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South Shields premier political blog

Archive for the ‘sleaze’ Category

So what did the porn star say?

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Cllr. Potts’ “personal friend” Mercedes Ashley didn’t seem very aware of who he is!

I was intrigued and curious, after all how many of our South Tyneside councillors count porn stars amongst their “personal friends?

From The Shields Gazette

“I have not encouraged former porn stars to contact my ward colleagues.

“I asked a personal friend, who is a former adult entertainment professional, to e-mail Coun Jeff Milburn congratulating him on his victory.

“I do not in any way judge people by what they do for a living.”

I thought it worthwhile having a little discussion of my own with Cllr. Potts “friend”,  it took a while to track down an email address, but here is the exchange:

Whats his twitter handle?

Mercedes Ashley
(your adult film star & friend)


FYI: All emails are answered by Mercedes Ashley personally. I am my own webmaster.
I am the designer of my own site and I maintain it all myself.

-----Original Message-----
From: Curly <>
Date: Sun, 20 May 2012 09:57:48 
To: <>
Subject: David Potts

May I ask how well do you know UK/US foreign exchange dealer and UKIP 
politician David Potts?
He claims you are a personal friend
Have you met him?
Have you spoke with him?
Have you had any contact with him other than via Twitter as one of your 

Doesn’t look as though she knows him that well at all, cannot even think of his name on Twitter! Neither does it appear that Mercedes is a former porn star, her websites give the appearance of giving very current services and activities.

You have to feel a bit sorry for Conservative councillor Jeff Milburn getting his name dragged into this nonsense, I wonder if he actually received any congratulations from the American Adult Entertainment industry?

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Written by curly

May 21, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Hacked off by “The Torygraph”?

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Gilligan guns for Sovereign Strategy

Andrew Gilligan, the former BBC journalist who was at the genesis of the Blair/Campbell “sexed up document” story, had a right good go at Sovereign Strategy the lobbying company headed by former South Tyneside councillor and MEP Alan Donnelly and current council leader Iain Malcolm in yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph. In a curious article he exposed many of Sovereign Strategy’s tactics in raising cash and then passing on amounts of it to the Labour Party nationally and locally, the main two points of his piece are that (a) the lobbyist is working with the Hacked Off campaign to keep the phone hacking story in the news, and (b) that News International don’t like the firm and he repeats a whole string of allegations made by The Times and The Sunday Times over recent years.

I am just curious as to what Gillligan was hoping to prove or achieve:  so long as we have the type of democracy which involves close links between the press and politicians we will always have professional lobbying firms, and pressure groups working around the fringes or deep within the heart of politics beavering away at ensuring certain issues of interest are prominent in the minds of politicians. Presently, we expect and hope that the relationships between journalists of News International and leading politicians, from all parties, are kept under the closest possible scrutiny until Parliament and the courts have all reached the end of their deliberations. I assume that Gilligan also wants to see full transparency amongst those trading blows during this process, but there will be many other groups and companies similarly involved in gaining privileged access to government ministers who will fall below the radar, and some of these will undoubtedly be supporters and financiers of the Conservative Party.

I just wonder what the effect of articles such as this will be on the revenues of lobbying companies now being bleached by the sunlight, as businesses in the north-east discover that £5000 fees paid to the North-East Economic Forum, which is a very useful body for gathering opinion and strategic regeneration ideas,  is drip fed to the Labour Party to the tune of £160000 over the past nine years, with an additional £41000 personally coming from Alan Donnelly?

It would be interesting to hear either Alan Donnelly’s or Iain Malcolm’s opinion on Gilligan’s surgical excisions into their business. Are they well and truly Hacked Off?

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Written by curly

July 25, 2011 at 11:48 am

“Rocky” Cameron rolls with the punches

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PM emerges bruised from the debate but not battered.

Haven’t done a “pea roast” for a while so I thought I’d throw a couple in today.

Apologies for the lack of posts recently, I’ve been doing a gargantuan research into the analytics of this blog which has now been running for six and a half years, a lot has changed over that time in terms of readership and demographics along with a huge increase in the amount of blogging, micro blogging, social networking,  and the platforms which carry such content. Suffice to say that this blog either needs to keep up with the pace of change or close completely in advance of a new offering. There certainly will be changes over the coming months, the first of which will be a total overhaul of the sidebar links, many of which are now dead, followed by a complete alteration to the style sheet and template. Sorry it has taken so much of my time but it has been a necessary journey.

