Anorak

Key Posts | Anorak - Part 6

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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.

 

san francisco spectacles hoax prank art san francisco spectacles hoax prank art san francisco spectacles hoax prank art san francisco spectacles hoax prank art san francisco spectacles hoax prank art

 

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.

 

Glastonbury Labour

 

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.

 

sourtoe cocktail

 

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

man bun ken

 

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.

 

barbie fashionistas

 

 

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.

 

Man-bun-Mattel-dolls barbie

 

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.”

 

otto wambier huffington post

 

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

Grenfell tower

 

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


After Grenfell: the rush to be the victims’ conscience

The horror at Grenfell Tower fire dominates the news. The fire shouldn’t happened. After fires at King’s Cross station and Bradford football ground took many lives, prevention became the watchword. A fire and building inspector told media “if there is a fire in any of these buildings, you’d expect it to be contained to an individual apartment. You wouldn’t expect it to spread in anything like the way, and certainly not in the time, that we’ve actually seen here.” But the level of prevention was inadequate.

The appalling scene at the 1974-built tower block in West London scars the mind. Volunteers are flocking to the site of the disaster. The stricken and bereaved are not echoes. We see them.

 

 

The faces of the dead pepper the front page like bullets holes. Most of us didn’t know them but, boy, can we feel the pain.

And it spreads. Already the newspapers are out of time. The present is fleeting. Twelve dead, says the Mirror’s cover. The figure is now 17. The newspapers try to report and make sense of the terrifying blaze. The Daily Mail produces a special edition with 21 pages, all led by the question “How the hell could it happen?” “Tragic. Horrific. Avoidable,” says the ‘i’ newspaper. The Sun has 18 pages of coverage, leading with “They were told it was safe”. “Warnings were ignored,” says the Guardian’s front page.

 

 

 

 

The papers’ questions can be distilled: who is to blame? Surely we should wait until we know the facts before naming and shaming any guilty parties, if there are any. If we trust the brave and heroic firefighters who race in as others run out, we must trust them to investigate fully. But in the void, many like to use the horror to score points. This should be avoided.

Nobel Prize winner Joseph Brodsky put it well in his 1998 address to students in Michigan:

“Of all the parts of your body, be most vigilant over your index finger, for it is blame-thirsty. A pointed finger is a victim’s logo – the opposite of the V-sign and a synonym for surrender. No matter how abominable your condition may be, try not to blame anything or anybody: history, the state, superiors, race, parents, the phase of the moon, childhood, toilet training, etc. The menu is vast and tedious, and this vastness and tedium alone should be offensive enough to set one’s intelligence against choosing from it. The moment that you place blame somewhere, you undermine your resolve to change anything; it could be argued even that that blame-thirsty finger oscillates as wildly as it does because the resolve was never great enough in the first place.”

But the rush to blame is contagious. The Tories did it. It’s part of their war on the poor. Labour did it. It’s their nannying, cod environmentalism, lack of home building and lowering of expectations. The media did it, with its assault on health and safety regulations and monstering the poor. Resist the urge to blame. Don’t rush to position yourself as the victims’ conscience. A disaster like Grenfell did not happen by chance and did not happen as the result of one mistake. It’s far more complex than that.

Brendan O’Neill notes:

If this mass burning of homes feels Dickensian, then so too does the hunt for the fat, evil, Tory-like landlord to hold responsible: that’s a Dickensian-style moralism that prefers the thrill of hating immoral individuals to the far harder task of looking at the economy and politics over the past 30 years and asking what might be done to improve both.

We don’t know all the names of the victims. But in this coming together of a community in the face of horror – a genuine community of people who live together, not individuals bunched together by ethnicity or age to further a divisive agenda – let’s take time to focus on those who have lost so much. They’re not looking to blame. They’re looking at how they can carry on. We should be circumspect. We should be kind, stoic and humane.

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


The DUP take Arlene Foster to a Gay Bar

The DUP rock the gay bar, gay bar, gay bar, gay bar (also: The YMCA and In The Navy):

 

And Arlene Foster rocks this one: It’s Raining Men!

And here’s the original, which features the DUP serenading their leader with ‘Arlene’s On Fire’:

Spotter: David Halliday

Posted: 12th, June 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Ban the DUP from Government and destroy Brexit

Much weeping and wailing over the Tory Party calling on the DUP to form a coalition government. One commentator described the DUP as the locals from The Dukes of Hazard. But ridicule is not enough. The censorious call is for a ban.

The shrill petition against the Tory-DUP deal has hit half a million signatures within 24 hour. What an intolerant, sneering, entitled mob we are. How great it is to be so into freedom, liberty and ‘being myself’ that you can ban other ideas and ‘bad’ people with abandon. The argument is settled! The science is settled! Thou shalt not dissent! No wonder Islamists feel so at home here. But you don’t need knives and bombs to destroy democracy. You just need a free online petition.

But this isn’t really about the red-neck DUP. This is about stopping Brexit. Back in 2015, the New Statesman told us the DUP were Labour’s allies in the General Election battle:

DUP could do a deal with Labour, says party’s Westminster leader – Nigel Dodds says he “can do business” with Ed Miliband and praises his responsible capitalism agenda.

