marr has given up trying to guide him towards the right answer now, and is now saying that his numbers are "made up". Cameron woke up and went positive instead. But couldn't help himself by saying, "we shouldn't risk it" at the end. Sensing the improvement, Marr pushed him to go further with the positive, and Cameron gratefully complied.

    Whew! Marr finally got his guest to present his argument the correct way. Unlike how he handled Farage, where he tried more to goad Farage into being as negative as possible. The rest of it is more of the same: Cameron saying “We’ll be taking a risk” over and over as if doing a Rain Man impression at this point, with Marr fighting against him like an adviser behind the scenes trying to get the message out right.
    This is going on much longer than Farage's segment. Over 22 minutes compared to about 15.

    1. The scaremongering of pensioners is prompted entirely by the demographics of Leave/Remain voters and smacks of not a little desperation. All of Cameron’s replies were just spin and waffle.

    2. It was pretty disgraceful. Marr was practically screaming at him to stop with the fearmongering and lies because he's letting down the side.

  5. Just read about Orlando massacre. How is BBC spinning this? - 'It has nothing to do with religion!'

    1. They've been running with the White House talking points: The US needs more gun control, and we must all stand against homophobia.

      The extent of the mass murderer's connections to ISIS is unclear, as if that makes a difference.

    2. They literally have. It's an old BBC trick. What they do is they take the White House line - something about "no definitive proven link with IS" - and they use that as the sub-heading. The headline becomes "No link between IS and Orlando killings" and you have to find your way through five paras of the actual story before you discover (a) he was in touch with IS-linked people and (b) he pledged allegiance to IS as his certain martyrdom approached!

      I love a lot of the BBC but I really can't stand to see it survive because of this deliberate distortion of public opinion = bare-faced lying.

  6. I had to smile at the short feature the BBC slotted into today’s Daily Politics to demonstrate the lengths their interviewers go to insure impartiality. To paraphrase Andrew Marr they are only there to serve the interests of the viewers and ask the questions we want to ask. An almost naive lack of self-awareness, bolstered by an endemic sense of BBC self-importance or a just cynical little piece to rebut any accusations of bias? Maybe both.

    1. It's always both. The latter necessitated by the former, usually.

    2. They have regular spots on radio saying (paraphrase) "Are you confused by the claims and counterclaims in the Referendum campaign? Come to the Reality Check site and we will provide you with the BBC-approved truth" (which might just happen to be ever so slightly, actually quite a bit, PRO REMAIN!) So VOTE LEAVE if you have a vote.

    3. The narrative that the public is confused and simply aren't informed properly due to deliberately foul campaigning is a Remain talking point. Every time I hear some vox pops saying they're tired of the spin and fearmongering and just want the facts, nobody's giving them facts, they always turn out to be for Remain in the end.

      Serendipitously, it's also the same narrative the BBC peddles every time there's a vote up and the public doesn't appear to be voting correctly.

  7. Not bbc bias but made me chuckle; How come Corbyn won't share a platform with Cameron because he doesn't want to condone his views on austerity but he will share one with Hamas?

    1. I have always said Corbyn is a lot cleverer than people think...they thought his union backers had him all tied up in a pro-Remain campaign. What does he do? Appear on a cr*ppy comedy prog for teens and students, playing the fool in the faux fur...just to get the message absolutely across to Labour voters: I am not seriously pro-Remain. Genius! Another two points to Leave!!!

  8. On the Daily Politics today, Jo Coburn did an appeal to authority citing BBC Reality Check as fact to debunk the latest Remain talking point about how much extra the government would have to spend after Brexit and on what. Of course, good old Digby Jones was actually saying both sides were pushing guesses as fact, but Jo only picked one side to break down in detail.

    The reality is that the BBC's Fact Check propagandists actually said that the claims were openly qualified by Leave that it was all based on the assumption that the economy would only shrink a couple points, but the economist in the street says it'll be more than that.

    So really it's a guess, as Digby was saying, not a lie as Jo was intimating.

    One can find an economist to claim any old BS is true as easily as one can find a homeless person who'll take $20 to stand in line for you for concert tickets. It should be obvious which one has more integrity, as only one is acting in the interests of his own belief system.

    I had no idea that Rachel Reeves was a Bank of England economist. That might be because I've never heard it mentioned before when introducing her, because this is the first time I've seen her on the BBC speaking on economics.

    Project Fear. Sterling has fallen, the stock markets have fallen, money is leaving the UK. It will be a recession: people losing their homes, and people losing their jobs (she got that talking point backwards, I think).

    After Jo repeated every single bullet point phrased as a question to Lord Digby, he called BS on Project Fear. Sterling is higher than it was in March. Reeves stammered and Jo jumped in to the rescue. Unfortunately, this became a pattern.

    It went downhill from there. Rachel Reeves was floundering so badly she made a sexist attack on Digby. It was quite shameless, and Jo barely made a murmur to get her back on track.