I managed to catch the first hour and a half of yesterdays debate in the House of Commons and the Prime Minister’s statement about the phone hacking affair, a debate in which he was seen to come out fighting and defended himself reasonably well against MPs lined up to beat him into submission. This was no “humble pie” moment, but a tough fight, Cameron had his back against the ropes and had to take on all comers, he was expecting a heavyweight onslaught from Ed Miliband but the Opposition Leader appeared to have lost some weight, or focus, and only managed to pepper “Call me Dave” with middleweight shots to the midriff, however it was enough to strengthen the nerve of his corner who sent in wave after wave of bruisers to rough up the PM. Cameron didn’t hide away, he stood in the ring for what seemed like 38 rounds and after the fight was roundly applauded by his supporters, including what looked like a 13 year old schoolboy journalist Daniel Knowles.

So a success for David Cameron, but Ed Miliband is not too unhappy either. The Parliamentary Labour Party seems satisfied enough with the few hits he has landed over the past fortnight. In fact, I just spotted him in Strangers’ Bar with (I think) David Miliband with a broad grin on his face. So both leaders are going into recess as secure as they could reasonably hope to be. Everyone’s a winner – everyone but Rupert Murdoch anyway.

The South Shields MP David Miliband must have been pleased, nobody mentioned his partying with the Murdochs!

The party, held two weekends ago, reveals the extent of the couple’s connections on both sides of the Commons.

As a jazz band played in the landscaped gardens of the £6  million property, Mr Freud, who was wearing leather trousers, greeted guests, including Education Secretary Michael Gove and Culture Minister Ed Vaizey. They drank champagne in the company of former Labour Cabinet Ministers Peter Mandelson, David Miliband, James Purnell and Douglas Alexander.

He’d also be pleased in knowing that news of his other work for US corporations was well and truly buried by yesterday’s cream pie bun fight as he continues treading the path created by his mentor Tony Blair.

However it was good to be reminded by the PM that the vast majority of the phone hacking outrages happened some years ago whilst Blair, Brown, and Miliband were running the ship on to the rocks, as we recalled Rebekah Brooks statement the previous day that she’d been invited to Downing Street about six times a year by the last Prime Minister but so far not once by Cameron. The PM also got in a great right hook at Ed Miliband by reminding him that since Coulson is no longer in government employ, the only person with an ex News International hack working for them is the Leader of the Opposition!

As a “judgement day” fight it lived up to it’s billing, the referee had a great deal of work to do much of it in keeping the baying hoards quiet, some just wished that Bercow could manage to be a little more even handed and hush the Labour benches too. Miliband the middleweight could be judged to be both effective and dangerous in the opening rounds but he soon ran out of steam, the fact that he still has a former News International employee working in his corner will not have helped, but fortunately his troops ensured that Cameron took a number of body blows particularly about those conversations hinged around the BSkyB takeover, he kept ducking and diving to evade the shots whether they were “inappropriate” or not! One wonders why his corner men did not give him a better briefing on Labour’s tactic for this manoeuvre,  surely it would have been far better for him to tell the ringside spectators that yes it was inevitable that people came to him and discussed the proposed deal, that’s just what we expect major companies to do with Prime Ministers, but actually I listened and fobbed them off, I told them I have no say in the matter, go and see Jeremy Hunt instead! Instead he stood there trying to parry the blows to the ribs round after round after round until with the final shot he just let out an anguished sigh! It was an unedifying end to a long fight.

Many will judge this fight as a draw and look forward to a rematch after the summer recess, Cameron’s judgement is still under question today and he needs to reveal the name of the company employed to vet Coulson on behalf of the Conservative Party when in Opposition, Miliband needs to get on with publishing the long list of contacts between himself and executives on News Corporation and News International, he also needs to consider if he should continue employing former Times man Tom Baldwin. Cameron scored his best shots by reminding the House that the priority now is to clean up the mess and revarnish the reputation of British journalism (for surely the phone hacking scandal can not be exclusive to News International), and to weed out those corrupt police officers who have been allegedly prepared to take bribes in return for information. He was adamant that the police investigation and the judicial enquiry must be allowed to go wherever the evidence leads them.

Miliband may think his summer holiday will be a cool breeze but he needs to ensure that Labour’s time in The Sun doesn’t leave him with nasty burn marks, whilst Prime Minister Cameron will head off to the coast still in a sweat, but with a dark cloud continuing to hang over him.

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Call Tom Watson to the Select Committee too.

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Was the Security Service involved in the hacking scandal?

