Anorak

Key Posts | Anorak - Part 8

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Censors, babies and fools burn Milo Yiannopoulos out of Berkeley

‘Out of Berkeley Nazi Scum,’ demands a placard held high at University of California Berkeley. Intolerance will not be tolerated! So goes the protests against to deadline polemicist Milo Yiannopoulos, who having been banned from the virtual world – Twitter suspended his account – is now branded too outrageous for the Berkeley brains’ trust to cope with.

 

free speech milo

 

The screeching, fires, placards and – irony of ironies – calling out people as ‘fascists’ as you smash windows and light fires by the college bookstore worked. Fascists, eh. If you want to call out a fascist, copy their methods and become one of them. The college that once championed free speech, where students campaigned for the right to hear from Communists and agitators buckled. Trump supporter and Breitbart news mainstay Milo Yiannopoulos had his appearance cancelled. The censorious, violent, angry prudes won the right to stymie and curtail free speech.

 

free speech

Wrong

 

On CNN the post-truth, fact-free news mandarins got wind of the story. UC Berkeley professor and former Democratic Secretary of Labor Robert Reich suggested Trump and his fans were behind the protests.

“I was there for part of last night, and I know what I saw and those people were not Berkeley students. Those people were outside agitators. I have never seen them before.”

“There’s rumors that they actually were right-wingers. They were a part of a kind of group that was organized and ready to create the kind of tumult and danger you saw that forced the police to cancel the event. So Donald Trump, when he says Berkeley doesn’t respect free speech rights, that’s a complete distortion of the truth…. I saw these people. They all looked very– almost paramilitary. They were not from the campus. I don’t want to say factually, but I’ve heard there was some relationship here between these people and the right-wing movement that is affiliated with Breitbart News.”

You want facts? No need when you have feelings.

If you don’t think free speech is worth protecting, you are not for progress. You cannot counter ideas and foment new thinking without free speech, the sound of free thought.

 

Posted: 4th, February 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Seb Dance says don’t trust politicians and the media – and Nigel Farage agrees

seb-dance-lying

 

There are so many things about President Trump to be concerned about. His illiberalism. His attitude to free speech – he’s against it. His cruel and arbitrary ban on people visiting the US from seven counties. But dismissing his supporters, people who want freer lives, more money, better job security, jobs, opportunity and recognition as thick, ‘low-information’ fascists is not in the least bit helpful.

This disdain for the concerns of 62 million voters who backed Tump over Hillary Clinton – the patrician who wanted a “barrier” between the US and Mexico, who called vast numbers of voters ‘deplorables”, untermensch to be despised by the knowing and – irony of ironies – who know fascism when they see it, and has caused so much suffering in majority-Muslim counties – is contagious. And what goes for Trump’s supporters goes too for the majority who embraced democracy and voted in favour of Brexit. Writing in the Guardian, Labour MEP Seb Dance has much to say.

Earlier this week, while UKip MEP Nigel Farage was addressing the European Union chamber, Dance held up a sign. It featured an arrow aimed at Farage and the message ‘He’s lying to you’. Phew! Good job that Seb Dance was there to tell us thickos what was untrue.

On his website, Sebastian says why he did it:

“Mainstream politics must be more willing to challenge the nationalists and the populists. They pretend to stand up for people who are suffering but their diet of hate, division and suspicion create only misery and poverty. It’s time to stop the nuanced language: They’re liars.

“Nigel Farage is regularly treated to free coverage by virtue of being leader of the EFDD [UKIP’s European Parliamentary group] and UKIP often use these clips in isolation on social media. When debates are time-limited it is impossible to challenge what he’s saying, so I protested in the only way I knew how at that point, which was to grab a piece of paper, write a very simple message on it and sit behind Nigel Farage during his usual diatribe.”

The New Statesman calls Dance ‘the best MEP ever’.

The FT says:

The motive was a smart piece of sabotage, aimed at making it more difficult for UKIP’s former leader to go viral.

And so to Dance, who tells Guardian readers:

On 23 June 2016 the UK voted to leave the European Union. On 8 November 2016 Donald Trump won the US general election. Both events were seismic, in and of themselves, but it has been the reaction to them that is the most extraordinary part of the story so far.

