FOOTBALL phrases: Ten imports we DON’T want in our game
Spitting, biting, diving, shirt-pulling, feigning injury, waving imaginary cards… All of them rightly condemned, and all at various times accused of being ‘foreign’ practices that are creeping into ‘our game’. Now add to the list the insidious importing of heinous phrases, some from other sports and some, heaven forfend, from another country – namely the US of A.
OFFense and DEE-fense
Just plain wrong – and to add to the ignominy, there’s the ridiculous American emphasis on the first syllable. What’s wrong with good old attack and defence?
IN today’s episode of Why Tamerlan Tsarnaev detonated a bomb at the Boston Marathon murdering innocent woman and children, we hear from Nadine Ascencao, 24, who claims to have dated the killer.
In “My boyfriend the bomber”, we meet the “fanatic’s ex”.
What was he fanatic of? Islam? Tamerlan Tsarnaev left no jihadi suicide video behind. We’ve seen no messages of hate and vengeance.
They couple dated in 2006. The Sun says she was 17. The Sun does not say how old he was, just that he was 26 when he died. The impression is of an older controlling male. But he’s have been 17 or 18 at the time.
WHO to blame for the Boston bombings? Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, and his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26? There’s a whole list of reasons here. Writing in the New York Times, Marcello Suarez-Orozco and Carola Suarez-Orozco, both of the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies know:
The alleged involvement of two ethnic Chechen brothers in the deadly attack at the Boston Marathon last week should prompt Americans to reflect on whether we do an adequate job assimilating immigrants who arrive in the United States as children or teenagers.
Blame America? The NY Times has reported:
MALCOLM Blackman, 45, is accused of raping a woman in her 40s at the Occupy London Stock Exchange champ outside St Paul’s Cathedral. The alleged victim – who gets to remain anonymous – was allegedly attacked in her tent on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral. She further alleges that Blackman tied her hands behind her back with cable ties and on another occasion assaulted her in her sleep.
HYUNDAI have made a staggeringly stupid advert where a bloke tries to kill himself via “pipe job” locked inside one of their cars but fails because the emissions are too clean. Maybe the faceless Hyundai drove him to it?
WITH Downing Street intervening to suggest that Luis Suarez should receive a sentence that reflects his position as a role model, it’s clear that the feisty Uruguayan’s crime has transcended the world of football and become a matter of national importance. But how exceptional were his antics? After all, it’s not the first time this kind of thing has happened. In fact, it’s not even the first time it has happened to Suarez himself. As recently as 2010 he was banned for seven matches after biting PSV Eindhoven midfielder Otman Bakkal…
WHAT’s your favourite cure for a hangover?
Hunter S. Thompson recommended poppers and beer.
Kingsley Amis recommended the Polish Bison (Bovril beef paste and vodka) and/ or a cup of Grand Marnier at breakfast.
“When that ineffable compound of depression, sadness (these two are not the same), anxiety, self-hatred, sense of failure and fear for the future begins to steal over you, start telling yourself that what you have is a hangover. You are not sickening for anything, you have not suffered a minor brain lesion, you are not all that bad at your job, your family and friends are not leagued in a conspiracy of barely maintained silence about what a shit you are, you have not come at last to see life as it really is.”
HBO’s Bill Maher discussed the matter with Brian Levin,Director of Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism:
At one point Levin calls out”Pamela Geller”.
Well, she and the likes of Steve Emerson and Glenn Beck have been pointing the finger at a Saudi Arabian student who was injured in the blast. Here’s Beck:
We at the Blaze know that this Saudi national is a bad, bad, bad man … This administration is playing an extraordinarily dangerous game. They have very little regard for what it takes to be a citizen. Before the sequester cuts happened, they opened the prison and let illegals out. Who does that? Remember also, the Saudi national that was — is about to get on a plane — involved in blowing the legs off of American citizens, being held in protective custody or being protected, at least, by our administration. He will be put in protective custody and the plans are to deport him.
On the very day of the bombing, the New York Post reported on a Saudi “suspect“. That was wrong.
