Top news from The Times, Daily Telegraph, The Indepedent and The Guardian newspapers
Rub your eyes Arsenal fans. The Telegraph says Arsenal are planning to gazump Chelsea and bid – get this – £65m for Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata.
The Sun tells us Arsenal will offer Morata £144,000-a-week, making him their third highest paid player behind Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.
The Daily Mirror says Morata to Arsenal is very much on because the player wants Champions’ League football, something Chelsea can’t offer.
But would Arsenal really bid such a huge sum for a talented but far from sensational player? The Tele says Chelsea are “more than willing to pay that price”. The Blues want to stick Morata up front with new boy Michy Batshuayi. But Morata “would rather move to the Emirates than Stamford Bridge”.
The Standard says Arsenal are offering too much. “Chelsea bid £51m for Alvaro Morata,” says the London free paper.
The Indy says Morata to Arsenal is on. But in case it isn’t, the paper of record names NINE other strikers who could join Arsenal. The list is a sensation, featuring, as it does, Brazilian superstar Neymar. Neymar to Arsenal! That would be the same Neymar of whom the Indy wrote on July 1 this year:
Neymar’s contract with Barcelona has been extended until 2021… The announcement ended speculation that Neymar was unhappy in Spain and was looking to move to another club.
It did – unless the Indy has to find 10 names for a dire story on Arsenal strikers.
Of course, there is balls and there is utter balls. We’ll leave you with the news from 2014 that Morata already plays for Arsenal:
Such are the facts.
Andrea Leadsom clenched her fist and smacked Theresa May, her rival for the Tory Parry leadership, right below the belt and into the ovaries. May has no children. Leadsom has three children. This, reasons Leadsom, makes her a better human being than May, more able to think of the future and other people.
In the numbers game, Dear Andrea is, of course, not as good as the old woman who lived in the shoe (loads kids), Rose West (eight children) but a bit better than Jezebel (two kids). Leadsom is a lot better than Mother Teresa, Gloria Steinem, Dame Helen Mirren and Dolly Parton (no children between them).
This was is what Dear Andrea told the Times:
She also said this:
Dear Andrea is supported in her leadership campaign by Ian Duncan Smith. Dear Ian has already stated: “I believe that Andrea’s strong family family background… will make her a great prime minister for the UK.”
This attack seems awfully familiar. In 2001 top Tory Norman Tebbit (three children) backed Duncan Smith (four children) to beat Michael Portillo (no children, married and who spoke of his “homosexual experiences” – what Tebbit called “deviance”) in the Tory leadership race. Said Tebbit: “He [IDS] is a remarkably normal family man with children.”
Portillo was winning the race. After the gay story was fanned, he lost. IDS won.
PS: Leadsom has accused the Times (like May, and unlike Leadsom, the paper backed Remain in the EU Referendum) of “gutter journalism”. The writer stands by her story.
What Mrs Leadsom said:
Rachel Sylvester: “Do you feel like a mum in politics?”
Andrea Leadsom: “Yes. So…
RS: “Why and how?”
AL: “So really carefully because I am sure, I don’t really know Theresa very well but I am sure she will be really really sad she doesn’t have children so I don’t want this to be ‘Andrea has children, Theresa hasn’t’ because I think that would be really horrible.
“But genuinely I feel being a mum means you have a very real stake in the future of our country, a tangible stake.
“She possibly has nieces, nephews, lots of people, but I have children, who are going to have children, who will directly be a part of what happens next.
“So it really keeps you focused on ‘what are you really saying?’. Because what it means is you don’t want a downturn but ‘never mind, let’s look ahead to the ten years’, hence it will all be fine. My children will be starting their lives in that next ten years so I have a real stake in the next year, the next two.”
So, she said it, then.
Phillip Collins is of the mind that “party members choosing leaders is pure folly“. Why? That’s how many clubs chose their leaders. Collins doesn’t write the headlines for his Times story, of course.
Below it he opines that Tory Party members acting “in the name of democracy, are making a shambles of our democracy”.
As it is with the Tories so it is with Labour, he argues: “The gap between the parliamentary party, in which 172 MPs have declared no confidence in their nominal leader, and the members at large is breaking Labour apart.”
You might not like who the members chose, but that’s the system. Collins should be more bothered by the EU Referendum in which anyone of voting age did get to choose. More than a week after the Leave campaign won nothing has been done to trigger Article 50 and with it UK’s Brexit from the European Union.
At this point Corbyn supporters piously intone that “democracy” is on their side. They say, as if it clinched the argument, that Mr Corbyn has a mandate from the membership which renders dissent illegitimate. The numbers from the Labour leadership ballot are, indeed, clear. Mr Corbyn won a handsome mandate to be leader of the party. But he did not also win a mandate to be a hopeless leader of the party. There is no mandate to trail a leaderless Tory party in the midst of a nervous breakdown by seven points in the polls. Mr Corbyn did not win a mandate to be a general who cannot command the confidence of his parliamentary cavalry.
Democracy is not a single event. The first clause of the Labour Party constitution commits it to taking the cause of working people to parliament. It is a charter for victory for a party that was founded, out of the trade union movement, to take control of the levers of the state as a government. Labour was therefore a parliamentary institution before it was a members club. Labour MPs represent, within the party, the voters who put them into parliament. They have a democratic mandate too, larger in number than the members and a viable leader has to retain the confidence of all parts of the Labour structure.