    She later did an Evan Davis and restated something Lord Digby said about an acceptable skills-based immigration policy. Jo restated it as him totally accepting "freedom of movement", full stop. Sad.

    More Project Fear from Reeves. She actually said that one fear is that the EU would break up into independent countries, and it would be right "back to the '30s and '40s, and all the instability there." WWIII is a Remain talking point. These people are pathetic.

    Reeves was more sour than usual, but dense and stubborn as usual. Hopefully the Bank of England has re-examined its hiring standards since her day.

    Oh, we got the Only The EU Can Grant Us Workers' Rights talking point. That has to be a giveaway that the EU ultimately runs the show, and anyone who pushes that line is openly ceding national sovereignty in exchange for ideology.

    Next segment is the candidates running for MP in Sadiq Khan's and Citizen Smith's old haunt. First question to the Muslim female doctor Labour candidate: "Are you a Corbynista?"

    Cue Complaints From Both Sides. Even I was a bit shocked by it. She's obviously not, and the BBC knew, so it was a gotcha. What were they trying to prove by that? What does it accomplish other than to wind up the Corbynistas - or, more likely, I suspect, to reassure the local voters that she's Good Labour.

    Jeremy Corbyn does have a point.

  9. Rachel Reeves is clearly a very bright lady and in many ways does represent the more sensible wing of the Labour Party, but I do agree that the sexist comment was a cheap shot. Particularly as both she and Digby Jones were both doing very well interrupting each other. A score of one all, I think. But at least Digby Jones, as you have already commented, admitted that most of the “facts” so far in this debate have been speculation.
    But she was very wrong about what is perhaps the most salient point, and something Jo Coburn passed over without a murmur: the demonstrably unrealistic belief that the EU can be reformed. How does Rachel Reeves imagine that this can accomplished when all of the trends over the last few decades show the EU gradually eroding the power of democratically elected national governments - excluding the possibility of reform. Even with the very real threat of a leave vote in the referendum Cameron came back from Europe with almost nothing - hardly even crumbs. What magic card do the Remainers have in their hands?
    But once again the BBC failed miserably in their own stated claim of asking the questions we want to ask.

  10. The special EU Question Time with Michael Gove is interesting. Mostly Gove is doing very well. He has trouble answering questions about what he can actually say will happen after Brexit, but otherwise has clear and substantial answers for everything, and doesn't even repeat himself that much.

    BBC paranoid conspiracy theory about camera angles, part 2: I think we're now not seeing the wide shot of the audience during applause for Remain points, but we are seeing it for reactions to Gove's Leave points. It's not 100% consistent, but

    Near the end, some woman with glasses made one of the worst points ever, and one the BBC has been trying push for a decade at least: Britain needs immigrants (legal or illegal, if we're honest) to do jobs that British people won't do. Well, so @#$%k the unemployed, right? Usually, Leftoids shriek venom at anyone who says those on benefits are lazy skivers, but whenever the subject of sainted immigrant workers comes up, suddenly it's perfectly fine to say it.

    Needless to say, a narrow shot of scattered audience applause for that BS.

    Slight lean towards Leave overall, I think. Pro-Leave applause seemed to last longer in some cases.

    PS: Dimbleby certainly sold the challanges to Gove and Leave points like he believed them. He's not that good an actor, so.....

  11. I ,too, am interested in BBC camera-work - some of it worthy of DrGoebbels. During Cameron's first term, he was repeatedly filmed in hyper close-up. This is a very effective means of making a man look sinister and threatening (cf Orson Wells as Big Brother).
    In this campaign, they have, on at least 5 occasions, shown prolonged footage of Boris Johnson, filmed from the rear; on one occasion, La Kuenssberg could be seen manoeuvring to ensure the line-up was: camera-back of Boris- & herself. What is the purpose? 1.Rear view of Boris's head neutralises his considerable charisma & 2.From the rear, he looks like a badly over-stuffed sofa, so bang goes his appeal to female voters. I am not being paranoid, this sort of thing is too systematic to be accidental
    Just thought of another one: during last election campaign Farage was filmed in medium c/u using a semi fish-eye lens - this did not do him any favours!

    1. Laura K is a problem for directors and cameramen all on her own, poor thing. Her left side is a problem, and when she stands facing the camera she can't stand still and rocks back and forth like one of those 'drinking bird' toys.

      I mention this not to be mean to Laura K but to suggest some of what you saw may be the video crew trying to accommodate her rather than deliberately make Boris look bad.

  12. Take your point, but I think she has two other problems: 1. Incorrigible left-wing bias eg on last night's 10pm news, "The Remain campaign are afraid they might lose & the Leave campaign are afraid they might win." - impartial, NOT.
    and, 2. Like Cherie Blair, she must live in constant fear of being mistaken for a letter box & having an A4 envelope jammed in her mouth!

    1. That is a Westminster bubble line of thinking, to be sure. Who in Leave is afraid they might win? Boris? Gove? Farage? Grayling? One of the dumbest things she's ever said.


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