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The 2020 Republican National Convention is the best television I’ve ever watched outside of certain food show competitions.

I have so many tweets to share that I have linked to several in addition to posting them below.

Changes had to be made to the format because of coronavirus restrictions. At the weekend, I had doubts as to how interesting it would be. I am pleased to say that I was wrong.

There were no comperes (MCs) introducing each speaker at the Andrew W Mellon Auditorium, just speakers walking out in a dignified manner on the stage and addressing Americans at home with powerful messages, some of which were very personal.

There were no music acts outside of the outstanding renditions of The Star-Spangled Banner on Days 1 and 3 as well as a closing act on Day 4. Good.

I thought I’d miss the crowd of delegates and other attendees, but it was enough to see the former at the roll call on Day 1.

The Andrew W Mellon Auditorium in Washington, DC, is magnificent. I’d not seen it before, but it made the perfect setting for the dozens of speakers who told their personal stories.

And the flags that served as the backdrop in the auditorium were beautiful, made from the finest fabric. They added greatly to an already spectacular atmosphere.

I watched proceedings on C-SPAN, which has a video for each day. Below that are lists of individual speakers and their videos. This enables the viewer to watch either in full or in part. There are also tabs at the top of the page for each individual day’s videos.

Because of the time difference, I haven’t been able to watch Day 4 in its entirety but have covered it here for the sake of completion.

Highlights follow.

That said, every speech was excellent.

Background

The Democratic National Convention was held last week in Joe Biden’s hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, as well as other locations, because of coronavirus restrictions.

BBC Parliament broadcast the last day of the convention on Sunday, August 23. I watched it while doing other things.

Wow. I have never seen a more boring and a more stilted political convention. It sounded as if everything had been scripted at the last minute and no one had time to rehearse their lines. Even a Teleprompter could not help. Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus of Seinfeld fame presented. Her scripted jokes fell flat and her delivery was dreadful. Mike Bloomberg’s speech also had jokes in it; his delivery was equally dire.

The theme, as one would expect from Democrats, was, once again, Change. I thought that eight years of Obama was supposed to be the ‘change Americans can believe in’. Apparently not. Democrats say that President Trump built on his predecessor’s success. Okay. In that case, we don’t need further change, right?

Not exactly.

Joe Biden said in his acceptance speech that he wants to ‘change’ America ‘for decades to come’. Hmm. Interesting.

He wants to raise taxes of all Americans to the tune of $3 trillion. That’s a lot of change right there.

He wants every American to wear a mask until October ‘at least’ to curb coronavirus. Imagine if this guy gets in. What a disaster. I have a lot of Biden material to share with you. That will come in the latter stages of the presidential campaign, all being well.

Biden’s running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, said that the ongoing protests, which have been running for nearly 100 days now, ‘are not going to stop, nor should they’. What? Even if she and Biden win the election? She must know they will lose in November:

This is what the protesters want. As I said in 2016, they want a revolution. They’re Bolsheviks:

Hillary says that Joe Biden should not concede the election, even if he loses. She, too, must think he doesn’t have a chance, even though it’s only August.

Note Hillary’s appearance. It seems to change. Weird. I’ve included a tweet with other photos of her:

Joe Biden did not get the usual post-convention bounce in the polls, which is telling:

Day 1 — Monday, August 24

Every day opened with a convocation prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance, including the words ‘under God’, which the Democrats omitted last week.

This is the only day where there is a morning session. It was held in Charlotte, North Carolina. Only delegates and party officials were in attendance. Ronna Romney McDaniel (Mitt’s niece) presided, as Chair of the Republican National Committee. She did an excellent job.

It was a sea change from the 2016 convention, which was riven on the morning of the first day by never-Trumpers who did not want him nominated.

This year, every state’s delegates unanimously voted for President Trump’s renomination.

Ronna McDaniel proceeded with the roll call, as voted for by the delegates, but stopped after Minnesota, concluding with remarks from former governor Scott Walker for Wisconsin. She formally announced the nomination of President Trump, who then gave a speech:

He spoke for 52 minutes, during which time he expressed his deep concern about postal votes. He is right to be concerned. It has produced fraudulent results in the past. There is no reason to think it won’t happen again this year.

He is also mostly right in saying that this is the most important election in American history. I might just modify that to ‘since 1860’, when coincidentally, the first Republican — Abraham Lincoln — was elected:

That evening, speeches began from the unbelievably stately Andrew W Mellon Auditorium in Washington.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan delivered his opening prayer from New York City with the Statue of Liberty in the background:

Cancer survivor Natalie Harp talked about the film It’s a Wonderful Life where James Stewart’s character George Bailey did so much good by saving Bedford Falls from becoming Pottersville. She said Pottersville would have been what would have happened to the US under Hillary. There are similarities between George Bailey and Donald Trump. I have often thought about that over the past four years and was delighted that she brought it up:

Maximo Alvarez, the founder and president of Sunshine Gasoline Distributors in Florida, warned that Americans must not allow their country to move towards communism. He said that his father emigrated from Spain to Cuba, then from Cuba to the United States. His father told him that America was the last possible refuge for people who love freedom. If America is destroyed, there is no other place to go:

Senator Tim Scott from South Carolina closed the evening with a measured speech on race relations and the current protests. He said that he was elected to represent a majority-white district where, he said, paraphrasing Dr Martin Luther King, voters judged him on his character, not the colour of his skin. He eloquently dismantled all the Democrats’ radical arguments:

The Federalist‘s Sean Davis, a Trump supporter, tweeted:

Democrats rang C-SPAN afterwards to give their views.

Rick from Lorain, Ohio, said he was switching from the Democrats to Republicans, because the Republicans focussed on God whereas the Democrats left God out of their convention:

More Democrats rang in during the subsequent days to say they had switched parties.

C-SPAN’s ratings for the RNC were much higher than for the DNC. The New York Post has more on the story.

Day 2 — Tuesday, August 25

The theme of Day 2 was Land of Opportunity.

The Revd Norma Urrabazo gave a stirring opening prayer:

Myron Lizer, Navajo Nation Vice President, was the first to speak. He spoke from Shiprock, New Mexico. He said that President Trump has done more than previous administrations to listen to and act on the needs of Native Americans:

Next was the story of the president’s pardon of Jon Ponder, who founded an organisation, Hope for Prisoners, with rehabilitation programmes for former prisoners:

It’s an amazing story. Ponder, a committed Christian, is best friends with the FBI agent who arrested him.

Cris Peterson, a dairy farmer from Wisconsin, explained how fewer government regulations and more help to farmers enabled her family’s Four Cubs Farm to purchase state of the art milking equipment. Fascinating video:

The Democrat mayor of Eveleth, Minnesota, said he is supporting President Trump this year. He says that the Democrats have become too radical and that their ecological policies would ruin the prosperity of his town:

Nick Sandmann, who was accosted in 2019 at the Lincoln Memorial, spoke of that day and how he refuses to be cancelled. His lawyer Lin Wood won a huge payout for him against the Washington Post. Nick plans to go on to law school after finishing university:

Some of the stories came from President Lincoln’s boyhood home in Spencer County, Indiana. Mike Pence narrated this sequence:

There was a naturalisation ceremony, filmed earlier, which President Trump attended:

There were many more outstanding speeches, including those from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, Eric Trump and Tiffany Trump.

The evening ended with a long speech at the White House from Melania Trump, who was dressed in quasi-military designer attire:

These are the YouTube ratings for Day 2:

Day 3 — Wednesday, August 26

The theme of Day 3 was Land of Heroes and included people from various walks of life, from the military to first responders to lorry drivers keeping goods on the move during the coronavirus pandemic.

