It’s the subtext that’s so much fun here

‘This guy doesn’t know anything’: the inside story of Trump’s shambolic transition team
Illustration: Nathalie Lees
Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball and The Big Short, reveals how Trump’s bungled presidential transition set the template for his time in the White House

It’s the voice of the permanent ruling class, that deep state of the right people, complaining about the irruption of the rubes. The Beltway Bandits missing why these people from Flyover Country are there. Simply because large portions of the people don’t like the world the Bandits have built.

Well, there’s a start to a Labour proposal

Best to nail your colours to the mast early on:

The essential starting point for reform of corporate governance is the recognition that
large corporations are not the private property of their shareholders and should not
be controlled only by executives and directors in the sole or primary interest of

What actually is private property then?

Polly’s One-Eyed Viking

Polly Toynbee seems to have found a new gusset wetner:

He bestrides this conference like a colossus. Big Mac is the one they want to hear, from Andrew Marr to Mumsnet. Lobbyists for every cause are eager to catch his coat-tails. John McDonnell is the man who matters because what he says goes when it comes to almost everything at this Labour gathering in Liverpool. His imprimatur is stamped on every card vote and each frontbench speech; it is as disciplined as in the old New Labour pager-control days.

And it’s always some man wielding the rod of political power, isn’t it?

Add some black footy bags an it’s almost fascist in its attraction to the power of will.


So increasingly, I wonder: What is the socialism of the Amazon age? How will it be expressed? And can it be shaped into something that might credibly take power? Put another way, while proudly hanging on to immovable ideas of equality and solidarity, are Labour and the left finally ready to leave the 20th century?

I’m a socialist me. Dunno what it means nor what I’m going to do but socialism, it’s the right thing, innit?

Well, yes, but the thing is, you see…..

Senior Labour figures and the family of former party leader Michael Foot have reacted with anger over the re-emergence of the explosive claim that he was a paid Soviet informant.

Neil Kinnock, who succeeded Foot as Labour leader, said his predecessor had been a “passionate and continual critic of the Soviet Union” in response to the allegation that MI6 believed Foot had been a paid informant.

We do know that some were indeed actual Soviet agents within the Labour Party. In a manner in which we really didn’t have any of Hitler’s, nor Mussolini’s, in the Tories (Moseley was an offshoot of Labour of course). And if we widen our look to a bit more of the left the Morning Star was funded by Moscow gold or decades. And Richard Gott at The Guardian – he’s occasionally back in the fold, isn’t he?

That is, our question isn’t whether there were such paid agents and informants around. It’s only over who they were. Too many, obviously, but how many too many?

Official insistence that people are idiots

Coffee shops can be as unhealthy as fast food chains and use misleading names to make their food seem less calorific, according to the Government’s top nutritionist.

Muffins with names such as “lemon and poppy seed” mislead customers into believing they are healthy and should come with bigger calorie content signs, Dr Alison Tedstone has suggested.

She said that while consumers understand that the main products in fast food chains can be highly calorific, in coffee shops “often you’ve got no idea”.

Why actually have democracy if people are too stupid to understand that muffins might have a calorie or three hundred in them?

This is logically true too. The stupider they think we are the less reason there is for a democracy in which we get to choose who they are, no?

Isn’t this terrible?

The Guardian hyperventilates:

But the new government, which could now take weeks to form, will need either cross-bloc alliances between centre-right and centre-left parties, or an accommodation with the Sweden Democrats – long shunned by all other parties because of their extremist roots – to pass legislation, potentially giving the populists a say in policy.

With the centre-left bloc on 40.6% of the vote and the centre-right on 40.2%, analysts predict long and complicated negotiations will now be needed to build a majority, or – more likely – a minority that will not easily be sunk. This looks difficult on the left, where any coalition would need to include the ex-communist Left, effectively excluding cooperation from the centre-right.

Many observers therefore see the Moderate party leader, Ulf Kristersson – who on Sunday night called for Löfven to resign – seeking to form a minority centre-right administration, possibly in coalition with the Christian Democrats and with implicit, ad hoc parliamentary support from the Sweden Democrats.