The catastrophic election system introduced by Ed Miliband in 2014 fails to respect the Labour Party’s tiered structure. Candidates are proposed by MPs but the vote is conducted entirely by the membership. Between 1922 and 1981 Labour’s leader was chosen entirely by the parliamentary party. In 1981, Tony Benn’s intervention established an unwieldy electoral college in which MPs held 30 per cent of the vote, members the same and trade unions 40 per cent.
The terrible answer that dropped out of the bottom of that Heath Robinson machine was Michael Foot. But at least the college made some reference to the different levels of Labour Party democracy. Certainly it was preferable to the current disaster in which any ex-member of the Socialist Workers Party can vote for less than the price of a pint. The Labour Party is left with just one option. Sign up the moderates, of whom there are more in the nation than the Corbynistas, and then let the new leader abolish the system.
There are 84 Conservative MPs, people actually paid out of public funds to conduct politics, who believe that Andrea Leadsom should be prime minister. Somebody as smart as former leader Michael Howard should be ashamed of himself
You might have thought, with Labour helpfully providing a primer in what not to do, that the Conservatives might draw the obvious lesson. Perhaps it will. Those who know the party better than I do suggest that Theresa May will win and that 199 Tory MPs took the sensible option in yesterday’s second leadership ballot. Yet there are 84 Conservative MPs, people actually paid out of public funds to conduct politics, who believe that Andrea Leadsom should be prime minister. Somebody as smart as former leader Michael Howard should be ashamed of himself. It is scarcely credible that, fired with fervour, Tory MPs will risk setting their membership against the bulk of their colleagues in parliament.
Mrs May’s victory yesterday was so overwhelming that the contest should be stopped. She should offer Mrs Leadsom the business brief and Mrs Leadsom should accept. Between 1965, when the system that Ian Macleod described as the “magic circle” was abolished, and 1998, when that dangerous radical William Hague gave the members a say, Tory MPs chose their leader. They should do so now. Then the party can get on with the task of forming a government without taking the risk that its membership is as far from political credibility as the Labour Party’s.
Yesterday, as Mrs Leadsom toured the television studios telling interviewers that she would absolutely tell Vladimir Putin to stop if he got a bit uppity and taking questions on her questionable curriculum vitae, Tim Loughton MP led a march from her rally to Parliament Square, chanting leaden Leadsom slogans along the way. As I watched the Leadsom march on Westminster I had a dream, of a deputy investment bod from a fund management company who voted both for and against gay marriage becoming prime minister. This was a delicious parallel to last Monday when, as Labour MPs gathered in parliament to declare his leadership defunct, Mr Corbyn chose to address a rally in the square outside. With the MPs lost, he took refuge in the members.
The Tories are choosing a prime minister and it would be a disaster if they did the same as Labour. It is, in any case, a democratic outrage that the next prime minister will be chosen by the 0.3 per cent of the electorate who happen to be odd enough to be members of the Conservative Party. Can any of them, I wonder, see the irony of their regular sermons about the lack of “democracy” in the EU? Probably not. These are people who have taken hold of the wrong end of the stick in order to beat the country with it. The candidate of their looking-glass world is the wholly ill-prepared Mrs Leadsom.
Just over 2 per cent of the nation are members of a political party. These members are not representative even of the people who vote for their party, let alone of the nation. They have no monopoly on the idea of democracy, which does not stop at the constituency meeting. Political parties are not sacrosanct organisations that bend to the whims of their votaries. They are simply useful agencies for gathering collective opinion. They have to look up as well as down, at the stars and not just the gutter. We will have to trust that the Tory members in the shires will do that.
Dunno really. I tend to think that chess club members get to choose the officers and leaders of the chess club. Tory party members get to choose the leader of the Tory party.
Tony Blair is “on the couch”, says the Daily Mail. There are questions over the former Prime Minister’s sanity, writes Stephen Glover. Blair is “delusional”. Blair “has some kind of Messianic complex”. Blair is a “near lunatic”. Blair is “manipulative and devious”. Blair is “an extreme narcissist”.
Vain, pushy, manipulative, self-regarding and self-absorbed. So what. He’s a politician, and one who, most worryingly of all, wore his god on his sleeve. The sadness is that the voters are now being portrayed as victims of his sorcery and trickery. If you accept that he duped you, then you accept that you are easily duped. It’s the same narrative that infects the post-Brexit haze and seeks to portray the white working classes as ignorant scum.
Did we all believe Saddam Hussein could launch chemical weapons within 45 minutes? Did you believe in New Labour’s “ethical foreign policy”evident in Nato’s attack on Serbia over Kosovo in 1999 that established the rule of a humanitarian intervention? Blair called the Kosovo intervention “a battle between good and evil; between civilisation and barbarity; between democracy and dictatorship”.
Did you nod when Tony Blair, champion of “humanitarian warfare”, said in 20014:
“…the notion of intervening on humanitarian grounds had been gaining currency. I set this out, following the Kosovo war, in a speech in Chicago in 1999, where I called for a doctrine of international community, where in certain clear circumstances, we do intervene, even though we are not directly threatened.”
Did you feel good when Blair said in that 1999 address:
Looking around the world there are many regimes that are undemocratic and engaged in barbarous acts. If we wanted to right every wrong that we see in the modern world then we would do little else than intervene in the affairs of other countries. We would not be able to cope.
