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Key Posts | Anorak - Part 4

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Radiohead and Slash sticks it to BDS bigots: Jewish Devils get the best tunes

When Thom Yorke’s gave BDS the finger, we cheered. You should cheer too. The monocular Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) mob demanded Radiohead cancel their show in Tel Aviv, Israel – a country vast in the Bible and Leftish dogma but in reality small and dusty. “Their ill-advised concert in Tel Aviv suggests to me that they only want to hear one side – the one that supports apartheid,” said Jeremy Corbyn’s mate Ken Loach in the Independent. “Every international artist who plays in Israel serves as a propaganda tool for the Israeli government.”

Anyone who saw and enjoyed the Corbyn set at Glastonbury will hope the Jewish state finally sees sense and Tel Aviv gets twinned with Somerset and Islington. Politics is music and music is politics, hymns the popular song of the correct, compassionate and knowing.

Many more have added their voices to the chorus seeking to impose a cultural blockade on Israel, its peoples and anyone who agrees with them in the spirit of – get this – inclusivity, equality and diversity. Desmond Tutu, Roger Waters, Thurston Moore and Dave Randall were all aghast at Radiohead’s concert in the Israeli beach-side city. “Music helps drown out the cries of the oppressed,” opined Randall without irony. Music does more harm than good. It’s the kind of message sure to get a sympathetic ear among the Taliban.

“Anybody who’s tempted to do that, like our friends in Radiohead, if only they would actually educate themselves,” advises knowing Waters, who addresses Yorke in an open letter on a BDS live chat: “I look forward to – if you feel like it, when you finish your trip to Israel, because you probably still will go – write me a letter and tell me how much good you did and how much change you managed to affect by chatting with musicians.”

In the face of the scholarly and superior Waters, Yorke is defiant. “We’ve played in Israel for over 20 years through a succession of governments, some more liberal than others,” he said. “As we have in America. We don’t endorse Netanyahu any more than Trump, but we still play in America. Music, art and academia is about crossing borders, not building them, about open minds not closed ones, about shared humanity, dialogue and freedom of expression.”

He goes on. “Imagine how offensive that is for Jonny.. [Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood is married to an Arab-Jew]. Just to assume that we know nothing about this. Just to throw the word ‘apartheid’ around and think that’s enough. It’s fucking weird. It’s such an extraordinary waste of energy.”

Although it’s not weird to make the world’s one Jewish state a special case for censorship. Israel’s unique status among the enlightened too-often smells of something horribly familiar and nasty. Throughout history the people of God’s dad are often a special case.

But never fear, Jews and your apologists. The Devil always has the best tunes. Pink Floyd’s Waters – a fair-minded and reasoned man who compares modern-day Israel to Germany under the Nazis – can’t make it. But Guns ‘n Rose can. Take it away, Slash:

 

Posted: 19th, July 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Jodie Whittaker: the naked Dr Who photos too racy for tea-time telly

jodie-whittaker-doctornaked

 

That the latest incarnation of Dr Who is a woman and not a child or a fridge freezer has not escaped the Sun and the Daily Mail. The papers reviewed Jodie Whittaker’s pre-postgrad career in time travel and noticed that she’s appeared starkers.

Both tabloids have shown their readers pictures of Whittaker naked or topless in previous acting work. To which you might wonder, ‘So what?’ She’s a grown woman who took the roles that required disrobing in the best possible taste under free will. But something called the Equal Representation for Actresses (ERA), is upset. “We are delighted by the casting of Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor,” says the camping group without humour, mistaking the BBC’s Verne-fed gurn-fest for an actual character. “However, we are surprised and disappointed by the Daily Mail and the Sun’s reductive and irresponsible decision to run a story featuring pictures of Jodie in various nude scenes.”

The show’s Daleks were naked, moreover the Cyberman and K-9, Dr Who’s robot dog. All nude. Why is it different for Whittaker? Is it because women are so weak that she needs special protection?

 

Jodie Whittaker naked

 

Doctor of Morals

Everything about the BBC’s cash-cow is contrived to milk viewers. What began as a bit of fun is now a marketing campaign so message-laden Dr Who should be recast as a Royal Mail van driver. The last Dr Who looked like your grandfather, or at least the head of English at an inner-city Academy. He was tooled-up with a magic screwdriver in place of plot. When that MacGuffin flagged, he scored a gay female sidekick, who for added twitter-appeal was also black. “It shouldn’t be a big deal in the 21st Century. It’s about time isn’t it?” Pearl Mackie, who played the sidekick told the BBC. “That representation is important, especially on a mainstream show.”

Good for her. But the suspicion is that her identity-first role was led less by desire for change than it was it to suppress desire of a more base sort in the Beeb’s post-Savile era. There was no chance of the Aunty who tuned a blind eye to depravity letting old man Peter Capaldi anywhere near someone young and female who could be perceived as some kind of love interest.

So now you get Dr Who who looks most like a primary school teacher, albeit one with a racier past. She’s safe around children, and on parents’ evening, there’s something for dad to contemplate.

Posted: 18th, July 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Mobikes in the canal restores faith in the spirit of Manchester

In Manchester new Chinese bikes are creating artificial reefs in the city’s waterways. It’s terrific. Although it might not be what the Chinese company behind bicycle sharing service Mobike envisioned when it launched in the UK. Can Mobike disrupt Manchester travel?

I really wanted to believe that Mancunians could be trusted with nice things. Just over a fortnight ago, a Chinese company called Mobike brought 1,000 shiny new silver and orange bikes to my city. Unlockable with a smartphone and available to rent for just 50p for half an hour, they could be ridden wherever you liked within Manchester and Salford and, crucially, could be left anywhere public once you were done.

I was an immediate convert, boasting about the superiority of our new bike-sharing system over London’s, pitying sadsacks in the capital who had to trundle around looking for a docking station. One sunny evening shortly after the launch, I rode a Mobike to Salford Quays, where I swam a mile in the filtered water of the glistening Lowry, reflecting as I did my backstroke that Manchester was starting to feel rather European. I had always fancied living in Copenhagen, where the cyclist is king and the harbour has been turned into a lido. Was I now living that continental dream?

Two weeks on and I fear that a dream is all it was. There are Mobikes in the canal, Mobikes in bins and I am fed up with following the app to a residential street where there is clearly a Mobike stashed in someone’s garden. On launch day, the Chinese designer told me the bikes were basically indestructible and should last four years without maintenance. It took a matter of hours before local scallies worked out how to disable the GPS trackers and smash off the back wheel locks.

On Thursday, none of the eight bikes showing on the app as being near my house were actually there. I was so incensed when I reached the location of the ninth and could see it locked away in a backyard that I lost control of my senses and knocked on the door. A young man opened it and I asked nicely if I could rent the bike. He looked surprised and said, no, it was his, and anyway, he needed it later. I explained that was not how the system worked, that the bikes were public, and that if everyone was as selfish as him the whole thing would collapse. He rolled his eyes and told me I would be trespassing if I dared try to fetch it.

You see, what works in a totalitarian state where everyone’s being monitored doesn’t work in Manchester. Good-oh. Theft isn’t right, of course not. But to assume compliance and that people offered a 50p bike ride home will treat the thing with dutiful respect represents a failure to understand your target market.

PS: Chinese airline Wings of China can update its advice to travellers visiting the UK. The 2016 Air China guide told its passengers to avoid visiting areas of London “populated by Indians, Pakistanis and black people” – and “We advise tourists not to go out alone at night, and females always to be accompanied by another person when travelling.”

The chapter on Manchester should be a hoot.

Spotter: The Guardian:

 

Posted: 17th, July 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, The Consumer | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Break up long journeys with 30 hours of free Dr Who radio plays

Dr who audio tapes

 

On Spotify, you can listen to 30 hours of Doctor Who audio dramas. The recordings feature six actor to have played the BBC’s Dr Who.

A Dr Who fan on Reddit has made the list:

Main Range:

  1. The Sirens of Time
  2. Phantasmagoria
  3. Whispers of Terror
  4. The Land of the Dead
  5. The Fearmonger
  6. The Marian Conspiracy
  7. The Genocide Machine
  8. Red Dawn
  9. The Spectre of Lanyon Moor
  10. Winter for the Adept
  11. The Apocalypse Element
  12. The Fires of Vulcan
  13. The Shadow of the Scourge
  14. The Holy Terror
  15. The Mutant Phase
  16. Storm Warning
  17. Sword of Orion
  18. The Stones of Venice
  19. Minuet in Hell
  20. Loups-Garoux
  21. Dust Breeding
  22. Bloodtide
  23. Project: Twilight
  24. The Eye of the Scorpion
  25. Colditz
  26. Primeval
  27. The One Doctor
  28. Invaders from Mars
  29. The Chimes of Midnight
  30. Seasons of Fear
  31. Embrace the Darkness
  32. The Time of the Daleks
  33. Neverland
  34. Spare Parts
  35. …ish
  36. The Rapture
  37. The Sandman
  38. The Church and the Crown
  39. Bang-Bang-a-Boom!
  40. Jubilee
  41. Nekromanteia
  42. The Dark Flame
  43. Doctor Who and the Pirates
  44. Creatures of Beauty
  45. Project: Lazarus
  46. Flip-Flop
  47. Omega
  48. Davros
  49. Master
  50. Zagreus

Special Releases:

UNIT: Dominion

The Davros Mission

Fourth Doctor Adventures:

1.01 Destination: Nerva

1.02 The Renaissance Man

1.03 The Wrath of the Iceni

1.04 Energy of the Daleks

1.05 Trail of the White Worm

1.06 The Oseidon Adventure

Eighth Doctor Adventures:

