Who is this “The Media?”

Rebel Wilson has landed a blow on the relentlessly aggressive media
Van Badham

The actor’s defamation win is not a victory against Australia’s tall poppy syndrome, but a turning of the tables on the media culture towering over us

Dunno about you but I would describe birds like Van Badham of being the very definition of that media which towers over us.

No doubt they are love, no doubt they are

Britain is leaving the EU – just as Europe is on the up
Natalie Nougayrède

Merkel and Macron are planning for a ‘golden decade’ and won’t let Brexit negotiations derail them

But a couple of politicians planning for a golden decade and a golden decade actually turning up are rather different things, aren’t they?

Malenkov was really quite certain that 1960s Soviet Union was going to be a golden decade. Stalin that the 1930s were in fact one.

It’s not Brexit if we don’t do this, is it?

We’re leaving the EU, and because we’re leaving the EU we will be leaving the single market and, by the way, we’ll be leaving the customs union,” Mr Hammond told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, in his first interview since the election. “The question is not whether we’re leaving the customs union.

“The question is what do we put in its place in order to deliver the objectives which the Prime Minister set out in the Lancaster House speech of having no hard land border in Ireland and enabling British goods to flow freely backwards and forwards across the border with the European Union.”

Bad taste product of the month

Later in the evening, west London came together in grief with a candlelit vigil.

Many wept openly as a sea of candles softly illuminated the road outside the Latymer Christian Centre, just yards from the site of the blaze.

So, who is going to start making candles clad in nicely Green insulation? Candles which burn rather quickly?

Welcome to the mob

Or perhaps that’s The Mob

A man who was mistaken for a Tory councillor and beaten up by activists who stormed Kensington Town Hall in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy has been left injured and badly shaken by the incident.

Robert Outram, 56, had spent much of last week volunteering at the makeshift shelters set up to help victims of the deadly blaze.

A mob has a lower collective IQ than that of the lowest member of the mob. And given that we’re talking about Momentum activists here that’s pretty low.

Isn’t this Ritchie’s mate?

The one with the Fair Tax Mark who didn’t pay minimum wage?

The boss of one of the UK’s biggest energy companies has been given a 72% pay rise, just weeks after arguing against consumers having their bills capped to save them £100 a year.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, the chief executive of SSE, will be paid £2.92m in 2017 after receiving the maximum possible bonuses for leading a “robust performance” by the supplier last year.

She’s in trouble, ain’t she?

Theresa May had provoked widespread criticism and anger on Thursday after failing to visit the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire when she came to the Westway road – staying for 15 minutes and swerving any contact with locals.

On Friday afternoon, word spread she was due to come back, this time to visit St Clement’s Church, where volunteers had been boxing up donations. Before long a crowd had gathered, filling the street outside the church.

As they waited, the people became increasingly hostile, shouting at her to come out and face them. One man began chanting: “Get her out! Get her out!”, while another screamed at police barring the door to the church: “Why have you brought her here? If she cared she would have come yesterday.”

Forty minutes passed, and still nothing. Then one of the waiting riot vans started up and began to move forward, parting the crowd. The Prime Minister’s Range Rover rounded the bend.

“She’s come out the back,” a woman shouted. As the car began to speed away the crowd rushed towards it. Around 70 people were running after her as police attempted to barricade the vehicle, creating a human barrier between the mob and the Prime Minister’s car, shoving people off as they tried to bang on the windows.

People screamed “shame on you” and “coward” as the car sped away.

The fear you or love you bit works for dictatorships but not for democracies.

Of course, these dimwits are being emotionally incontinent, the people who show up to share the pain, show the nation cares, are the Royals, that’s what they’re for. The PM’s the executive, not the figurehead.

But still, if that’s the way that people are reacting then May’s got a big, big, problem, not one I would expect her to survive for long.

Imagine the scene

And I met Damian Green, our new First Secretary of State, skulking in the Archduke at Waterloo last night (an old lefty plotting ground) and he too seemed incredibly reluctant to engage with the public, but I assure you, I tried.

You slip in for a quiet pint before the train and find yourself being approached by a lecturer from Islington Technical College.

Question, how keen are you to engage?

Pure idiocy

Many economists warn of a classic mismatch of incentives. Governments may have good reason to invest in projects that yield no profit, building roads to nowhere that ultimately open up undeveloped land for job-generating commerce. Government alone has the incentive to upgrade shoddy wastewater treatment and supply systems for drinking water. Absent public guarantees for profits, private companies have no inducement to bring such works into creation.

“Private investors need to have a decent rate of return,” said Louis Kuijs, head of Asia for Oxford Economics, based in Hong Kong. “They cannot wait 40 years, and they are simply not able to take into account the additional tax revenues for the government.”

Complete twattery in fact.

Did water investment go up or down upon privatisation? Up.

Further, we do not control prices to guarantee a profit, we control them to stop a natural monopoly ripping the consumer off. And what the fuck is this guy at Oxford Economics on about? He’s living in a place where the metro system funds itself from the rise in land values around a new station.

Jeepers.

Hmm

The government’s building safety experts warned last year that the drive for greater energy efficiency meant more and more buildings are being wrapped in materials that could go up in flames.

