HACKGATE DAY 415: This saga is about unearned privilege, not Newscorp

There was an interesting comment at the end of yesterday’s post about Hackgate, in which a Slog regular opined quite undertsandably that I am part of the BBC/Guardian axis trying to destroy the Right wing press in Britain. I have a clear provenance going back a long way suggesting that this isn’t the case…most notably my bombardment of Labour MPs (and Alan Rusbridger) with tweets asking why nobody is investigating Trinity Mirror….and persistent harrassment of Piers Moron as a result of his alleged behaviour as a rutting phone-nuisance while editor of the Mirror Red Top.

Media ownership and editorial position bestow enormously dangerous power upon those who, if we’re being frank here, very rarely deserve it. This must come with responsibility. Idiots like Moron, Paul Dacre and Kelvin McFatso rubbish the idea of responsibility with the same arrogance they mete out to public enquiries. In the last few months, they have done themselves no favours at all…and for this I am eternally grateful. But it truly is not a matter of Left and Right: it is a question of those prepared to bow down before the rule of Law – and those who consider themselves to be so exceptionally gifted, they must be made an exception. The latter folks are no different to bankers, Whitehall mandarins, trade unions leaders and Islamic ‘leaders’.

An excellent example of how everything can be twisted beyond all recognition has been apparent at the Maily Telegraph of late. As many of you will know already, the paper is owned by the secretive, manipulative and and entirely non-taxpaying Barclay Brothers. They live on the Channel Island of Sark, generally treating it as their own fiefdom and sending over occasional diktats to the Telegraph staff about what will or will not be written, spiked and featured.

The Barclays are behind the ‘Stop Banker Bashing’ drivel. They were behind all the early attacks upon the Coalition. They are behind the entirely risible ‘Britain is anti-business’ bollocks. And today, they decided to have a go at George Osborne’s 50p rate of tax on the super-rich. (In case you hadn’t noticed from the foregoing description, the Barclay Brothers are super rich). The nature of today’s organised anti-50p tax attack was so obvious, at one point the Telegraph website was running three stories at once about it….none of which added any value to the other two.

But being beyond British law and taxes, they think themselves – probably quite rightly – completely unaccountable to anyone except themselves. I can tell you from personal experience that the Barclays inspire precisely the same fear in Tory Cabinet ministers today as Murdoch, Campbell and Mandelson once did to their creatures in government. Indeed, the only time I have ever seen a senior member of Camerlot hungry for information was when I pronounced the words “Barclay Brothers”.

The Barclay Brothers aided, engineered and then spiked large parts of the ‘Get Vince Cable Out’ campaign. They would love to remove Murdoch from the UK competitive set: but towards the end of the bugging-Cable story, they realised it could evoke sympathy for Murdoch, and so they spiked it. It was left to a disgruntled Telegraph hack to pass it on to another, who then leaked it to Robert Peston at the BBC.

Now, although the Barclays are on ‘the Right’, their control over what we know and don’t know is no different to that of New Labour’s past spin doctors, the grotesque Lord Mandelson, the senior Trinity Mirror management, and the neo-Trot mob that hang around Rusbridger at The Guardian. All these people ruthlessly suppress any and all Truth likely to damage their various causes.

So as I have written many times before, I really care not a fig for the political ‘leanings’ of any of them. What they all have in common is two things: a controlling, censorious nature; and a desire to be one of the arbitrarily privileged in our land.

The aim of The Slog remains exactly the same: to deconstruct bollocks, no matter what its source. But, as it happens, the source of 99% of all bollocks is the people I have described in the foregoing paragraph. Some are in the media, some in Parliament, some in Brussels, some in Beijing, a few in the Kremlin, others in Washington, some working on Wall Street. Attack all bollocks, and one threatens them. We will never get rid of them entirely; but to sit back and leave them there is a recipe for Dystopia.

QED.

