A Note on the “Shithole” Rhetoric

A much-discussed pair of posts on X/Twitter – first up, journalist Charlotte Gill:

Back to the UK tomorrow.
I’ve never had such dread about Britain.
Coming back to London and knowing how unpleasant it’ll be.
The demographic changes and feeling that
🇬🇧 is most against Brits.
The lack of functional media.
The feeling something big has to happen to restore order.

Then, commentary in support from right-wing populist academic and pollster Matt Goodwin:

London is turning into an unaffordable shit-hole with the “enjoyable” parts closed off to an elite minority. Everybody who lives there can see it even if liberal progressives will never accept it bc to do so would shatter their worldview. Charlotte is just saying out loud what we can all see.

Goodwin has since deleted the post, although he hasn’t explained why.

It’s possible to read too much significance into one off-the-cuff comment on social media in relation to someone’s overall worldview – indeed, I criticised Goodwin for doing just that in my previous post, although his “gotcha” was an obviously malicious misinterpretion of a joke whereas the above was published in earnest. Without overdoing it, it seems to me that his post is worth noting as representative of a trend within a political movement.

The profane expression “shithole” (fussily hyphenated by Goodwin) can reasonably be seen as signalling alignment with Trumpian rhetoric and attack lines; in May, Donald Trump Jnr expressed the view that the Democrats had “succeeded in their years long attempt to turn America into a third-world shithole”, and Trump himself was famously said to have described African nations, Haiti and El Salvador as “shitholes” in 2018. It seems to me that the collocation is so strong that the outdated term “third-world” can be inferred as the implied context whenever the word is used. The term “shithole” in relation to London is also a favourite usage of Laurence Fox, and it featured heavily during a tired and emotional phone-call to his fiancée that he filmed and put online after a car he was a passenger in crashed into a London bus on his way back from last month’s Tommy Robinson rally.

The phrase “third-world shithole” in turn evokes another anti-immigration mantra: “Import the Third World, become the Third World”. Reform MP Lee Anderson recently used a variant of this (“Import a third world culture then you get third world behaviour”) in relation to the disturbances in Leeds, after party leader Nigel Farage falsely attributed what happened to “the politics of the subcontinent” (background on Zelo Street).

Perhaps Goodwin deleted because he felt that he had strayed too far into “red meat” territory, both as regards the word and his endorsement of other elements of Gill’s Tweet. He also faced criticism; as expressed by Matthew Sweet:

If you don’t like “demographic changes” maybe you just don’t like cities. I’ve never heard a serious argument that uses the word “shithole”.

We might also ask what Goodwin means by an “elite minority”. Goodwin frequently bemoans the supposed influence of a “new elite” who hold harmful progressive views at odds with the common-sense instincts of ordinary people such as himself. However, “closed off” areas would refer to the gated communities of the super-rich – an actual elite who would much rather we focus our critical scrutiny elsewhere.

Notes on the Aaronovitch Pile-On

Writing or saying something that imagines a real-world public figure coming to harm should not be done lightly – even when it serves some legitimate purpose, there is a risk of poor taste or, worse, that one’s words will be taken out of context by enemies looking for a “gotcha”. In such cases, a comment may falsely  be cited as evidence of malice, or even as a threat or as incitement to bring about such harm.

This is what happened when the commentator David Aaronovitch recently reacted to news about a recent US Supreme Court ruling that appears to give US presidents extraordinary latitude beyound the reach of the law. Aaronovitch’s response on X/Twitter was sarcastic and satirical, opining “If I was Biden I’d hurry up and have Trump murdered on the basis that he is a threat to America’s security #SCOTUS”. A number of individuals pretended to believe that he meant this in earnest, and the story was picked up by some newspapers: Aaronvitch presents a programme for BBC Radio 4, and so the incident was useful grist to the anti-BBC mill.

The controversy died down, as these things do, but of course it flared up again when a couple of weeks later a young embittered nobody who in a non-election year would likely have massacred some schoolchilden or shoppers decided instead to grasp at posthumous significance by attempting to assassinate Trump.

David has written about his experience on Substack. The first round, he explains, was initially set off by Laurence Fox. After that,

the pugilistic owner of two pubs in Essex [Adam Brooks] – a regular contributor to GBNEWS – was on my case alongside his 300,000 followers. The disgraced former Sun employee and GBNEWS presenter, Dan Wootton was there too. A ludicrous Trump supporting survivor of Piers Morgan’s departure from NewsUK’s failing Talk TV station, Mike Graham, was fulminating. Several Reform party candidates weighed in… 

The story then got picked by Christian Calgie of the Daily Express, from where it jumped to the Daily Mail, the New York Post and even his former employer The Times. The headlines suggested that David had actually “called for” Biden to murder Trump, although The Times later modified their initial version. GB News meanwhile described him as “woke BBC presenter” – an adjective that served so explanatory purpose and would probably surprise a lot of people more likely to be described as “woke”.