So how do we decide when and whether to intervene. I think we need to bear in mind five major considerations
First, are we sure of our case? War is an imperfect instrument for righting humanitarian distress; but armed force is sometimes the only means of dealing with dictators.
Blair was clear: if the United Nations failed to act, then individual countries should go it alone.
Were you one of the 412 MPs who voted to use “all means necessary to ensure the disarmament of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction”?
No matter if you did or did not. The Chilcot Report clears you of blame. This was Tony Blair alone. It was his “private war”. The political elite are in the clear. The Guardian says Chilcot can “restore trust in the process of decision-making in government”. The New Statesman says Chilcot will “drain the poison that has built up in our national life since Blair took the calamitous decision to follow the US into invading a country that its president knew zip about”.
Invading Iraq was not a calamity of moral and ethical convictions, a horror show for the media and Westminster, a disaster fuelled by “sexed-up” political flimflam over substance. It was just the ultimate expression of mad Tony’s diseased brain.
Now let’s hang the bastard and be made clean.
“We are all tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime,” opined Tony Blair. If he’s the criminal what were the causes of his crime?
Natalia Potanina, who claims to be exiled in Britain, wants £5 billion from the pockets of Russian Vladimir Potanin. Christina Estrada, 54, would like £196 million off her ex-husband Dr Walid Juffali, 61. Estrada’s claim includes £58,000 for two luxury handbags – every year. Seems reasonable.
Frances Gibb suggests that such claims, if approved, would “cement the UK’s reputation as the country favoured by the ultra-rich for their divorce disputes.” Well, not quite. The party who seeks the massive pay-off for martial services surely would give consideration to making a claim in a British court. The wealthy party would most likely prefer the case was heard elsewhere, like in, equal opportunity, Saudi Arabia, perhaps, or Russia.
An odd little Brexit story in the Guardian, which reports that “almost half of voters aged 18 to 24 cried or felt like crying when they heard that the UK had voted to leave the European Union”.
A poll for the London School of Economics, called “Inside the mind of the voter”, found that 47% of the youngsters wanted to cry when they lost the vote. You will recall that just over 48% of voted for the losing side in the EU referendum.
And is news that young people cry, especially those who like the cosy EU, shocking?
PS : can anyone find the question the pollsters asked?
Mark Scott has news for those of you who voted Remain. You can Leave. Mark Scott is European technology correspondent for The New York Times. And he’s off:
I’ve grudgingly accepted that 52 percent of my fellow citizens wanted to leave the European Union… But… with a heavy heart, I’m applying to become an Irish citizen, saying goodbye to Britain just as it wants to say goodbye to Europe.
So long, Marc. You can work for a competing economy in another country that offers a better deal.
Remain supporter Oliver Imhof (one for nominative determinism, there) is getting his passport, too. He tells Guardian readers:
Above all other ideological affiliations, I am a democrat. And as a democrat I have to accept a defeat. I have to accept being oppressed by a majority of an older generation that seems intent on depriving us of our future. This is why I am leaving this country.
David Lammy, your snobby MP, doesn’t much like democracy. He can apply to join a country that shares his values, like Russia, Saudi Arabia or Zimbabwe. After all, as The Independent‘s Matthew Norman notes: “The Labour Party is over and Jeremy Corbyn’s stupidity brought it down.” Lammy might be looking for a job soon – and we can vote him out.
So why did Jamie Vardy reject a move to Arsenal? Was it because when, as reported, his agent called Arsenal to tell them about the “escape clause” it was just a ruse to get a rival team to bid for his client and so kickstart negotiations on a new deal with Leicester City? Vardy was on £70,000 a week when the agent called Arsenal. After Arsenal bid the £20m (Sun) / £21m (Telegraph) / £22m (Guardian) to trigger Vardy’s release, and offered him a reported £120,000 a week, the player scored a new deal with the Foxes worth £100,000 a week basic and maybe bonuses for ‘loyalty’, goals and appearances.
Other reasons why Vardy snubbed Arsenal are all over the media.
Sky: “Vardy: Arsenal style put me off.”
Words from Vardy: nil.
The Guardian: “It appears as though Vardy feels that he has unfinished business at Leicester.”
Gary Lineker: “A show of loyalty from @vardy7″
Telegraph: “…it is understood he was always reluctant to leave Leicester.”
At least it had nothing to do with money.
Abdul Rahman Haroun, 40, left his native Sudan in 2004. On August 4 2015, Mr Haroun walked through the 31-mile long Channel Tunnel and claimed asylum. The Express says there is “outrage” as “migrant is freed”. It laments the “border shambles” that allows Haroun to be a free man. Reading that you might suppose that Mr Haroun escaped any legal censure for his actions.
The Independent’s headline is at odds with the Express. It turns Mr Haroun from migrant to “refugee”. The Indy sums up: “Refugee Abdul Rahman Haroun given nine-month prison sentence for walking through Channel Tunnel to reach UK… He was prosecuted under Victorian legislation – the Malicious Damage Act 1861 – for ‘obstructing an engine or a carriage using a railway’.”
The Express quotes an MP who says Haroun received only a “slap on the wrist”. The MP says Haroun should have been deported automatically. The Express says Haroun benefitted from a “soft touch” justice system. Haroun has been “rewarded [for his criminality] with leave to remain and taxpayer handouts”.
