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Broadsheets | Anorak - Part 20

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

The Over-40s Baby Boom

“PREGNANCY rate among over-40s soars as women delay babies for their career,” says the Times.  And a piture:

“Times journalist Suzi Godson with her daughter Velvet at their home in London”

A time to put away material possessions…

Posted: 29th, February 2008 | In: Broadsheets | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Plane Stupid Smoking On Parliament

plane-stupid-westminster.jpgIS it a bird? Is it a disgruntled dad dressed up as Superman? No, it’s a paper plane being lobbed by Olivia Chessell and her band of protestors stood on the roofs of Parliament.

There are five protestors in all, but the Mail and Telegraph both focus on the youngest female of the group, a 20-year-old blonde-ish woman in a tight pencil skirt and burgundy blouse.

The protestors are demonstrating against plans to expand Heathrow Airport. They are on the roof for three hours.

Says Gordon Brown: “Decisions in the country should be made in the chamber of the House and not on the roof of the Hosue.” This may have been an attempt at humour.

As for the protestors, they are from a group called Plane Stupid, which has a history of telling anyone who flies abroad for their holidays in search of sun and fun that they are stupid.

As such, they have little chance of success. People, in general, do not respond kindly to being called thickos for spending their money as they choose.

And, in any case, their protest is overshadowed by the news that they made it on to the roof “via a spot where Westminster workers go for a cigarette”.

Does health and safety know? And can Gordon Brown be wrong? Is the roof at Westminster the new smoke-filled corridor where business used to be conducted and meaningful allegiances formed.

We should be told!

Posted: 28th, February 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Finkelstein Invites Murderous Dictator Fidel Castro Over For Dinner

FIDEL Castro. Crazy name. Crazy guy. Writes Daniel Finkelstein:

I had a strange idea yesterday. I had the idea of inviting Harriet Harman home for dinner. This isn’t a thought that occurs to me often, but I suddenly felt it might be fun.

I’d invite my Dad too. And then, when we’d given Harriet a nice meal (what do you think she likes to eat?), my father could tell her his story.

He could tell her how the Soviets and the Nazis closed in on his home town of Lvov in September 1939 and how the town council chose the Soviets to surrender to. Then he might tell her how the fathers of his friends were taken to the woods at Katyn and shot by the communists.

He might recount the story of his father’s arrest as an antisocial element, of Adolf Finkelstein’s repeated interrogations leading to a trial in his absence and a jail sentence of 15 years’ hard labour. Then Dad could tell the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party about his own experience as a child, exiled to a remote Siberian village. And how he and his mother and his father never saw their home again.

And, when he’d finished, he could let Harriet speak. And she could explain to Dad why she thinks that Fidel Castro is a hero.

Harman: 

Yet still the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, the Leader of the House of Commons, a member of the Cabinet, is in love with Fidel. When asked, earlier this week, in an interview: “Fidel Castro – authoritarian dictator or hero of the Left?” she answered unhesitatingly – “hero of the Left”.

Barack Obama, Ron Paul And Che

Posted: 27th, February 2008 | In: Broadsheets | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Levi Bellfield, Milly Dowler And The Ripper: Roundup

bellfield.jpgLEVI Bellfield stalked his victims by watching bus stops and looking into brightly-lit buses at night.

Bellfield murdered Amelie Delagrange, 22, and Marsha McDonnell, 19, after they got off buses in south-west London. He also tried to kill 18-year-old Kate Sheedy by twice running her over. He used a hammer. The Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe used a ball pein hammer.

Case closed. After months of speculation in such matters as what happened to Madeleine McCann and if the Mad Hatter, Prince Philip or the Easter Bunny murdered Princess Diana, the press can focus on the perpetrator of heinous crime.

But readers are used to playing amateur detective. So rather then celebrating Bellfield’s detection and jailing, they lead with speculation. Did Bellfield murder Milly Dowling? Is Bellfield a Ripper?A look at today’s newspapers:

DAILY MIRROR (front page): “DID YOU KILL OUR MILL?”

Milly Dowler’s parents last night begged bus stop killer Levi Bellfield to reveal if he murdered their girl. Bob and Sally Dowler made the plea over their 13-year-old as Bellfield was convicted of two murders. He is feared to have struck before and will be quizzed over 20 other attacks. Bellfield, 37, is linked to Milly’s kidnap and murder in 2002 by a series of clues.