Of course, the Saudi is likely to be Mulsim. So. Was this an example of Islamophobia? You should be free to criticise Islam without being labelled a bigot. But critics should be scrutinised. They too can be criticised.
The Saudi national is in a Boston hospital and “is not a suspect, nor is he a person of interest. He was an individual at the marathon, and therefore, like so many individuals, has been questioned,” said the DHS. His name is Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi. He’s an innocent. He’s a victim twice over.
But other were unsure. Steve Emerson wrote in WorldNetDaily
“I just learned from my own sources that he is now going to be deported on national security grounds next Tuesday, which is very unusual,” Steve Emerson of the Investigative Project on Terrorism told Sean Hannity of Fox News Wednesday night.
The Reuters news agency reported President Barack Obama met with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal on Wednesday, noting “the meeting was not on Obama’s public schedule.”
After that meeting was mentioned, Emerson told Hannity, “That’s very interesting because this is the way things are done with Saudi Arabia. You don’t arrest their citizens. You deport them, because they don’t want them to be embarrassed and that’s the way we appease them.”
Smell that? The implication seems clear: the Saudi is not innocent and Obama is helping him. But Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says it is not so. “I am unaware of anyone who is being deported for national security concerns at all related to Boston. I don’t know where that rumor came from,” Napolitano said.
The full story seems to be this:
Boston – The Department of Homeland Security tells CNN that there has been some confusion and misreporting regarding two different Saudi nationals.
There is one Saudi national who is in a Boston hospital, and has been questioned by the FBI because he was at the marathon during the terrorist attack.
He is not a suspect, nor is he a person of interest. He was an individual at the marathon, and therefore, like so many individuals, has been questioned.
There is a second Saudi national from the Boston area who is in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody for being in violation of his visa. This ICE custody has nothing to do with the Boston Marathon, officials from the Department of Homeland Security said.
Geller demandsthat “American People Must Demand the Full Story”.
Jim Hoft went on the Gateway Pundit site:
Tonight Steven Emerson told Sean Hannity that the non-suspect Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi is being deported back to the Saudi Kingdom.
Barack Obama met with the Saudi foreign minister today. It was not on public schedule.
UPDATE: Shoebat Foundation reported that ali Alharbi had links to several Al-Qaeda terrorists.
Sarah AB notes:
The Muslim community, and others, are right to express reasoned concerns about the way some critics of Islam express themselves without being tarred as intolerant and deceitful extremists, eager to clamp down on free speech, or as apologists for abuses carried out in the name of Islam.
So. Islam? Max Fisher writes about Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s viewing habits:
One of the “favorite” videos lists “7 steps to a successful prayer.” Another denounces Sufism, a more mystical branch of Islam. Another, with the title “one of the signs of Allah,” shows a chameleon changing colors at will as a man sings Arabic prayers in the background.
Several of the videos under “Islam” are by a man named Abdülhamid Al Juhani, who is listed by a Salafist Web portal as a scholar. His videos include Arabic audio and Russian text and show photos of Grozny, the Chechen capital. Another video under the “Islam” heading shows young men carrying assault rifles through a forest as a narrator intones, “They demonize as terrorists anyone who supports Islam.”
Update: Mother Jones’s Adam Serwer also looks at the YouTube page. He says it includes “a video of Feiz Mohammad, a fundamentalist Australian Muslim preacher who rails against the evils of Harry Potter” as well as a video “dedicated to the prophecy of the Black Banners of Khurasan, which is embraced by Islamic extremists — particularly Al Qaeda.”
Bob McManus says the NYPD were right:
Just as it’s time for politicians — and especially the press — to stop chewing on Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s leg over the NYPD’s so-far-enormously-successful anti-terrorist surveillance programs.
Knock wood on the “successful” part, of course. If America has learned anything about terrorism since 9/11, it’s that the threat is incessant, though hugely unpredictable as to source, specific motivation and any given terrorist’s tool kit of choice. . . .
