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Broadsheets | Anorak - Part 30

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

Croydon 2012: The Fun And Game Begins

croydon.gifWHY Croydon should want to be a city is overlooked by the Independent, which brings news that the unlovely London suburb wants to be the “new Barcelona”.

The new Barcelona has the old Barcelona, a Mediterranean climate and an airport offering visitors an entry point to a city of decent hotels, culture and style. Croydon has concrete, drizzle and is well placed for Gatwick Airport, from where Britishers escape to places like Barcelona.

But architect Will Alsop has a vision. This is the man who “tried to reinvent Barnsley as a walled Tuscan town”. He is not easily deterred by things like history and geography. The talk is of pod-shaped buildings on stilts (Burma), glass apartments (Guantanamo Bay) and miniature parks (gardens) “inspired by the regeneration of Barcelona after the 1992 Olympics”. Croydon: world city. City of culture. 

Far be it from us to point out the massive white elephant in the room, but that bit about the regeneration of Barcelona being triggered by the Olympic Games…

Like those parts of London reinvigorated after London 2012? And this is the same London that is to be linked to lofty Croydon by extending the London Underground’s East London line.

And to the project, dubbed “Third City” – part of Croydon’s attempt to persuade the government to grant it city status.”

Such an audacious bid to instil civic pride will surely be championed by those local politicos with dreams of managing a city and not a town.

Forget the details and hang the cost, and see the Croydonians bursting with pride as they climb aboard the new Tube train on their way to earning a living in…London…

Posted: 13th, November 2007 | In: Broadsheets | Comments (4) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Respect And More Respect For George Galloway’s Parties

WITH Saddam Hussein deposed, George Galloway is the world’s foremost moustachioed politician.

Never one to rest on his laurels, Galloway is now the MP for not just one party but two parties. As the Independent’s headline attest: “Respect off conference agenda as Galloway party splits in two.”

Galloway is the Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow. And the party he launched three years ago is holding its annual conferences. Two. At the same time.

At Westminster University, Regent Street, a hall will be opened for the Respect Party’s annual conference, chaired by a Mr John Rees. Over in Bishopsgate, Galloway will be speaking at Respect Renewal.

To avoid confusion, we will refer to Mr Rees’ party as Respect Due and to Mr Galloway’s party and Nuff Respect.

Posted: 9th, November 2007 | In: Broadsheets, Politicians | Comments (56) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


World Skills Olympics Guarantee London Success

CLEANER, Eco-Friendlier, Cocknier! The London 21-12 Olympic stadium fits the Olympic ideals. And it will be ready in time.

As the UK’s 2007 World Skills Olympic team jets off to Japan – 48 nations compete in 40 different categories, including stonemasonry, bricklaying and painting and decorating – we read in the Independent that the Games will be in London for 2011.

And where will they be staged? No contest…

Pic: Beau Bo D’Or 

Posted: 9th, November 2007 | In: Back pages, Broadsheets | Comments (10) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Chlamydia And Other Flowery Words

“ONE in ten men thinks chlamydia is a flower’.” So reports the Times. And Dr Mary Macintosh, director of the Chlamydia Screening Programme, says: “We have to increase awareness among men.”

Men, of course, might be embarrassed to say the word to their GP or nurse for fear of mispronouncing it. Anorak conducted our own survey of the accounts department and found that while 20 per cent of men had heard of CLAM-IDIA, only 15 per cent had heard of CLAMMY-DAY and just five per cent of CH-LAM-DAY.

We took the results upstairs to Old Mr Anorak who offered: “I need this cleared up fast!”

Posted: 9th, November 2007 | In: Broadsheets | Comments (5) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


YouTube, MySpace And Face Book Kill The Media

NO teenage crime is now complete without the press scouring the net for the killer’s personal web pages.

Meredith Kercher is murdered in Italy and the media broadcasts the Face Book pages of suspect Raffaele Sollecito. He is holding a huge blade and wearing a mask. The Times says his girlfriend, also a suspect, Amanda Knox, calls herself “Foxy Knoxy” on her MySpace page.