George Eaton had encouraging news on how the DUP and Labour could unite to stop the Tories:

The Northern Irish party is traditionally viewed as a potential partner for the Conservatives, who considered a deal with them before the 2010 election. But when I interviewed the DUP’s Westminster leader, Nigel Dodds, he rejected this characterisation and signalled that he was open to an agreement with Labour.

“We can do business with either of the two leaders, either Ed Miliband or David Cameron, and we will obviously judge what’s in the best interests of the United Kingdom as a whole,” the North Belfast MP told me. “And obviously we’ll also be looking at it from the point of view of the constituencies that we represent in Northern Ireland as a whole. Unionism has worked in the past with Labour governments and we’ve worked in the past with Conservative governments back in the 70s. Indeed, the Ulster Unionist Party propped up the Callaghan administration. But it remains to be seen. We are certainly not in the pocket of either party and we’re certainly in a position where we’re able to negotiate with both of them.”

How ambitious were the DUP? Said Dodds: “We are not interested in a full-blown coalition government with ministerial positions and all of that.” The NS was delighted, calling the DUP’s openness “a boost for Labour”.

The Guardian said “senior Labour and Tory figures believe they will be able to work constructively with the DUP”. Labour saw the DUP as a “reliable partner”. The DUP had a “more natural affinity to Labour”. As for the DUP’s views on homosexuality – Ian Paisley, the party’s founder, once campaigned to “save Ulster from sodomy” – well, that wasn’t an issue:

Labour and the Tories are both troubled by the views of many DUP members on LGBT rights, highlighted by the resignation of the party’s health minister. But that would have no technical impact on negotiations over the formation of a UK government – LGBT matters are devolved to the Northern Ireland assembly.

Wind the clock forward and the DUP are no longer the party of Labour hope, who get on with Labour leaders “extremely well”.  They are regressive and anti-human. They are the “ultra-conservative DUP”, says the Guardian. “The DUP has vetoed the legalisation of same-sex marriage five times in Northern Ireland assembly votes. A majority of DUP members also oppose the legalisation of abortion, which is prohibited in Northern Ireland unless the mother’s life is at risk.”

The “DUP is undoubtedly bad news for the pro-choice movement in Northern Ireland”, says one New Statesman writer. The DUP’s rise to prominence will “embolden other anti-choice MPs”. Another writer tells New Statesmen readers: “Any government that includes the DUP is profoundly bad news for women.” All of them, including Arlene Foster, the DUP’s leader, because “women have the equal opportunity to be depressing misogynists too”. Or to put it another way: not all women agree with one another; they can hold their own views and exercise free will in decision making.

All abortion should be decriminalised. Birth control should be a private matter. But to call the DUP women haters is unhelpful, hyperbolic and deliberately polarising. It’s meant to be, of course. If the DUP are bad for women’s right then any Brexit contracts signed by a Tory-DUP alliance will be bad for women. Ditch the DUP and save womankind. But with no DUP there can be no easy Brexit. Better yet, there’ll be no Brexit at all.

So add your name to the online poll, and defeat the free and legal vote for Brexit, one backed by over 17m low-information, tabloid-duped people between 7am and 10pm on a June day last year. Do it for the many, not the few.

PS: This dicing up of the electorate into gender, race and age is hideous. We don’t vote with our skin, genitals or student ID. We vote with our heads, hearts and wallets. The narrative that says Labour is the party of youth overlooks the number of younger voters who voted Tory and the older voters who were unnerved by the so-called dementia tax and turned away from Theresa May. It also ignores how fluid voting has become. UKIP’s collapse was down to its voters turning to Labour and the Conservatives. Fudge Brexit and UKIP may yet rise again. A return to ‘safe and secure’ two-party politics is far from guaranteed.

 

Posted: 10th, June 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Piers Morgan’s election breakdown: life moves pretty fast for Corbyn bashers and Trump cheerladers

How was election night for GMTV host and Big Media big beast Piers Morgan?

 

Piers Morgan election predictions fail 2017

 

 

Piers Morgan election predictions fail 2017

 

This is what Big Media had to day about Jeremy Corbyn:

Mrs May isn’t just kicking Corbyn when he’s down, she’s dug his political grave, prepared the coffin, set the date for the funeral service and invited us all to attend his career death.

Who said that? Yep, Piers Morgan in the little-known Daily Mail. He has a “doubt many people have a clue what Corbyn truly thinks or believes”.

 

 piers morgan daily mail corbyn

And what of Corbyn being the UK’s Donald Trump? Well, ITV, on which you can watch GMTV, reviewed his Corbyn interview with Morgan thus:

corbyn trump piers morgan

Curse that “vicious media”.

Spotter: Tom Jamieson

 

Posted: 9th, June 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


After London Bridge: we’ve had ‘Enough is Enough’ of Jeremy Corbyn (paper review)

The London Bridge and Borough Market terror attacks – how do the tabloids cover the massacre? All share the same news of heroic deeds, horrific injuries and barbarity. But their different treatment of Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn is notable. Which of the political leaders do you trust to keep us safe?

 

the star london bridge

 

Daily Star (front page): “HEROES”

The paper focuses first not on the Islamist extremists who murdered people, rather on the people who helped defeat them and help the injured. We meet Gerard Vowles and Geoff Ho.

