Top news from The Times, Daily Telegraph, The Indepedent and The Guardian newspapers
Time for another look at Ted Health’s corpse. A high-ranking policeman reportedly said that the former Prime Minister was a paedophile. A ‘source’ told the Mail on Sunday that Wiltshire Chief Constable Mike Veale, for it is he, is “120% certain” the dead man was a child rapist. You can either believe it and think, ‘Yeah, always knew he was a wrong un.’ Or you can wonder about the evidence, the messenger, the timing and if the hunt for the morally reprehensible can ever be satiated?
Pick your prejudice and read on…
In the Salisbury Journal, dead Ted’s local paper, we read Veale’s response to the Mail on Sunday’s story. This is it in full:
“On Friday 2 December 2016, I prepared and distributed an unequivocal open letter outlining the Wiltshire Police position in relation to the ongoing investigation into allegations made against Sir Edward Heath.
“This letter was written as a direct consequence further to unhelpful and inappropriate speculation about this case. However, this speculation continues and is of huge concern to me as I believe it will undermine trust and confidence in the police, have a potential prejudicial impact upon a live ongoing investigation, not to mention an impact upon the confidence of persons who have come forward with information.
“In my letter I made a number of points to provide absolute clarity about why Wiltshire Police is conducting this investigation. To reiterate, there is a clear legal requirement and supporting national policy from the College of Policing that I am required to undertake an investigation where allegations have been made, regardless of whether the alleged offender is living or deceased.
“In relation to the recent unhelpful speculation regarding the veracity of the allegations made, let me once again be clear, it is not the role of the police to judge the guilt or innocence of people in our Criminal Justice System. Our role is to objectively and proportionately go where the evidence takes us. Further, those who choose to continue to make comment on this case whilst not in possession of the facts ultimately may serve to unfairly damage both the reputation of Sir Edward Heath and / or those who have disclosed abuse.
“At the end of my open letter I stated that I would not be making further comment about the investigation unless it was for operational policing purposes. Other than to provide clarity around a number of key points, my position remains unchanged.
“The operational security of this investigation and the anonymity of the people who have come forward remains of paramount importance to Wiltshire Police.”
That’s a very long ‘no comment’. And he doesn’t specifically say if the Mail on Sunday’s story is false or true. Pity.
Mindful of the copper’s words, the Sun dutifully bows its head and reports with circumspection:
HEATH’S SEX CULT LINK Edward Heath ‘linked to a murderous paedophile ring that killed 16 kids’
Ted Heath was in cahoots with serial killers?! The story begins:
BIZARRE claims that former Prime Minister Ted Heath was part of a satanic paedophile ring which murdered 16 children have been dismissed as “wild allegations” by a close family friend.
Sensational claims make for sensational headlines.
Who are making the outlandish claims?
A group of women allege the Tory PM abused them as children as part of a sex cult run by their own parents which burnt babies in satanic orgies.
Wiltshire Police have spent more than a year investigating the allegations as part of an inquiry that has cost taxpayers over £883,431, the Daily Mail reports. But Sir Edward’s godson Lincoln Seligman said: “I understand that these claims from the 1980s were at the time dismissed as complete fantasy by police. It is disappointing that these wild allegations have been reheated and randomly attached to Edward Heath’s name.”
There is reportedly no suggestion that Sir Edward killed any children in the women’s accounts.
Only ‘reportedly’? But gerraload of that headline!
After a few lines on tortured babies, Devil worship and murder, the paper delivers a selection of facts:
Sir Edward, who was Prime Minister from 1970-1974, was never married and died in 2005 aged 89. The lurid claims were dismissed by police in 1989, and Sir Edward’s name was never mentioned to police at the time.
Over in the Mail, the Sun’s source, we read more.
Group of women who say they were abused by Sir Edward Heath also claim their parents ran a satanic sex cult that was involved in SIXTEEN child murders
Like the Sun, the Mail delivers the claim in a big, bold headline before noting at the very start of the story:
The farce came as police probe incredible claims that the former prime minister was linked to a paedophile ring that killed as many as 16 children – which would make them the worst child murderers in British history.
It’s hard not to feel sympathy for Ted Heath, the subject of a ‘bizarre’ ‘farce’. The paper adds:
The seemingly far-fetched allegations have been made by a family who allege that the politician was part of a satanic sex cult run by their own parents.
The paper delivers more on the allegations of terrible acts that only ‘seem’ to be far-fetched:
They say that the cult regularly slaughtered children as ritual sacrifices in churches and forests around southern England and also participated in similar ceremonies in Africa.
They claim their mother and father – who is said to have known the former Conservative leader – were responsible for slaughtering children ranging from babies to teenagers – yet they evaded justice.
The paedophile ring – which they say Sir Edward was part of – stabbed, tortured and maimed youngsters in churches and burnt babies in satanic orgies before men, women and children gorged themselves on blood and body parts, police have been told.
Can we take some small relief that no sex was involved in this alleged orgy of depravity? What we’d like, of course, are some facts. But instead of them we get news that, ‘If the bizarre allegations were to be proved, the parents who allegedly led the killings would be responsible for murdering more children than Fred and Rose West.’
Did Fred and Rose West meet Ted? Sorry, ‘Ed’? If ‘wild claims’ are newsworthy, look out for tales of MPs at the Wests? Reading on, we’re told:
The women’s lurid claims were dismissed by police in 1989 when they came forward. Sir Edward’s name was never mentioned to police at the time. It was only last year that he was named for the first time after one of the claimants said she had ‘remembered’ a man called ‘Ed’ was a prime mover in a network of paedophile abusers.
The story is so weak, a cynic might wonder if it’s put up to create a smokescreen to derail the whole search for so-called VIP paedophiles?
Maybe the Times can be more helpful? Beneath the headline ‘We can link Ted Heath to alleged victims of abuse, police claim’, the paper tells us:
The police investigating claims that Sir Edward Heath was a paedophile believe that they have evidence linking the former prime minister to a series of alleged victims.
More than 30 alleged victims have contacted Wiltshire police with claims of abuse involving Sir Edward from the 1960s to the 1990s. A source close to the investigation said that “strikingly similar” allegations made against Sir Edward include the names used for the former politician, the type of abuse and the locations.
Detectives were reported to be initially sceptical about the allegations but “now believe them”.