No, not people in the streets shouting down debate with cries of ‘Hitler’ and fascists, nor MPs decrying democracy.

From having been the rebel outsider positions in their respective countries, both have now risen to a new kind of status that leads online Twitter eggs gleefully to announce the end of liberal democracy and welcome the impending arrival of a new world order.

Democracy won. Both results were established in a free and legal vote. I’m no Trump supporters, and was delighted when Farage failed to win a seat at the last General Election, but the millions who voted for Trump and Brexit are not all twitter eggs. The voters are not passive no-marks. They mobilised for change.

Dance then tells readers:

There were many fine and erudite contributions before Farage spoke. The values this place represents do instil a real sense of pride. But some of the comments focused on the need to have a constructive dialogue with Trump, as if he would somehow listen to reasoned and impassioned pleas from MEPs, an organisation he has repeatedly indicated he would want to be destroyed.

MEPs are not an organisation. They are representatives. Dance’s note positions him as the politician who knows politicians cannot be trusted. A placard held up for the cameras apes the protestors who want to make their voices heard but have no arena save for the street in which to do so. Dance is elected to speak on their behalf. He is not passive. He is active. He’s not one of ‘us’, He’s one of ‘them’. Disparaging politicians and their motives puts him squarely in the same camp as Trump and Farage. Both say politicians and the media cannot be trusted.

Dance agrees.

 

Posted: 3rd, February 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The biased Guardian says Trump approves of child killing (Obama droned them to sleep)

Is the media biased against President Trump? He says it is. And – get this – here’s evidence that he’s right. The Guardian leads with the picture of the Anwar al-Awlaki’s daughter, Nawar al-Awlaki, who “may have been fatally shot in intelligence operation on al-Qaida that left at least 14 people, including a US commando, dead.”

The headline declares:

Eight-year-old American girl ‘killed in Yemen raid approved by Trump’

 

Trump girl died

 

A child’s death was “approved by Trump”.

Is that biased? Or is it a little too subtle for you?

 

Trump Nawar child

 

Did the Guardian lead with pictures of children killed in attacks approved by Barack Obama?

No.

Did we see faces on the Guardian’s cover of people – including pregnant women and children – offed when Obama-approved bombs killed 131 people at a wedding and 140 civilians at a funeral in Yemen?

No. Maybe Obama bombed them to sleep? Maybe he blessed them with his ordinance? Maybe being killed on Obama’s approval is more desirable than being killed on Trump’s?

Did we see any faces on the Guardian’s front page of the children deported – some of the 2.5 million people sent packing on Obama’s instructions?

No.

Is the media biased?

Yes.

Is Trump out of step with previous American leaders?

No.

Posted: 1st, February 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Politicians | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Manchester United: what did Bastian Schweinsteiger’s celebration really mean?

Media balls: why did Manchester United’s Bastian Schweinsteiger celebrate a goal against Wigan Athletic by pretending to play tennis (or was it squash)? His bespoke goal celebration is causing the Press to wonder why he did and what it all meant.

It would be easier, of course, if the German could be more precise. An overheard serve and loud grunt would have dismissed the squash interpretation, and the donning of an headband (removed from a sleeve or sock) or skirt (ditto) helped further still. As it was Bastian played two air shots, and any offence to Jeremy Bates or Tim Henman, two nearly men of British tennis, is regrettable.

On the plus side, when lining up his forehand, Schweinsteiger did not hit a teammate dashing in to celebrate his goal nor deliver a backhand cuff to the unmentionables. Although had he done the headlines – ‘New balls, please’ – write themselves.

Anyhow, to the Press.

The Daily Express knows why he did it:

‘The 32-year-old German then stole the show with a celebration in tribute to Australian Open champion Roger Federer, who beat Rafael Nadal in five sets earlier during the day’

The Daily Mail knows:

‘Schweinsteiger stuck the ball in the net and then celebrated with a swing of an imaginary racquet in front of his wife, retired tennis star Ana Ivanovic’

The Daily Star knows:

Schweinsteiger, a keen tennis fan and husband of Ana Ivanovic, celebrated his goal with a nod to Australian Open champ Roger Federer.

