The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

08 April
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Why Is The Telegraph Deliberately Insulting A Large Tranche Of Its Readers By Sneering At UKIP?

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What is it with the Telegraph and UKIP? You would think that an anti EU, small government, low tax party standing firmly for stricter immigration controls yet free of the racist, corporate state baggage of the BNP would merit a certain degree of sympathy from a broadsheet that has always been the standard bearer of middle class conservative values. Yet over the last few months the resident political “pundits” have unleashed a constant stream of bile directed at the party in general and its leader, Nigel Farage, in particular.

Is it possible that there is a daily conference with Messrs Brogan, Wigmore, Kirkup, Hodges, Martin and Young in which they giggle like crazy as they encourage each other to deliver as much vitriol, innuendo and half truths about UKIP & Farage as possible? Surely that thought is just a flight of fancy…..surely….

Yesterday Iain Martin posted a piece on the storm battering David Cameron and Maria Miller, his Minister of Culture, over her expenses claims. A scandal the Tories need like a hole in the head, he claimed – and then proceeded to use it as a hook for an attack on UKIP.

After months of the DT over egging sundry UKIP “scandals” Martin feared that Farage might seek to capitalise on the Miller/Cameron affair. This is so unfair, said he, because UKIP scandals are ignored….UKIP is Teflon. Martin conveniently “forgets” that the so called UKIP “scandals” have been bigged up, in fact,  by the DT (via CCHQ?) in the face of UKIP’s post Eastleigh (and sustained) polling performance.

I wonder why?

Then James Kirkup (fresh from “proving” that Clegg actually “won” the EU debate with Farage) needing to fill up a column with a few hundred words but clearly suffering from Writer’s Block, decides he might as well follow the DT editorial line and sneer at Farage through the prism of “Game of Thrones”

So, just when you think the DT “pundits” cannot sink any lower in their systematic attempts to undermine UKIP – and those who either support him or, at the least, feel he has something significant to say – the bar is pushed further down and more drivel is spread around.

Memo to the DT pundits. UKIP is not just Nigel Farage….it has 34,000 members, of whom 20,000 have joined within the last two years or so. Astonishingly most Ukippers don’t slavishly agree with Farage over everything he does or says….we tend to be ornery souls with a fairly cynical view of human nature. But, as with Mrs Thatcher, we are more inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt because he is going in the same direction as us

Would it be too much to ask of the DT pundits that we would appreciate a modicum of balance and some evidence that they have used some shoe leather and left Westminster/Notting Hill/Islington to actually talk with a range of UKIP members?

Once upon a time that would have been called “journalism”…..

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25 March
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Wow – The Daily Telegraph Really Getting Desperate About UKIP…

Wow….the jolly old Telegraph really has it in for UKIP today. Benedict Brogan, conveniently forgetting his prediction that Osborne’s budget would siphon off all those silvers from UKIP in the polls, has a piece about the forthcoming Clegg/Farage debate. The bottom line of the story, to be fair to BB, is that, although the budget went down well people still don’t trust Cameron over his EU referendum renegotiation “pledge”.  However either BB or the DT staff decided once again to illustrate the article with that sweaty pic of Farage next to the statesmanlike pose of Clegg.

Nice subliminal messaging  there, Mr Brogan…

Then there up pops Iain Martin declaring that Margaret Thatcher would not have liked UKIP because, at heart, she was at one with the Tory grassroots and would never have betrayed them by going with another party. Above all her politics was about power

Ukip, with its attempt to break the party system and its howling at the moon, would have held very little appeal.

The problem is, however, that Martin is talking about the Conservative Party of 30/40 years ago when the “Tory grassroots” really did exist. Not only is the 2014 Tory party at constituency level a shadow of its former self (like the Labour Party) a substantial proportion of the lower rank foot soldiers have either joined or sympathise with UKIP.