Wiltshire police said it did not know if the investigation report would be published. Two men have been arrested on suspicion of child abuse, although not linked directly to Sir Edward. The investigation is also considering claims that the abuse was reported to the police years ago but was covered up.
The paper then mentions Mr Veale’s aforementioned letter, noting:
The chief constable had previously apologised for launching the investigation in 2015 with a public appeal outside Sir Edward’s former home beside Salisbury Cathedral.
And what of the alleged Satanic murders?
An expert called in by the force to assess the claims by three women who alleged that Sir Edward was involved in occult abuse said that the police inquiry was the result of on “an over-active imagination”.
Is any of this going to be tested in court?
The Times revealed last week that three prominent victims of false abuse claims are suing the Metropolitan Police over their treatment in a separate inquiry. The legal actions by the former Tory MP Harvey Proctor, the former chief of the defence staff Lord Bramall and the broadcaster Paul Gambaccini could cost Scotland Yard an estimated £3 million.
The widow of the former home secretary Leon Brittan was reported yesterday to have sent a “letter before action” to the force as a result of raids on their homes in London and North Yorkshire after her husband’s death.
Having read what the police believe and what women imagine, David Mellor, the former Tory minister, takes to his blog on LBC radio, where he hosts a phone-in show:
In an interesting scoop yesterday, the Mail on Sunday claimed that the Chef Constable of Wiltshire, Mike Veale, believes that Ted Heath was a serial paedophile, whose crimes were covered up by the establishment. The MOS report that thirty complainants have allegedly been identified, and “Mr Veale believes them 120%, and thinks they are totally convincing”.
Scoop or utter balls?
He is not directly quoted in the piece, so it could all be made up. But I doubt it.
So much for facts. It’s all about belief.
It’s worth taking a look at the original ‘Statement from Wiltshire Police following the IPCC announcement re. Sir Edward Heath investigation’.
A spokesperson for Wiltshire Police said:
“Following the announcement today regarding an independent investigation by the IPCC into allegations concerning how Wiltshire Police handled an alleged claim of child sex abuse made in the 1990’s, we are carrying out enquiries to identify if there are any witnesses or victims who support the allegations of child sex abuse.
“On becoming aware of the information, Wiltshire Police informed the IPCC and later made a mandatory referral. The IPCC investigation will specifically consider how the Force responded to allegations when they were received in the 1990’s. [sic]
“Sir Edward Heath has been named in relation to offences concerning children. He lived in Salisbury for many years and we would like to hear from anyone who has any relevant information that may assist us in our enquiries or anyone who believes they may have been a victim.”
Sir Edward Heath has been named. By whom? Dunno. What’s the dead man been accused of? Dunno. The statement kickstarts the hunt. We don’t know what Sir Ted’s been accused of but we know any ‘victims’ will be believed. They are not ‘alleged victims of…’ They police are at pains to paint them as victims:
“We are working closely with the NSPCC to ensure that any victims are appropriately supported. They provide trained helpline counsellors to listen and provide assistance… Victims will receive support throughout any investigation and associated judicial process…
“Please call the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org as they have dedicated staff in place to deal with victims or if you have information that may help police please call us via 101.” Ends
But it’s not all bad for Ted Heath. In the Telegraph, an article on a hot London property spot name-checks Ted as a stalwart of good taste:
Jermyn Street’s distinctive shops, some of which are still owned by the descendants of the original families that established them, have been frequented by Diana, Princess of Wales, Ted Heath and Joanna Lumley.
And you know who Diana was mates with, don’t you.
Such are the facts.
Looking beyond fake news, we turn to the Guardian, which tells us about yet another casualty of the Brexit vote. The headline is to the point: ‘Top orchestra quits Britain over Brexit migration clampdown.’ The musicians are so worried by ‘looming restrictions on travel’ they are all moving to Belgium.
The Guardian hammers the point home: ‘One of Britain’s most successful orchestras is moving to Belgium amid fears that its musicians may be among the victims of a post-Brexit crackdown on immigration.’
One clue that this story might not be as it’s presented appears in the orchestra’s name: the European Union Baroque Orchestra. It’s been based in Oxfordshire since 1985.
The Guardian says the London-based ‘highly influential European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO), could also leave the UK. Marshall Marcus, chief executive of the EUYO, says: “For some time we have been forming our plan to be ready to relocate, if and when this becomes necessary. Or indeed simply advantageous.”
That’s the second clue as to the value of this anti-Brexit story. The orchestra is located in the place where it gets the most advantageous terms – inside the EU.
So what else do we know about the EU Baroque Orchestra? On its website we learn that it’s an ‘Official Cultural Ambassador for the EU’.
Its activities are open to young musicians from all 28 EU member states. EUBO renews its personnel 100% each year.
For 28 years, between 1985 and 2013, EUBO was funded annually through various European Commission Culture programmes, most recently and aptly with Operating Grants as a Cultural Ambassador for the EU.
It’s not about immigration. It’s about an orchestra funded by the European Union to promote the EU’s activities moving to a country that actually pays for it and is part of the EU. The site continues:
Since 2014 a change in the EU’s cultural funding policy meant that funding from the EU was only available for projects under the EU’s new Creative Europe programme.
EUBO’s application for Creative Europe funding in 2014 was unsuccessful. EUBO decided to re-apply in September 2015 and managed to maintain a reduced programme of activities during 2014, the unfunded period.
EUBO’s second and revised application entitled EUBO Mobile Baroque Academy [EMBA] was successful. The project was found to meet the aims and criteria of the Creative Europe programme. The training orchestra EUBO remains at the core of the activities. The project is organised in partnership with nine other organisations across nine EU Member States for the period 2015 to 2018…
EUBO’s Honorary Patrons are the Culture Ministers of all of the 28 EU Member States.
It might well be a pity that a cultural outfit is leaving the UK, but the European Union Baroque Orchestra is not moving to Brussels because the UK’s become anti-migrant and anti-foreigner. Maybe the orchestra is moving to be closer to the money?
Helping us know why an 18-year-old set light to a £20 note in the streets of Cambridge is a delighted Press. Above a picture of a £20 note – so helping Guardian readers know one should they encounter it lit or otherwise – the paper explains from the off that the berk ‘burning cash’ was a member of ‘Cambridge University Conservative Association’, an organisation the paper calls ‘prestigious’ but which I’d brand ‘ghastly’, in keeping with all student politics.