The Guardian knows:

Schweinsteiger celebrates by playing a tennis forehand and backhand, which is either a tribute to his wife Ana Ivanonic or Roger Federer, or both.

In conclusion: more practice in front of the wardrobe mirror, Bastian.

Posted: 31st, January 2017 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Donald Trump: God save the Queen from common muck

Donald Trump continues to set the news agenda, his presidency a political take on ‘Stay Tuned’ TV cliffhangers. President Trump’s ill-conceived travel ban dominates the news. But the Daily Mirror has a new angle. It books itself into one of The Donald’s five-star hotels – the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC – and sets about looking at the labels on the luxuries therein.

Full disclosure: I’ve stayed in a Trump hotel, his tower in Toronto. And, aside from my iPhone getting nicked from the room, found it pretty good, from the linen to the pink ‘Trump’ baseball hats left for each guest. And, no, hair was not attached to the complimentary lids.

 

Donald Trump

 

The Mirror’s Christopher Bucktin got the tough job of stock taking at Trump Inns. He found lots of ‘imports but few US goods’ at ‘Hotel Hypocrite’. He found Samsung TVs (made in Mexico), shower caps (made in China), cups (Germany) and a fridge (Switzerland).

Having quoted one hotel guest who lambasts Trump for picking the cheapest goods, Bucktin makes a false step. ‘We also fund him cashing in in his most hated religions – Islam,’ he writes.

Cashing in? How so?

In the bedside drawer ‘I came across a Gideon Bible’, a move akin to finding your own arse with your own hand. By the Bible is a note: ‘If you would like to continue your spiritual journey, we also offer the following: Talmud, Quran, Gita, Avesta, Tripitaka, Shri Guru, Grantha Sahib and Book of Mormon.” A call to housekeeping confirmed guests were able to have the holy book of Islam brought to their room in Arabic and English, with a prayer rug and a compass pointing to Mecca.’

The swine!

So how was he cashing in? There is no word that the mat, book and compass incur a surcharge. Bucktin explains: ‘Trump the hotelier welcomes Muslims – if they are loaded with dollars.’ He treats all customers the same. He does not discriminate. Just like Hitler, then.

And what if they’re workers? We don’t know if any staff at the hotel are Muslim. Maybe Trump welcomes Muslims so he can pay them, too?

Attacking Trump, the accidental president whose bad for liberty, is not too hard a task so why make a bad job of the facts? The Mirror says rooms ‘start at an average of £500 per night’. A quick look at the hotel’s website tells us a room can be had for $400 a night all in. Not cheap. But not £500.

 

Queen Donald Trump: The Don becomes Her Majesty and Vice Versa in these unsettling pictures

 

Over pages 6 and 7, the Mirror looks at the protest’s against Trump’s executive order banning travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries. It notes the on-line petition calling for Parliament to cancel Trump’s State visit lest it “embarrass” the Queen. Over 1.5m people support feudalism and the monarchy. Who knew?

‘Prevent Donald Trump’, runs the petition text, ‘from making a state visit to the United Kingdom. Donald Trump should be allowed to enter the UK in his capacity as head of the US government, but he should not be invited to make an official state visit because it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen.’

Can Trump achieve what Prince Andrew, Prince Charles, the Duke of Edinburgh, Fergie, a grandson dressed as Nazi, an uncle who was a Nazi, walking about with a crown on your noggin’ and riding in a gold coach failed to do? Can Her Majesty feel embarrassed? “[Trump’s] misogyny and vulgarity disqualifies him from being received by the queen,” says the petition’s writer. Over one million people think Trump is too common for Her Majesty. What a snooty view. Look how superior we are to Trump and his supporters. No red carpet for him. He has hotels; she has palaces. He has Bibles; she is Defender of the Faith. He has voters; she has subjects. He has borders; she has Empire. He has Tiffany; she has diamonds as big as your face.