No doubt the dark fantasies that put the Boston bombers into motion will be teased out of their personal histories in the days and weeks to come. But there was enough on the record yesterday to discern radical Islamist motives in their plot.
That is, to ratify once again the wisdom of Ray Kelly and the NYPD in targeting Islamic extremism as a profound and continuing threat to New York and its citizens — all of its citizens, including thousands upon thousands of Muslims — and then acting accordingly.
Where was Kelly & Co. supposed to go to protect the city from Islamist terror — Lutheran quilting bees?
Roger L Simon wrote back to David Sirota, who hoped the bombers were white non-Muslims:
…what to do about Islam, an all-consuming ideology that seeks to engulf the world. The Sirotas of our culture want to downplay that but the reality remains.
Andrew Sullivan writes
That’s what I mean by a religious war. It’s war between the extremes of fundamentalist Islam and the free, secular West. That war can exist inside the mind of a single young fanatic who, merely with access to the web and guns and pressure cookers, can stop the world in its tracks. Or it can take the form of sectarian violence in Iraq.
My reader is correct that this is not reducible to Islam in all its breadth and complexity and history. But it cannot be understood at all without grasping the fundamentalist Jihadist mindset. The uncle of the two Jihadists could not be more emphatic that he as a Muslim feels utterly violated and offended by what these losers did. He says he feels ashamed. He is a Muslim as well. And he is an American through and through.
We have to make a simple distinction: between being a Muslim and being an apocalyptic self-proclaimed Jihadist. But the latter exist, are very real, and are inspired by a toxic distortion of Islam.
A reader writes:
Would you characterize Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols, and the militia movement they were associated with as being “at war” with the US? If anything, those men can be said to have been “at war” with EVERYONE, including the 19 children and hundreds of others that they murdered. These men and their ilk are murderers, not soldiers, and what they have done doesn’t deserve the dignity of cloaking it as some part of a larger ideological struggle. They killed because they could. Because they wanted to. And they are enemies of all humanity.
M. Zuhdi Jasser argues for more Muslim action:
Until most Muslims begin to harness our resources and our efforts to counter the ideology of Islamism and its attraction of vulnerable American Muslim youth and its pathway towards jihadization, we will continue to see youth ages 13 and up turn against us. The “morphine” of jihadism numbs their identity and drives them to destroy free societies. It infects them, dehumanizes their fellow Americans, and instructs them to commit acts of terrorism against their own — Muslim and non-Muslim alike.
As is often the case with Islamists, their radicalization is preceded by misogyny and a learned behavior that dehumanizes women and then all those who seek to be free. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was arrested in 2009 for assault and battery against his girlfriend.
The warning signs in these two youths were obvious. But as a society that refuses to engage Islamism, we ignored them at our own peril.
Howie Carr has the last word:
“I know you’re not supposed to paint with a broad brush, unless you’re a liberal, in which case you are not only permitted, but expected to make Adam Lanza the poster boy for 100 million law-abiding legal gun owners.”
Such are the facts.
RIGHT up until the moment Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev allegedly planted bombs and blew up people watching the Boston Marathon they were just regular guys. Not for a moment should you think that the therapy industries and police agencies failed to notice two budding mass murderers passing through the system. Know that they were just a couple of lads:
The family was given permanent residence on March 2, 2007. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev became a US citizen in September 2012. There is no record of him ever having left the US. Tamerlan Tsarnaev spent six months outside the US in 2012.
Sky News: “Boston: Brothers Were ‘Regular American Kids’”
The Gobe - Zolan Kanno-Youngs talke of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev:
“Dzokhar was just a guy with full potential, and never showed any signs of doing this whatsoever. I think that if you ask anybody in Cambridge that truly knew him, and truly hung out with him, this you would know that this is probably the most shocking news we’ve heard in a while….
“He was one of the more peaceful religious people I know. He never brought up any sort of political views whatsoever. I’m still in shock. I honestly can’t accept it. But I’m gonna have to.”
Alina Tsarnaev talks to WBZ-Boston about her brothers:
“They were great people. I never would have expected it. They are smart – I don’t now what’s gotten into them.”