Brogan, Martin and all the other hacks at the DT are either unable or unwilling to grasp the fact that UKIP is now very different from what it was four or five years ago. It is no longer a collection of misfits and oddballs wearing tinfoil hats fielding paper candidates with very little doorstep presence. Many parts of the country now have active and lively local UKIP branches, there is a considerable party presence in local government in terms of councillors and, over the last year or so, UKIP has been polling a steady +10% pushing the Clegg LibDems into 4th place.

UKIP is in it for the long haul. Maybe we might get a seat or two in 2015 but even the most fervent kipper would see that as a bonus. No –  it’s the elections of 2020 and 2025 that are the targets. A Labour government in 2015 led by Miliband would rapidly lode support as its internal contradictions tore it apart. But a Cameron or post Cameron Tory opposition would lack any credibility after the Coalition’s lacklustre performance – and that would be UKIP’s opportunity to offer itself as a serious, viable and principled opposition to Labour that was untainted by any connection with the political establishment that has done so much to undermine our nation.

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03 March
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New Motto Of The Daily Telegraph – “Keep It In The Family”

With the sacking last month of editor Tony Gallagher the transformation of the once staid Daily Telegraph is now complete. Almost all the experienced (and expensive) hacks have gone, most of the “reporting” is being done by inexpensive and inexperienced novices, there is a lot of filler masquerading as  “comment” by a mixture of spotty youths and weird eccentrics and, of course, plenty of “lifestyle”

Which brings me to Jenna Zoe.

Earlier this year the DT began pushing this

Light Bites & Tasty Treats

Don’t miss 30 natural recipes from Jenna Zoe, including nutritious breakfasts, delicious party snacks, cookies and bakes. Free inside The Telegraph Saturday, January 18 and Sunday, January 

A few days before we had been told that Jenna Zoe was “The Complete Woman” in one of those vomit inducing puff pieces the broadsheets love so well. The idea is to give we ordinary folk a voyeuristic glimpse into the life of the beautiful people who are the movers and shakers of style.

- What you put on your body is important, so I pick organic products. I go to Content Beauty & Wellbeing in Marylebone, London, where the owner, Imelda Burke, is like an encyclopedia on the topic.

- I use Live Native skin products, which are raw and vegan. I love Oskia day moisturiser, and use coconut oil as a body cream and make-up remover. For nails,Zoya is great.

The reality is that it’s an advertising vehicle pretending to be an interview. Presumably it is hoped that we shall all be so entranced by Jenna that we will rush out and buy the stuff that makes her life so glamorous.

Normally I ignore such unsubtle garbage  – but I my curiosity was aroused by this pimping of someone who was obviously hip and cool but totally obscure…..was she a culinary Susan Boyle suddenly exploding from  nowhere by virtue of her own talent?

Alas, the truth is more mundane. Her real name, according to Lord Gnome, is Jenna Zoe Barclay and she is the daughter of DT supremo Aidan Barclay.

As they might say at Tesco “every little helps”……

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20 February
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The Big Cheeses At The Telegraph Seem To Be Whistling In The Dark About UKIP – So Why Won’t They Read Their Own Paper?

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I must admit that when I heard that the Daily Telegraph was going to post a regular blog called UkipWatch by two political scientists, Robert Ford and Matthew Goodwin, my heart did sink. Academics are often characterised (not always unfairly) as left wing and the Telegraph has a history of being sniffy about UKIP.

I have been pleasantly surprised. Every piece so far published has been exceptionally fair. Ford and Goodman don’t do a whitewash but they have treated the party and its members and supporters with respect and not as a fringe group of nutcases and loons.

If only more of their DT colleagues were as fair-minded. Two, Tim Stanley and Damian Thompson, never reluctant to throw cutting barbs at their selected targets, have both scribbled quite heavily laboured so-called “jokes” about UKIP and appeared very indignant and hurt when people responded in kind – proving, I suppose, that they can dish it out but can’t take it hurled back at them.