The Mail tells its readers the money burner was ‘drunk‘. No blood test needed. The paper knows a drunk when it sees one on a Snapchat video. The Mail soon names the wally as one Ronald Coyne, who now only ‘tried to set fire to a £20 note in front of a homeless man’.
Like the Guardian, the Mail politicises the pillock’s antics by telling its readers in the third paragraph that Coyne is a ‘relative of Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’. Brother? Son? In the 30th paragraph, readers learn: ‘He is believed to be the nephew of the First Minster’s sister-in-law’s ex-husband.’
As you work out if that makes Master Coyne closer in blood to Sturgeon than Kevin Bacon or a bacon bap, the Telegraph tells its readers in a shouty headline: ‘Cambridge University student who boasted of being related to Nicola Sturgeon filmed burning £20 note in front of homeless person.’ So keen is the Tele to work the Sturgeon angle into its story that whilst her name features in the opening line – ‘Cambridge University student who claims he is a direct relative of Nicola Sturgeon…’ – you have to wait until paragraph two to hear of Coyne. Sturgeon is name-checked five times in the article.
There’s no mention of Sturgeon in the Tab’s report, although it does note: ‘It has been rumoured that burning a £50 note in front of a homeless person is one of the initiation ceremonies of Oxford’s notorious Bullingdon club.’ Whether that’s before of after they defile a dead pig and toss a pot through a restaurant window is left un-investigated.
Having gone off on a fact-free tangent, the Tab notes that the ‘motivations of the student, other than odiousness, are unclear’. Helpfully an unnamed source is on hand to call Coyne an ‘arsehole’.
By now you’re wondering about the video. Here it is.
Over in the Sun, we get to hear about the other man in the frame, Ryan Davies. The rough sleeper says Coyne first offered him the note.
Ryan, an unemployed crane operator who has been homeless for three months, thought his luck was in – until the Pembroke College student, who has distant links to SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, set the money alight.
He said: “There were some people going past and I was asking them for spare change. I’m homeless. I asked one man for spare change. I was polite about it as I always am. I couldn’t believe my luck. But then he pulled it back and lit it and said ‘I’ll give you some change, I’ve changed it into fire.””He says let’s see what I’ve got and pulls out a £20 note and went to pass it to me.”
Is the Sun on the side of beggars? In 2016, the paper told its readers:
Revealed: Just one in 5 beggars are homeless… as one boasts she’s using cash for new kitchen
SUN INVESTIGATION: Just 1 in 5 on our streets are homeless and one office worker even admitted to begging after work … to buy a new kitchen
Can bad press turn people against a certain type of person? The Sun says it can:
A CAMBRIDGE student was attacked on his bike in suspected retribution for Nicola Sturgeon’s relative goading a homeless man. One college has even warned students against wearing gowns in public – in case they inflame further violence.
And what of the argument that says it’s wrong to give beggars money? The Sun reported in 2016:
Charities last night urged people NOT to hand out money in the street.
Jeremy Swain, chief executive of London-based homelessness charity Thames Reach, said: “The evidence is indisputable that the overwhelming majority of people begging on the streets spend their begging money on crack cocaine, heroin and super-strength booze.
Nottingham Council advised:
The Mail reported:
Thames Reach, a large-scale organisation with more than 350 staff, said that most people who beg on the street have some form of accommodation to go to.
Its spokesman Mike Nicholas said: ‘Giving to people who beg is not a benign act. It can have fatal consequences.
‘Many people asking for your money are caught up in a desperate cycle of begging from the public, buying drugs from a dealer and then taking these drugs.’ He added: ‘There are many services seeking to help people sleeping rough. Please work with them, not against them.’
Can we sympathise with Coyne? After all, it’s not as if beggars, people more likely to sleep on a newspaper than buy one, enjoy a favourable Press. No, say bleeding hearts. As the Standard reports:
Calls to have him kicked out of the university have quickly gathered momentum with more than 19,000 people signing a change.org petition by 5pm on Sunday.
Students always did have too much time on their hands.
I love bottled water. It makes the humble look exceptional. One Guardian writer is less impressed. She says bottled water is “ignorant, insensitive and irresponsible”. You see how interesting water has become. A simple glass of water is now steeped in meaning. You can talk about at dinner parties. Katherine Purvis says, “It’s just another ugly indicator of our world’s many inequalities”. Discuss.
We’ve reached peak bottled water. From today, for a sweet £80, Harrods will sell ‘luxury water’ harvested from icebergs off the coast of Svalbard.
If people want to spend lots of cash on bottled water, so be it.
In other hydration news to natter about, the Guardian says Brexit ‘threatens the craft beer revolution’.
The paper attempts to answer the questions they’re all asking in Sudan, ‘So what’s the best wine club to join?’ and ‘Are expensive wines worth the money?’. One writer warns that if you do spend £100 on a bottle of wine ‘you’d better be braced for sanctimony and ridicule’.
Another Guardian writer is struggling: ‘With champagne being promoted at anything between £9 and £126 this Christmas, it’s almost impossible to know what’s good value.’
Anyhow, mine’s a pint of melted artisan ice-berg (hold the celebrity). I’m driving.
Ukip leader Paul Nuttall did not lose “close personal friends” at Hillsborough. In 2011, a post under Mr Nuttall’s name on his official website featured a quote attributed to him. The post regarding efforts to block the publication of files concerning the Hillsborough Inquiry went:
“Without them being made public we will never get to the bottom of that appalling tragedy when 96 Liverpool fans including close personal friends of mine lost their lives.”
When challenged, Nuttall told Radio City News: “I haven’t lost a close, personal friend. I’ve lost someone who I know… Well, that’s not from me… This was an article that I did not write and did not see prior to it being posted by a member of my staff. Of course I take responsibility for those things that are put out under my name, but I was genuinely taken aback when this claim was brought to my attention and am both appalled and very sorry that an impression was given that was not accurate.”
UKIP leader Paul Nuttall admits that claims on his website that he lost a “close personal friend” at Hillsborough are false pic.twitter.com/bnNKm29IsU
— Radio City Talk (@RadioCityTalk) February 14, 2017
That radio interview followed his denial that he had, as the Guardian puts it, “lied about being a survivor of the disaster which claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans at the FA Cup semi-final in 1989”.
Nuttall, who is contesting the Stoke Central by election for Ukip on 23 February, features in a Guardian story that challenges his claim to have been at match. The paper notes:
Nuttall was 12 at the time of the disaster, and was a pupil at Savio high school in Bootle, Liverpool. One of his former teachers, a Roman Catholic priest, has told the Guardian that the school believed it had been aware of the identities of every boy who had been at Hillsborough in order to help them through a difficult period, and that Nuttall was not among them.