52 thoughts on “HACKGATE DAY 415: This saga is about unearned privilege, not Newscorp

  1. The Smellygraph’s anti 50p tax campaign seems frankly amateurish. If the Barclay brothers are paying a PR firm for it they are due a refund.
    When you’re running propaganda you need to disguise the fact that it is propaganda.
    Two days ago they ran this story that medical ethisists say infanticide is the same as abortion.
    Today they work out that therefore abortion equals killing new born babies.
    You could see it coming a mile off.
    It used to be a good newspaper, one of the best in the world. I miss it.

    • Killing a human either immediately before or after birth seems, morally, pretty much the same thing. Killing healthy fetuses at the rate of around 190,000 per year while importing that many people from elsewhere, as occurs in Britain, looks to me like a concerted policy of autogenocide.

      What people should be thinking about is the wisdom and morality of adopting heroic measures to keep alive new born children with severe handicaps. Adopting the Spartan practice of exposing unhealthy or deformed newborn children seems far more acceptable.

  2. But, but, but the 50p. tax rate is a stupid idea. Just because it’s there doesn’t make it justifiable, just stupid.
    During the sixties the top rate of tax was nearly 100% but you are suggesting that a news outlet shouldn’t complain and campaign about that tax rate? Face it – every news media outlet, blog, website, history book, you name it has it’s own agenda.
    Even Reuters and the PA has it’s own.
    Always has been and always will. The trick is too see through their agenda and make up your own mind.

    • It’s a lousy idea a but the worm has turned – and has turned left. Hollande will bring in a 75 per cent rate. Obama will increase rates. Everywhere taxes will be going up, up ,up. Efficiency and rationality no longer count. Its back to the 70s and envy. It will only get worse because the west cannot adapt to the realitty that everyone must get poorer. It will resort to the worst forms of Keynesism and of course war, war, war.

      • Everyone would get poorer a lot less quickly if the the government were not owned by corporations intent on maximizing profit by outsourcing and off-shoring everything they can to Asia. How does anyone thing Apple got to be the biggest company in the World, if not by trashing American workers and replacing them by sweated labor in Asia?

        But we’re at the end of the road now. Western countries have been importing capital to cover growing trade deficits, but now the debts are getting too big to service. So either we’ll see a return to protectionism or rapid declines in the standard of living until wages converge with those in Asia (about $400 a month for industrial labor), or more likely, as OAH suggests, we’ll see something nastier, probably a collapse of the liberal consensus and a violent nationalist backlash.

    • Paul
      That’s the point of The Slog: I don’t want to face it aka accept it: I want to stop it.
      Cynicism is the new naivety.

    • The other case is that even though the tax rate exists there are apparently so many ways of avoiding it evn if HMRC can be bothered to try to collect it in the first place

    • I don’t justify the 50% rate, but we ought to note that much of the rest of the EU is at or around that top rate. It fits well in socially ‘progressive’ countries. The problem is that the UK has an irredeemable mix of cultures. Vast swathes of our population are essentially socialist on top of which there is an entrepreneurial crust that thinks and operates differently. Perhaps Dave ought to use his PR skills to underline the point that the majority depend on the minority for their welfare, not the other way around.

  3. If I was either of these two brothers I would be more concerned with keeping a very low profile in the current climate.
    Personally I think given the spate of high level banking resignations happening around the globe at present it is becoming obvious to the banker community that the people of the world have had enough of them.
    Just like these resignees I too sense that ugly retribution is on the cards and gathering momentum!
    Yesterdays $700 billion QE bailout via the Fed,IMF and onto the ECB to dish out to the undeserving will further fan the flames of discontent.

    In my younger days in the early 80s a band called “The Specials” had a classic number 1 hit called “Ghost Town” which described the negativity felt by youth particuarly in the inner cities. Now this song is once again very relevant but perhaps across a much wider audience than in 1980.
    one line stands out “People getting angry”!

  4. Another thing the DT is doing a lot recently is running online surveys with their stories. Yes, no, partly agree stuff.
    Is this a new business model? Writing a story and using that to gather survey data?