1.1 Blood of the Daleks, Part 1

1.2 Blood of the Daleks, Part 2

1.3 Horror of Glam Rock

1.4 Immortal Beloved

1.5 Phobos

1.6 No More Lies

1.7 Human Resources, Part 1

1.8 Human Resources, Part 2

The Lost Stories:

1.01 The Nightmare Fair

1.02 Mission to Magnus

1.03 Leviathan

1.04 The Hollows of Time

1.05 Paradise 5

1.06 Point of Entry

1.07 The Song of Megaptera

1.08 The Macros

Box 1. The Fourth Doctor Box Set

The Companion Chronicles:

2.1 Mother Russia

2.2 Helicon Prime

2.3 Old Soldiers

2.4 The Catalyst

Destiny of the Doctor:

  1. Hunters of Earth
  2. Shadow of Death
  3. Vengeance of the Stones
  4. Babblesphere
  5. Smoke and Mirrors
  6. Trouble in Paradise
  7. Shockwave
  8. Enemy Aliens
  9. Night of the Whisper
  10. Death’s Deal
  11. The Time Machine

Short Trips:

Volume 1

Volume 2

The Stageplays:

  1. The Ultimate Adventure
  2. Seven Keys to Doomsday
  3. The Curse of the Daleks

Bernice Summerfield:

Box 2. Road Trip

Box 3. Legion

Box 4. New Frontiers

Box 5. Missing Persons

Graceless:

Series 1

Series 2

Series 3

Dalek Empire:

  1. Invasion of the Daleks
  2. The Human Factor
  3. “Death to the Daleks!”
  4. Project Infinity
  5. Dalek War: Chapter One
  6. Dalek War: Chapter Two
  7. Dalek War: Chapter Three
  8. Dalek War: Chapter Four

Jago & Litefoot:

Series 1

Series 2

Series 3

Series 4

Series 5

Counter-Measures:

Series 1

Series 2

Iris Wildthyme:

2.1 The Sound of Fear

2.2 The Land of Wonder

2.3 The Two Irises

2.4 The Panda Invasion

2.5 The Claws of Santa

Series 3

Series 4

UNIT:

  1. Time Heals
  2. Snake Head
  3. The Longest Night
  4. The Wasting

I, Davros:

  1. Innocence
  2. Purity
  3. Corruption
  4. Guilt

Cyberman:

1.1 Scorpius

1.2 Fear

1.3 Conversion

1.4 Telos

2.0 Cyberman 2

Charlotte Pollard:

Series 1

Spotter: Open Culture

Posted: 17th, July 2017 | In: Key Posts | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Thank God for Conor McGregor: antidote to the age of doubt

I’ll remember seeing Conor McGregor waiting in the ring for Floyd Mayweather (video below). How could I forget? What a sight. What style and substance. What panache. What a hoot. In the current era of can’t say that, when “inappropriate” is the watchword and Outraged of Twitter commands compliance in speech and deed, McGregor’s swaggering and shadow boxing was a visit from another world, a more exciting time when mistakes were glorious, failures radiant and life was about daring to do with a big toothy grin and gaping, irresistible laugher.

McGregor knows what he is and wants to be. It’s a clarity out of step with snowflakes, safe spaces, blaming everyone else for your own errors, excruciating debates over gender and identity, and so much guff about cultural appropriation, virtue signalling and a navel-gazing search for fluid indefinites.

McGregor commands admiration. “There’s two things I really like to do and that’s whoop ass and look good,” says McGregor.” He said of an opponent: “How could I hate someone who has the same dreams as me?” And most tellingly of all:  “There is no opponent … you’re against yourself…Defeat is the secret ingredient to success.”

The golden age of derring-do hasn’t been eradicated. It’s been throbbing in a tough part of Dublin. It’s out there. And it’s glorious. “I know who I am,” says McGregor. And we love it:

 

Posted: 15th, July 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The weirdest Donald Trump handshake battle yet

When Donald Trump met Emmanuel Macron in Paris, France, the handshake battle was weird and intense:

When will someone just get a false hand up their sleeve and let him have it when he tugs hard?

donald trump handshake

Posted: 14th, July 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Charlie Gard: hope will always beat reason

charlie gard

 

If you get delve into the steaming heap of pleading, bias, fiscal nous, screeching, virtue-signalling, baby-kissing, dreaming, pining, narcissism, spiritual zeal, butchery and guff, at the root of society, you’ll find the whole point of governance: to support human life. You can consult the history books and thereby, say the knowledge wallahs, learn how not to repeat mistakes of the past. But most of us know what we want and where we need to go to get it. We want a good life. So how did it come to this? How did the parents of terminally-ill baby Charlie Gard end up fighting for their son’s existence in the High Court in London?

Charlie suffers from infantile onset encephalomyopathy mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome (MDDS). He’s ill. Very ill. He cannot see, hear, move, cry or swallow. Everything he does is dictated by invasive machines. Science and electricity keep Charlie Gard alive.

And in technology, Charlie’s parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, have hope. They know of an experimental treatment that could prolong their son’s life. Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GSOH), where Charlie is on life-support, say they have explored many treatment options and none would improve Charlie’s quality of life and he should be allowed to die. Judges at the European Court of Human Rights ruled further treatment would “continue to cause Charlie significant harm”.

But that hope, the thing that makes us human and active lingers and nags. It drives Charlie’s parents on. They’ve raised £1.3m through donations to take their son to the US for an experimental treatment called nucleoside therapy. It’s untested. Not even mice have tried it. And it’s not being offered as a cure. Having seen the report on Charlie’s brain damage, the American doctor stated that he could “understand the opinion that [Charlie] is so severely affected by encephalopathy that any attempt at therapy would be futile. I agree that it is very unlikely that he will improve with that therapy.”

GSOH says Charlie should be allowed to die with dignity. Charlie is 11-months-old. Dignity is for the aged, the lived and the caring. Can an innocent die with anything but dignity? Can a child yet to make his first birthday have an undignified death? The adults are charge. They are keeping him alive and deciding the manner, time and, through language, the narrative of his death.

Medics will offer Charlie the utmost respect through a hard-fought death; but they will not offer him more life. They’ve blended hard-nosed, pragmatic, experienced views with statistics into a thick gunk, added some sweetness to mask the taste and handed it to Charlie’s parents. Give it to the lad. Swallow once and wait for the end. It’ll be ‘peaceful’.

But for everyone involved in this case – the living – it isn’t peaceful. Hurt by a seriously ill child with an inherited disease, the parents are cursed doubly with hope stymied by bureaucracy .“There is no love of life without despair of life,” wrote Albert Camus. Hope doesn’t mean denying the horror of their son’s appalling condition and appealing for the impossible. Hope is about remembering triumph.

So we give them money. We want the Gard family to prevail. And from the medics, one small boy’s life is now down to the lawyers. The case is now about the State’s reason and critical thinking versus emotion. We know hope won’t do it. It’s not enough. But the money might. The intrepid medics could help. Things are not certain. There is a miniscule chance of something incredible. And in that tiny space, we see a need to act. Hope, more muscular than mere optimism, is the trigger for action. Not to act on hope is to be complicit and complacent this side of the grave. Against cruel nature Charlie’s parents have a chance to influence the outcome.

You’d deny them that chance? I wouldn’t. I’d let them seize it. Things might not change for the better, but they can change.

Posted: 13th, July 2017 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Labour Hunt Tory MP Ann Marie Morris for making remarks she doesn’t agree with

Ann Marie Morris is proof the Tories are “still nasty”, says The National. Ann Marie Morris is proof that the Conservatives are “in chaos”, says the Mirror. Ann Marie Morris is front-page news. She’s the Conservative MP for Newton Abbot. What she said during a meeting at London’s East India club to a group of Tory Eurosceptics is to terrible the paper refers to it as “n*****”, the word censored lest we say it and also become pariahs.

What Ms Morris said was that “the real nigger in the woodpile” about Brexit is if after the two-year negotiation period is up Britain and the EU haven’t agreed on trade contracts. It’s a remarkably stupid and ugly comment. You’ve got to wonder at anyone who uses it outside a class on arcane phrases loaded in racism. But surely one idiotic phrase doesn’t sum up an entire political party and the millions who voted for it.

When Prince Philip told British students in China “If you stay here much longer you’ll all be slitty-eyed”, the Mirror called it a “memorable gaffe“, a bit of misspeaking we should cherish. It was one of his many “classic quotes”, other being about Aboriginal “spear chuckers”. Did we hear them and say that his words summed up every Windsor in the Family Firm, including The Queen, Harry and Diana?

 

ann marie morris tories

It’s not really about race. It’s about party politics, which is nasty and unsure. It means politicos have to be seen to be active. Theresa May, the actual Prime Minster, suspends Morris from their party. Labour MP Tulip Siddiq tweets: “I’m absolutely appalled by this. I assume PM will take appropriate action?” Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s campaign coordinator, says: “Theresa May once spoke about changing the Tories’ ‘nasty party’ tag. If she’s serious about that, she will admit it’s not enough for the Tories to ‘investigate’ and will apologise and act immediately. If that means withdrawing the whip, that’s what they should do.” Guardian invention Owen Jones wants action against other Tory MPs who were at the meeting and who failed to denounce Morris for her choice of phrase. For people against blood sports, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour seem to love the thrill of the hunt.

Neither circumspection nor reason is countenanced.

Anne MArie Morris

 

But the good news for Morris is that, like Naz Shah the Labour MP who suggested all Jews should be deported from Israel, you can embark on a “journey” and learn how to become socially acceptable among your enlightened Commons peers once more.