This rabbi’s prayer was perfect, as was his delivery:

A disabled veteran movingly recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

Governor Kristi Noem from South Dakota was the first to speak. She spoke of her state’s success during the pandemic — no lockdown and very low case/death figures:

Noem rightly criticised the unchecked lawlessness going on in Democrat-run American cities:

MSNBC was none too happy, but it’s the truth:

President Trump’s newish press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, a young wife and mother, told her moving story of breast cancer and subsequent breast reconstruction. She also spoke of the admiration she has for Trump’s pro-life stance:

Madison Cawthorne is a disabled man (injured in a car accident) who is running for US Congress in North Carolina. He gave a spirited speech about America’s Founding Fathers, especially James Madison:

When he finished his speech, two friends came on stage to help him stand up. At 6’3″, he said he misses being able to stand up and see over the crowd.

A PBS journalist was unimpressed by his standing up. WHY? Look at the idiotic reasoning:

My favourite speech of the week came from Sister Deirdre Byrne, MD, of the Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts, a medically-oriented religious order for women.

Sister Deirdre entered the order in 2002. Prior to that, she had a career as a physician and is a retired US Army Colonel!

She spoke of her admiration of President Trump’s love of the unborn. She said that a Biden presidency would put an end to the safeguards of the unborn. The Biden-Harris ticket approves of abortion at the point of birth, essentially, infanticide:

Lara Trump, Eric’s wife, spoke.

Eric passed make-up brushes to her as she was getting ready:

In her speech, she said that one mustn’t believe all one reads in the media and that this applied very much to the Trump family. She wasn’t sure what her future in-laws would be like when Eric first introduced them to her. She said that she was given a very warm welcome from the start. She says she admires their values of hard work and determination, with which she was also raised:

Clarence Henderson told about his experiences as a young man growing up in the segregated South. He recited the pro-voting and pro-civil rights amendments, all of which Republicans were responsible for passing, not Democrats. Well worth a listen. This man knows of what he speaks:

Former Acting Director of Intelligence Richard Grenell spoke. I hope his words lead to something big:

President Trump watched from the sidelines:

Mike Pence rounded off the evening with a long speech from Fort McHenry in Baltimore. The Star-Spangled Banner tells the story of the battle between America and the British in 1814 which took place there:

Well said:

Afterwards, ex-Democrat Helen from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, rang C-SPAN to say that she had switched parties and that she loved Melania Trump’s speech. She also deeply admires President Trump and will be voting for him this year:

Carol from Charleston, South Carolina, called to say that she finds Melania Trump ‘classy’ and ‘so intelligent’. Carol said she was a Hillary voter four years ago but has been surprised by what President Trump has accomplished since his election. She says she will ‘trust’ Melania and will vote for Trump:

Here are the ratings:

Day 4 — Thursday, August 27

Earlier in the day, NASA announced that the first black, female astronaut is scheduled to be on next year’s mission to the International Space Station:

C-SPAN posted their Day 4 video on YouTube:

The theme was A Land of Greatness.

The final night is, of course, the biggest one of the convention. Although President Trump spoke at length on Day 1 after receiving a unanimous vote from the delegates, Day 4 was when he gave what is considered his formal — and second (final) — acceptance speech.

These proceedings are about an hour longer than those from the previous days.

The Revd Franklin Graham (Billy’s son) gave a heartfelt prayer, asking for help for those affected by tropical storm Laura, for healing with regard to the protests, for protection of the Trumps and the Pences as well as continued guidance:

A young brother and sister from a military family recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Beautiful.

Ja’Ron Smith, Deputy Assistant to the President, spoke of his working class upbringing, his parents’ American values and of President Trump. He said that, growing up, he believed all the anti-Republican clichés. As he got to know more Republicans, he changed his mind. He never dreamt that he would be working for a president. He says that no one has done more for black interests than President Trump:

The people interviewed below head up their respective housing associations in New York City. They do not like Mayor Bill de Blasio’s policy of putting illegal immigrants into public housing before native New Yorkers, some of whom have been on waiting lists for ten years. They greatly appreciate what Dr Ben Carson has been doing as head of HUD (Housing and Urban Development), which has helped identify and fix anomalies in public housing:

Alice Johnson spoke of her gratitude for President Trump’s First Step Act from 2018, which has to do with prison reform. That year, Trump commuted Johnson’s life sentence for a first-time, non-violent drugs offence and granted her a full pardon today (Friday):

Ivanka Trump spoke of her father’s commitment to the American people:

President Trump spoke of the greatness of America and her people …

… while emphasising that the United States has clear internal enemies:

I fully agree with this:

The programme of events ended with a magnificent fireworks display, which was much better than the Democrats’ in Wilmington the Thursday before:

Unfortunately, as the guests left the White House, protesters awaited them:

Congressman Brian Mast, below, who is black, even got harassed by protesters. He politely answered their questions. They did not like his answers about pursuing ‘due process’ where necessary:

I can’t help but admire a husband who carries his wife’s shoes!

On the downside, when that couple reached their hotel, The Willard, the doors were locked. Even an employee outside couldn’t help them. They had to walk all the way around to the parking garage entrance and get in from there. All the while, they were harassed by protesters, who addressed the man as ‘Mr Anger’. The couple remained resolute and silent, with neutral expressions on their faces. I bet those were two of the longest minutes in their lives.

But that was nothing compared to the treatment that Brandon Straka, the ex-Democrat who founded the #WalkAway movement, received. Terrible.

Remember, the group attacking him is for gay rights. Maybe that doesn’t matter when a gay supports President Trump:

At least the police were nearby for Senator Rand Paul (Ron’s son) and his wife:

This morning (Friday), Rand Paul told Fox News what a traumatic several minutes that was for him and his wife, even with the police. He said the mob kept on growing. He also said that they had picked the wrong man, because he was one of the senators who supported the abolition of no-knock police raids, one of which was responsible for the death of Brionna Taylor. He said ‘the irony of that was lost’ on the protesters:

Meanwhile, this is what Joe Biden thought of the president’s speech:

I am not sure what planet Joe is on to say that, but it might not matter too much because he’s collapsed in the polls:

If you hear the media once again say that the Republicans’ message was ‘dark’, as they did in 2016, don’t believe them for a moment.

This was the finest convention I’ve ever seen, even better than 2016’s.

Kudos to everyone who organised it and who spoke. A lot of hard work went into those four days, spread across four locations as well as some people’s homes.

I’ve never seen such a professional production with so much sincerity and hope.

In 2016, President Trump made promises. From his election to now, he has fulfilled those promises. Promises made. Promises kept.

Onwards and upwards! MAGA 2020!

On the back of the highly successful televised daily coronavirus briefings, No. 10 Downing Street has taken the decision to broadcast weekday afternoon press briefings in October 2020.

At least 2 million people viewed the daily coronavirus briefings every day. Anyone who watched them regularly, as my far better half and I did, knew exactly what the latest on coronavirus was.

I used to tune into the BBC afterwards to get their ‘spin’ on the briefings. I felt as if I were living in a parallel universe, because the self-proclaimed ‘nation’s most trusted’ broadcaster twisted all the main messages.

Therefore, it is no wonder that press briefings are sure to be a ratings winner. Britons at home will be able to see and hear the government’s messages first hand without the spin.

Not surprisingly, the media do not want these briefings televised.

ITV’s political editor Robert Peston is opposed:

Oh, having questions from the public would be great. They worked well on the coronavirus briefings.

Peston really loathes the idea of televised briefings:

Sky’s Beth Rigby also made her opposition clear:

The Press Gazette does not seem to like the plans, either. On July 3, they posted an article, ‘Televised press conference to permanently replace afternoon Downing Street press briefing’.

Excerpts follow, emphases mine:

The briefings will commence in October, be hosted by a political appointee who expected to be an experienced broadcaster, and will take place in a room at Number 9 Downing Street to be converted into a media suite

Boris Johnson confirmed the news on LBC, saying people had liked hearing directly from the Government during the Covid-19 press briefings.