  5. @Phil A.’Sound of the suburbs’,The Members,Nicky Tesco,lead singer,managed by Steve Lilleywhite,the first line was ‘same old monday morning….’ great band by the way

  6. I gave up buying newsprint ages ago, and I’ve recently given up reading online newspapers. It’s all manipulative BS.
    Hoping not to sound sycophantic, but this is the place I now go to for investigative journalism and considered analysis. Even if it’s occasionally wrong, JW, it’s always food for thought.

  7. OT but important I feel, if anybody is tempted to “trial” Windows 8, Don’t.
    Microsoft state that you can revert with just a mouse click, you can’t. You have to reformat your hard drive and re-install your operating system from scratch.
    How nasty and deceitful is that?

    • KFC
      I think for business users win 8 is going to cause mayhem full stop.

      They are going to further fracture the corporate market, from what I can tell just to rush out Metro and try to cash in on the iPad.

      Corporates are still running XP, and it doesn’t show any sign of dying soon.

      Some reports showing XP useage has gone up!!
      http://www.neowin.net/news/report-windows-xp-market-share-went-up-in-january-2012

      Add in to this the disparity of ARM and x86 versions, drying up of IT business leases, and cash preservation vs IT spend, XP looks to have a much longer life than MS hope.

      I actually like Win7, but as a dev in corp space, XP is still the lowest common denominator and we keep having to target it :(

      • @SMacA:
        “Corporates are still running XP, and it doesn’t show any sign of dying soon.”

        This doesn’t surprise me one jot. I still use XP-Pro and although I have a laptop (did have, it’s now gone south) with Win7 on from new, I don’t like its restrictions, (eg: it doesn’t allow me to run a free program which has low-level drivers because the drivers haven’t been signed by MS at an exorbitant cost to the author). WTF has that got to do with MS?

        For me, Win7 is a crock and little better than Vista, although I realise some people get along with it. IMO, XP was the peak of MS’s op/sys developments and instead of spewing out Vista/Win7/Win8, MS should have re-engineered XP to make it world class and then stuck with it. But sadly, the Gates’ mindset prevails in MS.

  8. John,
    I was going to put together some notes on our good friend “Honest” John Yates to add to the article I posted here last year.
    After reading the notes from today’s Leveson Inquiry, I decided that your blog wouldn’t have enough webspace to cope with even the briefest of my comments on Yates’ performance.
    Yates, who was interrupting his duties (which most likely consist of instructing the Bahraini police force in brutalising protesting Bahrain citizens)….gave a demonstration of how to deny everything using the well-proven “Yates Plausible Denial” method. It’s probably fortuitous that the Leveson inquiry is being held now, as Yates’ memory seems to be failing so severely that, by this time next year, he may not even remember who he is.
    Meanwhile, Boris has denied that Rebekka’s gift horse intends to challenge him by standing for the post of Mare of London.

    You can read (with incredulity) the whole sorry saga of Honest John’s amnesia here:-

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/mar/01/leveson-inquiry-yates-hayman-clarke-live-live

    Kennboy

      • You may have a point.
        I suppose it comes down to who’s worse- a bent ex cop who becomes a Murdoch columnist, or a bent ex cop who now works for an oppressive Arab Princedom.

        Neither of them are on my Christmas card list, anyway.

  9. A fair rate of tax, rigorously enforced. Not silly rates 50% and going north, where those in the bracket affected become more and more devious at ways of avoiding paying even the basic rates (e.g. Private Equity, Hedgies, etc. “…err, I think I pay less tax than the cleaner that does my Mayfair office”)

    Wasn’t it Gormless Frown that decimated HMRC’s tax inspecting capability and instead installed a top tax man who was partial to a nice lunch from bankers and cell phone networks? All a nice cosy club.

    Hats off to the DT for exposing the MP’s expenses scandal, but how much more could they (and other serious media) have exposed if they weren’t part of the problem/system/zitgeist(sic).

    Two sources of excellent investigative journalism – this blog and Private Eye are essential reading these days; please keep going each.

    • HMRC have a whole manual of what can be counted as expenses (480 / 490) just why do MP’s et al need a whole different set of rules?

