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Top news from The Times, Daily Telegraph, The Indepedent and The Guardian newspapers

Brexit: British federalists and ex-pats seek EU passports in other countries

Brexit is impelling some people to make a choice: stay in the UK or live in the European Union? The Guardian reports that many Britons are appealing to become citizens in other countries.

The number of Britons seeking citizenship in other EU countries has surged as a result of the Brexit vote, with some member states recording near tenfold increases on 2015 figures.

The British are not queuing up to live in Romania and Bulgaria. The report says they fancy new lives in Denmark, Italy, Ireland and Sweden, which all report “spikes” in “citizens eager to secure proper status in the EU”.

Between January and October 2016, 2,800 Britons applied for citizenship in other EU countries. This, says the paper is a 250% increase on numbers recorded in 2015.

Compared with last year’s figures, numbers have surged almost tenfold in Denmark and threefold in Sweden.

Denmark might not be best best option. Many Danes want their own EU referendum on what is dubbed Dexit.

Several applicants told the Guardian that it was the Brexit vote that prompted them to take action.

The numbers are not big, are they. Under 3,000 Britons have applied to be non-British citizens in other countries. And “several” said Brexit promoted the move.

The Guardian was in favour of the country remaining in the EU. So too was the Independent, which said: “Brexit prompts surge in Britons applying for citizenship in EU countries.”

In April the FT noted:

The German embassy in London told the Financial Times that 200-250 requests for information on how to apply for citizenship have been received per day since the referendum result was announced, compared with an average of 20-25 daily inquiries a month earlier.

The Hungarian consulate has received 150 inquiries since the vote, while it said it had received less than 10 during the rest of this year.

How do you qualify?

It is hard to tell what the chances are of the citizenship applications succeeding — people living in the UK depend on their ancestry to qualify.

The German embassy said UK residents would need a German parent. “There are certainly quite a number of people where it seems obvious they won’t qualify. We don’t have any figures for that though,” said Norman Walter, a spokesman.

Other countries have more liberal conditions. Italy, which has received around 500 email requests at its UK embassy since the Brexit vote, offers citizenship to foreigners who can prove that at least one of their grandparents was Italian.

The same grandparent rule applies to anyone seeking an Irish passport.

And less glamorous destinations?

Yet that has not deterred inquiries for a Bulgarian passport. The country’s London embassy has received 15 citizenship inquiries by British people since June 24. “We usually don’t receive such kind of requests so this is a new thing for us,” said a spokesman.

Bloomberg aded:

Estonia said it had seen a “notable” increase in residency requests and Lithuania reported a rise in applications to 34 since June 23, from a typical average of one or two per month.

Meanwhile, you can always just be rich.

Malta and Cyprus are both in the EU, and both offer a fast-track to citizenship for people who are able to invest a significant amount of money.

Maltese citizenship is available to those who invest €1.15m (£965,000; $1.3m) there; the country added a one-year residency requirement after EU pressure. The scheme is aimed at “ultra-high net worth individuals and families worldwide”.

The Cypriot government offers citizenship to those who put €5m (£4.2m; $5.6m) into approved investments – this is reduced to just €2.5m for those taking part in a collective investment. Applicants need to have a property in Cyprus but do not need to live there all of the time. Family members are included in the application, which can take as little as three months.

Should you stay or should you go?

Posted: 20th, October 2016 | In: Broadsheets, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The Ched Evens interview: the role model explains everything

Sat with his fiancée, Natasha Massey, and two dogs, footballer Ched Evans – not a rapist – talks to the Sunday Times about his ordeal.

He says:

“This has never been about me as a footballer but [about me] as a person, a human being. A father who wants to take his son to the park knowing that no one can look at me and say, ‘He’s a rapist.’ That’s why I wasn’t going to stop until I was proven innocent. From the first day, I would have agreed never to kick another ball in return for people accepting I was not a rapist.”

But to many it was about his role as footballer. Why else was the news on the front pages? One line stuck. Evans told police: “We could have had any girl we wanted … We’re footballers.”

The woman?

“I have got mixed emotions really. The fact is I cannot say she has ever accused me of rape. She hasn’t. She went to the police, believing her bag had been stolen. When me and Clayton got arrested [Clayton McDonald] we told the truth straight away and still to this day five years on she has never claimed that she had been raped.

“My belief is that it got put to her that she had been raped by two footballers. But my feelings towards the girl involved is that I can’t actually say I am angry, because – if she genuinely doesn’t remember – it doesn’t mean that we raped her. It doesn’t mean she didn’t consent. It just means that she can’t remember.

“I’d be lying if I said I feel some hatred towards her. I don’t. It would probably be more [correct] to say I feel sorry for her because of what she has been put through.”

The sex?

‘I have gone in the room and at the time Clay is having sex with the woman. As soon as I walked in, and I will never forget this, the door bangs behind me and they have both looked at me…

“It escalated into sex and as soon as I did that, I started to think, Tash [girlfriend Natasha] was coming up the next day and I’d better get home because I couldn’t have explained why I’d stayed in the hotel. Clay decided to come with me and he stayed at my house.”

The lover?

“Tasha’s life would have been easier if she just cut all ties with me the moment I told her I cheated on her. She knows me, she knows I wouldn’t commit a crime like that. She didn’t stay with me for money, that’s for sure… My behaviour that night was totally unacceptable but it wasn’t a crime.”