Page 2 – 3: “HUNTING FOR VICTIMS”. Now we get to the killers, who wielded foot-long hunting knives and used a truck to slaughter people. And then to the heroes once more.

GEEZER: Gerard Vowles, a proper Londoner who makes us proud. He went to help a woman being set upon by the murderers. He “pelted the killers with pint glasses, bottles and chairs”.

GEEZER: A woman “wedged herself in a restaurant door to stop the gang bursting in and attacking diners”. We do not know her name. But she held things up long enough for 20 people to escape.

GEEZER: A cabbie tried to run down the killers with his taxi. (More on him later.)

GEEZER: A copper took on all three killers. He was armed with a baton. He was stabbed many times. He survived.

GEEZER: Geoff Ho is a journalist for the Sunday Express. He was stabbed in the neck trying to help a doorman under attack. He tweeted: “Don’t know whether it was stupid or noble to jump in and break up the fight outside the  Southwark Tavern, but two a*******s trying to do over a lone bouncer on the door isn’t happening on my watch.”

(It’s great that the Star is unable to repeat the word “arseholes” but finds no issue carrying adverts for “Proper Filthy Girls” and an invitation to phone in and “Listen to Mother & Daughter” aural sex. Apparently, incest is ok but arseholes are taboo.)

The paper produces grainy photos of the killers waking through Borough Market. We also see one of them dead on the floor, killed by a policeman. The copper’s a geezer, too, as are all the police who raced to help.

Pages 4-5: “Dozens held in Armed Swoops”

Police raided a block of flats in Barking, where one of the killers reportedly lived. He was, says a neighbour, a “nice guy” who “rewarded favours with curry”. Says Mohammed, a neighbour who had jump-started the soon-to-be killer’s car: “I told him to forget about giving me money. The next day he turned up with a lovely chicken biryani that we all enjoyed.” The killer was also seen wearing an Arsenal shirt – the one he was wearing when he murdered so many. “I couldn’t believe it. I had seen him in that shirt at 5pm that evening,” says another neighbour.

Another adds: “He approached me yesterday and asked me where I hired a van recently. He said he was going to move house… He was being nicer than normal… He was always nice, but yesterday he was an entirely different level of niceness.”

Evil is banal.

Page 6- 7: “MAY: THIS IS WAR – PM vows to crush Islam extremist.” May is “defiant”. But Jeremy Corbyn did a”U-turn”, changing his “long-held  opinion that he was not ‘happy’ with the police’s shoot-to-kill policy.”

Page 21: The horror occupies readers’ minds. They text in their views (click the image to enlarge):

 

 

Daily Express (front page): ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”:

The paper echoes the words Theresa May used to condemn the slaughter.

Page 2-3: “Jihadis walked around like outlaws at the OK Corral.” Sticking with the idea of this being the wild West, the paper issues a phone poll. The question runs: “Is now the time to round up suspects?”

The paper reminds us that the killers wore dummy suicide vests. They yelled, “This is for Allah.” The paper’s editor tells readers of the woman on London Bridge pleading with her stabbed partner: “Stay with me please, I love you. Come on, please. Don’t let those fuckers get away with it.” He says Donald Trump is right to ridicule our politicians for being “politically correct in our reaction to these outrages”.  And “Theresa May is right when she says Enough is Enough.”

Page 3: “Marksmen threaten to shoot a fleeing suspect in pyjamas.” To West Ham, where an eyewitness tells us about a police raid: “Then a young black man, barefoot and in pyjamas came out of the window. They were shouting ‘We will shoot you if you don’t go back in… the police officer was ready to shoot.”

Page 4: “We fought toff jihadis with bottles and hid in cellars and cupboards.”

We hear from Mark Stembridge, owner of Cafe Brood: “Three Asian guys came down the steps after crashing the van. I saw them with the knives. They each had a knife in their hands. They were about 10-12 inches long. The staff reacted very quickly. We had about 130 customers and 15 staff working. We all got inside but we don’t have doors only shutters. The staff protected all the customers and the three guys just hesitated and then they went off.”

Page 4: Elizabeth O’Neill’s son, Daniel O’Neill, was stabbed. The killers told him: “This is for my family, this is for Islam.” Mrs O’Neill calls her son’s attackers “cowards”. She is remarkably restrained. They wanted to kill him.

Page 6: More from the cabbie who tried to run down one of the killers. He had a fare in the back when he saw their rented van crash on London Bridge. “I said I am going to try and hit him, knock him over, so I spun the cab round and was about to ram one of them, but he side-stepped and three police officers came running towards them with batons drawn.” The cabbie told everyone to run. Student nurse Rhiannon Owen is grateful. “I’ve been trying to find the driver all day on social media. I owe him my life.”

Black Cab drivers, eh, salt of the earth. One part of Chris’s – that’s all we know of him – testimony makes me smile: “I saw the van went between one of the traffic light systems. There is an area called Nancy Steps, famous for the film Oliver!.” You don’t get that in an Uber. Chris is a top geezer.

 

Theresa May terror speech express

 

And now we get to Jeremy Corbyn. We read that one of his “leading supporters” has “described Islamic terrorists as ‘freedom fighters'”. It’s Barbara Ntumy  – pronounced numpty? – who reportedly tweeted in July 2014: “One mans jihadist / terrorist is another mans freedom fighter #JustSaying.” She is quoted: “I absolutely 100 per cent condemn terrorism.” Is it fair to drag up an old tweet now? Isn’t Corbyn enough?