“People have liked a more direct, detailed information from the Government about what is going on – and I think that they’ve actually particularly liked our brilliant scientific and medical advisers, possibly more than the politicians to be frank,” he said.

“We do think that people want direct engagement and want stuff from us, and so we’re going to have a go at that.”

The Daily Mirror’s Pippa Crerar, chair of the Parliamentary Press Gallery, and the Mail’s Jason Groves, chair of the Lobby, said in a joint statement to Press Gazette that they hoped the changes weren’t being made to reduce transparency and Lobby journalists’ access to ministers

See, they care only about themselves. They do not care about the general public.

There was more negativity:

Their comments were echoed by Huffpost’s executive editor for politics Paul Waugh who said on Twitter that the success of the briefings would “depend on whether they lead to genuine scrutiny or propaganda/grandstanding”.

The Society of Editors shared a similar warning that the Government must not make the briefings too “stage-managed” or pick and choose who is allowed to take part.

Executive director Ian Murray said: “If the aim of the televised briefings is to enable greater transparency then it will be important that they are of sufficient length and inclusive in nature to ensure a broad cross section of the media is able to question the government.

“It is vital that the government gives assurances that journalists or media providers out of favour with the administration will not be barred from such briefings and will also be given the opportunity to pose questions.

“Briefings that are too stage-managed and favour the few will not be in the best interests of the public as a whole.”

Yeah, right.

The coronavirus briefings worked really well, so there is no reason to think these will be any different:

The daily Covid-19 press conferences often saw millions tune in to find out updates and see journalists from a wide range of publications grill ministers and scientists.

Guido Fawkes (Paul Staines) was the only one who championed the briefings. He is the UK’s foremost political blogger. As early as January 9, he wrote ‘Live Stream the “People’s Briefings” from Downing Street’. He and his team used to report the highlights from the lobby briefings but perhaps coronavirus put an end to their attendance. In any event, this is what Guido said (red emphases in the original):

In a digital world where news happens in realtime, not to inky deadlines, it is time to just put the briefings out live, streamed to everyone on all platforms. During the election Boris livestreamed his “People’s PMQs” on Facebook, demonstrating there is no technological reason why the briefings can’t be broadcast via a free digital feed to everyone. Hacks will still get to ask the questions, they just won’t be able to spin off-camera, privately delivered answers as they do now. 

The reality is that it isn’t in the interests of hacks to open up the Lobby system or insist more often that quotes are on the public record. Intermediating allows them to more easily introduce their opinions into their new reports. Transparency will devalue their role because information scarcity makes their possession of a spokesman’s phone number so much more valuable. A start to improving and opening up the system would be to put the people’s briefings into the open, in realtime as it happens…

I couldn’t agree more.

On July 2, Guido declared victory when No. 10 announced the news:

He wrote (red emphases in the original):

Guido has won a big victory against the Lobby today, breaking open the Lobby’s preferred closed-style of briefings from Downing Street …

Boris Johnson has clearly listened to the argument for “a culture of transparency and openness’’ in Westminster by backing the broadcasting of the afternoon press briefings and reducing the number of spin doctors across Whitehall. After the success of the televised Covid briefings, Lee Cain plans to continue the on-camera afternoon government briefings. The role will be filled by a political appointee…

Expect an experienced broadcaster to get the job. No 9 Downing Street – where off-camera press briefings are currently held – will be turned into a modern media studio for briefings. A Downing Street source says: “For too long we’ve been running an analogue system in a digital age. People want to hear directly what the government is doing and to see it being held to account…”

Get this next bit, though. Who knew we had 4,000 communications people employed by the government?

The whole of government communications is being overhauled by Alex Aiken, the Executive Director for Government Communications – it will see departments ordered to reduce the 4,000 spin doctors employed by the government. Aiken and Cain believe the changes will lead to smaller, more agile communications operation. Officials have also been told of plans to plans to drastically reduce the government’s communications operation and the number of press officers across Whitehall. Guido’s happy that a decade-long campaign for government briefings unfiltered by Lobby journalists has finally been won…

Me, too.

Veteran broadcaster and journalist Alastair Stewart wrote a good article on this for The Spectator: ‘Boris’s TV briefings could end the lobby pantomime’.

The term ‘lobby’ in this particular context refers to the media.

Pantomime — ‘panto’ — in Britain refers to a Christmas play based on popular old fairy tales, e.g. Puss in Boots. They are fun, noisy performances, often featuring famous television actors in crazy costumes.

One thing we learned from the coronavirus briefings is that the top journalists often ask the same question in an attempt to trap the government. From Monday through Thursday, these journalists were often Laura Kuenssberg (BBC), Robert Peston and Beth Rigby.

I used to watch Laura Kuenssberg afterwards for her spin, which always put an unfavourable light on the government, even when they had something positive to report.

Alastair Stewart says:

Political correspondents often asked the same questions, most seeking a ‘gotcha’ moment in relation to something that should have been done sooner, or better. On occasion they would also use the event to ask questions about non-coronavirus matters.

True, very true.

I was delighted when the government opened up briefing questions to the public. Normally, they had one short video and one written question every day. The public asked useful questions.

The regional press journalists also asked pertinent questions.

Both the public and the regional press were streets ahead of Kuenssberg, Peston and Rigby.

Alastair Stewart thinks so, too:

While the local and regional press were often better still at asking specific, trickier questions which people actually wanted to know the answer to. Most interesting of all perhaps were the members of the public, allowed into the secret society in the closing phase of this farce which inevitably always included some hapless person struggling with the ‘mute’ button.

He is right about referring to the lobby as a secret society:

I am not, and never have been, a member of ‘the lobby’ but it is a sort of Masonic gathering of the political hacks with the Downing Street spokesperson. It is almost as ritualistic: steeped in secrecy, they use the language of ‘sources’, ‘unattributable’ or ‘off-the-record’ and other linguistic mysteries of the game. And, like a St James Club, only members are allowed in.

And, yes, there is ‘a line’ that these guys and gals want to pursue for their anti-government narrative of the day:

When I was a member of the lowly Industrial Correspondents’ lobby, we would gather after a briefing to discuss what ‘the line’ was. I understand a similar game is often played by the political corps, post the Number Ten gatherings. Johnson wants to bust this wide open by putting his man or woman in front of the camera, fielding questions from hacks who will doubtless be ready for their close-ups too.

I disagree with Stewart on the follow-up questions. They became irritating, because the most prominent reporters were grandstanding. He, however, sees it differently:

One precedent that surely will endure from the Covid-19 events will be the supplementary question. It was an error for Johnson to drop these when he was the host. Others, like [health secretary] Matt Hancock, often used them to great effect. What’s more, they added to the public cut and thrust of an exchange between a reporter and a minister. It could be enlightening and, at times, entertaining.

As we do not know yet who will front these briefings on most days, Robert Peston has a suggestion:

Of course, occasionally, a government minister or Boris himself will be at the podium.

Stewart reminds us that past press secretaries had been journalists during their careers:

Churchill had his Brendan Bracken, an FT man. Wilson, Joe Haines, a Mirror man to his finger tips. Thatcher’s Bernard Ingham served the Yorkshire Post and, ironically, the Guardian with distinction. TV has less of a role of honour today but the former Sky News man, the excellent Joey Jones, had a spell in May’s Downing Street.

Who knows what effect this will have on today’s journalism. It is likely to step up a notch. One hopes so, anyway.

In any event:

There is more merit in having a free and frank exchange between press and politicians, in the full glare of the TV lights, than in continuing with the semi-secretive pantomime of the lobby.

The public has a right to know what is really going on in government, without the filter of agenda-driven journalists who by definition oppose conservatives and Conservatives.