Maret Tsarnaeva, the brother’s aunt, talks to journalists in Toronto, Canada:
“Within the family, everything was perfect…
“What century are we living in? We need evidence. Otherwise you can go shoot anyone like a chicken on the street. Not for me. We need evidence.All these pictures are on the computer. I have to see them. You have to have a motive first. Something that would drive you through some actions. They cannot go crazy or mad or sick just for one day. As far as I know them they are fine.”
She says Tamerlan Tsarnaev is married and has a daughter.
“Tamerlan has his daughter, above the age of that little boy who died there. Why would he think that this daughter’s life is worth more than that little boy’s life that died there? I don’t trust the FBI. Show me evidence.”
Anzor Tsarnaev, the father of the suspects, tells the AP:
“My son is a true angel… We expected him to come on holidays here… They were set up, they were set up! I saw it on television; they killed my older son Tamerlan.”
“I will never believe my boys could have done such a terrible thing,” he said in a telephone interview from Makhachkala, the capital of the Dagestan region. “I have no doubt they were set up.”
“My older son is killed and now they are after my little boy,” he said. “It is a provocation of the special services who went after them because my sons are Muslims and don’t have anyone in America to protect them.”
Tsarnaevs’ father has more:
Q: Did he want to be an American citizen?
A. He wanted to, of course. Why not?
Q. But it didn’t work out, right?
A. Because with his girlfriend, there was a scandal. He hit her lightly. He was locked up for half an hour. There was jealousy there. He paid $250, that was it, he went home. Because of that — in America you can’t touch a woman, they wouldn’t give him citizenship.
A. Because of that they didn’t give him citizenship?
Q. He had gone through the interview, that was it. But they said, he said, they will check the federal authorities, when they check me they will give it. He would have been granted it, he passed the interview. Now we have a new system where they check young people. Because he is a Muslim, I think, and a Chechen, too.
And this might be a classic:
Yes, he was in Makhachkala. Makhachkala, he was never out my sight. He used to sleep till lunchtime, then we visited relatives. We went to Chechnya to visit relatives. He only communicated with me and his cousins. There was nobody (else). People know. I would ask him, did you come here to sleep or what?
Ramzan Kadyrov, leader of Chechnya speaks on Instagram:
“Tragic events happened in Boston. As a result of a terrorist attack, people were killed. We already expressed our condolences to the residents of the city and to the people of America. Today, as the media report, a certain Tsarnaev was killed during a detention attempt. It would be logical if he was detained and an investigation was conducted, all the circumstances and degree of his guilt explained. Apparently, the special forces needed a result at any price to calm society. Any attempt to make a link between Chechnya and the Tsarnaevs, if they are guilty, is in vain. They grew up in the US, their views and beliefs were formed there. The roots of evil must be searched for in America. The whole world must battle with terrorism. We know this better than anyone. We wish recover to all the victims and share Americans’ feeling of sorrow.”
Robin Young, host of the public radio PRI show Here and Now, tweets:
“Remember Djohar well, beautiful boy in tux at prom party and elsewhere.”
They knew it!
“He was really weird and kind of downplaying [the workout] saying ‘Edwin is too light. He’s not going to be a good work for me, but I’m going to come down anyways… He was odd looking, dressed up with military boots, kind of a weird guy.
“We were just sparring so I wasn’t trying to knock him out. But I was trying to hurt him to the point he’d respect me because he thought I was too small so I didn’t really like that. He told that to my trainer. Like I said, he was kind of a cocky and arrogant type of character. He was a little odd and different.”
Ruslan Tsarni is the brothers’ uncle. Why would they have done it?
“We’re Muslims, we’re Chechens, we’re ethnic Chechens. Someone radicalised them, but it was not my brother, who just moved back to Russia. He spent his life bringing bread to their table, fixing cars. He didn’t have time or chance. He’s been working. What do I think was behind this? Being losers, not being able to settle themselves, and thereby hating everyone who did…
“It’s not a surprise about him [Tamerlan]. The younger one, that’s something else.”
