We know that the audience has been split in a way that will reduce the right of centre voice to just 25% of those present.
Now will David Dimbleby be his usual impartial self?
I am not a sheep, I have my own mind
I have had enough of being told what and how to think
Whilst we are still allowed the remnants of free speech,
I will speak out.
I also reserve the right to discuss less controversial matters should I feel the urge.
Baker: What criticisms .. do you not think are right?
Pearson: Have you been on holiday for six months? Have you been away for six months?
Baker: I am not quite sure what specific criticism you are referring to?
Pearson: I think you must have been either head in the clouds, away on holiday or reporting on a different team because if you don’t know the answer to that question, I think your question is absolutely... unbelievable, the fact you do not understand where I am coming from. If you don’t know the answer to that question then I think you are an ostrich. Your head must be in the sand. Is your head in the sand? Are you flexible enough to get your head in the sand? My suspicion would be no.
Baker: Probably not.
Pearson: I can, you can’t. You can’t.
Someone: Any more questions, or shall we wrap it there?
Pearson: Listen you have been here often enough and for you to ask that question, you are either being very, very silly or you are being absolutely stupid, one of the two, because for you to ask that question, I am sorry son, but you are daft.
Baker: There hasn’t been much harsh criticism of the players.
Pearson: You are wrong. No, you are wrong. You have been in here, you've been here, I know you have so don’t give that crap with me, please don’t give that crap with me. I will smile at you because I can afford to smile at you. Now do you want to ask a different question or do you want to ask it differently. Come on, ask it, ask it, or are you not capable?
Baker: I just don’t know what, you, erm…
Pearson: You don’t know, 'what erm?'
Baker: I don’t know how you’ve taken that question...
Pearson: Well you must be very stupid. I’m sorry.
'... just under 96,000 Stemcor shares handed to Ms Hodge in 2011 came from [Liechtenstein], which is renowned for low tax rates. Three quarters of the shares in the family’s Liechtenstein trust had previously been held in Panama, which Ms Hodge described last month as “one of the most secretive jurisdictions” with “the least protection anywhere in the world against money laundering”. The veteran Labour MP was accused of sheer hypocrisy. She has repeatedly attacked big businesses and bankers who used offshore arrangements, but has not declared that she benefited from an offshore trust.'But the extract that may be of most relevance is this:
'Ms Hodge's Stemcor shares were transferred onshore using the Liechenstein Declaration Facility LDF)... The LDF was established in 2009 to encourage people with undeclared income or unpaid taxes to repatriate their assets from Liechtenstein by offering favourable terms. Tax liabilities under the scheme need be declared back to 1999, rather than the standard 20-year period. Users must pay the back taxes due, plus interest for the period, but the penalty is set at 10 percent of the sum owed, rather than 100 percent, and there is no threat of criminal prosecution.'When the BBC deign to cover this story, they will be probably be quoting Margaret Hodge or one of her BBC supporters, stating that all taxes due were in fact paid. I doubt that someone will raise the question of the LDF's 1999 limit and ask how much tax might have been due if the more usual 20-year period had been applied. Likewise how much penalty was saved by being applied at 10% rather than the normal 100%.
'Israel struck Gaza shelters - UN report'and start the report thus:
'At least 44 Palestinians were killed by "Israeli actions" while sheltering at seven UN schools during last summer's war in Gaza, a UN inquiry has found.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he deplored the deaths and stressed that UN facilities were "inviolable".'
'The inquiry also found that three empty UN schools were used by Palestinian militants to store weapons, and that in two cases they likely fired from them'Odd how the BBC choose to headline the anti-Israeli part of the report, it's almost as though they had some sort of anti-Israel bias.
Key findings gleaned from the UN report:Now why would the BBC want to minimise their coverage of criticism of Hamas?
- Hamas and/or Islamic Jihad stored rockets in UNRWA schools. The board found, in the case of the UNRWA Jabalia Elementary “C” and Ayyobiya Boys School, referring to the discovery of weapons there on 22 July 2014, that “it was highly likely that a Palestinian armed group might have used the premises to hide weapons.”
- Hamas and/or Islamic Jihad stored rockets in schools that were in active use by children. During the war, former PLO lawyer Diana Buttu famously said on Al Jazeera that “the rockets that were found in the schools in UNRWA were schools that are not being used by anybody—school is out, I’ll have you know.” However, in the UNRWA Gaza Beach Elementary Co-educational “B” School, on 16 July 2014, the UN Board of Inquiry notes that the school gate was unlocked during the period leading up to the incident “in order to allow children access to the schoolyard.” School was out, but UNRWA was inviting the children back in to play.