It’s great that, post-coronavirus, Boris has resurrected the notion of the ‘People’s Government’.

My word, has this year been bizarre. You couldn’t make it up: Brexit, absurd attacks on Trump, followed by coronavirus and protests.

Now we have a British journalist’s attack on the platform known as Twitter.

Except that Tim Stanley calls Twitter a ‘website’. Never mind. He objects to ordinary people using it.

One cannot help but agree that another media behemoth — the BBC — is a huge problem here:

As to referring to Twitter as a ‘website’ (so last century):

Tim Stanley writes for The Telegraph. No complaint against him personally, but:

True enough.

Within the next few months, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government will be televising daily press briefings to the public, as the United States has been doing for several years.

The British daily coronavirus briefings were a big draw, with at least 2 million Britons viewing per day. As such, it makes sense to televise what are called ‘Lobby’ (media) briefings.

To be fair, only the afternoon sessions from No. 9 Downing Street will be televised, not the morning ones. Nonetheless, opposition is already mounting. Cheers to Guido Fawkes for getting the ball rolling earlier this year:

Then someone posted the following. British readers will recognise the blast from the past (second tweet), Chris Morris’s Brass Eye, which ran during 1997 and once more in 2001:

At the time, British television had a number of hard-hitting documentaries, all of which Chris Morris and his capable team of actors satirised.

In many ways, they also foresaw today’s 24-hour news in Britain, which ranges between sensational and psychotic.

Even more important, Morris and Co. managed to get actual public figures to take part in their series. Who knows how they did it, but in the ‘Crime’ episode below, they interviewed the late Conservative MP Rhodes Boyson (no fool he), the gangster ‘Mad’ Frankie Fraser and the then-newspaper owner David Sullivan.

It’s unbelievable that they took it all seriously.

My apologies if this full episode is geo-localised. It really is a triumph of its time:

My point is that showing us the daily press briefings from Downing Street will show us what a scam the media truly are.

More to come once the briefings begin.

Meanwhile, I do miss Brass Eye. Long may it be remembered.

Thank you, Chris Morris. Even watching this episode of ‘Crime’ that I’d seen when it first premiered, I nearly ruined a keyboard while laughing.

You made news imitate art.

This is why the Downing Street press briefings will be greatly anticipated in our household.

Thank you, Boris Johnson. Thank you, Dominic Cummings. I can hardly wait.

On Saturday, May 16, I tuned into France’s news channel BFMTV to see how the nation’s partial reopening went.

President Emmanuel Macron got an earful from medical professionals at La Pitié-Salpêtrière, the Paris hospital he visited on Friday, May 15. Late last week, he announced that, at this year’s Bastille Day ceremonies, health professionals and first responders would be honoured with medals commemorating their work during the coronavirus crisis. On Friday, as Macron was leaving, a health professional told him that he didn’t want any medal. Macron snapped back:

If you don’t want it, don’t take it.

It was a rough visit. A group of nurses listened to what he had to say, then one spoke up, bluntly demanding more pay and more recognition. Macron said that he was giving them a bonus for their work over the past two months, but she retorted that was not enough. She demanded a pay rise for all nurses, which is fair enough. They are on relatively low pay, not far from minimum wage.

Going back a few years when the erstwhile Conservative prime minister François Fillon (serving under Nicolas Sarkozy from 2007-2012) visited a care home during his tenure, he was able to hold a calm, considered conversation with the workers there, who were all CGT union members:

Allow me a small digression from Macron. François Fillon should have been France’s president after François Hollande. Unfortunately, the media put the boot into him for corruption, just as he was at a massive height in the popularity polls in January 2017, the year Macron was elected president.

In March 2020, Fillon was sentenced to two years in prison, with an additional three years suspended sentence. His wife was given a suspended three-year prison term and a fine of €375,000. (Source: Le Point.) Trumped up (no pun intended) or what? Something stinks there. The Fillons are a dignified couple who have kept to themselves over the years. They are low-profile people and devout Catholics.

This was François Fillon’s agenda for France in 2017: ending bureaucracy, sorting out France’s problems and restoring the pride in being French. In short: make France great again. Does that sound familiar?

How sad that it didn’t happen and might never happen. Who will accomplish this now?

I agree with the tweet below that the framing of François Fillon is truly a shame for France.

The video is from 2017:

These replies say that Fillon’s three-year plan, summarised above, was simply swept — balayé– under the carpet (by left-wing media, which started with one outlet and spread rapidly to the others):

Returning to the present day, a Parisian MP from France Insoumise (Unbowed France) says that it is urgent for Macron to say how soon the pay increase will be delivered and how much it will be. The second tweet includes one from health minister Olivier Véran, commenting on the ‘passionate’ feedback from the nurses:

Macron has been the latest French president to further shrink the nation’s health system, following Nicolas Sarkozy (Conservative) and François Hollande (Socialist), both in terms of hospital beds and other measures. Hospital masks were in short supply during the height of the coronavirus crisis. French housewives banded together from their homes to sew fabric masks for nurses. While those were technically useless, nonetheless, nurses were grateful for any protection whilst awaiting proper face coverings.

Early Saturday afternoon, BFMTV reported on the mask shortage, discovered in January 2020. However, it was too late, even with Macron’s government’s requisitioning every surgical mask in France. They were the wrong type of masks, but they would have to do. Hospital and care workers were desperate.

One physician working on the front line in Lyon died because he did not have the right type of mask. He caught coronavirus and, despite treatment in Marseille, never recovered. His widow and two daughters are suing the hospital where he worked. I can’t see how that will work, because every hospital experienced the same mask shortage.

Currently, there are enough masks for people living in France, who have been strongly encouraged to wear one outdoors. These are not proper coronavirus masks, but they will have to do.

It appears that Macron now has to get on with his promised reform — improvement — of a beleaguered health system. Here’s an inside look at his control room:

The replies to this tweet featuring an LREM MP are interesting. The MP says that a centralised health system doesn’t work, but the replies say that the system has been sclerotic for some time, Macron has ignored calls for improvement and there are too many hospital administrators and/or politicians involved rather than medical professionals. The response I’ve included below says that Germany spends far less money than France and has better performing hospitals, with four times more intensive care beds:

However, another BFMTV journalist reported that Macron is facing a crisis in other aspects of French society, including the gilets jaunes (yellow jackets). They are still protesting in some cities on Saturdays, although not in as great a number as before the coronavirus crisis:

Making matters worse, Macron’s political party, LREM, no longer has an absolute majority in parliament:

Ten of his MPs have left to form their own party with ten other MPs — Ecologie, démocratie, solidarité:

It is unclear whether that will have any impact on the second round of local elections, rescheduled for June 28:

However, one commentator said that Macron’s success as president will largely depend on how he and his government handle the coronavirus crisis this year. He has a few years left in his first term, which ends in 2022.

