Mr Black, 55, died at home on Tuesday of lung cancer. He is survived by his wife Bearetta Harrison Black and his girlfriend Princess Hall. Both women placed death notices in the paper.
Is the man accused of killing British backpacker Mia Ayliffe-Chung mentally ill? It’s the default position whenever anyone is killed in what could look like a racially-motivated attack. The Sun looks at Mia’s alleged killer, Smail Ayad, and wonders:
BACKPACKER KILLER’S ‘DEADLY OBSESSION‘ Deluded French knifeman killed British girl, 21, after ‘bizarrely claiming they were MARRIED and flying into a rage when she posed for a magazine’
Deluded. Obsessed. Bizarre. Rage. Mentally Ill?
All that follows an earlier headline:
Mia was killed in a brutal attack at a backpackers’ hostel in Queensland, Australia overnight, while three others are thought to have been injured.
The tenth paragraph of the Sun’s story contains another idea, previously delivered in headline form:
She was knifed in a frenzied attack in front of 30 horrified witnesses, while her attacker is alleged to have shouted “Allahu Akbar” during the ordeal.
Oddly, what first appeared as a ‘claim’ soon appears as a caption:
English backpacker Mia Ayliffe-Chung, 21, was knifed by a man shouting “Allahu Akbar” at a hostel in Australia
The BBC says:
A 30-year-old British man – named locally as Tom Jackson from Cheshire – was severely injured in the attack in Home Hill, Queensland, and is in a critical condition. A French suspect, 29, who allegedly said the Arabic phrase “Allahu akbar” during the attack, was arrested.
The Guardian: “Queensland stabbing: British woman killed by attacker who allegedly shouted ‘Allahu Akbar'”
Steve Gollschewski, a deputy police commissioner, said the alleged offender’s comments “may be construed as being of an extremist nature” and investigators were working with Australian federal police to establish his motives.
What motives are being considered?
But police were “not ruling out any motivations at this early stage, whether they be criminal or political”.
Investigators would also consider whether “mental health or drug misuse” issues were a factor in the attack alongside any “indication of an extremist slant or he was radicalised”, Gollschewski said at a press conference in Brisbane.
They don’t know why. But they know enough to narrow the field of investigation:
“This is not about race or religion, it is about individual criminal behaviour,” he said.
Is that a fact?
Friends of a British backpacker stabbed more than 20 times as he tried in vain to save the life of a young woman allegedly knifed by a Frenchman shouting “Allahu Akbar” at a north Queensland hostel are praying he recovers.
Up to 30 terrified witnesses at the Shelley’s Home Hill hostel 100km south of Townsville watched as Smail Ayad, 29, who had been singing the French national anthem, burst in crying “God is great” in Arabic.
Australian Federal Police are now investigating if the attacker has any link to any terror organisations…
In a press conference, deputy police commissioner Steve Gollschewski said the investigation was in its early stages and all motivations were being considered, including criminal and political, as well as the impact of drugs and mental health problems.
Always the mental health issues. Just Press f9 on the keyboard and everything is ok. (Unless you suffer from the horror of poor mental health and are being profiled as a potential knife attacker, in which case, it’s awful.)
The Sun: “FRESH HOPE FOR MADDIE? Brit cops may push for more government cash to help hunt for missing Madeleine McCann”
A questions mark. A story headlined “may”. No new facts. No news. This is the story since 2007, when the child vanished. The paper continues:
DETECTIVES investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have “outstanding work” left to do on the inquiry and may apply for more Home Office funding.
Or, they may not. The word “may” appears in the headline versions of the same story on the Daily Express and Daily Telegraph websites.
The Sun adds:
In April, then-home secretary Theresa May granted the team £95,000 to keep the investigation going, with the cash expected to last until October. On Wednesday, Scotland Yard said it would talk to the Home Office about funding.
A force spokesman told the Press Association: “Whilst there remains outstanding work on this case, the Metropolitan Police Service will remain in dialogue with the Home Office regarding the continuation of funding.”
It’s a sad story with no sign of an end. But if not Madeleine, what could money be spent on?
Gloucestershire Live: “Family want Madeleine McCann-style woodland search for teenage relative who disappeared 20 years ago”
Madeleine McCann is the benchmark of all missing children.
Prime Minister Theresa May is coming under pressure to make missing schoolboy Damien Nettles the next Madeleine McCann so police can search a copse where his family have been told his body was buried 20 years ago.
Finite resources are being stretched.
Relatives in the Forest of Dean want police to carry out an official search of the woodland at the back of Gurnard Sailing Club on the Isle of Wight which has been named by some sources on the island as the ‘murdered’ teenager’s final resting place. And they have started a petition to force the Government to plough more money into solving the mystery of the 16-year-old who disappeared walking home from a party on November 2, 1996.
Some supporters have already started searching the woodlands with cadaver dogs, but the family believe they need the expertise of cold case murder squad forensic teams to either find his body or rule out the woodlands which are a few miles from where he vanished.
And they are hoping the petition will mean Damien’s case will attract extra funding for one last push in the same way as the Maddie McCann inquiry received an extra £12 million and Ben Needham inquiry was given £1 million so detectives could travel to Kos earlier this year.
Damien Nettles’ family have posted a petition online:
Please provide Hampshire Police with funding to find Damien Nettles remains
Damien Nettles aged 16 went missing 20 years ago in Cowes, Isle of Wight. His case remains a missing person despite a presumption of murder. Hampshire Police do not have the resources or funding to elevate this case. His family are desperate for justice and closure to move on. Thank you in advance.
You can read more about the disappearance here. Damien Nettles disappeared on November 2, 1996 when he was 16.
Brendan O’Neill asks Corinne Grant a question:
The story is:
Cindy Prior, an indigenous administration officer in QUT’s Oodgeroo Unit, is using section 18C of the racial discrimination act – the controversial section that former Prime Minister Tony Abbott vowed to repeal – to sue three staff at QUT and five students.
Ms Prior claims she suffered “offence, embarrassment, humiliation and psychiatric injury” as well as ongoing fear for her safety, because of their actions and comments.
As The Australian has reported, the problems started when three students, who wandered into the Oodgeroo Unit in May 2013 looking for a place to use a computer, were asked by Ms Prior “whether they were indigenous”.
They said they were not, and she said there were other computers they could use.
She asked the students to leave the unit and they went away.
An hour later a Facebook page, called ‘QUT Stalker Space’, featured a post from one of the students, Alex Wood, saying: “Just got kicked out of the unsigned indigenous computer room. QUT (is) stopping segregation with segregation.”