Deana Beaulieu went to school with Dzhokhar. She told the AP, you have to be ”careful with the quiet ones”.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev tweeted:
“I didn’t become a lifeguard to just chill and get paid, I do it for the people, saving lives brings me joy.”
On the day of the bombing, he tweetred:
“There are people that know the truth but stay silent & there are people that speak the truth but we don’t hear them ‘cus they’re the minority… Ain’t no love in the heart of the city, stay safe people,” and urged fellow users to re-tweet a photograph of a man bending over an injured woman.”
His last tweet was on Wednesday went:
“I’m a stress-free kind of guy.”
Russia Today talks to Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, the brothers’ mother:
Such are the facts…
THe 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography is won by Rodrigo Abd, Narciso Contreras, Khalil Hamra, Manu Brabo and Muhammed Muheisen, all of the Associated Press, for “their compelling coverage of the civil war in Syria”. Photojournalism does not get better than this:
Injured men are carried to a hospital during fierce fighting between Free Syrian Army fighters and government troops in Idlib, north Syria, Saturday, March 10, 2012. U.N. envoy Kofi Annan met with Syrian President Bashar Assad on Saturday in Damascus during a high-profile international mission to mediate an end to the country's yearlong conflict. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
YOU can see the photos from the Boston bombings here. We saw the AP’s picture of one man’s injuries. Not every publication thought it too much. You can see our cropped version of the man as he’s helped by first repsonders and Carlos Arredono.
And now some good news. Well, better news. The man was rushed to the Boston Medical Center ER. His name is Jeff Bauman Junior. He’s lost both of his legs. His father, Jeff Bauman Senior, writes:
“Can everyone pray for my son Jeff Jr.? I just can’t explain what’s wrong with people today to do this to people. I’m really starting to lose faith in our country.”
Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers, they did help greatly. Unfortunately my son was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. He had to have both lower limbs removed due to the extensive vascular and bone damage. I was with him last night and am heading back down to Boston – Boston Medical Center to be with him today. He went back into surgery last night at midnight for exploratory due to fluid in his abdomen. He came out at 2:30 and doctors informed us he was doing better. Thanks again to all you guys and girl
You can help Jeff here.
When people say they are praying for someone, it can sound glib. Tony Woodlief helps :
Sometimes I wake up in a hotel bed or my apartment and I forget where I am, what bed this is and what city this is. I shower and sometimes I shave and I mutter sentences that have no meaning because they are not in the right place. They are divorced from all place, these words like I don’t understand this and I can’t do this and Please help me. I mutter these sentences and I stop, the washrag over my face or the blade to my neck, and I wonder where the words came from, and who they are for, and why I am saying them, and if only God understands why we talk to ourselves in the bleary dark morning hours.
Only God understands if they are prayers or laments, and how words can be both, how every sentence spoken out of place is really just another way of saying: Where am I to go?
Heather MacDonald does not believe:
I take it that believers do not ascribe such inconsistent results to capriciousness on God’s part, but rather to their own limited capacities to understand God’s ways: “Thy Will be done.” But why continue directing any psychic energy to a being so lacking in sympathetic correspondence to human needs and values. It will not do to say: “God does respond to our prayers, but in ways that we cannot fathom.” Saving a child from cancer and letting a child die from cancer cannot both be a sympathetic response to prayer; if we had wanted a stricken child to die in order to secure an earlier entry to heaven, we would have said so. And if premature death from cancer is such a boon, why doesn’t a loving God provide it to one and all?
It is humans who work with passion and commitment every day to try to save their fellows (and a range of other creatures) from suffering and sorrow. Emergency room medicine is constantly evolving to try to ensure that gun shot victims and people crushed by cars survive. Doctors and hospital staff work frantically throughout the night to try to revive a failing heart or a shattered brain. They do so out of love and compassion, while God, who could restart an exhausted heart in an instant, demurs. The only source of love on earth is human empathy. Transferring our own admirable traits onto a constructed deity just obscures the real human condition: we are all we have, but that is saying a lot.
