24 hours of Tory toxicity

December 10, 2019

by Martin Odoni

For sure, we knew that the Conservatives and their media allies were completely shut off from morality. And we also knew to expect the worst of their appalling smears and dirty tricks to land in the last few days before the General Election. But even so, the last twenty-four hours or so have seen them hit startling lows.

Firstly, we had ‘Punchless-Punch-Gate’, in which Robert Peston of ITV News and Laura Kuenssberg (uurrggghhh, not her again!) of the BBC uncritically relayed over social media claims that a Conservative Party advisor had been punched by a Labour activist during a visit to Leeds General Infirmary.

Laura K original tweet

Laura Kuenssberg’s original, unsubstantiated tweet, since deleted, accusing Labour activists of physical assault. Yet another BBC ‘mistake’ that benefits the Tories or denigrates the Labour Party.

The ‘punch’ was actually a guy on a bike pointing while not seeing the advisor walking behind him, who accidentally brushed past his outstretched arm with absolutely bare minimal contact. Kuenssberg and Peston both later tweeted retractions, but as usual, it was after the damage was done. Kuenssberg’s retraction in particular was a bit wide of the point; –

Kuenssberg protecting the people lying to her.jpg

Surely any source’s right-to-anonymity is waived when they abuse it and their media access to spread flagrant untruths? If Kuenssberg disagrees, perhaps she could offer us a reason?

It is all very well apologising, and, sure, we all make mistakes. But the ‘mistakes’ the BBC keep making always, without exception, help Boris Johnson and the Tories, while hurting Jeremy Corbyn and Labour. But worse than this, it was more than just ‘a mistake’. Someone high up (probably Health Secretary Matt Hancock) deliberately fed Kuenssberg and Peston false information, meaning whoever-it-was was abusing the privacy of journalistic ‘source protection’. Why should that protection continue to apply therefore? Surely it should not, and yet neither Kuenssberg nor Peston seem to have the courage to reveal who it was. That again reeks of collusion.

Then, overnight, the right wing press (AKA ‘The-press-pass-carrying-wing-of-the-Conservative-Party’) decided to push back against the big story in the NHS from the start of this week – a four-year-old child with suspected pneumonia being forced to lie on a floor at the same hospital due to insufficient beds. The child, Jack Williment-Barr, was apparently kept waiting for a bed for around eight hours, admittedly half of which were spent on a trolley rather than the floor.

Spearheaded by the disturbingly malicious Allison Pearson of the Daily Telegraph, right wing media outlets are trying the same smear Jack’s mother with the same trick used on a worried father who had confronted Boris Johnson at Whipp’s Cross Hospital back in September; they just dismissed the whole argument as a staged ‘set-up’. Now Pearson and her cohorts are trying to make out that Sarah Williment did the same thing, and they appear to be mobilising armies of bots and fake accounts on Twitter to spread the smear as far and wide as its foul substances will go.

Allison Pearson talks to people who were not at the scene as though that counts as corroboration.jpg

Allison Pearson is another of those right wingers who seem to think hearsay is more authoritative than on-the-scene reporting.

Now, let us be in no doubt, what was in the original picture was genuine, as confirmed by both the hospital and Matt Hancock. But the implications in some of what Pearson had to say were startling in their accusatory cruelty. In particular, she seemed concrete-certain that Ms Williment was as manipulative as… well… as Tories are. Taking this logic to its fullest length leads to a quite horrible conclusion; –

Pearson defends nurses by attacking parents.jpg

Don’t psychopaths just love to project their moral disorders onto the rest of the human race?

Plenty of people have responded over social media, to give Pearson no doubt that she is ‘on the wrong side of history’, so to speak. In particular, it appears that the individual who supposedly started the rumour may have interests of her own at heart.

Private doctors wife behind staged NHS story outrage.jpg

Reasons to doubt the accusation of a ‘staged photograph’?

Whatever the reality of that, what is becoming unmistakable is that Conservative Party HQ is fully co-operating with the smear. This is because of the giveaway phenomena that often happen when the Tories use Twitter to advance a narrative. Loads of little-regarded Twitter accounts with few followers and still-fewer distinguishing characteristics all start tweeting in support of it – usually with vertbatim posts and comments. Tell-tale sign of bots at play. Over to Alex Andreou; –

Andreou exposes obvious bot attacks.jpg

All these ‘individuals’ seem to have had a word-for-word identical attack of narrative inspiration at the same time. How extrao-o-o-o-o-ordinary.

Twitter attack of the clones.jpg

And these ones too!

Among all the other giveaway signs of fakery, note how the tweets get the name of the hospital wrong. There is no “Leeds Hospital”; its correct name, as mentioned above, is “Leeds General Infirmary”.

The deceitfulness of the Conservatives and their media supporters may seem somewhat ‘deodorised’ by how laughably obvious it is that they are lying and over-orchestrating the narrative. Sadly however, that lost sting may have an unfortunate opposite effect from the one we need it to have. It soothes the anger people should feel for a political party that has become so morally and intellectually bankrupt that it no longer understands that lies are unacceptable. It no longer even recognises the danger that lies lead to inaccuracies, and therefore even honest decisions are likelier to be made incorrectly, and thus will have bad consequences. The less seriously the public take this, the likelier another Tory majority will be on Thursday/Friday.

The Tories would not even be in contention now, were it not for the unquestioning co-operation of the media, especially the BBC, who continue just to act as an uncritical mouthpiece for the Conservative Party’s every claim, while subjecting the Labour Party to almost excessive levels of scrutiny.

But again, should this even surprise us?

BBC bias

The BBC’s politics team is overwhelmingly dominated by Conservatives.

An Election this may be, but it can hardly be a democratic exercise when one of the most critical parts of the democratic structure – the press – stubbornly refuse to do their job properly, and instead keep co-operating with power, instead of stating truth to its most unappealing features.

_____

NOTE: With the General Election dead ahead, I and many other leftist bloggers have found our access to social media being restricted for ‘mysterious’ reasons. For instance, I am unable to share any links to Facebook all of a sudden, among other suspiciously-timed restrictions. So if you manage to read this, please share it anywhere you can. Many thanks.

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