GLASGOW DAILY RECORD: “Did Hammer Beast Murder Milly Too?”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 26th, February 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Tabloids | Comments (6) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The G Spot And Area 51

As Girl With A One Track Mind says: “What strikes me so much about this is not the discovery of evidence of the ‘G-spot’, but of the fact that so much of female anatomy still remains a mystery – to science, men, and, most sadly, women themselves”

Posted: 24th, February 2008 | In: Broadsheets | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Suspected Drugs Dealers Premused Guilty

jacqui_smith.jpgARE you innocent until proven guilty?

Police will be able to seize high-value assets from suspected drug dealers as soon as they are arrested under plans to be unveiled this week by Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary.

If you are suspected of a crime the [police can seize your assets.

Law-enforcement agencies will be able to take cars, televisions, laptops and expensive jewellery belonging to big-time offenders. Such assets can currently only be seized at the end of a criminal process, by which time drug dealers have often disposed of them.

Perhaps the goods are sold to pay for a decent defence lawyer to escape a wrongful arrest? Perhaps Jacqui Smith, who admits to having smoked cannabis, thinks seizing dugs is better than walking the dangerous streets looking to buy them illegally? 

A Home Office spokesman said last night: “Our starting point will be that all criminal gains should be removed from offenders. For example those criminals buying commodities to avoid the circulation of cash could have their assets seized before they have chance to disperse them. Seizing ill-gotten gains is critical to reducing the incentives for crime.”

Great plan. Only, how do the police know which is an–ill-gotten gain and which is not? And if the suspect is found not guilty can they sue the police for depreciation of their assets?

Posted: 24th, February 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Money, Politicians | Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Southerners Think It’s Grim Up North

DID you know: “Almost 5m southerners have never travelled north of the Watford Gap – and the cultural barrier has become an equal deterrent in the opposite direction”?

The Times (head office in London) has this facts. And it knows why:

“The findings suggest that rather than unify the country, the boom in cheap air travel has reinforced a historic rift as British holidaymakers head overseas rather than explore their own country.”

Has it?

For southerners, the north is a desolate landscape of derelict mining villages and fish and chip shops, and is dismissed by three-fifths as “bleak” and “unsophisticated”.

No the North of Spain, nor the north of Italy. But the north of England, that pre-budget airline holiday haven…

Posted: 24th, February 2008 | In: Broadsheets | Comments (8) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Trips to Auschwitz And Other Political Gimmicks

auschwitz_wideweb__430x298.jpgTHE CCHQ has put out a press relaese listing Gordon Brown’s 26 gimmicks. Number four was headlined: “Trips to Auschwitz”

The release: “Two pupils from every sixth form and college in the country will be able to visit Auschwitz and learn about the Holocaust thanks to £4.65 million of funding’ (DCSF press release, 4 February 2008)

As the Sun reports: “Mr Cameron complained yesterday that despite a £4.7million boost for trips, schools still had to fork out £100 per pupil.” 

Says a Tory spokesman: “School trips to Auschwitz are a brilliant idea. However, by announcing these trips without providing the necessary funding the government has – in classic fashion – hidden the detail in the small print.  Under a Conservative government these trips would be funded in full and schools would not have to find £100 per pupil from their budgets.”

Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, issued his won press release:

“This is a truly disgraceful remark by David Cameron and he should apologise immediately for the offence he has caused. Anyone who has seen the horrors of Auschwitz at first hand knows what a life-changing experience it is. To call the announcement I made of £4.65 million to fund visits by school children over the next three years a ‘gimmick’ just beggars belief. In trying to make this issue into a matter of party politics, David Cameron has shown once again that he not only lacks judgement but also a basic sense of decency.”

It’s not about party politics, says Ed Balls in a, er, Labour Party press release.

Arbeit Macht Frei. Even the Germans can do irony…

Reactions

Guido Fawkes: “The Tories now say that they support the educational Auschwitz trips and that they would fully fund them via the Lottery fund. Whatever the substance of the matter, somebody is going to get a bollocking for the original press release…”

RedBox: “Almost unbelievably, as at 2.40pm, the Tories are trying to defend its inclusion. They say the funding annoucement doesn’t add up and they weren’t trying to say the trips themselves were gimmicks, just the government spin. Doesn’t matter: they put “Visits to Auschwitz” under a list of “gimmicks” (itself a gimmick). They should have seen the politics of this

The ‘Gimmicks’

