Tabloid Questions – a look at headline-making questions in the national Press.
On Tuesday November 29, the Daily Mail asked: “Have swans predicted a mild winter?” The long-necked birds haven’t been presenting the wether on cable telly in Norwegian or otherwise. The Mail says swans have been forecasting the weather by arriving in the UK later than usual, a move “often interpreted as a sign of a mild winter to come”.
In 2007, the Mail asked: “Does the swans’ early arrival mean we’re in for an icy winter?” Said the paper:
The migrating Siberian swans have landed early this year, heralding harsh weather ahead.
Pop acorn Peter Andre smiles from the cover of OK! magazine. Above him hangs the legend: “IT’S A BABY BOY.” You might think Pete and wife Emily’s newborn child would need no clarification that he was a baby. Had Emily given birth to a teenager, say, or an OAP, it would be remarkable.
But you’d be mistaken. Emily tells us that “baby boy” is the full title because, “The nurse told us that this baby is super tall already – we could have a six-footer!”
Get knitting, grandma!
Of course, Pete is nothing if is not precise and tweets to his followers that he is “rocking”, and maybe even cradling, cuddling and snuggling.
Peter and OK! then combine to offer their thanks (prices on application) to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton, Somerset, for hosting the birth, Storksak for designing Pete’s “dad bag” for overnight stays, Exeter’s Mamhead House, where Pete and Emily married in 2015, and Braxton Hicks for the contractions.
We then learn that the nickname for Pete’s daughter Princess is ‘Bister’, which given the product placement in the article we took to be spelled Bicester in honour of the designer shopping outlet in Oxford.
No firm word on the latest baby’s name yet, but Pete says he favours “traditional English names”, like James, Arthur, Oscar, (TK) Max, George (at Asda), John Lewis…
IT’S “FOOTBALL’s BIGGEST EVER CRISIS,” says the Daily Mirror as it continues to lead with the sex abuse story. Is it? Is it bigger than the Hillsborough disaster that saw 96 people lose their lives and be branded criminals by the State’s lying police force? Barry Bennell, the awful man at the epicentre of the story, is a convicted paedophile. He’s now been charged with eight sexual assaults involving a boy under 14 dating between 1981 and 1985.
Bennell has been living as a free man in Milton Keynes. Is that justice? Eric Bristow thought it not. He said he’d have smashed the “poof” Bennell’s face in, as “real men” should. The men who did not confront their abuser are “wimps”. For expressing his crass opinion on twitter, Bristow has been sacked as a pundit on Sky Sports and paraded throughout the media as a pariah, an enemy of any right-minded human being.
You could compare Bristow to Eamonn Holmes, the Sky News presenter who earlier this year said an attack by West Ham fans on the Manchester United team bus was like Hillsborough. “Now this is going back to the 70s and to the 80s to everything you were seeing that was bad about Hillsborough for instance,” opined Holmes on the TV. Unlike Bristow, he wasn’t shunned, and sacked.
Does the media operate a hierarchy of outrage, with being ‘unlawfully killed’ and branded a killer – and do consider 10-year-old Jon-Paul Gilhooley, the youngest to die in the horror (the coroner ordered a sample of his blood to be checked for signs of alcohol), Phillip Hammond (14), Victoria Jane Hicks (15), Peter Andrew Harrison (15), Lee Nicol (14), Philip John Steele (15) and Kevin Tyrrell (15) – lower in the table than child abuse, the horror that can be a useful way to showcase your own sound morals?
Holmes apologised and kept his job. Bristow deleted his tweets, apologised and lost his.
When 96 people died at the football in 1989, the media blamed the victims, the State stomped on their relatives and presented all football fans as suspects. It took an arduous 26 year fight for the Hillsborough campaigners to be told the blameless dead had been unlawfully killed.
The story of sexual abuse in football is grim. Child sex abuse is an evil. But to say it is a worse football scandal than the horrors of Hillsborough is a cop out. Bennell is alive. Bennell’s victims are speaking out and being heard. They could have spoken out earlier. They might be heard in court yet. Bennell appears to have attempted suicide. He’s thought to be in the Lister Hospital, Stevenage.
The story of sex abuse in football has faces to attack, blame and shun.
The victims of Hillsborough could not speak. The coppers who lied to make killers of the victims all escaped court. They still await justice. Maybe the bereaved and abused should do as Bristow advises, take the law into their own hands and crack skulls. But that’s not easy when the weight of the State is against you. Where do you begin?
The hideous story of sexual abuse in football rides high on the news cycle. The grim testimony from victims of an evil has taken on a life of its own. It’s become a good way to prove the country’s morals. In directionless times it’s useful to have a cause to rally round. We don’t know what we are but we know what we’re not: paedophiles.
Barry Bennell, a convicted paedophile, has been billed as football’s Jimmy Savile. He’s not. Bennell has been tried and found guilty. Sir Jimmy Savile died a national treasure, feted by the great and good. What both men do share is an eagerness to portray them as part of institutional failure. For Savile it’s the BBC, the NHS and children’s homes (but not the police, the Royal family and politicians); for Bennell it’s the FA and the nation’s favourite sport.
Everyone involved in football is now a suspect. If you are not suspicious of adults you are a fool or worse. Trust is for victims.
So the NSPCC opens a hotline, the police trawl for corruption and Karen Bradley, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, says people “must come forward… Come and give your story, you will be listened to, you will be believed”. The media plays along, looking for someone on the wrong side of the panic to update the story. And today it finds Eric Bristow, aka ‘The Crafty Cockney’, five times World darts Champion in the 1980s, an MBE holder and last seen eating kangaroo gonads on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! with Limahl from Kajagoogoo.
As such his views are, er, entirely relevant to the horrific crime child sex abuse. And – irony of ironies for a man who walks to the oche to Rabbit by Chas and Dave (“With your incessant talkin’, You’re becoming a pest”) – Bristow’s chat has attracted ire.
The BBC says Bristow has been “condemned on social media” for suggesting football abuse victims are not “proper men” – and asking why they did not “sort out” their abusers “when they got older and fitter”. Not only on social media (see BBC). The Mail sees fit to repeat Bristow’s tweets for those readers not following the man: “Might be a looney but if some football coach was touching me when i was a kid as i (sic) got older i would have went back and sorted that poof out. Dart players tough guys footballers wimps. Bet the rugby boys are ok ha ha.”
He went on: “U got to sought him out when u get older or dont look in the mirror glad i am a dart player proper men. Trouble is nowadays u cant tell the truth what do u feel out there tweet me. Everybody that works on tv is frightened to say the truth because they are frightened to lose their job, life shouldnt be like that.”