Evans has also been talking to the Mail on Sunday.

Ched the activist?

“I was young at the time and I was stupid and I wasn’t aware of the situations you could potentially find yourself in that would land you in trouble. I have never been taught about anything like that. You get your gambling and drinking training but nothing else on top of that. In this day and age people need educating on alcohol and consent.

“I read somewhere you would have to get signed consent. That wouldn’t be realistic but someone needs to come up with something. The best thing is just to be educated. And when they are drunk to think twice about it. How would it look in a court of law?”

This was big news because footballers are portrayed as scum. When you have one whose depravity is manifest, he gives lie to the top-down use of footballers as “role models”. Evans appears to have fallen into the trap of believing the hype. The Guardian notes: “Footballer acquitted this week of raping waitress says he wants to speak to young players about risks they face.”

No. Young footballers can speak with their mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters. Thanks but no thanks, Ched. Save it for your book.

Ched Evans is not a criminal. That much is fact. Why the police and CPS pursued him and sought his conviction is debatable.


Posted: 16th, October 2016 | In: Broadsheets, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Brexit: Guardian says Zara shoppers epitomise the working class

What does it mean to be working class? Aditya Chakrabortty knows. Having analysed the 17m people who voted to leave the European Union and found them “delusional”, he tells Guardian readers what it is to be working class:

What the pound’s weakness will chiefly achieve is to stop Britons buying as much. The middle classes will swap the wonders of the Alhambra for a week in Anglesey. The working classes will find Zara 15% more expensive.


working class

Tops, shits, hobnail boots and hats by Zara. Grime: models’ own


The working classes rather enjoy packages holidays to Spain. But, yeah, shopping at Zara is just what defines the working class, those people employed in the blue collar trades who having put food on the table and coins in the gas metre can’t afford market-stall schmutter and catalogue shopping and are forced to do with Zara fashions.

PS: In April the Guardian increased its cover price in the UK by 20p, taking the cost of the weekday print edition to £2 and Saturday edition to £2.90. The working class should form an orderly queue at the newsagents.

Posted: 12th, October 2016 | In: Broadsheets, Money, News, The Consumer | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Cinema ticket alternative makes everyone look like George Clooney

Alcohol remains relatively good value. Cinema tickets less so. Laura Donnelly is shocked, telling Telegraph readers: “Alcohol now so cheap 13 pints can be bought for price of cinema ticket.”

Or to flip that: Cinema is so expensive you can buy 13 pints and watch telly for the price of one ticket.

She writes:

Teenagers are able to buy more than 13 pints of cider for the price of a cinema ticket, according to a new report which says children are being put at risk by “pocket money prices.”

Teenagers buying cider? Do they get it cheaper than the rest of us. She means people over 18, right?

The study from the Alcohol Health Alliance says supermarkets are selling alcohol at prices that are attracting children and harmful drinkers, because of the absence of minimum prices.

And now the facts:

Consumers could buy two and a half bottles of the cheapest white cider – Frosty Jacks – containing more than 13 pints for the standard £8.24 paid for an off-peak cinema tickets, the study found.

You can get big bottles of cider for the price of a discount cinema tickets. Why not forgo a peak-time trip to the cinema and buy a bottle of champagne?

PS: drink enough and everyone looks like a movie star – in glorious technicolour (yawn).



cinema ticktes

Posted: 6th, October 2016 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Money, News, The Consumer | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

BBC twists Liverpool star James Milner’s words on Klopp

Can the media makes Liverpool midfielder James Milner sound controversial? Milner, 30, features on the BBC’s ‘gossip’ pages. The State broadcaster reports: “James Milner, 30, says Reds boss Jurgen Klopp is the best manager he has played under.”

That’s a bold statement. Milner has been managed by such top managerial talents as Terry Venables, Sir Bobby Robson, Graeme Souness, Martin O’Neill, Roberto Mancini, Manuel Pellegrini and Brendan Rodgers. Milner says Klopp is better than all of them. Well, so the BBC says.

The Telegraph is less certain: “Liverpool news: Jurgen Klopp may be best manager I’ve ever had, says James Milner.”

So what did the honest and likeable Milner actually say?

“I’ve probably had too many managers but every manager is different,” said Milner. “They all have their own strengths and weaknesses. He [Klopp] is a top manager and he’s definitely one of the best that I have worked with.”

Did Milner says Klopp is the best manager he has ever played for? No. Did he snub the other managers? No. Did he say something controversial? No.

Did the BBC twist his words? Yes.

Posted: 3rd, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Broadsheets, Liverpool, Sports | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Greedy Sam Allardyce trapped in ‘slavery’ sting and ‘Woy’ Hodgson insult

England manager ‘Big’ Sam Allardyce wraps the Sun in a choke hold. He’s embroiled in an alleged “dodgy deal”. The FA have launched a “probe” into his affairs.


Allardyce sam sting money


Allardyce is accused of trying to cash in on his England position – one that pays a mere £3m a year plus bonuses for tournament wins (so that’s £3m a year, then). Undercover reporters from the Daily Telegraph posed as foreign businessmen keen to deliver overseas players to England. Allardyce, 61, told the stingers “how they could circumvent FA rules which prohibit third parties ‘owning’ players”.

The key point is not that Allardyce comes across as greedy and thick, but that third-party ownership of players was banned by the FA in 2008 for being akin to “slavery”.