Earlier today CCHQ emailed out a list of “gimmicks” associated with Gordon Brown’s time as PM:

Community kitty for every neighbourhood
Funding for flooding
Honours for sportsmen
Trips to Auschwitz
New Border Police
Reversing 24-hour drinking policy
Police to confiscate alcohol from teens
Titan prisons
Prison ships
Engaging the public in policy making
1,300 new train carriages
Protecting Public Spaces against terrorist attacks
British jobs for British workers
Deep Cleaning of hospitals
NHS constitution
Screening tests: cervical cancer
Screening tests: C.difficile
1,000 troops home before Christmas
Deportation of foreign nationals
Inheritance Tax
Tenants forced to work
Five hours of culture a week
Netball to be introduced for the 2012 Olympics
Migrant Charges
Knife Scanners
Petition plans.

Posted: 23rd, February 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Politicians, Tabloids | Comments (3) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


How To Run A Nursery Policy Policy

A NURSERY for junior. Alice Miles achieves a notable first in the Times

The pack then refers parents to additional policies on demand: a Student Placement Policy, Staffing and Employment Policy, Special Educational Needs/Disability Policy, Health and Safety Policy, Food and Drink Policy, Equipment and Resources Policy, and The Non Collection of Children Policy, which involves social services. It would have been hard to make the nursery sound less welcoming, but Ofsted ought to like it – fingers crossed.

We are due a visit from it shortly. We had the early years person round to check all was in order. She looked through it all, nodded her approval, paused. “But you haven’t,” she said, “got a Going Out For a Walk Policy.” No kidding.

Amazing stuff. Not once in the article does the writer mention the name of her child or children.

Peaches Geldof is rumoured to be “well impressed”… 

Posted: 22nd, February 2008 | In: Broadsheets | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Great UK Brain Drain And How to Flee Immigrants

brianiac.jpgNEWS in the Express that “one in 10 brightest Britons quits UK”.

This is a “huge brain drain”, says the paper. “The exodus is revealed at the same time as concerns at home grow about record numbers of migrants arriving to find jobs in Britain.”

These facts are absed on a report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Says the Telegraph: “We already knew, courtesy of the Office for National Statistics, that emigration from this country is running at higher levels than at any time since before the First World War, with 200,000 British citizens a year departing these shores.”

“So why the exodus?” the apper asks? Better pay? Wunderlust? Cheaper housing? Less chance of meeting Noel Edmonds?

No need to guess. The Telegraph knows: “Scratch an expat in any of the 100-plus countries that have sizeable British communities and you will rapidly find out… One thing will be mentioned more than any other: that unchecked immigration over the past decade is creating a country many Britons no longer feel comfortable in.”

The brainiacs are leaving the UK to live overseas because they don’t feel comfortable living among foreigners.

And they’re the clever ones…

Posted: 21st, February 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Tabloids | Comments (14) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Quote Of the Day: The Priggish Society In Which We Live

PRUDES. Banstabation. Prigs: “Some social critics go on about The Permissive Society, but what we are really facing is The Priggish Society currently being created by busybody politicians and other authority figures… Going out for a night in a bar with close friends is now denounced as “binge drinking”. Smoking an occasional joint means you are a “drug addict”.

Source

Posted: 20th, February 2008 | In: Broadsheets | Comments (5) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Stephanie Flanders Makes A Stand For Ugy Women On The BBC

stephanie-flanders.jpgIN “BBC’s Stephanie Flanders condemns TV ageism”, BBC TV presenter Stephanie Flanders becomes the “latest high-profile journalist to criticise the lack of women over 50 on television”.

The Telegraph says that other “veteran television journalists”, including Anna Ford, Angela Rippon and Selina Scott have also accused the BBC of sexism in relation to older presenters. Ford rose to fame as the BBC’s first obese female newsreader. Miss Rippon was known for her pot-marked face and monobrow. Selina Scott was TV’s “black Jimmy Hill”.

Says Flanders, a one-eyed, hooked nosed, spotty 39-year-old: “Having lived there [USA], I am struck by the comparison with the US, where the likes of Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer can carry on – admittedly, still incredibly glamorous women.”

She adds: “I feel strongly about this and hope that the perception that you can’t advance beyond 50 will be seen as nonsense.”

We’ll see how Ms Flanders looks hold up…

Posted: 20th, February 2008 | In: Broadsheets, TV & Radio | Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Gail Sherridan Charged With Lying Under Oath

GAIL Sheridan:

The wife of Tommy Sheridan has been charged with lying under oath during the socialist politician’s high-profile libel trial against the News of the World.