Another student, Jackson Powell, wrote on the Facebook page: “I wonder where the white supremacist computer lab is.”
Another post — “ITT n—ers” — was attributed to another student, Calum Thwaites, who has emphatically denied that he had anything to do with the post.
Prior went to a doctor and was medically certified as unfit for work. Her initial doctor wrote: “Cynthia feels unsafe and frightened to return to work.”
Ten days after the students walked into the Oodgeroo Unit, a second doctor issued a workers’ compensation certificate declaring her unfit for work due to “nightmares, fear and sweating”. Four days later, Prior, who has not returned to the unit in the three years since the incident, told QUT she would be taking the matter to the Human Rights Commission. She felt “disheartened and powerless” because the university and its vice-chancellor, Peter Coaldrake, had made public statements about the incident and directed new strategies, which did not go far enough in her view. She felt “the critical issue of how to get me back to work and feeling safe once again” was being avoided.
…is suing the three students and the university for almost $250,000 in lost wages and general damages, plus future economic loss. She later claimed she felt unsafe leaving her home due to fears of being verbally abused and was unable to return to work in a role requiring face-to-face contact with white people.
So. About free speech. What does it cost?
There is trouble in Pakistan. The Kalash tribe is threatened:
Hidden up in the mountains near Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, the Kalash tribe loves homemade wine and whiskey, dances for days at colorful festivals, and practices a religion that holds that God has spirits and messengers who speak through nature…
But over the past century, Muslims from modern-day Pakistan and Afghanistan began moving in. Now villagers say their Kalash culture and religion are threatened by forced conversions, robberies and assaults.
New arrivals not wanted by locals. The BBC says the Kalash was founded by settling armies of Alexander the Great. Adding:
“Unlike most of Pakistan, where even eye contact between unrelated men and women can be taboo, the Kalash express themselves freely. Children of both sexes play together and women breastfeed in public.”
CNN has more:
Loveless liaisons hold no appeal for the spirited Kalasha women: “We choose our husbands, and if they don’t treat us well, or it doesn’t work out, we can leave and find a new partner,” says Gul, as her two friends, teenage mothers Farida and Asmar, nod and blush.
Back to the issue:
“We are scared,” said Yasir Kalash, the manager of a hotel here in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. “They capture our lands, our pastures and our forests, and sometimes take our goats and women …
“We are afraid in the next few years we will be finished.”
In 2009, the Telegraph reported:
While Sikhs, Hindus, and Christians were slowly driven out of Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province by Muslim militants, the Kalash were free to drink their own distilled spirits and smoke cannabis. But the militant maulanas of the Taliban have finally caught up with them.
If you need to forcibly convert anyone to your beliefs, you are wrong.
Time to revisit Christopher Hitchens’ 10 Commandments for 21st Century living:
I: Do not condemn people on the basis of their ethnicity or color.
II: Do not ever use people as private property.
III: Despise those who use violence or the threat of it in sexual relations.
IV: Hide your face and weep if you dare to harm a child.
V: Do not condemn people for their inborn nature.
VI: Be aware that you too are an animal and dependent on the web of nature, and think and act accordingly.
VII: Do not imagine that you can escape judgment if you rob people with a false prospectus rather than with a knife.
VIII: Turn off that fucking cell phone.
IX: Denounce all jihadists and crusaders for what they are: psychopathic criminals with ugly delusions.
X: Be willing to renounce any god or any religion if any holy commandments should contradict any of the above.
It’s been a slow summer for news of Madeleine McCann, the missing child who was once a mainstay of the summer news cycle. The Sun, however, has news:
SICK MADDIE SLUR Online casino mocks Madeleine McCann’s family in sick tweet about Man Utd’s new £109million signing Paul Pogba
Fruity King said the football club’s decision to buy back the player was ‘worse’ than leaving Maddie alone
The vile tweet, sent to Fruity King’s 2,264 followers, was published in the same week it was announced British police have stopped their forensic investigation into Maddie‘s disappearance.
And it might be as sick as this from 2013:
Madeleine McCann is missing. There are no suspects.
Police say Michael Henson was trying to have sex with a van in Dayton, Ohio at around 8:00pm.
A woman who called police claims to have seen Henson pull his shorts down and place his genitals in the front grille of the van that was parked on the street. She says this went on for some time before Henson shambled away and passed out.
Men, eh. Wham. Bam. Thank you, van.
You make your own entertainment in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Gerda Osteneck makes puppets from old cat hair. “Boo was a rescue cat we got shortly after I took a felting class,” says Gerda, “and I took one look at her ‘Oh, I want to felt you.'”
She explained that the process for felting cat hair is the same as felting with wool. First a pattern is made out of a heavy plastic. Then the hair is wrapped around the plastic, and soapy water is applied. The next step is to massage it all together, causing the hair to become felt.
Nowadays, Osteneck says all the cat hair she collects goes straight into a plastic bag to save instead of the trash can. After she collects enough brown and grey hair from Boo, she makes the felt and then crafts it into tiny finger puppets. Osteneck is now itching to show others how it’s all done.
And you can learn the technique. Gerda is teaching cat puppetry at the Neil Balkwill Civic Arts Centre.
“This is the first time I’ve posted a class for it and I’m really quite surprised at the reaction,” she adds. “You don’t have to go out and buy a kit. You don’t have to go out and fill a studio full of equipment. You can just grab your cat and brush, and the next thing you know you’ve got enough materials to make something.”
Or if brushing’s not your bag, why not just watch and wait until your cat coughs up a hairball. As we say, you make your own entertainment in Regina…
Helen Skelton’s topless video is all over the internet. When she was 17, so the story goes, the BBC TV presenter sunbathed topless in France. Without her knowledge someone filmed the teenaged Skelton and uploaded the footage to porn websites. A mere two years later the tabloids made Skelton’s breasts front-page news.
Revenge Porn: Teenager, who left pal feeling suicidal, says she’s ‘the loser’ after publishing secret sex tape
Elsewhere the Mirror reports on “the dark side of sexting, and reveals what can happen when your most intimate photos get into the wrong hands”.
But when the Mirror sees Skelton’s naked breasts, presumably supplied via the wrong hands to a porn site, it appraisers her body, “Gorgeous mum-of-one Helen looks fantastic in the video.” A source calls it a “nightmare” for Helen.
As the Mirror exploits Helen’s nightmare to prove the misery and allure of covert porn, assuring the victim it’s ok so long as your fit, the Sun reports:
TOPLESS PHOTO STORM Helen Skelton is ‘distressed’ after topless photos of her from when she was 17 emerge
Amid more shots from the “leaked” footage, journalists TINA CAMPBELL AND JOANNE KAVANAGH tell us of Skelton’s “distress”.