A callow youth called Will Heaven (look at his picture) claimed that UKIP was imploding, a theme picked up by Benedict Brogan who, with several others, saw the Wythenshawe by election result (“UKIP fails to beat Labour”)as a justification for Will Heaven’s view that Cameron’s masterly handling of the floods had gone down well with the public and undermined Nigel Farage – unfortunately polling appears to indicate that the Cameron Flood Mastery image remains just that, an insubstantial image only in the eyes of Westminster’s political hacks desperate for 900 words to fill a column.

Ford and Goodman also shot the Heaven/Brogan Wythenshawe fox with some actual facts (as distinct from wishful thinking)

If anything, what is striking about the result is that Ukip saw a five-fold increase in their level of support despite these harsher local conditions. Think about it for a second. Despite a three week campaign. Despite a well-oiled and ruthlessly efficient Labour machine. Despite Farage’s allegations of local intimidation and “nasty tactics” by Labour and the BNP. Despite never having had any local active presence in the seat. Despite a striking turnout figure of 28%, reflecting by-election apathy and the storms, which may well have further suppressed the Ukip vote further. Despite all of this, Ukip still rocked in to this Labour area, took almost 18 per cent of the vote, moved from fifth to second place and added more than 14 points to their share of the vote in 2010. It is not a spectacular success in the same tradition of other campaigns that we have witnessed over the past two years, but make no mistake – this is still a solid advance. In fact, this was Ukip’s fourth best by-election result in their entire history.

But never fear. Another Telegraph big cheese, Iain Martin (“one of Britain’s wisest and most learned political commentators”) backs the Will Heaven line

Ukip looks as though it has hit a ceiling in terms of attracting support. Its attempts to eat into the Labour vote are, so far, misfiring. The party was also running third in a recent poll on the Euro elections, and the Tory claim that a vote for Farage is a vote for Miliband and a Europhile Labour government looks increasingly potent.

Indeed the biggest of all the Telegraph cheeses, Peter Oborne, sees this as all part of a Tory Cunning Plan

playing an expert game of expectations management, playing down its own chances and setting unfeasible targets for Ukip. This clever wheeze worked well at Wythenshawe, meaning that Ukip’s strong showing looked like a minor disaster for Farage, while everybody overlooked the dreadful Tory performance. They are now trying to repeat this in the forthcoming European elections. With their political strategists at last firing on all cylinders, the signs are that the Tories might even get away with it.

Losing votes and coming third is a strategy?

Ford and Goodman, however, dashed a bucketful of cold water over the frenzied musings of Martin and Oborne

But then things are never quite as simple as they often appear in Westminster.

It may well be true that Farage and Co could improve their expectation management, as George Eaton has argued. The easy thing would have been to avoid making any prediction about the European elections and then look surprised at a first place finish, but Farage never follows the easy path. Yet there are good reasons why we should not read into current polls or the result of one by-election where – to be frank – Ukip did well to poll over 17 per cent and push the Conservatives into third.

 

They make several key points.

 

  • In the 2004 & 2009 Euro elections UKIP benefited from late surges in the polls.

 

  • Today UKIP is starting from a higher polling base than before – over several months a steady 12%

 

  • The party now has stronger local roots – hundreds of elected councillors and a flourishing branch level membership

 

  • UKIP now has a regular and substantial presence in the news cycle

 

What’s the Telegraph up to? Is it acting as a conduit for Tory HQ? Who knows? But it’s beginning to strike me that the paper and its mates at Central Office are whistling in the dark in the face of UKIP’s growth.

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04 February
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Local Politician Makes Stupid, Infantile, Offensive Tweet….National Media Ignore It – He’s A Tory, Not UKIP…

Funny how the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail didn’t make much of this story and commentators at those papers don’t keep reminding us of it…

Conservative councillor Danny Mayzes was temporarily relieved of his responsibilities at the council last year after posting a controversial comment on Twitter on October 8. He was also suspended from the Conservative Association in Clacton.