Gail Sheridan, 44, whose testimony formed a central part of her husband’s case during a 23-day trial in 2006, was charged with perjury after six hours’ questioning by detectives. Her father, Gus Healy, 71, who also testified at the trial, was also charged.

The move comes two months after officers charged Mr Sheridan with perjury…

Within the past 10 days three more of Mr Sheridan’s colleagues – including a former MSP – have also been charged. Rosemary Byrne, 59, who lost her seat in the Scottish Parliament last year, Graeme McIver, 39, and Jock Penman, 58, were charged with perjury after voluntarily reporting to police for questioning.

All three testified on Mr Sheridan’s behalf and are now members of his newly formed Solidarity party.

Finally:

In a statement today, the party repeated its claim that Mr Sheridan and his colleagues were the victims of a “political witch-hunt”. A spokesman said: “The only crime that Tommy Sheridan is guilty of is the crime of speaking truth to power.”

Is that the sound of laughter from the NOTW offices?

Posted: 20th, February 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Politicians | Comments (5) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Bridgend Watch: A Look At The Cult Of Suicides In The Media

parry185_285934a.jpgSUICIDE Watch: Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of teenage suicides in Bridgend

THE SUN: Jenna Parry’s face looks out from the cover of the Sun

“ANOTHER MYSTERY TEEN DEATH,” says the paper. “17 hangings, 13 months, 1 town, 1 question..WHY?”

Above a picture of swings, a see-saw and a climbing frame, the legend: “Place where shadow of death stalks the young”

“The stunned people of Bridgend found themselves living in the shadow of death yesterday after yet another young suicide victim was found hanging from a tree…While police and politicians maintained there was no link between Jenna Parry’s death and SIXTEEN previous hangings in the area, local people feared otherwise”

Who needs facts and the results of a police investigation when you have “fear”. And the shadowy internet

Michael Bennett found Miss Parry’s body as he was out walking his dog, as is ever the way of things. “In an apparent reference to Bebo, he added: ‘Youngsters need to talk to people like their family, not spend all their time on computers or watching television'”

Reports the Sun: “Like many of the others, Jenna had her own pages on teenage social networking website Bebo. Police will examine her computer.” Rachel White, a friend of the dead girl, says: “Her Bebo site will probably be turned into a memorial as well”

David Morris, Assistant Chief Constable of South Wales, “admitted the cluster of suicides in the Bridgend area was unique because of the ‘exceptional’ numbers involved. But he claimed there was no evidence of a mass pact”

He says:

“A number have access to social networking sites such as Bebo and MySpace. But we have not found any suggestion of any links or influence from these sites to have encouraged these young people to take their lives. These are vulnerable young people and there is a view that taking one’s own life may become an acceptable option, but we have found no evidence of any link between them”

Not to worry, though, because the Sun is on the case, and it has one line of questioning

DAILY MIRROR: “SUICIDE No 17 IN THE TOWN OF NO HOPE – JENNA, 16 FOUND HANGED.”

“There is only one topic of conversation amongst a group of teenagers outside an off-licence in Bridgend – the apparent suicide of Jenna Parry,” says the Mirror’s man on the scene, stood by a group of teenagers who – and this a bonus – are hanging out by the booze shop. If reporter Nic North can mention the teens’ weight – and let’s pray to god they are obese – and their smoking, his story will have the lot

But before he asks them for their views on Iraq, he brings the economy into it: “Young people are pessimistic for their Jobs in local retail parks or fast food outlets is the best they can hope for.” Pretty much all teens, unless you’re Peaches Geldof, a Royal earning a crust, a model of a footballer, are pessimistic about the low-paid work they are offered

Gareth says bleakly: “I can understand why they’re killing themselves. It takes a trigger, a row with your girlfriend, another job rejection, to push you over the edge.” He says the mood in Bridgend is “fear”. He explains: “Every morning, you’re waking up thinking, Who’s it gonna be today? It’s got really freaky. There’s a sense that the place is cursed, a losing town’s curse.”

A curse! Now the Mirror is getting somewhere.