The 33-year-old mum of one was holidaying in France in 2001 and believed to be unaware that she was being filmed and ONLY 17 at the time.
Tina and Joanne might like to have a word with their Sun colleague Hannah Crouch, who in April told Sun readers
Hundreds of women fallen victim to website which shares nude pics without permission – A 21-woman has exposed a slut-shaming website which asks users for explicit photos
Are you only a victim when you’re not on the telly?
To New Jersey, where thoughts are with Leroy Black, mourned by his “loving wife” and his “long-tome girlfriend”, according to his two obituaries placed in the Press of Atlantic City newspaper.
Mr Black, 55, died at home on Tuesday of lung cancer. He is survived by his wife Bearetta Harrison Black and his girlfriend Princess Hall. Both women placed death notices in the paper.
Surely, it is what he would have wanted.
Transfer balls: It’s been 17 days since the Daily Mirror told us Pogba had “signed” for Manchester United. Today the BBC tells us that Pogba has been “summoned to Juventus training”.
To say goodbye to his former teammates? No. To train for the Italian season with his current club, Juventus.
Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri tells media:
“It makes no sense at the moment talking about potential replacements for Pogba because, right now, Pogba is a Juventus player…
“I’ve summoned Pogba together with (Patrice) Evra tomorrow night. So that means he has training here in Vinovo on Monday.”
Some news, then, to Mirror readers. But wait a moment. The Telegraph has news:
Paul Pogba set to sign for Manchester United: Frenchman arrives ‘in secret’ to complete medical
Pogba’s secret arrival is all over the newspapers.
After arriving in secret last night, the Frenchman, 23, will be undergoing his medical at a top secret location ahead of a world-record transfer to Old Trafford.
The Express explains:
Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport claim the Juventus star touched down in the UK yesterday and will today complete his move to United.
The report says Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri’s comments yesterday about Pogba expected for training were merely a smokescreen.
The Italian newspaper says there are no “photographs chronicling Pogba’s arrival” because it was all top secret and only the Press in Italy and the UK know anything about it.
Over to the Mirror, where the paper of record tells us:
Manchester United transfer news and rumours: Paul Pogba to undergo medical TODAY
Lest we forget:
Such are the facts.
Russell Square attack: at look at reporting on the death of Darlene Horton and Zakaria Bulhan’s arrest.
Pamela Gellar knows all about it: “Darlene Horton, American Murder Victim of Jihad Attack in London.”
We do not know that the accused, one Zakaria Bulhan, is a jihadi. We also don’t know if, as is alleged, he was driven by poor mental health to murder one and stab five more people in central London. Undeterred by fact, Gellar ploughs on:
This jihadi targeted tourists — those injured are Australian, American, Israeli and British.
No. The alleged killer targeted anyone. How he picked them out from the crowds, we don’t know. London is a city of many creeds and colours. The idea that Bulhan could identity tourists from native Londoners is absurd. Granted, US tourists are fond of massive plaid shorts and location T-shirts, but Darlene Horton was wearing neither when she was killed. Moreover, despite efforts by members of the Labour party, Oxford University, the Left and BBC journalists, the Israeli victim was not wearing a huge Swastika on her arm, goose-stepping up the pavement and deserving of attack.
The Metro: Israeli teenager Yovel Lewkoswski says the killer was cool and clam when he struck.
The Guardian: the paper’s front page says an American woman was killed by a man. The paper sees fit to note the victim’s nationality but not that of the alleged killer.
Inside, the Guardian notes: “A 19-year-old Norwegian of Somali heritage was arrested on suspicion of murder after the attack that also left two women and three men injured, one seriously.”
Police said there was no evidence the attack was terrorism-related and evidence to date pointed to mental health issues sparking a “spontaneous” knife attack on strangers selected at random.
There ere lots of people with mental health issues out there. Should we be afraid of them? The Guardian adds:
The number of police officers, including armed officers has been increased on the streets of the capital in the wake of the attacks as “a precautionary measure”. Police said that would continue “for as long as we need it to”.
Nothing to do with terror, Islamists and jihadis, then. This is about the fear of people with mental health issues. This is how we treat the mentally ill in the UK: we aim guns at them and treat them as suspects.
The paper also noted:
Although police say terrorism is just one possible line of enquiry in the Russell Square attack, its comes amid heightened fear of a terrorist attack in the UK. On Sunday, Britain’s most senior police officer, Met commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, said an attack was a matter of when not if.
Does Sir Bernard-Howe think we should lock up everyone with mental health issues, just to be on the safe side?
The Telegraph features the news on its front page. It’s a small story: “man kills tourist”. It also says the police “fear terror attack”.
The Times shows us the victim. It says Darlene Horton’s alleged killer has a “history of mental health issues”. There is no focus on terror.
The woman who was killed in the knife rampage in central London on Wednesday night had been due to fly home to America yesterday.
Darlene Horton, 64, was stabbed in front of her husband, a psychology professor in Florida. She bled to death despite the efforts of paramedics after a knifeman attacked six people in Russell Square. One witness reported that Ms Horton’s last words were: “He’s still here, he’s still here.”
Richard Wagner, her husband, had brought students to the UK to study “how the principles of psychology apply in different cultures” and to “immerse themselves in British culture”, according to the programme on Florida State University’s website.
In the Mail, Darlene Horton is the victim of a “teenage migrant’s knife frenzy”. To the Mail, this is an immigration issue.
The Indy leads with: “Russell Square attack: London student Zakaria Bulhan named as suspect in stabbing that left American woman dead”
Such are the facts.
Russell Square knife attack: when cool and calm Zakaria Bulhan met Darlene Horton and Yovel Lewkowki, A round-up of media news on a suspected murder in London.
The BBC: “Russell Square stabbings: Man arrested on suspicion of murder”
A man. Anything more about this man who allegedly murdered a US citizen called Darlene Horton, 64, an innocent on holiday in London with her husband? Not yet. Not on the BBC.
Police believe the attack in Russell Square on Wednesday was “spontaneous”, with victims “selected at random”.
He just went nuts? He saw a knife, picked it up and just went nuts, allegedly knifing to death Darlene Horton and stabbing five others from Britain, America, Israel and Australia?
Police arrested a 19-year-old Norwegian national of Somali origin. They say there is no evidence of radicalisation.
So why mention it, then? And radicalised by who or what? The BBC does not say.
The Met Police’s assistant commissioner for specialist operations, Mark Rowley, said the investigation was increasingly pointing to the attack being “triggered by mental health issues”.