A fellow pupil at the school who says he has been a friend of Nuttall for decades said the Ukip leader had never mentioned being there. “I have been very good friends with Paul for over 25 years,” he said, adding that during that time they had “never spoken” about Hillsborough.
What does that prove? Nothing. The Guardian says so:
While the teacher and friend expressed surprise that Nuttall has said he was at Hillsborough, their comments do not prove that he was not present.
He said he was there. A UKIP statement tells us: “Paul was indeed at Hillsborough. He attended the match with his father and other family members. For political opponents to suggest otherwise and for left-wing media organisations to promote such claims constitutes a new low for the Labour party and its associates.”
Says Nuttall: “I just want to make it perfectly clear. I was there on that day. I’ve got witnesses, people who will stand up in court and back me 100 per cent. It’s cruel and it’s nasty. It’s making out as if my family are lying as well, which is just not fair or right.”
It’s all unedifying stuff.
The Daily Mail notes:
Today is not the first time Mr Nuttall has had to distance himself from claims on his own website. In November, he made embarrassing denial of a claim he played professional football for his local team.
The site has two references to Mr Nuttall’s past as a ‘professional footballer’ for Tranmere Rovers, just across the Mersey from his childhood home in Bootle.
But when MailOnline contacted the National League club to ask whether he had ever played for the first team, a spokesman said, ‘Definitely not’.
The New Statesman adds:
Last year he denied having been responsible for a post on his LinkedIn profile that inaccurately claimed he had received a PhD in History from Liverpool Hope University in 2004, blaming an “over-enthusiastic researcher” for the page’s contents.
Margaret Aspinall, the chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, whose 18-year-old son, James, was killed at the FA Cup semi-final in 1989, said: “There’s a lot of people who survived that day who did lose personal friends. It’s devastating for them because they’re still suffering and for the guy now to backtrack is appalling.”
The Guardian is supporting the Labour candidate at the Stoke by-election, and it surely relishes the chance to hasten the disintegration of UKIP, a pre-Brexit force and a post-Brexit non-entity. So what says the UKIP-supporting Daily Express? Can it spin the story? The paper reports:
…a source close to Mr Nuttall has said the “first time” the Ukip leader encountered the statement on his website was during the Radio City interview.
They added the website is edited by a member of the party’s staff and not Mr Nuttall, and while he didn’t lose a “close friend”, he certainly knew people who had died in the disaster.
Mr Nuttall is said to be “furious” with the error, which as a result of “two words” has thrown up another “bad headline” for Ukip in the run-up to the February 23 by-election.
Politicians have a long history of using football to reach and control the plebs. But this episode might well be the nadir.
Satire is not dead. The Guardian, however, might be beyond parody. In a story entitled ‘Private Eye flourishes in satire’s new golden age of ridicule’ the Guardian features a photograph of the magazine’s editor, Ian Hislop, sat ‘at his desk in the magazine’s office’.
But that isn’t his desk. It isn’t his office. Had the Guardian conducted a muon of research – and get a load of that phone! – it would have realised that the image shows Hislop [got that bit right!] in a replica of the editor’s office at a V&A Museum exhibition.
Says one voice in the Guardian’s report: “It’s hard in the post-truth, fake news, alternative facts time to distinguish between what’s real and what’s comedy.”
He’s not kidding.
More new on fat people, society’s pariahs. The Telegraph has news:
Fat children, not the elderly, are fuelling the NHS crisis, a leading doctor has said.
Has anyone whose attended an NHS clinic or hospital been confronted by pods of fat children waiting to be treated? No, me neither. But Lord McColl of Dulwich, a middle-aged non-fat former surgeon, thinks fat kids are to blame.
Th paper has form with fat-blaming. These are just two recent stories it’s featured:
If your child is fat then you are a bad parent
Why you never get over a fat childhood
The Tele’s not alone in its assault on fat children. The Mail told its readers: “Fat children will ‘collapse the NHS’: Number of 11-year-olds weighing more than 15st DOUBLES in a year.”
The latest barb aimed at young bloaters is rooted in Lord McColl’s words to the Lords:
“It’s not so much the old people getting older – because old people have always been getting older. The difference in the last 30 years is the grotesque increase in young people getting fatter and fatter.”
What can be done? Narrow the hospital doors? Maybe we can wonder why at a time when lo-cal diets are all the rage and TV news routinely features dire warnings on fat, people are getting fatter?
Lord McColl has repeatedly warned of an obesity epidemic, telling peers last year it was “killing millions, costing billions and the cure is free – just eat fewer calories”.
Eat less and the NHS will be saved billions. No need to invest at all, then. you need to starve them.
All Brexit voters are thick. So says Polly Tonybee in an article for the Guardian, ostensibly about the Stoke Central by election. Stoke Central is a safe Labour seat. Well it has been. But Labour is morally bankrupt and not fit for purpose. It has acquiesced to anti-Semitism. Labour positions itself as the immigrant’s friend but recent Labour governments have been very good at blowing up Muslims in their own countries and creating refugees. Labour no longer represents working-class concerns. It is no longer proletarian and clear voiced. It champions rose-tinted anti-progress eco-austerity over a rosy-fingered dawn.
By way of example, Jeremy Corbyn – the man democratically elected to lead the party (because it’s so directionless and inward looking that anyone with an assembly of supporters can lead it; just look at Tony Blair and his clique) – has been talking about limits on pay and pay ratios. He told us: “‘This is not about limiting aspiration or penalising success, it’s about recognising that success is a collective effort and rewards must be shared.” How is that not limiting? Labour is not about people getting more; it’s about people getting less. It’s not about aspiration; it’s about reducing everyone to a low level. Under Labour, socialism means less for all. How’s that inspiring?
After the 2015 drubbing for Labour at the General Election, one-time leadership candidate Chuka Umunna identified what he saw as the burning issue: “We spoke to our core voters but not to aspirational middle-class ones.” Labour never spoke for aspirational working-class voters. It failed utterly. To Labour, the working class cannot be aspirational. They can only be patronised.