Allardyce sam sting money


The BBC lays it on:

During the meeting with the businessmen, who were undercover reporters, it is alleged Allardyce – who was only named England boss in July – said it was “not a problem” to bypass the rules and he knew of agents who were “doing it all the time”.

It is alleged by the paper that a deal was struck with the England boss worth £400,000, which could represent a conflict of interest if he is paid by a company whose footballer clients could benefit from preferential treatment by an international manager.

The Mail says this is the end of Allardyce who should be “axed”.

But it’s the Telegraph that has the big scoop.


allardyce scoop sting


In the “England manager for sale” readers are told

Before he had even held his first training session as England’s new head coach, Allardyce negotiated a deal with men purporting to represent a Far East firm that was hoping to profit from the Premier League’s billion-pound transfer market.

He agreed to travel to Singapore and Hong Kong as an ambassador…

Unbeknown to Allardyce, the businessmen were undercover reporters and he was being filmed as part of a 10-month Telegraph investigation that separately unearthed widespread evidence of bribery and corruption in British football.

Allardyce really is in the mire.

But that bit about his calling Roy Hodgson “Woy” makes us chuckle. After all, this is what the Sun said when Hodgson got the job:


Rop Woy Hodgson the sun allardyce


What a load of Wubbish!


Posted: 27th, September 2016 | In: Back pages, Broadsheets, Key Posts, Money, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The Human virus: making IPAT divided by technology

Writing in the Gaurdian, Travis N Rieder wants to talk about what leading Left-wing British politicians call ‘the human virus‘:

Yes, humans are producers, and many wonderful things have come from human genius. But each person, whatever else they are (genius or dunce, producer or drag on the economy) is also a consumer. And this is the only claim needed in order to be worried about climate change.

Eating and breathing are wrong? Before we go on, one of the comments below the line is wonderful:


‘Modern human beings’ have only inhabited the earth for around 200,000 years. I have no doubt that one day a microbe will wipe us out, efficient little things that they are…

Mother nature will have its day! So I’d stop worrying about population growth and concentrate on saving the NHS for the here and now.

Once you stop rolling your eyes and sneering, we can continue:

The problem here is that we have a finite resource – the ability of the Earth’s atmosphere to absorb greenhouse gases without violently disrupting the climate – and each additional person contributes to the total amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. So although humans will hopefully save us (we do, in fact, desperately need brilliant people to develop scaleable technology to remove carbon from the air, for instance), the solution to this cannot be to have as many babies as possible, with the hope that this raises our probability of solving the problem. Because each baby is also an emitter, whether a genius or not.

Wow. Utter tosh, of course.

He is stuck on this:

What is the IPAT Equation, or I = P X A X T?
One of the earliest attempts to describe the role of multiple factors in determining environmental degradation was the IPAT equation1. It describes the multiplicative contribution of population (P), affluence (A) and technology (T) to environmental impact (I). Environmental impact (I) may be expressed in terms of resource depletion or waste accumulation; population (P) refers to the size of the human population; affluence (A) refers to the level of consumption by that population; and technology (T) refers to the processes used to obtain resources and transform them into useful goods and wastes. The formula was originally used to emphasize the contribution of a growing global population on the environment, at a time when world population was roughly half of what it is now. It continues to be used with reference to population policy.

George Monbiot notes:

David Satterthwaite of the International Institute for Environment and Development, points out that the old formula taught to all students of development – that total impact equals population times affluence times technology (I=PAT) – is wrong. Total impact should be measured as I=CAT: consumers times affluence times technology. Many of the world’s people use so little that they wouldn’t figure in this equation. They are the ones who have most children.

The Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES), a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), was published in 2000. Tim Worstall looks:

More humans means more emissions therefore we should have fewer humans. This is one of those things which is possibly true. But of course what we want to know is, well, is it true? And the answer is no.

For this has been considered. In the SRES which came out in, erm, 1992? And which is the economic skeleton upon which every IPCC report up to and including AR4 was built. And it specifically looks at the varied influences of wealth, population size and technology upon emissions. That’s what it’s actually for in fact. It can be thought of a working through of Paul Ehrlich’s I = PAT equation, impact equals population times affluence times technology. Except, of course, it gets that equation right, dividing by technology, not multiplying by it.

And the answer is that population isn’t the important variable. Nor is affluence, not directly, it’s technology which is. Move over to non-emitting forms of energy generation (and no, not some crash program, just the same sort of increase in efficiency which we had in the 20th century will do it) as in A1T and we’re done. Or if you prefer a bit more social democracy, as in B1.

Population size just isn’t the driving force behind the problem. Thus it’s also not the solution. And we’ve known this for more than 20 years.

Carry on breeding, then.

Posted: 13th, September 2016 | In: Broadsheets, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Dear Guardian readers, Ede & Ravenscorft is not for investment bankers

Former BBC journalist Paul Mason offers guidance to Guardian readers: “How to blag a job in finance: buy some black shoes and talk like an aristocrat.”

Big news any of my friends who worked on the LIFFE floor – including ‘The Professor’, so nicknamed because he had two A-levels (grades C and D) -, no, it wasn’t sarcastic – and those from very non-aristo backgrounds (hard to fake being a toff if you’re Jewish, black or Asian) working throughout the money markets.