The paper notes that outside Whitehall, protestors demanded Theresa May condemn Trump.

And then come the inevitable celebrity endorsement. ‘Bianca Jagger, Lily Allen and Gary Lineker, who was with two of his sons’, were all there. ‘America united to condemn Donald Trump,’ says the paper. All of it? Odd not to hear one word in support of Trump’s ban. ‘Hollywood stars’ spoke out against Trump.

It’s all pretty much what Trump wants, no? The media present one side of the debate. Check. The celebrities vent forth. Check. People who don’t like the fact he was democratically elected in a legal vote use polls and numbers to try and derail him. Check.

More Trump on the Sun’s cover. ‘PM: No Trump U-turn.’ Over pages 8 and 9, the Sun spots Gary Lineker and Lily Allen in the 10,000 people outside Downing Street.

The paper quotes MPs likening Trump to Hitler. “The Holocaust didn’t start with the gas chambers,” says SNP Carol Monaghan, one of many keen to use the murders of 6 million Jews to score a political point. Boris Johnson told the Commons the comparison “demeans the horror of the 1930s”. It does. Trump is not plotting and fomenting genocide. He’s not that organised.

‘Protest march? It’s a waste of time,’ writes the Sun’s Clare Foges. Maybe. Maybe not. It; good for filling pages and spotting famous faces. Foges adds: ‘Strangely there was not the same outcry when Obama banned refugees from Iraq for six months in 2011.’ She spots hypocrisy and ‘anguished luvvies’ in a ‘pitch of hysteria’. Protest is for losers. “Save your breath,’ says the Star, which one sided with the protesting EDL.

Does this ‘hysteria’ over Trump whitewash crimes of other politicians, like Tony Blair, Hillary Clinton and Obama?

One of those ‘luvvies’ occupies the Mail’s front page. It’s Gary Lineker and a son. The Mail says May is ‘right to ignore the hysteria’ and the ‘twitter-obsessed, virtue-signalling student union politicians running today’s Labour Party’. The matter of US security, says the paper, is ‘a question for US politicians’.

And a question for Daily Express readers, too. An impressive 99% of them ‘agree with Trump’s tough migrant stance’. Well, those who voted in one of the paper’s polls do, which has still to bring in that 100% result. Of course, 100% could be achieved by there being just one caller keen to spend 50p on a premium-rate phone line – that’s 5p less than the paper costs. But at 99% the poll looks busy and representative.

And the Express has another. Today it asks readers: ‘Is Donald Trump right to bring in the travel ban?’ Anyone in doubt as to how to vote can see the headline hanging above the question: ‘Trump fury is just liberal left hysteria.’

The vote is open to liberal left hysterics with 50p to burn. Like everything about Trump, it’s fair and fair can be.

Queen Donald Trump: The Don becomes Her Majesty and Vice Versa in these unsettling pictures

Posted: 31st, January 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Daily Mirror uses John Hurt’s death to bury Theresa May and Donald Trump’s Special Relationship

When Donald Trump was voted in, the Daily Mirror was aghast that he’d called Theresa May after dialling so many other leaders. It was a”poor start to the Special Relationship”. May was “at the back of the queue of world leaders”. The President-elect had issued a snub.

 

donald trump theresa may daily mirror

 

Donald TRump daily mirror

 

So how did the Mirror report the news that May is the first world leader to meet President Trump?

Was it front-page news?

 

donald-trump-may-daily-mirror

 

And every other paper?

 

trum-mp-may trump-may-the-times trump-may-the-daily-star trump-may-the-daily-express trump-may-the-daily-telegraph trump-may-the-daily-mail

 

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 28th, January 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comments (3) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Brexit: Tim Farron, Gina Miller and the anti-trust brigade have their eye on you

Is Tim Farron beyond parody? That F. A. R… Oh, never mind. He’s the leader of the LibDems, which were pretty popular and go-ahead until their former leader Nick Clegg stuffed them. Talking about Article 50 and Brexit – which he opposes – Farron is quoted in the Guardian:

The UK’s final Brexit deal must not be decided by “a stitch-up between Whitehall and Brussels”, the Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, has said, promising his party will seek to hold Theresa May’s government to account over the process.