Tonybee focuses on Labour’s rival:
For Ukip the stakes could not be higher. Lose here and the party is well and truly dead: its new leader, and its candidate here, Paul Nuttall buried on his first outing. Byelections are the great hope of insurgent parties, when voters can indulge in risk-free protest. No seat could be riper than this Brexit hotspot, where almost 70% voted leave: Stoke perfectly matches this week’s BBC research showing the closest correlation between high Brexit areas and low education qualifications.
Though ethnic minorities make up only 15% of Stoke’s population, on the doorstep I found immigration the hot button issue.
First up: is 15% a notable low percentage of ethnic minority people? The Office for National statistics tells us:
Whilst the majority of the population gave their ethnic group as “White” in the 2011 Census, results from the past 20 years show a decrease, falling from 94.1% in 1991 down to 86% in 2011. London was found to be the most ethnically diverse area, while Wales was the least diverse.
So Stoke is a little above average in its ethnic make-up. But the link being assumed is that fewer ethnic voters means Stoke’s voters are more prone to racism. Says Tonybee:
I found immigration the hot button issue. “Too many here, filling up our schools and hospitals.” What about EU doctors and nurses working in the NHS? “They can stay, but let us choose.” “Yes, immigrants work hard – but they send all their money back home and I’m against that.” “They’re not our culture, are they?” One or two said “Trump’s got the right idea”, matching YouGov’s finding that 29% in Britain support Trump’s migrant ban.
We are invited not to engage with these voters but look down on them. They want a better life. Picking out anti-immigrant views reveals more about metropolitan prejudices than it answers the question as to how how the white working class can achieve more and better. So will represent them?
As for thickos voting Brexit, well, insults will always win over the working-class demos, so keep going.
She then adds:
…the result will matter most for the people of Stoke: for their identity, their reputation, how they want to be seen in the world.
Right now, Polly sees them as thick and anti-immigrant.
Who do they want to be? If Stoke became the Ukip seat that set off a far-right tremor, that would blight its image and prospects, branding it a lost zone of the despairing and angry.
So vote Labour and get…?
Stoke should and could have a better future. Transport links are excellent, north and south, and it’s a good logistics base with large call centres. Rows of pleasing redbrick homes are cheap and potentially alluring for escapees from the unaffordable south.
Call centres, good escape routes and a place for southerners to downsize to. Live the dream in the Guardian’s vision of Stoke – a haven for the thick.
“Young BME people! We know you need help getting into journalism. Come work for us for free!” tweets Marie Le Conte (@youngvulgarian). She spotted his great advert in the Guardian. The paper wants to give BAME journalists the chance to be unpaid workers. Although you BAMEs do get BFH – Bus Fair Home.
‘Join the fight against unpaid internships’ – say the Guardian.
There are so many things about President Trump to be concerned about. His illiberalism. His attitude to free speech – he’s against it. His cruel and arbitrary ban on people visiting the US from seven counties. But dismissing his supporters, people who want freer lives, more money, better job security, jobs, opportunity and recognition as thick, ‘low-information’ fascists is not in the least bit helpful.
This disdain for the concerns of 62 million voters who backed Tump over Hillary Clinton – the patrician who wanted a “barrier” between the US and Mexico, who called vast numbers of voters ‘deplorables”, untermensch to be despised by the knowing and – irony of ironies – who know fascism when they see it, and has caused so much suffering in majority-Muslim counties – is contagious. And what goes for Trump’s supporters goes too for the majority who embraced democracy and voted in favour of Brexit. Writing in the Guardian, Labour MEP Seb Dance has much to say.
Earlier this week, while UKip MEP Nigel Farage was addressing the European Union chamber, Dance held up a sign. It featured an arrow aimed at Farage and the message ‘He’s lying to you’. Phew! Good job that Seb Dance was there to tell us thickos what was untrue.
On his website, Sebastian says why he did it:
“Mainstream politics must be more willing to challenge the nationalists and the populists. They pretend to stand up for people who are suffering but their diet of hate, division and suspicion create only misery and poverty. It’s time to stop the nuanced language: They’re liars.
“Nigel Farage is regularly treated to free coverage by virtue of being leader of the EFDD [UKIP’s European Parliamentary group] and UKIP often use these clips in isolation on social media. When debates are time-limited it is impossible to challenge what he’s saying, so I protested in the only way I knew how at that point, which was to grab a piece of paper, write a very simple message on it and sit behind Nigel Farage during his usual diatribe.”
The New Statesman calls Dance ‘the best MEP ever’.
The FT says:
The motive was a smart piece of sabotage, aimed at making it more difficult for UKIP’s former leader to go viral.
And so to Dance, who tells Guardian readers:
On 23 June 2016 the UK voted to leave the European Union. On 8 November 2016 Donald Trump won the US general election. Both events were seismic, in and of themselves, but it has been the reaction to them that is the most extraordinary part of the story so far.
No, not people in the streets shouting down debate with cries of ‘Hitler’ and fascists, nor MPs decrying democracy.
From having been the rebel outsider positions in their respective countries, both have now risen to a new kind of status that leads online Twitter eggs gleefully to announce the end of liberal democracy and welcome the impending arrival of a new world order.
Democracy won. Both results were established in a free and legal vote. I’m no Trump supporters, and was delighted when Farage failed to win a seat at the last General Election, but the millions who voted for Trump and Brexit are not all twitter eggs. The voters are not passive no-marks. They mobilised for change.
Dance then tells readers:
There were many fine and erudite contributions before Farage spoke. The values this place represents do instil a real sense of pride. But some of the comments focused on the need to have a constructive dialogue with Trump, as if he would somehow listen to reasoned and impassioned pleas from MEPs, an organisation he has repeatedly indicated he would want to be destroyed.
MEPs are not an organisation. They are representatives. Dance’s note positions him as the politician who knows politicians cannot be trusted. A placard held up for the cameras apes the protestors who want to make their voices heard but have no arena save for the street in which to do so. Dance is elected to speak on their behalf. He is not passive. He is active. He’s not one of ‘us’, He’s one of ‘them’. Disparaging politicians and their motives puts him squarely in the same camp as Trump and Farage. Both say politicians and the media cannot be trusted.
Did your Jewish mother help you in life? In the Times, Danny The Fink harks back to the camps and his own mother’s ordeal:
She never wallowed in victimhood. When told by her son Daniel that Ronald Reagan was visiting Belsen-Bergen, she retorted: “So what, I’ve been.”