Meanwhile, during the first weekend of partial reopening, BFMTV reminded viewers that they are not allowed to travel further than 100km from home. They also cannot not leave the house to visit anyone, including relatives, unless they are going to drop something off. Visiting second homes is also forbidden. The French are allowed to travel to work, to school, to a child minder, for a funeral, for a medical appointment, for recreational purposes (limited at this point) or to shops that are open:

Late last week, some beaches in France opened so that people could have a new way of exercising. For now, reopening beaches is up to individual mayors. As the virus is still active, the beaches are ‘dynamic’, meaning that sitting or sunning oneself is strictly forbidden. Fishing is also forbidden. Beachgoers can walk, swim and surf. A one-way system is in place with an entrance and an exit:

The second tweet says, ‘This increasing surveillance is seriously getting on my nerves’:

Interior minister Christophe Castaner visited a beach in Normandy that was preparing to reopen. He said that everyone visiting beaches had to respect the rules in place, otherwise they will be closed. He hopes that beaches will reopen fully during the summer:

For those who miss culture, small museums, with hygiene restrictions in place, may reopen:

Driving schools can also open. There is no social distancing in the car, so the car windows must be open at all times during the lesson. Those taking virtual instruction are socially distanced. Driving tests can begin in June, provided there is no second wave of coronavirus:

Those worried about the impact of more drivers on the environment need not be too concerned. During lockdown, there was only a 7% decrease in particulates. That is surprising:

At 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, Lourdes reopened, even if there are no dine-in restaurants. It will attract locals until travel restrictions are lifted:

Speaking of health and healing, coronavirus testing continues. In Brittany, a new cluster of infections was discovered at an abattoir:

Elsewhere in France, new infections were found in schools that reopened last week. Those schools are now closed:

One Frenchman might have a future solution to school closures. He is developing a fabric that kills coronavirus. This video shows his chair and desk covers:

Where schools remained open, this is what the scene looked like outdoors. Recess must have been fun (not). This is so SAD, beyond belief:

France’s medical agency has found that 500 medications are harmful in treating coronavirus. Incredibly, hydroxychloroquine is among them. This has to be the establishment’s figurative poke in the eye at Prof Didier Raoult, Marseille’s champion in treating patients with the drug combined with azithromycin:

The article says, in part:

Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) represents the majority of adverse cardiac reactions, in 141 out of 159 cases. Cardiac reactions comprise 69% of those reported, versus 44% where Kaletra (an antiretroviral combining lopinavir and ritonavir) is used …

The number of deaths linked to hydroxychloroquine in hospital remains at four. In view of these risks, the health agency advises that these drugs, when used against Covid-19, must be used as a priority only in the context of ongoing clinical trials.

In general, provided there is no sizeable second wave of infections, more businesses will be able to open at the beginning of June.

Philippe Etchebest, who is a chef, restaurateur, television celebrity and MOF (maître ouvrier de France), says that restaurants must reopen as soon as possible, because the government cannot afford to keep them closed. The subsidies are ‘colossal’:

Last month, Etchebest said that partial reopening will not work. Social distancing — e.g. halving the number of tables — will not bring in enough revenue. Perhaps he will be employing one of these social distancing methods:

Recently, the loathsome globalist Jacques Attali said that restaurateurs must change their business model.

Etchebest took strong objection to that, saying that he is neither a grocer nor a wine merchant. Those replying to this tweet also criticised Attali, saying he should shut up for once or retire to a nursing home. The quote from Attali on the internet is interesting:

The internet represents a danger to those in the know and those who decide things, because it gives access to information outside of received knowledge.

Bravo, Philippe:

Attali was one of Emmanuel Macron’s early mentors. Go figure.

No wonder the French are angry.

Last week, a few British polling companies took the pulse of the nation with regard to coronavirus.

But first, let’s look at an international poll from Morning Consult of G7 countries and their leaders’ popularity during the pandemic. Congratulations, Boris Johnson — far above the others in popularity!

Returning to Britain, here are the results from a YouGov/Sky News poll. Keir Starmer, incidentally, is Labour’s new leader:

This is the poll in more detail. Dr Chris Whitty is the UK’s chief medical adviser; Sir Patrick Vallance is the chief scientific adviser; Dominic Raab, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, is Boris’s deputy; Matt Hancock is Secretary of State for Health and Social Care; Sir Keir Starmer is the new leader of the Labour Party:

The next one is Survation’s poll on trusted sources of information during the coronavirus crisis. Note that the media come lowest, well below that of despised politicians and local government, regardless of the fact that most Britons get their information from broadcast and print media:

Here is a poll from YouGov for Reuters Institute and Oxford University:

Here’s one from a Twitter user. Comments follow (DM is the Daily Mail):

One radio talk show host thinks the British public are too stupid to understand media. I try not to use the word delusional, but this is delusional:

The British government are actually doing a great job in managing the coronavirus outbreak. The NHS has not been overwhelmed.

Before the crisis started, according to the Global Health Security Index, the US was rated first in the world for handling a pandemic. The UK was rated second:

Have both the US and the UK been too scrupulous in recording deaths, as — according to some graphs — both countries have the world’s highest fatalities? We shall see, once this is over.

Otherwise, sure, there have been ongoing issues with obtaining PPE, BUT is that the government’s fault? Aren’t NHS procurement managers in charge of that? Ditto care homes, which are either privately owned or council run.

Never mind that, though. Obtaining PPE has been a problem for nearly every nation during this pandemic.

Below are photos of German medics. The BBC often asks, ‘Why can’t the UK be like Germany?’

Hello, BBC. Germany has a PPE shortage, too:

Despite that and despite lockdown, the British support Boris and his team. This was as of April 21, published on April 26:

Regardless of the government’s careful managing of this crisis, the media dig deep every day to report only bad news. Largely, they are still hurting over Brexit, which will no doubt dominate media narratives once coronavirus is over. The negative coronavirus stories are an extension of anti-Brexit narratives:

The BBC is the only channel to broadcast the government’s daily coronavirus briefings. As is customary in other nations doing these daily updates, reporters from across the country are allowed to ask questions afterwards:

Health Secretary Matt Hancock, other government ministers and the medical officers have to face a lot of awful questions. Last week, the BBC’s health editor Hugh Pym asked whether the government was ‘ashamed’ of its coronavirus response:

People like Pym, who smile and smirk simultaneously, are the lowest of the low. They use their gotcha questions on early evening newscasts:

On Monday, April 27, Hancock got fed up with ITV’s political editor Robert Peston’s continuous, verbose questions. Hancock replied with a terse ‘No’:

Here’s the deal with Peston:

Here’s another example, this time from the BBC:

And another:

And another. This is BBC Newsnight‘s Emily Maitlis with Labour’s Peter Mandelson — Baron Mandelson — who held several cabinet positions under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown when they were Prime Minister:

But I digress. Back now to the daily coronavirus briefings.

On Monday, April 27, the government began taking at least one question a day from the general public:

Robert Peston does not like this:

Actually, Robert, the first question chosen and read out on April 27 was relevant to many Britons.

That day, the independent polling company the government uses to select the questions chose one from a grandmother who wanted to know how much longer she would have to wait to kiss and hug her grandchildren. Honestly, I nearly welled up. Much better than taking questions from Peston, Pym and the like.

On Tuesday, April 28, they had two enquiries from the public — one read out loud from another grandmother about childminding her grandchildren and a short video from a mother asking when her son on the coronavirus isolation list could return to school. The lad has cystic fibrosis and autism:

Unfortunately, Matt Hancock had to let all three ladies down gently. It was/is still too early to say.

Interestingly, Peston didn’t ask a question on Tuesday. Perhaps he’s miffed that Britons are getting their own very real concerns aired? As is said in the news trade: ‘Developing …’

News emerged several days ago that human testing began at Oxford University on a vaccine for COVID-19. Suppose it succeeds, which we all hope it will. Will this be the sort of questioning the government will receive? Although humorous, it’s not far off the mark. Click on image to enlarge:

Actually, something just as strange happened when the vaccine news was announced. A woman with a PhD, whom the media referred to as Doctor — implying a medic — appeared in the media. She said she would be ashamed if Oxford succeeded!