And Corbyn, with his interesting friends, should be sensitive to Morris’s re-education, after all when Naz Shah shouted “RAUS!” at the Jews, Corbyn told us, “We’re not saying she’s anti-Semitic. We’re saying she’s made remarks she doesn’t agree with.” More guff than gaffe.

Posted: 11th, July 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


CNN v HansAssholeSolo: Trump’s Reddit meme tweet exposes the old media’s thin skin

trump cnn memeWhen Donald Trump tweeted a meme made by Reddit user HansAssholeSolo, CNN were upset. The meme was a mash-up of footage of Trump wrestling WWE CEO Vince McMahon to the deck in 2007 altered so that McMahon’s face was replaced with CNN’s logo.

Trump and CNN are at loggerheads. He says they broadcast fake news to an anti-him agenda. They say he’s America’s enemy. HansAssholeSolo morphed this sad war of words into an actual fight. Joke. Geddit?

CNN didn’t. It’s issued a threat. No, not to Trump. They’re threatening HansAssholeSolo. If he lampoons CNN ever again, the broadcaster will stop talking truth to power and attack. Judgmental CNN reporter Andrew Kaczynski says CNN “reserves the right to publish his identity” if he commits “ugly behaviour on social media again”. To some this sounds like “blackmail“. Take on the corporation and you will pay. Comply or else. That Kaczynski’s makes his threat beneath the headline “How CNN found the Reddit user behind the Trump wrestling GIF” only adds to the absurdity. Unless the BBC can discover which leg Trump puts first into his trousers, that Pulitzer’s in the bag.

In a lengthy apology, a worried HansAssholeSolo says: “Free speech is a right we all have, but it shouldn’t be used in the manner that it was in the posts that were put on this site. I do not advocate violence against the press and the meme I posted was [not] advocating that in any way, shape, or form.”

It was a joke that thanks to Trump’s priapic tweet finger and monocular news agency CNN has gotten out of hand. And it’s exposed how prissy CNN is; how like Trump, CNN is over-sensitive, vain and self-regarding. It shows us how terrified CNN is of the power of newer, non-telly media. CNN’s viewers are in bed by 10pm and watching from rented rooms because they’ve tired of the hotel’s infomercial; twitter and Reddit users are tuning in anywhere at any time.

It’s as illuminating as it is entertaining. And the row is mildly contradictory: like The Donald’s skin, it’s terrible – and there’s not enough of it.

Posted: 6th, July 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, TV & Radio | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Barry Norman’s letter to two drunks who asked him to be their ‘honorary uncle’

“Drunk one Saturday night my friend I wrote to WONDERFUL Barry Norman asking him to become our honorary uncle,” tweets . “I treasure his letter.”

 

 

barry norman letter funny

 

barry norman letter funny

 

Barry Norman: Barry Norman (21 August 1933 – 30 June 2017)

Posted: 3rd, July 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Madeleine McCann found in a listicle, the child as big as the pyramids and free holiday posters

Madeleine McCann: very few words on the missing child haver featured in the national press of late. Big stories – murderous terrorist attacks in Manchester and London, and the horror that engulfed lives at London’s Grenfell Tower – have kept journalists and editors busy. No need to press f9 on the keyboard and fill the pages with no news of Madeleine McCann.

But let’s see what has featured in the past few weeks.

The Sun: “‘KEEP THE SEARCH ALIVE’ – Holidaymakers urged to print off and pack Maddie McCann posters when they go abroad in new bid to track down missing youngster”

Passports. Money. Tickets. Poster of missing child…The Sun tells us:

The posters have been printed in 17 different languages including Romanian, Filipino and Arabic

And English, right? Not just foreigners being reminded about the missing child. But anyone holidaying in Bucharest, St John’s Wood or Iraq can tell the locals to watch out.

None of the posters contain information on any reward.

 

posters maddy mccann madeleine

posters maddy mccann madeleine

posters maddy mccann madeleine

 

Posters have featured a reward:

 

 

Of course, maybe the posters will help. You never know.

The Sun then hears from people it calls “website fans”, people who read the Find Maddie Campaign website. Fans is an odd word. Can you be a fan of finding missing child?

Sharon Wood vows: “Every trip I make posters go up in Lanzarote and I keep my Find Madeleine tag on my case.” Sarah Green adds: “I’m in Crete and my eyes are peeled all the time for her.”

Madeleine McCann went missing in Portugal ten years ago.

The Star wonders if she left Portugal. “Is THIS where Maddie was hidden? Hundreds of wells were NEVER searched,” says the paper. “A WELL just 15 minutes from the apartment where Maddie disappeared is one of hundreds in the area reportedly never checked by investigators,” the paper reports.

The report runs the full gamut of Madeleine McCann reporting. We begin with the former detective’s opinion:

Ex-detective Roy Ramm said the well, which it’s claimed was used to hide swag by local crooks, was an obvious place to look for clues

Then we get the anonymous source:

The Brit, who asked not to be named, said: “This was brought up by an ex-cop who said that local criminals used it all the time. I don’t know whether that well has been investigated or not but if you pick wells on disused farms in the area of Luz there are lots of them.”

They don’t know about one well, and they don’t know about the other wells, either.

“It could be that one, it could be another one, it could be none of them. For it to matter, somebody needs to have information that Madeleine was in that well.”

And after speculation about place we get speculation about people:

Our source also said that – if a well was used to hide Maddie – her tormentor must have been someone with local knowledge who knew where to go.

 

Madeleine Mccann daily mirror

 

After the “ifs”, “coulds” and “maybes”, the Mirror shoves Madeleine McCann into a listicle . “Agony of 7 most famous unsolved cases in the UK – including Madeleine McCann, Jill Dando and Suzy Lamplugh,” comes the headline. Yeah, “famous”.

“The shooting of TV presenter Jill Dando alongside the disappearance of Suzy Lamplugh and Maddie McCann are among the infamous unsolved cases that may remain a mystery forever,” the paper continues.

Readers can play along. The “seven” cases to solve are: Jill Dando (shot dead); Jack the Ripper (presumed dead); a dead child’s torso in the River Thames; Ben Needham;  Madeleine McCann; and Suzi Lamplugh. Yes, that’s six. The seventh famous mystery will have to wait.

If you want more lazy journalism, South Africa’s East Coast Radio has a question: “What would you ask the universe to explain? If you could have one answer to any mystery of the universe, what would it be?”

“We live in a mysterious world and in mysterious times,” we’re told. “Do you ever stop to think about world events that just don’t have answers and wish you knew what had happened?”

The writer has a few wonders to get you started:

Things like the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 that just literally disappeared off the face of the earth?

Bits of the plane were found on earth.

Princess Diana’s death, maybe? There’s been speculation and controversy around that story for two decades.

Had she worn a seatbelt, would she have survived a car crash whilst on holiday in Paris? Discuss.

Madeleine McCann – the young girl who disappeared while on holiday with her parents Gerry and Kate in Portugal?

Unlike the plane and Diana, no sign of the missing child has been found. And lest you think one missing child is a personal horror for her and her loved ones and not one of life’s great mysteries, the radio station tells just how big the story is.

What about the Bermuda Triangle, the pyramids, Stonehenge in England?

And above all else – and let’s toss in the meaning of life, God and why EastEnders is till on the telly – the writer has one burning question:

Mine would be: Where is Madelaine McCann [sic] and what really happened?

Maybe technology can help?

The Telegraph and Argus reports: “University of Bradford team develops digital face-ageing that could help in search for missing children like Madeleine McCann.”

As a test case, the researchers chose to work on the case of Ben Needham, who disappeared on the Greek island of Kos on July 24, 1991, when he was only 21 months old. Since then, several images have been produced by investigators showing how Ben might look at ages 11-14 years, 17-20 years, and 20-22 years. The team used its method to progress the image of Ben to the ages of 6, 14 and 22 years. The resulting images show very different results, which the researchers believe more closely resemble what Ben might look like today.

 

Ben Needham

The images of Ben Needham provided by police above, and those generated by the new algorithm below

 

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 2nd, July 2017 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, News, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Hunter S. Thompson’s Top 10 albums of the 1960s

hunter s thompson great gatsby

 

Hunter S. Thompson was into music. “I resent your assumption that Music is Not My Bag,” he told Rolling Stone editor John Lombardo in 1970, “because I’ve been arguing for the past few years that music is the New Literature, that Dylan is the 1960s’ answer to Hemingway, and that the main voice of the ’70s will be on records & videotape instead of books.”

Bob Dylan is every inch Hemingway’s equal, at least in the eyes of the Nobel Prize winning committee he is. Hemingway won the Nobel Prize in Literature (1954); Dylan took the same prize in 2016. Dylan never considered his songs literature.

You kind of wonder why the Nobel panel did? Is there a dearth of candidates? Was it a sop of populism? Is Paul Anker next in line? Carly Simon? Dr Dre? Was it just a chance for the Nobel doyens to meet their hero in a private show? If it was the latter, hard cheese: Dylan delivered his Nobel lecture via videotape.

But, yeah, Thompson was prescient.