This would give the populist party the opportunity to influence policy, particularly on immigration, in exchange for votes.

The new government might represent a significant portion of the votes cast. Horrors, eh?

Or as Brecht didn’t say, the people have spoken, the bastards.

Of course there’s no such thing as the Establishment, the Deep State

1. Many officials are working against Trump from within the administration
The anonymous author of the New York Times’s essay, titled I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump administration, says that many officials across government are working inside the administration as part of a “quiet resistance”.

The author says: “I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”

One example given is officials pushing on with sanctions against Russia despite the president’s opposition to them. Across the administration people are “choosing to put country first”. The author says this is not the “deep state” but the “steady state”.


Does Owen Jones have absolutely no sense of self-awareness at all?

There are several species of spider whose young hatch and gradually eat their own mother. The term for this macabre practice is matriphagy. This is now the fate of the Conservative party and its hungry Ukip offspring. Remainer Tory MPs are reporting sharp rises in applications to become members of their local associations – of up to 30% in the last three months. While dozens of Tory councillors defected to Ukip under David Cameron’s leadership, one report suggests at least 10% of Ukip councillors have gone the other way since 2015.

This is what Militant tried with the Labour Party, what Momentum has succeeded in doing.

Other than that, voters, how did you enjoy the election?

Jeremy Corbyn: a pacifist who lauds blood-soaked murderers, a believer in “dialogue” who backs believers in terror, a freedom fighter who wants to control the press, a “kinder, gentler” politician who allows antisemitism to run rife in his own party. I would call all this ironic but the Labour leader has implied that Brits of Jewish heritage such as me just don’t get it.

And they might elect him, too.

Most gallant, most gallant

Duncan Hunter, US congressman, blames wife over $250,000 campaign fraud scandal

He’s an ex-Marine and saw frontline action, so in parliamentary terms he’s the “gallant.” In the other sense, not so much:

A US congressman accused of using $250,000 in campaign donations to fund his own lavish lifestyle appeared to blame his wife for the scandal.

Duncan Hunter and his wife Margaret were charged this week with fraud and illegal use of campaign funds.

They were accused of using election campaign money to take personal trips to London, Hawaii and Italy, pay children’s school fees, and for dental work and theatre tickets

The spending included $600 on an airfare for their pet rabbit, $3,300 on burgers at In-N-Out fast food restaurants, and $11,300 for items at Costco supermarket.

The campaign funds you’ve got left when you retire, yes, those can be spent that way. But still, blaming the wife for all this?

And how does anyone spend $3,300 at In and Out?

Oh Aye?

This is how it starts folks:

Licence fee-payers would then choose individuals to represent their interests on the board, providing potential candidates met certain qualifying criteria.

What criteria?

It doesn’t take long for such to include membership of the right organisations. Anyone can stand for election as long as they’re a member of the Communist Party is something that half of Europe dealt with for half a century….

How Stalinist Mr. Corbyn

The thing is, does he know this stuff or just have a tin ear?

The BBC should declare the “social class” of all its presenters and journalists as part of a bid to improve its diversity, Jeremy Corbyn will say today.

The Labour leader will say presenters could be required to supply details about their background, including whether they went to private school and their parent’s occupation and education.

Mr Corbyn will say that the information would then be published as part of a drive to ensure there is “complete transparency” for “all creators of BBC content”.

That concern about social origins. Most, most, Soviet. Children of landlords or priests might be – and were – denied university. Those of proletarians offered scholarships. Only different in detail from the fascists and their worries about Jewish grandmothers. And that’s before we get to Soviet anti-semitism (I have all of that from the horse’s mouth, having “Jew” on the nationality line of your passport was not an aid in the USSR).

Still, will be interesting when such demands reach The Guardian. That’s Polly done for, gg grandaughter of a landed Earl. And is there anyone at all there we wouldn’d describe as haute bourgoisie ?