And now Pekka-Eric Auvinen, 18, has walked into Jokela High School, in southern Finland, and killed five boys, two girls and the headmistress.

What is he, this deranged, narcissistic teen who filmed himself shooting apples in the woods? Why, he’s “The YouTube Killer” on the Times’ front page. He’s the Sun’s “YOUTUBE GUNMAN”, the Mirror’s “YOUTUBE KILLER”, and the perpetrator of the Mail’s “YouTube massacre”

The killer exists in video. He’s in the media. He’s made for the media, not by it…

Posted: 8th, November 2007 | In: Broadsheets, Tabloids | Comments (8) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Get Those Creative Juices Flowing With Bindeez: Made In China

“YOUR kids are busy creating great art with the fascinating Bindeez and you are free to make some important phone calls, read a book or watch a daytime soap!”

The manufacturer of the arts and crafts toy is aiming at a key demographic – consumers who make important phone calls and watch daytime telly. They are aiming at journalists.

And it comes to his writer’s notice that the toy does exactly what it promises. It is a font of creativity. And if the creative juices don’t flow, giving your Bindeex toy a good lick might help. As the Telegraph puts it: “A popular toy has been withdrawn from shops because of fears it may contain a potentially lethal hallucinogenic drug.”

Health authorities in New South Wales found the toy’s sticky beads to be covered in a chemical which, if swallowed, changes into a compound similar to GBH – what the Telegraph calls the “date rape drug”.

Journalists and daytime telly watchers might call it Liquid ecstasy, Juice, GBL, BDO, GBH, Blue Nitro, Midnight Blue, RenewTrient, Reviarent, SomatoPro, Serenity, Enliven or the chemical name gammahydroxybutyrate. The date rape drug was thought to be rohypnol, or roofies, although we bow to the hacks at the Telegraph’s knowledge.

Meanwhile, the Toy Retailers Association’s chairman, Gary Grant, says: “They have been selling very well in recent weeks.”

But not selling so well just now. As reported, the toy, made in China, has been purged from the shelves of Argos and Woolworths. But there is no product recall.

Which leaves little Armani free to play all day, and auction off any unwanted beads to her imaginative school pals…

Posted: 7th, November 2007 | In: Broadsheets | Comments (6) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Gordon Brown Turns On The Education Spin

THE handover from Tony Blair to Gordon Brown was going to be smooth and seamless. We would not notice. And what we might notice – Gordon’s gulping for air and teeth – we would come to love.

And so it is that, like Tony before him, Gordon Brown is accused of spin. This is, of course, a baseless attack. Who can forget the sight of Brown draped in the flag of St George a small Muslim man dandling on his knee that spin was over?

But some don’t listen. Some cannot move on. And following yesterday’s story that Team Brown spun a story about what schools would feature in his keynote speech on education, the Times has more.

“No 10 spin row,” says the front page. “No row,” says Downing Street, reading aloud. “Gordon Brown was dragged deeper in to a spin row,” continues the Times.

Then: “’Prime Minister Gordon Brown misled press and schools and now must apologise.’”

Evidence? “We were contacted by the Downing Street press office. They told us that Westfield Community School, one of our schools, would be mentioned in a speech the following day by Gordon Brown,” says Tom Bevan of the Western Gazette.

“We received a call the day before from the PM’s office to say we would be mentioned in the speech, and asking us if we were comfortable with that. We said yes,” says Iain Hulland, head of Alder Grange.

“The school was alerted by the Prime Minister’s office that Astley Community High School would be included. We issued a press release,” notes Northumberland Council spokeswoman.

“We are sticking by our version of events and have nothing to add to our statements from last night, which we stand by,” Prime Minister’s spokesman.