Katie Hopkins, that jobbing to-deadline Aunt Sally, must be gutted. Used to seeing unattractive people from the 1980s telly unearthed to help police with their enquiries, it’s a novelty to see one helping the media in its narrative.
Having seen and very possibly enjoyed the shitstorm, Bristow backtracks a little on twitter:
Britsow’s language update shows he’s a man can move with the times. If he carries on like this, there’s a job as a tabloid columnist heading his way.
Media Balls: Was it right that Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was red carded as his side fought back to secure a 1-1 draw with West Ham United? Can we know what’s what from reading the experts?
The BBC: “Off to the stands! He aims an almighty kick at a drinks bottle down on the touchline in anger at a booking for Paul Pogba – who looked to be jumping to avoiding getting clattered – and is directed from the touchline by Jonathan Moss.”
Pogba was avoiding a clattering and jumped. It was self-preservation. The referee got it wrong. Jose just reacted to the poor decision.
Manchester United assistant manager Rui Faria: “I think there was frustration from Jose after the yellow card for Pogba. It should be a foul for us but the referee understood it in another way.”
United were robbed.
Saj Choudry (BBC): “The Portuguese boss kicked a water bottle in reaction to referee Jon Moss showing Paul Pogba a yellow card for diving. Replays showed West Ham’s Mark Noble did not make contact with the France midfielder.”
Pogba dived. The referee was correct – he did fool for the player’s cheating. Jose Mourinho did make contact with the water bottle.
The West Ham website: “The Frenchman, falling after going past Mark Noble, was correctly booked for diving, prompting the explosive bottle-kicking moment from his boss.
The Manchester United website: “Mourinho was then sent to the stands after he reacted furiously to referee Jonathon Moss’ decision to book Pogba for an apparent dive.”
An apparent dive?
Manchester Evening News: “He [Pogba] appeared to dive over Mark Noble’s challenge and was booked by Jonathan Moss. Mourinho… kicked a water bottle in frustration and was sent to the stands.”
He appeared to dive. Jose was not poorly behaved and wrong. He was frustrated.
The paper does find lots of room for the thoughts of journalist Duncan Castles:
Picking that apart. The slight on Louis Van Gaal is odd given that the hammer-headed Dutchman was pretty animated:
And as for any other manager not being sent off for kicking a water bottle, well, the Arsenal manager was:
For Jose Mourinho, well, it wouldn’t be so bad were it not for the fact that his old club Chelsea – the one he left spent and in mid-table – are top of the league under their new manager.
PS: Manchester United have failed to win four league games in a row at Old Trafford for the first time since February 1990. And they have drawn four consecutive league games at their place for the first time since December 1980. Yeah. it’s time for Fergie all over again. Oh for a manager who intimidates referees, fails to talk to the BBC and fosters a siege mentality. On second thoughts, as you were Jose…
Do you recall those halcyon days when truth ran through the media as blood flows through a virgin’s veins? No, me neither. In recent times, the media has become open. Great. The old media refer to the most vibrant parts of new media as ‘social media’, which is not like the, well, unsociable media, whose job was to tell not listen. Those “gatekeepers” of truth have seen the doors to the temple blown open.
The Guardian is aghast. Andrew Smith says the “pedlars of fake news are corroding democracy”. Lots of voices being heard is the enemy of democracy, whereby lots of voices get heard. Got it? No, me neither. To put the tin lid on the snottiness, Smith writes in a section called – irony of ironies – “Comment Is Free”.
In the past week, however, the collective postmortem – on the left and right of politics – has focused on a concern with far greater long-term impact: the accidental or deliberate propagation of misinformation via social media.
Not media. Social media, something to be viewed with circumspection and the kind of disdain a Guardian writer usual reserves for tabloids. So nothing like the other sorts of fact-pure media, then.
Many millions of people saw and believed fake reports that the pope had endorsed Trump; Democrats had paid and bussed anti-Trump protesters; Hillary Clinton was under criminal investigation for sexually assaulting a minor.
Millions saw. Agreed. Millions believed? How do we know that? Where did we read that? Or do we just assume that Trump voters are all too thick to seek out objectivity and go and find the real story? You know, like proper journalists do – or don’t do, given that so much news is shaped by the journalism of attachment, exposing the dead and churning stories leaked in reams of data. Sod all that searching for truth and just cop a load of subjective facts and knowing angles.
About the only accusation not levelled at Clinton was implication in the murder of JFK, and that was because Trump had already used it against his Republican primary rival Ted Cruz. If democracy is predicated on reliable information, it’s in serious trouble right now.
Democracy is predicated on nothing other than one adult getting one vote. How you chose to be informed it up to you. There are lots of voices. Pick your poison. It might even be the case – get this – that media of all strains – social, anti-social, unsociable and that media that gets off on being tied to a radiator and forced to drink its own urine – presents a version of events of most appeal to its readership and their prejudices.
Social media is no enemy to democracy. On the contrary. The more voices we can tune into, the better for free thought and free speech.
PS: If you want to read some trusty news about US politicians, you can always turn to the Guardian and learn about George W. Bush’s fake turkey. That balls has been up on the paper’s site since 2003.
PPS: A fake news story about George W. Bush – a politician the Guardiancampaigned against – and a monocular news story about Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn being forced to sit on a train might lead you to think the Guardian is, like “corrosive” social media, a tad biased.
The peado-hunt has reached football. Following the grim news that young players were molested by coaches, the Mail leads its sports coverage with a story that Manchester City are in a “sex abuse probe”. Is the entire club is in some way linked to paedophilia? Surely not. It makes you hanker for those wholesome days of randy footballers, glamour models, spit roasts at the Grosvenor hotel and super-injunctions. Seedy stuff it was was, but always between consenting adults.
The Mail’s story is overblown. City are looking at the club’s links with convicted paedophile Barry Bennell, who “coached junior teams connected to City”. The club is doing the sensible thing and looking into if Bennell ever represented City. We don’t know if he did, let alone if he abused any youngsters on City’s books.
The Mail seems to be linking a Premier League club with a lower-league scandal – Bennell was employed by Crewe Alexandra.
Over in the Mirror, which has twice this week led with the story on its front page, page 9 features a remarkable headline: “Rooney tells footy sex victims: Don’t suffer in silence.” That’s Manchester United and England’s Wayne Rooney. He wants anyone who has suffered to contact the new NSPCC hotline. ‘NSPCC chief Peter Wanless hoped Rooney would “give courage to those who may be afraid of coming forward’,” says the paper. How? Rooney was not molested. How does Rooney’s endorsement help middle-aged men confront their past? It all carries a faint whiff of PR, a chance for leading figures to be on the side of the right against a wrong anyone sane should know is criminal and revolting. Creating a sense of moral purpose from the pursuit of child-abusers is crass. But that’s how the peado-panic has been manifest for years. Child abuse stopped being about the victims and listening to someone regardless of age and social rank with respect when they make an allegation and into the nation’s defining characteristic.