On Page 9, we hear of “Nauseating” Jeremy Corbyn, a man who “in the recent past has called Islamic terrorist groups and the IRA ‘friends’ and opposed every piece of anti-terror legislation”. Security Minister Ben Wallace says: “Voters will judge him [Corbyn] on his views and actions in the last 30 years, not his desperate promises and evasive soundbites three days from polling day.” Is Corbyn tough on crime and terror? Express readers get to read Theresa May’s statement in full. They do not hear Corbyn’s.

 

the mirror london bridge

 

 

Daily Mirror (front page): “MONSTERS”

The word dehumanises them. The killers were men.

Page 2 -3: “FACING DOWN EVIL”. We meet the “revellers fighting back against the attackers”. The paper mention religion once in its lead story. It does so when quoting Theresa May, who stated that she would fight the “evil ideology of Islamist extremism”.

Page 4-5: We hear more of the woman begging her partner to hang on. It’s heartbreaking. We do not know if Peter survived. To consider one story up close brings the pain to the fore. The numbers of dead and injured we read and consider as facts. Peter and his lover are intensely human. It’s unbearable.

Page 6-7: “TOWER OF TERROR.”

Police raided the Elizabeth Fry tower in Barking, East London. In all, they made 12 arrests. Chris Hughes, the paper’s defence editor, praises police and MI5. They have “smashed… more than a dozen major plots” cooked up by “Islamist terrorism since 9/11”. MI5 operates with a “professionalism” other intelligence agencies “can only dream of”.

Page 8-9: “People hurled tables, chairs and glasses at then..they weren’t going to stand back.”

Page 10-11: “I looked into his eyes and thought he was going to pull the pin & blow us up.”

 

Theresa May terror speech mirror

 

Page 14-15: Only now does the paper turn to politics. We see Theresa May declaring “Enough’s enough.” We get it. The words chime. The paper picks out another of her lines: “Terrorism breeds terrorism…they are copying one another.” And then we get to Jeremy Corbyn. He looks smaller than May. His line runs: “Our police, nurses, firefighters deserve a pay rise. They can’t get by on her warm words.” Get that? In talking of terror and the fight against it, the Mirror backs Corbyn to get better rates for public sector workers. If the voters decide terrorism is the key issue, Corbyn’ scuppered. The Mirror is realistic. Corbyn being tough on terror does not resonate.

Page 16-17: “PM: Net giants give hate ‘safe space to breed.” May is no champion of free speech. To paraphrase Douglas Adams, the killers most likely used phones, roads and drank tea as they plotted. Why not clamp down on those things, too? The Mirror does not condemn Mays illiberalism. It finds an echo in the shape of the no less authoritarian Yvette Cooper. The paper affords the Labour MP and ex-shadow home secretary a platform to say the big web companies must do mote to stamp out “extremist recruitment online”. If Cooper is worth a listen, then why not the current shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott? Is she hard on terror? Is she in hiding until after the election? Is Cooper the future of Labour? If she is, then blimey, they really are shafted.

Pages 18-19: “Richard Angell says the terrorists will not win. More on him here.

Page 20-21: “GIVE MORE COPS GUNS”

Is that a good idea?

 

the mail london bridge

 

Daily Mail (Front page): “Bloody day all of Britain said: Enough is enough.” The message is clear: Theresa May speaks for us all.

Page 2-3: The Mail says at least one of the killers was known to the security services. We’re told he’s the Watford-born man wearing the Arsenal shirt. We’re told of claims he “became radicalised by watching extremist videos on YouTube”.  Funny how it goes that way around: you watch the video then become a killer. Might it be that he liked Islamic extremism and any videos just entertained him? If we present the killers as empty vessels to be easily moulded by a video, we remove some of their own free will from the crime. We move closer to making them victims. And – boy – do Islamists like to be victims.

Page 4-5: More photos of the carnage. Pictures of the dead and injured. Who needs YouTube? If looking can turn you into a killer, should we look at the papers?

Page 6-15:  More and more photos of the injured; more stories of heroism, defiance and bravery – “The fucker stabbed me in the neck,” says Candice Hedge (the Mail says “f*****s” ; dead bodies are ok in the Mail but swearing might influence impressionable minds).

Page 16-17: “MAY: CURB THE HATE ON WEB.”

Page 18: “Hours after latest horror, IS terror guides sill online.”

 

 

Page 19: Richard Littlejohn – “I’m sick of politicians pussy footing around. As they won’t says it, I will – we ARE at war.” He asks if the nation can take Jeremy Corbyn seriously on matters of national security. Hold your tongue. The question is rhetorical. The answer is coming thick and thicker.

Page 20: “There country is not reeling – but nor are we appeasers of terror like Corbyn,” says Dominic Lawson.

Page 21: “Corbyn’s 30 Years of Talking to Terrorists.”

 

 

The Sun (front page): “JIHADI KILLER IS AN ARSENAL SHIRT.”

Football. The Sun has done it and made football a key part of the story. (Add it to the list of unwelcome endorsements.) We learn that the killer in the old Arsenal top was called ‘Abz’.