The Mail says Haroun is “free to work and live here… if he has a wife and child under 18 he can bring them to Britain”.
Mr Haroun is free. That much is true. But only because from the time of his arrest until January this year Mr Haroun was a prisoner at HMP Elmley in Kent. In December 2015, the “African migrant” (Telegraph) was granted permission to remain in the UK as a refugee.
In January, he was bailed. At Canterbury Crown Court Mr Haroun, who “braved speeding trains” (New York Times) pleaded guilty.
The Daily Star sees no bravery. It states: “Migrant who walked through Chunnel free to live here – despite guilty plea.” The paper adds: “The news comes after truck drivers told of their fears of another summer of migrant mayhem in Calais, France.”
The final word is with the judge, Adele Williams, who “acknowledged Haroun had travelled from Sudan ‘in a state of desperation'” (Sky News). She added: “The reason why the courts of the United Kingdom take such a serious view of this criminality is that those who enter in this way seek to evade the authorities, who can, therefore, have no check upon who is entering the country. In the world in which we live of international crime and terrorism that is a very serious matter.”
So was the bigger crime in letting a man wander through the Channel Tunnel undetected?
PS – Mr Haroun plans to appeal his conviction.
It’s the EU Referendum, the day the country votes for independence (Sun) or not not fall into an abyss (Mirror).
The Express wants us to “VOTE LEAVE’. But not al that many people read the Express. The weight is with the Mail, the country’s most widely read newspaper. It says the EU are liars. It says vote out. If the Mail mobilises its readers, the Mail will have won it.
Vote now and vote often:
ON SADIQ KHAN (Labour, In)
Quentin Letts, Daily Mail (OUT!):
But the new London mayor is a feral little nipper and came up with the most vicious slurs of the first hour when he accused the Leave camp of running ‘Project Hate’ on immigration. The crowd oohed and booed.
Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph (Dunno):
Inevitably the fiercest clashes concerned immigration. “Boris, your campaign has been Project Hate!” squawked Mr Khan. This won the night’s most furious cheer, followed by riotous stamping. It was like listening to an army charge across a tin roof.
John Crace Guardian (IN!):
“You’re not Project Fear, you’re Project Hate,” said Sadiq, to the biggest cheer of the evening.”
Mikey Smith, Daily Mirror (IN!):
Sadiq’s attack was the first damaging blow of the two hour event, and it attracted a long and loud round of applause from the audience.
What they said: Boos. Applause. Huge cheer.
ON RUTH DAVIDSON (Tory, In)
Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph (Dunno):
Ms Davidson, though – surely the night’s star performer – won cheers with her rocket-powered zeal and patriotism.
Quentin Letts, Daily Mail (OUT!):
…did the highly rated Miss Davidson slightly underperform? She twice invoked the name of President Obama, who has supported Remain. Maybe that sort of thing works in Edinburgh but at Wembley last night it earned raspberries.
What they said: Star. Rubbish.
ON BORIS JOHNSON (Tory, Out)
Quentin Letts, Daily Mail (OUT!):
And then his closing remarks. Let Thursday be our ‘Independence Day’. As those south American commentators say, ‘Gooooallllll!’
Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph (Dunno):
When Mr Johnson promised that June 23 would be Independence Day, the crowd nearly blew the roof off.
John Crace Guardian (IN!):
Boris bounced around on his feet, disappointed he hadn’t been able to get any of his favourite gags in. And that’s the way the rest of the night continued.
Daily Express (OUT!):
Huge cheers for Boris after his closing statement. The Wembley crowd are on their feet and chanting his name.
What they said: Scores. Disappointing.
Such are the facts.
Labour MP Jo Cox was shot and stabbed and shot outside her surgery in Yorkshire. Many reports claim her alleged killer yelled “Britain First” before striking.
A 52-year-old man, named as Thomas Mair, has been arrested. What do we know about him? The Guardian notes:
Neighbours say suspect, named locally as Thomas Mair, would help them with gardening and did voluntary work
His half brother, who is mixed race, claimed he had been volunteering at a school for children with disabilities for several years and had never expressed any racist views.
The paper says he has “mental health issues”.
Nick Gannon, 33, who lived two doors away from Mair, has known him since he was 10 years old…”He was friendly. If you said hello to him, he would say hello back. He was not aggressive or anything. He wasn’t frightening.”
Britain Stronger In Europe and Vote Leave have stopped their campaigns.
Britain First have moved to distance themselves from the assassination:
On twitter, a few voices sense a conspiracy:
Staying with the Guardian, Polly Tonybee knows why it happened. Even with no access to police records and interviews, she knows:
This attack on a public official cannot be viewed in isolation. It occurs against a backdrop of an ugly public mood in which we have been told to despise the political class, to distrust those who serve, to dehumanise those with whom we do not readily identify…
Her words drip in bias and opportunism. She mentioned Hitler, and how a goon or goons in “my local Labour councillor in Camden, north London” stuck a neo-Nazi stickers on their car windscreen. She records the words on the flyer: “This is a lave [leave] area. We hate the foriner. Nex time do not park your car with remain sign on. Hi Hitler. White Power.”