While watching the film Machete, in which vigilante gangs battle illegal immigrants on the Mexican border, Mr Mayzes wrote: “Am watching Machete – now that’s how you DEAL with immigration issues lol”.

Oh, wait a minute, I see what happened….he’s not UKIP but a Tory so it’s OK for him to “apologise” and “move on”

Update: The Daily Mail has belatedly put up a piece on Mr Mayzes but notice there is no “storm of protest” or demands for David Cameron to “get a grip” on his party – and no refererences to a shamefaced Tory HQ trying to deal with yet another Tory scandal…I wonder why?

 

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17 January
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Fearless UK Telegraph Hack Thinks Michelle Obama Is Simply Wonderful…..

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Peter Foster, The Daily Telegraph’s hack-in-residence across the pond, pens a hymn of praise for Michelle Obama’s 50th birthday that would be the envy of every ambitious scribbler in Pyongyang. In his determination to ferret out the truth he fearlessly tracks down a cross section of everyday ordinary American folks who just happen to part of the Obama circle, fixes them with a steely eye and throws them the killer question.

On a scale of ten to ten just how wonderful a person is Michelle Obama?

I used to think Mark Mardell at the BBC had cornered the market in this type of sycophantic drivel but Foster has played a blinder here. Both of the Obamas are political hacks spawned by the corrupt Daley Chicago machine. Both have an invented back story which covers up the fact that they were eased along the political food chain by patronage and influence rather than achievement. But then what can one expect from “journalists” who merely regurgitate the wishful thinking mythology of the US media/cultural elite?

But brace yourselves, folks – Mr Foster is only using this as dry run for his forthcoming puff pieces on Hillary Clinton so make certain you stock up with sick bags…

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14 November
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Famous & Respectable Media Pundit Repeats UKIP Line On Immigration…”Forgets” To Mention UKIP…I Wonder Why?

Regular Daily Telegraph pundit Peter Oborne pens a worrrying piece about the impact on the social fabric of Britain after January 1st when Romanians and Bulgarians, as citizens of the EU, will have unrestricted access to the UK.

The new migrants will be hungry for jobs, and are bound to price some British workers out of the market. They will have the right to use our schools and NHS, which are already creaking. They will need housing, and welfare benefits.

Business leaders will love that for lowering labour costs. The middle classes will also welcome the prospect of even cheaper servants

But there is a cost to the social fabric, and it is always the poor and powerless who pay the highest price.

Precisely

Oborne talks about how Cameron, Miliband and other leading politicians need to have the courage to stand up to the EU and develop a strategy to make access far more difficult.

The moral case for such drastic action is very strong. Despite tentative signs of recovery, Britain still faces an economic emergency. Nearly one million young people, almost 20 per cent of the labour force under 25, are out of work. Some of their jobs would surely go to the new Eastern European migrants. Mr Cameron should argue that this is a situation no civilised government can tolerate.

“What’s that noise?” I hear you say.

Don’t you know? It’s cultural icon Bonnie Greer crying “Xenophobia”. It’s Tory minister Anna Soubry yelling “scaremonger”

Only Greer called the X word out to Diane James. Soubry used the S word to Nigel Farage. Both did it on BBC Question Time. But not to a highly “respected” media pundit like Oborne but to James and  Farage because they belonged to UKIP.

Oddly enough Oborne doesn’t mention UKIP at all in his piece (quelle surprise) which is strange because there is nothing original in his article….UKIP has been saying exactly the same for several years.

So, Mr Oborne repeat after me……

UKIP HAS BEEN SAYING EXACTLY THE SAME FOR SEVERAL YEARS…..

Oh dear Peter….you’d rather choke than say that wouldn’t you!!!