And these are his Top 10 albums of the 1960s (according to Raoul Duke,” the hard-living alter-ego witnessed in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas:

 

  • Herbie Mann’s 1969 Memphis Underground (“which may be the best album ever cut by anybody”)
  • Bob Dylan’s 1965 Bringing It All Back Home
  • Dylan’s 1965 Highway 61 Revisited
  • The Grateful Dead’s 1970 Workingman’s Dead (“the heaviest thing since Highway 61 and ‘Mr. Tambourine Man'”)
  • The Rolling Stones’ 1969 Let it Bleed
  • Buffalo Springfield’s 1967 Buffalo Springfield
  • Jefferson Airplane’s 1967 Surrealistic Pillow
  • Roland Kirk’s “various albums”
  • Miles Davis’s 1959 Sketches of Spain
  • Sandy Bull’s 1965 Inventions
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    Spotter: Open Culture

    Posted: 1st, July 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Music | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


    Anti-racist Chicago Dyke vexiphobics weed out the wrong kind of Jews

    I’m on the Chicago Dyke March Collective (CDMC), “a grassroots mobilisation and celebration of dyke, queer, bisexual and transgender resilience”. But I’m not all that resilient. I am offended and terrified. I boast strong “anti-racist, anti-violent” credentials and work “to bridge together communities across race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, age, size, gender identity, gender expression, sexuality, culture, immigrant status, spirituality, and ability”. But I am scared by flags. I am a vexiphobic.

    Yes, I know it’s odd but phobias are. And mine’s more intersectional than most because I’m scared only of flags depicting the Star of David. Whenever I see one I feel ill and want it removed from decent society. I’d like it burned but I’m worried about the carbon footprint. When I saw one being brandished as part of Jewish Pride on the march, I felt physically sick. A CDMC health worker saw my suffering and asked the flag brandisher to leave because the flags “made people feel unsafe”.

    So the rainbow flag with the rainbow Star of David on it that tested the extremes of my resilience and anti-racist credentials, and breached them both, was banned. That it also meant the Jews holding these disturbing flags also were banned was a shame but, then, if the wrong kind of Jews arrive, they should except no special favours. I am neither biased not bigoted. Get thee hence. It’s what you do with people who have everything, you take things away.

    For purposes of clarity there are two kinds of Jews. You’ve got the Jews who still haven’t learnt not to be barbaric and sub-human and you’ve got the educated Jews who admit they are barbaric and sub-human. As Bari Weiss notes:

    For progressive American Jews, intersectionality forces a choice: Which side of your identity do you keep, and which side do you discard and revile? Do you side with the oppressed or with the oppressor?

    Do you wear that yellow Star of David on your arm or on a flag?

    That kind of choice would have been familiar to previous generations of left-wing Jews, particularly those in Europe, who felt the tug between their ethnic heritage and their “internationalist” ideological sympathies. But this is the United States. Here, progressives are supposed to be comfortable with the idea of hyphenated identities and overlapping ethnic, sexual and political affinities. Since when did a politics that celebrates choice — and choices — devolve into a requirement of being forced to choose?

    Laurel Grauer, who was told to take her flag and go, and is one of those Jews who refuses to learn, moaned: “It was a flag from my congregation which celebrates my queer, Jewish identity which I have done for over a decade, marching in the Dyke March with the same flag.”

    Another woman told to leave was Ms. Shoshany Anderson, who wrote: “I wanted to be in public as a gay Jew of Persian and German heritage. Nothing more, nothing less. So I made a shirt that said ‘Proud Jewish Dyke’ and hoisted a big Jewish Pride flag — a rainbow flag with a Star of David in the center, the centuries-old symbol of the Jewish people. During the picnic in the park, organizers in their official t-shirts began whispering and pointing at me and soon, a delegation came over, announcing they’d been sent by the organizers. They told me my choices were to roll up my Jewish Pride flag or leave. The Star of David makes it look too much like the Israeli flag, they said, and it triggers people and makes them feel unsafe. This was their complaint.”

    CDMC replied on Facebook:“This decision was made after they [the Jewish Pride flag carriers] repeatedly expressed support for Zionism during conversations with Chicago Dyke March Collective members. We have since learned that at least one of these individuals is a regional director for A Wider Bridge, an organisation with connections to the Israeli state and right-wing pro-Israel interest groups.”

    In the name of anti-violence and equality, we should pull the flags from those sticks and beat these Untermensch with them. But we’re tolerant and peaceful. “We want to make clear that anti-Zionist Jewish volunteers and supporters are welcome at Dyke March,” says the all-inclusive CDMC.

    And that’s right and proper. Compliance is all when you’re celebrating diversity and freedom.

    Posted: 29th, June 2017 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


    Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney ‘bullied’ in yet another body-shaming attack

    When Wayne Rooney finally waves adieu to Manchester United, the tabloids will miss him. He’s been an environment of on-the-clock sex, foul-mouthed rants, rethreading and explosions of ferocious power and sublime skill. When he goes the Sun will produce a special souvenir issue with Shrek toys for the kids, phone-box calling cards for the dads and a hailing of the theme tune from The Adams Family for everyone to click along to when the paper is opened.

    It’s been easy to take the Wazz out of Wazza. Given the amount to abuse chucked his way, Rooney might well we reappraised as a model of self restraint.

    For an age Rooney has been a figure of fun – and the tabloids have been at the forefront of mocking the most gifted English football of his crop. Rooney has been portrayed as thick, fat and ugly.

     

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    The Sun salutes the captain

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    Today the Mirror – the paper that told readers Rooney had been “kicked out” of the club years before he became United’s all-time top goal scorer – points and laughs at the man. In “The remarkable differences between Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo with their shirts off”, readers are invited to look at “two men of similar age… and very different physiques: “Take a look at Ronaldo and Rooney and “it’s considerably harder to believe that they are of a similar age… particularly when they go topless.”

     

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    Imagine this were women the paper was talking about, say, comparing Theresa May’s legs to Nichola Sturgeon’s. When the Daily Mail did just that, the Mirror branded the paper “sexist”. Jeremy Corbyn told the paper that supports his Labour Party: “It’s 2017. This sexism must be consigned to history.” It was, said the paper, a “sexist row”. Amelia Womack, deputy leader of the Green Party, called Press watchdog IPSO for “breaking the editors” code and treating women with contempt.

    But the Mirror sees a paparazzi photo of Rooney on his holidays and says “given how similar Rooney and Ronnie once were, the recent images of the England captain on holiday in Ibiza become particularly interesting when they are put alongside images of his former team mate. Especially when you remember that the Real Madrid superstar is actually eight months OLDER than the United striker…”

    This from the paper that talked of “body-shaming bullies”.

    Having diced Rooney into body parts – “the abs”; “the tan”; “the modelling potential” – the Mirror heralds another long lens photo of Rooney minding his own business: “Behold the most unflattering image of England’s record goalscorer you have ever seen.”

    Maybe to escape the name calling and body-shaming, Rooney should seek out a new career as an MP? One thing for sure: his skin’s thick enough.

    Posted: 28th, June 2017 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


    Teenagers put glasses on museum’s floor and people thought it was art

    When we saw Brooklyn Beckham’s terrible photography being passed off as a talent for anything other than parody, we recalled another example of meaningless nonsense being passed off as art. In 2016, two pranksters placed a pair of spectacles on the floor at San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art. Before long the glasses were being viewed as a telling and important piece of art.

     

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    The hoaxers, @TJCruda and @k_vinnn, would doubtless be delighted to realise that their artwork fared better than other proper arty things. Tate Britain once threw away a Gustav Metzger installation, a bag of paper and cardboard.

    Meanwhile, my own artwork, Vomit In Sock, has been touring the country’s music festivals. Catch it where you can.

    Is it art? Dunno. What do you care? It is if it looks like it is.

    Spotter: Bored Panda

    Posted: 28th, June 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


    This is why we hate the word ‘moist’

    Words I do like and words I don’t like are many. I like “twat”, “spoon”, “bingo”, “slash”, “bins” (when referring to spectacles) and “pastry”. I don’t like “schedule” when it’s pronounced with the hard Americanised ‘k’, “cockwomble” and “moist”. On the last prejudice I’m no alone. In 2012, The New Yorker asked readers to nominate a word to remove from the English language. ‘Moist’ was the clear winner. Not that any words should be censured, of course. Better we make up better ones and recognise the hatred and loading when saying things are ‘moist’. (This might explain the furore over Dapper Laughs, the British comedian who aimed to teach losers how to “moisturise” women – get ’em “proper moist”. Dapper wasn’t nuanced enough to be in on his own joke; his act was not based on self-deprecation. But the use of “moist” in any catchphrase gave him limited appeal and shelf-life. Generally, in my experience, men who use the word “moist” have something to hide and would make a decent case study for any budding psychotherapist.)

    Also, our dislike of “moist” might be down to what the word does to our faces:

    A separate possible explanation not tested in the current studies, but which the author acknowledges, is rooted in the facial feedback hypothesis. This hypothesis suggests that facial movement can influence emotional experience. In other words, if facial muscles are forced to configure in ways that match particular emotional expressions, then that may be enough to actually elicit the experience of the emotion. On this explanation, saying the word “moist” might require the activation of facial muscles involved in the prototypical disgust expression, and therefore trigger the experience of the emotion. This could explain the visceral response of “yuck” people get when they think of the word. Separate research has identified the particular facial muscles involved in the experience and expression of disgust, but no research as of yet has tested whether the same muscles are required when saying “moist.”

    There might be something worse than moist. Something could be ‘like, moist’. Or, perish the thought, “M.O.I.S.T”, the word spelled out to give it added repulsion.

    Posted: 25th, June 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


    After Grenfell: 600 deathtraps, party political boomerangs and another lousy inquiry

    News is that Grenfell Tower was not the only building swaddled in flammable cladding. The Sun leads with “600 Fire Traps”. It sees “thousands of families living in fear” that what happened in North Kensington could happen to their home. Eleven building in eight local authorities have been tested by the Government so far, including those, says the paper, in the London borough of Camden, which just happens to be a council under Labour control. So much for the narrative about only people in jeans, double-vent jackets and brogues placing the poor in danger. The Sun is happy to point out when a horror comes along and upsets all the pieces on the board, playing party politics with the dead is a campaigning boomerang.