Mason, however, has honed in on investment banking:

There’s supposed to be a war for talent. If so, it became pretty clear last week why Britain’s investment banks are losing it. The recruitment filter, revealed in a report from the Social Mobility Commission, works like this: you can only join the customer-facing part of an investment bank if you went to one of four public schools; got a first from one of five universities; and possess “sheen”.

Yes, sheen. And polish. No matter how good you are, if your tie is not right or your suit does not fit like a glove, you are destined to take your excellence somewhere else.

Big news: people with lots of money prefer dealing with people who grow up at ease with lots of money and who succeed in academic studies. But the best part of this article in the picture used to illustrate the unfairness of it all.


paul mason


The label on the shirt says “EDE & RAVENSCROFT”. Who are they? Well;

We provide ceremonial robes for all occasions, dress the judiciary (including providing handmade wigs) and ensure that graduates from all over the world look their best at graduation ceremonies.

You don’t wear brown in town. And you don’t wear an Ede & Ravenscorft shirt in investment banking. Of course, had the Guardian’s picture editor gone to the right school, they’d have known that.

Spotter: Tim Worstall

PS : jobs at The Guardian, this way!

Posted: 7th, September 2016 | In: Broadsheets, Money, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Daniel Ratcliffe regrets the error: Seamus Milne is away and Jeremy Corbyn might not be magic

The big question is: does Harry Potter like Jerrmy Corbyn? The Guardian says he does:

Daniel Radcliffe has endorsed Jeremy Corbyn for leader of the Labour party, saying the veteran leftwinger’s sincerity won him over. The Harry Potter star told The Big Issue that Corbyn’s informal style had excited voters and was a welcome departure from scripted politics.

The Guardian was sticking to the right script, albeit wrongly. The paper later regretted the error:

NOTE: This article was published in error. It was based on social media circulation of an interview Daniel Radcliffe gave to the Big Issue in September 2015. It is not known whether he still holds these views. It originally ran with the headline ‘Daniel Radcliffe endorses Jeremy Corbyn for Labour leader’ and was published at 4.55am on 4 September 2016. The original article read as follows:

Whoops! As the Guardian checks the date of Seamus Milne’s contract (the paper says, he’s “a Guardian columnist and associate editor”; he’s also Jeremy Corbyn’s spin doctor), we look at what Radcliffe told the Big Issue:

“I feel like this show of sincerity by a man who has been around long enough and stuck to his beliefs long enough that he knows them and doesn’t have to be scripted is what is making people sit up and get excited. It is great.”

A days is long time in politics. A year is a lifetime…

Posted: 4th, September 2016 | In: Broadsheets, Celebrities, News, Politicians | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Periods in sport are no taboo, Serena Williams gets over it

When watching the Olympics, did you think I wonder if she’s on her period? Ross George did. She tells Guardian readers:

My gold medal goes to Fu Yuanhui – for talking openly about her period

Well, if dressage can be a sport, why not your body clock?


Serena Williams period


The swimmer’s admission of what affected her Rio Olympics performance shouldn’t be a big deal, but it is. It’s one more step towards stamping out a pathetic taboo

It’s not a taboo in the Guardian:


Serena Williams period


January, 2015:

Menstruation: the last great sporting taboo

When Heather Watson crashed out of the Australian Open this week, she put her poor performance down to starting her period – publicly breaking the silence on an issue that affects all sportswomen. But why is it still something we never hear about?

January 2015:

My period may hurt: but not talking about menstruation hurts more, Rose George

Menstrual taboo is bad enough for female athletes such as Heather Watson.


Serena Williams periods


May 2015:

On the second Menstrual Hygiene Day, Ellie Mae O’Hagan looks at what NGOs are doing to break the taboo around periods

March 2016:

Bad blood: the taboo on talking about periods is damaging lives

Is the great female athlete Serena Williams wrong?

Posted: 19th, August 2016 | In: Broadsheets, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Inequality makes you fat and food is therapy

Why are you fat? Why are you not fat? Polly Tonybee knows. She writes in the Guardian:

The Tories must tackle the real cause of obesity: inequality

When fat meant prosperous and jolly and thin meant poor and mean, it was about inequality. Now that fat means you’re poor and thin means you’re on message, it’s all about inequality. The only thing that fits for all is that the rich and knowing want to school you.

Polly want to ban advertising of certain foods to youngsters watching telly.

Obesity is no one’s choice, as everyone wants to be thin: young children now worry about body image, and rates of anorexia – obesity’s evil twin – are rising.

The simple fact is that we eat more calories than we can burn off. When the poor had no cars and central heating, they walked and worked in manual jobs. They were thin. The rich with their hearths, carriages and desk jobs were fat.

To be obese signifies being poor and out of control, because people who feel they have no control over their own lives give up…

It signifies the post-war miracle of plentiful food for all.

It is inequality and disrespect that make people fat…

…the social facts suggest Britain would get thinner if everyone had enough of life’s opportunities to be worth staying thin for. Offer self-esteem, respect, good jobs, decent homes and some social status and the pounds would start to fall away.

This abstraction that being thin means you have more to live for and have higher self-esteem is bizarre, as is the news that being fat means you have psychological issues. Food isn’t eaten because you’re greedy, don’t walk enough, don’t do physical labour and it’s cheap. Food is State-sanctioned therapy. And you’re the victim.