There will be no stitch-up between the wonks, the technocrats and the mandarins because Tim is watching. That’s Tim who wants another referendum on Brexit because the stoopid people didn’t agree with the technocrats, wonks and mandarins the first time round. The people who mobilised and saw an alternative political future can’t be trusted, says Tim, who is on hand to protect us from our own ignorance.

Knowing Farron is overseeing international operations brings to mind Frederick Peel Eldon Potter. In response to Tsar Alexander II’s aggression in the Caucuses in 1898, Potter told the few thousand readers of his column in Ireland’s Skibereen Eagle, “the Skibereen Eagle has its eye on Russia.”

It’d be an idea for Farron and others who don’t trust the demos to pass their time thinking of an alternative to the EU and a new angle for politics that engages with the electorate and actually represents the people.  Brexit offers opportunities. Farron should embrace it. But it’s easier for him and his ilk to carry on as they have done for decades, delegating decisions to unelected groups and inviting the great unwashed to “join the debate” with no intention of acting on a word they say. Politics isn’t therapy.

Says Farron:

“That is a recipe for dissent, for a complete breakdown in trust in our politics. For the next couple of generations, let’s say, Britain’s relationship with the outside world will be cast because of stitch-ups in the 21st-century equivalent of smoke-filled rooms.”

Someone tell him. Not you, Gina Miller, who was made “physically sick” by the Brexit vote. She successfully challenged the Government in the courts. The Supreme Court sided with her and ruled that parliament must vote to trigger Article 50. Miller did it not because she wants to feel better and best way of achieving an holistic recovery is to scupper Brexit. Like Farron, Miller did it for us. She wants to prove that “parliament alone is sovereign”. Made ill by the voters, she champions democracy.

No. Not her.

One of you 17.5 million people who voted for Brexit in a free and legal election can have a go at telling Farron what’s what. Form an orderly line queue. He’s relying on us all getting bored and the electorate’s old passivity to return and ensure Brexit dies on the vine.

But we won’t.

 

 

Posted: 25th, January 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Brexit the Daily Express and the 55 Tufton Street gang

So keen are migrant workers to pay UK taxes, the Daily Express says “more than 1 million citizen” of them will “rush in” before the country leaves the European Union.

Well, maybe they will. Maybe they won’t.

 

daily express migrants brexit

 

The headline figure is the opinion of Richard Tice, billed as “co-chairman of the Leave Means Leave campaign”. Why there should be a campaign to implement something decided by a free and legal vote is off. And how Tice came to be the voice for it is not investigated.

But it’s exists. And the Express is all ears, keen to support Tice’s views and guesstimates on its front page. Indeed, this is the third time this January Mr Tice’s views have reached Express readers.

Who is he? What is Leave Means Leave? The Express doesn’t say much about the group based at 55 Tufton Street, London. The Independent has a little, reporting on February 10 2016:

The address where Eurosceptics and climate change sceptics rub shoulders – The offices of 55 Tufton Street in Westminister [sic] are home to no fewer than eight right-of-centre organisations

 

tufton steet

 

After the clanger in the headline, the Indy has some insight on goings on at 55 Tufton Street.

But this low-profile four-storey block, a stone’s throw from Parliament, is home to no fewer than eight right-of-centre organisations dedicated to pulling Britain out of Europe and undermining the battle to curb global warming.

We get some names, most of which the Daily Express seems to have on speed dial:

The former Conservative chancellor Lord Lawson is one of the key figures at 55 Tufton Street, after he moved his climate-sceptic Global Warming Policy Foundation to the premises.

This puts the foundation in the same building as the TaxPayers’ Alliance, the bullishly effective low-tax pressure group…

We’re told that  55 Tufton Street is owned by Richard Smith. Who is he?

Richard Smith is probably best known for flying David Cameron to his home in Shobdon, Herefordshire in 2007 – shortly after the then leader of the Opposition proposed taxes on unnecessary flights… His company, HR Smith Group, owns number 55 Tufton Street… He is also a trustee of the Politics and Economics Research Trust, the charitable arm of the Taxpayers Alliance.