    Theresa May does not murder children. Jeremy Corbyn does not value life more or less than other party leaders. Using the dead for a political campaign is sick. I’m sure among the enlightened and knowing screaming about justice for Grenfell and Tory child killers it’s a monumental order of self-restraint not to revisit Guy Fawkes’ old plot.

     

     

    On page 5, the Sun tells us of the 4,800 residents in five Camden council tower blocks who can’t sleep for fear of a blaze. The “killer cladding” was installed by Rydon, the same company that worked on Grenfell Tower.

    Over in the Mirror, the front-page news is also of thousands more people “living in deathtraps”. We hear from Labour’s Harriet Harman, who calls the news “chilling”. It too mentions Camden Council, and looks at the Rivers Apartments in Tottenham, London, where the building is wrapped in the same “lethal material” as Grenfell. In Camden, the council has ordered the cladding on the Chalcots Estate to be stripped immediately. The paper does not mention that Camden Council is under Labour control. It does, however, remind readers that the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is under Tory control, and that its hapless leader has resigned.

     

     

    In the Express, Grenfell and cladding becomes something to do with illegal immigration. Ross Clark agrees that any illegal immigrants who survived Grenfell Tower should not be prosecuted but his bleeding heart swiftly dries like camel spit. No-one wants to be an illegal immigrant, dead or both. But he tells us that illegal immigration is a health and safety issue because lots of them live in sub-let council flats. Presumably, the way around this is to flush them out with random spot-cheques and drills. All for their own good, of course. The Grenfell Towers disaster, he notes, “might not have been caused by overcrowding” – no might about it, Ross, it wasn’t – “but unless we investigate properly the living conditions there, then sooner or later we are going to have similar tragedies caused by having people crammed into unsuitable housing.”

    As the Express looks to rehousing the poor and displaced in better accommodation – i.e. a prison before deportation – the Mail sees the “GREAT EVACUATION”, saying that thousands of tenants in the 600 infected towers may have to move out.

    Of course, the exact cause of the inferno that destroyed Grenfell Tower on 14 June remains to be discovered. But, yes, you’d want to move out if you lived in a tower block with questionable safety standards.

    So they move out into temporary accommodation, the contractors move in, the council wonks say “lessons have been learned” and thank sheer luck that Grenfell never happened on their patch – and then what?

    Right now the feeling is not that we need more legislation, but that building companies and clockwork councils need to better observe rules already in place. They should employ more common sense and gut-feeling in jobs that have been reduced to box-ticking. A disaster on this scale could have been prevented had people in power listened to the warnings. The cladding changed the building. But who was looking into how cladding affected fire risk and fire control? Nothing exits in isolation. In focusing on the cladding, the councils are not considering the bigger picture: who oversees the whole thing not just the micro-management? Who wasn’t listening to Grenfell Tower’s residents when they campaigned long and hard for their Tenant Management Organisation to address their concerns? Instinct and local knowledge were ignored. Removing faddish and dangerous cladding won’t alter that.

    And then there’s the ubiquitous inquiry. Over the need for quick action and addressing the concerns of people who live in their flats and know them best, politicians franchise action to a body not accountable to the public. And nothing changes.

     

    Posted: 23rd, June 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


    Jeremy Corbyn finds his natural home in Glastonbury’s police state

    Jeremy Corbyn at Glastonbury is perfect. Corbyn will preach about the rich who aren’t able to tell you the cost of a pint of milk (cow’s not almond) while addressing the middle-aged and middle-classes who can afford the better drugs and cosier tents, who can take a few days off work to spend £238 to stand in their Jerusalem and even more on bottled water, sparkling wine, a cutting of AK47 and sanitary wipes.

     

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    Corbyn is among his people at Glastonbury, the big BBC-endorsed party of organised rebellion and spiritual bollocks headlined by Ed Sheeran – the ultimate box-ticking performer Simon Cowell would decant into his cloning machine.

    As the middle-classes realise they’re paying a fortune to watch Newsnight Live! whilst striving to make little suburban front gardens in the mud, the rest of us can laugh our heads off enjoying the televised rain-soaked hell of all those poor sods at Glasto, knowing that the campers are staring into bucketfuls of projectile rectal pebble-dashing wondering if spending the price of a Tuscan holiday and a good plumber pretending to be homeless and incontinent was worth it.

    Go Jezza! Yay! You really are at home in your curtained-off, self-governing, hard-border mini-state patrolled by millions of police – a city-dweller’s vision of the countryside that runs on Boden, bankers and bands they play on Radio 2.

    Posted: 22nd, June 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


    Someone stole the amputated toe from the Sourtoe cocktail

    Amateur drinkers drink cocktails. They’re the Happy Hour dross fuel, the drinks the witless and bovine sup at moments of enforced joviality and acute self doubt. At Dawson City’s Downtown Hotel, Yukon, Canada,  the cocktail of choice is Sourtoe Cocktail Club. It might well be the perfect anti-cocktail cocktail, a lampooning of the usual pretentious swill . The Sourtoe cocktail is 1 oz of whisky, mostly a decent bourbon, with a severed toe.

    You don’t drink the toe – it’s not pureed. You just chin the proper booze and let the toe touch your lips. It’s the literal kicker to the hard liquor slap.

    And now it’s gone. Not swallowed. Stolen. Someone has stolen the toe.

    “We are furious,” says Terry Lee, the hotel’s Toe Captain. “Toes are very hard to come by.” No, they’re not. You just need to look in the right places. The inside of rugby boots, graves and building sites have plenty. The original Sourtoe toe was found in a jar.

     

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    CBCNews has more:

    The hotel says the suspect is from Quebec and had earlier boasted about wanting to steal the toe. Lee says the man reportedly coaxed the bartender to serve him the drink after the nightly 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. “Toe Time.”

    “One of the new staff served it to him to be nice. And this is how he pays her back. What a low life.”

    If you can’t trust a toe sniffer, who can you trust? But, then again, all cocktail drinkers lack spirit in the hard drinkers’ race to the bottom.

    Posted: 21st, June 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


    Barbie’s Ken’s got a manbun and cornrows

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    Keeping in step with the times, Mattel has unleashed a new range of Fashionistas Barbie and Ken dolls. This 40-strong platoon of dollies come in a range of shapes to reflect modern humanity’s obsession with individuality. You can buy a “slim” Ken, a “broad” Ken or an “original Ken” –  “for the ultimate storytelling experience.” You can create whole worlds of narration as Ken bulks up on protein shakes and ‘roids,  slims down with tape worms and stays just the way he is.

    The gang also comes in 11 skintones and 28 hairstyles. Bu the picks has to be Ken’s Manbun.

     

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    Ken might not be able to talk, but he sure can issue a loud cry for help.

    And look of the Cultural Approbation Ken, who sports cornrows.

     

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    Spotter: The WOW Report

    Posted: 21st, June 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, The Consumer | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


    Otto Warmbier and me: The Huffington Post’s disgusting attack on North Korea torture victim

    Not long after Otto Warmbier was arrested in North Korea, the Huffington Post produced a hatchet job on the man. Entitled “North Korea Proves Your White Male Privilege Is Not Universal”, writer La Sha laid into Warmbier, using his suffering to nourish her status as the real victim.

    Warmbier was a 21-year-old University of Virginia student on a visit to North Korea with China-based travel company Young Pioneer Tours when he was arrested on January 2nd 2016.  The North Koreans claim the “student entered the country under the guise of a tourist and plotted to destroy North Korean unity with the tacit connivance of the U.S. government and under its manipulation”.

    The dastardly US plot involved Warmbier allegedly attempting to steal a propaganda poster from a hotel the tour group was staying at. For this Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years hard labour at a March court hearing. Warmbier had already been shown “confessing” to “committing a crime” and begging the Korean people and government for forgiveness.

    According to the North Koreans, Otto Warmbier “fell into a coma” that same month. The North Koreans never mentioned his stricken state. On June 13 2017 a comatose Otto was flown back to the US. On June 19, 2017, Otto Warmbier died. His family has released a statement:

    “Unfortunately, the awful, torturous treatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today.

    Although we would never hear his voice again, within a day the countenance of his face changed – he was at peace. He was home and we could sense that.”

     

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    The Times saysthe brain damage he suffered was more consistent with the effects of respiratory arrest, which can be caused by physical trauma, suffocation or the misuse of drugs.” Sources suggest he lost a significant amount of brain tissue. Horrific stuff, then.

    But to the Huffington Post’s writer, Otto Warmbier’s horrific ordeal is something to be celebrated. On March 23, 2016, the Post stuck the knife in. La Sha tells us:

    …my reaction to [a] young white man who went to an Asian country and violated their laws, and learned that the shield his cis white male identity provides here in America is not teflon abroad.

    As shocked as I am by the sentence handed down to Warmbier, I am even more shocked that a grown man, an American citizen, would not only voluntarily enter North Korea but also commit what’s been described a “college-style prank.”

    La Sha is shocked by a man’s curiosity to see North Korea. Dennis Rodman (not white) has visited the place. Shocked? She continues:

    That kind of reckless gall is an unfortunate side effect of being socialized first as a white boy, and then as a white man in this country.

    The “reckless gall” of being a tourist whilst white. Salon thought as much, telling its readers: “This might be America’s biggest idiot frat boy – meet the UVA student who thought he could pull a prank in North Korea.” He had it coming. Lark about, get tortured and killed. They’d pick out bits of brain through his nose if they could find it. Ha-ha. What a dick.

    La Sha is not alone in her nastiness.