And we are encouraged to realise that nothing has changed…

Pic: Beau Bo D’Or 

Posted: 7th, November 2007 | In: Broadsheets, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Mucca Macca Pukka Shocka: Heather Mills Sees Paul

RUMOURS that Heather Mills died in a car crash and has been replaced on the covers of the nation’s newspapers by a look-alike are hard to quash. But we will try.

Polemicists will not be easily swayed. And our task is made no simpler by the Sun’s front-page picture of Mills’ estranged husband Sir Paul McCartney sat at the wheel of a car, possibly at a zebra crossing.

Heather has seen enough. She is incandescent with anger. And in “Mucca rage at Macca pucker,” Mills goes into a “blind rage”. Which is unlike the Heather we have come to love.

Readers learn that Beatrice Mucca-Macca, daughter to Heather and Paul, saw yesterday’s Sun cover shot of Paul sat in a car. He was kissing a younger woman, revealed to be one Nancy Shevell. Not a nurse. Not a carer. But a dear friend.

“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU UP TO?” asks the Mirror’s front-page headline, words that could just have easily been uttered by Heather, or Beatrice. “Why didn’t you tell me?” asks Heather, who is now on the phone to Paul.

Says one friend: “Paul’s family are quite shocked he has got so close to Nancy, especially as she is a meat-eater”.

Another one…

Pic: The Spine 

Posted: 7th, November 2007 | In: Broadsheets | Comments (6) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Gordon Brown Spins Education

“HOW No 10 spun schools a line,” says the Times. Gordon Brown, straighter kinda guy, is making ready to deliver his speech on education.

Gordon will speckle his generalities with specifics. He will refer to five schools, beacons of excellence. His office sends letters to regional newspapers in Birmingham, Lancashire, Yeovil, and Bradford.

This is a heads-up for headmasters, a tip to the editors and hacks on what Brown will say. A local success story is big news. Hold the Local Heroes feature on Leonard ‘Legless Lenny’ Potts and his Teddy Boys Picnics. This one’s a runner.

Brown’s letter enthuses: “I want to involve and engage parents at every stage of the journey of their children’s education. More regular, ‘real-time’ feedback about their children’s progress; regular e-mails, regular meetings. And more parents sessions at schools – to share information and set goals – at key transition points for their children.

“Many schools across the country are already leading the way on parental involvement and I want to pay tribute to them. Westfield Community School in Yeovil, for example, offer a Parent Support Adviser and run a Parent Forum.”

The Western Gazette receives the missive and responds with the story “PM praises town school for parental support”.

Others give Gordon a mention and how he has praised [insert school name her]: The Wiseman Catholic Technology College (Birmingham Post), Alder Grange Community and Technology College (Lancashire Telegraph), Victoria Primary School (Telegraph and Argus, Bradford) and Astley Community High School (this one a press release issued by the ruling local Labour council).

Gordon rises to speak. And none of the schools are mentioned.

Says the Prime Minister’s spokesman: “We were not suggesting this was going to be a direct quote from the speech. The Prime Minister is perfectly entitled to give quotes about best practice.”

Tom Bevan, a staff reporter for the Western Gazette, says: “They phoned on Tuesday and said one of your schools was going to be mentioned in a speech by the Prime Minister. They definitely said that it would be in the speech.”

A second journalist, who does not want to be identified, “for fear of reprisal from No 10”, says: “They told us the quotes mentioning the school would be in the speech. That is certain.”

Gordon Brown is unavailable for comment, but is believed to not want it on the record (it says here) that Tony Blair made him do it…

Pic: Beau Bo D’Or

Posted: 6th, November 2007 | In: Broadsheets, Politicians | Comments (4) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Polar Bears Doomed To An Uncertain Future

POLAR Bear Monitoring Service – Anorak’s on-the-ice look at polar bears making the news

Polar Bear Watch spots two of the creatures on the cover of the Daily Express, and more in the Daily Telegraph.

“Polar bears’ last strand,” says the caption to the Express’ picture of one polar bear standing on is hind legs.

In “LAST REFUGE OF THE DOOMED BEARS”, the Express publishes “incredible photos of migrating polar bears at play”. The pictures “show a species on the brink of extinction as climate change ravages their once icy-idyll”.