Then, following the attempt on Trump’s life:

On the Laura Kuenssberg programme on BBC1 last Sunday Nigel Farage cited my tweet as an example of BBC-linked liberals wishing physical harm to their enemies… New online characters… such as a handsome but vacuous YouTuber called Mahyar Tousi were running whole discussions about it. Dim old luminaries like Henry Bolton.., renewed the demand for me to be fired… Katie Hopkins (remember her?) tweeted the head of Radio 4 wanting to know what he was going to do about me – an intervention. unlikely to damage my cause, I felt. Tommy Robinson added his pen’orth.

There was also, of course, a great deal of general abuse from lesser-known or anonymous individuals, some of it sinister. Even now, David’s Tweets on other subjects receive irrelevant and goading replies, sometimes featuring a screenshot of the long-deleted offending Tweet.

David doesn’t mention all of his higher-profile accusers and attackers, perhaps to keep his piece to managable length but also perhaps to avoid giving an impression of responding personally to certain individuals rather than offering public commentary of general public interest. However, there are two further instances that I think are worth noting.

First, Covid “lab-leak” exponent Matt Ridley waded in with a gratuitous goad after David reasonably suggested that being accused on inciting the attempted murder of a politician might be endangering.

Second, right-wing populist academic Matt Goodwin denied outright David’s explanation that the Tweet had been satirical, although he declined to be drawn on why he believes it was meant as a serious proposition. Last year, it may be recalled, Goodwin complained bitterly and Partridge-like that after debating David in London, David and the convener, Alan Rusbridger, had gone off to dinner without inviting him. After the shooting, Goodwin decided again to amplify a screenshot of the Tweet, as provided by the dubious Visegrád 24 outfit.

Goodwin also expanded on his theme with his own Substack post, in which he opined more generally about how the shooting had occurred because Trump has been the victim of unfair vilification. There’s currently no evidence that the shooter was inspired by any anti-Trump polemics, but either way this was ludicrous cant and opportunism. Sky News ran a piece pointing out Trump’s actual violent rhetoric, although it was forced to amend its headline after being accused of “victim blaming”. In the US, Rolling Stone showed a bit more gumption with the headline “Trump Allies Try to Bully Dems, Media to Shut Up About His Fascist Plans”, followed by the observation that “Republicans are seeking to capitalize on Trump’s assassination attempt — using it to demand everyone stop talking about his threats to democracy”.

Andrew Parker: Reform Canvasser Accused of Being Actor Bad Actor

Speaking on Question Time, Nigel Farage goes all in on the claim that a canvasser in Clacton-on-Sea named Andrew Parker is an actor who infiltrated his campaign with the intention of being filmed by Channel 4 News making racist comments. Via the Daily Mail:

He said: ‘We then found out, yes, actually, he is an actor. He’s worked in the past for Channel 4. On his own site he says, ‘I’m a well-spoken actor with an alter-ego, I do rough talking’.

He added: ‘Let me tell you, from the minute he turned up in that office in Clacton and I saw him, he was acting from the very start. He even says on his website, ‘hire me, I do undercover filming’.

Asked who he believed paid the man to pretend to be a Reform canvasser, Mr Farage said: ‘It may well have been the production company, or it’s the guy himself who wanted publicity to get more parts, I don’t know. 

‘What I know is this is a political setup of astonishing proportions.’

Farage’s deputy Richard Tice meanwhile says that Channel 4’s denial of any involvement with the canvasser is “desperate stuff”, and he demands to know “Why did he say he is a property developer when he is an actor?”. The attack line appears to have originated with Tice’s partner Isabel Oakeshott, who suggested Channel 4 may have “used” Parker.

A bad-faith actor infilitrating some cause or group to make it look bad is always a possibility, although this seems to be an overly literal interpretation of the concept. If Parker wanted to express views that aren’t his own, and that are socially stigmatising, why didn’t he use a pseudonym? There are other difficulties.

First, there is ample documentation of Parker’s career as a property developer, including Companies House filings going back years (here and here) and corroborating details that remain available online from a recently deleted LinkedIn profile. In answer to Tice’s question, then, the reason he said he’s a property developer is because he is, and acting is just a sideline he has pursued over the years (since childhood, according to one profile page).