Aren’t they always. Mental health issues can pretty much describe anything and everything. Maybe instead of using a Taser to down the alleged killer, the police should have called in an emergency therapist?
The Guardian: “London stabbing: suspect is Norwegian Somali with ‘no evidence’ of terror – as it happened”
The Israeli woman injured in the Russell Square stabbings is an 18-year-old from Tel Aviv on a pre-enlistment trip to London…
What you might call ‘holiday’.
Yuval Labkovsky was returning to her hotel with her grandfather, after eating in a Thai restaurant, when she was set upon. Labkovsky was lightly injured in her hand during the stabbing attack and released after treatment in hospital.
She tells YNet news
“On the way back from the hotel, I heard screams and saw two men running toward me… I was afraid that it was a terror attack and was sure the two men were running away from the incident.
“I approached the first and felt a pain in my hand. I thought I was just hit, but it turned out he was the stabber. The second man, who was chasing him, was the man who tried, and later succeeded, in catching him.
“I saw a woman lying on the floor, covered in blood. Her husband supported her. Suddenly I realized I was also bleeding. I’m not afraid in Israel, so I have no reason to start being afraid in London.”
In Israel the stabbings are not random and spontaneous. They are organised. Mental illness is not given as a factor. But to the Guardian the alleged’s killers mind is an issue:
Jo Loughran, interim director of Time to Change, the mental health anti-stigma campaign run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, has urged the media to ensure any reporting of a mental health element to the Russell Square attacks is “informed and balanced”.
We understand that the police have released an update about the tragic incident at Russell Square stating that mental health is an increasingly significant factor in this case. The media must rightly report on this angle but we encourage them to do so responsibly.
They report on that angle because it’s easy.
There have been a number of horrendous acts of violence committed across Europe over recent weeks. As the media look to unpick these extremely complex incidents to explore motivations and reason we urge journalists and editors to provide well informed and balanced coverage of mental health. Millions of people experience mental health problems every year and the overwhelming majority will never pose a risk to others.
Maybe – just maybe – he wasn’t driven to it by mental illness. Maybe – just maybe – the alleged killer is not the victim here.
Daily Mail: “Russell Square ‘knifeman’ named this evening as Somali-born Zakaria Bulhan, 19, from Tooting, south London”
And on mental health?
Police called to Russell Square at 10.30pm last night after crazed man ‘went on the rampage’ with kitchen knife
Not mentally ill, then. He was crazy!
Zakaria Bulhan, 19, moved to the UK from Norway in 2002, and was said to be suffering possible ‘mental health issues’ when he allegedly began silently stabbing his unsuspecting victims in a busy London street last night.
His former friends from Graveney School in Tooting, south London, have now revealed how Chelsea football fan Bulhan was a quiet boy who was bullied in the early stages of secondary school. One friend said: ‘He was quite quiet, but had friends. He was a little bullied but nothing too extreme.’
A victim of bullying and poor mental health, then.
Earlier today, police raided the south London council flat where he lived with his family. Neighbours of alleged knifeman said his mother was ‘really nice’ but knew little about her two sons… The family live on the middle floor of a three-storey block of flats next to St George’s Hospital in Tooting…
The unnamed woman said: ‘There was lots of policemen there this morning. The mother is always here. She’s really kind and friendly and always opened the door and got parcels for us.
‘They’re a Muslim family, the mother always wore a full black burka.’
A downstairs neighbour confirmed that a mother and two young men live in the flat. He said… ‘I’ve never had a conversation with either of the two boys. Apparently they are Somalian but they all speak with an English accent. The mother is really quiet. She always has her hijab on but she’s a very pleasant woman and speaks proper English’.
Burka or hijab? No photos of her to help us decide, but plenty of the aforesaid Israeli woman, now called Yovel Lewkowki:
‘The attacker was dark-skinned and bald and the knife he was holding was a small kitchen knife,’ she said. ‘He was very calm and cool.’
No crazed, then. Calm and cool.
What is the point of education? The Telegraph looks at Lisa Duffy’s views on the matter of who decides what children learn at school. Duffy is a councillor in Cambridgeshire. She wants to lead UKIP. She wants a say in what children can be taught at school.
A “total ban” on Muslim state schools has been called for by Lisa Duffy, the Ukip leadership hopeful.
Ms Duffy, who is expected to be announced as once of the candidates in the party’s leadership race at noon today, has called for Islamic faith schools to be shut down in a bid to tackle radicalisation.
Duffy knows best. She wants to ban traditions she considers to be the wrong ones. An attack on freedom of education can be readily linked to an attack on freedom of worship, something any liberal country should hold dear.
Maybe Duffy doesn’t like what she sees as intolerance preached as faith schools. Maybe this is why Duffy wants to ban them, censor views alternative to her own? Duffy is a bansturbator. She tells the Express:
“I will be calling for the Government to close British Islamic faith schools. That doesn’t mean I am picking on British Islam…
Wrong. It does.
“…but if you think about what our security services are looking at 2,000 individuals that have come from those faith schools. When does indoctrination start?”
Dunno, Lisa. Where did you learn your illiberal views?
“I am not far right, I am very much common sense and centre right.”
Lisa affects to know what the country’s values are and then undermines them. Freedom for all is great so long as it is freedom from things Duffy doesn’t much like.
Why should the State know better than parents? Why should education be so politicised? Why should education adhere to a homogenous ‘norm’ proscribed by the elite? Parents must be free to chose the schools that reflect their own prejudices, views and wants.
Why doesn’t the State do something truly radical: ask teachers what they think and let them set the curriculum? (And interfering parents are every bit as dire as the State dictating what is right thinking.)
And if not religious schools, then why non-faith State schools, places where moving targets, new techniques and measures of learning create a system lacking substance – where children are schooled not educated. State schools are often out-performed by their religious-orientated rivals, where knowledge can be tested across ages and critical thinking is encouraged and engaged.
Lisa Duffy should try it.
When Arsenal signed Kim Kallstrom in January 2014 it looked like no big deal. The journeyman Swedish midfielder was only on loan from Spartak Moscow. He arrived nursing a bad back injury. Great things were not expected of him. But for Kallstrom playing for Arsenal was a dream come true.
In an era when money is all and players kiss the badge of whichever club pays enough for the honour of hiring them, Kallstrom’s testimony chimes with the fans, most of whom would pay to play for their team.
I look like a boy as I walk across the grass, with the ball under my arm. Well-groomed side-parting, a clean red shirt, white sleeves, and a golden cannon on my breast. I’m a man past thirty years of age, in a boy’s dream.
It’s the semi-final of the English FA cup, against Wigan, with 82,000 people on the stands of Wembley Stadium, among which 50,000 were rooting for us (Arsenal).