DAILY EXPRESS: “More suicide mystery”

Says David Morris: “The link between the deaths isn’t the internet – it is the way the media is reporting the news”

“Jenna belonged to two websites,” says the Express. “Experts warn of internet link”

Says the Express of Mr Morris’s comment: “This is nonsense. Many of the deaths occurred before there was any news coverage.” But then many suicides never make into the pages of the national press. Maybe when they did, impressionable teenagers read about it? Maybe all 17 suicides read the Daily Express?

DAILY MAIL: “The tragedy of Jenna, suicide town’s 17th victim”

It’s the town that’s killing them

THE TIMES: “Schools on alert after 17th Bridgend suicide”

Says the paper: “Experts are to be sent into every school in Bridgend as part of an urgent strategy drawn up to halt the spate of suicides in a small area of South Wales that claimed a 17th young victim yesterday.”

Says David Morris: “These are vulnerable young people. Taking one’s own life may be becoming an acceptable option to young people for issues that they are facing.”

So no curse? No Internet plot? But this mass suicide is a phenomenon, Bridgend is like Jonestown with a broadband connection?

Notes the paper: “Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 20 people – 14 of them young men – took their lives in the Bridgend area in 2006, while Merthyr Tydfil had 10 suicides and Rhondda Cynon Taff 18”

Jenna Parry is the 17th suicide in Bridgend since the start of 2007

THE INDEPENDENT: “Task force considers the ‘Werther effect'”

The Sorrow of Young Werther is the story of a young artist who shoots himself after an ill-fated love affair. “Following its publication in 1774 there was a series of reports of young men who took their own lives in the same way, which led to the book being banned”

Was Master Werther on Bebo?

DAILY TELEGRAPH: “What hope can we offer Bridgend’s teenagers?”

Jan Moir pictures the scene in her mind’s eye: “It is hard to imagine what kind of despair inched each of them towards the thought and then the deed: to fashion the knot, to slip the fixings before the final swing into oblivion.” Is it so hard? “Teenagers are emotional creatures whose taste runs to the gothic,” says Moir. Was she ever a teenager?

“In each case, the method was the same; only the location changed. One youngster strung himself up from a washing line, one in a park, yet another from a tree; terrible and strange fruit hanging in the Welsh valleys. Most were hanged in their own bedrooms; the worst of surprises for a parent opening the door on to an unforgettable scene… Exposure to suicide can lead to what psychiatrists call contagion, and the fear is that more vulnerable teens will succumb to the death talk in the air and copycat-kill themselves. Is this what happened yesterday?

The more excitable newspapers have a weakness for outrage. Together they make an uncomfortable alliance. Certainly, the repeated and sensational suggestion that the dead youngsters are part of a internet death pact or cult is particularly unhelpful. Apart from anything else, if it were a cult, the deaths would be more ritualistic and flamboyant, there would be more of them and they would have happened in a shorter space of time for maximum impact”

Moir does not try to imagine how cult members might kill themselves. But Anorak readers can feel free…

Posted: 20th, February 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Tabloids | Comments (15) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Students Train For Depression

STUDENTS in depression:?

On Saturday I stood at Warwick University’s union bar. I had been speaking at a rather excellent student conference and the organisers had invited me to join the students for the evening. Large numbers of the 400 students present were standing without anything to drink, unable to afford the highly-taxed lagers that were on sale. As a result, students stood in straight lines listening quietly to the live band. No one was smoking, which of course would have been illegal.

Pills. Give us the pills…

Posted: 19th, February 2008 | In: Broadsheets | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Rafael Behr On Max Gogarty (Not-Related)

max-gogarty-guardian.pngAFTER this: Nepotism In The Media: The Guardian’s Max Gogarty Goes On His Hols, this:

But as the case of Max Gogarty shows, there is no presumption of civility or community spirit online. His fate should be instructive to politicians. He was flamed because he was perceived to be bogus. Self-selecting judges ruled that he had no business writing for the Guardian. The message was transmitted swiftly, sometimes eloquently, sometimes wittily. His travel diary was extinguished. As an expression of mob will, it was very efficient. But that does not mean it was fair.

What’s not fair?

Cultural Revolution aside, we would venture that the “recent pillorying” of young Max happened to be because readers felt insulted that the Guardian tried to put one over on them. First of all, they hired the kid of a former travel writer write a lame travel blog about his gap year. Secondly! The kid’s writing had an almost unparalleled skill at being annoying.