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06 November
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Young Tim At The Telegraph Thinks He Has Trumped UKIP On Immigration “Scare Stories”

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Tim Wigmore is one of those bright young chaps at the Telegraph who have been tasked with bringing errant Tory voters back into the Cameron fold and away from UKIP. One prong of the strategy is the Vote UKIP get Miliband mantra being pimped by Toby Young’s Unite The Right crusade. The key message of UTR is for UKIP to stand down in key marginals and not rock the boat in safer Conservative constituencies. The result? Cameron stays at No !0 and can then renege on another “cast iron guarantee” after producing some sort of fudged, face saving “agreement “ full of vague rhetoric and short on hard detail.

But young Tim is pushing forward on the other flank by saying all the great unwashed outside the metro media/cultural bubble are just being fed a false narrative of scare stories about issues like Immigration and the EU and, because they are outside the bubble they really aren’t sophisticated enough to grasp the real “facts”

Take immigration…

As you may have read today, migrants are more likely to pay taxes and less likely to take benefits than Brits.

There you are, says Tim. These are “facts” fresh from the “experts” so quit all this nonsense about immigrants being a burden on the state – it’s the Brits who are sucking at the teat.

But hang on a minute Tim. From whence do those figures come? Could they be, as Douglas Carswell suggests, a tad questionable?

The “experts” who make such claims have failed to look at all the evidence. Those who insist that migrants are less likely to claim benefits tend to draw their data from the Labour Force Survey, which relies on respondents reporting claims to benefits, rather than actual data on claims made.

Working from other sources, however, such as HMRC and ONS, quite a different picture emerges

There are nearly half a million migrants claiming working tax credit in the UK.

 Migrants are at least 20% more likely to be claiming working tax credit than the rest of the population.

More migrants claim working tax credit than claim all of the main out-of-work benefits together.

 Migrants form a much higher proportion of those claiming working tax credits than of those claiming any out-of work benefit

So maybe those UKIP “scare stories” are not just stories, Tim….just saying..

In fact it’s Tim who spreads the scare story.

A ban on immigration would mean higher taxes, lower spending and a higher deficit.

Now that is over egging the pudding, Tim. UKIP has never said ban all immigration. We just believe in Controlled Immigration where the main drivers are the skills sets required by the economy and the ability of our social infrastructure – housing stock, schools, healthcare etc – to absorb those numbers efficiently and effectively.

Now, Tim, just scribble about something else until the DT gets the next missive from Tory HQ

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24 June
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Westminster Village Partying Like It’s 1788 or 1916?

Benedict Brogan, one of the best informed political commentators in the Westminster village, penned a piece in The Daily Telegraph on Cameron’s forthcoming cabinet reshuffle. One respondent , peter63, though admiring Brogan, wondered just how detached he and his colleagues across the media from the world outside the village…

 

for a certain kind of Titanic-watcher, I suppose there is some interest in seeing which way the deckchairs are rearranged before ship up-ends and goes down.

Nobody at the Telegraph seems to have an inkling of the watershed change in the public mood (at least, as that mood is outside London).

There is a new mindset in so much of the nation.   What IS fascinating is to observe how little this is perceived among the DT journalists – all of them highly talented and well educated persons.

It explains to me how the courts of France or Russia could in the last months of their ancien régimes have really no proper idea of what was to overtake them.

 

 

Worth a thought….

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14 June
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UKIP Candidate Alex Wood Did Not Make Racist Facebook Comments Say Police…Nothing Yet From Mail & Telegraph?

Young Somerset UKIP candidate Alex Wood did not make those “racist” Facebook comments

You can read about the result of the police investigation here, here and here

Police investigating the incident have said that they are satisfied that comments originally attributed to Alex Wood, 22, had never appeared on his Facebook account and may have been photoshopped or doctored to appear as if from Wood.

Unfortunately this latest news appears not to have been reported yet in the Daily Mail or the Telegraph who both bigged up the original  “story”….

Nothing either from Tory Party HQ who “helpfully” passed the “information” on to those papers.

Doubtless there will be a big spread at the weekend….

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