And so the Sun. Over two page it invites readers to work out an answer to the headline poser: “Is beast Bennell the Jimmy Savile of football world?” The helpful bit about getting to any answer is that Bennell is alive and we know where he is: (Milton Keynes, says the Mirror; he’s in “hiding”, says the Sun). That makes him only half like Savile, who is decomposing, having died a blameless national treasure. The unhelpful bit is that the Sun’s story contains not a single fact linking Bennell to Savile. Other than in the headline, the Sun’s story on a convicted paedophile contains only one mention of the gibbering Yorkshire DJ – “the scandal now described as “potentially worse than Savile“.’
It’s lamentable that something as abhorrent as child abuse should be sensationalised. When being against child abuse is your media’s campaign, the bar has been set lower than Savile’s upturned toes.
Paedo-hunting has been a national obsession. One good thing about it is that with so many of the people accused dead, police, MPs and media need offer no right of reply, proof and cough up for damages when the thing goes tits up. One downside is that people who actually knew some of the shameless dead are upset. The widow of the late Lord Leon Brittan is one of that number. Having seen her husband labelled “as close to evil as any human being could get” in Parliament (Tom Watson MP apologised, albeit after the innocent man had died), it did not escape Lady Brittan’s notice that the Met Police failed to tell Leon he had no case to answer before he died of cancer in January last year.
“I think, particularly for him, he should have known that he was innocent of the charges before he died, but that didn’t happen,” she tells the BBC. “…I think he kept it very much to himself because his major objective during those last few months was to get better, get well, do everything that he could to get well. I went to see him one afternoon and he said: ‘I’ve just been just been rung by the police.’ I said: ‘What’s it about?’ He said: ‘I’m not terribly sure, but I’ve just said to them I’ll ring my lawyers.’ And then the lawyers rang me, and then they said to me this is an old rape allegation, 47 years old, against Leon. And then, about a couple of weeks later, he was interviewed under caution. And at the end of it he felt absolutely assured in his own mind that would be the end of the matter…
“I learnt, it must have been in July of the following year after he died, from the Independent on Sunday that no further action would have been taken. I then got my lawyers to write to the police saying, ‘Was this story true?’, because they hadn’t bothered to inform me, and I suppose about a month later I got a reply.”
Never mind, eh. Maybe the huge Home Office inquiry into paedophiles operating decades ago will have more luck with their admin? Currently under investigation are:
Accountability and Reparations for Victims and Survivors of Abuse
Cambridge House, Knowl View and Rochdale
Children in Custodial Institutions
Children outside the UK
Child Sexual Exploitation by Organised Networks
The Anglican Church
The Roman Catholic Church
Not under investigation – yet – are: the Midland Bank, British Leyland, the RAC, the FA and… No, scratch that. The FA is now in the mire. Following the disturbing stories that former Spurs striker Paul Stewart was sexually assaulted by a youth coach as a child and Andy Woodward was abused by Crew Alexandra coach Barry Burnell, the Daily Mail declares: “The scandal that could be worse than Jimmy Savile: How football has been shaken to its core by tales of sexual abuse by monsters in tracksuits.”
Worse than Jimmy Savile? That would be gibbering disc jockey Jimmy Savile who abused hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people. He did. Be in no doubt about it. In 2013, Met Commander Peter Spindler, the man then leading the Jimmy Savile abuse probe, told the BBC that the celebrity had “groomed a nation”. Now the old bastard is worm food, the nation can heel.
But we can’t move on because although Savile was never arrested, charged let alone tried for his apparent depravity, his name has become the gage by which all perverts are measured. It’s not enough that young footballers were molested. It has to be a national travesty that they were. We should be calling for the forces of law and justice to investigate the accused, weigh the burden of proof and for all evidence to be tested in court. But instead of substance, we get hype.
In 2014, the Metropolitan police said ‘Nick’s’ stories of a cabal of wealthy and powerful perverts raping and killing children for sport were “credible and true”. If you say you were abused, then it is fact. So today British football is full of paedos. It’s no longer an inquiry if guilt is known before the facts have been looked at. It’s an inquisition. Nick’s stories were not credible and true. But instead of learning from ‘Nick’ and treating the next story with circumspection, we get panic.
In February, the Met attempted to save face. The Guardian headlined a story: “Met police may end policy of automatic belief of sex abuse complaints – Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe, writing in the Guardian, says police should test evidence ‘with open minds’.” You should no more assume every claim is credible and true than you can take it as read that an IC3 male driving a car is guilty of DWB (Driving Whilst Black).
If the past few seasons of paedo hunting have taught us anything it is that we should treat all accusations with a healthy scepticism, be on the look out for the next witch-hunt and wonder if in 30 years time we’ll be looking back and wondering why the police, Parliament and media were so obsessed with the dead and decrepit that they overlooked and were incurious about troubling stories and crimes happening today.
Transfer Balls: Liverpool are ready to pick up the hotline to Southampton FC and buy two more Saints’ players. The Star leads with news that Liverpool have £40m to spend on Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk and Sam McQueen.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, we read, is “confident” he can prise Van Djik away from the South Coast. Well, he has reason to fancy his chances. Southampton have been willing to sell lots of talent to Liverpool in the past few years – Sadio Mane, Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana are ex-Saints playing in the Liverpool first XI.
Oddly, the Star’s scoop contains not one single fact to support it.
And such is the way of Transfer Balls that when one newspaper says it, the others slavishly follow.
“LOYAL CUSTOMERS – Liverpool transfer news: Virgil van Dijk and Sam McQueen the latest Southampton players lined up by Reds,” says the Sun. “Jurgen Klopp believes the Dutch giant and classy full-back can help bolster the title-chasing Reds’ leaky defence.”
“Liverpool eyeing Sam McQueen swoop as Reds identify Southampton starlet as defensive target,” echoes the Mirror. The Mirror then guesses: “But they are unlikely to pursue a move for the defender until the summer, when he would become a free agent, after failing to agree a new contract with the south coast club.”
Will McQueen sign a new deal? The Southampton Echowrote in October: “For McQueen, born and bred in Southampton as a Saints fan, it was an almost overwhelmingly emotional moment to play at St Mary’s.”
McQueen told the Southampton FC website: “…you learn quickly, and Southampton has been amazing with coaching me and teaching me through the years, and recently becoming a left-back, with the manager giving me little coaching points here and there, which have been fantastic. So I’ve been learning a lot and enjoying it a lot, but there’s plenty, plenty more to learn – I know that.”
So will another product of Southampton’s prolific academy leave the club? Maybe. What is clear is that Southampton are getting something right.