Page 2-3: “8 Cops. 50 Shots. 3 Losers burning in Hell.” Is Donald Trump writing the Sun’s headlines?

Pages 4-5: “A girl burst in, her neck spurting blood, and grabbed me.”

Page 6-7: “4 Women Among 12 Arrested.” To which the response is: so? Or: How many Spurs fans?

Page 8-9: “We Stopped Them – Bouncer lobs seats at 3 killers. Leads fiends to be shot by police.” Ozzy the doorman is a geezer. “I realised I had to do something,” he says. “… Me and another guy started launching bar stools, bottles and glasses at them… They ran through the barrage and we deflected them and they literally ran  straight into the cops who shot them.” Says Ozzy’s mate: “Ozzy’s an absolute hero.”

Page 10-15: More tales of courage, heartache and horror.

Page 16-17: “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.”

May’s soundbite might just produce the predicted Tory landslide. Corbyn is once more attacked over his ‘U-turn’.

Page 18: “Corbyn is a real threat to security”, says Trevor Kavanagh. The Sun says a vote for May is a vote to “make Britain safer”.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 5th, June 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


After London Bridge and Manchester: Douglas Adams was right about the internet

After London Bridge, the news is that there will be crackdown on the internet. Freedom of speech must be curtailed. Encryption must be done away with.

Author Douglas Adams go it. In 1999 he wrote:

 

Douglas Adam London terror

 

“I don’t think anybody would argue now that the Internet isn’t becoming a major factor in our lives. However, it’s very new to us. Newsreaders still feel it is worth a special and rather worrying mention if, for instance, a crime was planned by people ‘over the Internet’. They don’t bother to mention when criminals use the telephone or the M4, or discuss their dastardly plans ‘over a cup of tea’, though each of these was new and controversial in their day.”

Agreed.

 

Posted: 4th, June 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Reviews, Technology | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Katie Hopkins: sacked LBC DJ is Twitter’s Candyman

LBC and Katie Hopkins have agreed that Katie will leave LBC effective immediately.” writes @Lbc over on Twitter.  Thank fuck for that!  Source: Twitter/@LBC

 

LBC and Katie Hopkins have agreed that Katie will leave LBC effective immediately.” writes @Lbc over on Twitter.

Rejoice!

No. The sensible move was to ignore her. It’s the ratings game. If you don’t like her, don’t mention her. Do the reverse Candyman.

For those of you missed the tweet but got the fallout, Katie Hopkins tweeted in response to TV presenter Phillip Schofield, petitioning him to be strong in the face of terror.  She tweeted: “Do not be a part of the problem. We need a final solution.”

Yeah, that bad. She knew what she was doing. She knew it would antagonise. She hoped it would place her at the centre of the conversation over the heinous attack in Manchester. Revolting stuff from the tabloid’s to-deadline controversialist. And then Twitter erupted with outrage and demands for her sacking. A woman with all the relevance of a loon shouting at the pigeons in the precinct became important.

Tom Slater finds a reason for it. It’s not her. It’s us:

Why have some of those born and raised among us – as Abedi was – grown to hate us? Why, among a minority of Muslim youth, is this nihilism brewing? And what might we have done to foster it, to cultivate it? These are questions they’d rather not answer. To do so would be to inflame, in their minds, the only hate they really care about – the hate of lumpen plebs, the sort of people they imagine lap up Katie Hopkins’ every tweet.

Hopkins tried to make Manchester all about her. But through the response it generated, it told us more about the mainstream, about the cowards who tell us to treat Islamist terror like a natural disaster, a time only for sympathy and thanking the emergency services; the cowards who would rather shriek at cretinous columnists than reckon with the real hatred in our midst; the cowards who seem to get more exercised by tweets than bombs.

I don’t think the tweeters are cowards. I think it’s a question of impotence: Katie Hopkins you can get; the West’s navel-gazing you can’t.

Spotter: Twitter/@LBC

Posted: 26th, May 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, TV & Radio | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


After Manchester: Salman Abedi and the stupidity of anti-marijuana campaigns

Salman Abedi murdered 22 people at a pop concert because… he smoked marijuana. Rather than leading to long spells sat on the sofa watching daytime telly, weed turns you into someone who massacres families at an Ariana Grade concert in Manchester.

 

daily mail Salman Abdei marijuana drugs

 

Well, maybe it does.

Dr Max Pemberton asks, “Is marijuana a factor in jihadi murders?” The Mail adds portraits of all the losers who murdered so many people in Tunisia, London, Nice, Orlando and Paris. All adhered to radical Islam. All saw the West as their enemy and murder as a duty. But Pemberton wonders if cannabis might be to blame.

If you want a meaningful debate on drugs, it might be better to turn the question around: why are so many attracted to smoking it?

The Mail’s poser is an agenda-driven, to-deadline question perched atop a weak argument. The idea that weed was a factor – that getting wasted made it “easier to disregard the welfare of others” and butcher them –  absolves individual terrorists of responsibility for their actions. It wasn’t me. It was the weed.

So we can answer the Mail’s question very simple. It’s ‘no’. They don’t get off that easily.