Posted: 19th, August 2016 | In: Broadsheets, News, The Consumer | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The Duke of Westminster left his son very little (but the trust got loadsa tax-free money)

The Duke of Westminster has died. There will be no land grab for his vast estates in London’s Mayfair and Belgravia. Chinese and Russian investors can stable the horses.  The Duke, whose family gained their estates thanks to an ancestor’s friendship with William the Conqueror, who took charge of the land after a successful invasion, has left the spoils of war to this heirs. The Guardian is upset that the State won’t get their chunk of change:

…the sixth duke is said to have left an estate worth £9.9bn upon his death this week to his son and yet, despite the fact that inheritance tax is supposedly payable on all estates on death worth more than £325,000, it has been widely reported that very little tax will be due in this case.

He did? No. He left the estate to a trust managed by his son. As the departed Duke said:

I’d rather not have been born wealthy, but I never think of giving it up. I can’t sell. It doesn’t belong to me.”

It belongs to the trust. Indeed, the Guardian adds:

The English legal concept of a trust is believed to have been developed during that era, when knights departing the country with no certainty of returning wanted to ensure that their land passed to those who they thought to be their rightful heirs without interference from the Crown. Trusts achieved that goal and the concept has remained in existence ever since, representing the continual struggle of those with wealth to subvert the rule of law that may apply to others but that they believe should not apply to them.

No. They are using the rule of law to stay legal.

The late Duke had this advice for his heir: “He’s been born with the longest silver spoon anyone can have, but he can’t go through life sucking on it.. He has to see himself as a caretaker, keeping the estates in good shape in his lifetime. It took me ten years just to understand what I had inherited.”


Posted: 13th, August 2016 | In: Broadsheets, Money, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

George Monbiot: vegans against cow shit

George Monbiot wants to tell us about his meals in the Guardian. We live in an age of narcissism, so a broadsheet writer talking about his dinner is staple fare:

I’ve converted to veganism to reduce my impacts on the living world

Cows swoon:

The world can cope with 7 or even 10 billion people. But only if we stop eating meat. Livestock farming is the most potent means by which we amplify our presence on the planet. It is the amount of land an animal-based diet needs that makes it so destructive.

We should slaughter all the animals?

An analysis by the farmer and scholar Simon Fairlie suggests that Britain could easily feed itself within its own borders. But while a diet containing a moderate amount of meat, dairy and eggs would require the use of 11m hectares of land (4m of which would be arable), a vegan diet would demand a total of just 3m.

And lots of manure to grow the stuff with? Human shit is only good for columnists to make a living. The rest of us need horse, bird, pig and cow shit.

Rothamsted tells us:

Livestock manures are a valuable source of nutrients in many organic rotations. Making best use of these nutrients:
• contributes towards economic sustainability
• minimises pollution of the wider environment

Can you have good animal shit without animals to do the shitting? Monbiot adds:

Not only do humans need no pasture, but we use grains and pulses more efficiently when we eat them ourselves, rather than feed them to cows and chickens.

If not more animals to create more animal manure to grow crops with, is the option to go for increased GM crops and artificial fertilisers?

This would enable 15m hectares of the land now used for farming in Britain to be set aside for nature.

Nature? Are human beings not natural?

File under: show us your shit.

Posted: 10th, August 2016 | In: Broadsheets, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Policy Exchange Übermensch want British people barcoded

Policy Exchange sound like a revolting bunch. The Guardian reports on their plans to bran you all with a barcode:

British people should be given a “unique person number” to help the government keep track of the population following the vote for Brexit, according to a new report by a leading thinktank.

What has Brexit to do with being anti-human?

The paper from Policy Exchange said people feel Britain is being used as an “economic transit camp” and these fears could be allayed by creating a “population register”.

The Übermensch at Policy Exchange can go first. Form an orderly queue while we heat up the banding irons.

Posted: 8th, August 2016 | In: Broadsheets, News, Politicians | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

UKIP wants to ban Muslim schools: first they came for the kids and the parents

What is the point of education? The Telegraph  looks at Lisa Duffy’s views on the matter of who decides what children learn at school. Duffy is a councillor in Cambridgeshire. She wants to lead UKIP. She wants a say in what children can be taught at school.

A “total ban” on Muslim state schools has been called for by Lisa Duffy, the Ukip leadership hopeful.

Ms Duffy, who is expected to be announced as once of the candidates in the party’s leadership race at noon today, has called for Islamic faith schools to be shut down in a bid to tackle radicalisation.

Duffy knows best. She wants to ban traditions she considers to be the wrong ones. An attack on freedom of education can be readily linked to an attack on freedom of worship, something any liberal country should hold dear.

Maybe Duffy doesn’t like what she sees as intolerance preached as faith schools. Maybe this is why Duffy wants to ban them, censor views alternative to her own? Duffy is a bansturbator. She tells the Express:

“I will be calling for the Government to close British Islamic faith schools. That doesn’t mean I am picking on British Islam…

Wrong. It does.

“…but if you think about what our security services are looking at 2,000 individuals that have come from those faith schools. When does indoctrination start?”

Dunno, Lisa. Where did you learn your illiberal views?

She adds:

“I am not far right, I am very much common sense and centre right.”

Lisa affects to know what the country’s values are and then undermines them. Freedom for all is great so long as it is freedom from things Duffy doesn’t much like.