In August, Southampton’s academy hosted an experiment. Youth players were grouped not according to age group but by a measure of size and physical maturity. The idea is to counter the Relative Age Effect, “a phenomenon that suggests that athletes at elite level are more likely to be born in the first 3 months after the eligibility cut-off date for a particular age group in sports.” The bigger boys in a school year get picked for the team. The rest get downhearted and discarded.
Gareth Bale’s football teacher at Southampton, Malcolm Elias, told the Times: “He [Bale] was injured a lot and some coaches used to think he was soft. Lots of people questioned whether he wanted it badly enough. I said, ‘Get off his case. He’s a July birthday, is left-footed and can run for fun; what more do you want?’”
But what of money? “You see kids now getting all these things and demanding £50,000 a week,” says Elias. “He[Bale] came here on an ordinary scholarship. There was no haggling, no pro contract. The family was just delighted he was getting an extended opportunity. He was on £45 a week.”
Southampton call McQueen “an incredibly well-spoken young man”. Look at Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, two Southampton graduates sold for big money at a young age to Arsenal. Both speak well and can articulate their thoughts.
Southampton now have an educational and skills programme running alongside the usual academy functions. This is about building leadership qualities in their young players. They want their future stars to be involved in decision-making on training and rehab, to broaden their minds with education, to widen their social skills, rather than treating them like infants.
“If you want leaders on the pitch, you have to develop their qualities off the pitch,” Les Reed, the technical director, said. “In many academies, education is seen as a waste of time, a distraction from the game. We think that it is central to player development. We need England players who don’t crumble when they are on a big stage and go one-nil down.”
Technology is harnessed and deployed:
In the black box, Koeman can ask to see detailed footage and stats on any player in the world or at the club’s academy. The aim is to make sure that the manager does not need to spend money on a new player when they have one in the pipeline who fits the bill. The complex is shiny and lovely but the principles have been honed over many years. While Arsenal and Manchester United curse how many of their players pick up injuries, Southampton seem serenely to be at full strength. They realised, while at their lowest ebb, in League One, that they simply could not afford to let Lallana become injured, so they devised a way of making sure that all their resources went into making sure their talisman stayed fit.
Southampton aim not for one player to make it thought the ranks and into the first team, but for four or five to progress and play the ‘Southampton way’.
“Our academy vision is to produce a first team year-on-year made up of 50% Academy graduates who are world-class in their technical ability on the field and behaviours off the field competing on the European stage,” say Southampton.
It would be another blow for Saints fans to see McQueen leave. But the club is in great shape. Liverpool, Arenal and other clubs might care to spend less time looking at the end product and more at the process.
The good new is that the next generation of prudes is on course to graduate from City University just as soon. The college’s student union has furthered democracy by voting to ban the sale of the Sun, Daily Express and Daily Mail from the campus. All papers have been ruled “facist” [sic] and “Islamophobiac” [sic] by the one percent of the student body that voted.
It used to be, of course, that the one percent referred to the gilded elite who exercised control over the proles. Now the 1% are the moral elite who think the 99% are the gilded, ignorant elite. If Labour and Jeremy Corbyn need to know why they won’t win a General Election, they should look at that 1% as their new core vote.
Also, it’s a tad ironic that the vote was more loaded than a Daily Express phone poll. But both newspaper and student union have a little way to go before they can emulate Saddam Hussein who in 2002 famously won 100% support from 11,445,638 eligible Iraqi voters.
In a vote on a motion called – and get this for title Joe Stalin would just love (deep breath) – Opposing Fascism and Social Divisiveness in the UK Media – these anti-fascists agreed that banning newspapers is just, right, progressive and human.
What does it all mean? Well, the “Press Gazette understands there are no retail outlets for newspapers on the campus”.
So you can bring your own to school, like these fine anti-fascists are doing.
Apparently, student fascists are now putting tabloids all over the campus (see photo above). Che Guevara is so out of date. If you students want to a real poster to showcase your rebellious credentials, slap up a picture of Vicky from Hounslow.
This abusing of whites by whites is pathetic. The knowing used to be content with labelling a whole group of people ‘white trash’, sub-human rubbish identifiable by Londsale logos and slack-jaws. This hideous social racist term dehumanises a whole group of people as human dross – which is what Nazis and jihadis do.
Tired of outing the likes of Coleen Rooney as “a superchav” (Sunday Times) for having ideas above her station and appearing on the Vogue cover, branding Jade Goody “a vile, pig-ignorant, racist, bully consumed by envy of a woman of superior intelligence, beauty and class” (The Sun), belittling “Essex Man“ and giving Stephen Lawrence’s killers an excuse by calling their home town a “White Man’s Gulch”, an “E-reg Escort-land” (Daily Mirror) of uniformly hateful creatures, the new way for the right sort of whites to boost their self-esteem is to call out rich whites.
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn lambasts Donald Trump and Nigel Farage as “rich, white, fake anti-elitists”.
There is no safe space to be white in public unless you are accusing other whites of some collective crime for which they should be ashamed. If you want to assure yourself that you’re the right kind of white, you can wear a safety pin on your clothes. Speaking to the BBC, Allison (she don’t want to give her full name), who seems to come up with the idea, opined: “If people wear the pin and support the campaign they are saying they are prepared to be part of the solution. It could be by confronting racist behaviour, or if that is not possible at least documenting it. More generally it is about reaching out to people and letting them know they are safe and welcome.”
It’s virtue signalling for people who have a pretty low view of humanity, who assume that only mentally negligible dupes and racists voted for Brexit or Trump. It’s long been assumed that you can spot by a bigot by their Klan hood, Nazi walk, raised jihadi finger or far-Left and far-Right politics. But stick on a safety pin and the pin heads position themselves in a moral station above all the non-pin wearers now cast as suspected bigots. Nazis made the Untermensch wear symbols to advertise their wrong-thinking and bad morals so their betters would know them; the new morally elite wear symbols to show their cultural superiority.
It’s weak to attack abuse an entire racial group. Debate and ridicule your enemies by all means. Name call if you like – but do try to be imaginative and gloriously bitchy. Just leave race and colour out of it. It makes you look like a snobby and envious twat.
After parking carefully you approached the front door, on which was posted a long handwritten list of house rules – No Long-Haired Lefties, No Tee Shirts, No Trainers, No CND-ers and so on. The Squire himself usually presided over his empire in 18th century style attire including knee breeches and an eye glass. He was spectacularly rude, usually for no good reason, and was prone to outrageous behaviour. He once poured the ice bucket down a customer’s trousers because his shirt had come untucked and he was therefore “undressed”. A large pair of scissors was kept behind the bar so he could snip off any ties which offended him. Should a customer not have parked sufficiently neatly, he would call out their number plates through a megaphone, demanding they adjust the vehicle now. The walls were adorned with large weapons which he sometimes used for chasing people out of the building.