If you can’t pray for Jeff Bauman, we can at least contemplate what it means to be him.
WHO set off the bombs at the Boston Marathon? Everyone who has an agenda knows:
CNN’s national security analyst Peter Bergen twice suggested that “right-wing extremists” could be behind Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings… Bergen was asked to explain if the bombing could have been an act of terror. Bergen answered in the affirmative, and proceeded to name possible suspects depending on the type of explosive used.
Setting off two bombs at the end of a public race could be an act of terror. Well, he’s the expert:
“I think the actual – the constituency inside the bomb will make a big difference about how we identify the person who did this,” he explained at the end of CNN’s 4 p.m. ET hour of live coverage. The perpetrators “could be a right-wing extremist group.”
IN May 1960, the Pink Pussycat School of Striptease (aka The Navel Academy) opened it doors in Los Angeles. Said school owner and President Harry Schiller in his first baccalaureate: “There are lots of girls who want to strip, but few know how.”
JUSTIN Bieber was once a Nazi SS wartime general, historians say. Experts who saw Bieber sign the visitor book at Anne Frank’s wartime home in Amsterdam - he wrote: “Truly inspiring to be ble to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she has belieber Would have beens” - believe the singer was once an SS stormtrooper named Helmet Wirth.
Wirth escaped to Paraguay. It is now believed his knowledge of genetics and suitcases full of baby skin and children’s organs enabled him to disguise himself as ‘Justin Bieber’.
“Wirth worked in the aural desensitisation zone at Auschwitz,” explains one historian. “His job was to test sounds to see if they could create non-surgical mass sterilisation. As former chairman of the anatomy department at the Reich University in Strassburgu, Wirth’s experiments on babies enabled him to rise to the upper echelons of the Third Reich.”
Wirth recorded his experiments. He would often sing whilst he worked. Anorak played some of Wirth’s tapes to a group of teenagers. Twelve year-old Jessica Hool from Basildon, was impressed:
“OMG! You can really hear it’s Bieber.”
Holly Jones, added:
“To think that thousands of murdered children were forced to listen to Justin Bieber before they were raped and murdered shows that the Nazis weren’t all bad. My nan had Procol Harem at her funeral. It’s just a matter of taste”
Bieber fan Milly Samson added on twitter: “Ho the fuck is Anne Frank? If that bitch takes my baby maker I’m gonna fuck her up. For shit!”
IN Liverpool, two memorials to the 96 football fans who died at Hillsborough have gone on display. It was On 15 April 1989 when it happened. Liverpool were playing Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup semi-final. There was a crush of bodies in the Liverpool end. And it got worse. And worse. The fans had nowhere to go. The police would not open the gates to release the pressure. The fans begged them to. The police did nothing. To them, the unfolding human disaster was only about crown control.
As the bodies were being collected, the police, the State and the media colluded to blame the fans. They lied.
BEING buried alive is right up there in the list of things you fear most.
YOUTUBER jethack shows us the Mysterious Swaying Plant. He says it’s creepy. It is. But when I saw it I stated to think of The Vanishing, the Dutch film in which a man is buried alive. Jewthack walks off with his video to post on YouTube. He never digs beneath the wavering plant. And in a box beneath the soil a man with only a stem to breath through, screams…
Presenting the Best Buried Alive Scenes in Film.
The Screaming Woman
The Candy Snatchers
Patrick Stewart played his drug lord role with relish, especially since it is such a change for him recently. From the press packet: With his role as the captain of the starship Enterprise, “I became everything synonymous with honor, intelligence, and rectitude,” he says. “Loomis is a delightful and refreshing alternative to that.” Indeed. In his very first appearance, we see him sitting at an open grave, where he calmly has his wife buried alive.
The Big Carnival
The Serpent and the Rainbow
Tales of Terror
Kill Bill (Vol 2)
A COUPLE have been caught on Google Street View, doing the sex outdoors while the Google car drove by.
