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Key Posts | Anorak - Part 10

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Caption writers protect the Easter Bunny from would-be Trump assassins and Elma Fudd

The President of the United States is on the LEFT.

 

trump bunny left caption

 

“Excellent use of parentheses. Bravo caption writers.” tweets @Zoeparamour.

“Sometimes Breaking News comes at exactly the perfect moment” adds @Melissajpeltier.

 

donald trump rabbit

 

Spotter: Twitter/@MelissaJPeltier & Twitter/@ZoeParamour

Posted: 22nd, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, TV & Radio | Comment


Donald Trump gets to work on his Nobel Peace Prize

trump bomb

 

Russian and US relations are are at all time low. Well, so say the papers. Two big players in the Balkanisation of the Middle East are at loggerheads. How did this happen?

Ever since Donald Trump became President stories of his ties with the Russian regime have ridden high on the news cycle. Talking and doing business with Russia were portrayed as wrong. We were even told that Trump was Vladimir Putin’s puppet. A video of Trump being urinated on by prostitutes in a Moscow bedroom was being used to blackmail the leader of the free world. Well, so they said. We never did see the tape. And big deal that a reality TV star should feature in such a sodden sex video. The footage might even explain why Kim Kardashian’s husband, Kanye Went, feels comfortable hanging out with The Donald.

What’s odd is that from being in Putin’s pocket, Trump is now striking a blow for freedom and the American way.

He achieved this by bombing a Syrian airbase. Dinners and sex are bad. Bombs are good. So goes the narrative. So much for Trump’s isolationism and withdrawal from the Middle East. To be Presidential you need to bomb the hell out of another country.

Interventionism is the American way. Trump is the commander in chief who can order the U.S. military into action whenever it suits his judgment. And if the enemy is horrific enough, it’s all good.

Trump was pricked into action by news that Syria’s President Assad had used chemical weapons on his own people. The use of such weapons was President Obama’s red line. Assad is, said White House spokesman Sean Spicer, worse than Hitler – words that demean the Holocaust and echo the Left’s pre-bombing view that Trump is Hitler incarnate.

Interfering in someone else’s war means taking sides. In the hierarchy of killing machines, chemical weapons are worse than Syrian ‘rebels’ pulling up alongside busloads of evacuees and blowing up 126 of them – including 68 children. Pick your poison. We’re going with the rebels. They seem nice.

And so just a few months into office and Trump is morphing into his predecessors: positioning America as the word’s great therapeutic power and well-armed moral policeman. Vote Tump. Get Hillary Clinton. No need to explain your domestic policy and do the hard bits. Just look for something nasty on the world’s woodshed and blow it up.

And Trump’s got a taste for the Establishment’s way. No sooner had he fired missiles into Syria, then he dropped a massive bomb on Afghanistan. He’s rattling his sabre at North Korea. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the era of “strategic patience” is over. Pyongyang should prepare.

This is how you win the Nobel Peace Prize. President Obama scored his in 2009. His administration oversaw the “expansion of the CIA’s targeted killing program, which the Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates has killed between 2,528 and 3,648 individuals in Pakistan since 2004… Among those civilians, according to Amnesty International, was a Pakistani grandmother killed alongside 18 civilian laborers in a 2012 strike. The grandmother’s family came to Washington, D.C., last month to testify before Congress and urge an end to drone warfare.”

Trump’s no disruptor. He’s more of the same old. When it’s hard at home the President defines America by his adventures overseas. And the media always cheers.

 

Posted: 17th, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews | Comment


Videos of children being terrified by the Easter Bunny

Did the Easter Bunny bring you the egg you wanted?

 

easter egg pooh winnie alien

 

Not everyone loves the Easter Bunny.  On YouTube there are lots of videos of well-meaning / unhinged parents scaring the crap out of their children by dressing up in bunny suits.

 

Posted: 16th, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Strange But True | Comment


Huffington Post writer says white men should be denied the right to vote

intolerance Huffington Post white vote only GarlandIf you’re looking for something really dumb, reactionary, horrible and bigoted don’t bother with Kelvin Mackenzie. Look instead to the Huffington Post, where Shelley Garland puts her case for denying the vote to all white men.

Just when you thought we’d reached the nadir of self-righteous first world loathing someone digs their nails further into their flesh and pulls out a new nugget soaked in the puss of identity politics. She tells us – irony of ironies – that denying the vote to millions of people based on the colour of their skin and genitals would strike a blow FOR progress. Garland says you white men are the Untermensch. You are not an individual. You are an ambulatory cipher. You exist to represent. And you are a mistake in need of correcting.

And in case any enlightened women, blacks, Jews, Muslims and others want to support white male suffrage by voting one of these sub-humans into office, Garland says no white man will be allowed to hold any position of authority. They will also have their assets seized and “redistributed”.

She begins:

Some of the biggest blows to the progressive cause in the past year have often been due to the votes of white men. If white men were not allowed to vote, it is unlikely that the United Kingdom would be leaving the European Union, it is unlikely that Donald Trump would now be the President of the United States, and it is unlikely that the Democratic Alliance would now be governing four of South Africa’s biggest cities.

Upset that the democratic one adult one vote rule has produced the ‘wrong’ results, Garland would like to maintain the establishment by denying anyone white and male the legal means to bring about change. Garland wants a new caste system where she is at the top and her kind know best.

You can read more of her revolting opinion or just file Garland’s regressive, illiberal, anti-human nastiness with the thousands of other HuffPost and Guardian anti-egalitarian articles on how white people are stupid and that we should all be on our guard against – get this – Nazis.

 

Posted: 15th, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comment


Facebook and Google stuff the fake news turkey

Thanks to the Facebook system you can know what is and is not fake news. In “How to spot fake news” Facebook offers its millions of slack-jawed readers 10 tips for spotting fake news. One signal points to bad spelling. Apparently, all true news sources have impeccable spelling. The Guardian is doomed, as is anything seen through the prism of Google translate.

Adam Mosseri, head of Facebook’s newsfeed, explains the purge on fake news: “False news is harmful to our community, it makes the world less informed, and it erodes trust.” Doesn’t it make the world more informed, albeit with more questionable news and facts? Mosseri says Facebook’s missive is “an educational tool to help people spot false news”.

No longer a handy tool for bragging about your kids, reaching out to mates and simple, glorious entertainment, Facebook is now a text book from which we can all look and learn. It is devoid of bias. It just present the facts. Really.

And where one follows the fake news trend, another follows the follower. Google has created “Fact Check”. Click on it and Google will show you which stories have been checked and given the Google seal of approval. “We think it’s still helpful for people to understand the degree of consensus around a particular claim and have clear information on which sources agree,” says Google. “As we make fact checks more visible in search results, we believe people will have an easier time reviewing and assessing these fact checks, and making their own informed opinions.”

Who checks the checkers? And why should consensus be more trustworthy than contrarianism?

 Adding:

The Californian tech giant announced on Friday that it is rolling out globally a feature in its search and news results that will assess the authenticity of information shown.

Google isn’t doing this fact-checking itself: Instead, it’s relying on respected independent fact-checking organisations like PolitiFact and Snopes to provide the info.

Any hint of bias there?

 

fake news

 

Investors should go long on shoe leather. All those internet hacks pounding the news beat to reach the root of the story will be a joy to watch. These New Cops will find the secret insider who demanded secrecy and hold them to the light. Good luck! (Tip 1: carry cash. Lots of it.)

Shannon Love adds:

Secrecy is so integral to the production of news stories that several recent scandals have occurred because even the editors and publishers do not always know who all of journalist sources are.

This system only works if the consumers trust the media to honestly and accurately transmit the information from the secret sources. Once an iota of doubt about the reporting arises both the story and the organization’s brand is in danger.