Second, Farage’s claim that Parker has “worked for Channel 4” lacks significance. Farage relies on a screenshot from Parker’s acting CV posted to a site that refers to Dead Pixels, alongside “Al Campbell / Channel 4”. Campbell was the show’s director, and Channel 4 was the broadcaster – but it was actually produced by Various Artists Ltd. The idea that this acting gig (so minor it’s not even listed on his IMDb – maybe the scene was cut) indicates a surreptitious pre-existing connection with Channel 4 News is fanciful. (1)

According to another Daily Mail article, Parker insists that he was a genuine Reform campaigner, although he regrets the comments that he was filmed making. Perhaps he brought his thespian instincts into his campaigning – modifying his accent, improvising some racist banter – but that would more likely mean that he wanted to fit in rather than that he’s an infiltrator. It seems to me significant that other campaigners haven’t come forward to say that he was different with them in private conversation than he was when he was being secretly filmed. (2)

It is difficult to see how Farage’s claim can be disproven, but there doesn’t seem to be any evidence for it either. His confidence is either confirmation bias or opportunism, and should be balanced against his crafted image as a tough-talking plain speaker. It also fits a pattern of making wild accusations – he recently alleged that the company that Reform had employed to vet prospective candidates had deliberately allowed individuals with discreditable views to go forward to selection and then had tipped off the media. In fact, it seems that the company had been unable to do its work because the election had been called several months earlier than expected – a rather more plausible explanation than a criminal conspiracy.

The controversy over Parker has also conveniently deflected from another person who was secretly filmed by Channel 4, a man described as a member of Farage’s ground team and named in the media as George Jones. Speaking to several others outside a pub, Jones expressed anger at a “degenerate” rainbow flag on a police car bonnet and suggested that the police were promoting “nonces”. He added:

Our police officers would be paramilitaries, they won’t be police… We’re going to bring back the noose.


1. Parker’s appearance on Channel 4 News is also now listed on IMDb, as “Self” for “Episode dated 27 July 2024“. As such, the site also describes him as “known for… Channel 4 News (1982)”. The “1982” here refers to when Channel 4 News started broadcasting, not when he appeared on it. Richard Tice, taking his lead from Mahyar Tousi, is confused on this point, and uses it as the basis for accusing Channel 4 of “fibbing”.

2. Parker was also filmed saying he had previously met Farage in a restaurant; Farage later told a Channel 4 reporter that he was “someone I met once years ago”, but it seems more likely that he was taking Parker’s claim at face value rather than remembering an encounter that was unlikely to have been significant.

An Evangelical Network and Covid Vaccine Alarmism

From British Christian magazine Woman Alive, last month:

Former midwife Laura Brett says she has been called an ‘anti-vaxxer’ and ‘conspiracy theorist’. Here she explains how asking questions led to her personal conviction that no one should have been pressured into taking the Covid-19 vaccine.

Brett alleges that Covid vaccination is “one of the biggest medical frauds in history”, and she writes that in October 2023

we gathered 100 church leaders, heads of charities and other prominent people in the Houses of Parliament to worship, pray and provide evidence-based information about the truth concerning Covid-19 and the vaccination programme

The “hook” for the article was AstraZeneca’s admission in court documents that their vaccine can in rare cases cause blood clots. Although this has been widely known now for several years, the acknowledgement had been presented sensationally in the media as a new development.

Brett is the author of a book called Losing Liberty, Finding Freedom, and as well as being a “former midwife” she describes herself as “an evangelist, a qualified midwife, international speaker, mentor and activist… positioned at the frontline of Christian ministry”. The book came out last last year, and the back cover features a blurb from none other than Covid conspiracist Michael Yeadon praising the work as “a loud bright celebration of the power and greatness of God!” The book was launched first in Williamsburg, VA, but then also in London in January this year: attendees (H/T @PozzyWozzy) included Andrew Bridgen MP, as well as Lara Fawcett, a PR agent known primarily to the public as Bear Grylls’ sister. Bridgen has posted some photos, including one in which he and Fawcett pose in front of a hanging t-shirt bearing the words “conspiracy theorist”.

The front cover of the book, meanwhile, comes with blurb from “Rev Richard Fothergill, Founder and CEO of the Filling Station Trust”. Fothergill was in the news a year ago, after he was “de-banked” after writing to the Yorkshire Building Society “to complain about their public messaging during Pride month”, particular as regards “gender ideology”. The “Filling Station Trust” organises “celebration meetings” around the country, meaning worship sessions along evangelical/Charismatic lines. This is Brett’s own affiliation, and Fothergill is on board with her anti-Covid vaccination alarmism. Writing a comment on the Premier Christian Radio Facebook page, he recently expressed the view that

The eminent Proff [unidentified] got it very wrong. The Vax was never suggested as being ‘experimental’. It was forced on us as a necessity. ‘Don’t kill granny’ remember? We were lied to and now those who did this hope to brush it all under the carpet. Evil days 2020-2022.

In the same thread, Brett adds:

We are happy to pray for anyone who is vax injured or worried they might be and we pray deliverance of all the spike proteins etc. We do this all the time at Harrogate Filling Station. Just get in touch via email and we can do that via zoom. The Lord heals!