ANORAK has argued against a minute’s silence at football grounds for Margaret Thatcher. She was no football fan. Her time as Prime Minister coincided with English football’s slide into darkness. The nadir was the Millwall fans rioting at Luton Town. The horrors were at Bradford City (56 dead), Heysel (39) and Hillsborough. Of that last tragedy in which 96 Liverpool fans – adults and children – lost their lives at the FA Cup semi-final, voices poured misinformation into Thatcher’s ear. She was a willing audience to their lies - “One officer, born and bred in Liverpool, said that he was deeply ashamed to say that it was drunken Liverpool fans who had caused this disaster, just as they had caused the deaths at Heysel.”
THE newspapers have written millions of words on Margaret Thatcher. And the writers and owners might all thank her. In the 1991 book Murdoch: The Decline of an Empire, we read of life on Fleet Street back in 1978:
The Times Newspapers management wanted to introduce new technology. This new system would allow advertising employees to take down classified advertisements by putting them directly into the system through electronic keyboards …
The National Graphical Association (NGA), which represented the typesetters, rejected this proposal and called for ‘double key-stroking’; ‘double’ being the operative word …
Copy could be typed by others on the paper, including journalists, but it had to be retyped by NGA members. In the days of hot metal presses this made sense, but the new computer-based technology meant that copy only needed to be ‘single-keyed’, i.e. it could be typed and set straight into the system … [By 1979] the NGA had already established the double key-stroking principle at three other national newspapers.
In Bad News: The Wapping Dispute, the writers note the relationships between journalists and clerical/production workers:
“Traditionally the journalists saw the printers’ practices as an obstacle to getting their stories out and there was a great deal of jealousy because the printers were earning as much, if not more, than they were earning themselves. Their attitude of superiority… was something that many clerical workers experienced in their day to day contact with journalists.”
(The Sunday Times journalists, for example, voted 68-60 to move to Wapping.)
The Times Newspapers group lost more than £39 million during a nearly year-long closure over the issue. When the business – such as it was – re-opened in 1979, it had a new feature: double-keying.
Murdoch wanted change.
He wanted to smash the unions. His Sun newspaper had been firmly against the miners in their strike. (Read how it tuned miners’ union leader Arthur Scargill into Hitler.)
Investing in new technology would mean fewer staff and bigger papers, with full colour and more sections and advertising. He set about building a new printing plant in Wapping, East London. This would be for a new organ called The London News. That title would never exist. It was a ruse to keep the unions from knowing his true intention.
In the USA “New Technology” had made significant inroads, with cold type first introduced as early as 1973 and job losses as high as 50% resulting from the introduction of information technology. In the face of declining readership and intense competition no strike agreements had been widely negotiated to secure a “habit factor” amongst readers. One of the leading suppliers of IT to the newspaper industry with 500 customers and 50% market share was Atex, a subsidiary of Kodak founded in 1973. The systems Atex produced covered everything from layout and word-processing to printing and classified advertisement sales. In the UK most publishers were experimenting to a greater or lesser extent with New Technology but were nervous about the technological risks and the impact on labour relations. Only Eddie Shah with his Today newspaper had tried to use it extensively, with mixed results.
Murdoch determined to purchase technology from Atex, and to employ it in a newspaper plant to be built in Wapping in East London, ostensibly to produce a new newspaper called “The London Post”. The Atex system was developed amidst enormous secrecy, and gave Murdoch the confidence that he could take on the print unions and win. He didn’t so much introduce leading edge production techniques as simply take advantage of widely used technology and practices established in other countries and sectors.
Former Independent editor Andrew Whittam-Smith said of those times of change:
Until 1986 nothing had changed in newspaper publishing, The industry was in a time warp,”. “What Rupert Murdoch did was break the log jam and bring us into the 20th century”.
Where Murdoch led, every other newspaper followed. They all left Fleet Street. They all invested in new print works.