The internet era works against old fashion media secrecy. Many more people can ask many more questions about every story. Any potential inaccuracies are brought to light nearly instantly. The old media institutions are then required to justify their stories or risk losing the critical assumption of trust. But they often can’t justify their stories without burning their sources. Bloggers have no economic interest in secrecy. They can tell stories in a perfectly transparent fashion. This gives blogs a tremendous trust advantage.

The era of secrecy and unnamed sources will soon come to an end and with it the economic advantage that old media currently holds over the blogsphere. The days of major media will soon be over. The questions is what will replace it?

Facebook?

Unless fact checking is simply about using one (good) database to combat another (bad) database? Is news just part of the Internet of Things? Should we leave it to the robots and teccies to pump out a smart-phone ready story?

The late late Michael Crichton noted:

Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

There is great journalism out there. It’s rare. It’s often risky. And it’s expensive to produce. The internet came along and pulled Big Media’s curtain aside to see and show what was going on. That newspaper story wasn’t the cut-to-column conclusion to a huge work of investigation, experience and nous. It was the entire job. Unlike proper journalists in ties and brogues, bloggers just rolled out of bed and wrote. Aside from their mates, no-one trusted these pyjama-clad amateurs. But it worked because they used hyperlinks, photos, graphs and videos to show the story. Your no-authority blogger was just laying it out there like a huge plastic turkey on a plate. With social media, news and views are bigger and cheaper than ever to broadcast. Why buy a newspaper for the news when you can get that stuff anywhere? Buy it for the opinion – it’s why columnists get the big bucks. Of just take the free copy with your groceries, watch the best bits of TV news on Facebook and always be sure to look at the ads.

This could help us to understand why Big Media thinks fake news newsworthy. Fake news is nothing new. Why in the post-Brexit Age of Trump is fake news a hot topic? At a guess, I’d say it was in part about discrediting the popular vote – fake news equals fake votes – and because at a time of division, Big Media wants to straddle everything and corral everyone into its customer base. Trust us. Don’t trust them.

Posted: 14th, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comment


Pierre Omidyar’s new journalism is no truth serum for fake news

Combatting the rise of so-called fake news is billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, who will pay $100 million to fund investigative journalism. Omidyar’s Omidyar Network, his philanthropic investment company, aims to give $1 billion to good causes.

The company could, of course, pay more taxes and let democratically elected Governments invest the money. In 2016, eBay paid £1.1 million tax on £1 billion of UK sales. But that’s another argument. Corporations pay tax on profits not revenues. And being tax efficient might be a badge of honour. This one is about fake news.

Omidyar aims to alter the “root causes of the global trust deficit”. Omidyar Network partner Stephen King adds: “A free and independent media is key to providing trusted information and critical checks and balances on those in positions of power.”

Good news, then. Free speech has a new champion. And he’s got very deep pockets and long arms.

But the Washington Post says the money is to “boost journalism and fight hate speech”. But hate speech is free speech. How can you talk truth to power it you can’t offend the powerful for fear of being called a hater? How can you encourage government accountability and transparency if you can’t say things they would rather no-one knew?

As for fake news, the incessant talk of its unbridled power to corrupt society speaks less of a mistrust in journalism (you can and should read more than one news source) than it does of the elite’s panic rooted in the popular vote for Donald Trump and Brexit. Unable to grasp the truth that the majority employed reason when they voted against the status quo, the condescending losers call them thick. No need to work out why the working classes grabbed their chance to revolt and say ‘enough’ when you can reduce them to pliable, unthinking goons. But the knowing are not without sympathy for the fools who got it wrong. “You deplorables didn’t understand you were voting badly because you were tricked by a Russian news bot and demented demagogues. We should take your right to vote away but let’s see if you can first be re-educated.”

The knowing should take care not to use any text book featuring dodgy dossiers about Weapons of Mass Destruction, Jews drinking gentile blood, Benjamin Franklin’s tales of platoons of “scalping” Indians working in league with King George III to slaughter patriots and the myriad other fake news stories the powerful have employed down the ages to prop up the establishment.

Nowadays anyone can pump out a bogus news story. The power has shifted.

So will a big investment in investigative journalism help us see the truth of things and reveal stories the powerful, famous, protected and criminal don’t want revealed? It can’t hurt. It’ll also be interesting to see which stories keep appearing at the top of Omidyar’s objective news cycle.

And amplifying alternative voices is a lot more attractive than any paternalistic regime acting as journalism’s gate-keeper, ‘checking the facts’ and telling us what is and is not true. There is always more than way to view a story. But if look hard enough, truth can be discovered. More news is good news.

 

Posted: 5th, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comment


Brexit voters blamed for Croydon attack on Reker Ahmed

reker ahmed croydon brexit

Reker Ahmed

 

Having couched the brutal attack on three Kuridish-Iranian asylum seekers as a ‘hate crime‘ fuelled by racism and prejudice rather than individual malice, a violent assault triggered by Brexit, facts are emerging from the Croydon crime scene. It’s believed the mayhem began after the attackers learned the trio were asylum-seekers. But we don’t know what happened. Not yet.

Police have made 13 arrests. The youngest suspect in the attack that left Reker Ahmed with a blood clot on the brain and a fractured spine is a 15-year-old boy. We don’t know his politics.

The latest batch of alleged attackers charged with violent disorder are: James Neves, 22; Liam Neylen and Ellie Leite, both 19; Kyran Evans, 23; and a 17-year-old girl and the aforesaid 15-year-old boy who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Ben Harman, 20, and a 17-year-old boy, who also cannot be named, are accused of violent disorder and racially aggravated GBH. Mr Harman is also charged with dangerous driving. Add them to the list appearing before the Beak at Croydon Magistrates’ Court.

 

reker ahmed croydon brexit

Graffiti close to crimescene

 

We don’t know the suspects’ political beliefs or attitudes to immigration, the EU and multiculturalism. But the brutal crime has been used by Remain-supporting politicians to condemn all of the 17.4m aspirational, radical voters who sought self-determination, change, progress and a more accountable political class by voting for Brexit. As shadow home secretary Diane Abbott opined: “Sadly [this] is not an isolated incident but part of a sustained increase in hate crimes… With right-wing politicians across the world scapegoating migrants, refugees and others for their economic problems, we are seeing a deeply worrying rise in the politics of hate. We must make clear that there is no place for anti-foreigner myths, racism and hate in our society.”

But before you nutters who voted for Brexit beat yourself with sticks and wonder how exercising your democratic vote turned you into such a violent bigot worthy of contempt, a word on what hate crime is. According to the CPS: “A Hate Incident is any incident which the victim, or anyone else, thinks is based on someones prejudice towards them because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or because they are transgender.” If you think it’s a hate crime, it is one. It’s an imaginary and politicised crime, an instrument to be wielded by the knowing against naysayers, free speech and free thought. There are many offences covered by acts of bigotry and violence. But a hate crime frames everything in social attitudes.

 

reker ahmed croydon brexit

 

As for the victim, the BBC says Mr Ahmed is on the mend. Good news. We hope he makes a full recovery and helps to nail the bastards who attacked him. Police have still not had any luck contacting his family who they believe live in Iran. Meanwhile, a fundraising page set up to help him has raised more than £22,000.

As for the investigation, the Standard says “as many as a dozen or more suspects are through [sic] to be still at large”. Readers hear from Patson Ngoma, the landlord of The Goat, a pub close to where the crime began.“On the day all of us were having a nice time,” he says. “It was just a normal day like any other day. We didn’t hear anything, we didn’t know anything.”

