The Times have done Helen right here

Throughout her adult life Helen Szamuely was known and feared for the sharpness of her tongue. It was said that those who engaged her in debate over the European Union — she was a founding member of what became Ukip — would come away with their egos in slices.

It’s a good obit. One thing does surprise me though:

She was also writing for History Today, contributing chapters for books, writing articles for various think tanks and blogging prolifically. Her debut with the latter was in April 2004 on Richard North’s blog EU Referendum. Five years later she decided to go it alone and began running her own blog. She was as cutting online as she was in person and would tear her victim’s virtual self apart.

“I notice you have no arguments just personal invective,” she wrote to one commenter. “I am proud of my enemies and you are an excellent addition to the group. I shan’t bother to reply to you again but be assured your self-satisfied silliness is appreciated.”

She was always sweetness and light to me. I assume that’s because I never said anything interesting……

Interesting claim

An insurgent Corbyn will demolish media claims that the election is a done deal
Matt Zarb-Cousin

I give it not a high probability let us say.

But unlike the prime minister, who appears to be pioneering a campaign method of saying as little as possible to as few people as possible, Jeremy Corbyn will speak to the country at every opportunity. The referendum campaign showed how engaged people are in politics when they are presented with a clear choice and an imminent decision. Polling shows that Labour’s policies are popular, and with a more engaged electorate as we near 8 June, those policies will cut through and boost Labour’s support as the campaign progresses.

Jeremy Corbyn will today pitch himself as an insurgent candidate, giving him the space to frame a hostile media as being a part of the establishment, desperate to maintain the status quo – a status quo that isn’t working for most people, that Brexit proved people are fed up with, and that Labour would overturn. So don’t let the establishment tell you this election is a foregone conclusion, there is a long way to go until polling day.

Quite right too

Tim Farron says on Wednesday that he does not think homosexuality is a sin following a question from Conservative MP Nigel Evans.

Specifically, he says that he does not think that being gay is a sin.

Which is obviously true, not even the Pope nor Iain Paisley thought being gay was or is a sin.

Homosexual acts however….

Not quite le mot juste here

Four days before the first round of the French presidential election, Europe is terrified by the prospect of a runoff between Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Whoever wins, we are told, the wheat will grow thin, nuclear winter will fall over the continent, and frogs will rain down from the sky.

It’s the Frogs who are voting…..

What fun, we’ve proof, proof! of Russian electoral interference

It recommended the Kremlin launch a propaganda campaign on social media and Russian state-backed global news outlets to encourage US voters to elect a president who would take a softer line toward Russia than the administration of Barack Obama, the seven officials said.

A second institute document, drafted in October and distributed in the same way, warned that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was likely to win the election. For that reason, it argued, it was better for Russia to end its pro-Trump propaganda and instead intensify its messaging about voter fraud to undermine the US electoral system’s legitimacy and damage Clinton’s reputation in an effort to undermine her presidency, the seven officials said.

So, they thought about trying and also got it wrong.

Scary, eh?

And if anyone really wants to do some digging into corruption shennannigans, why doesn’t someone have a better look at Bill Clinton and the Kazakh uranium deal? As absolutely everyone in the industry knows there was a huge cash bung in that.

Happy Delusion Day

Much of the media and establishment are saying this election is a foregone conclusion … They say I don’t play by the rules – their rules. We can’t win, they say, because we don’t play their game.

They’re quite right: I don’t. And a Labour government elected on 8 June won’t play by their rules.

She’ll find out

The message I want to send my daughter is this: You are an awesome girl for not giving in to pressure to be and look a certain way. I want her to be proud to be a girl.

And she is starting to be. She is already vigilant about women’s rights. She does not understand why there are separate men’s and women’s sports teams,

About 30 seconds after puberty I would think.

The reason being that the adult hormone packages are so different that the lads will beat the shit out of the lassies in just about any exercise other than equestrianism and childbirth.

Even archery results are significantly different….