Others have been more erudite on racism and Hitler, people like Labour’s Ken Livingstone and Labour MP Naz Shah, both of whom Tonybee does not mention. She does, however have a point to make about right-wingers, apparently keen to paint Brexit voters as bigots:
It’s been part of a noxious brew, with a dangerous anti-politics and anti-MP stereotypes fomented by leave and their media backers mixed in. Only an hour before this shooting Nigel Farage unveiled a huge poster showing Syrian refugees fleeing to Slovenia last year, nothing to do with EU free movement – and none arriving here. Leave’s poster read: “Breaking Point. We must break free from the EU and take control of our borders.” Nicola Sturgeon, Caroline Lucas and many others condemned it as “disgusting”, and so it is…
This campaign has stirred up anti-migrant sentiment that used to be confined to outbursts from the far fringes of British politics. The justice minister, Michael Gove, and the leader of the house, Chris Grayling – together with former London mayor Boris Johnson – have allied themselves to divisive anti-foreigner sentiment ramped up to a level unprecedented in our lifetime. Ted Heath expelled Enoch Powell from the Tory front ranks for it. Oswald Mosley was ejected from his party for it. Gove and Grayling remain in the cabinet.
This is a new low. A woman is dead. Murdered. And people are using using her death to campaign for the EU Referendum. On twitter, we know what we get, but in the national Press we should expect better.
Owen Jones is talking about “The appalling Philip Green” in the Guardian. to Jones, Green is one of the “elite” who epitomises “broken Britain”.
Green’s testimony to the parliamentary inquiry into the collapse of British Home Stores was a crude, depressing but revealing insight into the psychology and workings of the upper reaches of British society.
Green might come across as a greedy bastard – he could well be one – but to claim him as a member of the upper reaches of British society is pushing it. Green is a Jew (and we know how much the aristocrats love Jews (clue: they don’t)). When he was 12, Green’s father dad died. Green left school at 15. Though from middle-class money, Green is not one of the British upper-class elite.
He oozed open contempt for the MPs questioning him. “Sir, do you mind not looking at me like that all the time, it’s really disturbing,” he snapped at a Tory MP, like a drunk spoiling for a fight on a night bus.
More bullyboy then Bullingdon boy, then. But the confusion over what Green is is nothing to Jones’ grasp on the the system he decries:
And here he has a point. No, “the system” doesn’t compel the likes of Green to behave as they do; “the system” didn’t put a gun to his head and force him to become a tax exile…
Green is not a tax exile.
Having declined to join Real Madrid from Manchester Untied last summer, David De Gea is once more being tipped for a move to Spain. The Sunday Times leads with news that the United goalkeeper “faces an ultimatum” this Wednesday. That’s when an “exit clause” in his contract says he can join Real Madrid for £47m.
The story goes that De Gea was mentally winning Champions’ Leagues with Real when the a mix up with fax machines and deadlines caused him to sing a new four-year contract with United and eye next season’s Europa League.
Now we read that De Gea is even less decided than he was last summer, thinking that the arrival of new Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho could make the Red Devils a better team than Louis Van Gaal’s army. On the other side, Real’s president Florentino Perez wants De Gea has asked Madrid’s Spain national team players to use the country’s Euro 2016 campaign to convince De Gea to move.
Whichever way De Gea falls, he will surely kiss that club’s badge and tell everyone he has made the correct decision – until next summer…
You will remember all that stuff about football fans being “slum people watching a slum sport“. You will remember how casting all football fans as scum who deserved to be caged was what led to Hillsborough, when police sent for the attacks dogs as fans corralled into a too-small terrace not fit for purpose gasped for life.
Football fans were the Untermenschen on which all new methods of control could be tested. One doctor present at Hillsborough said the only difference ID cards could have made that day was to make it easier to identify the young corpses.
You remember that?
As the truth emerged after a mere 27 years years of waiting for the State-sanctioned police lies to dissolve, the Hillsborough campaigners calls for justice were dampened by a wall of sanctimonious bilge about their fight being a great day for Britain, a triumph of law and modernity, how today’s political, police and media elite had “learned lessons” to ensure “it will never happen again”. But we didn’t have to wait long before the same old dislike of football fans to seep out. Guardian readers were told “The authorities failed Liverpool fans at Hillsborough. But so did the real hooligans.”
What hooligans? The fans who ran amuck when Luton Town played Millwall? The Liverpool fans who charged Juventus fans at Heysel, causing a stampede and a wall in a dilapidated stadium to break, killing 39? Yes, we know there were acts of hooliganism. But there was no aggro as the fans at Hillsborough died. The police were not attacked. Fans did not urinate on corpses and rob from the dead, as the Sun claimed (and finally apologised for). In the cages, the innocent begged for help. The police replied by forming ranks, by forcing the desperate fans back into the pens, by looking like an Army. They put on a show of force and menace as the innocent died.
Sticking with the Guardian, in today’s edition Dawn Foster writes beneath the headline “The Queen’s birthday has unleashed a pernicious new patriotism”. Her Majesty is 90. Foster is unimpressed and offended:
“…the celebrations for the Queen’s 90th birthday have crept up; if you’re lucky, you’ll suffer nothing more than a bombardment of Union Jacks this weekend – but many of us will experience something much worse: the performative cheeriness of the street party.
Friends of mine who live in areas where street parties are in the works have, without exception, reported that the people responsible are the perennially furious residents who spend most of their lives in a rage about parking. Shifting their attention from the contentious temporary ownership of asphalt, they have decided the neighbourhood needs to commemorate the birthday of a 90-year-old woman none of the residents have met.