There was no far-Right march on the day of the attack. The pub close to the scene of the attack is not a haven for racists. But it is lively. In 2016, the Croydon Guardian reported: “Councillors met on Monday to decide the fate of The Goat in Broom Road, which had been visited a number of times by police because of criminal and anti-social behaviour. One occasion, a firework was thrown at officers dealing with ‘hostile’ customers at the pub.”

Maybe it wasn’t a hate crime. Maybe Reka Ahmed was unlucky to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time? We’ll know more soon enough.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 4th, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews | Comment (1)


The righteous fight to give David Moyes a slap

Sunderland manager David Moyes is sorry for telling a BBC Sport reporter she “might get a slap” with her line of questioning. Following Sunderland’s 0-0 draw with Burnley, journalist Vicki Sparks asked the former Everton and Manchester United coach if the knowing club owner Ellis Short was looking on from the stands made him feel uncomfortable.

“No, none at all,” said Moyes. With the BBC cameras no longer filming, he continued: “Just getting a wee bit naughty at the end there so just watch yourself. You still might get a slap even though you’re a woman.”

But someone was filming on a camera phone.

 

 

Sparks made no complaints. But others were upset. The Sunderland spokesman tells us: “David and the reporter spoke to one another subsequently and the matter was resolved amicably.”

Vivki Sparks, a woman in a man’s world, where undemanding, bland, blokey banter is the rule, is robust. Let’s hope Moyes’ questionable humour doesn’t stymie her journalism and she keeps asking challenging questions. She’s not there to do David Moyes’ PR – there’s already a silo of clubby ex-pros sat on the BBC’s cosy Match Of The Day chairs to deliver anodyne match summaries and big up their mates. She’s also not there to be the BBC’s token ‘bird’ who needs looking after and watching lest a footballer say something inappropriate to her delicate ears. She’s a journalist after a story. That someone else chose to make her the story is odd.

And it isn’t over. The Football Association has invited David Moyes in for a light interrogation. They want to know if Moyes is a sexist. What they might be better off asking is why football is now so corporate that an off-the-record chat can blow up into a scandal. A pundit on Sky News this morning said Moyes “deserved to be reputationally damaged”, making this not a story of being civil to one another and gender equality – “even thought you’re a woman” is a crass comment –  but about branding.

Fans of rival clubs might laugh. One popular chant aimed at Sunderland fans chimes, “You all beat up your women, you’re all the fu**ing same.” So much for cheeky irreverence. Football is the nation’s role model. Mind your language. Football’s not a fun leisure pursuit and a chance to let off steam. It’s very serious stuff.

Posted: 4th, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Sports | Comment


Turning Reker Ahmed’s attack into a moralising Hate Crime

The asylum seeker fighting for life after being beaten up in Croydon, South London, is 17-year-old Reker Ahmed. Initial reports stated that an 8-strong gang of youths kicked the Iranian unconscious after first asking him where he was from. The narrative was that the victim was targeted because he and the two friends with whom he was waiting for a bus just before midnight were asylum seekers. Politicians were quick to wrap the nasty incident into a story about Brexit. Leading Labour politicians blamed the Government and Brexit voters for creating an environment where this sort of thing is allowed to happen. It wasn’t violent thugs looking for a soft target. It was right-wing racists looking for migrants. It was not spontaneous. It was pre-meditated.

And then the facts started to emerge. Sort of.

Reker Ahmed suffered a fractured skull and blood clot on his brain. He’s in hospital.

The Metro said it wasn’t 8 people who chased and kicked Reker Ahmed Asylum in the head. Reker was “beaten by [a] mob of 20 people”. The Telegraph was quick to trump that with: “Mob of up to 30 joined ‘appalling’ attack on Croydon asylum seeker.” Why ‘appalling’ should be in inverted commas is unclear. Is the country now so dangerous that Telegraph readers need steerage when it comes to understanding ultra violence?

Police have been knocking on doors. Five people have been charged with violent disorder. The accused named so far are: brother and sister Danyelle, 24 and Daryl Davis, 20 (violent disorder); brothers Jack Walder (violent disorder) and his brother George Walker, who is charged with violent disorder and racially aggravated grievous bodily harm; and Barry Potts (violent disorder). All are local to the Croydon area.

Police have also charged a 23 year old man, a 17 year old girl and a 19-year-old man on suspicion of attempted murder and violent disorder.

In all 11 arrests have been made. Others are being sought to help with police enquiries.

 

suspects croydon

Three people the Met police wish to identify and question.

 

Jacqui Hughes, prosecuting at Croydon Magistrates’ Court, sets the scene:

“Some people, including the defendants, come out of the Goat pub and approached the three victims and asked where they were from. George Walder then began punching the victim to the face. People from a white Vauxhall Corsa car pulled up and started chasing the victims.

“George Walder chased them across a roundabout to a bus stop where Mr Ahmed was punched and kicked. Mustafa and Mohammed ran off toward Bridal Road. Barry Potts was amongst those chasing across the roundabout and a fight broke out again. More people came out of the pub including the defendants and others. A large fight continued and Mr (Recker) Ahmed was punched and kicked. It dies down and people return to the pub and Jack Walder is seen putting on chains around his neck that he wasn’t wearing before. CCTV shows the group punch and kick him. Mr (Recker) Ahmed was missing two gold chains and a gold coloured watch.

“A large group continued to chase the victims down Shrublands Avenue. Mr (Recker) Ahmed is caught and thrown to the ground. People started punching and kicking him. Mustafa and Mohammed go into a nearby garden and throw stones at the group. This appeared to be an unprovoked and motiveless attack based solely on his ethnicity.”

Not a violent mugging, then? Not gang-bangers out for kicks, literally?

Det Supt Jane Corrigan says: “The gang actually asked where he was from before launching their attack, which is why we are treating this as racially motivated.” But maybe it wasn’t. Corrigan adds: “We are working with the local pub to try and establish where they all came from and what led to this horrible incident.”

She adds: “I genuinely don’t think people have gone out that night with the intention to commit this horrific attack. You’ve got a really difficult mix of youth, the time of night, alcohol, and it only takes one person to say something that could spark off something massive – which is what I think has happened on this evening. This is a random attack and the suspect and victims aren’t known to each other that we are aware of.”

In other words, the “institutionally racist” police service doesn’t know why Reker Ahmed was attacked and savagely beaten.

But here comes London Mayor Sadiq Khan to add his view. “Hate crime has no place in London, Britain or anywhere else,” he says, to say nothing of kicking a young innocent man in the head – which he doesn’t.  “Our communities will not be divided by those who seek to sow hate. And we will always take a zero tolerance approach to hate crimes of any type. Anyone who witnesses a hate crime should report it to the police immediately.”

A hate crime is a wonderfully nebulous thing. If you “think” it’s a hate crime, then it is one. Why is a new crime is needed when “violent disorder” and “attempted murder” seem to be do just fine? The suspicion is that hate crime means just what those in power want it to mean. Officials can use hate crime to tell the rest of how to behave. It’s a moral code dressed up as law to corral us into ‘acceptable’ forms of behaviour, speech and thought. The headline crime is not that an innocent man was badly beaten, but that when striking up conversation with their victim, the alleged criminals asked him where he was from. There is no word of what else they said, if they yelled “Get the asylum seeker” or some such phrase as they gave chase.

A friend was mugged in London not too long ago, The attacker asked him for the time. As he looked down at his watch, he was punched in the face. The attacker, now joined by two others, demanded the watch. Is it stretching things too far to suppose Reker Ahmed’s alleged attackers rather liked the look of his bling and the question “Where are you from?” was part of their modus operandi to getting it?

We don’t know. But call it a hate crime and a nasty incident is politicised and becomes a warning to us all.

