OH. What joy. Isn’t it marvellous when someone you really don’t like puts their foot in it. Before we get to George Galloway and Julian Assange – what a team! - Robert Colvile calls to mind a saying:
“Sit by the river long enough, and the bodies of your enemies will float by.”
No. Here’s Galloway, a leading light of the – get his – Respect Party (oh, the irony) now representing Bradford in Parliament, telling us in his Goodnight With George Galloway podcast that Julian Assange is accused of nothing more than “bad sexual etiquette”. Galloway wasn’t in the room when Assange was with his alleged victims. But he paints a picture. Assange is wanted in Sweden to face allegations – which he denies – of sexual assault made by two women.
“But even taken at its worst, if the allegations made by these two women were true, 100 per cent true, and even if a camera in the room captured them, they don’t constitute rape. At least not rape as anyone with any sense can possibly recognise it. And somebody has to say this.”
WINNIE Johnson died this morning. Winnie Johnson is the mother of Moors murder victim Keith Bennett. It was cancer.
On the website websitesearchingforkeith.com, run by her son Alan Bennett, we read:
“Winnie Johnson, the mother of Keith Bennett, died this morning at 12.35am, aged 78. She was a much-loved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother and is survived by one younger brother. Winnie fought tirelessly for decades to find Keith and give him a Christian burial. Although this was not possible during her lifetime we, her family, intend to continue this fight now for her and for Keith. We hope that the authorities and the public will support us in this. We would like to express our deep gratitude to all the medical staff who cared for Winnie during her illness, and also the public for their good wishes and support over the years. We hope that everyone will understand, however, that we would like to grieve for her in private, both at this time and during her funeral.”
THREE members of Pussy Riot, the Russian grrl band, are in prison. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Maria Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, have been sentenced to two years choky for staging a “punk prayer” against Vladimir Putin in Moscow Christ the Saviour Cathedral (see it here).
Judge Marina Syrova ruled:
“The girls’ actions were sacrilegious, blasphemous and broke the Church’s rules.”
Worldwide protest results. People have been pulling on the band’s trademark colourful balaclavas. Pussy Riot are famous.
Note: The UK Foreign Office minister, Alistair Burt, said: “I am deeply concerned by the sentencing of three members of the band Pussy Riot, which can only be considered a disproportionate response to an expression of political belief.” That would be the UK ,whdre, as Brendan O’Neill notes, you can be sentenced to two months prison for writing a tweet or talking about a riot on Facebook.
WHY is Julian Assange big news? Why does Julian Assange feel no need to talk to the Swedish authorities about an alleged rape? It’s because big news decided that they loved him. They loved him because he game them the leaked cables and good copy. They built him into a Messiah, the embodiment of truth and light:
Raffi Khatchadourian in the New Yorker: “Under the studio lights, he can seem – with his spectral white hair, pallid skin, cool eyes and expansive forehead – like a rail-thin being who has rocketed to earth to deliver humanity some hidden truth”.
Nick Davies in the Guardian: “We are going to put you on the moral high ground, so high that you’ll need an oxygen mask. You’ll be up there with Nelson Mandela and Mother Theresa…They won’t be able to arrest you”
TAXI for Julian Assange. The man wanted in connection with alleged rape in Sweden has been granted political asylum by Ecuador. Assange is seeking to avoid extradition from Britain to Sweden, a country he used to love. Ecuador’s foreign minister Ricardo Patiño believes their is risk that Wikileaks founder Assange will be sent from Sweden to The United States. He says:
“Asylum is a fundamental human right. The Ecuadorean Government is defending its right to protect Assange and we have decided to grant him political asylum.”
A Swedish Foreign Ministry spokesman is unhappy with the Ecuadoreans:
“We want to tell them that it’s unacceptable that Ecuador is trying to stop the Swedish judicial process.”
SEXY A-levels. A look at successful, photogenic young women in the press. Because only fit girls celebrating their attractiveness and thinness do well at school. Boys – unless they get five A-grades or more; are very young; are a refugee – are invisible (until they enter the job market at which point the young women become less noticable then the young men.) Enjoy your moment in the sun, ladies, this might be as good as it gets.