Is the media biased against President Trump? He says it is. And – get this – here’s evidence that he’s right. The Guardian leads with the picture of the Anwar al-Awlaki’s daughter, Nawar al-Awlaki, who “may have been fatally shot in intelligence operation on al-Qaida that left at least 14 people, including a US commando, dead.”
The headline declares:
Eight-year-old American girl ‘killed in Yemen raid approved by Trump’
A child’s death was “approved by Trump”.
Is that biased? Or is it a little too subtle for you?
Did the Guardian lead with pictures of children killed in attacks approved by Barack Obama?
No. Maybe Obama bombed them to sleep? Maybe he blessed them with his ordinance? Maybe being killed on Obama’s approval is more desirable than being killed on Trump’s?
Did we see any faces on the Guardian’s front page of the children deported – some of the 2.5 million people sent packing on Obama’s instructions?
Is the media biased?
Is Trump out of step with previous American leaders?
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child. Today Madeleine McCann is on the front pages of the Mirror and Express.
As ever we are looking at the missing child’s parents in the papers, Kate and Gerry McCann. They’ve lost their libel case against former detective Goncarlo Amaral, who in a book and documentary implicated them in their daughter’s disappearance. In 2015, a Lisbon court sided with the McCanns, ordering Amaral to pay €500,000 (£429,000) in compensation to the parents.
Last year that ruling was overturned. The McCanns took the case to Portugal’s supreme court. And lost.
The McCanns have issued a statement:
“What we have been told by our lawyers is obviously extremely disappointing. It is eight years since we brought the action and in that time the landscape has dramatically changed, namely there is now a joint Metropolitan police-Policia Judiciaria investigation which is what we’ve always wanted.
“The police in both countries continue to work on the basis that there is no evidence that Madeleine has come to physical harm. We will, of course, be discussing the implications of the supreme court ruling with our lawyers in due course.”
The Express tells of the McCanns’ “new agony”.
The Mirror tells of the McCanns’ devastating defeat.
The Daily Record sums up in a headline:
Kate and Gerry McCann facing financial ruin after losing libel case against cop who said they faked daughter’s abduction.
Kate and Gerry McCann could be left penniless… Kate and Gerry will also have to pay his legal fees – believed to be a six-figure sum – as well as their own lawyers’ bills.
What about the fighting fund to find the child? Martin Fricker writes:
The result could empty Madeleine’s Fund – a company set up days after Madeleine vanished – and leave the McCanns broke.
Madeleine’s Fund has about £700,000 in the coffers. But accounts filed last month say nearly £500,000 of that was invested last year in an unknown venture.
So around £200,000 remains?
More than £4.2million has been donated to the fund since three-year-old Madeleine vanished from the apartment in Praia da Luz.
The Sun has a slightly different figure:
If they are ordered to pay Mr Amaral’s legal costs, the money may have to come from the Find Madeleine fund – which has dwindled to around £480,000.
The Telegraph wonders what will happen next:
Madeleine McCann’s parents could be sued by police chief who falsely accused them of covering up death
‘Could’ is not news.
Over in the Mail there is news of a sort:
Madeleine McCann’s mother Kate and her choir made up of families of missing people hope to win Britain’s Got Talent after reducing judges to tears with a heartbreaking performance in secret auditions
Reducing the BGT judges to tears is a task akin to differentiating between your arse and your elbow. But the Mail’s story is weaker than Amanda Holden’s tear ducts .
Madeleine McCann’s mother Kate, 48, is an ambassador for the The Missing People’s Choir, which is expected to appear on the talent show in May, ten years after her daughter’s disappearance from Praia Da Luz in Portugal.
Although she has not been singing in the choir during the auditions, Mrs McCann may become more involved if they progress to the televised stages.
The Mail has used Kate McCann to flog a story that doesn’t feature her.
There is no word on the investigation into what happned to Madeleine McCann.
Such are the facts.
The Government is advertising for trade negotiators. This might be the job to suit the country’s brightest and best football agents, the kind of people who understand that the day a client signs a contract is not the end of their role in matters. There is always the next deal and the next to arrange and sound out. The best agents work to protect their clients’ futures. They focus on the long-term. And they do their prep work.
One Guardian writer doesn’t get it. The top “post-Brexit international trade negotiator, tasked with sealing deals from North America to New Zealand”, will earn £160,000 a year or more, he tells us. And then he says this:
Critics also think the salary is a waste of money for the first two years of the five-year contract because the UK will be unable to reach agreements until the terms of divorce from the EU are finalised in 2019.
You can’t sign the deal until the trade window opens, but you can negotiate any deal before hand.
When looking for signs of idiocy it’s always useful to consult Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, who opines:
“Appointing a trade envoy on £160,000, who will be paid more than the prime minister, who cannot actually do their job for two years, shows how frankly stupid this government is being over Brexit.”
Tim, no. They can do their jobs. They can negotiate and daft agreements. They can showcase their talents. And when the trade window opens, they will have done their homework and be ready.
Is Tim Farron beyond parody? That F. A. R… Oh, never mind. He’s the leader of the LibDems, which were pretty popular and go-ahead until their former leader Nick Clegg stuffed them. Talking about Article 50 and Brexit – which he opposes – Farron is quoted in the Guardian:
The UK’s final Brexit deal must not be decided by “a stitch-up between Whitehall and Brussels”, the Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, has said, promising his party will seek to hold Theresa May’s government to account over the process.
There will be no stitch-up between the wonks, the technocrats and the mandarins because Tim is watching. That’s Tim who wants another referendum on Brexit because the stoopid people didn’t agree with the technocrats, wonks and mandarins the first time round. The people who mobilised and saw an alternative political future can’t be trusted, says Tim, who is on hand to protect us from our own ignorance.
Knowing Farron is overseeing international operations brings to mind Frederick Peel Eldon Potter. In response to Tsar Alexander II’s aggression in the Caucuses in 1898, Potter told the few thousand readers of his column in Ireland’s Skibereen Eagle, “the Skibereen Eagle has its eye on Russia.”
It’d be an idea for Farron and others who don’t trust the demos to pass their time thinking of an alternative to the EU and a new angle for politics that engages with the electorate and actually represents the people. Brexit offers opportunities. Farron should embrace it. But it’s easier for him and his ilk to carry on as they have done for decades, delegating decisions to unelected groups and inviting the great unwashed to “join the debate” with no intention of acting on a word they say. Politics isn’t therapy.
“That is a recipe for dissent, for a complete breakdown in trust in our politics. For the next couple of generations, let’s say, Britain’s relationship with the outside world will be cast because of stitch-ups in the 21st-century equivalent of smoke-filled rooms.”