Alongside running the Filling Station network, Fothergill is also “Trustee & Relational Covering” of a Christian coffee shop project in Yeovil called “Bread”, run by an evangelist named Dominic Muir. Muir’s other projects include “the Wesley Academy”, where he is listed as “Minister” alongside Rev Dr Joseph Boot, Virginia Logan, Sam Kyung-Min Lee and Joseph Buthee, described as “Bread Church coffee shop manager”. However, Buthee has more recently been active in London, and he recently led the Lord’s Prayer at the recent Tommy Robinson rally in London. Robinson has himself joined the Covid antivax bandwagon, and in September last year he was photographed with Bridgen at a conference in Denmark.

Tommy Robinson Protest: Populist Grievances and an Abridged Lord’s Prayer

From the Evening Standard:

Thousands of people gathered in Parliament Square on Saturday for a protest organised by Tommy Robinson.

Speeches were given by Mr Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley Lennon, Reclaim leader Laurence Fox and political commentator Carl Benjamin.

The focus of the protest was meant to be “two-tier policing” although Robinson had a broader list of grievances that were set out in a pre-recorded message broadcast to the crowd from a big screen above the man himself:

They shut down the country. They took away our rights and our freedoms. They flirted with compelling medical treatment, they caused the inflation we suffer from by printing money, continually printing money. And don’t ask questions about excess deaths – miscarriages, stillbirths, cancers, heart disease and vaccine efficacy and [such?]. The failure to reject net zero, the Marxist anti-capitalist dogma that will drive millions into poverty and hardship. They embrace unilateral economic disarmament. They can’t stop the tide, they can’t stop an earthquake, a hurricane, or even a strong breeze, yet they want us to believe that if they tax us more they’ll be able to stop the climate from changing… there’s over a hundred genders, because we say there are. And what will come next? Sex with little children is just another form of sexual expression? It will not be long before denouncing paedophilia is demonized.

Pre-recorded messages were also provided from June Slater of UK Politics Uncovered and from Katie Hopkins, among others – Hopkins was unable to be there in person because she was speaking at the Weekend Truth Festival in Cumbria (covered by Sky News here). Fox used the platform to rail against Pride Month, which (as usual) he described as a “child mutilation cult”.

So far so predictable, but there was an unexpected turn to religion at the end, when an unnamed speaker started talking about a “spiritual battle”, unfurled a banner declaring “Jesus is King” and led the crowd in saying the Lord’s Prayer – although pointedly he skipped over the line “As we forgive those who tresspass against us”. The speaker urged the crowd to “pray with me like you did in Sunday School”, an implicit acknowledgement that this was primarily an appeal to populist nostalgia, drawing on half-remembered phrases in communal memory.

The speaker also had a banner declaring “Jesus is King”, written in the same block capital font that was seen at last week’s “Disciples of Christ” protest outside the Azerbaijan Embassy. That event was led by someone who calls himself “Bob of Speakers Corner”, and Robinson also invited him onto the stage. Bob got the crowd to chant “Christ is King”, although I suspect for most participants this was just another supremacist slogan rather than an affirmation of faith, with no deeper meaning than the chant of “Allah, Allah, who the fuck is Allah?” that was heard from some of the crowd during the march from Victoria Station.

The Mail wrote up the protest as “London Protest Chaos”, an assessment which one person who watched the whole thing with a critical eye described as “ridiculous”. The framing, though, is useful for creating the impression that protests in general are problematic and need a firmer hand.

(H/T @Nullen80 for various clips)

UPDATE: The person who led the Lord’s Prayer was one Joseph Buthee, and he says that the missing part was just a mistake.

UK Nicholas Rossi Documentary Revives Utah “Ritualistic Abuse” Probe Controversy

From the Scottish Sun, back in June 2022 (link added):

FUGITIVE rape suspect Nicholas Rossi has been slammed for accusing the prosecutor who is trying to extradite him back to the US of “ritualised child sex abuse”.

Lawman David Leavitt claims Glasgow-based Rossi accused him and his sex therapist wife Chelom of being involved in the “cannibalising and murder of small children”.

…Rossi’s claims were published on the same day the Utah County Sheriff’s Office issued a news release about a an ongoing probe into ritualistic child sexual abuse said to have taken place between 1990 and 2010.

[Leavitt] said: “That this occurs less than one week before ballots drop in an election which I am participating in causes me tremendous concern over the connections between a convicted sex offender, Nicholas Rossi, and the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.”

The incident has now been revisited in Imposter: The Man Who Came Back From the Dead, a four-part documentary series made by Five Mile Films and currently showing on the UK’s Channel 4. Famously, Rossi had surfaced in Glasgow claiming to be an Englishman named “Arthur Knight” – his overdone accent, 1940s Churchillian attire and unconvincing protestations of ongoing disability after suffering from Covid seemed comical in news clips, but the documentary leaves no doubt that “Knight” is actually a narcissistic financial and sexual predator who has had a string of women victims.