After Manchester: worst of all Salman Abedi was a sexist

Posted: 26th, May 2017 | In: Key Posts, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


After Manchester: worst of all Salman Abedi was a sexist

Salman Abedi

SEXIST!

 

So far the attack on Manchester in which saw 22 people were murdered at a pop concert by Salman Abedi has been used to illustrate racial harmonyinsult footballers, lambaste apathyfind missing children in Australia and spot fake news. Joanna Williams has a great look at how the horror is being used to insult men.

Just hours after the attack, feminist writer and speaker Jaclyn Friedman tweeted: ‘Here is what the coverage will not say: targeting an Ariana Grande concert is targeting young women. This is a violent act of misogyny.’ …

The argument that the bombing was ‘a massive act of gender-based violence’ has continued. The headline of one article, ‘The bombing at a Manchester Ariana Grande show was an attack on girls and women’, is as simplistic as it is inaccurate. Most obviously, it overlooks the fact that men died in the attack too – fathers, brothers and boyfriends attending the concert or waiting to take people home. The author goes on to explain how ‘Grande has advanced a renegade, self-reflexive sexuality that’s threatening to the established heteropatriarchal order’. Rubbish. Grande’s Nickelodeon cuteness combines bunny ears with pink balloons. She’s loved by teen girls because her sexuality is safe and fun and threatens no one.

And it keeps coming.

“It’s not Muslims or people with mental-health problems who are most likely to kill you in a terrorist attack – it’s men’” –Independent.

Why Manchester Bomber Targeted Girls – Rolling Stone.

During Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman tour, Abedi gave the world a sick reminder of the dangers of being a woman in public in 2017, attacking largely female concertgoers for doing nothing but enjoying themselves while listening to music.

These girls and women weren’t just listening to any music, either – this was feminist music.

Williams nails it: “In presenting terrorism as part of a broader gender war, feminism ultimately reduces mass murder to just another example of everyday sexism.”

Posted: 25th, May 2017 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Epic fail: Sikh Muslim Manchester cab driver illustrates the dire state of journalism in three tweets

Read and weep as journalism takes on the Manchester terror story and fails epically:

 

muslim sikh driver Manchester cab taxi fail

 

 

muslim sikh driver Manchester cab taxi fail

 

 

muslim sikh driver Manchester cab taxi fail

Posted: 24th, May 2017 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Manchester, Morrissey and an emotionless suicide

Manchester native Morrissey has shared his view on the slaughter in his home city. Twenty-two people went to a pop concert and didn’t come home. Many more are very badly injured. All around us we are told not to hate, to watch our words and police our thoughts. But if we can’t rage when our children are murdered, when can we get angry? If we can’t howl and surge with anger’s raw energy, we might as well give up. Are you outraged that innocent children excitedly leaving a fun concert were slaughtered? You are. I can tell. You’re breathing.

 

 

Morrissey speaks for many when he writes on Facebook:

Celebrating my birthday in Manchester as news of the Manchester Arena bomb broke. The anger is monumental.

For what reason will this ever stop?

Theresa May says such attacks “will not break us”, but her own life is lived in a bullet-proof bubble, and she evidently does not need to identify any young people today in Manchester morgues. Also, “will not break us” means that the tragedy will not break her, or her policies on immigration. The young people of Manchester are already broken – thanks all the same, Theresa. Sadiq Khan says “London is united with Manchester”, but he does not condemn Islamic State – who have claimed responsibility for the bomb. The Queen receives absurd praise for her ‘strong words’ against the attack, yet she does not cancel today’s garden party at Buckingham Palace – for which no criticism is allowed in the Britain of free press. Manchester mayor Andy Burnham says the attack is the work of an “extremist”. An extreme what? An extreme rabbit?

In modern Britain everyone seems petrified to officially say what we all say in private. Politicians tell us they are unafraid, but they are never the victims. How easy to be unafraid when one is protected from the line of fire. The people have no such protections.
Morrissey
23 May 2017.

Agree. Agree?

The Guardian does not agree. It calls Morrissey “controversial”. The best poetry and music from Manchester often is. The Guardian has previously praised Morrissey for his “barbed repartee” that made watching his shows one of the paper’s top things to do over Christmas. Bring the family. Morrissey is right-on.

But today Morrissey is on the wrong side. Calling him controversial is not meant as a compliment. His words have offended. The paper unpacks his open letter to prove it false. The Guardian says MPs are not safe. Morrissey is wrong. We read: “The MP Jo Cox was murdered by a rightwing extremist last June.” The murder of Jo Cox, a respected and committed MP engaging with the people she represented, was abhorrent. But is it right to use her death to stymie debate and free speech?

 

jo cox brexit mirror

 

Jo Cox was murdered by a depraved killer, whose motives were swiftly co-opted to further the Remain side of the Brexit debate (Jo Cox was for staying in the EU; her killer was against everything she stood for). The message was clear: a vote for Brexit was to align yourself with a maniac. A vote for Brexit was to show a cruel disrespect to the memory of Jo Cox.

Writing in the Remain-campaigning Guardian, Polly Tonybee laid it on thick. Beneath the headline “The mood is ugly”, she wrote:

This attack on a public official cannot be viewed in isolation…

It’s been part of a noxious brew, with a dangerous anti-politics and anti-MP stereotypes fomented by leave and their media backers mixed in…

Rude, crude, Nazi-style extremism is mercifully rare. But the leavers have lifted several stones.