She was made to appear as if she were from the university, when, in fact, she’s at what used to be the city’s polytechnic, now called Oxford Brookes. They are two very different institutions:

It is not unusual for the BBC to interrupt any Conservative politician, whether on television or radio. On Friday, April 24, Matt Hancock appeared on Radio 4’s Today programme:

The clip below shows ITV’s Piers Morgan, co-host of Good Morning Britain, having a go at Matt Hancock, not even allowing him to finish a sentence. Breathtaking arrogance, and worth a watch:

Piers should clam up — and tone down his tweets. Good Morning Britain‘s ratings have been tanking during the coronavirus crisis (more here):

On April 16, during the daily coronavirus briefing, Channel 4’s Alex Thomson asked if the government was trying to kill the elderly. Sitting at home viewing, my far better half and I were astonished. Guido Fawkes has the story:

At the more serious end of broadcasting, Channel 4 News’ Alex Thomson last night was on a quest for culpability. His crass question at the Downing Street briefing basically accused Hancock and his advisers of choosing to kill off old people to prioritise protecting the young.

We stopped watching Channel 4 News years ago. It got too left-wing in its bias. Here’s another example from Guido’s article, involving Home Secretary Priti Patel (emphasis in the original):

Earlier in the week, Channel 4 News’ reporter repeatedly demanded from Priti Patel an apology. This type of performance isn’t holding power to account or about purely eliciting information. It is gotcha journalism and because journalists at the press conferences are asking their questions through the prism of establishing political culpability, they are getting defensive responses. It would be better to leave that to the opposition in parliament and leave the made-for-social-media infotainment to Piers. It might also arrest the dramatic drop in public confidence in the news media…

Therefore, is it any wonder that former Labour MP for Vauxhall in London tweeted:

Yes, there should be a root and branch review and reform of the alleged ‘nation’s most trusted’ broadcaster. The annual licence fee per household is £145. It is a mandatory charge. As such, some Britons call it a tax.

I have a lot more to say about the media’s handling of coronavirus. More to follow at some point.

Until the early hours of November 9, 2016, I used to ponder my notion of an ideal American president.

In a nutshell, he would do all the things the middle and working classes needed for the United States to thrive once again.

He would confound high-brow economists who said, ‘[Effective economic solution] cannot be done.’

Fortunately, the United States has had that great man — my ideal — in President Donald Trump since January 22, 2017.

President Trump has accomplished what egg-headed experts — the brightest minds in the world — deemed ‘impossible’.

His accomplishments are too many to list here, but here’s a summary:

One of my readers, Daughn, had this to say about the president’s appeal on another site (emphases mine):

All the guys who were the academics, the ones who went to Harvard Biz/Yale Law, couldn’t deliver 3% GDP in the past decade.

And moms and dads paid for their mistakes. Red states were hollowed out. Our factories = gone. Homes = foreclosed.

It left America vulnerable, and it’s THEIR fault.

Chickens home to roost.

Even worse……

All the guys at Brookings/Council on Foreign Relations screwed up in the Middle East, couldn’t win a damn war in Afghanistan with trillions of dollars to spend and 20 yrs to do it.

And moms and dads in red states buried their sons and daughters.

Trump paid attention to the electricians, the guys who drive the trucks, the women who cut hair for a living….. they’re a whole lot smarter than those who were supposed to be leading the country.

The establishment of both parties has failed.

That’s an excellent summary, explaining why the much maligned president has been gaining ground since 2017.

Could we call him the People’s President? I think so.

With the coronavirus situation, President Trump has suspended his rallies for the time being. That does not mean we will not be seeing him out and about, though.

On Thursday, March 5, Fox News invited him to take part in a Town Hall forum in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Joe Biden’s birthplace.

It was the most watched cable news show in history (i.e. going back to the late 1970s):

Dr Dawn Michael makes an excellent point. Dems must have been watching, otherwise the figures would not have been as high.

Martha McCallum and Bret Baier presented the Town Hall, available here in full. What an exceptional 57 minutes — well worth watching:

I’m not alone in my opinion. This lady analyses election data. She has done sterling work so far in 2020. Here is what she had to say about the Town Hall:

The president was very conversational in his answers but didn’t miss a beat:

I don’t know who chose Scranton — Trump’s campaign team or Fox News — but it was perfect:

Those who do not have time to watch the show in full might enjoy viewing the highlights:

The president enjoyed the evening as much as the audience did:

Then it was back to the White House:

I am so grateful that I have my ideal president — the People’s President — during my lifetime.

Tens of millions of Americans would agree.

I will have more on the 2020 campaign soon.

In the meantime: MAGA!

On January 21, 2020, the BBC’s radio and television presenter Victoria Derbyshire interviewed a Briton who lived as a woman for four years before returning to manhood.

Richard Hoskins tells his story here (two weeks left to view, probably geolocalised) and says of his life as a transsexual (emphasis in the original):

‘I used gender transition as a form of escape’

For four years, Richard Hoskins lived as a woman.

But he now believes it was a reaction to the trauma of losing three children, rather than relating to his gender identity.

He has now detransitioned, and tells the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire that more must be done by the NHS to ensure others are properly assessed before treatment begins.

In the clip below, he explains that he had PTSD after the loss of his three children and from earlier sexual trauma as a child. Derbyshire, whose television news and chat show has recently been cancelled, kept showing him national guidelines saying that medical practitioners are following them to the letter. He counters her arguments by saying that what is needed before any of that takes place is one-on-one therapy, which he had after he had become a woman and felt increasingly uncomfortable.

Please watch this two-minute video (‘or’ in line two should read ‘of’):

In Britain, it is very difficult for medical practitioners not to eventually sign off on transsexual procedures. There is legal and professional pressure so to do.

The comments following that tweet are enlightening and show just how wrong ‘following the procedures’ can be:

It turns out that Richard Hoskins is actually Dr Richard Hoskins, a lecturer in theology and present-day criminologist.

He helped police in a horrific murder case that took place in London in 2001. A little boy, known only as ‘Adam’, had been mutilated and thrown into the Thames by Tower Bridge. He was close to being swept away into the North Sea. After Hoskins became involved, more similar cases in London came to light.

Hoskins wrote an award-winning book about it called The Boy in the River, available on Amazon, from which an excerpt of the synopsis follows:

Unable to identify the victim, the Murder Squad turned to Richard Hoskins, a young professor of theology with a profound understanding of African tribal religion, whose own past was scarred by a heartbreaking tragedy. Thus began a journey into the tangled undergrowth of one of the most notorious murder cases of recent years; a journey which would reveal not only the identity of the boy they called Adam but the horrific truth that a succession of innocent children have been ritually sacrificed in our capital city.Insightful and grippingly written, The Boy in the River is an inside account of a series of extraordinary criminal investigations and a compelling personal quest into the dark heart of humanity.

According to the highly interesting readers’ comments, in the book, Hoskins discusses his experiences as a missionary in the Congo. He seems to have spent part of his earlier life there before returning as an adult to spend six years there. His Wikipedia entry gives brief details about his life, mostly focussing on his career as a lecturer and, later, as a criminologist.

One reader wrote, in part:

Through this well written book, Dr Richard Hoskins takes us from his happy times in the Congo marked by devastating personal tragedy whilst living under the rule of an autocratic dictator and contrasts it with the Congo many years later, free of the dictator but with a disintegrating social fabric providing a void for new churches to fill using their corrupted fusion of Christianity with a brutalised version of previously benign traditional beliefs. The Congo that he used to know is not the one in which he is almost killed years later.

When Adam is pulled from the river the Police come to him seeking guidance in a belief system which seems so alien. Dr Hoskin’s personal story run’s parallel with the cases he provides help on, fighting to maintain his sanity and marriage in the face of the case reports he must read and interpret for the benefit of Police and Courts to make sure all understand this is not an Africa problem steeped in tradition but a terrible corruption by a minority in recent years of a faith that has lasted hundreds of years with the victims being dreadfully abused before, in the most extreme, death.

The Evening Standard‘s review said, in part:

As well as being an important book for all sorts of reasons, The Boy in the River is a remarkable one. The horror it evokes will be matched by a sense of disbelief that such appalling things are happening, now, in London. What makes it all the more powerful is the deliberately measured manner in which it is written. Throughout, there s a sense that Hoskins is struggling to maintain his own equilibrium, his own sanity even, as he explores what he calls, with ample justification, the darkest underbelly of human nature.