The Scottish Sun says that police in Utah “claimed a man claiming to be Knight had contacted them under the guise of an investigative reporter and that they didn’t know he was a fugitive facing extradition” The new documentary features input from a Scottish journalist named Marc Horne, who goes into further details about how this happened; Horne has also written up an account that was recently published in the Sunday Times Magazine:

I phoned the Sheriff’s Office, which had endorsed Leavitt’s electorial rival, and got through to a senior officer. “Ain’t that a coincidence,” he told me. “I’ve already been speaking to an investigative journalist from your part of the world. He’s given us credibile information about allegations of ritualised abuse. It’s a guy called Arthur Knight – you know him?

He gave an audible gulp when I told him his source was a suspected fugitive and alleged rapist who had faked his own death and was wanted by the FBI.

The notion that UCSO found Rossi “credible” is itself alarming; and Leavitt thinks that the flow of information actually went from the police to Rossi. As reported by Brandy Zadrozny in September 2022:

…Nicholas Rossi, an American who has been accused of faking his death and escaping to Scotland to evade rape charges in Utah, posted videos in which he accused Leavitt and his wife of leading a “ritual sex abuse cult.” Leavitt was overseeing an effort to extradite and prosecute Rossi.

As evidence for his claims, Rossi posted a 151-page statement, made a decade ago by an unnamed woman as part of a criminal case against a therapist that was later dismissed. That statement — which NBC News obtained via public records request to the Provo police department — included gory allegations of sexual abuse and mass murder from the 1980s and ʼ90s perpetrated not just by the therapist, but by more than a dozen other members of the Provo community, including David Leavitt and his wife. In a phone interview, Rossi, who posted the document to his now-defunct website, Zeus News Now, declined to share how he learned about or obtained the document.

UCSO denies having had anything to do with Rossi getting hold of the document – as such, its publication on the same day that UCSO announced an investigation into “ritualistic abuse” was simply coincidental. Leavitt had also inferred collusion because Rossi had further claimed that he had received “exclusive confirmation” from UCSO that the Leavitts were the “primary suspects”. As reported by 2KUTV, Leavitt and Sheriff Mike Smith held rival press conferences about the matter:

Leavitt called the victim of the case [involving the therapist] ‘tragically mentally ill’ and dismissed that he or his wife had ever participated in ritual child sex abuse.

…Leavitt suggested the timing of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office announcement of its ‘ritualistic sex abuse’ investigation is politically motivated. “

…At a hastily-called press conference Wednesday afternoon, Sheriff Smith said Leavitt has his facts wrong.

Smith said the ritual sex abuse investigation involves more than just the case where Leavitt said he and his wife were accused.

“Several times, Mr. Leavitt named himself and mentioned cannibalism and murder. This investigation is about child sex abuse,” Smith said. “I take exception to any victim coming forward and being categorized as ‘tragically mentally ill’. How dare you. These are victims of crimes who have mustered the courage to come forward and this is what you call them? Mentally ill. How dare you.”

Smith’s response here is inconsistent – if the allegations about “cannibalism and murder” are a distraction from a more credible child sex abuse case, why was he so keen to defend the unnamed person who made them?

Although Leavitt himself features in the Channel 4 documentary, this part of the background story is told by Horne:

David Leavitt had a neighbour by the name of David Hamblin. Allegations emerged that he was using hypnotheray to abuse small children. His wife decided she was going to divorce him. David Leavitt gave evidence against Mr Hamblin in court. According to David Leavitt, Mr Hamblin tried to take revenge on him by hypnotising what he described as a “mentally ill woman”, brainwashing her, and then encouraging her to to go to the police with allegations that David Leavitt was part of a ritualised paedophile ring, a murderer and a cannibal. (1)

This would seem to be an example of “recovered memory therapy”, in which a therapist uses hynotism or other techniques to persuade someone that they had been sexually abused in childhood and had repressed the memory of it. Of course, “mentally ill” carries broad stigmatising connotations of delusion and irrationality that do not reflect why someone goes to a therapist or may come to believe false memories, and it seems that Smith seized on Leavitt’s unguarded usage.

However, there is a strange discrepancy here: David Lee Hamblin and his ex-wife have now been charged as a result of the “probe” (his mugshot even appears in the documentary), and the details suggest that the USCO news release in 2022 was about them all along. Here’s how Fox 13 reported Leavitt’s press conference a few months later, including a quote from Leavitt:

“When I was a law student, this therapist was my elder’s quorum president with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was my neighbor. I had a family connection… There was no organized ring of abuse. It was debunked more than ten years ago.”

During that same press conference, Leavitt described his accuser as “tragically mentally ill.”

She is one of the same women who accused Hamblin and others.