Why should the State know better than parents? Why should education be so politicised? Why should education adhere to a homogenous ‘norm’ proscribed by the elite? Parents must be free to chose the schools that reflect their own prejudices, views and wants.


religious school


Why doesn’t the State do something truly radical: ask teachers what they think and let them set the curriculum? (And interfering parents are every bit as dire as the State dictating what is right thinking.)

And if not religious schools, then why non-faith State schools, places where moving targets, new techniques and measures of learning create a system lacking substance – where children are schooled not educated. State schools are often out-performed by their religious-orientated rivals, where knowledge can be tested across ages and critical thinking is encouraged and engaged.

Lisa Duffy should try it.

Posted: 3rd, August 2016 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Lidl Britain crisis: nuts might not contain nuts

The country is in crisis. The Telegraph reports on a consumer panic:

German discounter Lidl is removing its brand of fruit yoghurts and honey peanuts from the shelves because it fails to tell customers they might contain milk and peanuts.

Only ‘might’? Not ‘do’. Supermarkets are hedging their bets.

nuts lidl


What else might a pot of yoghurt or packet of nuts contain? Pretty much anything, right?

Posted: 1st, August 2016 | In: Broadsheets, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Ansbach bomb mystery solved: why the victim did it

When a man armed with a bomb blew himself up outside a music festival in Germany, the media went into action. Why had he done it?

Reuters went into action: “Syrian man denied asylum killed in German blast.”

The poor man. He was killed in a country that denied him asylum. This man suffered terribly at our hands. Reuters continues:

A 27-year-old Syrian man who had been denied asylum in Germany a year ago died on Sunday when a bomb he was carrying exploded outside a music festival in Ansbach, Germany…

A bomb he was carrying exploded? Was he taking it a museum, having found it?

Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said the man had tried to commit suicide twice before.

And he failed a third time. The “bomb exploded”. He was “killed”. He is the victim.

The Guardian leads with: “A 27-year-old man who had been denied asylum dies after explosion in southern German town”

An explosion.

The BBC: “Ansbach explosion: Syrian asylum seeker blows himself up in Germany.”

A failed Syrian asylum seeker has blown himself up and injured 15 other people with a backpack bomb near a festival in the south German town of Ansbach. The 27-year-old man, who faced deportation to Bulgaria, detonated the device after being refused entry to the music festival.

He was clearly an avid music fan. Denied entry he had nothing else to live for – well, aside from a new life in Bulgaria.

CNBC: “Bomb-carrying Syrian dies outside German music festival; 12 wounded.”

Al Jazeera: “A 27-year-old Syrian man died when a bomb he was carrying in a rucksack went off outside a music festival in Germany and wounded 12 people, an official said. A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office in Ansbach said the attacker’s motive wasn’t clear.”

The bomb went off. He did not detonate the bomb. It just went off. Why he died remains a mystery.

The Mail: “Syrian suicide bomber – nicknamed ‘Rambo’ – who blew himself up outside German music festival had pledged allegiance to ISIS, had Islamist videos at his home and had enough chemicals to make ANOTHER bomb.”

Ah. That’s why the asylum seeker was killed when the bomb he was carrying went off. He was an Islamist trying to murder people. Thanks to the Mail, the mystery has been cleared up.


Posted: 31st, July 2016 | In: Broadsheets, News, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Jeremy Corbyn flying pig news: ‘Labour can win snap General election under my leadership’

The Guardian creates the world-class clickbait headline: “Jeremy Corbyn: Labour could win snap general election.”

But wait a moment. Did Corbyn actually says it? Does he think Labour can win the General Election?

The Conservative government has had “a field day” amid Labour divisions, Jeremy Corbyn has said in a Guardian interview, while insisting he believes the party could win a snap general election…

…when asked whether Labour could win a potential snap election this autumn or next spring, Corbyn seemed confident. “We’re going to go for it and win it,” he said.

‘Seemed confident’. He seems delusional.


Posted: 30th, July 2016 | In: Broadsheets, News, Politicians | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Guardian writer moans about her holiday ‘from hell’ in the super-expensive Hamptons

Is the Guardian beyond parody? In “The highway to summer hell leads straight through the Hamptons” Emma Brockes moans about holidaying in the exclusive enclave. Damned is she forced to holiday at one of the resort towns on the Long Island coast, where the average property goes for over $1m.


Hamptons Guardian


The American summer tradition of clearing out of cities for the beach every weekend is at odds with an equally strong tradition of avoiding inconvenience. But for some reason the beach always wins.

Six hours on the road with small children in the back? No problem. A two-hour tailback? Just part of the package. A three-hour journey out of Penn Station to East Hampton, on a train so crowded you have to stand the whole way? Deal with it.

She then knocks the UK:

Granted, unlike in Britain, where you can stand up for hours on a train to get to a beach that looks like a large mudflat, at least the sand on Long Island is pretty. The dunes are pristine, the weather is hot and, if you trudge far enough from the path, you don’t have to see another human for hours.

Hell is other people with loads of money.