Londoners will recall Soho’s Wong Kei, a restaurant famed for its surly staff. When the new owner promised to offer a more genteel dining experience, patrons complained. Andrew Lebentz wrote: “Please don’t make Wong Kei a polite place to eat – the best thing about it is the rude staff.” James Bollen added: “RIP London’s most masochistic dining experience in Chinatown.“ Even Daniel Luc, who too over the place in 2014, said: “Maybe there was an issue with rude staff 20 to 30 years ago, but I don’t think so any more. I don’t know whether that’s a good thing or not.”
So more power to Sophie Theallet, whose snootiness should have them flocking. She is now The Rudest Designer in the USA. She should put that on a T-shirt.
At the Spikedtalk on free speech, freedom of worship and repression, the conversation turned to the Ashers cake story. In 2015, a judge ruled that a Christian-run bakery in Northern Ireland discriminated against a gay customer by refusing to make a cake carrying a pro-gay marriage slogan.
That was then, of course, We’ve moved on. A hijab-wearing Muslim woman’s victory in BBC TV’s Great British Bake Off showed us that 2016 is a post-identity haven for bakers, where non-whites can make biscuits, scones and even quiche. As one Guardian writer noted, “Nadiya managed to defuse the negative, politicised and stereotypical discourse surrounding Muslims in one beat of a whisk.”
Making cakes is no longer a burning issue. Buying and selling them, however, remains a hot topic.
And there must be a myriad industries where prejudice festers. If you look very closely, sometimes in the dust on the factory floor, you can find something to feel upset about.
The sensible thing is to evoke the Rooney Rule for not just football but for all businesses.
The FA are considering introducing the Rooney Rule to the UK. The Rule states that league teams must interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs. For every vacancy, the club must interview a BAME candidate. There are no guarantees the ethnic minority candidate will get the job because the rule will not be extended to club owners and heads of HR, who must be viewed as suspected racists. (Encouragingly, however, 14 of the 20 Premier League clubs have foreign ownership.) Their roles must also be opened to scrutiny. We propose that one in six persons applying for any job at or in the vicinity of a football club must be from an ethnic minority – this includes referees and other officials, TV crew, newspaper reporters, their editors, cleaning staff, security and the people who appear at half time to make holes in the turf with pitchforks. Companies often recruit from within, so the revolution must be throughout an organisation.
And where football leads, the rest follow. The State has a rich history of using football as a testing ground for new types of control – see Hillsborough, censorship of fans like Celtic’s Green Brigade and Tottenham’s Yid Army, and the Football (Disorder) Act 2000. If the Rooney Rule is to be fair and progressive, let’s introduce it to the bakery, the building trade, the Commons, the Royal Family, the BBC and elsewhere?
Every time you want, say, a cake made you must first interview 6 bakers, one of whom should be BAME*, one a religionist, one a homosexual and so on. The same for when you hire a carpenter, plumber, hairdresser, lawyer, gardener, head of MI6, astronaut or estate agent. Data will be added to your Race Card and stored at headquarters. Anyone at the bottom will be re-educated. Those at the top will get to wear a badge proving their rank as a State-approved non-racist and national treasure.
PS: BAME stands for Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic. Good news for Muslims, Jews and Mormons – you’re now all lumped in one all-embracing, special acronym. It makes things easier to control. How’s that for progress?
Are you old enough at 15 to to go into the world and forge a life on our own? Two months ago, on September 6, Arthur Heeler-Frood, 15, declared himself “bored with life” and left his family home in Axminster, Devon. Clutching a raft of top GCSE grades and £350 the young scholar struck out.
He’s a thoughtful young chap, writing a note to his parents, assuring them that he’d back within a year.
To Mum and Dad,
I have run away because I am bored of my life. Please don’t try to find me or make me come home.
I don’t know how long I will be away for but it won’t be longer than a year. You will find my school uniform in a bin bag in a small barn in the field on the green, down the road near Membury Church.
My bike is chained to the fence and there is a spare key to the lock on the window. Please apologise to the restaurant and tell them that I will no longer be able to work there.
I know you will be upset but understand that I have to do this,
After two months on the lam, Arthur is now back home. Someone spotted him ten miles (Times) / nine miles (Guardian) from the family residence, told police and they picked him up at Honiton railway station in Devon at about 4.30pm.
Mrs Heeler-Frood tells the Guardian of her son: “We’ve just got home with him and want a little bit of time to talk to him. He was coming home. He is fine and well.”
Oddly the Guardian begins its story by stating, “A grammar school boy missing for two months…” Does his passing entrance exams to a selective school make him seem more or less capable of surviving and thriving on his own? Are we to read that grammar school pupils can be just as selfish and thick as their comprehensive school educated peers?
The paper then adds:
Arthur’s frantic parents, Caroline and Jeremy Heeler-Frood, had wondered if he had sneaked abroad, possibly inspired by George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London, which he had just been reading.
You see where reading gets you? Yeah, Honiton. (And isn’t it good data-led academics to escape university safe spaces and get out more. Brexit and Trump taught us they should, right.)
Of course, there are other books to inspire travel. Jim Hawkins was 12 or 13 when he was inspired to board a boat:
I remember him as if it were yesterday, as he came plodding to the inn door, his sea-chest following behind him in a hand-barrow—a tall, strong, heavy, nut-brown man, his tarry pigtail falling over the shoulder of his soiled blue coat, his hands ragged and scarred, with black, broken nails, and the sabre cut across one cheek, a dirty, livid white. I remember him looking round the cover and whistling to himself as he did so, and then breaking out in that old sea-song that he sang so often afterwards:
“Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest— Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!”
You make your own stories.
So, is 15 too young to leave school and kick out for adventure and work? On 1 September 1972, the school leaving age was raised from 15 to 16. It was all right for many then, but now they want you in full-time study til your 18 at least.
The Education and Skills Act 2008 increased the minimum age at which young people in England can leave learning. This requires them to continue in education or training to the age of 17 from 2013 and to 18 from 2015. Young people will be able to choose whether to stay in full-time education, undertake work-based learning such as an Apprenticeship, or part-time education or training if they are employed, self-employed or volunteering for more than 20 hours per week.
Is that an improvement or a constraint? Is all this education creating a bubble?
Over to you, Jim Lad:
What a supper I had of it that night, with all my friends around me; and what a meal it was, with Ben Gunn’s salted goat and some delicacies and a bottle of old wine from the Hispaniola. Never, I am sure, were people gayer or happier. And there was Silver, sitting back almost out of the firelight, but eating heartily, prompt to spring forward when anything was wanted, even joining quietly in our laughter—the same bland, polite, obsequious seaman of the voyage out.