    She then slips into full on English student mode, using the kind of convoluted language kids employ when they want to look smart:

    Every economic, academic, legal and social system in this country has for more than three centuries functioned with the implicit purpose of ensuring that white men are the primary benefactors of all privilege.

    It’s not been working that well of late, then. Barack Obama is away, so too is Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Kim Kardashian, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Sarah Palin, Angelina Jolie, Alice Walton and more and more women and non-white male faces who have made a decent fist of making it in the USA. The list of white males who didn’t rise to the top is long. But who cares for those millions of losers who frittered away all that privilege in The Rust Belt and elsewhere in America’s hinterlands? Maybe there’s a wrinkle in the Matrix?

    And on and on she goes:

    The kind of arrogance bred by that kind of conditioning is pathogenic, causing its host to develop a subconscious yet no less obnoxious perception that the rules do not apply to him, or at least that their application is negotiable.

    Let’s interject, break up this hideous hatchet job. We can share another aspect of Otto Warmbier’s life:

    In a tearful statement made before his trial, Warmbier tells a gathering of reporters in Pyongyang he tried to take the banner as a trophy for the mother of a friend who said she wanted to put it up in her church.

    He says he was offered a used car worth $10,000 if he could get a banner and was also told that if he was detained and didn’t return, $200,000 would be paid to his mother in the form of a charitable donation.

    Warmbier said he accepted the offer because his family was “suffering from very severe financial difficulties.”

    Check your privilege, whitey.

    But the Huffington Post’s writer isn’t listening. She’s making it all about race. It’s very nasty:

    Yeah, I’m willing to bet my last dollar that he was aware of the political climate in that country, but privilege is a hell of a drug. The high of privilege told him that North Korea’s history of making examples out of American citizens who dare challenge their rigid legal system in any way was no match for his alabaster American privilege.

    She then likens Otto Warmbier – a young man who allegedly tried to nick a sign for larks – to mass murderers who gun down innocent people in a church and run amuck at a fast food restaurant. You see, Otto’s skin colour makes him a suspect:

    When you can watch a white man who entered a theatre and killed a dozen people come out unscathed, you start to believe you’re invincible. When you see a white man taken to Burger King in a bulletproof vest after he killed nine people in a church, you learn that the world will always protect you.

    Not stopping there, she attacks his parents.

    And while I don’t blame his parents for pressuring the State Department to negotiate his release, I wonder where they were when their son was planning a trip to the DPRK.

    Dunno. Is it relevant?

    What a mind-blowing moment it must be to realize after 21 years of being pedestaled by the world simply because your DNA coding produced the favorable phenotype that such favor is not absolute. What a bummer to realize that even the State Department with all its influence and power cannot assure your pardon. What a wake-up call it is to realize that your tears are met with indifference.

    A “bummer” to see your son ripped away from you and vanished. Biased, bigoted and wholly objective, the article is the antithesis of good journalism. Pause from casting aspersions over all whites and the dead man’s grieving parents to wonder how this bilge passed before the editor’s eyes and wasn’t spiked.

    She continues:

    As I’ve said, living 15 years performing manual labor in North Korea is unimaginable, but so is going to a place I know I’m unwelcome and violating their laws.

    No. Visiting North Korea is not unimaginable. It’s something you can do legally with a ticket. And if you find it so hard to imagine the hell of enslavement in a work camp, I can commend If This is A Man by Primo Levy and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Reading when you’re a writer can be useful. Also manual labour – yeah, who does that for 15 years? That question to coal miners and anyone else employed in one of those “unimaginable” blue collar industries that keep the lights on and writers in laptops.

    She concludes:

    I’m a black woman though. The hopeless fear Warmbier is now experiencing is my daily reality living in a country where white men like him are willfully oblivious to my suffering even as they are complicit in maintaining the power structures which ensure their supremacy at my expense. He is now an outsider at the mercy of a government unfazed by his cries for help. I get it.

    No. You don’t. Because in the race to the bottom that is competitive victimhood, your moral compasses has gone haywire. Otto Warmbier appears to have been tortured to death. His trial and treatment should earn our utmost sympathy. To use his plight as a means to showcase you’re own victimhood and self-aggrandisement, to stand on his grave and shout ‘But what about me?’ is anti-human, needy and ultimately self-defeating.

    Posted: 20th, June 2017 | In: Key Posts, News | Comments (3) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


    ‘Tell her we’re coming’: A firefighter who attended Grenfell Tower writes an open letter about that night

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    A firefighter who attended Grenfell Tower has written on the Facebook ‘Save the Fire Service’. It begins: “Sent to us at STUKFS, powerful and emotional story from a firefighter who attended Grenfell Tower.” STUKFS is: Save the UK Fire Service.

    I’M not sure if this is something that I should vocalise or whether or not it should be shared with the world but as I sit at home thinking about the other night the Grenfell Tower I feel like people might want to know how the incident went from the point of view of a firefighter who was sent inside, while the tower burned all around us and how after years of cuts to the service I work for, how I feel about what we do and how the past few years have been for us.

    I’ve always been very proud of the job my colleagues and I do week in week out as part of the fire service. At times its hard, at others not so much but the uncertainty of what might happen is always there.

    We are a funny bunch, we like to laugh to play jokes on each other, sometimes we are silent and won’t tell you what we are thinking about.

    We laugh off the good natured banter directed at us from outside the service and mostly manage to do the same with the insults we get as a public service, even when it’s not always easy to do so.

    It is especially hard to think about those insults during times like this. When I think about all the occasions I’ve heard and seen on the news or social media where people are calling us lazy or greedy because we dared to show anger at the 1% pay rise we’ve had imposed year after year. While MPs sit in Westminster drinking and eating in a subsidised bars and restaurants while they make £100+ a hour all on the tax payers money, getting a 11% pay rise and increased pensions to go with it.

    When people think we have some sort of golden plated, over generous pensions. Ignorant to the fact that we pay in over 12% of our wages into it every month. That’s £300/£400 a month, every month! That we are worse off now than we were 7 years ago.

    And we weren’t well off then by any means.

    Ah Yes some of you say.. but you’ve all got second jobs.

    Well. Yes! Some people do work second jobs on their rest days, but this isn’t good is it!

    It can’t be…

    Who wants to work a second job on days you should be resting and recovering or spending with loved ones.

    They only do it so they can provide for their family’s.

    And you know what! We will have to continue to do this extremely dangerous job until we are 60 years old! That is of course as long as they don’t sack us because the physical strains of the work took their tolls on our body’s and we can’t physically go on meeting the fitness standards any longer. Or maybe they will decide to move our pension age again, robbing hard working men an women of tens of thousands of pounds they had planned for their retirement.

    Can you imagine seeing all those images from that awful night but pictured in them instead of containing lots of young fit firefighters able to recover quickly, ready to go again and again to save you, it’s full of 50-60 year old grey haired firefighters pushing their worn and broken body’s that have suffered through 40 years of service through the strains of the job to breaking point.

    If you can you can imagine it that night might of been very very different.

    I can’t help but think “if only those people really knew!” if only those people who make those decisions, those people who think we are money wasted because there are the days we have no shouts to attend. The days we might just be at the station or when we are going out to put up smoke alarms for people or familiarise ourselves with the local risks or talk to kids at local schools.

    If only those people could experienced the things we’ve seen and done on the days that aren’t that easy. So they can see first hand what we do to deal with these horrific incidents.
    Not just turn up after it’s all done to have their photos taken with us giving out hollow praise so they look good in the news as they continue to cut our funding and working conditions.

    So with all that in my mind and hopefully now in yours I though I’d write my personal experience of what I faced at Grenfell Tower.

    Somethings I will miss out as they don’t need to be said, some I can’t say, other things I will simplify so hopefully everyone can understand them, I’m not looking for praise I just want to let you know we did all we could.
    ————

    As always we were woken with a start, the lights came on and the automated tannoy voice started shouting our call signs. It never fails to set your heat racing. Getting dressed I looked at the clock, I’d only lay down less than a hour ago. Time to see what we’ve got this time..
    Down the pole to the trucks and it’s here I’m handed the call slip make pumps plenty.. what! No..
    That’s a big incident.
    Wait…. I don’t know where this is.. it’s not on our ground.
    We have to look it up and then we’re out the doors.

    We arrived about 0120hrs but due to the way cars are parked in the streets and the fire engines that are arriving with us we couldn’t get closer than 4-5 streets away from the building. Other trucks were closer they would be setting up water ready for us.

    We could see this was a bad one immediately. The sky was glowing. Leaving our truck we started quickly towards it. Picking up pace we are carrying our BA sets on our back, while making our way we are trying to read the conditions in front of us, trying to take in as much information as we could. How big is the tower, where is the fire, where is the fire going next, how’s it behaving, how many flats are internally affected, how many people are in there?

    We mustered outside the entrance. Parts of the building we already starting to fall down on to the surrounding area.
    As we entered the building the fire on the outside was raging from the top to the bottom.
    Walking up to the bridgehead on the 3rd floor we were told to look at a floor plan that had been hastily drawn on a wall.
    We stood looking at it waiting at entry control to be given instructions my BA partner and I stood waiting with other firefighters waiting to see what information there was available. Then we received our brief… 23rd floor people stuck in their flat go!
    23rd floor? I repeat back.. giving the flat number I received to the Watch manager.
    She confirms. I turned at told my BA as the reality of how high we are going to try and go on a single cylinder of air.

    Weighed down carrying 30kg+ of equipment not including our firekit and breathing apparatus (BA) we passed through entry control handing in our tallies and confirming our brief.
    We made our way up a crowed stairwell struggling to make progress, at times unable to pass because of the amount of people on the stairs. The stairwells were full of other BA crews bringing people down all in various states and conditions.