Rather:

There’s no point debating anything online. You might as well hurl shoes in the air to knock clouds from the sky. The internet’s perfect for all manner of things, but productive discussion ain’t one of them. It provides scant room for debate and infinite opportunities for fruitless point-scoring: the heady combination of perceived anonymity, gestated responses, random heckling and a notional “live audience” quickly conspire to create a “perfect storm” of perpetual bickering.”

Gogarty could respond. The web offers plenty of space to do so. If he wants to write, here’s his chance. Stop “shitting” yourself. You’ve got an audience – that’s the hard part…

Posted: 18th, February 2008 | In: Broadsheets | Comments (3) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Worthy Artists

WORTHIES: The new embraceable Britain – What’s behind our sudden craving for big, bold works of public art? Jonathan Jones goes on a British odyssey – and finds a whole new country taking shape…

Posted: 18th, February 2008 | In: Broadsheets | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


A Chance For Prisoners To Work For A Living Tax Free

cherie-blair.jpg“CHERIE Blair, wife of the former prime minister, is leading a drive for prisoners to earn up to £10,000 a year doing work in jail for firms which are household names.” So reports the Times.

“She has endorsed a pilot scheme in a category C prison in which serious offenders are paid the minimum wage – £5.52 an hour – to work for companies such as Kentucky Fried Chicken and Clifford Chance, the City law firm.” It light-fingered lickin’ good.

Who better to employ villains than lawyers and a take-away food shop? Perhaps call centres, with their innate fondness for small cubicles and battery-farmed workers. Or public schools.

Interestingly, because inmates pay no rent on their cells, no council tax and need incur no transport costs they could be left better off than low-paid workers outside.

In fairness, though, the Howard League for Penal Reform suggests the prisoners pay income tax, “but the government is refusing to accept contributions because the inmates might then have workers’ rights.”

The last thing you want is for a prisoner to bring a case of constructive dismissal…

Posted: 17th, February 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Money, Politicians | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


India Knight Makes A Meal Out Of Supermarkets

INDIA Knight says “Supermarkets are selling us out”. Enough of this cheap protein, massive choice of ingredients, ready meals, availability and value. What we want is something else. And India Knight knows what it is, and how to get it.

Says she in the Times:

I realise I am speaking from a fortunate standpoint: I can afford to pay a little more for organic and locally sourced ingredients, and I use my local butcher and fishmonger (which I’m lucky to have: both are a dying breed) because I would rather eat fantastic meat once a week than mechanically recovered slop on a daily basis. But actually I question the whole “value” status of supermarkets, not least because whenever I go to one I end up buying a pile of stuff I don’t actually need or, indeed, want; stuff that, more often that not, ends up being thrown away (shamefully).

Anorak resists the urge to reprint the entire article and file it under “beyond parody”. Instead we just strip out a few juicy bit, our choicest cut being:

Rubbish highly processed food is not cheap, whereas you can make enough rice and dhal for six people for about £1.50.

Genius. That’s the food budget and the obesity crisis polished off. We can all eat Indian food, like those Indians whose life expectany is 63 (men) and 66 (women), less than the 77 (men) and 82 (women) in the UK.

India Knight was born in 1965…

Posted: 17th, February 2008 | In: Broadsheets | Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Patrica Hewitt: Failed Labour Ministers Live On In The EU

hewitt.jpgPATRICIA Hewitt, the former Health Secretary, is “on course to become Britain’s first woman Commissioner in Brussels after winning Cabinet backing to succeed Peter Mandelson”.

So reports the Telegraph. Brussels is the home for failed Labour ministers:

EU Commissioner Neil Kinnock – Led Labour in failure for nine years
EU Commissioner Peter Madelson – twice forced to resign from government

Hewitt – of whom gordon Brown is said to have uttered “I have to sit here while she loses me the next election” – seems ideal for the post…

Posted: 16th, February 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Politicians | Comments (3) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Government Sells You A Licence To Smoke

last-cigarette1.jpgFIRST they came for the smokers: “A ban on the sale of cigarettes to anyone who does not pay for a government smoking permit has been proposed by Health England, a ministerial advisory board.”

A permit to smoke. Somthing like: “The holder of this permit is a supporter of cancer and pollution.” The message will come written on a T-shirt or baseball cap, to be worn by the licencee at all times.

Says the Guardian: “The idea is the brainchild of the board’s chairman, Julian Le Grand, who is a professor at the London School of Economics and was Tony Blair’s senior health adviser.”