And Emma is earning out of her hols to the Hamptons, having on June 30 this year written more about her jolly hols:

The apartment complex was on a stretch of idyllic, empty beach and a five-minute drive from a town where a litre of coffee, a bag of pistachios and a small strawberry ice cream cost a fortune…

Pass the bucket. No, not to be sick in it. If you and the other 1 per cent can chuck a few coins in the thing, we and The Guardian (£173 pre-tax loss!) would be ever so grateful…

Posted: 29th, July 2016 | In: Broadsheets, News, The Consumer | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Don’t ban sugar just force the fat to run to the shops

fat ban sugar taxOi, fatso! David Aaronovitch has a plan to win the “obesity war”. He writes in the Times:

It’s not enough to fiddle about with food labelling and a distant sugar tax. Bans may be draconian, but they’re essential

Bans are for censors. No ‘may’ about it. They are draconian. They are not essential.

He adds:

Of course, we could try to attach the same opprobrium to being fat as to being a smoker.

Second-hand fat? We are getting fatter, yes. We are getting fatter because we do less. We have more down time. More of us live in small flats – stairs burn calories (just ask the aged who downsize). We have central heating. We have telly. Is there shame in being a smoker? No. although people who light up electronic cigarettes, especially the ones with the glowing end, do look like twats.

And what of the facts? Chris Snowdon notes:

All the evidence indicates that per capita consumption of sugar, salt, fat and calories has been falling in Britain for decades. Per capita sugar consumption has fallen by 16 per cent since 1992 and per capita calorie consumption has fallen by 21 per cent since 1974.

And Tim Worstall has an interesting aside:

One more little factoid on this: the current average UK diet has fewer calories than the minimum acceptable diet under WWII rationing. Quite seriously: we are gaining weight on fewer calories than our grandparents lost weight on.

Back then you could be fat and jolly. Now you must be fat and unhappy. The bitter and thin want revenge.

Aaronovitch adds:

Ban fast-food outlets from stations and airports. Ban the sale of confectionery and sugary drinks to the under-16s. Ban the sale of over-sugared products in supermarkets (as measured by a ratio of sugar to other nutrients). Ban the bringing into schools of unhealthy foods. Ban the presence in offices (like our own here at The Times) of vending machines that seem to sell mainly crisps and chocolate. Specify a weight-to-height ratio limit on air passengers wishing to avoid a surcharge.

In short: bash the poor.

Posted: 28th, July 2016 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Arsenal, Riyad Mahrez and the Olympian task of replacing Gnabry

Transfer Balls spots this utter drivel in the Daily Telegraph. Arsenal’s Serge Gnabry has been called up to Germany’s Olympic football team. Lest you suppose news that a bit-part Arsenal player missing a few games with an Olympic hangover was not big news, the Telegraph says you’d be wrong. It is huge.

Gnabry featured on loan for West Brom last season [3 matches played], but has impressed Arsene Wenger this pre-season, and has been tipped for a more important role at the Emirates this season.

More important than no games for Arsenal last season?

His departure for the Games leaves Arsenal a man short in their midfield, and could even force Wenger’s hand in the transfer market.

Who could replace Gnabry, the player who made nine starts for Arsenal? Richard Amofa Harry Yorke have an idea. 

Who would be a suitable replacement? Either Alexandre Lacazette and Riyad Mahrez could probably do the job. Many would feel Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is also capable, but the forward today distanced himself from a move to the Gunners.

Got that? The Premier League’s best player last season, the exciting young French striker or the thrilling Dortmund striker could do the job of Gnabry.

Indeed. What about Ronaldo? Surely he deserves the chance.


Posted: 26th, July 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Broadsheets, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Sports Direct: human rights and Mike Ashley’s legal redress

Former BBC staffer Paul Mason is making some sort of point about Sports Direct and Newcastle United FC tycoon Mike Ashley and his underlings:

What is striking, when you consider the modern reality of precarious work and coercive management, is how the concept of human rights stops at the factory gate.

Human rights?


Paul Mason sports direct


The workers of Georgian England had no democratic rights or access to law. But the 21st century is supposed to be an age of universal rights. Every one of the practices described at Sports Direct appears to not just have broken employment law, but also violated the human right of the citizen not to be bullied, shamed, endangered or sexually harassed.

So things are better now because there are laws and human rights. Sports Direct’s working practises can be tested in a court of law. The workers have redress. Things are much improved. So what exactly is Mason’s point?

Spotter: Guardian

Posted: 26th, July 2016 | In: Broadsheets, Money, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Smoking Paul Pogba’s lost weekend in Manchester United

The Daily Pogba: an at-a-glance look at news of Juventus and Franc footballer Paul Pogba, wanted by Manchester United.

The Daily Star says Manchester United have bid £85m for Pogba. It’s not enough. Juventus have snubbed “Jose’s offer”.  The idea that United manager Jose Mourinho has any say in how much the club should pay for the player is fanciful. United is run by the Glazer family from a shopping mall in the USA. They do the business.


Pogba manchester united


The Guardian says the opening offer is not £85m, but £100m. And it’s not yet been made. The Guardian appears to be acting as a negotiator, adding: United are expected to make an opening bid of £100m with £13m of that performance-related add-ons.”


pogba guardian


The Mirror also trumps the Star. Pogba is the paper’s “£100m man”. But it agrees with the Star that the money is Mourinho’s. According to both papers it is the manager not the Glazers who will make Pogba the world’s costliest player.


pogba united


The Sun, having told us Pogba joined United for £105m last weekend, focuses on the player’s private life.


pogba 105m


Today the Sun’s Phil Cadden reports: “MIAMI VICE Paul Pogba pictured smoking E-cigarette while on holiday with Romelu Lukaku in Miami.”


pogba the sun


“These snaps of the £105million Manchester United target will have Jose Mourinho fuming,” writes Cadden of the player he told us had already joined United and is now reduced to a “target”. He adds: “Pogba, who met up with Everton’s Romelu Lukaku, is wanted by United and Real Madrid.”