Meghan Markle might no longer be in the UK, but Prince Harry Baseball-Cap’s “girl” is all over the Mail’s front page.
It is an “exclusive encounter” with Meghan Markle.
Scoop or what?
It’s only been a few days since Harry was complaining about the Press treating the celebrity Prince like a celebrity and abusing his lover. He is upset by “reporters and photographers trying to gain illegal entry to Meghan’s home”. Should we feel sympathy for Meghan? It’s “preposterous to claim that the publicity-hungry Ms Markle is a hapless victim,” said Sarah Vine in the Mail
No. She isn’t. She spoke with Piers Morgan in June “months before the world learned about her Royal relationship”.
Words about Harry in this front-page exclusive? None.
So if not Prince Harry, what did she talk about?
Meghan revealed some more obscure secrets about herself – such as the fact that she is a trained calligrapher who wrote the invitation cards and envelopes for pop singer Robin Thicke’s 2005 wedding.
Is that like the secret she revealed in 2014, when she told Fashion:
“I could either wait tables or use a skill I had that I could do on my own time,” she says. Markle’s calligraphy led to her addressing envelopes for Robin Thicke and Paula Patton’s wedding and writing Dolce & Gabbana’s holiday correspondence.
And the death threats? The Mail reports:
…she was bombarded with hate messages when her character in the US drama series Suits, Rachel Zane, cheated on her boyfriend in the show. She said: ‘People wanted to kill me! Not Rachel… ME. I never knew there were so many emojis with guns and knives. It was very unpleasant. Fortunately, Rachel got back on her pedestal and it stopped.’
“Prince Harry’s girlfriend Meghan Markle’s terrifying death threats,” screams the Daily Mirror. Butthose threats were nothing to do with her dating Prince Harry.
Elsewhere in today’s Mail, you can read:
The Mail exclusively revealed images of Meghan this week out in Kensington, near Harry’s home at Kensington Palace.
Time to once again revisit the pledge made by the Mail on 8 September 1997, eight days after the death of Princess Diana:
“The proprietor of the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Evening Standard announced last night that his papers will not in future purchase pictures taken by paparazzi
“Viscount Rothermere, chairman of the Daily Mail and General Trust plc said: ‘I am, and always have been, an admirer of Diana, Princess of Wales, and nagged my editors to protect her so far as they could against her powerful enemies. In view of Earl Spencer’s strong words and my own sense of outrage, I have instructed my editors no ‘paparazzi’ pictures are to be purchased without my knowledge and consent.'”
The United Kingdom is “At The Back of The Queue,” says the Daily Mirror. The front-page headline echoes the words of Barack Obama, who thoughtfully flew to the country to remind British citizens that a vote for Brexit would mean the country relegated to the foot of the international business league table. Vote for Brexit and British companies seeking to do business with the US would be behind Germany, France, Egypt and Chad. At first glance, then, the headline looks sarcastic.
So much for being at the back of that queue, Barack, with Donald Trump in charge, a man with solid links to the UK, we’ll be closer to the front.
But the Mirror is serious. It says that after becoming President-elect, Trump only called Theresa May after first speaking with nine world leaders.
We’re Number 10!
The UK got the call after Trump dialled Ireland, Egypt, India, Mexico, Australia, South Korea, Japan, Turkey and Israel. He then called the UK. Yes, that means that after Ireland, the UK is the second most important European Union nation in Trump’s pecking order – ahead for France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The Mirror calls this a “snub”. But isn’t it progress? In 2009, the Guardian reported: “Barack Obama snubs Gordon Brown over private talks – White House spurned five requests from PM’s aides for bilateral meeting.” The Telegraph noted: “Barack Obama rebuffs Gordon Brown as ‘special relationship’ sinks to new low.”
In other Special Relationship news, the Mail says May is Trump’s Tatcher.
And the Express says Trump will help the UK thrive after leaving the EU.
Having read in the tabloids that Trump is both dire and great for UK-US relations, the Mirror lists on Page 3 – after more headlines of doom (“A new danger for the world order”; “Poor start to Special Relationship”) “10 reasons Donald might not be all that bad”. That comes after Thursday’s front page which predicted a Trump-triggered armageddon.
At number 3, the Mirror notes:
“OK, so he didn’t get round to ringing Theresa May for a while. But his mother is Scottish. He has many business interests in the UK. And he;s a big fan of Brexit. He will probably want to hug us close”
And at Number 10: “”Starting WW3 is not in his interests.”
To recap: the Mirror hasn’t got a clue what a Trump Presidency means. But if it can scare the readers, why not?
It’s been a while since Sir Cliff Richard featured on the BBC. Last night Sir Cliff was on The One Show, BBC One’s early evening magazine program. Cliff wasn’t there to asks the BBC why it chose to broadcast live a police raid on his home in 2014, something he’s suing them for. He was there to promote his new album, Just…Fabulous Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Anyone wonder why Sir Cliff is now back on the Beeb?
You might recall how in 2008, Sir Cliff opined in the Express: “When I hear myself on the radio I pretty much phone a friend and send a bottle of champagne round. I’m so excited to get one play.”
Why was Sir Cliff so amazed to be played? Well, it could be linked to Chris Evans (now a DJ on BBC Radio 2). The Mail noted:
In the same year, Radio 1 DJ Chris Evans announced he would not be playing the singer’s records on his breakfast show and even went as far as to smash up his discs on air.
In 2004, Tony Blackburn was suspended from his show on Classic Gold for defying an order not to play Sir Cliff’s tracks.
In 2011, Absolute Radio ’60s banned Cliff’s tunes. DJ Pete Mitchell claimed: “Timeless acts of the decade that remain relevant today are the Beatles, the Stones, the Doors and the Who, not Sir Cliff.”
From the University of Michigan-Flint’s Trump-proof safe safe, we hear news from Virginia Tech. Students have received an email entitled “Support & Community Today”.
“Many in our community, and among us, are waking up with fear, anxiety, concern, questions, and confusion among many other emotions,” begins the missive. It notes that “not every member of our community has felt they belong. And today, this may feel almost insurmountable.”
And then it gets really creepy: “I want you to hear clearly that you are loved. You deserve wellness. You deserve to thrive. You deserve community.”
You’d think any college with such a low opinion of their low-esteem student body would be laughed at. “All of your emotions are real,” the email continues. “And your decision is yours.”
And on it goes.
At Stanford University – motto: “The wind of freedom blows (Die Luft der Freiheit weht) – more students are being offered refuges.