In a report compiled before the Grenfell Tower disaster on Wednesday, the Building Research Establishment, which works for the Department of Communities and Local Government on fire investigations, said attempts to innovate with insulation were leading to an “increase in the volume of potentially combustible materials being applied” to buildings.

Don’t think that’s going to be part of the left’s general story about this, is it?

There is a certain irony here

A model of the biographer’s art”, which pulls back the curtain on one of the most significant but least recognised political figures of the last century, has won Britain’s most prestigious prize for political writing. John Bew’s Citizen Clem, about Clement Attlee, the founder of the NHS, was named winner of the £3,000 2017 Orwell prize for books at a ceremony in London on Thursday night.

Because 1984 was, in large part, about 1948 when Clem was PM. No, not the political side of it, but the descriptions of shortages, the utter, utter dreariness. And as we know, that was all prolonged by the idiot decision to try to plan everything. We know this, because when Adenauer said “Sod the planning” that’s when the German economy took off.

Isn’t this just a fabulous argument?

The appalling destruction of Grenfell Tower and the lives of so many who lived there has exposed what society, in its heart, already knows: our housing cannot continue to be subject to the market’s desires, needs or fluctuations. If some housing is regarded as being more valuable, more desirable, corners will always be cut in the places where there is less financial return. The same goes for people: the most disadvantaged always suffer most from the mistakes of the powerful.

Council housing fuck up. Therefore all housing must be by the State.

Whut?

Quite remarkable

Jeremy Corbyn has called for the empty homes of rich people in Kensington to be seized for Grenfell Tower residents who have been made homeless by the fire.

The Labour leader said that the London Borough was a “tale of two cities” between a wealthy south and a rich north.

He suggested that “requisitioning” expensive vacant properties could help ensure that residents are housed locally.

Yes, that’s great, isn’t it? Local council conspires to burn people to death and the solution is to confiscate private property.

Tears, tears to my eyes

First, the Bank of England seriously considered increasing interest rates in May. If that happens the proverbial will be mingling with the fan faster than you can imagine: the UK is sitting on a mountain of private debt that many can barely afford.

And people are already under enormous pressure. Retail sales volumes fell by 1.2% in May as rising prices depressed consumer spending growth.

It’s not just that austerity mixed with Brexit does not work: it is now an outright disaster.

Bring on the Green New Deal: it was designed for situations like these.

Richard Murphy, professor of practice at Islington Technical College, is suggesting that we should have both fiscal stimulus and monetisation of spending to deal with rising inflation.

I’m just not sure whether they’re tears of sadness, rage or laughter at this howling idiocy.

It’s called acting love

However, it is not Bomer’s incontestable conventional attractiveness that is setting off alarm bells. It is his off-screen gender and the consistent issue of cis performers playing people of trans experience in film.

Recent years have seen both Jared Leto and Eddie Redmanye win Oscars for their respective trans-woman roles in “The Dallas Buyers Club” and “The Danish Girl”. Chloë Sevigny, Felicity Huffman, Elle Fanning and other notable cis-gender actors have taken on parts that show trans people either during or mid transition. Almost all of these actors have collected praise from the mainstream press for doing so.

Lauding cis actors for delving into trans experiences has long been a Hollywood tradition. The frequency of those plaudits has only more regular more and more films take up the trans narrative at different angles.

And yet, even as more trans stories surface across all media, actual trans actors are often shut out of telling stories that are — in many senses — theirs to tell. It’s a trend that’s been a regular source of criticism and genuine concern.

Sigh.

Someone really needs to get across the point that this is all just pretending in front of the cameras.

Grr

Refurbishment that is more about putting in a cladding to make a tower block visually acceptable to Notth Kensington makes a lot less sense than making it safe. If the cladding is flammable (and according to those interviewed on Radio 4 last night the requirements are lax) then the prettification is wholly unacceptable.

The cladding was part of your Green New Deal you fool.

Ritchie misses the Fed’s point

The US Fed has raised interest rates. Let’s not get overwhelmed: the range is now 1 to 1.25%.

But, let’s ask why. The US is not facing an apparent inflation threat. QE has not delivered price increases as all the hawks said it would. Nor is the US economy over-heating on any measure bar climate abuse.

So why increase rates now when there is no apparent need to do so?

The interesting part of their announcement was their laying out how, why and when they are going to reverse QE.

You know, that reversal of QE which SnippaSpud has been insisting will never, never, happen?

Don’t worry Dawn Foster’s on the case

This matters. Currently, 4,000 tower blocks have the same building regulations applied to them as Lakanal House. Sometimes, it appears, the risks are heightened by the very attempt to make the blocks more liveable. Architect Sam Webb, who has long campaigned for greater fire and blast safety in tower blocks, told the Fire Risk Management Journal of his fear that there is a trade-off between fire safety and the materials used to construct more energy efficient buildings. “The materials are not fire-resistant and in some cases they’re flammable.”

We depend on a collection of officials and experts to keep us safe. We cannot know at this stage how they performed with relation to maintenance and safety at Grenfell House. But we do know that lives cannot be protected without money and there is bound to be renewed discussion about the extent to which financial pressures have affected those who protect the public up and down the country.

Apparently making buildings green kills people but it’s austerity to blame.