Posted: 3rd, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Reviews | Comment


Madeleine McCann: Spain’s gypsy child kidnappers

The absence of anything beyond theorising has turned Madeleine McCann into a commodity. And like all goods and services, the media’s speculative assault on Madeleine McCann means ‘Our Maddie’ can be exported to become any nation’s very own Maddie. BrazilIsraelAmericaSpain, New Zealand, Panama, Greece and Holland have all had their versions of the media’s benchmark for missing children.

 

madeleine mccann daily star gypsies

 

On March 31, the Daily Star led with news of a “Spanish Maddie ‘kidnap'”. That the word “kidnap” was served to readers wrapped in inverted commas promised a story light on facts. Line one told us: “A Madeleine McCann lookalike has been grabbed by a ‘scar-faced’ gypsy” in Estepona.

The “British girl’s mum said the abductor grabbed her daughter’s hand and tried to take her away after promising sweets”. The man known locally as “Paco” was already with a young child, “whom he used to strike up a conversation with the girl”. Paedo gypsy child kidnappers? (Always the gypsies.) “When the girl’s mum began to scream the man with a scar on his head ran off.”

So not all that much like the vanishing of Madeleine McCann, then. Unless you, like the Star, considers it relevant that the “girl bears a resemblance to Madeleine McCann”.

 

maddleine mccann suspect

Is this Paco?

 

maddleine mccann suspect daily star

Paco’s dead?

 

In other ‘Their Maddie’ news, the Sun says the remains of “America’s Maddie McCann” have been found. This ‘Maddie’ was called Isabel Celis. Her parents last saw her alive at their home in Tuscon, Arizona, in April 2012. “The mysterious case sent shockwaves around the world,” says the Sun, “and bore a haunting resemblance to the disappearance of Maddie McCann”.

 

Isabel Celis

Isabel Celis

 

But kgun9, Tuscon’s local news station, makes no mention of Madeleine McCann at all as it delivers the grim news of a dead child. Isabel Celis was 6-years old at the time of her disappearance.

But the Daily Mirror does. “Harrowing 911 calls from devastated parents of ‘America’s Maddie McCann’ on morning she vanished after police find remains,” comes the headline. The paper invites its readers to listen in. Come on, readers, pull up an armchair and watch the parents.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 2nd, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


Fail: Labour MP and Brexit heroine Gisela Stuart is forgotten in Essex

gisela stuart Brexit funny

 

Top work in the Essex Chronicle, which captions the above picture: “Douglas Carswell with Boris Johnson and someone else on the Vote Leave tour bus.”

It’s factually correct. But that “someone else” happens to be Gisela Stuart, the Labour MP who spoke so eloquently in favour of the UK leaving the European Union.

It was Gisela Stuart who undermined the myth that a vote for Brexit was a vote for racism and only bigots wanted out.

Stuart understood that a vote for Brexit meant a vote for a more outward looking country, enabling the UK to trade with the EU and seek opportunities in Canada, Australia, India and elsewhere.

Stuart connected with working-class voters in a way that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his North London coterie of preaching patricians do not.

Stuart helped voters understand that a vote to make politicians more accountable was what a resilient, ambitious and aspirational demos deserved.

 

Spotter: @JoeTwyman

Posted: 30th, March 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians | Comment


The Mail’s Legs-It cover triggers a race to the bottom

When Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon had a chat in Glasgow, the Daily Mail noticed that both women had legs. It wasn’t just a meeting between two leaders of British political parties; it was a beauty contest. It was also an eye-catching front-page headline and photo. If newspapers set out to be relevant and capture their readers’ attentions, the Mail did a fine job of it.

But many leading voices – most of whom don’t much like the Mail and don’t buy it – were quick to accuse the paper of “sexism”.

 

legs sturgeon may daily record scotland

 

Reaction to the Mail’s cover has been loud. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn looked beyond mere policy and leadership to decry the picture’s “sexism”. “This sexism must be consigned to history,” Corbyn tweeted. Labour MP Harriet Harman found the Mail’s headline “Moronic!” She checked her calendar and added with not a muon of wit, “And we are in 2017!”

Conservative MP and former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan accused the paper of “appalling sexism”.

 

womack daily mail

 

Amelia Womack, deputy leader of the The Green Party of England and Wales, ruled that the cover was “treating women with contempt”. She went further than most and complained to IPSO,  the Independent Press Standards Organisation. To her mind the over was “breaking the Editors’ Code”.

The Editors’ Code of Practice covers:

Accuracy
Privacy
Harassment
Intrusion into grief or shock
Reporting Suicide
Children in sex cases
Hospitals
Reporting of Crime
Clandestine devices and subterfuge
Victims of sexual assault
Discrimination
Financial journalism
Confidential sources
Witness payments in criminal trials
Payments to criminals
The Public Interest

Which of those topics deals with a picture of two clothed women and a silly comment on their legs? You can try and guess but you’d be hard pressed to nail it. Helpfully, Womack says the Mail broke clause 12 of the code which says editors must “avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual’s race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability”.

Of course, drawing attention to the leaders’ legs story gives Womack a chance to draw attention to herself. Like all other ‘Outraged of Westminster’ moaners, Womack uses the Mail to showcase her own clean lines. The paper must love it. At a time of falling circulations, the Mail is one newspaper still able to rile and matter. People really do care what it says.

The Mail online even features a report on its own front page:

 

mail legs

 

And what of Theresa May, the poor woman being objectified by the nasty Mail? She called the cover “a bit of fun”. Which it is.

In next week’s Mail: “Put ’em away Jeremy!”

Posted: 29th, March 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


Chelsea ‘nark’ sets the police on rude Manchester United supporters

Looking for offence in dust is a full-time job. Today brings news that one sensitive Chelsea fan has given full throat to his upset that Manchester United fans referred to the Blues as “Chelsea rent boys” during the teams’ recent FA Cup match.

Rent boys is an old-fashioned term, for sure, but it is entirely in keeping with the way football fans model chants to the tunes of 1960s songs. The correct and up-to-date term is “male sex worker”. And it’s not even a term of abuse. It’s a career choice and should be legalised and taxed.

manchester united

 

The Sun says a police officer told the complainant that the chant “Chelsea rent boys” is “unacceptable” – but not for the reasons mentioned above. It’s because calling Chelsea fans “Chelsea rent boys” is offensive and intended to cause upset.

Writing in the Sun, Mick Hume wonders: “What next? Chelsea fans probed for animal welfare offences for shouting ‘sheep, sheep, sheep-s******s’ at supporters of less fashionable provincial clubs?”

Winding up the opposition is part and parcel of the game. The FA says it is bent on “eradicating all discriminatory and offensive chanting from football”. Mick adds: “But equating discrimination and offence is like giving a player a red card for nutmegging an opponent.”

We’d advocate going for the full Cruyff turn. Go beyond those arcane and sanitised rent-boy chants. That one only upset one Chelsea fan. It’s time fans upped their game.

PS: Stand up for free speech and the right to be offensive by buying Boy Mick Hume’s book here.

 

Posted: 28th, March 2017 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Key Posts, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Government uses Westminster terror attack to limit hard-fought freedom

The reaction to Khalid Massod’s murderous attack in London was clear: we will not let the heinous actions of one man threaten our hard won freedoms. Theresa May assured us that “Any attempt to defeat those values [liberty, democracy, freedom of speech, the spirit of freedom, the rule of law and human rights] through violence and terror is doomed to failure.”

 

whatsapp terror the sun

 

And then came news that two minutes before he attacked, Masood received an encrypted message via WhatsApp. Would knowing the contents of that message have helped the police stop Masood’s “depraved” and “sick” crime? The police weren’t watching him, so maybe not.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd, like May, her eavesdropping predecessor in the Home Office who introduced the invasive Investigatory Powers Act, is no fan of privacy. Rudd says encryption represents a threat to national security. She wants apps like WattsAp to aid government investigations by letting them in to look around.