They are loud and starving fans that hunger for a title. They haven’t won anything for nine years, which is an eternity for a club that is considered one of the greatest in the World. They have the most loyal fans, Gooners.
By strange and unexpected detours, I’ve ended up at the top club Arsenal, in north London. With straight legs, I bend down and put the ball on the spot. I throw a quick glance at the keeper. I’ve already decided where to place it. I try not to smile.
The moment is here. I’m here – in the middle of the latin motto of the club: “Victoria Concordia Crescit” – “Victory grows through harmony”. I can’t help myself but smile slightly. I haven’t even played half an hour for Arsenal. I debuted against Swansea, for eleven minutes, and now I was substituted on in extra time when it was to be decided.
Fifteen minutes of a footballer’s life, which changed my story.
I got a call from my agent, (former Sweden international) Roger Ljung. ‘Do you want to be loaned out to a club in the Premier League?” “No.” “Do you want to be loaned out to Arsenal?” “YES!”
It was transfer deadline day and a rumour of a new player had leaked. The training facilities were filled with supporters, journalists and television was transmitting live.
When we arrived at Heathrow, we had to drive to a field and switch cars so that no one would recognise the vehicle. Everyone was nice to me, and I get training clothes and number 29. I was sent to a team physician for the obligatory medical exam.
While the physician is going through the tests, I’m sitting in the cafeteria, drinking a cup of washy English coffee. I’m dressed in the club colours, in the civilian outfit of the professional football player, meaning a t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops.
Players pass by on the way to today’s training. I knew a few of them, as they were French, and we small-talk a bit. The physician fetches me, and I’m driven quickly to a hospital for a X-ray exam. Something’s wrong. We return to the training facilities. I’m put in a situation that reminds me of a talent show on television.
I’m standing in front of a jury, in Arsenal clothes, the CD with my X-ray images, and my bad posture.
In front of me sits the team physician, the sporting director, and the powerful manager Arsene Wenger, who has run the club with an iron fist and a low-key attitude for almost 20 years. The physician starts speaking.
He understands that Arsenal is a big thing for me and that my hopes have been lit, but the back problem is too bad, and he’s sorry. He lays down the facts. There are three cases of vertebral fractures, and I’m out for at least 4-6 weeks. I’m shocked – disappointed, but I understood. Against the evidence of the X-ray images, neither boyhood dreams or arguments help. I understand.
‘If you’re injured, you’re injured’, I say, but in truth I was angry as hell. There’s silence in the room. Wenger hasn’t said anything. He hasn’t even looked at his colleagues as they inform me of their logical verdicts.
He thinks for himself. I wait for him to say something. He sighs, and says ‘The transfer windows shuts in a few hours. It’s impossible to find a replacement. Either I take you or no one.’
Surprised, the others turn to the big boss. No one knows how he’ll continue, but they know that his words are law. It’s evident that he has not anchored his decision among the rest of the staff.
Wenger decides. “You’ll stay, heal, and train. I’ll take you when you’re fit.”
Now, the next circus starts. I could follow the events in real time, as the media started writing and friends contacted me.
In spite of a time difference of four hours, and the Russian football association being closed, the transfer was done. The contract was signed in the last hour. I had left Spartak Moscow when everyone was asleep; I was just gone the next morning. I got a few good luck texts, but other than that, Russia was over for the time being.
I train like a mad man in England. I’m good at that. One day at the gym, Wenger stops by. When he enters a room, everybody sort of stops, as if they’re waiting for a signal. He has that effect on people.
I keep peddling on the exercise bike, as I’m trying to beat a certain time. Wenger is watching with his French, slightly casual, yet serious, gaze. We small-talk and we’re on the right track. I felt like I was building confidence with the leader, without having kicked a ball yet.
After five weeks of hard rehab, and the uncertainty whether my back would be restored, I’m suddenly back on the pitch.
It was a long time since the club had won anything, and the British capital is boiling with the tabloids acting as ring-leaders.
We’re favourites against Wigan in the semi-finals, but we only manage to achieve a draw at full-time. The clock ticks, without anyone ending it. I’m sitting on the bench without any personal expectation.
There’s seven minutes left and I’m suddenly substituted for an exhausted Aaron Ramsey. The ref blows the whistle. Now, one of the finalists must be decided by a penalty shootout. A simple and brutal way to end things.
At this point, understanding of the game, tactics, and physical prowess are meaningless. Now, there is only a confused mess of nerves and chance. Penalty shoot-outs can crown kings in football, and always produce a scapegoat. You must score. All the pressure is on the taker.
I hear Wenger shouting in French: “Kim, do you take penalties?” “Yeah, I’d be glad to take one.” “Good. You’re second.”
I decide early where to shoot it. When I walk alone to the spot, in a stadium with three times as many spectators as there are inhabitants of my hometown, Sandviken, I must suppress my smile. It’s a long way to walk across the pitch. I’m relaxed – perhaps happy.
I put the ball on the spot. Now, I just have to back up and find the right distance to the ball, run up, and strike the ball hard and high to the left. Just do what I usually do, what I know, and always have done. I’ve done it a thousand times before, and there’s no nervousness.
The keeper goes early, in the opposite direction of where I had decided to put it. When I watch the penalty on Youtube, the feelings return: the calm and the joy, but I’m surprised where the ball ended up.
The ball ended up in the lower left corner, opposite of how I remembered it. I had decided to put it high to the left, but I remembered it as I actually put it low to the right. I’m confused, but the ball ended up in the net.
We won the final and we’re praised by over 200,000 supporters on the streets of London. Although my contribution was small in the 120-year history of the club, it was a highlight for me.
The greatest fifteen minutes of my life, and it turns out I don’t remember what happened. Where was I in that deciding moment?
Trance, shock, delirium, coma, nervous breakdown, call it whatever you want. The only thing I know for sure is that sports and football are incomprehensible.
That’s why we love it. As long as that penalty continues to end up in the net, my experience is true. I’m sure of it.
To get paid too play football is a dream. To play for a top club is wonderful. Professional footballers should be mindful of one thing: enjoy every moment.
You will recall that Harambe was shot dead at Cincinnati Zoo after he began dragging a four-year-old human child around his enclosure.
Also, 18 percent of voters think Hillary Clinton has ties to Lucifer.
To Escondido, California, where Adam Cripe is displeased with the $18 hairstyle he got at En Salon. “It was so terrible, I went home and I shaved my head,” says Cripe. At the salon, he met another customer:
“The lady who was getting her hair cut comes around the corner screaming at me. She gets up in my face and says you’re uneducated, you’re a tattooed piece of shit… And ‘her husband] says, ‘quit being a sissy, it’ll grow back.’”