So much for debate. Leave voters were insects.

Moving on from Jo Cox – and letting her rest in peace until they need her to endorse another cause – the Guardian continues to study Morrissey:

Morrissey cited government immigration policy among his complaints saying the prime minister would never change her immigration policy in the light of the attacks. It is believed that the bomber named by police, Salman Abedi, was British-born and from Manchester.

The coward’s parents – it is to be believed – are from Libya. Is that relevant? Surely it’s worth mentioning. Or is the conversation now – and I’ll borrow from Tonybee’s lexicon of enlightenment – so “noxious” that to talk of immigration, to even mention the word, cloaks the speaker’s argument in a black shirt? That question is to everyone –  not just sub-human pests who creep and crawl.

The paper also says:

He also appeared to suggest that a desire to adhere to “political correctness” was behind politicians’ unwillingness to specify that the attack was the work of an Islamist extremist, rather than simply an extremist. The same claim is often made by people on the far-right.

Talk of immigration and you’re a neo-Nazi. You’re a race riot in waiting. So shut up. Go on Twitter and state how the perverted actions of people who destroy children at a pop concert will not bow us and change our liberal, diverse and raucous way of life. But hold your tongue. Free speech is only worth championing if you agree on what is right and proper conversation. Get an official T-shirt. Light a torch. Be in agreement. Keep in step. Stick to the party line. Don’t be a Nazi. The irony is sharp.

One music site manages to go a step further and link everything “stupid” Morrissey said to – yep – Brexit:

Morrissey has had a long history of saying more-than-questionable things about immigration in Britain, and last year called the Brexit decision “magnificent.”

It was. Brexit was a triumph of democracy. It wasn’t a victory for Nigel Farage’s narrow views, monoculture and racism. The collapsing UKIP vote tells us that. Brexit was when the ignored, abused, patronised, without, forgotten and belittled took their chance to vote for change. And if you don’t like it, you can vote for the LibDems in June’s General Election and ensure that the party now operating as a focus group gets into power and holds another referendum. In a free country, you get a free vote. (If you vote LibDem you can keep voting until you give them the ‘right’ answer.)

You can question. You can debate. And just as you can challenge the orthodoxy on the EU, pick the clothes you wear, who you fancy, what music you listen to and sing along to Ariana Grande as she makes your heart throb – and there she is live on stage before your very eyes, the singer you’ve duetted with in the car on the way to school – you are also free to look at the dead children’s faces on the telly and in the newspapers, feel your eyes moisten and your throat tighten as you consider their stories, the horror of their deaths and the hollowed out lives of their loved ones robbed of the most precious of all things; you can consider the people raped of so much joy, light and life; and wonder why it happened and what can be done to end it. And if you value freedom, and consider humanity robust and truth-seeking, you can wonder aloud. To do anything less is to live in fear.

 

Posted: 24th, May 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Manchester terror fake news: Daily Express and Daily Star spot a gunman in Oldham

Many are dead in the attack on a pop concert in Manchester. What say the reputable news sources?

The Daily Express has news:

 

Daily Express fake news gunman Manchester

 

The Express’s sister publication, the Daily Star, echoed the chilling news that a second armed man was at large in Manchester. He was outside Oldham hospital waiting to strike.

And then, having spread a fake news story, the Express realised it was utter balls. Having garnered clicks from tragedy, the paper updated its earlier fake news report.

 

 

Wily stuff to make it look as though those reports were based on anything factual. The “Town Council deny”, rather than the paper “admits”.

The Express’s scoop appears to have been based on a single Facebook comment.

 

 

The paper notes:

Laura Bailey-Wood wrote on Facebook: “DO NOT COME to Oldham Hospital I’m currently inside… Man outside with GUN.”

Oldham Council wrote on Twitter: “We have no information to this effect at all. Please only trust or share official sources of information.”

Over in the Star, the fake news is no less opportunistic. The paper’s story has now been changed to read:

 

 

But the paper’s earlier URL still suggests an armed man was at Oldham hospital. Humans get the update but those news bots keep the scoop high on the search engines. The URL contains no word on fakery.

http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/616507/manchester-men-arena-explosion-Oldham-hospital-closed-gun-armed-man-ariana-grande

The rewrite in an  exercise is bad journalism. The headline is changed but the paper’s teaser still trills:

OLDHAM hospital was placed on lockdown after a terror attack in Manchester – sparking fears a gunman was on the loose.

 

 

Jamie Micklethwaite writes:

Oldham Hospital stopped admitting new patients after it was overwhelmed by casualities [sic] from the blast. The lockdown sent Twitter into panic – with many people reporting gunshots had been heard there.

Twitter into panic – and also Daily Star readers, no doubt. In the panic to get the story rehashed, the paper spots lots of “casualities”, whatever they are. Still, nice shot of Ariana Grande’s cleavage. Twenty-two people never made it home from a pop concert, but it’s all about clicks, right. So go for it. Phwaor!

Micklethwaite continues:

Rumours a gunman was on the loose quickly spread.

See Daily Express and Daily Star.

An Oldham Royal Hospital source confirmed they had been placed on lockdown – but due to the explosions at the MEN.

