Want to support the police? Don't join this Facebook group

"Supporting the Met police against the London rioters" group founder appears to have very questionable views on race.

Anyone who, like me, unthinkingly clicked "Like" on the Facebook group "Supporting the Met police against the London rioters" -- hurriedly set up on Monday night at perhaps the darkest moment of the London looting, when many people understandably wanted to support the London police force -- may now want to think again and leave it.

WARNING: OFFENSIVE MATERIAL. Sean Boscott, the founder of the group, which now boasts close to a million members and was unwisely praised by David Cameron in his speech yesterday, seems to harbour some at best prehistoric, at worst nastily racist views, as this investigative blog post -- by the video-game expert Stuart Campbell -- has uncovered. Another blog gives further examples.

As Boscott's Twitter history (which has since mysteriously been locked) shows, his self-professed "bad taste/offensive jokes" are appalling, sub-Bernard Manning rubbish. Boscott initially claimed his Twitter account had been hacked, but it seems rather unlikely that all his previous tweets were similarly the work of a hacker, ones he doesn't deny responsibility for. A typical example (and that's one of the milder ones):

"So the story of Barack Obama rising to become President is being chronicled in a new film. It's called Rise of the Planet of the Apes"

No, we're not laughing either.

By all means get behind the police but reject the racist sentiments of people like this -- who seem to be exploiting a volatile situation to divide British society at precisely the time when we should be doing anything but.

Oh, and instead watch this....

Thomas Calvocoressi is Chief Sub (Digital) at the New Statesman and writes about visual arts for the magazine.

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Donald Trump's healthcare failure could be to his advantage

The appearance of weakness is less electorally damaging than actually removing healthcare from millions of people.

Good morning. Is it all over for Donald Trump? His approval ratings have cratered to below 40%. Now his attempt to dismantle Barack Obama's healthcare reforms have hit serious resistance from within the Republican Party, adding to the failures and retreats of his early days in office.

The problem for the GOP is that their opposition to Obamacare had more to do with the word "Obama" than the word "care". The previous President opted for a right-wing solution to the problem of the uninsured in a doomed attempt to secure bipartisan support for his healthcare reform. The politician with the biggest impact on the structures of the Affordable Care Act is Mitt Romney.

But now that the Republicans control all three branches of government they are left in a situation where they have no alternative to Obamacare that wouldn't either a) shred conservative orthodoxies on healthcare or b) create numerous and angry losers in their constituencies. The difficulties for Trump's proposal is that it does a bit of both.

Now the man who ran on his ability to cut a deal has been forced to make a take it or leave plea to Republicans in the House of Representatives: vote for this plan or say goodbye to any chance of repealing Obamacare.

But that's probably good news for Trump. The appearance of weakness and failure is less electorally damaging than actually succeeding in removing healthcare from millions of people, including people who voted for Trump.

Trump won his first term because his own negatives as a candidate weren't quite enough to drag him down on a night when he underperformed Republican candidates across the country. The historical trends all make it hard for a first-term incumbent to lose. So far, Trump's administration is largely being frustrated by the Republican establishment though he is succeeding in leveraging the Presidency for the benefit of his business empire.

But it may be that in the failure to get anything done he succeeds in once again riding Republican coattails to victory in 2020.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.