Someone tell him. Not you, Gina Miller, who was made “physically sick” by the Brexit vote. She successfully challenged the Government in the courts. The Supreme Court sided with her and ruled that parliament must vote to trigger Article 50. Miller did it not because she wants to feel better and best way of achieving an holistic recovery is to scupper Brexit. Like Farron, Miller did it for us. She wants to prove that “parliament alone is sovereign”. Made ill by the voters, she champions democracy.
No. Not her.
One of you 17.5 million people who voted for Brexit in a free and legal election can have a go at telling Farron what’s what. Form an orderly
line queue. He’s relying on us all getting bored and the electorate’s old passivity to return and ensure Brexit dies on the vine.
But we won’t.
Donald Trump’s presidency is causing one Guardian writer to come over all anti-democratic.
I turned off the radio after Obama said, in his final speech: “In 10 days, the world will witness a hallmark of our democracy, the peaceful transfer of power from one freely elected president to the next.” I yearned for a leader who would say something like: “Hey, there was foreign intervention in this election, along with voter disenfranchisement, so maybe it wasn’t free and fair.”
You might recall when Barack Obama popped over to the UK to tell Britishers how voting for Brexit would relegate the country to the “back of the queue”? As Henry Kissinger put it: “Obama seems to think of himself not as part of a political process, but as sui generis, a unique phenomenon with a unique capacity.”
The Guardian writer adds:
We didn’t need to know the minutiae of the Russian intervention; we already knew that it raised questions so grave that the whole transfer of power should have been halted while it was investigated.
So is democracy not free and fair when it delivers the result you don’t want?
Only one tabloid leads with Donald Trump’ inauguration. The Mirror introduces the 45th President of the United States. “Now the world holds its breath,” it adds. Over pages 4 and 5 readers are told “IT COULD ALL GO VERY BADLY WRONG.” The paper produces a listicle: “20 reasons why Trump’s reign could be a disaster for USA & World.”
Across the page, we see a picture of the Obamas sharing a hug as they gaze out from the White House. The message is clear: the good times are over. The good people are gone.
But let’s look at that list.
2. The rich will get richer.
What of Obama’s record, under whom African-Americans’ economic fortunes declined?
4. Deport illegal immigrants.
Under Obama, the US facilitated around 2.5million deportations. A record.
This is not to undermine Obama’s achievements and record. As the New York Times reports, Obama pulled “the nation back from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression”. This is to highlight monocular reporting of a man whose wife billed him as “a leader who’s going to touch our souls”.
Lest any reader not have got the Mirror’s point, its editorial thunders, “Reasons to be fearful.” Brian Reade delivers Trump’ speech as he imagines it. People are “subjects of the Trump organisation”. But didn’t we all buy into Obama’s world, the man whose identity was key to his success? When Trayvon Martin was killed by a white Hispanic vigilante in 2012, Trump opined: “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.”
So how do you follow that? What is Obama’s legacy? Is it Donald Trump? “There is not a liberal America and a conservative America: there’s the United States of America,” said Obama in 2004. Now what do you see in a country where ‘white man’ has become an insult more than an observation?
Once all eyes were on Obama the man not the party activist, a politico branded ‘The One’, by Oprah Winfrey; now they are on Trump and his identity.
Plus ca change.
The Manchester United v Liverpool match was memorable for a number of things, according to the clickbait-mad Press.
The Mirror’s football expert learned “five things” from watching the game, one of which is that Paul Pogba’s “handball handed Liverpool the early advantage”. That was the handball that gave Liverpool a penalty kick, from which they scored their only goal of the game. David McDonnell leaned that. He also learned that Wayne Rooney got a yellow card and “Ibrahimovic keeps on scoring”, which he did when he scored United’s equaliser.
The Express also learned five things, one of which is, “Simon Mignolet put on a solid display.”
Coincidentally, the Sun also learned five things. Fred Nathan delivers his fistful of insight. He watched Pogba give away a penalty and learned that he “must not let silly mistakes creep into his game”.
In the Indy, which didn’t make enough money to remain as proper paper so went web only, there are just four things learned. But Fox News, which has oodles of money, learned seven things. Ryan Rosenblatt learned that when United and Liverpool drop points, their rivals are pleased. The other top sides “love this result” he learned.
But the prize for the biggest Clickbait Balls goes to the dire Daily Telegraph. The once great newspaper is now a clickbait factory. “Martin Tyler accused of ‘bias’ following Manchester United vs Liverpool commentary,” says the headline. It also says just that in the URL for the story:
So who accused Sky TV’s commentator of bias? Liverpool boss Jugen Klopp? Manchester Untied manager Jose Mourinho? Well, no. A clue to how the story was the product of the paper’s clickbait factory is in the now revised headline: “Liverpool fans round on Martin Tyler following Manchester United’s last minute equaliser at Old Trafford.”
They “rounded on” Tyler on Twitter. The Telegraph picks three tweets to back up its story, which beings: “Paranoid Liverpool fans are becomingly increasingly convinced that SkySports’ Martin Tyler is a secret Manchester United fan.”
Martin Tyler just called Zlatan: “THE TOWER OF POWER!” #MUNLIV
Still coming to terms with the fact Martin Tyler just called Zlatan the ‘Tower of Power’, since when has that been a thing?
Lest you think those “paranoid” Liverpool fans are just having a laugh and mocking Tyler’s absurd phrase, @Footy Humour tweets the third piece of evidence.
Martin Tyler: “Rooney here. Is it in the script? Is it in the stars?”
*Rooney gives away posession*
Martin Tyler: *silence*
The troubling thing is that the clickbait works. The story even the Telegraph recognised as bad enough to warrant a chance of headline (but not a change of URL) is the second biggest story on the paper’s website:
Such are the facts.
The Guardian’s take on finance continues to entertain. In “Here are six ways to achieve a truly ‘shared society’”, Frances Ryan turn to ‘Income Equality’.
She links to a Guardian article which states CEOs at FTSE 100 companies are paid “130 times more” than the median pay of other staff (source). But Ryan alters that to become: “FTSE 100 CEOs take home 130 times more than their staff.”
Surely not. What of tax on wages, which is progressive – the more you earn the more tax you pay? Tax rates are how society views pay. It might not be fair that the man or woman at the top earns lot more than the average toiler in a shareholder-owned entity, but to negate the effects of tax is absurd.