At the time of writing, the Indy said you could find the following organisations at 55 Tufton Street: Global Warming Policy Foundation, Global Vision, The European Foundation, Civitas, Taxpayers’ Alliance, Business for Britain, Big Brother Watch and UK2020.

You may well wonder why London-based think tanks carry so much weight in the media? If their thoughts trigger debate, we should know more about how their treatises came to be.

Richard North claims:

…55 Tufton Street is a nest of vipers. It harbours groups which form a nexus of influence which dominates the fringes of right-wing Conservatism. And it provides the spiritual home of those who believe they are entitled to run the “leave” campaign.

Adding:

…the referendum is an opportunity to rethink how we do political research in this country, working towards the idea of virtual think-ranks, freed from the stultifying grip of the Tufton Street Gang, and the intellectual constraints that it brings.

So to the Express‘ story, which does little more than repeat Mr Trice’s claims. Over pages 4 and 5, we get “Fears over EU migration in run-up top Brexit”. Tice says we could “easily see one million to 1.25 million extra EU migrants move to Britain” if “freedom of movement for EU citizens continues over the  next two years”.

 

daily express migrants

 

Will these “rushing” foreigners be allowed to hold British passports or continue to work here after the country leaves the EU? Dunno. How much will they pay in tax? Dunno. Will all the jobs they do be low-paid? Dunno.

Few facts, then. But the Express has heard enough. “Mr Tice says that estimate is a conservative one based on National Insurance registrations,” it reports. One million could be millions of rushing foreigners.

Tice’s guess ‘does not take into account the extra pull factor of Britain’s looming departure from the EU, making this the “last chance saloon” for people to secure better prospects offered in the UK than elsewhere in the bloc”.

How many will see it as their last chance to leave the UK and secure better prospects in the bloc? Dunno.

Lest readers still not have got the message that foreigners are to be feared, the Express presses f7 and conjures up one of its other sources of fact: MigrationWatchm, an outfit not hymned for its love of immigration.

Have loaded the argument the Express invites readers to vote in a premium-rate phone line poll which asks, “Should Britain act NOW to control immigration.”

Vote now and vote often.

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


Madonna misses the White House as envious celebs bask in Trump’s light

madonna-v-trump

 

In the twilight area between fact and fiction lies the Daily Star. Today’s Star leads with the sensational news that Donald Trump is “IN CELEBRITY BIG BOTHER”.

Such is the way of Trump, it might be that the thin-skinned reality TV creation is to appear on another reality TV show. But did you spot the pun? Anorak had to read it twice. It’s “BIG BOTHER” not “BIG BROTHER”. And news is that Donald Trump in in trouble because:

a) China has eaten the last creature he wears on his head?

b) There’s a gay sex tape?

c) He’s a jihadi?

d) Madonna is upset?

Yeah, it’s ‘d’. But should there be trade war with China, things might get worse for Trump.

As we’ve noted, Madonna says she is so upset at the result of a legally democratic vote she considered “blowing up the White House“. And no, she wasn’t planning on achieving it by nipping in the back door and pricking her inflated ego. Kaboom! Rhinestone all over the place.

Also unhappy with Trump are: The Edge (from U2, the group front by Bono, aka Mr G21), Natalie Portman, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and Amy Schumer.

Does anyone else think the problem celebs have with Trump is not a problem at all. He’s a symbol that what a TV star says matters. Their lives are not just about endorsements for fizzy drinks, the next record / film / miracle baby / diet / gadget and Hillary Clinton. People actually listen to what famous, vain, rich people with zero political nous, diplomatic savvy and military experience say. And what’s more, they vote for them to be President of the US of A!

“Look,” say the A-listers “one of us can get into the White House. Why didn’t my agent tell me?”

Madonna’s just gutted it isn’t her sat in the big chair with a finger on the button. Neither brave nor daring enough to go for the top job, she’s been reduced to playing on as Trump’s support act. No wonder she’s unhappy.