And so from not giving into terrorists by refusing to play the terrorists at their own game, the State soon begins to chip away at our liberties.

The Liberal Democrat’s home affairs spokesman, former deputy assistant commissioner in the Metropolitan police and onetime London mayoral hopeful Brian Paddick says allowing the authorities to view encrypted messages would be “neither a proportionate nor an effective response” to the Westminster attack. “These terrorists want to destroy our freedoms and undermine our democratic society,” he says. “By implementing draconian laws that limit our civil liberties, we would be playing into their hands.”

The Sun uses its editorial to argue that Rudd is right. “Home Secretary Amber Rudd is right to read them [WhatsApp, Apple and Google] the riot act and tell them the terrorists should have no place to hide,” the paper thunders. “Because that’s just what WhatsApp – owned by Facebook – lets them do. By encrypting messages, it stops the police being able to track terror plots.They can’t even investigate in the ­aftermath of a terrorist atrocity.”

But “if you build a back door, it’s there for everybody to access,” says Tony Anscombe in the same paper. “And if you store that data you collect, even in encrypted form, how secure is it? All these data breaches we hear about show our privacy is regularly being breached by hackers, so the action suggested by the Home Secretary would only open us all up to further invasions of privacy.“

In 2012 the murderous Syrian government banned WhatsApp in order “to disrupt the rebel opposition’s cellular privacy”. In a dangerous place, privacy is paramount for many. It’s matter of life and death. “WhatsApp is very popular among Syrians, and particularly Syrian opposition activists,” says Tuma, a Syrian journalist. “Even Free Syrian Army soldiers are using the app.” The Syrian government wants to police communications because it fears the people. The UK government wants to police communications to protect the people. But protecting citizens from criminals soon slips into monitoring us all. A rogue State begins to look like the Free West.

May should wonder how she can champion free expression and free speech through observation and mistrust? With no private lives, no space to look at non-conformist things and express ideas, however mentally negligible and far-fetched, privacy become public spectacle. Afraid of standing out and attracting police attention, we ape each other’s movements, keeping in step with what the authorities deem acceptable and unthreatening.

You can still believe things but you dare not say them aloud. People become isolated, hidden behind a bland facade. Is that what not giving into the terrorists looks like?

Posted: 27th, March 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews, Technology | Comment


The Westminster terrorist can’t win if we carry on regardless

The man who killed and maimed in Westminster yesterday has not been named by the authorities yet. The British born killer’s actions were those of a coward.

Much of the talk is of not letting the terrorists win. It can sound trite and easy. But it’s spot on. But the way we go about achieving it differs.

 

westminster terror

 

All day the TV has been broadcasting pictures from Westminster. Things look wonderfully normal. Westminster Bridge is open to traffic and walkers again. Tourists with selfie sticks are snapping away. A man is stood on the crossing, not waiting for the ‘green man’ to flash, but dashing between vehicles. Lots of people are talking to one another.

There is no sense of fear in the air.

 

farage westminster terror immigration

 

Yesterday’s horror was the actions of one man armed with a car and knives. One human being caused havoc, ruining and ending lives. But the rest of us have carried on. Society has not changed.

 

arab news westminster killer

It’ll take more than that

 

London has not fallen, as the Arab News oddly declared on its front page. The beating heart of the UK was not stopped by a cowardly killer. One man will not put and end to democracy.

But some of us want to use the murders to promote our own prejudices – Muslims are inherently dangerous; immigration means death; only the State can protect us; the Jews did it; Islamophobics will race riot; white people have done worse; and more. They make misstep after misstep. The way to defeat the terrorists is to neuter them by celebrating freedom and trusting people. Don’t be like the killer by seek victimhood and fomenting fear and otherness.

You can keep calm and carry on. And as you carry on also keep having fun, keep being rigorous, energetic, saucy, curious, challenging, boisterous, vibrant, loud, welcoming, rude and defiant. The bigots hate that. Keep it up.

Posted: 23rd, March 2017 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comment


Irony Overload: Labour MP Yvette Cooper wants to save us from online anti-Semites and other virtual haters

Yvette Cooper wants to set you free from fake news, horrible words and unpleasant images online. The UK Home Affairs Select Committee, which Cooper chairs, challenged directors of big social media companies – Facebook’s Simon Milner, Google’s Peter Barron and Twitter’s Nick Pickles – to explain why their businesses engage in “commercial prostitution” by allowing ad placements alongside nasty videos made by, amongst others, neo-Nazis and white supremacist David Duke, whose video Jews admit organising white genocide Labour MP Cooper called antisemitic and shocking. “I think most people would be appalled by that video and think that it goes against all standards of common decency in the United Kingdom,” said Cooper.

The charge is that in equipping nasty videos with ads, the likes of YouTube (owned by Google) is funding hate because the publisher takes a slice of the ad revenue. But if hate’s not a crime, the problem is one of taste not law?

Overlooking the sensational news that a Labour MP is now an expert in spotting anti-semitism, and just marvel at an MP of any hue deciding and defining the limits of good taste.

Google’s Matt Brittin told the committee, “I want to start by saying sorry” for allowing tax-payer funded Government adverts to feature alongside extremist material on YouTube. Cooper seized on it. “They are right to apologise for failing to stop extremists making profits from hatred, and for making profits themselves from advertising on these videos,” she said. “They need to say whether they will be paying back any of that advertising revenue. And to answer our questions on what more they are doing to root out extremism or illegal activity on YouTube. Because they are still failing to do enough to remove illegal or hate filled content from YouTube.”

And there it was again, that casual merging of what is illegal and what is legal and nasty. Not all unpleasant things are criminal, nor should they be made so.

Bannon helped Cooper out. “There is no clear definition of hate speech in British law,” he explained at length. “We have our own guidelines around hate speech. The guideline that we follow, which is very close to the law, is that a general expression against a country, for example, wouldn’t qualify as hate speech, but if you are promoting or advocating violence against a particular group based on their race or ethnicity, that would constitute hate speech. … I am not going to defend the content of the video; I found it abhorrent and offensive. However, the important question, which relates to wider issues of freedom of expression, is whether that content is illegal and whether it breaks our guidelines. Our policy and legal experts arrived at the conclusion that it didn’t. I think everyone in this room would agree that it was deeply distasteful.”

Cooper replied: “How on earth is the phrase, ‘Jews admit organising white genocide’, as well as being clearly false, not a statement that is a malicious or hateful comment about a group of people solely based on race, religion or the other protected characteristics that your own guidelines and community standards say are unacceptable?’

Guidelines are not laws, Yvette. Google is free to set its own rules. As is the Commons. So when Labour MP Tam Dalyell, aka Sir Thomas Dalyell of the Binns, 11th Baronet (9 August 1932 – 26 January 2017), warned in dead-tree magazine Vanity Fair of a “cabal of Jewish advisers” unduly influencing Tony Blair, he wasn’t censored and banned. When Tam told the Zayed Centre, an organisation “established in fulfilment of the vision of his highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan” – that “there were 400,000 Jews in Britain who enjoyed a very strong and stunning influence” he was not sacked.

The then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, whose Jewish ancestry (one grandparent too many, apparently) caused Dalyell to sense something sinister in his blood, offered the grown up response: “These remarks are too unworthy to be worth a comment.”

When old-Etonian Dalyell died, tributes were fulsome. Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said: “The Labour movement has lost a giant… As Father of the House his wisdom was passed on to countless MPs.” Current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the Jew-sniffer had been a “good friend and comrade”. Other “friends” of Corbyn work at Hamas, whose mantra is the annihilation of Jews. As one Guardian writer notes, “Corbyn has associated with the worst type of antisemites: Holocaust deniers, men who think Jews made bread from Christian blood or were behind the 9/11 atrocities. No blood libel was too bloody for them. He keeps saying he’s not a racist, but he’s happy to keep racist company.”