This was written by Adam Herbets, who was criticised by name by Leavitt during the press conference (he responded here). So, in this version, the woman who provided the “151-page statement” also accused Hamblin, rather than having been incited by Hamblin to accuse others – in which case, Horne’s version is garbled. The reference to “women” in the plural indicates that the current case against Hamlin and his wife does not rely on this woman exclusively, although “one of the same women” is a strange construction, given that other women did not feature previously. The article also notes that Leavitt said that he had previously prosecuted Hamblin for “poaching a deer… for ritualistic purposes”,  here meaning some sort of Native American-inspired practice.

The Salt Lake Tribune pointedly notes that Hamblin and his ex-wife are “the only two people who were eventually charged” in relation to the sex abuse probe, highlighting the contrast with UCSO’s original implication of a wider conspiracy (the Epoch Times quoted UCSO’s Spencer Cannon in September 2022 as saying that they “anticipate there will be more arrests in the future”). It seems that UCSO’s use of the term “ritualistic” has a far broader meaning than the “Satanic cult” context that is usually implied when the word is evoked. As described in report about the case by ABC4:

The term “ritualistic” means that more than one person was involved, the abuse was considered organized, and there may be a religious element to the abuse.

This reminds me of how “ritualistic” was use in a similar very loose way in Australia in 2018.


1. The Channel 4 subtitles for Imposter spell Hamblin as “David Hamlin”.

UKIP and the “Disciples of Christ”

News from Holland Park in West London, where a new group called “Disciples of Christ” has been holding a protest:

We stand with the persecuted Armenian Christians. We won’t be silent until the genocide ends. We will continue to protest the Azerbaijani embassy until we have justice. Christ is King. ✝️☦️

The event was videoed by Mahyar Tousi, including two speakers: a street evangelist who goes by the names “Bob of Speaker’s Corner” and “Bob the Builder” (1), and Nick Tenconi, the new Deputy Leader of UKIP and COO of Turning Point UK. Both referred to last year’s developments in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) in terms of “Islamist genocide”, although much of the rhetoric captured by Tousi was about how this protest was the start of “Christian street movement” that would oppose not only Islam but also “liberalism” and “libertarianism”, the former broadly defined along lines familiar to anyone who follows the talking points of the populist right (“globalists” also got a mention). One chant recorded was actually about “apostate clergy” rather than anything to do with Armenia or Azerbaijan. Tenconi also referred to “muscular Christianity”, and told the small crowd that as Christians they are “at war”. (2)

A photograph of the event shows 14 men, holding what appear to be professionally produced banners bearing the messages “THE ONE TRUE FAITH”, “END THE PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS” and “CHRIST IS KING”. Online, the group describes itself as

The Christian crusade to rebuild the Church. ✝️☦️ All denominations welcome. The Christian protest group of the UK. Activism, education, networking.

Tenconi was presented as a guest speaker rather than an organiser, although he was the first Disciples of Christ “follow” on Twitter/X. The event was also promoted beforehand by Tommy Robinson, although he wasn’t present.


1. Another name he uses is “Bob Soco”, which either reflects or inspired an online branding as “Soldier of Christ Online”.

3. Tenconi’s “war” rhetoric also features in a new video from UKIP. Walking alongside the new party leader, Lois Perry (but, oddly, speaking more than her), he states:

We will declare war on the far-left… we will declare war on communism, we will declare war on Islamofascism, we will declare war on woke. You need war-time leaders – you’re looking at them.

An old Tweet from Christmas Day 2022 shows him in the USA shaking hands with Kyle Rittenhouse, with the commentary “Alphas > liberal betas”. The continued significance of UKIP, though is doubtful – although the party announced the percentage by which Perry won the leadership, it has been noted that the absolute numbers were not disclosed.

Conspiracist Doctor Apologises Over Paedophile Accusation

From the Daily Express:

This Morning star Dr Ranj has achieved a “small victory” after a brutal troll was forced to retract his paedophile accusation against him [1] and made to apologise for his actions.

…The ITV star shared the apology to his Instagram page…

He penned: “FINALLY! After a horrible process spanning almost a year, this individual has at last been held accountable and made to apologise and pay for his disgusting attacks.

“But I am not the only person he has targeted. There are so many others who have been caused unnecessary distress because of his unprofessional behaviour. No doubt more of his antics will be revealed at his GMC hearing later this year… and I’m hoping he will face the proper repercussions…”

The reference in there to the GMC (General Medical Council) is likely to confuse many Express readers – in tabloidland, the stereotypical “troll” is either a social inadequate or a crude thug, yet here we have a different species: a troll with professional credentials and standing. Although not named by the paper, Ranj Singh’s accuser was none other than Dr David Cartland MRCGP, MBChB, BMedSci (var. “Dr Dave Cartland”), who in recent years has become infamous on social media for making wild claims about Covid vaccination and other subjects. As noted by John Bye last month:

David Cartland is under investigation by the GMC over allegations of bullying and harassment. He claims that covid vaccines make you magnetic, and has shared bizarre conspiracy theories about 5G, chemtrails and freemasons. He’s friends with David Icke.