PUSSY RIOT – a round-up of protest in support of Maria Alelchina, Nadezhda, Nadeezhda Tokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich. The three women have been in jail for more than five months after performing a “punk prayer” in the Christ the Saviour Cathedral, in Moscow. They are accused of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred . The judge will begin reading her verdict this week. Prosecutors want the women each jailed for three years.
Will Vladimir Putin’s regime jail three women for an act of political dissent?
Peaches has recorded Free Pussy Riot. As she says:
Peaches, Simonne Jones, and tons of musicians, artists, activists, and free-thinkers are came together to make a video for this song in support of the russian punk feminist band PUSSY RIOT! Now that you have heard about the song and video, we want you to take action! Here is why:
In March 2012 three members of Pussy Riot, Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and Yekaterina Samutsevitch, were taken into custody by Russian authorities for their participation as part of a protest at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. Their punk prayer is and was an act of free speech and the charges of “hooliganism” and detainment of the three women are seen by the world as a cruel heavy handed act of oppression, are being carried out to discourage free thought and speech in Russia.
If Russia wishes to be a part of the modern globalized world it must adhere to the standards and principles of a free nation where its people have the right to have a free and open dialogue about all subjects. Discussion, debate, and action are the basic building blocks of a free society. By following through with the prosecution of these women Russian political bullies are currently making a mockery of free speech, free thought, and Russia’s own country’s constitution.
EVER wondered that celebrities would look like if they wer photoshopped to look ‘normal’? Well, some bright sparks went to work and produced these images of Scarlett Johansson, ‘poor’ Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Madonna. They are all brilliant:
CAROLINE Flack once dated Harry styles, leading hair in One Direction, a teenager her junior by 14 years. Many one Direction fans were upset. Stephanie Eff spotted this article in a One Direction fan magazine subjecting Caroline Flack to Daily Mail-style sexism. Looks like the next generation of the newspaper’s columnists are keeping up with the programme to present all women as competition to ridicule and rubbish in public…
You can click the image to read it in full:
“Never before have 1D fans united in greater numbers than to share their ‘feelings’ for Caroline Flack, the old woman who dated Harry Styles. She was the host of England’s The X Factor where 1D got their break. But today she spends her time reading hate mail. So to help you, here’s voodoo doodoo Caroline.”
UPDATE: The magazine is called Girl’s Guide to One Direction HD. It was published in May 2012 by New York-based publisher Topix Media Lab LLC. You can buy it on via iTunes.
The greatest magazine dedicated to the greatest band in the world. Everything you have to know about One Direction including never-before-seen photographs, backstage controversy, exclusive interviews and secrets on meeting the band (from re-tweets to getting their attention at concerts). Plus digital posters, matching games and the first ever One Direction Awards Ceremony!
TIA Sharp. With Stuart Hazell is custody accused of her murder, the tabloids’ reporting on the case is curtailed by law. So. The Sun does what it always does, cocks and ear to the prison cells and hears that lags want to murder Hazell. He’s to appear in the Old Bailey via videolink today.
The headline thunders:
Inmates vow to kill Tia accused
What inmates. And why are they in prison? The Sun does not say:
Stuart Hazell, 37, is in isolation on a wing with paedo-philes and rapists at high security Belmarsh prison.
YES! Poor Jennifer Aniston, the tabloids’ ‘Poor Jen’, is marrying Justin Theroux (photos of his buffness here). The mega-rich, successful actress who shagged the young Brad Pitt before he was saddled with children and hats, who has great hair and a nose that sits on the front page of Messers Nip ‘n’ Tucks’s Hollywood catalogue is marrying a good looking man with no baggage.
THE record industry has long been in decline. Basically, people got sick of the mark-up on CDs and, more importantly, were thunderously tired of having to find places for their CDs to live. MP3s may lack the character of vinyl and such, but boy howdy, they’re a lot neater aren’t they?
Sadly for the recording industry, MP3s (a format designed to maximise profits) are easily stolen, which has seen sales dropping dramatically. Which brings us to the news that Rihanna has just topped the album charts with the lowest sales figures EVER.
THEIndoor League was broadcast live from the Leeds Irish Centre. Your host was Fred Trueman, proud Yorkshireman and cricket great from the period when only men born in the northern Republic could represent it at bat and ball. Your commentator was Sid Waddell, the erudite Geordie with the common touch. (Read his great quotes here.) In the early 1970s, The Indoor League made it onto the ITV network. It was serious business.