To the untrained eye, it still looks pretty icy in the “Polar Bear Capital of the World”, a vast expanse of ice close to the town of Churchill, Manitoba.

The Express says the bears are waiting for the water to freeze. Now they are “trapped” and hungry. They are, as we have learned, “DOOMED”.

“Mum, when can we open the freezer for dinner?” says the Telegraph’s headline. So hungry are the bears, they are “nuzzling” each other’s faces, or ‘tasting’ as the Express might put it.

Melissa Gibbons, a park warden at Wapsuk National Park, Canada, looks at the a baby bear with his mother. She sees two males on their hind legs. “It may be that they are practising for the mating season… Or it could simply be that they are fooling around to ward off boredom”.

Or that they’ve spotted the cameras and the camera crew…

Picture of the new Fox’s Glacier Mint via Beau Bo D’Or 

Posted: 6th, November 2007 | In: Broadsheets, Tabloids | Comments (3) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Fairy’s Fair: UK Farmer’s Markets Resist Supermarkets

OH, for the farmers’ market, that chance to buy misshapen fruit and veg from honest and misshapen tillers of the land.

Like Verity, who ferments olives in her artisan bathtub; Bryony, who puts hot chorizo sausages in Pitta breads; and Ivor who can recall the halcyon days of That’s Life when farmers were celebrated for carrots that looked like a penis and marrows on nodding terms with Ted Heath.

The Guardian pulls on Gabriel Oak’s smock and journeys to a farmers’ market in Bath.

The results of the field trip are written up in “In a jam: farmers markets agonise over selling out, expansion (and olives)”.

Angela Morris is selling “Fat fairy fudge” – fingers of fudge moulded into the form of Oscar Wilde, George Michael (early years) and Russell Grant.

But all is not well. A “bitter row” is bubbling. The farmer’s market industry is worth £200million. And this market’s landlord wants to expand the operation. A Mr Rich tells us that farmers’ markets are about local people selling local produce. If Bath market expands, the traders fear there won’t be enough locals to produce the good and regular traders will be allowed in.

A Mr Homewood says: “I like the olive people but you can’t pretend that olives are local, can you?”

You can make olive wine? And stuff them…

Posted: 5th, November 2007 | In: Broadsheets | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Alan Johnson’s Fit Towns For Purpose

“’FIT towns’ plan to tackle child obesity.” So says the Guardian’s front-page headline. “Proposals for 10 healthy eco cities.”

It is the work of Health Secretary Alan Johnson’s assault on the twin evils of climate change and fat people. Fat Climate will eradicate both.

Before we go on, it is clear that Mr Johnson MP, believes that we the electorate spend the day thinking about climate change and fat. These are his prime concerns so they must be ours. He is, of course, correct, althogh we are too fat and stupid to realise it and thank him. One day we will.

Says the Guardian: “Practical measures in new healthy towns being considered by ministers include:

• Regular weigh-ins for children starting as they leave primary school, including the recording of body mass indexes
• Increasing the number of cycle lanes
• Programmes in schools to inspire children to eat healthily, avoid fast food outlets, learn to cook and play sport from a young age
• Ensuring GP practices are on the high street so more people can use them

Indeed, dear readers, the plan is to turn towns into real life versions of Celebrity Fat Camp. Thanks to the predominance of CCTV, we are each of us a celebrity, caught on camera many times a day. And soon we will live like Anne Diamond  (Fat TV woman), Bill Giles (Fat weatherman) and John Prescott.

Chuck in some dance classes, an ice-rink and Gordon Ramsay and you have the reality TV show to end them all…

Posted: 1st, November 2007 | In: Broadsheets | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Fiery Reaction To Cherie Blair’s Muslim Veil Comments

IN “My doubts about the Muslim veil,” the Telegraph looks at Cherie Blair.

