Soldiers from the SAS

A WhatsApp group made up of soldiers has been discovered sharing racist and white supremacist content from inside the headquarters of the ­military’s elite  Special Air Service (SAS). The group’s acronym is NSO, which stands for National Socialist Order. It is one commonly used by neo‑Nazi groups across the United States.

The group uses the symbol of a clenched white fist. The Daily Mail newspaper obtained screengrabs from conversations between NSO members, including one with a bizarre mocked-up picture of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding.

It has the head of a black man superimposed on that of the Archbishop of Canterbury. According to SAS sources, the group has shared much more offensive material, ­leading to protests from African-Caribbean and Polynesian troops. One insider said, “It went on for years.” SAS soldiers have been ordered to undertake diversity training in the wake of the discovery of the group.

As the BBC tries to prettify the SAS’s record with its new series Rogue Heroes, this WhatsApp group gives a far more truthful picture of the SAS. Hundreds if not thousands of people were killed when Indian troops stormed the Golden Temple in Amritsar in 1984. Thirty years later, Phil Miller, Declassified UK’s chief reporter, uncovered evidence Margaret Thatcher’s Tory government had sent an SAS officer to advise Indian forces on the operation at the Sikh faith’s holiest site.  An investigation by Britain’s most senior civil servant, Jeremy Heywood, concluded that the SAS officer’s advice had little impact

But a new book says that Heywood gave the son of Thatcher’s top foreign policy adviser a central role in the 2014 review. Hugh Powell—whose father Charles was Thatcher’s private secretary—was selected by Heywood to help conduct the probe, despite the obvious risk of bias. The revelation is contained in a recently published book by Heywood’s widow.

Would you pay £15,000 an hour to hear Theresa May?  

Maybe you thought former prime minister Theresa May was not the most sparkling of orators. But there’s a lot of money for her words. The latest register of MPs’ financial interests reveals

22 April 2020, received £160,370 as advance from JP Morgan Chase, 4.5 hours.
18 January 2022, received £127,200 from the Distinguished Speaker Series of Florida, 9 hours.
22 March 2022, £404,800 for six engagements from Cambridge Speaker Series of California, 40 hours.
23 May 2022, £109,000 from the Danish Bar and Law Society, 5 hours.
27 June 2022, £74,000 for a speaking event from Deutsche Bank, London, 4 hours.
4 August 2022, £51,600 from XP Eventos LTDA, 2 hrs.
3 October 2022, £113,000 from the Analytical, Life Science & Diagnostics Association, Virginia, 3 hours

In all that’s over a million pounds for 65 hours “work”. Not a bad hourly rate of £15,385.

Poland builds another anti-migrant wall

A British ally is building an anti-migrant border wall. Polish army engineers last week began building a razor-wire fence across the country’s 130-mile border with Russia. The Polish government said it was to stop asylum seekers trying to cross overland into the European Union.

The fence will span the entire length of Poland’s border with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. Poland’s border wall will begin with three temporary layers of razor-wire fencing, measuring over 8 feet tall and 10 feet in width. Later, it will be replaced with a larger and more sophisticated electronically-surveilled structure. It will be similar to the 18 foot tall steel wall Poland completed on the country’s border with Belarus, Blaszczak, this year.

Poland’s moves to seal off that border using water cannons, tear gas and a wall drew criticism from human-rights groups such as Amnesty International. But Poland had the vocal support of the EU’s European Commission, which offered to help pay for the wall.

Planet can’t afford the rich

The charity Oxfam has calculated that the annual carbon footprint of the investments of just 125 of the world’s richest billionaires is equivalent to the carbon emissions of France, a nation of 67 million people. This represents an average of 3.1 million tonnes per billionaire, which is over one million times higher than the average for someone in the bottom 90 percent of humanity. 

Emissions from billionaire lifestyles, including their private jets and yachts, are thousands of times the average person’s. But if you include emissions from their investments, then their carbon emissions are over a million times higher. Oxfam analysis also found billionaires had an average of 14 percent of their investments in polluting industries, such as fossil fuels and materials like cement. This is twice the average for investments.

The upstanding  Rees-Mogg

Classmates who attended Eton with Jacob Rees-Mogg had a long‑standing prank. Someone would start singing or whistling the National Anthem whenever he was in earshot, then watch as young Jacob would stop whatever he was doing to proudly stand for it. Never got boring, apparently. Jacob Rees-Mogg is partial to a late night soak in the tub, listening to Radio 4. He tries his best to get himself all rinsed and dried before the end of the Shipping Forecast though because he says he hates having to stand for the anthem dripping wet and naked.

Train operator Avanti is entitled to a seven‑figure performance fee from the state despite repeatedly having to apologise for poor service. The firm, which operates trains between London, Manchester and Glasgow, ran just one in three services over the summer. Operators are paid a fixed fee by the government to run services. On top, they are contractually entitled to a bonus “performance fee” for going above and beyond minimum service standards. Avanti got £2 million.

More than half of schools in England are preparing redundancies due to government underfunding and rising costs, the NAHT union has warned. In a survey of  more than 11,000 headteachers, two thirds said they will have to make teaching assistants redundant or reduce their hours. Half said they are looking at reducing the number of teachers or teaching hours. Close to half of schools said they would be forced to reduce non-educational support and services for children next year.

‘I work in PR get me out of here’

Disgraced Tory bug eater Matt Hancock has a loyal public relations team. They have been contacting journalists to see if they can stir up a little more press interest in another contestant on the I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Of Here TV programme. They are reminding hacks that Boy George has previous conviction for assault and false imprisonment to deflect some of the heat their client is taking.

Things they say

‘Jeremy Corbyn is never getting back in. He would be toxic to our chances of winning’

A senior Labour figure to the Guardian newspaper

‘I don’t recognise that characterisation of Dominic and I’m not aware of any formal complaints about him’

Rishi Sunak defends Dominic Raab from allegations of being rude and aggressive towards civil servants. This was on Monday. Will he survive the week?

‘Albanians drape their flag over statue of WINSTON CHURCHILL’

The Mail online is not happy

‘Remembrance weekend in London and Albanians have taken over Westminster Bridge for a protest’

Neither is Nigel Farage

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