More on Graham Taylor in the Sun, where he is “Golden Graham”, “legend” and “hero”. Taylor “never bore a grudge”, says the Sun, “even after this.” The ‘this’ was the paper’s headline ‘Swedes 2 Turnips 1’, dreamt up after Taylor’s England side had lost a big match.
Far from holding a grudge, the Sun says Taylor “admired” the headline that “summed up his failure as England manager”.
But did that headline really sum up Taylor’s tenure as England’s manager? The Sun is being far too modest. Surely the headline that said so much was this one,which called golden Graham “Turnip Taylor’ and for added ooomph superimposed the root vegetable on his head.
The Sun came to bury him.
The image might have escaped the Sun’s eyes today, but The Times, it’s New Corp. stablemate, does recall it. It says far from being delighted with the Sun’s mockery, Taylor was “upset” by it.
The Sun apologises for anyone who read its newspaper and thought Graham Taylor a useless fool. It turns out he was brilliant.
Anis Amri is the man wanted in connection with the massacre at a Berlin Christmas market. The Sun says he was “freed” three times by German police this year alone. The 24-year-old Tunisian was under “covert surveillance” months before the horror in Berlin. Now the police want to survey him as close quarters. Anyone who knows where Anis Amri is can earn £85,000 by telling the police. (The reward is €100,000.)
We then get a few facts. Amri arrived in Europe in 2012, landing by boat in Italy and posing as a minor. In June 2015 he arrived in Germany. In April 2016 he was refused asylum. The Germans wanted to send him back to Tunisia but the Tunisians said they had no idea if he was one of theirs. Amri had no papers.
The Times manages to establish Amri’s roots by speaking to his family in Tunisia.
Speaking to The Times yesterday from Kairouan, Tunisia, Amri’s father said that his son had been a violent, drug-taking adolescent. He was jailed for four years in Italy for setting fire to a migrant reception centre before arriving in Germany in February.
When did he arrive in Germany, was it February or April? The Press seem unsure. The Express says he’s 23. The Express and Mail says he arrived in Germany in July 2015. The Mail says he’s 24 in one report and in another that’s he’s 23.
Today is Anis Amri’s birthday. He’s now 24.
The Times adds:
Expulsion orders had been issued but the Italian and German governments could not deport him until Tunisia confirmed his identity and granted him a passport, which was finally issued yesterday.
Scheduled to be sent packing, Amri struck? Well, that’s the allegation.
The Mirror says Amri – the “world’s most wanted man” – could have been injured with the Polish driver whose lorry he allegedly stole. “It is believed that Lukasz Urban, 37, fought with the terrorist as the vehicle began to plough into the Breitscheidplatz market in west Berlin,” says the Times. “Mr Urban was found dead in the cab, having been stabbed and shot.”
Really? The men were fighting as the truck ploughed into shoppers? And how do we come to know Amri? The Guardian notes:
German authorities said they had found Amri’s identity card under the driver’s seat of the truck he allegedly drove into a crowd of people at the Breitscheidplatz Christmas market.
Does that strike anyone as odd? A devious known criminal left his ID paper by the seat of the vehicle that murdered so many?
“When I saw the picture of my brother in the media, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I’m in shock, and can’t believe it’s him who committed this crime,” Amri’s brother Abdelkader Amri tells AFP. “But if he’s guilty, he deserves every condemnation. We reject terrorism and terrorists – we have no dealings with terrorists.”
His sister Najoua Amri adds: “He never made us feel there was anything wrong. We were in touch through Facebook and he was always smiling and cheerful. I was the first to see his picture and it came as a total shock. I can’t believe my brother could do such a thing.”
The Guardian says Amri has ‘links with the radical Salafist Abu Walaa, alias Ahmad Abdulaziz Abdullah A, a 32-year-old Iraqi Isis supporter known as the “preacher without a face”, who was arrested in the northern town of Hildesheim in November’ and ‘known Turkish Islamic fundamentalist, Hasan C, 50’ and with Boban S, ‘a hate preacher from Dortmund’.
According to an anti-terror investigator speaking on condition of anonymity to German media, Amri had sought accomplices for a terror attack in early 2016, and had shown an interest in weapons. Despite authorities being made aware that he wanted to buy a pistol, there were apparently no attempts to take him into custody.
Such are the facts.
Nick Clegg is a LibDem MP. You need to carry that idea in your head as Clegg talks about Brexit in the Guardian:
Melton Mowbray pork pies, stilton cheese and British-made chocolate such as Cadbury’s could be under threat from Brexit, the former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has warned.
Speaking to a food and drink industry conference on the impact of leaving the European Union, Clegg said it was possible that European rivals would start producing lookalikes to British foodstuffs if they lost the legal protection from imitation offered by EU rules.
The French will start producing fake bars of sugar-rich CHOMP in a devious Brexit-fed plot to wean their population off delicious chocolate and onto junk food. Bulgarians will be free to make blue cheeses and serve them in bell-shaped pots.
It’s carnage, readers!
“Outside the EU they won’t enjoy the appellation bestowed on those products and I would have thought other countries would take advantage of that pretty quickly and put products into the European market that directly rival those protected brands,” Clegg said.
And sell them to, what, holidays Brits? Maybe Bulgarians can cook up a Marmite copy and sell it back to us cheaper.
Clegg the liberal!
Isn’t elitism great. Governments – Labour and Tory – love it. Without elitism you get no Olympic gongs to buff and parade for the public good. In the Guardian, we read:
Schools are failing white, poor, working-class children and should adopt an approach similar to the British Olympic team to help bolster their performance, a thinktank has recommended.
Throw loads and loads money at the bods and reward the best?
Mark Morrin, the report’s principal author, notes:
“The Team GB approach is about looking across all the variety of inputs that can affect performance in the classroom, putting the right strategies in place and collecting data and measurements to identify what works and focus on getting the maximum returns. Those small gains can then add up to something bigger than a sum of its parts.”
Then you take the very best and put them in competition with the very best, right? You make them believe they can make it? Or is this about making the lowest perform a little bit better in the big tests they rarely win, rewarding progress over attainment – and testing new theories on the under-nourished?
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.
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?
Sat with his fiancée, Natasha Massey, and two dogs, footballer Ched Evans – not a rapist – talks to the Sunday Times about his ordeal.
“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.”
“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.”
‘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.”
“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.
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.
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.