Says the former self-styled First Lady: “Women covering their heads, women dressing modestly, I have no problem with at all. I think, however, that if you get to a stage where a woman is not able to express her personality because you can’t see her face, then you do start to have to ask whether that is something that is actually acknowledging the woman’s right to be a person in her own right.”

The reaction will be swift and merciless. Anorak’s attention is drawn to goings on at the Edinbridge Firework Society, Kent. The shadowy group has erected a 25ft effigy, complete with grin-and-tell book and pile of cash. It is to be torched.

That it should come to this…

Posted: 1st, November 2007 | In: Broadsheets, Politicians | Comments (14) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Government To Mark All Relgious Festivals

THE Institute for Public Policy Research’s pamphlet on improving race relations is required reading at Anorak Towers.

It informs us: “If we are going to continue as a nation to mark Christmas…then our public organisations should mark other major religious festivals too.”

“’Mark all religious festivals,” says the Independent’s headline. And we will.

But what with so many occasions to mark – November 5 – 12 is Road Safety Week 2007; Nov 21 – World Television Day; Nov 19 – 23 Anti-Bullying Week; Nov 21 World Hello Day – we may need to combine two or more happenings to please one and all.

Diwali and Guy Fawke’s night could be marked by tossing the Green Cross Code man atop a huge funeral pyre.

And if the birth of Guru Nanak can be woven into the thread of National Tree Week (Nov 21 – Dec 2?), we can all rest easy…

Posted: 1st, November 2007 | In: Broadsheets | Comments (10) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Prince Harry Close To Mystery Gunman

PRINCE Harry shoots to kill. This much is certain. And he can take a shot or several in the course of his duty, notably of sambuca, tequila and a yellowy-white substance known as The Socialite’s Chest.

And, as the Guardian’s front-page headline tells us: “Prince Harry quizzed by police about shooting of rare birds.” More shooting.

We journey to the royal family’s Sandringham estate. The prince is on manoeuvres with young Van Cutsem, of the Older Van Cutsems. Two hen harriers, protected birds, are in flight. And then – Bang! Bang – they are not.

The birds are protected by rule of law and anyone caught killing one faces a six-month prison sentence or satisfying a £5,000 fine.

Harry and Young Van Cutsem have been interviewed by police. A spokesperson for Clarence House informs us: “Unfortunately, they’ve no knowledge of the incident.”

And we, like you, are alarmed.

Can it be that on a royal estate there is an armed presence taking pot shots at birds and getting his eye in on who knows what else?

Can it be that person or persons unknown have bypassed the maximum security, the cauldron of minders and militia, the wire traps and the squadron of white Fiat Unos that protect the Windsors to take out two in-flight birds?

Can it be that Harry and Young Van Cutsem – said to be “the only people known to have been shooting on the estate” at the time – were in such obvious peril?

The matter must be investigated to the full. We demand an inquiry. We demand that Prince Harry Baseball cap and his consorts be protected…

Pic: The Spine 

Posted: 31st, October 2007 | In: Broadsheets, Royal Family | Comments (3) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Rev Robert Shields’ Diary: Dear David and Victoria Beckham…

“WORLD’S longest diary comes to an abrupt end,” announces the Times. We blanch. We scurry to the tabloids and learn that Victoria Beckham respects Tom Cruise’s religion and David is to be cast in bronze.

Whatever can the Times mean? The world’s longest diary is thriving.

But there is a pretender to the crown. The Times looks at the work of the Rev Robert Shields, who has died and left behind a 37.5million word document.

The Beckhams might well scoff, but the Reverend began his diary only 25 years ago.

And the purpose? As Shields said: “Maybe by looking into someone’s life at that depth, every minute of every day, they will find out something about all people. I don’t know. No way to tell.”