James Bloodworth wondered: “Why is no one asking about Jeremy Corbyn’s worrying connections?” Having stated his belief that Corbyn is no anti-Semite, Bloodworth looked at context:

Corbyn wrote a letter defending Stephen Sizer, the vicar disciplined by the Church of England for linking to an article on social media entitled 9/11: Israel Did It. [He] Presented a call-in programme on Press TV, a propaganda channel of the Iranian government which was banned by Ofcom and which regularly hosts Holocaust deniers.

Is Corbyn advertising these people by being among them? Should he be blocked from doing so, lest his meeting with bigots be seen as an endorsement in the same way anyone watching an advert for Marks and Spencer’s on a jihadi recruitment drive fall into thinking M&S is enlarging its underwear range and selling thermal suicide vests in all sizes? Should Labour Party members get their money back when the context gets nasty?

Or are well robust grown ups, who enjoy freedom of expression and the right to offend, who baulk at the idea of State censors demanding we adhere to their interpretation of “common decency”, those prudes who trammel free speech and treat people as a problem to police and patrol?

Let’s trust that we are.

Posted: 21st, March 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Reviews | Comment


Chuck Berry: the King is dead so let’s give his body a good kicking

chuck berry hail

 

No sooner is Chuck Berry dead than the Mirror pulls on the boots and gives his bones a good kick. The rock’n’roller who gave full throat to all the taboo-busting stuff the olds hated is the subject of the front-page yeller about his ‘Dark secrets’.

For readers to be shocked by anything, Berry would have to have been extraordinarily depraved. Having seen knights of the real and papacy exposed as predatory paedophiles – You never can tell, right? – and knowing your internet-based readership is reared on Rule 34 – ‘If it exists, there is a porn of it’ – you wonder how dark Berry’s darkness got to warrant front-page news.

 

chuck berry crime

 

A clue to things being not all that dark comes on pages 8 and 9, where the Berry abyss becomes more ‘murky’ than inky black. And those ‘secrets’ become anything but. Berry’s ‘three spells behind bars’ are well documented (robbery, tax dodging and transporting a 14-year-old prostitute across State lines to work at one of his clubs – when he sacked her she grassed him up to the law; he says he never slept with her), as is his conviction for sticking a hidden camera inside the ladies’ toilets at one of his restaurants.

And that’s it. There is nothing more. No ‘Nick‘ to talk of dead children. No priapic visits to the mortuary. No Satanic cults. No octopus porn.

One of the most influential musicians of all time, the man who brought joy and light to millions with his swagger, wit and infectious songs will not be airbrushed from history. So great was Berry that even the Mail, a paper not given to shying away from moral panics, overlooks the ‘shadows’ and ‘secrets’ to hail the ‘Godfather of Rock’, the ‘musical genius’ who inspired Britain’s biggest stars’ and led an ‘outrageous life’. Chuck Berry’s the man who grew up on the wrong side of racially segregated America and got white and blacks dancing in the aisles.

And so without further ado, here’s Chuck Berry. Hail, hail, Rock And Roll:

 

Posted: 20th, March 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Tabloids | Comment


Anti-Trump swastika billboard in Phoenix road is more stupid that anything you’ll see in the White House

Phoenix billboard Nazis Trump

 

Let’s be clear: whoever erected the billboard calling Donald Trump a Nazi understands neither democracy nor history. The billboard on the 1000 block of Phoenix’s Grand Avenue is, according to reports, the work of Karen Fiorito. For those of you not au fait with the name ‘Karen’, Fox News tells us she’s a “female artist”. She is not a male artist, nor is she a coffee table.

“I got the opportunity to have a platform to say something, and I took that opportunity, and I take full responsibility for it,” Fiorito says. Shame that what she says is so crass and lazy.

Her portrait of Donald Trump sat before the nuclear mushroom clouds is the stuff of teenage angst. But the real misstep is the dollar signs that bear some resemblance to swastikas on each side of the orange lunk’s head. Irony of ironies, the other side of the same billboard carries the message “unity”, something history tells us Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were very much in favour of.

Her drawing is all about division. It’s childish, self-satisfied and regressive. It’s entirely in keeping with the shrill reaction to Trump’s presidency. It screams that the people – millions and millions of people – who voted for Trump, rejecting Hillary Clinton’s paternalism and the technocratic oligarchs who see democracy as something to be kept from the ‘low-information’ poor, are fascists akin to the Black Shirts. Taking the greatest evil and slapping it on a poster to attack someone who is not this age’s Hitler – really, he isn’t; read some books other than the one that reinforces your prejudices – demeans the Holocaust’s victims, negates actual Nazism and monsters the tens of millions of Americans who exercised their right to vote.

Using Nazi death camps to buttress your anti-human argument that the electorate voted for Trump because they were duped by Russian newbots and he spoke to their slack-jawed inherent racism co-opts the murdered millions into your monocular world view. It’s a hideous abuse.

In a game of Spot the Bigot, I’d point to the one screaming ‘Hitler!’ at everyone whose view they don’t agree with.

This lazy reductivism abates any need for reflection and the need to work out how progressive Left-wing politics mutated into a cloying, narcissistic hissy fit of entitlement, and why it is that the working classes seized their chance to storm the citadel and hope for a rosy-fingered dawn.

Posted: 19th, March 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Reviews | Comment (1)


Arsenal balls: Wenger and Kroenke are on a hiding to nothing

Is Arsene Wenger leaving Arsenal? To paraphrase the banner that used to point to Arsenal victories at the club’s old Highbury stadium, “Arsene Knows”. But he’s not telling the Press. He’s most likely told Stan Kroenke, the businessman who owns the biggest grasp of shares in Arsenal.  But the man nicknamed ‘Silent’ Stan won’t be telling the tabloids, either.  The papers could try door-stepping Kroenke, but last year he bought a Texas ranch worth about £500m and locating him in 865,000 acres of garden is no easy thing.

 

arsenal daily star

 

So Arsenal fans bumble on, wondering if the man who helped transform the club from perennial also-rans into occasional winners will accept the deal and sign on for a further two years.

The club is torn. In the skies over the Hawthons as a wilted Arsenal succumbed 3-1 to an ordinary West Brom, fans made their own entertainment. They craned their necks and looked up, much as they did when the likes of David O’Leary used to deliver one of those huge hoofs into the opposition’s half in the 1970s and 1980s and in matches when Tony Pulis, now at West Brom, managed Stoke City RFC. Overhead was not a Johnny Jensen effort on goal and Peter Crouch’s head, but two planes: one trailing a banner for Wenger to stay; one calling for him to get thee hence.

What kind of fan hires a plane and buzzes the ground is something psychoanalysts can help the sane to understand. That these two planes were duelling offered hope that the rich fools’ vanity show would achieve some kind of finale at something other than a small regional airport. But there was no spectacular crash and dog fight. The planes were a novel distraction, expressing bold statements loudly before their endless whining became irritating and everyone wished they’d go away. Chelsea fans who endured Jose Mourinho will know the feeling well.

So is he going or not? The Mail says losing to West Brom was an ‘historic low” for the club. Well, the fourth defeat in five Premier League games is extraordinary so long as you’ve only watched Arsenal in HD. For those fans who watched Arsenal when they were routinely mediocre, the current poor run is remarkable for how long it’s taken to return after so many seasons of style, dash and hope.

 

Posted: 19th, March 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Prince William turns into his feckless father as mute Kate awaits her Diana moment

prince william dancing the sun

 

It’s the third day of the Sun’s Prince William expose. On Tuesday the paper led with news that Wills had ‘sloped off’ to the Swiss Alps to pranny about his pals on a lads’ holiday, where he met an Australian model called Sophie Taylor. So much the norm for the super-rich. But the Sun was aghast, saying that Wills should have been at a Commonwealth Day service with the rest of his kin.