Trump’s Russia mafia ties

Over on Forbes I get people telling me that Trump definitely, definitively, must be impeached because he owes the Russian mafia lots of money. And I’m, umm, well, really?

What’s the evidence?

So I check out Salon, this is where this proof will be right?

Trump’s deep links to organized crime: Federal investigators know and the public is catching on


The sheer proliferation of such contact indicates, at a minimum, that Russian organized crime figures felt comfortable in the Trump milieu.

Or, in more detail, A few Russian bad guys bought apartments offa Trump Inc.

So, umm, where actually is the proof?

Amanduh’s analysis

New election analysis: Yes, it really was blatant racism that gave us President Donald Trump


It’s worth remembering, particularly when the Hillary Clinton recrimination news cycle is in full swing, that Donald Trump is president today because of a margin of fewer than 80,000 votes spread across three states.

“The most important states, though, were Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin,” Philip Bump in the Washington Post wrote in December. “Trump won those states by 0.2, 0.7 and 0.8 percentage points, respectively — and by 10,704, 46,765 and 22,177 votes.”

Those three states, however, were won comfortably by Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012. Much of the shift, however tiny, was due to white working-class voters becoming slightly more Republican than they used to be. This, in turn, has prompted an ugly and ongoing fight between two progressive factions: Those who believe those voters were primarily motivated by a sense of economic insecurity, and those who think the shift occurred because racist appeals are moving more white people to vote for Republicans.

Sean McElwee, a policy analyst for Demos and a frequent contributor to Salon, published a statistical analysis last week, based on data collected by the American National Election Studies, that demonstrates clearly that racism, rather than economic insecurity, was the primary factor that helped push Trump over the top.

Fewer voted for the white woman than the black guy and this is racism?

The Sage of Ely speaks out!

And I will say at the outset that this election troubles me.

It troubles me because it shows contempt for a decision of parliament to hold elections every five years.

And it troubles me because it is intended to reinforce a decision to Brexit that parliament did not take and which a majority of parliamentarians, we know, do not want.

Umm, the majority of Parliament does not support a referendum decision. That’s a pretty good reason to have a parliamentary election, isn’t it?

Finally, it troubles me because, like Erdogan’s ‘success’ in Turkey, this election is designed to reinforce the imposition of the view of a minority in this country on the majority. That’s of massive concern for the stability of the whole of society.

52% is a minority these days, is it?

Err, how?

Theresa May’s surprise plan to hold a general election on June 8 means very different things in Scotland to the rest of the UK. While it is hard to see a bad outcome for the Conservatives in England, the prime minister is certainly taking a risk north of the border.

The Tories only have one seat there.

What risk?

Bit of a puzzler in The Guardian

So, their writers wibble a bit about the general election having been called:

The SNP, having formally demanded a second referendum, will find it difficult to produce a manifesto which does not make that its central plank. Failure to do so would disappoint its core support, although the party so recently said the ideal timing for indyref2 would not be until the shape of the Brexit negotiations was known.

But another general election might give them majority rather than minority government in Holyrood.

Umm, what?

The Scottish P doesn’t have elections just because the Westminster one does.

She would say this, wouldn’t she?

Sturgeon said the prime minister’s decision was a “huge political miscalculation”

Her party has all but 5* of the seats that country sends to Westminster. They’re unlikely to ever be in a better position. Why mess that up with an election before there has to be one?

* And as far as I am aware it is all but 5. Yes, one Lib Dem, one Lab, one Con and two independents.

Telegraph subs not reading own articles


Pound soars to six-month high after Theresa May calls general election, but £46bn wiped off FTSE 100 in worst day since Brexit vote

At bottom of article:

Stocks, however, were rattled by the announcement. The FTSE 100, which tends to be inversely correlated to the pound as around 70pc of its constituents are dollar earners, suffered its worst day since the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote. It surrendered 180.09 points, or 2.46pc, to close at 7,147.50, wiping almost £46bn off the value of Britain’s biggest blue chips.

The headline should therefore read “because” not “but.”