- Hamas and/or Islamic Jihad fired rockets from UNRWA schools. In the Jabalia school listed above, the board found that “it was highly likely that an unidentified Palestinian armed group could have used the school premises to launch attacks on or around 14 July.” Similarly, concerning weaponry stored at the UNRWA Nuseirat Preparatory Co- educational “B” School, the UN inquiry found that “the premises could have been used for an unknown period of time by members of a Palestinian armed group” — and that “it was likely that such a group may have fired the mortar from within the premises of the school.”
A future Labour Government is committed to outlaw the scourge of Islamophobia by changing the law and making it an aggravated crime.More at The Muslim News
'Even if the Tories are the largest party, if there is an anti-Tory majority, my offer to Labour is to work together to keep the Tories out," Scotland's first minister said.When pressed on whether that would apply even if Labour had secured "10, 20, 30, 40" fewer seats than Mr Cameron's party, she replied: "Governments in the House of Commons are about who can command a majority."If there is an anti-Tory majority, yes... we would work with Labour to stop the Tories getting into Downing Street."'
Jennifer Aldridge - "Kate was saying only this morning that she's sure that global warming must have a lot to do with it."
David Archer - "She could be right"
Jim Lloyd - "Well, it's common knowledge there's been a marked increase in the incidence of extreme weather"
Jennifer Aldridge - "And that's all around the world"
'Green Party leader Natalie Bennett said she backed the boycott of Israeli artists, musicians and academics in an interview with the JC on Friday.A blinkered lefty with a warped view of the Middle East, no wonder the BBC love her.
Ms Bennett, who is standing for Holborn & St Pancras, supported the party’s official Israel boycott policy.
She said: “We need to get the message across to the Israeli state. It needs to comply with international law and human rights.'
'More than 600 people have been killed in Yemen in the past three weeks as a result of airstrikes and ground fighting, over half of them civilians including 74 children, according to the United Nations.'
'Gordon Brown is as fundamentally dishonest as Tony Blair was and his behaviour over the EU Treaty is nothing short of disgusting. Gordon Brown was part of the team that wrote the last Labour manifesto, you remember the one that promised a referendum on the EU Constitution. Yes I do realise that that was only promised to draw any advantage that might accrue to the Conservatives if they promised a referendum. Then Gordon Brown reneged on this promise by claiming that the Treaty was not the same as the Constitution. He and other Labour politicians love to quote Angela Merkel when she said that the Constitutional process had been abandoned. It has, but that does not matter a bean as all that was abandoned was the process of rep;lacing all the existing European Treaties with a new Constitution. This process has been replaced with a new amending treaty that moves us to the same place as we would have been with the Constitution but by amending the existing treaties instead. As Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, the architect of the abandoned European Constitution, admittedNote that Ed Miliband wouldn't answer whether he'd read the Treaty, I think it's pretty obvious why.
"Looking at the content, the result is that the institutional proposals of the constitutional treaty….are found complete in the Lisbon Treaty, only in a different order and inserted in former treaties.." He made clear that the purpose of the rewritten Treaty was to make people think the new version did not merit being put to the people in referendums. "Above all, it is to avoid having referendums thanks to the fact that the articles are spread out and constitutional vocabulary has been removed," he added.
An Angela Merkel quote that the Labour liars refer to less often comes from her speech in June 2007 to the European Parliament and runs "The substance of the Constitution is preserved, that is a fact". '
'Ed Miliband thinks that the strikes are wrong at a time when negotiations are still underway. The government has acted in a reckless and provocative manner, but it is time for both sides to set aside the rhetoric and get around the negotiating table and stop this from happening again.
I know this because he told me six times. His PR must have known that was what he was going to do. And yet he still went through a convincing charade of pressing me on my line of interrogation, urging me to keep my questions brief, and even – this was a macabre touch – placing a voice recorder on the table beside me as a kind of warning not to try and misquote his boss.
As it turned out, the first take was drowned out by a passing siren on the Embankment, but seemed like a thoughtful and precise position for a Labour leader to take. Clear in his condemnation, hopeful of a negotiated settlement. Not partisan, but engaged. Detached, but not aloof.
The second time it seemed like a less original statement. The strikes are wrong… the rhetoric has gone too far… parents across the country…But then, I’d heard it before and it was useful to have a clean version, unspoiled by a siren.