In January he amplified – and then quietly backed down from – the proposition that “Every Single Aspect of the Covid Agenda is Jewish”. A few days from now, he will be appearing at an event in Leicester organised by “British Lions for Freedom”, alongside the likes of Andrew Bridgen and Fiona Diamond.

Like some some other trolls who can present as articulate, Cartland likes to boast about how he has a “police evidence portfolio” that will see critics brought to book by the authorities. He believes that anti-conspiracists are organised into a movement that he calls “77th” (meaning the 77th Brigade of the British Army, which conducts psychological operations) or the “Mutton Crew”, in reference to a artisan online butchers that has made scathing comments about him and the antivax movement.

One person who has tried to reason with Cartland is the former conspiracist Brent Lee. Back in June it seemed he had made some headway, and he related that Cartland appeared to be able to put his beliefs aside when it came to discharging his professional duties:

I was so annoyed Tuesday, I decided to confront Dr. David Cartland and surprised him with a video call. I’m blocked here, but I remembered that we had arranged the infamous debate on Telegram. I’m glad I did it. I was able to show him around the factory where I work and convince him I’m a regular guy. I was able to explain why I do what I do and hopefully have convinced him that I’m not connected to anyone and that I have nothing to do with any complaints against him. […]

Cartland is a conspiracy theorist.

But also, now this is very important..

Cartland is a Doctor. And he cares about health. I told him about my partner’s illness and he literally transformed into an attentive and caring GP and offered me a lot of advice.

We’re not friends and we never will be, but it was good to smooth a few things over and I appreciate him taking the time to take my call.

This didn’t last very long, though:

…he started spreading rumours online that I was having an affair with my friend, a well-known journalist. I blocked him. Soon after this submitted all of our communications including the harassment to a GMC compliant against him

4 months on, I see he’s been continuing this rumour, at one point, brought my partner into his attacks on me. This has gone too far. My partner has now asked him to stop, but so far, we have had no response. What a cult.

However, although Brent has made some media appearances in recent months he’s not a “celebrity”, and as such Cartland’s “brutal trolling” in this case is unlikely to make the Daily Express.


1. Here’s Cartland’s apology to Singh in full:

In May and June 2023, I published various tweets alleging that Dr Ranj Singh was a paedophile or sympathises unjustifiably with paedophiles. I accept that these allegations were wholly untrue, and that I had no basis to make them. I sincerely apologise to Dr Singh for the harm and upset I have caused. I have made a donation to a charity of his choice, and paid his legal costs. I will not be commenting on this matter again, save for any response that I give in evidence (written or oral) before a court or Tribunal in England and Wales.

However, at the same time he also writes:

Still waiting to see evidence of me calling any human being on earth a paedophile tonight let’s see how the feed fills up!!!! Please post every derogatory meme and post I have ever published directly linking any human to Paedophillia??? Evidence most welcome

Cartland’s attack on Singh appears to have been extrapolated from a 2013 remark that tabloids reported five years later when Singh was on Strictly.

Richard Tice Complains about Hope Not Hate after Dropping Reform Candidates

On Twitter (aka X), Reform Party chair Richard Tice commends a polemic against Hope Not Hate that appeared late last month (issue dated 2 March) in The Spectator:

Superb by ⁦@DouglasKMurray

The sinister tactics of Hope Not Hate

They should be renamed Hate not Hope [link]

Tice’s post was met with widespread derision by other fringe-right activists: in recent days, Tice has had to drop several Reform election candidates after HNH drew attention to past effusions that seem at odds with Tice’s insistance (backed up with legal threats) that his party is not “far right”. As such, highlighting Murray’s month-old article at this point comes across as compensatory. Particularly scathing was Carl Benjamin, who demanded “why allow them to bully you into deselecting good Reform candidates?” Benjamin has an interest here: one candidate dropped by Reform was one Beau Dade, who works “full time as a content creator” for Benjamin’s Lotus Eaters podcast. HNH had noted a deleted article on a website called The Mallard, in which Dade had called for mass deportations, prosecutions of civil servants and judges, and banning orders against media organisations of which he disapproves.