Over pages 4 and 5, we saw Wills ‘sloping off again’, ‘snubbing’ the service at Westminster Abbey. Wills does a ‘high skive’ palm slap with Sophie as he ‘chills ‘with ‘topless model’ Sophie and his mates.

On Wednesday it was more of the same. There was Wills on the Sun’s cover page, his lips pursed in disapproval as he stared into the paparazzo’s lens. Wills has an ambivalent relationship with the Press. The photo-ops that make him looks good and chummy with the hol polloi are great; the ones where he’s seen larking about for the 30-plus weeks of the year in which he isn’t ‘working’ as a military-lite soldier and celebrity lifesaver are undesirable and invasive. The narrative is that the paps did for his mother, but what really hurt William’s mother was his father, cheating Charles, who refereed to Princess Diana as ‘Diana the Martyr‘ as she carved out a life for herself that involved more than being the Windsor clan’s latest ‘brood mare‘.

And it keeps coming. Wills is ‘Throne Idle’. He is – yet again – ‘sloping off’, having performed ‘just 13 royal duties’ this year (although it’s at least a couple more if you include telling the secretary to tell the nanny to wipe Prince George’s arse and smiling at Kate in public) to the Queen’s 24.

Over pages 6 and 7, we see Wills in ‘Boogie-wonderland’ getting ‘crown on it’ at Verbier’s Farinet club. We hear from a ‘stunned’ onlooker who “couldn’t believe” Wills was ‘gyrating to a rap song with lyrics about smoking cannabis’. It’s unbelievable. Where’s the future King’s sense of tradition? What happened to getting goofed on opiates, impregnating peroxide-tinted serfs, murdering dumb animals and giving Nazs salutes? It was good enough for his ancestors, so why not Wills? The snob.

“William clearly isn’t interested in taking his role seriously and I really wonder if he wants to be king,” says the chief executive of anti-monarchy group Republic.”He’s not living up to the hopes that people had of him and does seem to be taking all this for granted,’ adds a ‘Royal historian’.

And so to Thursday’s Sun‘s lead story. We hear that Sophie did a slut drop’ dance in a rarified Swiss club. On pages 4 and 5, we learn that Wills was ‘cavorting on a club dance floor with two beauties’.  We also learn that the slut drop is a dance move ‘made famous of Geordie Shore’, the TV show in which orange-skinned Geordies shag on camera and then read each others tattoos by the light of their teeth.

What it all amounts to is not very much at all. Unless you consider Kate, the missing part in all her husband’s life of privilege and privacy. The Sun invites its agony aunt Deidre to ‘imagine’ what Kate would write about her husband. Imaginary Kate is worried that her ‘boring and ‘balding’ husband ‘has been pictured with his hands all over some girl’. She wonders, ‘Has the magic gone?’ Above all she is terrified he’s turning into his father. We hope, of course, that Kate learns from Diana, a woman who touched the shunned and sick (literally) and attempted with no little success to turn a life of public virtue and private vice into something the subjects can look up to.

Over to you, Kate…

Posted: 16th, March 2017 | In: Key Posts, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment


The myth of Millwall’s racist abuse at Spurs

When Spurs played Millwall in the FA Cup – final score: 6-0 – the Guardian heard ‘racist’ abuse from the South Londoners. So bad was it that rather than lead with a match report or news on Harry Kane’s injury, the Guardian opted to tell readers that the FA is investigating the ‘racist chants’. ‘FA is aware of chants and awaiting reports from referee and police,’ the paper announces. Once more lowbrow football is in the dock for racism. Yippee!

 

spurs son millwall racism the guardian

 

Given that this is about Spurs, where the ‘self-styled ‘Yid Army’ hold sway, you might suppose the Millwall berks opted for a spout of anti-Semitism. But you’d be wrong. The alleged racism was directed at Tottenham’s South Korean forward Son Heung-Min. The Mirror says, ‘Chants of “DVD” and “three for a fiver”, apparently in reference to the sale of pirated films, coursed through the away end each time Son touched the ball in the last-eight clash.’

The Guardian tells its readers, who don’t partake of white working-class leisure pursuits and buy the Guardian because of its platoon of black and Asian board members (number of non-white faces in the paper’s twelve-strong boardroom: nil): ‘The reference to selling DVDs is considered to be a racist slur when directed at an Asian person.’

Millwall fans are so regressive. Piracy is all about downloads and streaming from Russia and Israel nowadays, lads. If you want to goad and upset the opposition’s most threatening player with a tasteless chant, why not lampoon his countrymen’s appetite for dog meat? You can try this chant:

Son, Son, Wherever You May Be
You eat dogs in your country!
It could be worse, you could be Scouse,
Eating rats in your council house!

On second thoughts, best not to. Manchester United fans used to sing that tune about Park Ji Sung, a player they loved. He never complained. He’s a robust adult who saw it for what it was: a friendly bout of un-PC banter. It’s just that given United’s love of branding, the song’s most likely copyrighted and singing it will require a licence and large fee.

Better to echo what Spurs fans serenade Son with:

“He’ll shoot, he’ll score, he’ll eat your Labrador.”

Over in the Mail, we read that those Millwall chants about knock-off films and video games spoilt everything. The paper notes:

Millwall supporters should’ve been celebrating their wonderful FA Cup run but racist chants of ‘DVD’ and ‘three for a fiver’ towards Tottenham’s Son Heung-min ruined it.

Those would be the same multi-cultural Millwall fans who were watching their multi-cultural club get thrashed and Son score a hat-trick? The Mail thinks Millwall’s ‘racist’ fans should have been celebrating their team’s annihilation rather than trying to upset Son and Spurs.

Says the Mail:

Millwall’s supporters wonder why no-one likes them but showed exactly the reason with the disgraceful abuse directed at Tottenham forward Son Heung-min during their FA Cup quarter-final defeat.

What utter balls. Millwall fans don’t wonder why no-one like them – they celebrate the fact. It’s part of their identity to cock a snook at authority. Their chants are supposed to be vulgar, offensive and tasteless.

So dumb is the entire story of racism at White Hart Lane that the Indy can’t even decide what is and what isn’t racist. ‘Millwall could face FA action after fans appear to racially abuse Tottenham striker Son Heung-min,’ it says. For those of us who can recall the 1970s and 1980, when racism at football was loud, nasty and obvious – just as it was in society – the verbals aimed at Son are weaker than Millwall’s performance in the match.

To the people who seek out racism in dust, who view fans as suspects and seek to buttress their own superior morals in commands to ‘Kick It Out’, who investigate every word for offence – who reduce Son, an energetic, tough and skilled footballer to the role of victim – we wonder what planet they’re from and who invited them to join this one?

 

Posted: 13th, March 2017 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, News, Sports, Spurs | Comments (15)


Manchester United’s thought police ban a fan for a tweet

Manchester United have extended the rule governing football fans – Rule 1: sit down; shut up (unless it’s for the national anthem) – to censoring what supporters can say when they’re not at the match. Football fans have long been subjected to new forms of control. Portrayed as a mob inherently given to violence and a moral threat to society, deserving for tear gas, metal cages, water cannon and ID cards, Manchester United have taken up the State’s cosh against their own fans.

When one Manchester United season ticket holder heard the club were adding 300 places for disabled fans, causing 2,600 season ticket holders to be relocated elsewhere inside Old Trafford, he tweeted: ”Fuck em, gona go ticket office, and tell them they are retards, cheeky cunts.”