Cripe alleges salon employees did not intervene.
It gets messier.
“She starts coming at me accusing me of assaulting her, which you can see on the video,” he adds. “I never even touched her, I was holding my phone up, hands in the air…. Pushing me, pushing me. You know a little bigger lady, bump me with her chest, she chest bumped me…
“Then at one point she grabbed my little love handle right here and squeezed it really hard and tried to push me back with that.”
Outside, he says the lady told him in words that suggest English is not her first language: “Get out here and pound it down.”
Adam Cripe then takes to his Facebook page. Having avoided swearing on the TV news, Cripe is happy to utter lots of swears in this video:
Is this an example pub public shaming? We don’t know the woman. It’s a small spat in a small shop that has escalated, fanned by the media. Is it fair that the woman is filmed, humiliated and called names on the giant echo chamber that is social media? Had the police been called, then, sure, the video, such as it is, might well have been useful. But this doesn’t look like justice. It looks more like revenge.
Is Arsenal Wenger going to sign a new contract and extend his tenure as Arsenal manager? The BBC leads with that AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe is “well-placed to replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal”.
The Daily Mirror agrees. It says “Eddie Howe touted as possible Arsene Wenger replacement?”
The Mirror and BBC’s source is the Daily Star.
In an “EXCLUSIVE” David Woods says “Arsenal earmark Englishman as potential Arsene Wenger replacement”. Arsenal fans should be pleased. Howe is erudite, young, talented, a winner and a fast learner. But on what is the story of Howe to Arsenal based? What is Woods’ evidence that Howe is in line to replace Wenger? Is it just an educated guess?
Wenger has been at Arsenal for 20 years and is entering the final 12-months of his current contract. Although there is no suggestion he is heading for the chop immediately, Starsport can reveal the Gunners board would not have stood in Wenger’s way if he had wanted to take over as England boss next summer, as the FA had originally wanted.
Would. If. Not many facts there.
England never did go for Wenger. The FA never did wait a year for him to leave Arsenal, as the Star reported they would do.
It’s a clear signal that Arsenal are now preparing for life after the 66-year-old.
Wenger is 66. Of course Arsenal are preparing for life after the man has left. Wenger is in the final year of his current deal. They would be mad not to have a plan. Just look at what happened to Manchester United when Ferguson left.
And Arsenal have advance warning. The Mirror “set the date” of Wenger’s leaving, telling us in January 2016 that the Frenchman will leave the Gunners on June 30 2017:
There is not a single fact to support the story of Howe to Arsenal. The Press are as clueless about what Arsenal will do after Wenger as they were when the Gunners hired the man. Back in 1996, Johan Cruyff was the favourite to replace Bruce Ricoh.
As Nick Hornby put it:
“I remember when Bruce Rioch was sacked, one of the papers had three or four names. It was Terry Venables, Johan Cruyff and then, at the end, Arsène Wenger. I remember thinking as a fan, I bet it’s fucking Arsène Wenger, because I haven’t heard of him and I’ve heard of the other two. Trust Arsenal to appoint the boring one that you haven’t heard of.”
And the Press asked “Arsene who?”
Oi, fatso! David Aaronovitch has a plan to win the “obesity war”. He writes in the Times:
It’s not enough to fiddle about with food labelling and a distant sugar tax. Bans may be draconian, but they’re essential
Bans are for censors. No ‘may’ about it. They are draconian. They are not essential.
Of course, we could try to attach the same opprobrium to being fat as to being a smoker.
Second-hand fat? We are getting fatter, yes. We are getting fatter because we do less. We have more down time. More of us live in small flats – stairs burn calories (just ask the aged who downsize). We have central heating. We have telly. Is there shame in being a smoker? No. although people who light up electronic cigarettes, especially the ones with the glowing end, do look like twats.
And what of the facts? Chris Snowdon notes:
All the evidence indicates that per capita consumption of sugar, salt, fat and calories has been falling in Britain for decades. Per capita sugar consumption has fallen by 16 per cent since 1992 and per capita calorie consumption has fallen by 21 per cent since 1974.
And Tim Worstall has an interesting aside:
One more little factoid on this: the current average UK diet has fewer calories than the minimum acceptable diet under WWII rationing. Quite seriously: we are gaining weight on fewer calories than our grandparents lost weight on.
Back then you could be fat and jolly. Now you must be fat and unhappy. The bitter and thin want revenge.
Ban fast-food outlets from stations and airports. Ban the sale of confectionery and sugary drinks to the under-16s. Ban the sale of over-sugared products in supermarkets (as measured by a ratio of sugar to other nutrients). Ban the bringing into schools of unhealthy foods. Ban the presence in offices (like our own here at The Times) of vending machines that seem to sell mainly crisps and chocolate. Specify a weight-to-height ratio limit on air passengers wishing to avoid a surcharge.
In short: bash the poor.
The Munich massacre is all over the Daily Mirror’s front page. The word is “terror”. But why did the killer do it? Lunacy? Narcissism? Nihilism? Anger? Because he could? Nazism? Islamism? Racism? Brexit? Low blood sugar? The NRA?
The killer is dead. Can we guess, then, why a young man would slaughter so many at a shopping mall?
The Mirror calls the 18-year-0ld Iranian-German the “crazed killer”. He is the “lone gunman”.
When Labour MP Jo Cox was murdered on a street in England, the Mirror knew everything about her alleged killer, Thomas Mair, in an instant. The Mirror was backing the Remain vote in the EU Referendum:
The Star also knew about Mair:
And the Sun knew Mair was a far-right loon:
But now the Star can only muster: “…the shooting may have been carried out by Islamic extremists or far-right sympathisers.”
And the Sun just settles on nationality:
The Press are pussyfooting around.
The Mirror does quote an eyewitness, who spoke with CNN:
The woman named Loretta told CNN: “I come out of the toilet and I hear like an alarm, boom, boom, boom. He’s killing the children. The children were sitting to eat. They can’t run.”
She also said the man yelled: ‘Allahu Akbar!’
She said she recognised this phrase as she herself is Muslim, according to CNN.
Surely people of all religions and races know that phrase by now. The Greater Manchester Police have used it in their terrorist training for attacks on shopping malls.
So. Why did he do it? Discuss. And here’s a clue: it’s never a simple answer (unless myou want it to be).