Sid Waddell recalled one infamous bout as he surveyed the room:
“Fred Trueman used to stand up there, on the stage, giving it large in a cardigan. The shove ha’penny was over there … here would have been the bar billiards. And that’s the door out of which I had to smuggle Terry Yorath when the fight broke out at the table football.”
No sooner had the first golden post box been unveiled to honour Britain’s Olympic champion, than it was duly vandalised. Is this a new British record? Not at all – this massive Olympics billboard was defaced within hours of its unveiling, and the flowers in the Olympic Park were swiftly trampled underfoot by the destructive forces of the Great British Public.
AS the papers salute Mo Farah, the Somalia-born double gold meal winner for Team GB, the Daily Mirrorreadies its readers to the post-Olympic descent. The paper choses the morning of the final day of the London 2012 Games to leads with the news that paedos are out to get your children:
“TWITTER PAEDOS EXPOSED – Police swoop as we reveals vast network of child perverts”
After sport and bonking, drugs-taking celebs, what tabloid readers next like to look at is a story on paedophiles, especially in the summer months. The number of child rapists is not high. The number of readers who like reading about them – and politicians and hacks who like to talk about them – is huge. What better story than one of peados to illustrate all our fears? Is this interest in paedophiles healthy? No. Is the Mirror just tapping into a subject that it feels will unite its readers in a common revulsion? Yes. Does that story foster mistrust, telling us all that it’s not only strangers you need to be fearful of but every adult, even those in a virtual world behind your computer screen? Yes. From being a nation of winners the Mirror reminds us that we are locked in fear of one another, insular and suspicious. The paper says:
“Vile perverts using social networking site to find victims and trade intelligence”
TIA Sharp is front-page news. If it bleeds it leads, runs the old news mantra. Tia Sharp has died. Stuart Hazell, a man who lives with her grandmother, Christine Sharp. He is the last person believed to have seen her alive. He’s been arrested on suspicion of her murder. The news round-up:
Update: Christine Sharp, 46, was arrested on suspicion of murder yesterday and is being held at a south London police station.
Update 2: South-East London Area Commander Neil Basu said: “An early review has been conducted and it is now clear that human error delayed the discovery of the body within the house. We have apologised to Tia’s mother that our procedures did not lead to the discovery of the body on this search.”
Daily Mail (front page): “SHAMBLES – Despite a week-long hunt by 100 police with dogs, Tia was found dead in her granny’s house, which officers had searched THREE times…and man they quizzed has disappeared.”
The Mail blames the police, names the victim but steers clear of naming the accused man in its headline.
TIA Sharpe’s body has been found. It was at her grandmother’s home. A murder investigation is now underway. Police are seeking to talk with Stuart Hazell, the grandmother’s lover. It’s a man hunt, says Sky News.
UPDATE: TiaSharp suspect Stuart Hazell arrested after being spotted by passer by. He’s been charged with murder.
Tia Sharp was last seen leaving her grandmother’s home in New Addington at around 12.00hrs (midday) on Friday 3 August.
Today police moved journalists away from the home in New Addington Stuart Hazell shares with Christine Sharp. They sealed off an area. After the drip feeding of information on Stuart Hazell, the police went in and pulled the place apart. They sensed something was wrong. Police Officers blocked off the alley to No. 20 The Lindens, New Addington, Surrey.
Christine Sharp has not been arrested. She was seen wearing her ‘Missing Tia’ T-shirt as she got into police car.
JOURNALISTS should especially enjoy this report from a Melbourne University journalism student who spent two weeks toiling at a newspaper’s office. She wrote up her experiences at the coalface for us to enjoy. Highlights are many. For those of you spent your training being bawled at, having a heavy telephone chucked at your face by an upset editor (ahem) and made to work hard and fast, this testimony should be an entertaining read.
Throughout the week, I was consistently subjected to patronising attitudes, being referred to as ‘Little Bud’, ‘Champ’ and ‘Kidlet.’ Men were also continuously and unnecessarily sexist, waiting for me to walk through doors and leave the elevator before them.