It is all sneery stuff.
The party will follow the usual template: tea, cupcakes, flags upon flags upon flags, wartime slogans and songs, and the performance of a very specific type of Englishness – the Englishness of Fry and Laurie rather than This Is England. One harks back to the empire while the other attempts social realism.
This kind of middle-class nationalism, rooted in a confected history of postwar austerity, has been resurgent in the years since the last royal wedding. The ubiquity of the Keep Calm and Carry On poster is the most obvious symbol…
And then football fans get a kicking. The old hatred is back:
Nationalism now has two faces: that of the far right, signified by a certain sort of caricature of a football supporter and England flags, and now the middle-class right, posh enough to wear chinos while raising a glass to “her maj” in front of a Union Jack. The two aren’t entirely separate: the former is openly racist, the latter a frequent apologist for the British empire.
The football fan wrapped in and England flag and replica kit is “openly racist”, says Foster. In short, the England fans are scum, slum people, the embodiment of everything the knowing liberal elite despise.
Lessons learned? Never again? Nothing of it. The knowing have just found new ways to control the working-classes they deride. Don’t say that. Don’t sing this. Sit down. Pay up. Stay home and watch it on the telly because the seats have been made too pricy for you.
Let’s all have a street party. It’s part of British culture. It’s what the British do. If you want to serve humus, wear a Mexican hat, cheer for the French or tell everyone they’re sad losers, you can. Live and let live is part of the same culture.
Now, where is that flag and Jamie Vardy mask? C’mon In-ger-land. If we win, we’re having a party…in the street, the fountain, the shopping precinct, the hospital…
A Manchester United “ace” is embroiled in a “vice probe”. The player is David De Gea, the Man United goalkeeper. The Sun says he “faces calls to be left out of Spain’s squad for Euro 2016”. The Times talks of “Spanish turmoil”. The Star cranks it up and leads with news that De Gea is “linked to child porn probe”.
But Spain’s manager says De Gea is going nowhere. What turmoil? What calls? As the Guardian notes:
“I think De Gea has given all the explanations he had to give and he has made it clear that he has nothing to do with this issue,” said the Spain coach Del Bosque. “He said that to the whole squad too. We all met up and the lad, calmly and sincerely, has explained that he has nothing to do with this issue. The squad is here to support him at all times and to give him the affection he needs at these times. Everything is normal and we’ll carry on.”
De Gea is not going home. Spain are calm.
So why is “Spain’s main man between the sticks” in the news ?
In “‘IT IS ALL A LIE’ Man Utd star David De Gea denies organising underage sex parties for footie pals”, the Sun delivers the facts. “De Gea has been named by a protected witness in court documents which claim he contracted a prostitute against her will.”
He says it’s all nonsense. “It is all a lie,” the Sun quotes him as saying. “I feel even stronger about staying with the national team… it is all false and it is in my lawyers hands. I never thought about leaving. It gives me more strength to train even harder.” The Sun adds:
Spanish website El Diario reports the stunning allegations were part of evidence given to prosecutors in a high profile case that saw porn baron Torbe, real name Ignacio Allende Fernandez arrested. The pot-bellied director was remanded in custody in April after being accused of running a prostitution ring and using under-age girls for his shoots.
Torbe was remanded in custody in April charged with offences including sex attacks, sexual exploitation and child pornography. The protected witness, who claims she was forced into the prostitution ring, said she was taken to a Madrid hotel and introduced to another girl and two footballers.
Once in a room with the other girl, the witness – known in police interview papers as TP3 – said that she was told by Torbe that she had to comply with the sexual demands of the two Under-21 internationals. When she said she did not wish to take part, she claimed to police that Torbe “grabbed her forcefully by the arm”.
The Times says Ignacio Allende Fernández is also being questioned into alleged money laundering and extortion. We get a few more facts:
According to newspaper reports, a witness has come forward to police — who is known only as TP3 — and claimed that she and another woman were taken to a Madrid hotel and forced against their will to take part in sex acts with Iker Muniain, the Athletic Bilbao striker, and another player, who has not been identified, and were victims of both “physical and sexual abuse” at their hands. She claimed the meeting had been arranged by De Gea and Fernández. The 25-year-old former Atletico Madrid goalkeeper was not alleged to have taken part.
Muniain denies any wrongdoing. The other alleged player is unidentified.
Neither De Gea nor Muniain has been accused of any offence or called to give evidence by police or the judge investigating the case, but the police unit conducting the investigation — codenamed “Universal” — say she shows “a high degree of credibility,” it is claimed. They have ruled out the possibility that she is trying to discredit the people concerned for “economic or personal interests”. She has alleged that neither woman was paid for the encounter, although Fernández was.
It’s all a very nasty business. De Gea is accused of having committed no crime. It cannot be good for his morale and focus to be linked to such vile alleged crimes, but to say the entire Spanish team is in turmoil as a result of the case is baseless.
Arsenal have made a £22m bid for Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy. The Star says the Gunners have offered Vary £120,000 a week, a big hike in his current basic pay of £80,000-a-week.
The Times says West Ham United have also made a move for Vardy. They are offering £100,000 and a step down from Champions’ League football with Leicester and Arsenal. Liverpool , have told Vardy he can earn £140,000-a-week at Anfield – a sum Arsenal are willing to match or better.