The Munich massacre, the Press are calling it. A Iranian-German nutter has murdered many a German shopping mall. Who can we blame. They know. We can blame ourselves:
The New York Times blames Europe:
First came Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. Then the horrific attack in Nice, France, which killed 84 people. Then, on Friday, a shooting near a shopping mall in Munich, which the police are treating as a possible terrorist attack.
These events alone would be cause for a continental nervous breakdown. But still unresolved is an even bigger threat to European stability: a failure to develop a coherent, humane plan to deal with the inexorable flow of desperate people fleeing violence and persecution in the Middle East and Africa and seeking a new home in Europe …
The refugee issue continues to stoke fears and xenophobic politics. If Europe fails to face this problem squarely and humanely, more migrants will die, and a union that has kept the peace in Europe for decades could well unravel.
Anger and fear drove Brexit just as Donald Trump fans the flames of a disenfranchised America, which as Baton Rouge proves, is as racially and ethnically divided as Europe, which is dealing with mass immigration, an attempted coup in Turkey and seemingly relentless terrorism borne out civil war-torn Syria. Mark MacKinnon reports on the relationship between seemingly unconnected events across the globe..
Our societies are fracturing into tribes. In the U.K., it’s Leavers versus Remainers. In Turkey, the failed coup has cleaved society into Erdoganites and Gulenists (after the movement accused of supporting the failed putsch). Almost everywhere, lines are being drawn between immigrants and the native-born. Black and white. Us and them.
And the tribes are turning on one another.
Leave v Remain is like black v white? What utter balls.
And on NBC:
TODD: Do you draw a straight line? I mean, do you draw a straight line from basically the Syrian refugee crisis to Brexit to what we are seeing in Germany and France?
ENGEL: I think you can draw a straight line.
So. Why did you murder so many people in Germany? Narcissism? Islamism? Poverty? Racism? No. It was Brexit…
The qualities Mr. Trump seeks in his romantic partners are remarkably retro. Melania Trump is a former model with her own QVC jewelry line and skin care brand who emphasizes that her role as a mother comes before all else; Mr. Trump… expects women to be more aesthetically appealing than intellectually substantive.
Melania survives on her looks? No. She thrived on them, working as a well-paid model. But the NY Times doesn’t see modelling as a proper job. It sneers at her choice of profession. Women who make a living from their aesthetic appeal are dumb, we’re told. The Times should read the story of the wonderful Lydia Lova and get a grip.
The problem with Melania, of course, is that she is no Hillary Clinton:
The distinctions between the Clinton marriage and the Trumps’ reflect an uncomfortable evolution also happening in homes across the United States.
The Clintons’ marriage is the model. His alleged cheating and lying, and her alleged bullying of his mistresses is the model, the American ideal? A woman who get to the top by using her husband’s name and contacts is the model?
In the past half-century, American women have undergone a transformation in roles, and married couples now look a lot more like the Clintons than whatever traditional view of women and home life that Mr. Trump holds: Most women work outside the home full time, and men increasingly marry women who are their educational and professional equals.
Melania speaks 6 languages. Hillary misspeaks one.
What a sad and twisted little story on the BBC. In “Attack on Nice brings danger to France closer to home”, Hugh Schofield follows up the story of how Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel murdered scores of people at a Bastille Day celebration by noting:
Through the last 18 months of jihadist terror in France, a simple pattern is emerging: it keeps getting worse.
Worse than mass murder?
If the January 2015 attacks were aimed at specific groups – Jews and blasphemers – the November follow-up was more indiscriminate.
Murdering Jews and blasphemers is not worse – is it better, then? – than killing anyone else.
Is it time to update Pastor Martin Niemöller’s poem:
First they came for the Satirists, and I did not speak out—
Because I agreed that ‘You can’t say that!’, words are criminal and US Secretary of State John Kerry saw a “rationale” in the slaughter at Charlie Hebdo.
Then they came for the rock fans, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a rock fan and they are “hedonists”.
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.
So goes the evolution of a death cult.
At the Bataclan Massacre, the scene was gruesome. HeatStreet says:
A French government committee has heard testimony, suppressed by the French government at the time and not published online until this week, that the killers in the Bataclan appear to have tortured their victims on the second floor of the club…
Or as Schofield puts it:
At the Bataclan and at the cafes the Islamists killed young adults, out being European hedonists. This time, it’s gone a step further.
In Nice, it is the people at large – families and groups of friends – doing nothing more provocative than attending a national celebration. Ten children were among the dead.
People at large are not Jews and “hedonists” at a pop concert. Jews shopping for Shabbat dinner were being more provocative than non-Jews walking about in Nice?
Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, we learn, is a victim, who “fell prey to the torrent of jihadist propaganda emanating from so-called Islamic State (IS), and elevated his personal grievances into matters of cosmic importance.” He had a “weakness for Islamist ideology”.
And then comes the inevitable story that it’s not them, it’s us.
This is the moment when the attacks become so outrageous they provoke a backlash. A mosque is burned to the ground. Some white youths go on a rampage through a banlieue (suburb).
Don’t react. Don’t be furious. Fear yourselves. Fear the masses – irony of ironies – the very people who stormed the Bastille and gave rise to democracy and human rights founded on universalism and enlightenment values. Treat people as suspects.
There will be no debate about why and who? Why is Islam a lightning rod for these horrors? Why are young, third generation Muslims radicalised? Why has identity-based politics come to the fore? Why France? Why now?
This is what IS desperately wants to happen, of course, because France could then be on course for a truly bloody civil conflict.
What were the murders of 84 people in Nice; the murders of Charlie Hebdo journalists; the murders of 89 freedom lovers at the Bataclan theatre; mass murder on the Rue de Charonne, Rue de la Fontaine-au-Roi and Rues Bichat and Alibert if not truly bloody?
Stand up for freedom. Don’t be scared to uphold the values France epitomises.
Vive La France!
So how did CNN illustrate the story of the Islamist maniac who murdered scores of people on Bastille Day in Nice, France? With an advert for Falken tires [sic] that grip:
Native advertising is a horror, Whoever invented it should be taken from this place and forced to live in an echo chamber.
Nice, France. Many words will be said about the barbaric horror that has left so many dead. An Islamist in a lorry mowed them down at Bastille Day celebrations along the Promenade des Anglais. The victims are being mourned by those who knew them and loved them.
Others want to wallow and retreat. Where there might be fury and outrage at the hideous actions of one Islamist in a truck, there is this:
Can we get angry that people are being slaughtered? No, said one writer in the Huffington Post, “ISIS counts on anger… to advance its cause.” We are told to conform, not to speak out and speak freely. We are only in the Safe Space if we all agree to say little and do nothing. The masses must not be heard.