Ah, yes, Real Madrid. AS (Spain) says Pogba has been using his clothes to speak of his desire to play for Real. Below the headline “Pogba’s little message to Real Madrid? He is ‘all in white'”, the Spanish tabloid reports:

Pogba posted a photo on Instagram, along with the words “all in white”, which of course set off speculation, some of it fevered, that this was a clear wink to Real Madrid, who of course play in all white…


pogba real madrid


Real Madrid do not play in trousers. Fact.

More Pogba balls all summer.

Posted: 20th, July 2016 | In: Back pages, Broadsheets, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Brexit balls: nationalists stole my brie

Brexit Balls aplenty in the Guardian, where Rachel Cooke is remembering past holidays in those halcyon days of the 1970s, when Europe was still called ‘The Continent’:

In France she eats a croissant:

Even as I finished it, licking my finger to gather every last flake, I worried that such an ambrosial delight might never pass my lips again. If this turned out to be so, I wasn’t sure life was going to be worth living.

She would go on to drink fizzy water, eat white yoghurt, “sticky cheese that was stinky”, snails and enjoy the “superiority of French food”. She was a “miniature gastronomic zealot” high on French supermarket fodder. And then it all ended:

You know where this is going. Brexit feels to me like grief, and, deep in mourning, I can’t stop thinking of the loved one, and all that she brought me. Of course, it’s possible to exaggerate the effect the EU has had on our eating habits.

Possible. And here it is. The European Union makes the apricot jam thicker and the butter more creamy. The EU allowed you to travel to France and eat food. The EU gave you bottled water. The EU did it all.

Things would have changed anyway, in the end; British supermarkets, for better or worse, sell sushi now.

Sushi is from Japan – a country NOT in the EU (yet). We eat sushi and more expensive foods because we are richer than before, and many of us spend large chunks of our considerable down time watching cheap-to-make cooking shows and celebrity travelogues on the telly.

In the 1970s, British foodies could watch Graham Kerr on telly, The Galloping Gourmet, a celebrity chef the Guardian calls “The Roger Moore of the mandolin, the Nigel Havers of the hob, the David Niven of the knife block”.

The wealthy British imported coffee and tea and spices long before the EU existed.

Buy Cooke says “it’s difficult not to see this as a door closing – a refrigerator door, behind which there sits, in my dreams, an oozing brie de Meaux, a blushing hunk of culatello, and a small bowl of salty Nardin boquerones. How much more expensive are such treats likely soon to be?”

Well, that would depend on demand for already pricey foodstuffs. There’s a reason they don’t sell frozen snails at Tesco and they do sell sushi – “for better or worse.” They also sell Thai food (again, not from the EU) and lots of things from Australia, Canada and America.

She then accuses the people who voted for Brexit of being culturally backward, tasteless to the core, a slack-jawed, reactionary majority of bad-food lovers.

The celebrating Brexiteers are in a frenzy of nationalistic pride right now… Do they think freedom lies in grey meat and flaccid pastry?

No. See The Great British Bake Off.

Is it a case, for them, of better-the-cheap-British-cheese-you-know-than-the-dubious-foreign-stuff-you-don’t?

No. It’s a case of wine, a box of curry, a few spring rolls, kebabs, nachos, burgers and reruns of Fanny Cradock’s Fanny’s Kitchen  on the magic box.

Posted: 19th, July 2016 | In: Broadsheets, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Brexit: grow up, trigger Article 50 and ignore the cry babies

When not leaving for her place in Tuscany, Polly Tonybee remains at his keyboard talking to Guardian readers about Brexit and all that inconvenient democracy.

Having called David Cameron “the man who sauntered effortlessly along a privileged path”*, Polly Toynbee – old school: Badminton (day pupil fees £5,650 per term); daughter of the literary critic Philip Toynbee (school: Rugby; friend of the Mitford sisters); granddaughter of the historian Arnold J. Toynbee (Winchester College), and great-great niece of philanthropist and economic historian Arnold Toynbee (after whom Toynbee Hall in London is named); dated the man who would become Boris Johnson’s uncle – adds:

What is to become of us? Cameron has led us into a state of paralysing uncertainty, at the mercy of erratic negotiations with 27 countries over which we have no say. Take back control?

Those are 27 countries over which the UK has no control.

Are you paralysed with uncertainty? Are you unable to find your own arse without a politician taking your hand and showing you the way? Are you wailing and weeping about the future? Get this in the Mirror:

A Labour official who voted on Jeremy Corbyn’s future wept today as she claimed colleagues were “bullied and intimidated” ahead of the crunch ruling.

Johanna Baxter was one of the 32 National Executive Committee (NEC) members who voted 18-14 to put Mr Corbyn on the ballot paper in the Labour leadership election – without MPs’ backing.

Listen in:

Or are you just getting on with things, like a grown-up should?

Let’s end the uncertainty just Trigger Article 50. Get on with it. The working-classes have spoken. Join here.

*No problem with Tonybee’s good fortune, but why use another’s good fortune as a stick to beat them with?

Posted: 14th, July 2016 | In: Broadsheets, News, Politicians | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0