Somehow Manchester United’s moralists saw the tweet and wrote to the fan, who is a season ticket holder. They told him they’d revoked his season ticket for the remainder of this season – with a refund of £190 – and suspended him from watching his club home and away matches for the next three years.

The letter told him: “Manchester United is wholly committed to equality, diversity and inclusion. The club will continue to address any inappropriate or discriminatory behaviour that we are made aware of.”

We should all be concerned when a football club polices what we say on social media. The fan is being banned for speaking freely. That’s what we do in a free society. Inside the stadium, the club can keep order as it sees fit. We might not like being told to sit down and not sing that but we’re on their property, so we wear it. But when did the internet come part of the club’s remit?

Moreover, silencing unwholesome thoughts and censoring the wrong words amplifies the offence into a cause. Was the fan actually going to abuse disabled supporters? We don’t know. What we say and what we do are not one and the same. So, what was his crime?

The club’s reaction to a tweet has become a way to showcase its own sound morals, a spot of PR from the marketeers who run the game. But it also reveals the club’s malicious mistrust of its own fans, a malevolent mob in need of civilising.

If you go looking for offensive words at the football, you can be sure to find them. But most if it – however cruel and stupid – can be ignored or dealt with by other supporters.

If anti-discrimination were still a progressive force, the club would encourage dialogue.

What’s troubling is that the authorities that lay at the heart of racism and all forms of discrimination when campaigning for equality was brutal and brave, remain the bastions of all that is right and proper. They still don’t listen. They just tell.

Football used be be about fun, escape and letting off steam. It was a leisure pursuit. Now it’s a symbol of your moral code and your words are policed by your own club.

We should tweet what we want to.

 

Posted: 10th, March 2017 | In: Key Posts, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Uber driver are workers not employees and Travis Kalanick should drive

uber row

 

The video of Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick arguing with an Uber driver is all over the media. Kalanick is seen talking with Uber driver Fawzi Kamel. The conversation between the man Forbes estimates to hold a net worth of over £5.1billion and the mini-cab driver runs like this:

TK: Good to see you man, thank you.

FK: Good to see you too. I don’t know if you remember me but it’s fine.

TK: So we are reducing the number of black cars on the system over the next six months.

FK: Yeah it’s good.

TK: Yeah you probably saw it on the email.

FK: I saw the email, it starts in May. It’s all about the rating but you, you’re raising the standard and dropping the prices.

TK: We’re not dropping the price on black cars.

FK: Yeah but in general.

TK: We have to, we have competitors. Otherwise we’d go out of business. 

FK: But you have the business model in your hands, you could have the price as you want but you choose to buy everybody a ride.

TK: No, no, you’re misunderstanding. We started high end. We didn’t go low end because we wanted to, we went low end because we had to.

FK: Why? (Because of) Lyft?

TK: Yeah.

FK: That’s a piece of cake right there.

TK: No, it seems like a piece of cake because I’ve beaten them. But if I didn’t do the things I did, we would have been deep (inaudible).

FK: Why? We could go higher and more expensive.

TK: So here’s the thing. Luxe is in San Francisco so I have guys working on Luxe which will be 15 to 17 percent more expensive than black…

FK: But people aren’t trusting you anymore. Do you think people will buy cars anymore? We’ll buy them through Europe and invoice, nobody wants to buy a car. I lost $97,000 because of you. I’m bankrupt because of you. You keep changing every day.

TK: Hold on a second, what have I changed about black?

FK: You dropped the prices.

TK: On black?

FK: Yes.

TK: Bulls***. Bulls***.

FK: We started with $20. How much is the mile now, 2.75? 

TK: You know what, some people don’t like to take responsibility for their own s***. They blame everything in their life on somebody else. Good luck.

FK: Good luck to you too but I know you’re not going to go far.

Kalanick comes across as a greedy and rude swine.

Newsweek says this is just the latest episode in a company mired by a ‘dysfunctional culture, bad press, a sketchy financial outlook [and] dissatisfied employees’.

Is there a certain delight in hoping the mighty will fall? ‘Every time we take an Uber we’re spreading its social poison,’ says Laurie Penny in the Guardian.

Keep in mind she’s talking about catching a taxi when she writes:

What we’re dealing with here is a new class of bastard: the bro gone pro, the freewheeling post-Randian slimeball whose insecure sense of entitlement is the foundation of his business model… This matters because Uber is more than just a tech firm. It is a social engineering outfit masquerading as a tech firm… Here’s the awful truth: we have entrusted the reorganisation of our social infrastructure to the sort of people who shout at their subordinates and drivers and view women as a collection of parts. We do not owe these people our money or our admiration.

All that from hailing a car. And more!

It remains to be seen whether Uber will be damaged by the activist call for riders to please, for goodness sake, stop using this service. A great many people feel they have no option but to be complicit. Uber grew in the social sludge of American cities with patchy and precarious public transport provision and high unemployment. In areas where there are few late-running trains and taxis are unaffordable, taking an Uber home is the ethical equivalent of the greasy late-night kebab: you know it’s bad for you, but there’s a filthy, guilty pleasure in being able to meet your immediate animal needs. Your gut might make you answer for your midnight takeout, but it won’t kill you.

Using a service like Uber, however, is slow social poison. We are living in a socioeconomic reality whose driving philosophy can be accurately described by a sauced-up frat-boy in the back of a taxi, and we continue to venerate its winners. How much complicity can we tolerate before we get off this dodgy ride?

First world problems never got so important.

Another Guardian writer is conflicted. Sonia Sodha writes: ‘My finger has hovered over the delete button on more than one occasion. So far, I haven’t pressed it.’

And you thought President Trump had issues with that other button.

And then he looks at the fact – and gets them wrong:

The extent to which drivers are satisfied in the here and now is irrelevant to whether they are employees or self-employed in the eyes of the law, and the rights to which that entitles them. In a scathing ruling last year, an employment tribunal ruled that Uber drivers are, in fact, employees, because Uber exerts a degree of control over them – including dictating the price they can charge consumers – that should not exist between a company and its self-employed contractors.

Wrong. They are classed as ‘workers‘. Workers enjoy some of the rights of employees but not all. They also get a degree of flexibility, which many Uber river prefer.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 5th, March 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Money, Reviews | Comment


The European Union bans free speech for MEPs

News for those of you who think the vote for Brexit is not a glorious triumph for democracy – it was. The European Union will enforce a new rule that says any elected MEP giving full throat to ‘hate speech’ in the debating chamber will be fined up to €9,000. The live feed carrying their hateful words to the impressionable masses will be switched off.

Of course, hate speech is free speech. Shorn of the right to offend, debate dies. With contrary views censored, debate is moulded into suffocating propaganda. Censorship is more sinister than any MEP’s opinion, however daft, brave, rude, rebellious, uncertain, outrageous or risky.

But some people don’t get it that stymieing free speech is anti-human and reveals a deep mistrust of the electorate, people viewed as a race riot in waiting. UK Labour MEP Richard Corbett supports the rule. He tells the Associated Press: ‘What if this became not isolated incidents, but specific, where people could say, “Hey, this is a fantastic platform. It’s broad, it’s live-streamed. It can be recorded and repeated. Let’s use it for something more vociferous, more spectacular.”’

I’m more worried by what people are saying now rather than trying to regulate what others are thinking and might say. To paraphrase Corbett, ‘Let’s ban what we don’t agree with. Let’s make martyrs of dissenters. Let’s stop the tyranny of free speech. Let’s reveal our authoritarian, totalitarian-tendency, deep-seated fear of the demos by preventing them from seeing and hearing their elected representatives saying the wrong sort of things. Let’s kill off the disastrous democratic experiment by turning the chamber into a pious promulgator of moral righteousness. Let’s crush freedom.’

Posted: 3rd, March 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Reviews | Comment