On 16 1986 over 6000 staff striked. At which point they lost their jobs. Members of SOGAT (Society of Graphical and Allied Trades) the NGA (National Graphical Association), the AUEW (Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers) were out of work. Members of the electricians union, the EETPU, kept the printers running. Murdoch relocated his papers from Fleet Street to those cheaper premises in Wapping, which soon resembled a fortress.
There was violence. The police were very much on Murdoch’s side.
Journalists and printers were bussed in from secret locations and traditional militant rail unions marginalised as Murdoch turned to the road haulage company TNT to run the gauntlet of strikers and get his newspapers out, using articulated lorries (one of which killed a 19-year-old labourer as it was leaving the plant in 1987) and vans known as “white mice”.
Journalists still had to endure the chants of “scab, scab, scab” as they drove into Wapping (and then chants of “cunt, cunt, cunt” from Kelvin MacKenzie, according to Peter Chippendale and Chris Horrie’s book Stick it Up Your Punter), but at least they were protected by the police.
The general secretary of Sogat ’82, Brenda Dean (see lead photo) condemned the violence, as did many other union leaders.
Others were less displeased. This is an extract from one of the last unofficial bulletin’s Picket, which was published 43 times during the strike.
Picket 28th January 1987
For months we have taken stick from the police. On Saturday we got one back. Brilliant. They must’ve wondered what hit them, even the veterans of May 3rd. For hours they had to sit there and take it, the noise of concrete on Perspex deafened us, what must it have been like for them? It was too dangerous for them to charge us as they would have liked. Many thanks to all those people ‘unconnected to the dispute’ who were right up there in the front, showing they know quite well what the police are about and what they deserve from working class people. We need no excuses for hating the police. Thanks especially to the football supporters from Millwall, West Ham, Chelsea and Charlton. You were an inspiration.
Troubled flared. When the strike ended in February 1987, there had been 1,262 arrests and 410 police injuries.
“Scab, scab, scab” the pickets chanted as journalist were bussed in. According to the book Stick it Up Your Punter, Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie chanted back “c*nt, c*nt, c*nt”.
The print unions’ attempts to gain sympathy for a national boycott of the News International titles .They failed.
In the end, the strike was called off when compensation for sacked staff was arranged.
Murdoch has won. So too had Thatcher.
IN May 1988, Polly Tonybee wrote about Margaret Thatcher in the Washington Monthly. The diatribe was entitled “Is Margaret Thatcher A Woman?”.
Yes, she was. And a mother. But Tonybee wants to present Thatcher as a man, her Spitting Image puppet made flesh.
True enough, Thatcher never gave another women a job at her Cabinet table. But, then, it was her simply being there, Britain’s first female Prime Minister, that makes her a symbol of female emancipation and power. Like her or loathe her, Margaret Thatcher believed she could be Prime Minister. And she made it happen.
WORDS on Margaret Thatcher’s passing will run into the millions. But only STV has the apparent scoop that her son Mark Thatcher has also died.
In other news, over 300 people massed in Glasgow to celebrate the former Prime Minister’s death.
NEWS on Magic Mushrooms. Can they be used to cure depression? The key component is something called psilocybin. The theory is that it can stop patients dwelling on their perceived inadequacies. Psilocybin turns off the brain’s anterior cingulate cortex, an area that appears to control emotion. It is a psychedelic drug.
Says Professor David Nutt (more nominative determinism at work), neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London:
“People with depression have overactive default mode networks and so ruminate on themselves, on their inadequacies, on their badness, that they are worthless, that they have failed – to an extent that is sometimes delusional. Again psilo-cybin appears to block that activity and stops this obsessive rumination.”
FLASHBACK looks at football kit changes. When both teams are wearing the ame kit,
Are you Crystal Palace in disguise?
There’s only one conceivable reason why any of the 21,281 spectators at Selhurst Park are likely to remember Saturday’s match between Crystal Palace and Barnsley: both team played in Palace kits. The Eagles played in their usual red-and-blue and the Tykes donned Palace’s yellow away shirt. Whether they took advantage of the 30 percent reduction in the club shop is not known. In the event both teams played like Palace and failed to score.