The third time… the third time I was struggling a little bit. I’d asked him how his opposition to the strikes fitted with his position as leader of the Labour movement. I thought it was quite a clever question. Silly me. The strikes were wrong at a time when negotiations were still underway. The government had acted recklessly. It was time for rhetoric to be set aside.
Some reporters like to have their questions written on a piece of paper, and tick them off one by one as they are asked. It’s something I’ve never done, but at this moment I wished fervently that I had a piece of paper in my hand, just to give me something to look at, and scratch away thoughtfully just buy some time.
I asked another question. Something about Francis Maude, and his tone of conciliation. Not very good, I know, but the best I could manage. Get him to say something about Francis Maude, I was thinking… his hairstyle, his glasses, the way he peers over the top of them as he drones on, anything, just stop already with the strikes are wrong while negotiations are underway, and the rhetoric has got out of hand…
I’m not sure what I asked next. Frankly I was in danger of losing it. On my own, with the eyes of Ed Miliband and his three handlers boring into me but apparently oblivious of my presence, I was getting twinges of what I can only describe as existential doubt. So I said some words. And Ed told me that the strikes were wrong, and the rhetoric was out of hand, and both sides needed to sit down…
That was the worst one, I think.
If news reporters and cameras are only there to be used by politicians as recording devices for their scripted soundbites, at best that is a professional discourtesy. At worst, if we are not allowed to explore and examine a politician’s views, then politicians cease to be accountable in the most obvious way. So the fact that the unedited interview has found its way onto YouTube in all its absurdity, to be laughed at along with all the clips of cats falling off sofas, is perfectly proper.
Afterwards, I was overcome with a feeling of shame. I couldn’t look him in the eye.
But before I dried up completely, and had to be led out of Westminster with my mouth opening and shutting, I had an opportunity to ask one last question. I had an urge to say something so stupid, so flippant that he would either have to answer it, or get up and leave. `What is the world’s fastest fish?’ `Can your dog do tricks?’ `Which is your favourite dinosaur?’ But, of course, this was a pool interview, and I had no wish to feed out the end of my television career to Sky and the BBC.
I realise now, of course, the perfect question to ask, to embarrass him and to keep my job. I should have asked was whether the strikes were wrong, whether the rhetoric had got out of hand, and whether it was time for both sides to get round the negotiating table before it happened again.
Because that was the only answer I ever got.'It sounds as though Damon Green has had an epiphany about Ed Miliband.
'Jamie Oliver says that he finds it difficult to maintain his estuary English, and longs to be able to speak in his natural Surrey accent. 'One has to remember to speak as if one had truly been born in Southend – or Sarfend, as I have to say! I must confess that when I was at Oxford studying for my degree in Philosophy and Economics one did not expect to become a TV chef... One knew nothing about cooking, but one was advised to throw everything into a pot with olive oil and salt and cook it for an hour, and one has lived on that single recipe ever since.'
'The same story is being repeated across the Middle East, where the Arab Spring unleashed forces that turned against Christians and the authoritarian leaders who once protected them.'
'The BBC is a big Labour supporting monopoly with the power and network to swing an election and needs to be broken up and to Camerons shame in the last 5 years he has not touched it.'
“It was the financial crisis that caused the deficit…”Really? Look at the graph at the top of this piece.
'Ed Miliband was in a relationship with a senior BBC economics journalist while working at the Treasury, it has emerged after his wife admitted being "furious" about the "secret" romance.The BBC of course won't confirm or deny the story:
Mr Miliband was still seeing Stephanie Flanders, who at the time covered economics for BBC Newsnight, until as late as March 2004, years later than previously thought.
At the time he was a special adviser to Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer.'
'A BBC spokesman declined to say if Miss Flanders had informed the corporation at the time of her relationship with Mr Miliband, saying: "We wouldn't comment on former staff members personnel details."'The BBC acts as the Labour Party's propaganda arm, and there's not much we can do about it.
'The Office for National Statistics has issued a correction to a Labour claim that '1.8 million people' are on zero-hours contracts.
The ONS official Twitter account picked up on a new posted that quoted the figure, pointing out that there are actually 1.8 million contracts, but only 697,000 people have a zero-hours contract for their main job.'
'Conservatives were "telling people you have never had it so good" despite it being the "slowest recovery for 100 years".'Maybe Ed Balls or one of his allies at the BBC could point me to whichever Conservatives have been saying this, I can't think of any.