Farage : “Grabbing pussy” is “how men talk “after a night on the drink”

Beggars belief.

“Nigel Farage has defended Donald Trump‘s “grab them by the pussy” comments and suggested that “men say dreadful things sometimes”.

During a live ITV election debate, the Brexit Party leader was challenged by Jo Swinson, the Lib Dem leader, over his historic defence of the US president ahead of Trump’s visit to the UK.

Farage acknowledged that some of Trump’s comments about grabbing women were “wrong” but that they were what someone might say “on a night out after a drink”.

“It was crass and it was crude and it was wrong – men say dreadful things sometimes. If all of us were called out for what we did on a night out after a drink, none of us would …,” he said. …”

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/farage-trump-itv-debate_uk_5de42100e4b0d50f32a42b50?guccounter=1

More Tory “fake news”: eight Tory ads banned by Google

“The Conservatives are running such a rampant fake news campaign that Google is now done with it. The tech giant has [banned] eight separate Tory party online adverts.

There have been many instances of disinformation from the Conservatives this election, such as:

Editing videos to misrepresent Labour figures.
A fake Labour manifesto website.
Pretending to be an independent fact-checker on social media.
Setting up fake encounters with voters for the camera.

And now we have eight banned adverts. Google would not disclose the content of the ads nor the specific reasons why they were removed. But the tech multinational’s guidelines claim that “we don’t allow ads or destinations that deceive users”.

‌“Tories are relying on cynical and dishonest tactics”

Labour Party chair Ian Lavery said:

The fact that the Conservatives are resorting to fake news shows that they have no plans or desire to improve the lives of people in Britain. While Labour is running the biggest, people-powered campaign for real change in a generation, the Tories are relying on cynical and dishonest tactics.

It’s unclear how deceptive the banned ads were. Because there are still Tory ads visible that claim to send users to “Corbyn’s Labour manifesto”, but actually go to “labourmanifesto.co.uk” – a fake Tory-run site.

Even the BBC recently criticised the Conservatives for editing video ads to suggest that BBC presenters endorse the party’s attacks on Labour. The broadcaster said the ads “could damage perceptions of our impartiality”. The thing is, viewers have caught the BBC itself doctoring broadcasted footage on numerous occasions in a way that favours the Conservative Party this election.

Big Tech politics

It’s welcome that Google has acted against what is likely outright fake news from the Tory party. But we must question whether profit-minded big tech companies should really be regulating our political sphere. Another solution could be regulation through parliament while ensuring we uphold free speech.

At present, the UK elections watchdog – the Electoral Commission – has not condemned the Conservative Party’s disinformation this election. When the Tory Press Twitter account pretended to be an independent fact-checker, the Electoral Commission didn’t single out the ruling party, instead saying “voters are entitled to transparency and integrity from campaigners in the lead-up to an election”. The Electoral Commission also said that it doesn’t have a role in “regulating election campaign content”, but the watchdog is asking for greater powers to ensure ads are transparent.

‌Another problem is that fake news can do a lot of damage before a regulator takes it down. That suggests we also need appropriate regulation and punishment to stop people and parties creating fake news in the first place.

Careful action

We must treat any internet regulation with extreme caution because the risks of inadvertently shutting down legitimate speech remain. But Britain surely cannot allow the levels of fake news coming from the Tory party this election. Given the Electoral Commission doesn’t currently have the powers it needs, at least Google has stepped in for now.”

https://www.thecanary.co/uk/analysis/2019/12/01/thats-it-google-is-done-with-the-tories-fake-news-campaign/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

Council chiefs (including ours) make LOTS of extra money out of elections

We have never known how much EDDC’s CEO Mark Williams has received, or how he has spent his budgets. It seems that there is no barrier to telling us.

Over to you Mr Ingham…. transparency … remember?

A council chief has received nearly £150,000 in four years for being a returning officer on top of his salary, prompting calls for a review of how public officials are paid to oversee elections.

Tom Riordan, Leeds city council’s chief executive, has been paid £147,921.66 in fees since 2015 on top of his £182,085 salary, even though much of the election work was carried out during his normal office hours.

For this month’s general election he is entitled to a further £28,424, making the total fees almost a year’s salary since the 2015 general election.

The council defended the payments and said Riordan could have received even more had he not passed on to his deputies £12,754.33 for this year’s European election.

Council bosses across the country have benefited from a glut of polls in recent years, including three general elections, the EU referendum and the European election. Riordan does not receive a fee for local elections, though many chief executives do.

At Sunderland city council, which traditionally wins the race to declare the first general election result, chiefs have received a total of £140,746 since 2015. The payments, received by four holders of the post, include fees for two police and crime commissioner (PCC) elections and local elections as well as the national and European polls.

The current Sunderland chief executive, Patrick Melia, who has a salary of £180,000, received an extra £50,168 this year for local elections, a PCC vote and the European poll. He stands to get a further £10,008 for next week’s election.

Glasgow city council said Annemarie O’Donnell, its chief executive, had received £122,444.42 since 2015. She is entitled to £21,267 for next week. Her annual salary is £176,855.

O’Donnell’s total, which included a Scottish parliamentary election in 2016, was less than she was entitled to. She declined a fee for the last round of local council elections and an unspecified share of her fees was passed on to staff, charities and community groups.

According to parliamentary fee orders governing payments for returning officers, Manchester city council’s chief executive has been entitled to £94,578 for European and national polls since 2015, with £18,691 due for next week.

The council was unable to confirm whether the two officers who have held the chief executive position had received their full entitlement. Joanne Roney, who has held the role since 2017, has a salary of £205,671.

Newcastle city council confirmed that its chief executive, Pat Ritchie, had received £68,216 in fees on top of her salary, currently £183,891, since 2015. She does not receive payments for local elections but will receive £8,820 for the general election.

The payments were described as “totally unsustainable” by the TaxPayers’ Alliance. Cat Smith, who was Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister before parliament was dissolved, has called for a government review into the fee system.

Riordan is thought to be the best-paid returning officer in the country. Leeds is the second-largest local authority area. The largest, Birmingham, operates a pay policy that precludes chiefs from receiving returning officer fees. The entitlement is distributed to less senior staff carrying out election work.

The maximum payments available to returning officers — who are nearly always council chief executives — for national, European and crime commissioner polls are set in parliamentary statutory orders, with the sums calculated according to electorate size.

Most payments are the responsibility of the Cabinet Office, but local authorities take care of council election fees.

In January last year the Cabinet Office said the fees would be part of a wider review into election funding, which has yet to be concluded.

Leeds city council said: “Elections require those involved to work most evenings, weekends and bank holidays for a prolonged period.”

Source: Sunday Times (paywall)

Rogues Gallery: Old codger Tweedledum, wet-behind-the-ears Tweedledee and Frit de Peiffel Johnson!

Gosh, doesn’t Hugo (I’m not going to interfere now I’m no longer an MP) Swire look wrecked! Where has he been! Obviously having a good time now he doesn’t have his fourth part-time job to worry about!

And their boss Frit de Peiffel Johnson

Boris Johnson still FRIT FRIT FRIT

“There is no sign that Boris Johnson will agree to an interview with Andrew Neil before the end of the election campaign, with both the BBC and the Conservatives simply saying that negotiations are ongoing.

With little over a week until polling day, the prime minister has still not set a date for his one-on-one interview on primetime television, despite every other party leader agreeing to take part. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/dec/01/boris-johnson-not-agreeing-andrew-neil-interview?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other