It is worth emphasising that only a small percentage of the Congo’s Christians practice such brutal syncretism involving ritual child abuse and sacrifice.

Yet, from this, it is understandable why Hoskins was traumatised.

From this we can see that the urge to change one’s sexuality or remove body parts is complex. Not everyone has as involved a past as Dr Hoskins, however, therapy should be strongly advised in such cases before further action is taken.

There are other ways to come to terms with one’s highly personal conflicts:

I hope that Hoskins and others in the same situation continue to speak openly.

One week ago on Friday, January 31, 2020, millions of Britons celebrated Brexit Day.

David Kurten, Brexit Party member of the Greater London Assembly, tweeted:

James Higham of Orphans of Liberty called our attention to the fact, that despite our celebrations, little has changed. We’re merely in a transition period, not full Brexit. To those celebrating, he wrote:

That’s the majority view, everyone on our side so wants it to be true, when it quite palpably is not:

# Still in the Customs Union
# Still in the Single Market
# Still only a small percentage of our fishing waters
# Still in the EU Army and no plans to leave
# Still paying the EU billions to prop them up to keep fighting us …

Agree fully on all points!

Still, it was worth celebrating getting even this far against the Remainers in our own country and in the EU:

On the morning of January 31, Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) gave a press conference in which she restated both her opposition to Brexit and her goal of holding another referendum for Scottish independence. The last one was held in 2014.

I fully agree with becabob’s tweet below the Daily Record‘s front page and have often expressed the same thought to my friends:

EU leaders also made speeches to representatives from the media. David Sassoli, the Italian President of the EU Parliament, lamented the criticism heaped upon the European Union. He said that he was referring to people on the Continent — not the British — and said that could not understand it.

Sassoli went on to say that the EU ‘rules’ and ‘regulations’ were in place to prevent ‘the strong’ overtaking ‘the weak’.

I wonder. Outside of MEPs, voters in EU member states have no voice over senior EU bureaucrats appointed to their various positions. They’re an unelected elite who tell MEPs how to vote. The EU Parliament essentially rubber stamps whatever legislation they are told to approve.

Moving along, the EU removed the British flag from their premises in Brussels:

Hear the cheers in a British sports bar as it happened:

The EU’s Guy Verhofstadt, an arch-enemy of Brexit, posted a video from the Alliance Party in Europe:

Meanwhile, television broadcasters were upset that Boris had a No. 10 team film his exit statement to the nation. Normally, that would have been done by one of the main channels, with permission given to the others to air it. On January 30, The Express reported:

The BBC has warned it might not air the message, which is understood to be a fireside chat.

A spokesman said: “There is a long-established process for recording statements by the Prime Minister at significant times where one broadcaster records it and shares the footage.

“The BBC and the other broadcasters are well used to following this usual process, which respects our independence as broadcasters.

“If Number 10 wants to supply its own footage we will judge it on its news value when deciding whether to broadcast it, as we would with any footage supplied to us by third parties.”

Mr Johnson’s address is one of a number of celebrations to mark Brexit day.

Government buildings in Whitehall will be lit up in red, white and blue, while Parliament Square and Pall Mall will be decorated with British flags.

On a happier note, the Prime Minister’s girlfriend Carrie Symonds posted a photo of Dilyn, their rescue dog from Wales:

That evening, Russia Today was the only media outlet to film Brexit Night for four hours:

At 10 p.m. the BBC, Sky News and ITV broadcast news programmes which lasted until 11:15 p.m. I watched ITV, and I’m glad, because the BBC and Sky gave little coverage of Leavers and, instead, focussed on Remainers.

ITV showed Cabinet members approaching No. 10 for a quiet party that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was throwing for them, his staff and other friends of Brexit, e.g. former Labour Party MP Gisela Stuart.

Just as the newsreader was about to announce who was going in — around 10:06 p.m. — the television played up. It was time to retune the channels, which was aggravating, as we missed the next five minutes of coverage. This is an important detail, more about which below.

ITV showed us coverage of the big party at the rugby club in Morley, which is just outside of Leeds in West Yorkshire:

Happily, ITV showed the fireworks display on their rugby pitch. They were probably the only municipality to have one.

Andrea Jenkyns MP helped to organise the event, which was packed, and probably arranged for permission for the firework display. Fireworks are now officially banned for the year until November 5.

This was the scene in Morley earlier in the day (the Twitter thread has great tweets):

The BBC chose a different locale, Boston in Lincolnshire, for their coverage:

They sang Auld Lang Syne at 11 p.m.:

In the southeast — in Kent — this was the scene at 11:00 p.m. along the famous white cliffs of Dover. This is a lovely little video:

In Brussels, the buildings in the historic centre of the city were illuminated beautifully. Thank you:

In London’s Parliament Square, thousands gathered for the countdown, including former Labour MP for Vauxhall Kate Hoey, an ardent supporter of Brexit:

Earlier, Kate Hoey gave an interview to Sky News:

Returning to Parliament Square, the chap in the middle has been campaigning in Parliament Square for the past few years. As far as I know, he did it without pay and, unlike his Remainer counterpart Steve Bray, never brayed about Brexit, but greeted passers-by instead. Anyone who wanted to talk about Brexit with him could do so:

Steve Bray, who continually ruined many live broadcasts from No. 10, says he will continue braying. Shameful. He was paid £80 a day, he said, to shout all the time. It’s a wonder he has a voice box left:

Here’s a nice ‘pan’ of those in Parliament Square:

This was the big moment in Parliament Square. Thanks to America’s OANN for capturing the atmosphere in their video:

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage was on hand to address the crowd:

The Houses of Parliament looked stunning:

The Department for Exiting the EU formally closed:

Steve Barclay MP formally resigned his position in that department:

Now on to No. 10 Downing Street, the scene of Boris’s subdued party (click photo to read the full article):

Recall that, at the beginning of this post, I mentioned that the television required retuning. No one inside No. 10 was aware of that. Unfortunately, when the big moment came and Boris had intended for everyone to watch the countdown televisually, he had to make do with banging a small gong instead.

I don’t know if any of the nation’s broadcasters showed Boris’s address to the nation at 10 p.m. that night. I tuned in to ITV around 10:05.

Here it is in full:

He aptly and congenially explains that a) he understands that not everyone supports Brexit, b) outlines the next ‘act’ in this continuing ‘drama’ and c) tells us why leaving the EU is the ‘healthy and democratic’ thing to do, referring to the referendum result from 2016.

I am really looking forward to the months ahead. I believe that Boris, flawed though he is (aren’t we all?), will be making history in all the best ways for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

For at least 20 years, populism has been popular in the Netherlands.

Former Labour MP Ed Balls has a BBC Two television series called Travels in Euroland with Ed Balls.

In his episode in the Netherlands, he asks at the end how populism can be stopped.

Yet, he missed the most important point of his own interviews.

Populism is not the R-word.

On the contrary. Populism asks that immigrants assimilate into their new culture. It also asks for orderly borders.

He meets a man named Willem, who talks about his girlfriend in the Gambia. Her name is Jojo. When Ed Balls goes to Willem’s house for lunch, the Dutchman speaks affectionately of her and says he bought her a bicycle — her new, preferred mode of transport (two-minute mark):

So, we can say that populists are, in the main, multiracial. They do not, however, want their own culture erased out of history.

The clip shows that Balls missed the whole of Willem’s message.

But, then again, Balls is Labour and he is making this series for the BBC. What else can one expect?

On Thursday, January 16, 2020, the BBC’s Question Time (QT) had an unusual guest: an actor.

He was no ordinary actor, as the presenter, panel and live audience were to discover.