Highlights from Sunday, August 13, 1995…

7.25-7.30 – “I sprayed and puddle and piddled and widdled”

8.40 – 8.45 – “I filled the humidifying basin mounted over the Futura baseboard heater”

9.25-9.35 – “I dressed in a pair of black Haband trousers, a hand white mesh shirt, the Huband blue blazer with simulated silver buttons, eyeglasses, the 14-degree Masonic ring, both hearing aids”

9:45 – 9.50 – “I felt a tickle in my throat. It might be a cold. A coff. Called agent. “Colden Ball,” said news story. Victoria no cold”

Pic: The Spine 

Posted: 30th, October 2007 | In: Broadsheets, Celebrities | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Newsfeed: Fat Children Catch High Blood Pressure Off The Telly

FAT children who “watch more than two hours of television a day double their risk of developing high blood pressure.”

So reports the Telegraph. So says a study in the December issue of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.

Know that children who watch four or more hours a day are three times as likely as those to have high blood pressure than those who watch less than two.

The paper tells of the “obesity epidemic”. We hear the message. And produce this print-put-and-send letter for your children to take to class:

“Dear Yoo

“Could Armani please be excused media studies today and Mr Palin ’s geography class lest she blow up like a balloon and die, and EastEnders is on later”

Yours truly,

Me

Pic: The Spine

Posted: 30th, October 2007 | In: Broadsheets | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Germany’s Autobahn’s Slow Down For Global Warming

“BLITZKREIG!” And with that lusty yell the beleaguered British motorist presses their foot hard on the accelerator.

With average speeds on the UK’s motorways stuck around the 23mph mark, it’s hearting to know that on a German autobahn you can go as fast you like.

Look out Poland, here we come. See you in a moment, Czech Republic. Belgium – blink and you run it over.

But, as the Guardian reports, plans are afoot to temper the speed. The Social Democrats, partners in the German government’s grand coalition, say reducing the speed will lower carbon dioxide emissions.

Says SPD chairman Kurt Beck: “A blanket limit of 130kph would be a quick and unbureaucratic way in which to increase climate protection.”

You can’t beat bit of top-down un-bureaucracy in Germany. But Bernd Osterloh, of Volkswagen, says “It’s a dream-like idea”.

“For one thing speed limits hardly reduce a car’s already very low C02 emissions, so it’s silly for politicians to keep clubbing the automobile industry between the legs like this.”

Whether he illustrated the clubbing motion is unsaid. But green campaigners have been warned…

Posted: 30th, October 2007 | In: Broadsheets | Comments (4) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arrange Me A Marriage, Aneela Rahman

ANEELA Rahman is the “Asian Cilla Black”, says the Times. We have not heard Mrs Rahman sing, and the published picture shows her with mouth shut, so hiding her teeth from view. Her hair is black.

But Aneela Rahman will be fronting a BBC TV dating show called Arrange Me A Marriage.

(What will it be: Number 1, Number 1 or Number 1?)

Says she: “For many non-Asians meeting someone is quite random, in a bar or a club, but you wouldn’t buy a house or car drunk, so why would you expect to find a life parent like that?”

Portraying the British people as desperate drunks is beyond reproach. Mrs Rahman has done her homework. But we wonder why the show is needed, given that so many couples already meet and marry not in pub or clubs but on reality TV shows.

Are we ready for an Asian Jordan and Peter Andre?

Posted: 29th, October 2007 | In: Broadsheets | Comments (3) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


TV Child Expert Claire Verity Questioned Over CV

“CHILD EXPERT,” states the caption beneath a picture of Claire Verity. She’s a baby expert on the Channel 4 series Bringing Up Baby.

There are 6.3billion people on the planet. Verity cannot reach them all but if she can just enable one or two to grow up the right way, her professional career will not have been for nought.

As the Independent reports, Verity says we should restrict cuddles to 10 minutes a day. Crying should be ignored. Babies should be left outside for fresh air. Another expert, let’s call her the Child Protection Officer, eyes Old Mr Anorak’s youngest bawling its eyes out in the pasture. She makes notes. With any luck, and a decent agent, this agent may make it on to the telly and instruct us in an alternative parenting lifestyle.

For now though we only have Verity, the self-styled “Cruella de Vil” of what she terms “the baby world”.