Posted: 23rd, January 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Madonna occupies victimhood as Rust Belt women are belittled and abused

What do we have? On one side, are the people with no jobs, who endure deprivation and exist in a place called ‘The Rust Belt’. The technocrat, elitist candidate opposing Donald Trump called them “the deplorables”. On the other side are the people who have time and energy to bemoan their lot on twitter, march outside the White House and listen to Madonna, a multi-millionaire celebrity tell them she is so upset and victimised by President Trump winning the democratic vote she thought of blowing the place up.

It’s not democracy they want. They want their own prejudices to be given State approval.

Donald Trump is hard to like, harder still to admire. His illiberalism and attitudes to abortion are hideous. But the protests against him are monocular. If womanhood is united against abuse why didn’t women march on the White House when under the Obama administration drones killed hundreds or thousands of people, including many women?

“Between January 2012 and February 2013,” The Intercept reported, “U.S. special operations airstrikes killed more than 200 people. Of those, only 35 were the intended targets. During one five-month period of the operation, according to the documents, nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets.”

And what of the women killed by drones in Yemen, including a pregnant woman and three children?

According to the victims, on 12th December 2013, Abdallah Mabkhut al-Ameri, his new wife and about 60 of their friends and family, were travelling in a wedding procession outside the city of Rada’a when four Hellfire missiles hit the convoy, resulting in the deaths of more than 10 people, including the groom’s son from a previous marriage, and injury of 24 more.

Was there a march to contest the US ties with Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy, its intensely religious education system and its puritanical Wahhabi Islam? This is how the Guardian describes life for women in the US’s ally:

The male guardianship system in Saudi Arabia is not just law: it is a set of bylaws and state-sanctioned discriminatory policies and practices that restrict a woman’s ability to have a wide range of choices unless permitted by her male guardian – typically a father, husband, brother or even a son.

In practice, it means women are unrecognised by the state as full legal adults.

 

Obama meets the Saudi king

Obama meets the Saudi king

 

Did you march when Obama deported two-and-a-half million people?

“The inclusive nature of the event, the organisers say, calls for participants to come together to safeguard the freedoms of all people that have been threatened by recent political events,” the Evening Standard reported on the march.

So where were you then? Where will you be tomorrow? Or is not about freedom, liberty and equality but your dislike of accidental President Trump and the result those rebellious working-class bullies in the fly-over States voted for?

 

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


Scotland’s The Herald says Trump’s inauguration is an episode of The Twilight Zone

Donald Trump’s affinity with the Scottish people of his mother’s ancestry knows no bounds. Some Scots have been succinct to the point of monosyllabic in giving full throat to their opinions of the US President. Scottish newspaper The Herald is pretty verbose, likening reality TV creation Trump’s inauguration to an episode of The Twilight Zone.

 

trump-sunday-herald-twilight-zone

 

As ever, the best thing on British telly is a US import.

Posted: 15th, January 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Graham Taylor versus The Sun: they came to bury him not to praise him

More on Graham Taylor in the Sun, where he is “Golden Graham”, “legend” and “hero”. Taylor “never bore a grudge”, says the Sun, “even after this.” The ‘this’ was the paper’s headline ‘Swedes 2 Turnips 1’, dreamt up after Taylor’s England side had lost a big match.

 

graham taylor the sun

 

Far from holding a grudge, the Sun says Taylor “admired” the headline that “summed up his failure as England manager”.

 

graham taylor the sun

 

But did that headline really sum up Taylor’s tenure as England’s manager? The Sun is being far too modest. Surely the headline that said so much was this one,which called golden Graham “Turnip Taylor’ and for added ooomph superimposed the root vegetable on his head.

The Sun came to bury him.

 

The Sun headline on 24 November 1993 following Taylor's resignation as England manager.

The Sun headline on 24 November 1993 following Taylor’s resignation as England manager.

 

The image might have escaped the Sun’s eyes today, but The Times, it’s New Corp. stablemate, does recall it. It says far from being delighted with the Sun’s mockery, Taylor was “upset” by it.

 

graham taylor the sun

 

The Sun apologises for anyone who read its newspaper and thought Graham Taylor a useless fool. It turns out he was brilliant.