    The smoke grew thicker with each floor we went up. No proper floor numbers on the stairwells after about the 5th floor made it hard to know where you were. Someone before us had tried to write them on the wall with chinagraph pencil but this didn’t last long. The dirty smoke was covering the walls with a film of blackness

    Around the 9th floor we lost all visibility and the heat was rising. Still we continued up and up through the blackness. We reached what we believed to be the 19/20th floor but there was no way to tell. It was here where we found a couple trying to find their way out, panicking, choking, blinded by the thick toxic air.

    A quick gauge check showed us that the amount of floors we’d climbed had taken its toll, we were getting low on air. There’s no way we could make it to the 23rd and back to the bridgehead.

    The couple were shouting and screaming at us through the coughing, trying to tell us there were 5 more people on the floor above!

    Now I had horrible decisions to make and a very short amount of time to make them.

    In what I think would of been less than a minute these are all the things I had going through my head.
    I will list a few of them for you.
    All of which I needed to consider before making my decision:……..

    •Now that we’ve stopped and lost our rhythm on the stairs would we have enough air to leave this couple and try to reach the next floor?

    •Was the information we are getting from these people was correct. After all they are frantically panicking as they choke and suffer from the heat.

    •If we let them carry on down the stairs alone would they or could they find their own way out?

    •If we went up another floor would we actually find the 5?

    •If we found them what state would they be in? Could the two of us get that many out especially one or more are unconscious?

    •How would we decided who to take?

    •Do we have enough air to make it back down to safety ourselves from where we are?

    •Should I be considering asking my BA partner a “new mother” to risk even more than she already has…?

    •Can I accept/live with the thought that saving two lives is better than taking the risk to go up and potentially saving no one?

    Ahh!! Come on think…!
    Am I doing enough?
    Can I give more?
    Am I forgetting any of my training….?

    Stop….

    Breath…..

    Think…..

    •Why haven’t we seen another crew for so long?

    •Will another crew find them?

    •Are we really where we think we are?

    •The radios are playing up… have we missed a important message.

    •Have all crews been pulled out?

    •Is the structure still safe?

    Come on make a decision… and make it quick these people are choking…….

    Ok Ok Ok!
    Dam!
    Come on!! Think!!
    Right… ok
    Decision made!

    I do a double check… ask my partner…
    Is it the right decision..?
    Ahhh
    I’m doubting myself,
    Ahhh! there’s no time for this!
    Come on get on with it…

    Right! Make the call!

    I try to radio down to entry control.

    “Alpha Control Priority!”……
    No response….

    “Alpha Control Priority!”
    Still No response….

    Where are they… what’s going on?!?

    “Alpha Control Priority!”
    …………………
    …………………

    Did they answer… it’s hard to tell.. the signal is all broken I think I can just about hear something.

    “Alpha Control Priority!”

    Alpha control responds…
    “Go a head with priority over”

    Are they talking to me I can’t hear my call sign…

    Pass the message

    Alpha control.. Two casualties found approx 20th floor, crew now escorting them down, request another BA team be committed to reach flat on 23rd floor. Further traffic….
    5 casualties are reported apparently trying to make their way out on the floor above. Over

    Alpha control “Message received”

    Were they talking to me it broke up again…

    Ok we really need to get out.
    Let’s go!
    Grab my arm.

    Taking a casualty each we set off. Within two floors both of us had been pushed down one of the flight of the stairs by our casualties. They are screaming at us that they couldn’t breath.
    We try to reassure them.
    Stay with me!!
    We are going to get you out!!.
    Please stay with me!

    Down and down we go… I hear a shout from behind me from my partner, the female casualty has become unconscious. My partner is now having to drag her down alone. I can’t help at this time.

    Two floors later we find another crew making their way out. One of them is carrying a little girl. I hand off my casualty to the firefighter who has a free set of hands, please take him out I shout, we’ll be right behind you.
    I turn to go but with that he hands me something I’d not seen initially.
    Wait!
    What!
    Im handed a firefighters helmet!
    This can’t be good!!
    Why does he have this?
    Where is the firefighter it belongs too!

    As I turn round and go back up one turn of the stairs I see him.
    He’s missing his helmet but he’s with my BA partner.
    He’s got no helmet and no breathing apparatus.
    Are you ok? Where’s your BA set!?

    He’s given it to a casualty.. he’s coughing as he tells us, he’s delirious from the heat and smoke.

    Still he tries to help carry the casualty! Helping others is still his first thought.

    I shout at him.. Get down those stairs, get down to the bridgehead!
    I take the casualties arms my BA partner has her legs.
    We start down again.. round and round we go, hear the noise of crews working hard around us. There are still crews going up the stairs past us.

    My BA pre alarm starts going this off…. this means one thing.. my air is running low.. similar noises are all around me.

    Turning a corner we see a white helmet, it’s a watch manager in the stairwell we’ve reach the bridgehead.
    It’s moved again. It’s now up on the 5th floor.

    My partner takes the firefighter with no BA in to the 5th floor lobby to administer Oxygen.
    The watch manager takes the casualties legs from her.
    Walking backwards down another 5 floors and finally I’m on the ground floor but I can’t stop yet. I hand the casualty over. Then I’m off back up those stairs to the 5th floor.
    Reaching entry control, now finally I can shut my set down and I take my mask off. Hoping for a deep breath of clean air…
    ah nope!!
    It’s not clean air in here, I suck in lung full of light ish smoke. It makes me cough and retch.
    Still It’s clean enough to breath I guess. It’s better than the air higher up.

    With my tally collected I find my BA partner. She’s with the firefighter we found and she’s administering him Oxygen. We’re off. We take him down and out with us.

    As we get outside we are desperate for a drink of water, collapsing on the grass by the leisure centre. Someone see us and throws us some water I drink it straight down, its gone so fast it barely touches the thirst I have.
    As I look up colleagues are all around us, tunics off their t-shirts soaked through with sweat, no one really able to talk.

    All of us sat there looking at the building we’ve just come out of. It’s worse now! The fire is everywhere and fierce!
    It’s hard to comprehend we were just in there.

    We see a man in a high window trapped in his flat, we can hear the radio traffic. They know he’s there but no one can get to him… but crews are working hard trying to help him.
    He’s there for a long time disappearing then coming back.

    Slowly we catch our breath, we service our BA sets new oxygen cylinders on them we are ready to go again.

    Recovering I go to find more water. At a cordon a woman pleads with me… crying and pushing her phone at me she says she has her friend on line.
    Her and her baby are trapped on the 11th floor.
    It throws me… I struggle to reply.. I look across at a police officer I point at him and tell her he will take her to the people who will take her friends information and pass it on to the crews inside.
    Stay on the phone with her I say!
    Tell her not to give up!
    We are still coming.
    We are still getting to people I promise.

    No time to stop, don’t get distracted. I’ve got to get a drink and get back to it.

    Time passes quickly, some people are given jobs while others have to wait to be tasked with going back inside.

    Some time later I couldn’t say how long we are all grouped together waiting for news. A senior officer is telling us he knows we’ve already broken all the policy’s we have. He knows the risks we’ve taken but thats not enough we are going to have to take more! There are still a lot more people who need us.
    He says he’s going ask us to do things that would normally be unimaginable. To put our lives at risk even more than we already have.
    Everyone is looking round at each other listening to this officer try to motivate us into action again. He didn’t need to though
    we are ready for it! This is what we train for.
    Those colleagues who a little while ago were collapsed and broken from on the grass from their first entry are back up, ready, stood in full kit waiting for their orders to go in again.

    Now lots of things happened during the time I was outside. Some people were rescued alive, some unfortunately weren’t. People jumped, a mother threw a baby from a floor high up, caught by a complete stranger arms just so she could get it away from the fire.

    All this time hour after hour my colleagues were pushing themselves above and beyond what you’d think was humanly possible.

    As the light broke and time passed we knew it had gone to make pumps 40, and that 20 relief trucks were ordered. So as the trucks with fresh crews arrived those of us that were there early on were starting to be swapped over. We were told to find our crews and go to the debrief but no one was wanting to leave each and every one willing to give more, but eventually we all had to leave the scene.

    So 19 hours after starting our night shift the members of Red Watch made it back to the Fire Station.

    Time to try and rest.. in 4 hours time we will be on duty again.

    We hand over the appliance to the Blue Watch. Tell them what equipment we known to be missing.

    I swapped out my dirty fire gear so I’m ready for 8pm, I might as well do it while I’m still covered in sweat and dirt.

    I shower, but the smell of smoke won’t go away. I wash three times and give up.

    I’m beyond tired but I cant sleep.. there’s to much going on in my head.

    I think I need a drink!

    I go out to the local pub with colleagues. I order a shandy, I’m back on duty soon.
    As we sat with our drinks we don’t really talk. Sitting in almost complete silence, each lost in thought trying to begin to process everything that’s happened. Yet we are aware of the people all around us laughing and joking with friends, enjoying their drinks in the sun. Oblivious to what we’ve seen, unaware of what we’ve been doing all night.

    I’ve no appetite but I know I need to eat. We go to and get some food but it’s hard to concentrate.

    We go back to the fire station, there’s no time to get home. I find a bed in the dorm room and eventually manage 45 min sleep before I wake up. Wash my face, get dressed and I’m ready to report for roll call, ready to do it all again.

    ———–

    Now… this is only a small part of the things we saw and did on that night. Other stories will obviously come out but some won’t. Some will be kept by firefighters and the other emergency services hidden away deep down in their thoughts, never to pass in to words, never to be told to a living soul but always there, those emotional scars will forever be there.