Yes, Nicolas, entirely right Mr. Maduro

Nicolas Maduro, the Leftist leader of Venezuela, blamed far Right opponents, neighbouring Colombia and financiers based in Florida for what he said was an assassination attempt with a drone in Caracas on Saturday night.

He appeared on TV hours after cutting short a speech to the country’s military amid scenes of panic to point the finger at a familiar list of enemies.

Officials said two drones loaded with explosives went off during the president’s speech. However, firefighters disputed that version of events, saying a gas tank had exploded in an apartment.

Not that it should surprise any if someone is trying to off him but still….

Terrible, just terrible, isn’t it?

The far right is at its strongest since the 1930s, and the media is helping
Owen Jones

Prominent far-right figures being given airtime on the BBC, LBC and ITV are not being properly challenged on their views

And far lefties flounce off in a huff when their views are challenged on the same shows.

The far right is on the march, and it is being legitimised and enabled by parts of the mainstream media. The shambolic interview of Raheem Kassam – sidekick to Steve Bannon and Nigel Farage – by the BBC’s flagship Today programme was a striking case in point. This champion of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (or as he calls himself, Tommy Robinson) – a man whose convictions include fraud, assault and contempt of court – was allowed to present himself as a legal expert. His link to the far-right Breitbart website was not mentioned.

His claim that there was “nothing far-right about us” was not challenged, despite his sympathy for banning Muslim immigration, or his response to Sheffield’s lord mayor banning Donald Trump from the city: “What is it with these Muslim mayors that as soon as they get power they start acting like fascists? Oh right yeah sorry that’s Islam …” There was no attempt to refute his farcical claim that the Mussolini-praising Bannon was a “Kennedy Democrat”. His past vile statements were not put to him, like: “Can someone just like … tape Nicola Sturgeon’s mouth shut? And her legs, so she can’t reproduce. Thanks.” His repeated use of the term “cultural Marxism” – a far-right trope with antisemitic roots – or description of trans people as “trannies” was not mentioned. The interview was a travesty, another step further down the road of far-right normalisation.

The general view is that people are not stupid. That’s why we have democracy, because people are not stupid and can indeed choose. Idiots spouting nonsense will be perceived as idiots spouting nonsense. Whether it’s idiots holding up Venezuela as a model for the economy or those insisting upon racism as a grounding for society.

What Young Owen’s complaining about is the air time given to the idiots he disagrees with, not that on offer to those he agrees with – or himself, of course.

It’s all just Jewish lies about anti-semitism

Can’t help thinking that there’s the odd historical resonance to this claim:

One of Jeremy Corbyn’s closest allies on Labour’s ruling body blamed Jewish “Trump fanatics” for “making up” allegations of anti-Semitism in the party at a meeting attended by the Labour leader.

Peter Willsman, one of the so-called “JC9” of key Corbyn supporters on the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC), said he would “not be lectured” by Jewish supporters of the US President “making up duff information without any evidence at all”.

He also appeared to suggest that examples of anti-Semitism within Labour were being “falsified on social media”. One Jewish Labour MP said his comments “beggar belief”.

There is a slight problem here

Best of all, though least likely to generate headlines, is the committee’s insistence that, from childhood, we all “need to be equipped in general with sufficient digital literacy”, and that social media companies pay “an educational levy” to fund this formidable social undertaking – from primary school onwards.

This is the civil defence of the future, the means by which we shall be given at least a chance of spotting the proliferating falsehoods, pseudo-science, cheap conspiracy theories and outright cyber-attacks we will encounter every day online. These are the new tools of contemporary citizenship.

Why is this any different from he perusal of the lies in the average election manifesto?

It’s that second to last word that matters

Manafort’s decision to take his chances in court has startled many observers. Speculation about whom Manafort may be protecting with his silence – and why – has steadily intensified.

Bradley Moss, a Washington-based attorney who specialises in national security issues, expressed dismay that Manafort was allowing his case to go this far.

“They have him nailed dead to rights,” said Moss. “He is going to spend the rest of his life in jail if convicted.”

Maybe he thinks he’s got a defence?