Miley Cyrus has been crying. She’s upset with democracy and the choice made by tens of millions of people for allowing Donald Trump to become President of the USA. Other Americans are letting off fireworks and hoarding bottles for Mazel Tov cocktails should the street fighting demand it. As Miley Cyrus (singer; unelected) cries for a return to feudalism and monarchy – she should lament a Democrat Party too narrow and uninspiring to challenge Hillary Clinton; just as the weak GOP was too inept to stop Trump – Owen Jones is talking to Guardian readers about the horror of all that hope and change.
Donald Trump’s victory reflects a rightwing thriving in a vacuum. There must be a plan to counter that threat.
Well, yes. The Left is bereft of ideas and direction. It’s not all that into trusting people to forge their own paths and freedom of speech. The authoritative and censorious Left demands rules and laws to control people into doing ‘the right thing’.
Trump’s victory is one of the biggest calamities to befall the west and the effect is that every racist, woman-hater, homophobe and rightwing authoritarian feels vindicated.
After insulting everyone who voted for illiberal Trump and rejected enlightened Hillary Clinton – the woman seeking to “destroy” “bimbos” who accused her husband of sexual impropriety; who cheered for war; who played identity politics and lost to a man who played that game better; and who, yes, must certainly have been the victim of some degree misogyny in a country that likes its leading woman to be an unelected ‘Lady’ – packaging people in neat boxes and building a pyramid of desirables to deplorables – and lost – Jones suggests its time the Left wooed the people it’s portrayed as thick, racist and problems to be controlled and re-educated through therapeutic means.
Where to begin in bridging the chasm between the Left’s culturally superior elites and the people they deride? Get this for snooty:
Multiple factors explain this calamity. First: racism. The legacy of slavery means racism is written into the DNA of US society. The determined efforts by African Americans to claim their civil rights has been met with a vicious backlash. The exit polls suggest that Trump won a landslide among both male and female white non-graduates: only white women with degrees produced a majority for Hillary Clinton.
A vote for Trump is a vote for racism. Trump’s wife is an immigrant – and a female (she voted for him, right?) – over 30% of Latinos backed Trump – are they thick racists, too?
Centrists have an easy retort. OK, smug radical, if we’re not the answer, let’s hear you list the flourishing leftwing governments, describe how the left bridges its divide?
Stop portraying Trump voters as Untermensch.
And, of course, they have a point. The style and culture of the radical left is often shaped by university-educated young people (a group that includes me). They are a growing and diverse group; often they hail from modest backgrounds. But their priorities, their rhetoric and their outlook is often radically different to older working-class voters in small town England, France or the US. Both groups are critical to building a victorious electoral coalition, and yet they are, indeed, divided.
That must change. Unless the left is rooted in working-class communities – from the diverse boroughs of London to the ex-mill towns of the north, unless it speaks a language that resonates with those it once saw as its natural constituency, shorn of contempt for working-class values or priorities, then it has no political future.
And here’s the news: the things the knowing Left believe the working class care about are not what the working class care about. They want opportunity not patronage. They want freedom.
The Democratic electorate also believed that, with the election of an African-American President and the rise of marriage equality and other such markers, the culture wars were coming to a close. Trump began his campaign declaring Mexican immigrants to be “rapists”; he closed it with an anti-Semitic ad evoking “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”; his own behavior made a mockery of the dignity of women and women’s bodies. And, when criticized for any of it, he batted it all away as “political correctness.” Surely such a cruel and retrograde figure could succeed among some voters, but how could he win?
They got lazy.
But what about women? In 2000, we were told that women feel uneasy about Hillary:
Mandy Grunwald—a consultant who worked closely with the Clintons in 1992, as media director of the campaign—notes that women in politics often make other women uncomfortable: “They feel threatened—they’re looking at a woman who is close to their age and has made totally different choices.” Hillary, she says, “forces them to ask questions about themselves and the choices they’ve made that they don’t necessarily want to ask.”
She forced them to wonder: is there only one woman the Democrat Party thinks good enough to be leader?
Maybe it’s just all about Hillary Clinton and what she epitomises? Let’s go back to 2000, when Peggy Noonan was making The Case Against Hillary Clinton. Daniel Finkelstein retells a moment from that book:
In January 2000 Hillary Clinton, First Lady of the United States of America, appeared on The Late Show and she did well. Laughing it up with the late-night TV host David Letterman she was relaxed and funny.
Then Letterman changed the subject. He was, he said, going to ask her some questions about New York. Since it was already clear she would be a candidate for the Senate for that state, she looked earnest. A mistake might cost her dear.
But she didn’t make a mistake. Sometimes she had to grope a little for an answer. Sometimes she pondered and appeared uncertain. But she didn’t make any errors. It was pretty impressive stuff. The next day, however, the reason for this straight-A performance became clear. She’d been given the questions in advance. The uncertainty had been an act.
Trust, eh. Hillary was neither worthy of trust not trusted the voters.
At the end, Trump, the Reality TV star, beat Hollywood Hillary.
Big media cheered for Hillary Clinton. Then Donald Trump won. The blinkered, biased and monocular media missed the story. Unable to examine, understand and sympathise with Trump voters, they echoed Hillary’s description of them as “deplorables”. White working class Americans were just another problematic special group in a top-down, divisive, barrier-building, illiberal, condescending narrative guffed out by a coterie of know-alls under whose wings these lesser people – Latinos, blacks, gays, Muslims and women – could be protected, cosseted and above all kept in their place. Hillary wanted to smashed a glass ceiling. She represented an elite that doesn’t allow the great unwashed to see that high.
Every American makes the same pledge of allegiance. There are no caveats for every focus group and – dread word – community? You get one vote each.
Today the Guardian faced the facts. Democracy won the day. Trump – that terrifying and marvellous orange lunk- will be President Trump:
The polls were wrong. And because we are obsessed with predicting opinions rather than listening to them, we didn’t see it coming.president will be Donald Trump.
President Trump: A colossal failure for democracy, and our terrifying new reality
No. Still not getting it. Democracy won.
Simon Maloy laments the millions and millions and millions of idiots that failed to, well, agree with him:
…all the democratic institutions that are supposed to prevent something like this from happening, or at least warn us about it. Donald Trump, a candidate who ran an openly racist campaign, who is as proud a misogynist as you’ll find anywhere, who is manifestly ignorant of public policy, who is brusquely authoritarian, who has little respect or understanding of democratic norms, and who embodies every moral failing that’s supposed to disqualify a candidate from higher office, has apparently been elected the next president of the United States.
The markets are collapsing, the globe is reeling, and nobody can quite explain what the hell happened. But here’s what this failure will mean. The climate, which is warming precipitously, is now guaranteed to continue along that trajectory toward global catastrophe.
“Why America failed,” says Think Progress.
The only comfort anyone can feel tonight is that the human brain lacks the capacity to process true enormity. We will not understand what this election means.