What if cowardice and candles are not enough? One Washington Post writer said changing our Facebook status to feature the Tricolor could be interpreted as “an endorsement of the far right”.
What about singing the stirring anthem of France? No way. One Guardian writer tells us La Marseillaise is “not a million miles from the ISIS anthem”.
Maybe we should sing this instead:
I went to the place where every white face is an
invitation to robbery
an’ sitting here in my safe European home
I don’t wanna go back there again
– The Clash
Is it an isolated view that the West and ISIS are natural bedfellows? No. As President Barak Obama, champion of free speech and liberty told one and all:
“Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history. And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.
“In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”
Don’t get angry. Don’t fight. Get retrospective. Seek therapy. Heal thyself.
US Secretary of State John Kerry saw the murders of Charlie Hebdo staff in Paris and opined:
“There’s something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that. There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of – not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, okay, they’re really angry because of this and that.”
Hebdo staffers, those free speech extremists, were asking for it, said the gilded elite, those champions of free speech and free expression.
And when once again the nihilists struck Paris, Kerry had more to say:
“This Friday was absolutely indiscriminate. It wasn’t to aggrieve one particular sense of wrong. It was to terrorize people. It was to attack everything that we do stand for. That’s not an exaggeration. It was to assault all sense of nationhood and nation-state and rule of law and decency, dignity, and just put fear into the community and say, “Here we are.” And for what? What’s the platform? What’s the grievance? That we’re not who they are? They kill people because of who they are and they kill people because of what they believe. And it’s indiscriminate.”
Having heard a leading figure in the so-called Free West provide ISIS with a list of legitimate targets, there was the Guardian writer who told us all beneath the headline, “The Isis women’s manifesto is grotesque – but some in the west would agree with every word” that an alleged rapist employed as a footballer is like women who think a man marrying a nine-year-old girl is fine:
Ched Evans, in believing that it’s fine for him to have sex with a woman without her consent – if she is drunk and already having sex with a stranger anyway – probably has a good deal of common cause with the ideas of these women of the Islamic State.
As the bodies pile up in Nice, just as they did in Paris, the intelligent and knowing warn the thick and reactionary not to be angry that our hard-won values and freedoms are being attacked. Don’t summon the sprit of Bastille Day, and take on the bigots in the name of liberté, égalité, fraternité. All we need do is light a candle and huddle round in the dim light. This introspection serves no useful purpose other than to allow the enemy a better shot at us in the dark.
Allons, enfants de la Patrie
Le jour de gloire est arrivé!
Contre nous, de la tyrannie
L’étendard sanglant est levé
Vive La France!
The Guardian’s Hugh Muir talks of “black flight”. The teaser explains the phrase: “Black flight: how England’s suburbs are changing colour.”
What is remarkable in our national story is the extent to which thousands of… black and Asian Brits have followed that trajectory [from the city centre to the suburbs].
It isn’t the least bit remarkable, is it. The Jews moved to London’s East End because they were poor, housing there was cheap and you could get manual work in the big city. As they set up their own companies and got more money they sought more space and moved out, first along the Tube lines, then further from city. As for Jews, so too for Irish, Huguenots, Asians and, well, every immigrant group to have settled in England.
Muir says that “less talked about” than “white flight” is the “growing movement of visible minorities into the heartlands of Englishness”. What’s Englishness, then? We’re not told. But he suggests it means not being a victim, but a member the white, working-class public who voted Leave in the EU Referendum. Remainers narrate that the EU stopped the UK from being a racist country. Voting for Brexit was not a vote for self-determination, an end to independent states being trampled on, democracy, risk, change and an enlarged world view. It was a vote for bigotry, so the losers say.
In post-referendum Britain we have seen sudden waves of intolerance.
Eastern Europeans told to go home. A BBC reporter branded a “Paki” in the English town where she was born. An African-American on a bus told by fellow passengers to go back to Africa. This is distressing.
Racial abuse is abhorrent. Thankfully, the shock value to the rest of us is in the rarity of such attacks. And before we go on, what of the “surge”? The Indy reported:
Reports of hate crime have risen 57 per cent in the aftermath of the EU referendum vote, according to the National Police Chiefs’ Council. There were 85 reports of hate crimes to True Vision, a police-funded reporting website, between Thursday and Sunday compared with 54 reports over the same period four weeks ago.
True Vision was launched by the Association of Chief Police Officers in 2011. On 18 May 2011, it was announced that Gary Dobson and David Norris would face trial over the murder of Stephen Lawrence following a review of forensic evidence that the “institutionally racist” police force missed. Valuable or not, True Vision is foremost an exercise in police PR.
Mark Hamilton, Assistant Chief Constable for the National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Hate Crime, was quoted in the Indy:
“At the national level, the vast majority of people are continuing to go about their lives in safety and security and there have been no major spikes in tensions reported.
“However, we are seeing an increase in reports of hate crime incidents to True Vision, the police online hate crime reporting site. This is similar to the trends following other major national or international events. In previous instances, crime levels returned to normal relatively quickly but we are monitoring the situation closely.”
John Betjeman would have spotted it immediately, for it is via the former poet laureate and his celebrated 1973 BBC documentary Metroland that the traditional perception of the English suburbs has been formed. On a gentle jaunt, in his gentle way, he described communities stretching from Neasden in north-west London all the way to the Chiltern Hills, along the path of the Metropolitan underground line. Betjeman’s suburbia spoke of cricket pitches, golf clubs, women’s institutes and verdant farmland: a new life for indigenous Britons at arm’s length from the bustle and smoke of London.
Indigenous Britons who were living in Neasden, north-west London, in the 1970s took flight? I know Neasden well, very well. It was there and in nearby Hendon my immigrant family settled after moving from Stepney Green and Old Ford in London’s East End, and inner-city Leeds. They sold their Neasden home to an Irish family and went down The Bakerloo line (now the Jubilee Line) to Stanmore.
Muir says black flight “tells us that minorities themselves feel psychologically able to move to new areas.” No. It tells us they got enough money to buy a home with a garden and garage. It tells us also that rising housing costs and declining school quality encourage human beings to move.
Muir then adds:
One can’t be Pollyannaish about this, as alongside black flight, demographers detect an extension of white flight. Minorities move out; many white Britons move out even further. But perhaps there is a natural filtering system at play, and perhaps that’s for the best. Those who can be comfortable with a changing Britain embrace it or make the best of it. Those who can’t just pack up and leave.
Before long the only people living in London’s village will be Guardian writers basking in self-affirmation, fretting over the falling FTSE and using their London borough’s diverse population and ‘filtering system’ as a signal of their virtue – unless they’re staying at their holiday homes in Italy, France and Cornwall.