The Express says Vardy is to join Arsenal in next 24 hours for £20m on a four-year deal. The Mail agrees, saying this is a “shock”. It is. Vardy is 29. Arsenal are not in the habit of investing big money is older players. But with Walcott fading and Welbeck injured, they need a sharp striker with pace.
But Arsenal fans should be war, ads the Times. Manchester City are eyeing Hector Bellerin and Jack Wilshere. Pep Guardiola, the new city manager, fancies the Arsenal players and wants to continue The Citizens habit of Gunners names.
The Times says Bellerin may see his future with Barcelona, for whom he played as a boy, and Wilshere is now down the Arsenal pecking order below – get this – Francis Coquelin. He isn’t. Wilshere is class player who given a long run of matches will surely earn a starting berth in the Arsenal first team.
Transfer balls: Manchester City and not Manchester United are “set to sign” Ilkay Gundogan, says the Times. New Man City manager Pepe Guardiola has learnt much from his time at Germany’s all-consuming Bayern Munich, where the club’s recruitment policy hinges on buying the best players from the Bundesliga’s second best team, Borussia Dortmund. (Bayern have just agreed to take on Dortmund captain Mats Hummels.)
Gundogan, 25, is expected to join Manchester City for £20m. Although the Star says the figure is £30m. And there is the Mirror, which says Ilkay Gundogan is “set for a Jurgen Klopp reunion” at Liverpool. Klopp, of course, was Gundogan’s manager at Dortmund.
Of course this is Transfer Balls, a look at dire reporting in the mainstream media. We spare a thought for the Express readers told that Gundogan has signed for Arsenal and Manchester United.
Over in the Star, however, Gundogan plays for Bayern Munich:
On the day the two women who murdered two-year-old Liam Fee ride high on the news cycle, the Guardian features the words of Professor Mirko Bagaric, Director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Sentencing at Deakin University, Melbourne. His story is entitled:
Why we should close women’s prisons and treat their crimes more fairly
Liam Fee was murdered by his mother and her wife, who also tortured two other boys.
Women almost never scare us; commit random acts of serious violence; violate our sexual integrity; or form organised crime networks and yet their prisons numbers are now the highest in recorded history.
Women “almost never scare us”.
The homogeneity of the human species breaks down when it comes to criminal behaviour. Women, who constitute slightly more than 50% of population, commit only about 20% of all crime. They commit even a lower portion of all serious crime.
Serious crime is a full-time job. Maybe the women involved with serious criminals prefer to run the home. And do we talk about serious criminals’ mothers yet?
Moreover, when it comes to sexual offences, rounded off to the nearest whole number, women constitute 0% of all offenders – that’s right, zero.
Liam Fee was beaten to death. The other boys were forced to strip, tied to chairs, caged and told they would be castrated by a drill the women kept hidden.
And as the Guardian puts it elsewhere:
Such are the facts.
Facts about the new series of Top Gear are coming thick and thicker. The show’s resident ringmaster, DJ Chris Evans – doesn’t it all look a lot like when Top of The Pops introduced balloons, dancing and par-tee atmosphere ?- tweeted some facts of this own:
The new Top Gear is a hit. OFFICIALLY. 23% audience share. 12% MORE than the opening episode of the last series. These are the FACTS.
Top Gear audience grew throughout the hour. FACT. Won its slot. FACT. Still number one on i Player. FACT. These are THE FACTS folks.
The last series, featuring Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond, averaged 6.4 million viewers – Guardian
The BBC Two show drew 4.4 million viewers, with a peak of 4.7 million, while the last series hosted by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May bowed out with 5.8 million viewers. – Mirror
The first outing from Evans and LeBlanc failed to reach the lofty heights of five million that the Radio 2 DJ was hoping for and even worse missed out by a fair margin on Jeremy Clarkson ‘s last ever show which scored 5.3million.
Over the last ten years Top Gear has aired, with at least two series per year, the lowest viewing figures Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond had for their opening episode was 4.75million in May 2006. – Mirror
“If we had to guess about the number of viewers we are going to get on Sunday night, you have got to say you would be disappointed if it was under 5 million. Five million-plus would be great, after that it doesn’t matter,” said Evans before the show – Telegraph.
Meanwhile, Top Gear lost its regular title of being Sunday night’s most watched show to Countryfile, which peaked at 5.3million viewers and had an impressive 27% share of viewers. – The Sun
All in all it was TV by committee.
Is Zlatan Ibrahimovic on his way to Manchester United? The Swedish striker, who says age is just a number, turns 35 in October. Why would United want the ponderous player when they have Martial and Rashford? This week, the Times has been telling its readers that Zlatan to United is very much on. Each of the following quotes are from separate stories that appear on the paper’s website:
May 25: “Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the 34-year-old forward, is set to become Mourinho’s first signing”
May 26: “United want to use Ibrahimovic as bait to draw stars to Old Trafford”
May 27: “Manchester United believe appointing José Mourinho and signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic would attract yet more star names to Old Trafford… [Jose Mouirnho] is expected to make Ibrahimovic, the Sweden forward, his first signing… it is understood that United, who are ready to offer him a one-year contract with the option of a further year, are his preferred choice.”
May 27: “United hope his arrival, and that of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Sweden forward, will attract other leading names to Old Trafford.”