From the Guardian. The poor lambs of the liberal elite feel hated. Well, now they know how millions of Americans felt for decades when they were written off as dumb, backward, lizard-brained rednecks and cretins and made into the butt of every East Coast comics’ joke and the target of every decent politicians’ sneer. Sow hatred, get hatred.
America is a nation of many economies, but those that produce real, tangible things — food, fiber, energy and manufactured goods — went overwhelmingly for Trump. He won virtually every state from Appalachia to the Rockies, with the exceptions of heavily Hispanic Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico, and President Obama’s home base of Illinois.
Some of his biggest margins were in energy states — Texas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Wyoming, North Dakota — where the fracking revolution created a burst of prosperity. . . .
Class has been a bigger factor in this election than in any election since the New Deal era. Trump’s insurgency rode largely on middle- and working-class fears about globalization, immigration and the cultural arrogance of the “progressive” cultural elite. This is something Bill Clinton understands better than his wife.
Trump owes his election to what one writer has called “the leftover people.” These may be “deplorables” to the pundits but their grievances are real – their incomes and their lifespans have been decreasing. They have noticed, as Thomas Frank has written, that the Democrats have gone “from being the party of Decatur to the party of Martha’s Vineyard.”
Many of these voters were once Democrats, and feel they have been betrayed.
The voters were looked down on. You do that for long enough, and the people look elsewhere for some of that change and hope.
Oh, and get this: the new President’s wife, well, she’s an immigrant! Spin your head on that.
David Cohen notices that the media got it all wrong on Donald Trump:
As someone who has given decades to the media life, may I just say what a disgraceful job my fellow Scribes and Pharisees in the biz did this year. Rather than trying to explain, understand or sensitively report on the Trump uprising, they ran and ran and ran with a narrative based on their own set view. Now they stand revealed as total chumps. So really, if any soul-searching is to be done, it ought to start with this crowd of mountebanks.
To Thornbury, south Gloucestershire, where swimmers at the Thornbury Leisure Centre hear music in the changing rooms. Hilary Kingswood, 64, says the music is “chronic” and “annoying”.
Music should be joyous. “Music is the best means we have of digesting time,” said Igor Stravinsky.
Kurt Vonnegut noted:
If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:
THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
Neither made their remarks while doing laps at a public pool in the early morning.
“Beforehand it was peaceful, but having this music is such an intrusion, something that no one has asked for,” Hilary adds. “We don’t need it and all it does is ruin the peaceful atmosphere that many of us want for an early morning swim. If people want to take music into the gym, they take headphones anyway.
Kate Hand, 62, adds: “I put my towel on, packed my bag, got in my car and went home to get ready for work. It is not that loud anywhere else in the centre, so why it has to be there I don’t know. We are customers and our opinion should be heard, but it seems like they don’t want to change anything.”
Andy Robinson, the centre manager, says: Music can be both motivational and relaxing and we hope it doesn’t hinder Mrs Kingswood and Mrs Hand from maintaining a healthy lifestyle.”
Well, it is raising their heart rates.
Friedrich Nietzsche has a word:
God has given us music so that above all it can lead us upwards. Music unites all qualities: it can exalt us, divert us, cheer us up, or break the hardest of hearts with the softest of its melancholy tones. But its principal task is to lead our thoughts to higher things, to elevate, even to make us tremble…
The musical art often speaks in sounds more penetrating than the words of poetry, and takes hold of the most hidden crevices of the heart… Song elevates our being and leads us to the good and the true. If, however, music serves only as a diversion or as a kind of vain ostentation it is sinful and harmful.
And annoying. Other people’s music can be truly awful.
Silence is golden, as the psychiatrist Paul Goodman observed:
Not speaking and speaking are both human ways of being in the world, and there are kinds and grades of each. There is the dumb silence of slumber or apathy; the sober silence that goes with a solemn animal face; the fertile silence of awareness, pasturing the soul, whence emerge new thoughts; the alive silence of alert perception, ready to say, “This… this…”; the musical silence that accompanies absorbed activity; the silence of listening to another speak, catching the drift and helping him be clear; the noisy silence of resentment and self-recrimination, loud and subvocal speech but sullen to say it; baffled silence; the silence of peaceful accord with other persons or communion with the cosmos.
Human skill fills the voice in Manchester, where bin collecting has become a luxury. You’d think getting rid of human waste would be a priority for any Western society, living longer and better on the back of improved hygiene and the availability of fresh water and cheap food. But in Manchester, collecting rubbish is a lifestyle choice.
Some householders in Greater Manchester are paying a private firm to empty their bins. Many are angry because some councils have reduced rubbish collections in an attempt to cut costs, and to motivate people to recycle more.
You’re motivated to recycle by having overflowing bins? Maybe not. For every problem, ingenious humanity conjures a solution:
A local businessman who bought himself a truck eighteen months ago is now emptying up to 800 bins a week.
Between 1 August and the end of October 2016 we’re taking your old rubbish bin away and replacing it with a new, smaller grey one. We’ll put an information sticker on your old bin on the collection day 2 weeks before the swap.
On the day of your swap we’ll take away your old bin and recycle it.
We’ll leave new grey bins outside front doors or in front gardens, anytime during the day until 7pm. Your address will be on your new bin.
We can’t let you keep your old larger bin – the switch to smaller bins is to help cut the amount of waste from grey/black bins and increase recycling – so we won’t empty old bins after the swap.
Coun Nigel Murphy, the council’s executive member for neighbourhoods, said: “When recyclable waste is put into the wrong bin, money is being needlessly being thrown away. Taking this action to boost Manchester’s recycling rates now will save the city almost £2.5m every year in waste disposal costs, helping to protect the vital council services that residents care about for the long-term future, while also helping the environment.
“Doing nothing is not an option and we are determined to work with residents to ensure that as much waste as possible is recycled.”
In steps Bury Bins.
Josh Morris, a 25-year-old businessman who is licensed to handle environmental waste, manages the bin collection service in Greater Manchester.
Local authority rubbish collection day – green wheelie bin being loaded onto a refuse cart, UK ALAMY
After starting in his hometown Bury, he quickly expanded his services to nearby Rochdale and Oldham due to a huge spike in demand.
He told the Daily Mail: “I started with a van last year. Now I have three trucks collecting 200 bins a day.”
He sends the rubbish he collects to a private sorting plant.
Says Josh of Busy Bins, “…apart from the regular emptying of their bin, they absolutely love the fact we put their bins back outside their home & not down the road.”
“Many households struggle to keep on top of their rubbish following the reduced bin size, citing problems with overflowing bins, fly-tipping, bad smells and increased problems from flies and rats.
“It’s a problem that a significant number of households’ face and our service provides people with the option to have their bin emptied before it is overflowing”.
People will pay for a good service. Demand and supply, right?