Laurence Fox, co-star of the popular Detective Morse-spin-off series Lewis, spoke his mind cogently and calmly.

What he said was controversial to half the people who heard it and common sense to the other half.

Guido Fawkes promptly posted Fox’s ‘best of’ moments early Friday morning (emphasis in the original):

Few knew who Laurence Fox was before last night’s Question Time appearance. After this barnstorming performance Guido reckons his appearances will be more keenly anticipated.

Most viewers would make time to watch QT were Fox on it again. However, unlike Guido, I doubt whether he will be invited again. Although his views are centrist, that’s too balanced for the programme, known for its overwhelmingly left-wing panel and presenter (Fiona Bruce) as well as the blunt, emotional discussions, if one can call them that.

No one with any common sense watches QT unless there’s someone on they want to see. I only watched the programme in full after seeing Guido’s post.

This was one of the best QTs ever, because of Fox.

One wonders if the programme researcher who booked him still has a job. I hope so, because ratings on the online replays of the show must have gone through the roof over the past week.

This is what Spiked‘s columnist, Patrick West, wrote about the actor only a few weeks ago in November 2019 (emphases mine below):

We need more Laurence Foxes

Most intelligent grownups don’t pay attention to the political opinions of actors. The film Team America summed it up. Their opinions are usually shallow and conformist. Not so the actor Laurence Fox.

He is decidedly un-luvvie in his opinions and pastimes. The Lewis actor told The Sunday Times the other week that he recently walked around south London in a MAGA hat. He’s fine about multiracialism, but hates multiculturalism: ‘You have to be a Somewhere person. If you’re in England, be English.’

He openly doesn’t hate Donald Trump. He doesn’t think there should be 50-50 gender quotas for scriptwriters at RADA. He calls his fellow thesps ‘hypocrites’ for supporting Extinction Rebellion while leading ‘high-carbon lives’. He is irked most by today’s culture of conformity. ‘Our parents taught us to think for ourselves and then stayed out of the way. Now our kids turn up with a preconceived idea which they’re getting from school.’

Research by King’s College London’s privacy institute published last month showed that young people today had much more liberal views on soft drugs, homosexuality and abortion than they did 20 years ago

This is the great paradox of our day: young people are more tolerant than they used to be, except towards those who question the consensus.

You can see an interview here from December 1 in which he describes his MAGA hat experience in London and the Trump Derangement Syndrome he received:

This is the full 27-minute interview:

The Telegraph‘s Madeline Grant was also on the QT panel last Thursday. She wrote about it on Friday morning, including a clip of the show when the Sussexes departure from the Royal Family was discussed:

The woman attempting to take Fox on over his views on the topic turned out to be a BBC plant, a lecturer at Edge Hill University (a former teacher training college):

Now on to Madeline Grant’s article, most of which lies behind a paywall:

To say I was in a state of panic on the way to Liverpool for my maiden Question Time outing on Thursday would be an understatement. I imagined vomiting onstage, trying to speak and croaking, wardrobe malfunctions, furious audience members throwing tomatoes, and more. I considered pulling a sickie or emigrating.

Yet the experience defied my expectations; with a rare Right-leaning panel, a terrific audience posing intelligent questions, a generally polite and enjoyable conversation without the point-scoring tedium that often accompanies such shows.

Perhaps the most astonishing revelation, however – the needle in the haystack, the flying pig, the blue moon – was the presence of a non-woke actor on the panel. My new friend Laurence Fox, who perfectly captured public resentment of stifling identity politics and the culture of permanent offence. He skewered the hypocrisies of pontificating celebrities and disconnected politicians. And, like Ricky Gervais’s tirade against the Hollywood elite at the Golden Globes, his words found a receptive audience

The aforementioned lecturer, Rachel Boyle, accused Fox of being ‘privileged’ in his comments about the Duchess of Sussex. The Telegraph‘s Jamie Johnson wrote an article, free to view, which recapped some of what the actor said:

Responding to a claim from an audience member that the media’s treatment of Meghan amounted to “racism”, Mr Fox responded: “It’s not racism… we’re the most tolerant, lovely country in Europe.

“It’s so easy to throw the charge of racism and it’s really starting to get boring now,” he continued.

The audience member then described Fox as a “white, privileged male”, to which he responded: “I can’t help what I am, I was born like this, it was an immutable characteristic.

“To call me a white privileged male is to be racist,” he claimed.

You can read an analysis of Boyle and QT here. She tweeted on Saturday, January 18, and got a number of pro and con responses, including this one:

Fox believes that the media turned on the Sussexes when they decided they did not want to put in the hard work as Royals yet still get paid a salary:

Further discussing Meghan and Harry’s decision to quit as senior royals, he told host Fiona Bruce: “When you’re younger you do want to make a life for yourselves.

“So I do empathise with them, but I do think there’s a little bit of having your cake and eating it which I don’t enjoy.”

Absolutely! The more one reflects on this, the more one can see the British public’s indignation at the indirect insinuation by the Sussexes that we’re just not good enough for them. They cannot bear the idea of pressing our oh-so-common flesh on a regular basis. They’re far too good for the likes of us. What snobs.

Returning to QT, the first of Fox’s brilliant comments came on the subject of climate change and frequent flights. He willingly admitted to flying a lot:

Joking about the hypocrisy of celebrities who fly regularly, Fox said: “The carbon footprint’s huge.

But we make up for it by preaching to everyone how they should change their life.”

Yes! (Looking at you, Sussexes — along with dozens of others!)

Fox received lots of praise from QT viewers:

The Mail on Sunday has more reactions from Twitter on Fox’s views as expressed on QT.

In this interview with journalist and polemicist James Delingpole from January 16, Fox discusses his attitude towards dating:

The aforementioned Mail on Sunday article reported some of what Fox, 41, said on the topic:

Laurence Fox has revealed he once broke up with a girlfriend because she liked a pro-#MeToo TV advert

The actor, 41, told his ex-lover: ‘Bye. Sorry I can’t do this with you,’ after she praised Gillette for their TV campaign on ‘toxic masculinity’

He also said he no longer dates women under 35 as they are ‘too woke’ and most of them are ‘absolutely bonkers’

The controversial Gillette advert subverted the razor brand’s famous ‘The Best A Man Can Get’ slogan by challenging traditional views of what it means to be a successful man. 

It featured news clips of reporting on the #MeToo movement, as well as images showing sexism in films, in boardrooms, and of violence between boys. 

In an interview with the Delingpod podcast, Mr Fox, who has two children with actress Billie Piper, 37, said of his Gillette argument: ‘I don’t know how we ended up together. It was a very short relationship

‘We were walking down the road together and she was talking about how good the Gillette advert was. I just looked at her and went, ‘Bye. Sorry I can’t do this with you.’

It is not clear which former girlfriend Mr Fox was referring to.  

He told the podcast that before his current relationship began, he was put off dating women under 35 because they are ‘primed to believe they are victims’

Mr Fox’s previous girlfriends include DJ Lilah Parsons, Sky Sports News presenter Kirsty Gallcher, 43, and Vogue Williams, 34. 

Asked what his former flame would think about him sharing the unusual reason for their break-up he told the podcast: ‘She will probably sit there and say, ‘See I told you he was patriarchal. He’s abusing me and I’m offended.’  

That same day, Fox gave an interview to Spiked’s Brendan O’Neill, an ex-leftist who is now centrist and/or libertarian. This is a good discussion, just a little over an hour long. O’Neill clearly agrees with Fox:

Fox said, among other things, that he was very grateful that people were beginning to be more open about their views in the face of political correctness. As a result, he believes the tide is beginning to turn.

Millions of us are grateful to Laurence Fox for going on national television and unreservedly voicing his opinions in a calm, civilised manner.

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