Tony was a non-smoker. His paper says:

“Suppose every individual who wanted to buy tobacco had to purchase a permit. And suppose further they had to do this every year. To get a permit would involve filling out a form and supplying a photograph, as well as paying the fee. Permits would only be issued to those over 18 and evidence of age would have to be provided. The money raised would go to the NHS.”

Le Grand says the proposal is an example of “libertarian paternalism”. The government would leave people free to make their own decisions but it would “nudge them” in the right direction.

Smokers will buy ciggies in France or over the web. They will then have invested in so many fags there will no point in giving up because to do so would be a waste of money.

Next up a licence to be fat…

Posted: 15th, February 2008 | In: Broadsheets | Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Martin McGuinness: The One About The Drunk Irishman

SAYS Martin Mr McGuinness, former IRA leader: “I have to say, I am absolutely appalled at the level of concentration around the pub in the programmes.”

Adding: “I am not a fan of East-Enders or Coronation Street but my wife and my children, particularly the girls, watch the programme. I am appalled at the drunkenness that is quite clear for everybody to see and all of that before the 9 o’clock watershed when children as young as 8, 9, 10 and 11 are watching. Now I regard that as irresponsible broadcasting and I think something should be done about it.”

Steady on, Mr McGuinness. You do the terror and the politics. We’ll do the satire…

Posted: 15th, February 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Politicians | Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Nepotism In The Media: The Guardian’s Max Gogarty Goes On His Hols

max-gogarty.jpgMAX Gogarty, 19, son of Guardian travel editor Paul Gogarty, is preparing to travelblog his way through Asia for his dad’s paper.

Young Max is from London, in his gap year, and “spends his money on food, booze and skinny jeans, writes for Skins in his spare time. He’s off to India and Thailand to have a good time, and you can join him in his weekly blog.”

Writes Max:

I’m kinda shitting myself about travelling. Well not so much the travelling part. It’s India that scares me. The heat, the roads, the snakes, Australian travellers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited. But shitting myself. And I just know that when I step off that plane and into the maelstrom of Mumbai – well, actually, I don’t know how I’ll react.Practically all of my friends are dotted around the globe scouring every nook and cranny for a bit of culture and enlightenment (but secretly hoping to run into as many full-moon parties as possible). But it seems all gappers I know – wherever they are – will be going to Thailand in March or April, and every one I’ve spoken to is making no secret of the fact that Thailand should be pretty damn decadent. [Guardian Travelog]

And:

I’m not entirely sure what appeals to me about travelling. Maybe the lack of work or study?

The Guardian’s commenters respond.

Old Mr Anorak has never worked for the Guardain, so we just plug away. Emily Bell, are you still there?

Posted: 14th, February 2008 | In: Broadsheets | Comments (9) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Mark Steel Has No Idea About Non Doms

IN The Independent: “Mark Steel: A taxing problem: should the rich pay for cheese?”

Says Steel:

New Labour certainly keep their promises. Before they were elected, they promised to reform the loophole that enables the super-rich to avoid paying tax, by claiming “non-domicile tax status”. And now, 11 years later, they’re still promising to do it.

But the non-doms don’t avoid paying tax. Non-doms pay tax on all their UK earnings. They also pay UK tax on earnings they bring into the UK. They are not non-residents. They are non-domiciles. The clue is in the name.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 14th, February 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Money | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Smoking In Pregnancy Is Better For Mother

pregnant_woman_smoking.jpgWANT a smaller baby, and lessen the need for a Cesarean section? Then smoke ten fags a day.

(Can the increased use of Cesarean section be linked to reduced tobacco intake in pregnant women? Anorak feels a research grant coming our way.)

Smoking in pregnancy is far less damaging to the unborn baby than commonly supposed, detailed analysis suggests. If women give up smoking by the fifth month of pregnancy, the effect on the baby is negligible, the study found. And even if they do not, the effect on birthweight is surprisingly small.

And:

Middle-class women suffer almost no damaging effects, the analysis suggests, even if they continue to smoke throughout pregnancy.

Smaller babies can mean a quicker and easier birth:

Analysis of the data shows that smoking throughout pregnancy reduces birthweight by 5.6 per cent, and the gestation period by just over a day. But when the results are corrected for other factors, such as diet, lifestyle and alcohol, the effect of smoking on birthweight drops to 1.8 per cent and the reduction in gestation becomes insignificant.

Forget the C-Section. We’re in the S(moking)-Section…

Posted: 14th, February 2008 | In: Broadsheets | Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0