Says a spokeswoman for Channel 4: “Unfortunately, very early on in the series, we discovered in talking to Claire that [her CV] contained some inaccuracies relating to her qualifications.”

As it says on the website of Cunningham Management, Ms Verity’s agent website: “Claire is highly qualified with a Diploma in Pre School Practice, awards in OCN Maternity Practice and Post Natal Depression, a MNT in Care of Multiple babies, a MNT in Sleep Training, a MNT in Emergency Paediatric First Aid and a MNT in Breast Feeding as well as advising new mothers at local hospitals.”

Says a spokesman for Maternity Nurse Training: “This person never enrolled on any of our courses and as such has never been trained by us. We would like to make it quite clear that we do not in any way endorse the methods employed by Miss Verity in her work.”

Two other organisations, Aset and Goal, have checked their databases and can find no mention of Ms Verity, nor of Ms Bradley, the name by which she is registered on the electoral role.

Parents using the Verity Way must be frantic with worry. What now to do? Stick with the programme and risk getting it wrong? Wait until the new CV sent over by Verity’s agent has been checked? But how long to wait? Ten minutes?

How much fresh air is too much fresh air? And hurry up – the crying is making it hard to hear the telly…

Posted: 29th, October 2007 | In: Broadsheets | Comments (6) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Global Warming: War Is Good For The Environment

REPORTS the Guardian: “Call to use leftovers and cut food waste. Return to wartime values and reduce emissions, say campaigners.”

Why not just return to war? If the people won’t listen, let the knowing declare war upon their sorry heads. If they listen, hurrah! If they don’t, then so be it; less people means less CO2 emissions. It is win-win.

Research by the government’s waste reduction agency, Wrap, found that “one third of all food bought in Britain is thrown away – of which half is edible”.

How Wrap knows this is unsaid, but for some time a team of Government-sponsored “bin divers” have been touring shopping precincts picking out “edibles”, sniffing them and eating them. Many keep bits of food in their facial hair.

The figures are in and Wrap has deduced that “discarded food is a bigger problem than packaging, as the food supply chain accounts for a fifth of UK carbon emissions and decomposing food releases methane, the most potent of the greenhouse gases”.

And it costs you money. As the Guardian notes: “Wasted food is estimated to cost each British household from £250 to £400 a year.”

Not everyone buys waste food, of course, but the figures suggest a rich market in the stuff.

“If we stopped the amount [of food waste] that we could stop, it would be the same as taking one fifth of cars off the road,” says Liz Goodwin, Wrap’s chief executive.

Not cars made from Styrofoam boxes and run on chip fat, but we hear the message…

The campaign is supported by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, Thomasina Miers, MasterChef winner two years ago and the Anorak ‘Sweetcorn Beard’

Posted: 28th, October 2007 | In: Broadsheets | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Global Warming: Tread Lightly Through The Tulips With The Guardian

THE GUARDIAN is at the a vanguard of the anti-global warming crusade, and has launched a “unique website to help readers to reduce carbon footprint”. Plug in, get your eco-PC online and know that “If we all Tread lightly we can make a difference”.

We should tip-toe through the tulips, the supermarket and the graveyard. Tread lightly. Breathe only when necessary. Do not disturb nature. And know:

“”Who first comes up with a sporting chant, and how do they get the whole crowd to sng [sic] along? Swing Low, Sweet Chariot is considered to be England’s unofficial rugby union anthem and was sung by thousands during the World Cup final. But it was a group of schoolchildren who apparently first started singing it during an England v Ireland Five Nations game in 1988. The chant inspired other supporters nearby. When they joined in, the chant quickly rippled across Twickenham. It has been sung at almost every England game ever since.”

Singing is a great way to keep warm. Interesting stuff. (Was this written last Saturday when rugby was still popular?) And what’s more:

“It’s a simple example of how one motivated person can trigger a much wider reaction through such a small action. But many people still have doubts about whether they can achieve much of an impact, and nowhere are these doubts aired so loudly as when it comes to lowering our carbon footprints.”