No gunman was at large.

The gunman was an imaginary figure – but he remains very real to anyone who gets their news from the Daily Express and Daily Star.

 

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


Arsenal balls: Wenger’s hubris gets just rewards

One day we will know what happened in December 2016 that destroyed Arsenal’s chances of winning the Premier League. Having failed to qualify for the Champions’ League for the first time in 20 years (during which Arsenal have been champions just three times; a fact that tells you a lot about that inflated competition’s credentials), the team’s manager, Arsene Wenger, tells talkSport:

“We were a force this year until December, fighting for the championship [but] after we dropped off. I will say one day the real reason behind that…”

Was it something to do with the death of Indian economist Sulabha Brahme, 84, who passed away on December 1? Did that bring Mesut Ozil to a standstill? What about the murder of Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, who was shot dead on December 19? Did that put lead in Francis Coquelin’s boots? Or did it all go wrong when Toyah returned to Coronation Street?

Or was it something to do with losing matches? In December Arsenal lost 2-1 to Everton and 2-1 to Manchester City in back-to-back away defeats. The Everton game was very close, with Arsenal having shots twice saved off the line in the game’s dying moments; and in the Manchester City match they were hard done by when the referee allowed two goals that could both have been ruled out for offside – City’s second was egregious. But in each match Arsenal only scored one goal. Not enough.

Maybe something else happened – something extraordinary and uniquely damaging? Wenger’s pretty good at saying one day he will reveal all. On buying Danny Welbeck in 2014, he said: “I will tell you that story one day.” Why so mysterious? Is it hubris, gnostic or self-serving balls?

And what about what else Wenger told us today? He added:

“I believe since January we have played in a very difficult environment for different reasons.

“Some you know about and that’s very difficult for a group of players to cope with that – and some other reasons we will talk about on another day.”

Tell us now. Go on.

“Psychologically the atmosphere was absolutely horrendous. It has been difficult, yes, and certainly my personal situation has contributed to that but you can never question my professionalism or commitment.”

What happened was that after 19 matches of a 38-game Premier League season, Arsenal were nine points behind leader’s Chelsea. After 38 matches, they are 18 points behind Chelsea, the champions. Arsenal never were in contention.  As Roy Keane put it when Arsenal were annihilated by Bayern Munich in the Champions’ League, “Well, what did you expect?”

We expected Arsenal to be league also-rans and enjoy a good FA Cup run playing bouts of incisive football punctuated by moments of abject, laughable ineptitude. It wasn’t a season of disappointment for Gunners’ fans. It was season of complete predictability. Wenger will tell us all abut it one day – and that nine seasons of the same that preceded it.

Posted: 21st, May 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Transfer balls: James Rodriguez to Manchester United is a dead cert – place your bets!

Transfer Balls: Is James Rodriguez on his way to Manchester United? Is the player not good enough to start for Real Madrid for more than two matches in a row good enough for Manchester United?

On May 16, the Daily Mail said a deal has been agreed. “James Rodriguez ‘agrees’ Manchester United transfer,” said the paper.

Why the Mail saw a need to couch the agreement in inverted commas is odd because the story begins with a statement of fact: “James Rodriguez’s summer move to Manchester United will be confirmed following the Champions League final next month.”

In a second story, this time about Real Madrid replacing Rodriguez with Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, the Mail confirmed the news: “The 25-year-old Madrid signed for £60million in 2014, and who is represented by Jose Mourinho’s agent Jorge Mendes, had agreed terms with Manchester United.”

And then the facts got a little murky. Sky Sports reported on May 15:

“European Paper Talk: Has James Rodriguez played his last game for Real Madrid?”

Dunno. Because Marca then told its readers on May 18:

“After missing the match against Celta, James Rodriguez has recovered from his ankle injury and will be available for Real Madrid’s last LaLiga game against Malaga on Sunday.”

And then in two stories dated May 16 Sky mused:

“European Paper Talk: Real Madrid set James Rodriguez asking price”

“Real Madrid midfielder James Rodriguez offered to Man Utd”

Offered to United? But the deal has been agreed. Or as the Indy puts it:

“Under Zinedine Zidane this season, Rodriguez has not once played more than two consecutive games for Real and United are, quite frankly, not interested in the 25-year-old…”

Football 365 picked up the scent of the betting companies feeding off the rumours.

There is no issue with those headlines, and Sky Sports were hardly alone in running them, but when partner Sky Bet then offers odds on James Rodriguez joining Manchester United, it’s not hard to see how those headlines might persuade the public to part with their money.

 

James Rodgriguez Sky Manchester united

 

Is it news of is it PR for the betting industry?

Says 365:

Fast forward further and most reports on Wednesday morning now say that Rodriguez is not close to a move to Manchester United, that no offer is being made by United and that claims he has agreed personal terms are false. And lo and behold, Sky Bet have opened up their market again to take bets on where Rodriguez ends up next.

Indeed, in a story updated after 6pm on May 18, Sky reports that there are odds on Rodriguez joining Manchester United. Betting is no longer suspended on what has been presented as a dead cert. Quick – get your money on it while you can!

James Rodgriguez Sky Manchester united

 

James Rodgriguez Sky Manchester united

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 19th, May 2017 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0