      • Because Britain has institutionalised corruption in government. The rules on MP expenses are set by the Speaker after debates with MPs and then sanctioned and paid by his staff. The Speaker is elected by MPs, so how anyone expects that he will ever set rules which are lean and mean is anybody’s guess.

  10. The 50% tax rate is hardly just on the ‘super rich’. £100k (because thats where it kicks in, due to the effects of the withdrawal of the tax free allowance) may be a very nice salary/income, but it doesn’t allow you to buy mansions in the country, Ferraris and helicopters. The 50% rate hits many well off, but not rich people, many of whom are the bedrock of the economy of the country. This is not the time to reduce their incentives to increase their businesses, take on more staff, and make more profit/income. The 50% rate does all those things, and doesn’t even raise any extra revenue. It is entirely symbolic, has negative practical consequences, and should be abolished.

  11. The 50% rate hits employees, not company owners.
    No business person thinks ” I won’t expand my business, because if I do my top performers might end up paying more tax.” Pure bollocks.

  12. My point is not the specifics of the 50p rate. My point is that shady, nondoms with an axe to grind should not own major media.
    This would get rid of both the Barclays and Murdoch. And, of course, the Indie’s Russian.
    I don’t want some mogul’s viewpoint, I want the news analysed and interrogated evenly.

  13. What we need John is an English version of the USA alternative news programme “Infowars” with Alex Jones (No not her from the one show) then the politicians, bankers, police and corperations would get scrutinized. We might not like very much what we would hear though and the word “conspiracy” always comes up when people are pulled out of their comfort zones.

    • Alex Jones? He is a raving lunatic. However, there are some interesting articles there, if you can see past “they’re poisoning us via the drinking water” style pieces. Not my main source for alternative news, but still…

    • yes, the DT story did distract the entire country just as the bankers, and especially tax havens, were coming under great scrutiny and criticism.

      I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but i personally think the whole story was cooked up by the Barclay twins from the word go.
      Isuggest the guy who got hold of the disk was a barclays stooge. Crucially, the Daily Mail never got to bid for the disk. Anyone who knows anything about the British media would tell you the DM would likelly pay the most for that sort of material.

  14. Meanwhile,over in the US,NASA has been hacked by a Chinese ISP address.Really a Chinese ISP address?How amateurish do the US government think China are,or how immature do they think their own people are to buy this waffle?Chinese hackers have been using GCHQ and other ISP addresses for at least two years and have been hacking mobile phones along with “others”since2003 not only here in the UK but also in the US.If not,why are so much personal information for sale on Chinese and other Asian web sites-if you dare enter a credit card?
    This really should be alerting us all as to how vulnerable our own private material is and how vulnerable our state information is.I dread the day when IAO information is dumped on the net.

    • You’re right. It’s easy to hide an IP address if you want to. There’s many companies offering proxy services and there’s other ways too.
      The Chinese government wouldn’t be caught out so easily.

  15. Westminster, Whitehall and the Crown all appear to be paralyzed and nervous by the potential threat of the insidious Barclay Brothers.
    Perhaps the Barclays have more MP expenses dagger style revelations under their journalistic cloaks?
    Why is there such reluctance to ‘out’ the Barclays as serial UK tax avoiders and defenders of their wealthy banker chums via their Telegraph organ?
    The Barclays have a risible reputation. They are currently wreaking havoc on the tiny, car-free, tax-free Channel Island of Sark and treating it, at will, as their own fiefdom. The indigenous residents of Sark are paralyzed and helpless with the fear of retribution and intimidation. The island is a small, under-funded Crown Dependency. The Privy Council and Whitehall are wholly reluctant to offer any guidance or support to the island.
    They seem content to let the Barclays to dictate their own agenda without any challenge.
    It is high time that the Barclay Brothers were exposed for what they have been, and for what they have be allowed to become. Sadly they would appear to have Cameron, Clegg and Co as their pet poodles whilst they simultaneously defraud the UK of zillions in unpaid tax?
    It is high time for some serious investigations about the Barclays antics and motives.

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