It does not end there. It’s not just rugby fans but fat people who can help. Fat rugby fans should double their efforts:

“Like a dieter justifying one more chocolate biscuit, the excuses flow all too easily – why should I bother when China and India’s emissions will engulf our own efforts? Why should I bother when the US refuses to sign up to Kyoto?”

Because global cooling will make you slim. Fight global warming and get fit and fanciable:

“Nurturing a sense of community through the project is key. No one likes to feel they are acting alone, swimming forlornly against the tide. Running a marathon is much easier when you know there are hundreds of others around with the same target.”

Chuck in some cycling and join the Guardian’s Triathlon For Nature.

And it works. As readers are told:

If Guardian readers…

“Switched to energy-efficient light bulbs this week, we could turn off a coal-fired power station for one day, one hour, 46 minutes and 1 second.

“Turned off all appliances for a week instead of leaving them on standby, the power station could be turned off for 15 hours, 12 minutes and 43 seconds.

“Turned down their thermostat by 1C for a week, we could turn off a coal-fired power station for 22 hours, 21 minutes and eight seconds.”

We hear you. Turn off the power station! Let the elderly freeze. Cull the selfless sods on energy-sapping life support machines. Save all files before the power cut turns off your PC…

All hail the glorious future!

Posted: 27th, October 2007 | In: Broadsheets | Comments (13) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Global Warming: Unep, The BBC’s Natural Selection And Rich Africa

GLOBAL warming. And the Independent’s front page promises: “NOT AN ENVIRONMENT SCARE STORY.”

So concerned is the Indy not to add to global warming, to conserve the planet’s resources, that it crams as many words on to its front page as possible, the headline limited only by readers’ eyesight.

Know: “A landmark assessment by the UN of the state of the world’s environment paints the bleakest picture yet of our planet’s well-being. The warning is stark: humanity future is at risk unless urgent action is taken. Over the past 20 years, almost every index of the planet’s health has worsened. At the same time, personal wealth in the richest countries has gown by a third.”

Why wealth and environment are linked is not made clear. The Times says in the past two decades Africa’s population has risen by 57.2 per cent. 57.2.  That’s more breathing humans. More CO2 emissions. But is Africa richer?

The numbers emerge from a report by the United Nations Environment programme. Almost 400 experts from around the world contributed to Unep’s Global Environment Outlook (GEO-4) report.

The Times, which leads with “The Earth Audit”, says 1,400 scientists were involved. Forty-eight governments nominated 157 scientists, who were “split into groups of expertise for each of the ten chapters of the report”. More experts were selected from more than 50 research centres in 47 countries.

Lest you mistake the report for the work of a body with a vested interest in drumming up support for its cause, its raison d’être, and giving work to scientists, the Indy punctuates the piece with: “We were warned 20 years ago. Now time is running out.”

And then just when you thought it was safe to breathe know: “BBC flagship natural history unit budget to be cut by a third.”

First they came for the polar bears…

Posted: 26th, October 2007 | In: Broadsheets | Comments (5) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Global Warming: Polar Bear Watch

POLAR Bear watch throws up a sighting in the Times. To illustrate “History of mass extinction is a grim lesson climate change” the paper features a picture of a polar bear. The bear (fluffy and white) is placed alongside a tyrannosaurus Rex (extinct) and a Trilobite fossil (hard). Says Peter Mayhew, of the University of York: “Our results provide the first clear evidence that global climate may explain substantial variation in the fossil record in a simple and consistent manner”. Ergo: Most climate change equals more fossils. And, as ever, more polar bears in the media…

Posted: 24th, October 2007 | In: Broadsheets | Comments (4) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Headline Of The Day: When Monkey’s Attack

HEADLINE of the day: “INVASION OF THE KILLER MONKEYS” – Independent looks at rhesus monkeys in Delhi.

Posted: 24th, October 2007 | In: Broadsheets | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0