    ———–

    After all that I want to ask you this.

    When you see emergency services workers plastered on papers or on the news being slated by the mainstream media, or sometimes missing from a story or a incident you know we would of been at, being called lazy because we are seen trying to eat or have a coffee whilst on duty and your initial thought is any level of outrage
    “what! they can’t do that! I’m paying their salary!”
    “They should be doing something else!”

    Stop! and Think!

    Take a minute to consider what that person might of already seen or done that day or what they might see or do in 5 minutes from now.

    When you see big incidents like this on the news, stop… take a moment think about the thousands of incidents that are attended every year by blue light services that don’t make the mainstream media either because they don’t sell papers or give the right message for the current political agenda of a particular party.
    Maybe it is because they are only small or maybe because they are not considered news worthy enough.
    Maybe they do make the news its because something went wrong and then it is reported so someone can be blamed. Reported on so some MP can say pubic services are in meltdown so they can sell off part or all of that public service to one of their multimillionaire friends or a private company they are on the board of, all so they can introduce privatisation and make cuts to try and make a profit out of saving lives.

    Regardless of what they do, regardless of what the job is, regardless how big or small it is. We as first responders are still going to be there, we are sill going to go out day after day helping the people who’s lives are at the lowest point imaginable. We are going to be there for you!

    So If you see us out and about please show us you’re support, show us you’re thinking of us and appreciate us by giving us a smile or a wave and if at some point we ask for your support or go out on strike know it’s not because want to it’s because when we say things like cuts are dangerous we are doing it for the right reasons, because ultimately it’s you we are looking out for, it’s the people we serve that unfortunately suffer from government cuts.

    Finally if you can take a few moments out of your day to really consider the sacrifices the men and women of the emergency services are willing to make to protect you, your loved ones and the local communities we serve you will see that it’s not about money or fame we do it because we genuinely care about serving you.

    I’m off to see my family and friends now. I might talk to them about it if I can, but then again I might not. I’m not sure they need to know what’s in my head just yet.
    Maybe once I’ve made sense of it i will.

    Please take care out there people, but if you can’t don’t worry to much..
    We will be there looking out for you, all day everyday!

    STUKFS The truth is out there.

    Posted: 20th, June 2017 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


    Biased BBC identifies three Palestinian murderers as victims of Israeli violence

    Three-Palestinians-killed-police Israel BBC

     

    When Israeli police officer Hadas Malka, 23, was stabbed to death, the BBC headlined the story: “Three Palestinians killed after deadly stabbing in Jerusalem.” Let’s put some other recent news event through the BBC’s news shredder.

    Briton killed after deadly stabbing on Westminster Bridge – BBC

    The story: British-born Khalid Masood murdered three people on Westminster Bride. He injured 50 more. He fatally stabbed PC Keith Palmer.

    British man killed in Manchester bomb – BBC

    The story: Twenty-two people were murdered and 116 injured in a suicide bombing at Manchester Arena. The dead British man is identified as Manchester-born Salman Abedi, 22. He detonated a home-made bomb as families were leaving a concert by US singer Ariana Grande.

    British, Moroccan and Italian among killed after deadly stabbing in London – BBC

    The story: Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba screamed “This is for Allah” as they murdered eight people and injured 48 others in an attack at London Bridge.

    Others noticed the BBC’s twisting of facts to paint the killers as victims.

     

    Hadas Malka biased BBC

     

    Here’s Hadas Malka, the woman the BBC is at pains to paint as anything but the victim.

     

    Hadas Malka

     

    The BBC changed the headline. It now reads: “Israeli policewoman stabbed to death in Jerusalem.”

     

    Hadas Malka bbc

     

    But the story is still easy on the murderers. It begins:

    Israeli police have shot dead three Palestinians after a deadly knife attack outside the Old City of Jerusalem, in which a policewoman died.

    The policeman “died”. She was not murdered or “killed” in a what the BBC might call a ‘deadly stabbing’. She just “died”. But the killers were” shot dead” by “Israeli police”. The killers were armed with guns and knives.

    Such are the facts.

     

    Posted: 18th, June 2017 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


    Extremists’ demands for collective guilt unite Grenfell, Manchester and London

    Grenfell Tower: Get angry, stay angry. Overthrow the Government. ‘Blood, blood, blood on your hands.’
    Manchester and London: Don’t get angry. Let’s love one another.

     

     

    Horrific events have claimed many lives in London and Manchester. But the message being delivered to the masses is different. After the horror of fire at Grenfell Tower, the message is, as one Labour MP demands, to “get angry, stay angry”. “Burn neoliberalism, not people,” says another Labour MP. Others on the Left want to marshall the dead to overthrow the Government. “Blood, blood, blood on your hands,” comes the chant. “May must go.” There will be a march on Number 10, the protesters demanding change and promoting the narrative that only a socialist government prevents such horrors; that only the Left does compassion.

    As one commentator puts it: “The protesters outside No10 seem to be using the template of the Mark Duggan affair, which preceded the 2011 London riots: ‘no justice, no peace.'”

     

     

     

    Justice delayed is justice denied. We want to know what happened whilst the matter is high on the news cycle and all parties involved are compos mentis. After Hillsborough, we fear that the long march towards justice will be a limp towards no-one being to blame. The dreaded “lessons must be learnt” must not be the end game. That must not happen.

    But this protest and demand for justice is being shaped by party politics. The horror at Grenfell Tower is rooted in so much bad planning, greed and neglect perpetuated by successive Governments for decades.  If you blame the Tories, then surely you must blame Labour, too, and the coalition which oversaw social housing.

    As the far Left clambers over the ruins and co-opts the dead into campaigning for a Labour win at the next General Election, we should recall how different things were after Islamists attacked London and Manchester. Then it was all about love. Only the Far Right were using the dead to promote their own monocular agenda and bigotry, demanding collective blame for all Muslims. Love not anger was the watchword. “Be unified. Feel love. Don’t give in to hate,” ran the mantra delivered by media and politicians. There was no circumspection and sensible, rational debate about an ideology that kills children at a pop concert. No-one sane wants to be branded a racist or Islamophobe. But to talk openly about such things is to foment civil unrest and unleash the impressionable masses – those race-rioters-in-waiting. Better to hold up the light on your mobile phone and sway in unity.

    In Manchester, officialdom and the media’s fear of public opinion drowned out a quest for the truth, the central responsibility of journalism. After Grenfell, public opinion is sacrosanct. Both responses are founded on the same matters: fear of the masses and a profound lack of leadership, “somebody who can help us overcome the limitations of our own individual laziness and selfishness and weakness and fear and get us to do better things than we can get ourselves to do on our own.” Corbyn is slippery and nuanced. May is stark and spent. Where’s the leadership?

     

    The Truth.

    I don’t agree with politicising the Grenfell Tower horror. Politics matters, but to divide the response along party lines limits us. The horror was eminently preventable. Political policies is at least partly to blame. But to make it all about the Tories is wrong, just as it is wrong to blame the actions of deranged mass murderers on to much freedom of speech, radicalising preachers, religion or a response to our behaviour.

    Narrowing the debate applies blinkers to any inquiry and stymies a clear quest for truth. That’s not to invalidate the activism and the anger. We feel the passion, the sense of outage and hurt. Not just hashtags and candle-lit vigils for Grenfell. Fury. Protest. Noise. The people will be heard. Good.

    But it wasn’t so after Manchester and the attack on Borough Market and London Bridge. When children and families were murdered at a pop concert, we were told to behave, to embrace one another and to remain passive. As another voice notes: “If the massacre of children and their parents on a fun night out doesn’t make you feel rage, nothing will. The terrorist has defeated you. You are dead already.”

    We need openness to discern right from wrong. We need gritty, unflinching commitment to say what we believe in, not to have our views dampened by official decree. Making a statement is not a simple state of being. We work hard at what we want in a disciplined way. We crave integrity. But without clarity, and objectivity, our demands are shrill, bigoted and shallow.

    Posted: 18th, June 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


    After Grenfell: Kensington and Chelsea warns children to stop playing football or else

    How’s that London Olympic Legacy coming along? How goes the spirit of 2012 and all that euphoria? Not well. Not well at all if you’re poor. Residents in the flats opposite Grenfell Tower recently received a warning letter from those bleeding hearts at Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Association.

    Under the terms of the “Anti-Social Behaviour” clause of their tenancy agreements, the residents must stop – get this – their children playing ball. Should the budding Wayne Rooney, Andy Murray or Rachael Heyhoe Flint continue to play balls games in the area around his own home, the family will face legal action.

    Just as so much of public space has been zoned into areas of (in)tolerance by successive governments, the area about these people’s homes is a no-ball zone. It’s not a public space whose purpose is shaped by the people who enjoy it; it’s a restricted zone patrolled by the public authority. Socialising is messy, you see. Football, music, talking loudly, larking about, being a berk, smoking, drinking, skateboarding, hanging out and, well, anything, is messy. Your betters will control the area and in their doing control you.

     

    Grenfell tower letter ball games

    Grenfell tower letter ball games

     

    This letter is dated 14 June 2017 – the day after the fire. ITV says the letter was hand-delivered to residents three days after the fire.

    Safety regulations are not strong enough but the full weight of law will be brought down heavily on children living their lives and having fun. No sprinkler systems in the flats: no problem. Playing football whilst young: you are a criminal.

    And don’t blame the Tories for this nastiness, this branding of people living in social housing as lesser beings deserving of less rights, less autonomy and less enjoyment has been going on for decades. Labour were very keen on this sort of thing. All politicians are.

    Posted: 17th, June 2017 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0