As the story about Rupert Murdoch’s News International continues to evolve with more resignations and revelations one small written piece in Iain Dale’s latest platform seems to have evaded Fleet Street (for now) and it involves Gordon Brown’s lieutenant Tom Watson with his cleverly worded question to the Prime Minister earlier in the week. Former Tribune editor Mark Seddon writes:

So when earlier in the week, Watson asked the Prime Minister if the terms of the Inquiry into the Press would also include “rogue elements in the security services”, my ears pricked up. I have been wondering for some time how this level of serial criminality, this bugging and hacking from the Windsors to the Dowlers had seeming failed to register with our rather expensive intelligence services in MI5 and MI6. It seemed astonishing to me for instance that an officer in the Royal Protection Squad could happily flog private Royal contacts without anyone knowing. It also seemed surprising that no one seemed to know of the repeated attempts to access intensely private information on Gordon Brown. Some 4,000 people – probably far more – had their phones hacked, and no one knew what was going over in MI5?

So, apart from asking the Murdochs, Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson, various other journalists et al, perhaps the Commons Select Committee for Culture Media and Sport ought to request that Tom Watson appears before them next week. It would seem that he may have important information to share with them. If it is possible that members of MI5 or MI6 had helped journalists in their search for information to get a story at any cost then surely if it were proven, News International and News Corporation could not possibly pass any test that verifies them as a fit and proper organisation to hold a broadcast licence either here or abroad! They certainly ought not to be though of as fit and proper to take over BSkyB at any time in the future, irrespective of all the apologies offered this weekend.

If the Select Committee and the Judicial Enquiry find that this organisation has wormed its way into both the police forces of the UK and its Security Services, along with using its influence to manipulate politicians of all parties, then I’m pretty sure that public opprobrium would be so intense that shareholders might move to break up the company.

Although many will see Tom Watson’s moves as little more than “the revenge of Brown”, ultimately he may have done his country a great service.

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Written by curly

July 17, 2011 at 10:20 am

Andy Gray

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Andy Gray

“Offensive” Scot……

….Sacked by Sky Sports after failing to arrange to get his tongue tucked in (watch the video if you are in the UK).

Reported by the same BBC who hung on to the equally offensive Jonathan Ross for two years and even aired the even more offensive Russell Brand as recently as January 19th this year!

At a press conference about the offside laws Kenny Dalglish asked if it would be OK for a Scot to remain in the room, he also asked if any of his colleagues were uploading videos to YouTube, just to be on the safe side.

Curly thinks that MOTD would be much improved for half of South Shields’ footy fans if the equally balding Alan Shearer was replaced, along with the old groaners from Liverpool.

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Written by curly

January 26, 2011 at 6:59 am

Something to listen to

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Sounds emanating from South Shields this morning

Turn your speakers up and press the play button.

Emails are flying around, telephones are ringing, spades are having their edges honed, a lot of digging will take place shortly. It looks like the good people of the borough don’t care for the influence of piles of cash in their local politicians, and we are not talking Ashcroft here – stay tuned!

Written by curly

April 5, 2010 at 1:44 pm

The Byers guide to buying influence

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Byers guide

Well what are shy retiring MPs supposed to do?


If you would like to sign a petition calling on The Queen to strip Byers of his membership of  The Privy Council, you can do so here.

Guido reports that 756 people signed in less than two hours, that figure has now risen to over 1500 in less than three hours.

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Written by curly

March 22, 2010 at 1:38 pm


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Legg Before Wicked

I’ve just about had it with these conniving MPs and the expenses scandal, it has dragged on too long, they have filibustered and gathered in cabals and even now it seems that groups of them don’t want to hand back our cash, they truly are a wicked scheming lot trying to live off the backs of others while genuine claimants of Incapacity Benefits and Disability Living Allowance face a freeze on their benefits next year. How about a total freeze on MPs salaries and benefits!

Legg has bowled them a googly and they cannot cope with it, that’s because they’ve never learned to play with a straight bat and would rather angle one to the back pocket instead of just defending with a forward push. I feel enraged at times by their behaviour, I couldn’t give a monkey’s toss about retrospective rules over “reasonable expenses” but I do feel that at least the party leaders understand the politics of the whole business. The public is not happy with them, the public will be much happier seeing them pay back some cash, the public will be happier still if one or two of them ended up in front of a court and were sent to jail for fiddling, get my drift?

If you really want to know how I feel get yourself along to the Devil’s place, here, and here, he articulates it far more eloquently than I ever could.