May 27: “…the 34-year-old looks set to move to Old Trafford to be reunited with Mourinho — the man who coached him for one season at Inter Milan.”
May 27: ” Ibrahimovic yesterday increased speculation that he will join United by endorsing the appointment of a man with whom he enjoyed one successful season at Inter Milan. “I believe he is the man to bring [United] back to the top,” Ibrahimovic said.”
Which brings us to todays news in the Sunday Times:
While Mourinho has explored the possibility of bringing Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the Premier League, conversations with the out-of-contract Swede are understood to have led him to look elsewhere for a younger ‘top striker’.”
Such are the facts.
Transfer balls: a look at reporting on Mesut Ozil, Arsenal’s German star.
In the Times, Matt Hughes says with two years remaining on his current deal, Ozil “is unwilling to discuss signing a new deal” until after the summer’s European Championship. Ozil “is happy at Arsenal and not agitating for a move.”
Arsenal are willing to make him the highest-paid player in their history by offering a significantly improved salary of £200,000 a week, but Özil’s main concern is ensuring he will be competing for the biggest trophies after winning just two FA Cups in his three years at Arsenal to date.
The Metro reads Hugh column and twists it to:
Mesut Ozil has again declined to open talks with Arsenal over a new contract despite being offered a wage rise. The Gunners are being made to sweat over the German’s future, as well as that of Alexis Sanchez after a difficult season.
Mark Brus omits the part about Ozil being happy and waiting until July to begin talks over a contract extension.
He also omits to note what Ozil said on 19 November 2015
“My contract runs until 2018, that is for another two and a half years. There is no need to hurry. There are no talks at the moment but I can only say that I am very happy in London and that my decision to come here from Real Madrid was the right one.”
And as the Mirror pit it back in March: “Mesut Ozil quashes Arsenal exit rumours.”
In March 2005 Chelsea secured the legal rights to Jose Mourinho’s trademark for 20 years. This means that should Manchester United hire Mourinho, a move that seems as certain as Katie Price sleeping on her back, the Red Devils will be unable to stick their new manager’s name on such items as teddy bears, aftershave, computer games and all manner of tat. But how important is the Jose moniker?
In an “exclusive”, the Times says Chelsea’s ownership of the Mourinho trademark “will not delay his appointment at Old Trafford”.
Or as the Mirror puts it: “Jose Mourinho’s appointment as Manchester Untied manager is being delayed because Chelsea still own his signature.”
Not so, say the Times, which states: “Until recently Mourinho’s former employers [Chelsea] also owned the rights to reproduce his signature, but that ten-year trademark expired earlier this year…”
The Mirror then says United “face a six-figure bill to secure the rights to his signature and name”.
The Times says Chelsea could demand “several million pounds”.
The Sun says United will have to “£1million -plus” to use the name Jose Mourinho on merchandise.
The Mail says the 20-year licence Jose signed with Chelsea in 2005 expires in, er, 2013. That Mail says it’s between 2013 and 2015. The Times says it’s 2025.
Such are the facts.
In March, Liverpool were “confident of signing Mario Gotze”. So said the Guardian. Gotze has played for Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund, before he left the second best team in Germany for more money and silverware at the best team in Germany, Bayern Munich. The Guardian added that Gotze was “understood to be keen on a reunion with Jurgen Klopp”.
Gotze “is keen on a move away from the Allianz Arena despite the impending arrival of Carlo Ancelotti as Pep Guardiola’s replacement… The combination of a fresh start away from Bayern plus renewing acquaintances with Klopp is believed to appeal to the Germany international.”
The Express agreed:
The Metro also agreed: “Liverpool are clear to sign Mario Gotze as he is not in Bayern Munich’s plans for next season.”
And the Star added:
On May 21, the Sun stated that Liverpool were “close to landing £20million World Cup winner Mario Gotze”. The deal would be done in “the next few days”.
And so it is that today the Mirror declares: “Gotze snubs Kop – Gotze has pledged his future to Bayern Munich.”
Words from Gotze, Bayern and Liverpool in all reports mentioned above: nil.
So José Mourinho is the new Manchester United manager. Well, so say all the newspapers. The Guardian says the former Chelsea manger – twice-sacked by the Blues – will be handed £150m to spend and will first target Everton’s John Stones. Sounds good. Man United need defenders and wingers.
The Star says Mourinho has £200m and his number one target is Zlatan Ibrahimovich. Why? They have Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford. Why buy a player who will bock the talented Frenchman and the English tyro’s path? Will Jose just buy big to win big, farming youth out on loan?
The Star says Mourinho will sign a three-year deal worth £10m a year. The Mail says Jose’s Manchester Untied’s contract is £75m for five years, but does agree that he has £200m to spend on a new team. Inevitably one newspaper – the Mirror – calls the transfer kitty a “war chest”.
The Express says he has £300m.
The Mail adds that mid-way through this season, United paid the Portuguese £4m not to take another job. The Times says United deny making any payment.
The Sun says Mourinho’s arrival will trigger Ryan Giggs to leave Old Trafford. It also marks the end of Louis Van Gaal’s United stint. The Times says the Dutchman will leave with a bitter taste in his mouth and a sweet £5.4m in compensation.
As for the future, well it will interesting. One thing is certain: with Mourinho in charge, Manchester United will win back the fear factor.