Murray’s article is titled “The sinister tactics of Hope Not Hate” – I suppose “The annoying tactics of Hote Not Hate” would have been less compelling, although it would have better reflected Murray’s irritated tone and limited scope. Murray’s charge is that HNH notices things that ought not to be of wider interest, at the expense of things that are more important. In particular, HNH and The News Agents podcast recently drew attention to likes and reposts from a Twitter/X account controlled by Paul Marshall, the co-owner of GB News who is hoping to purchase The Telegraph – as described by Alan Rusbridger in the Independent, these were “at the extreme end of mainstream political opinion about Islam, the expulsion of migrants and homosexuality”. Murray alleges that the findings were “cherry-picked”, although he doesn’t build a case for misrepresentation, and he scoffs that Marshall’s account (@areopagus123) was public anyway – in fact, though, readers have been restricted since September, and his control of the account isn’t immediately self-evident.

Meanwhile, one person who oddly is not complaining about Hope Not Hate is a GB News presenter who was recently accused of posting extreme content to Telegram under a pseudonym. HNH’s piece doesn’t explain how the identity was uncovered, and GB News supporters have accused HNH of making it up. This seems to me very unlikely, although mistakes are possible and so I won’t name the person concerned for the moment. However, it should be noted that this individual has not been seen on GB News since the story was published, and although they have made a few Twitter posts in the last day or so they have not addressed the allegation, despite having criticised HNH in the present past. [UPDATE (8 April)The Times has now reported the allegations, which pertain to Leo Kearse. It notes that Kearse “did not host his weekly Saturday Night Showdown at the weekend” and that “neither he nor GB News have responded to questions about his absence”.]

The Princess of Wales and Covid Vaccination Conspiracism

Despite the (selective) shaming of social media conspiracy theorising as regards Catherine, Princess of Wales (aka Kate Middleton), media focus on the “trolls” has not particularly noted the overlap with Covid conspiracism. As the prophecy of mass Covid vaccination mortality has failed to come to pass, believers (and more cynical promoters) have compensated by attributing all kinds of illnesses to the vaccine: thus in late 2022, Aseem Malhotra announced that Covid vaccination likely explains “all unexplained heart attacks, strokes, cardiac arrhythmias, & heart failure since 2021”. Since then, cancer has been added to the list, sometimes described as being a distinctive “turbo-cancer“. Stories in the media relating health are interpreted as either reflecting, or as being planted to explain away, this supposed reality.

As such, it was inevitable that the princess’s lack of visibility and then her cancer diagnosis would be interpreted as evidence of vaccine harm, as a cover story for vaccine harm, or as a bizarre conspiracy to “normalise” cancer. One figure of note active here is James Freeman Wells, who filmed Malhotra’s earlier statement and who has also been involved with organising events for Andrew Bridgen. A week ago Freeman spoke with “private investigator” Christine Hart, who told him that she had heard from journalists “that Kate is vaccine injured”, although she didn’t know if that was true (1). Freeman has now reposted this clip from his conversation, adding that it is “a question in the public interest” and that calls to respect the princess’s privacy are “bollocks”.

Meanwhile, David Vance suggests it is “odd” that Kate and King Charles both have cancer (here), and he appeared to agree (apparently now deleted) with someone expressing the view that the royal family “is busy making her look stupid”, because “they don’t want people knowing it’s probably the jab”. Other unpleasant and unhinged reactions on Twitter/X have been rounded up by John Bye. The most distasteful is perhaps from former Telegraph cartoonist Bob Moran, who  suggests that “Either Pfizer has taken to employing whole families to sell their ‘cancer vaccine’, or karma doesn’t skip royalty”; Leilani Dowding is less vicious, but also takes the view that the diagnosis will be used to promote a bogus cancer vaccine as well as to “try to normalise cancer in young people”.

Moving on, Eric Clapton’s friend Robin Monotti asks “KATE MIDDLETON YET ANOTHER VICTIM OF THE MRNA TURBOCANCER INJECTIONS?”, and quotes William Makis MD as saying

Kate Middleton should urgently seek out medical professionals who understand the phenomenon of mRNA Induced Immune system damage and Turbo Cancer and can offer her alternative treatments (high dose Ivermectin, Fenbendazole) that could save her life.

This in turn has been endorsed by the dietician Tim Noakes (part of Malhotra’s network, as discussed here), who adds “Such important advice for the Princess of Wales. Please listen to it @KensingtonRoyal”. Such extravagant remote diagnoses from supposed medical professionals are of course unseemly and ought to be disqualifying for anyone wanting to be taken seriously.

However, not everyone is on the bandwagon – it’s perhaps notable for instance that neither Bridgen nor Malhotra have said anything about it, one suspects primarily out of fear of a backlash rather than due to a new-found moderation.


(1) Christine Hart here is obviously merely claiming to be “in the know” through access to privileged gossip. However, she also reportedly knows a thing or two about getting hold of people’s medical details, having allegedly been tasked by tabloid journalists in the 1990s and 2000s to “blag” medical information about public figures and members of their families. The matter is discussed in the Approved Judgment in Duke of Sussex vs MGN (particularly pages 350-352), which ranges much more widely than just Prince Harry’s specific complaints against Mirror Group Newspapers.