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Written by curly

October 14, 2009 at 9:54 am

Posted in Blogging, Money, News, politics, Rant, sleaze

Tagged with

Disgraceful reporting

with 7 comments

“News” website and blogger both mired in controversy

According to South Tyneside Central TV and the Mr. Monkey blog, South Tyneside veteran Labour councillor Bill Brady was arrested and charged with assault and battery yesterday, ST Central were trumpeting at viewers to watch for confirmation today. Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth and both websites have since amended their content to show a statement released by Northumbria Police:

We can confirm that a 74-year-old man attended South Shields police station voluntarily yesterday, Wednesday, July 1, 2009, to assist officers with enquiries in relation to the alleged common assault at the Town Hall, Westoe Road, South Shields, on Thursday, June 25.
Enquiries into the incident are continuing.
There has been no arrests or charges at this stage.

Having set themselves up as a sort of journalistic outlet one might have hoped that ST Central would at least have had the good grace to offer an apology to Mr. Brady, as perhaps a newspaper might have done if it had committed the same error, we all know that mud sticks. I would not, of course expect Mr. Monkey to issue an apology, why change course now?

As we have seen before, and one might have hoped that the anonymous blogger might have realised, you cannot delete the internet, and few of us have any control over Google

Google screen grab Bill Brady

I’m sure Cllr. Brady will not be amused. Nor would he be happy with this Google News Alert

Google Newslert, Bill Brady

As the Twitterjacks who wrote the spoof Miliband Twitter page remarked;

“It does highlight the importance of the verification of sources, which is clearly becoming more difficult in the web 2.0 era.”

Surely not that difficult, I’ve managed it with a couple of emails and a Google search!

In other “news” ST Central tells us that Allen Branley intended to resign from the Alliance group, and then from the council, and then they carry an embarrassing and nervous video interview with him where he describes the ridiculous “David Davies” moment that he had, and how intends to fight the Westoe by election as the anti-sleaze candidate. Once again he makes no references whatsoever to his failure to attend meetings and represent the people of Westoe, nor does he acknowledge any part of the shambolic behaviour of the Independent Alliance group or his wife at council meetings, he seems to blame the appalling behaviour of councillors entirely on others. It is also revealed that he intends to fight David Miliband at the next general – just to throw the Independent Alliance cat amongst the pigeons.

No wonder he sweated and huffed and puffed his way through that interview.

Local students of South Tyneside’s political theatre may notice a certain amount of correlation between the “news” brought to us by ST Central, and the posts displayed at the semi official “fanzine” of the Independents, recently ranging from the Allen Branley affair, the accusations of assault against Geraldine White, the Ahmed Khan/George Elsom accusations and the general chimps tea party atmosphere at last week’s full council, the two sites virtually share words at times. It makes you wonder if there are any ties between certain of our politicians, who openly cannot stand the Shields Gazette, and the “news” website, part of JAG Productions – just asking, that’s all.

Oh and a final point, how did they get this? I thought that photography within the council chamber was prohibited.


JAG Productions reporter firmly embedded amongst the Independent Alliance supporters in the Town Hall this afternoon, was this just coincidental?

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Written by curly

July 2, 2009 at 12:53 pm

Jack has a point

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Clerk to the House of Commons hits out at  new Bill

If it weren’t bad enough saying that the new Bill would emaciate the power of the Commons, Malcolm Jack, the senior official who oversees the rules of the House of Commons, has raised serious concerns about the “constitutional implications” of Mr Brown’s plans and warned they may curb MPs’ freedom of speech.

This one passed us by, but by tradition Members of Parliament can use their position of privilege to say many things within the House, that they would not be ordinarily be allowed to say outside, for fear of some sort of legal action. Their’s is almost a unique priviliege in this respect and this protection from pursuers affords them a little more freedom of speech than most. MPs have sometimes used this privilege to name people in Parliament and cause investigations where it might not otherwise have been possible or quite as effective, and therefore is a right to be used sparingly and after suitable advice, and a right which is threatened by the powers proposed in the new Bill.

We should note that once again Gordon Brown’s Labour government in it’s absolute haste to be “seen to be doing something” about a problem which is often self created, is responsible for the writing of bad laws, and the manipulation of the Parliamentary timetable to force measures through increases the likelihood of further destructions of long held rights, privileges, and freedoms which ultimately affect us all. Brown’s attempts to clean up the sleaze in Parliament are in danger of making a complete mess, you cannot make a velvet purse from a sow’s ear.

All the more reason for MPs to scrutinising the works of the government with even more vigour and application.

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Written by curly

June 27, 2009 at 9:52 am