 

Posted: 13th, January 2017 | In: Back pages, Broadsheets, Key Posts, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Argie-Bargy In Hun-derland! Sun and Star slam EastEnders over Eyetie Slur

When Danny Dyer’s character Mick Carter told EastEnders viewers the Queen Vic’s Italian supper was “Eyetie night” he triggered a “race row”. So bad is that the Daily Star, the paper that once cheered for the EDL, is aghast.

“Danny Dyer’s character made a slur against Italians,” trills the paper on its front page. By Page 3 it’s a full-blown “race storm”.  Soap fans are in a state of “fury”. For those readers not au fait with racism and not yet furious, Lauren Clarke tells us, “Eyetie is a derogatory word for Italian people which emerged during World War Two.”

 

danny dyer daily star

The Star

 

The Sun agrees. Danny Dyer is “‘Eyetie’ Order”. “The “insult” is used as “offensive slang” rooted in wartime.

 

The Sun danny dyer

The Sun

 

Eyetie’s a bit like kraut, a slang term for Germans, which is a bit like ‘Hun’ or ‘Jerries’ – or Argie, a way of talking about Argentineans, which may or not be derogatory depending on what paper you read:

These are few articles in the racially sensitive Daily Star:

 

the sun the hun

 

argie daily star

 

daily star argie

 

daily star kraut

 

And in the Sun:

 

the sun yanks

the sun krauts jerries hun

 

Zuch are zer facts.

Posted: 13th, January 2017 | In: Key Posts, Tabloids, TV & Radio | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Scare Stories: Nutella and Kinder eggs give Ambassador Farage’s guests cancer

Nutella gives you cancer. Maybe. Maybe not. The Daily Mail is taking no chances, warning its readers that the sugary spread offers eaters potentially lethal side effects. Well, one of its ingredients might be cancerous. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) says palm oil, which makes the spread smooth, is “more carcinogenic than any other oil”.

Ferrero, which makes the goo, should know that last year the Mail reported on another of its products. “Kinder chocolate found to contain possible cancer-causing oil,” thundered the headline.

Germany’s Foodwatch found the Kinder Reigel contained mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH), which the European Food Safety Agency has said ‘may be carcinogenic’.

Or to put it another way: MOAH may not be carcinogenic.

Kinder also make Ferrero Rocher chocs. Those over-sweet balls contain palm oil. Did the Mail fail to spot the alleged danger when it reported on Nigel Farage’s party:

 

farage ambassador

 

We know Farage and the Mail want a hard Brexit, but surely neither don’t want the EU offed in such a brutal manner?

PS: Add it to the list.

Posted: 12th, January 2017 | In: Key Posts, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Dave Duncan: How I beat ISIS by being a good bloke

Dave Duncan, from Otley, wanted to help the family of Lukasz Urban, the Polish trucker murdered by Islamist Anis Amri and his ISIS cohorts. Amri used Mr Urban’s truck to murder 12 people and ruin the lives of many more at a Berlin Christmas market. Dave Duncan, himself a trucker, set about raising nearly £200,000 for Urban’s relatives.

 

dave duncan trucker poland berlin urban

Dave Duncan – champion of international solidarity and working people

 

“It could have been any one of us there that day,” says Mr Duncan, who having presented Mr Urban’s family with the money was invited by them to attend the driver’s funeral in Banie, close to the Polish border with Germany.

“The Polish truckers’ own tributes are what being a truck driver is all about,” he adds.” “We have to watch out for one another, as in most cases nobody else does.”

“We’ve got to be as clear-headed about human beings as possible, because we are still each other’s only hope,” said the author James Baldwin. Dave Duncan’s clarity of thought is manifest in his intensely human act of kindness.

Poland’s ambassador to the UK, Arkady Rzegocki is touched by Duncan’s humanity. He will thank him at an official ceremony. “His compassion moved many both in the UK and back in Poland,” he told the BBC. “It is an inspiring example of British-Polish solidarity which never fails in times of crisis.”

Great story, isn’t it. A British man shows the Poles that he and the donors to his cause also understand the meaning of solidarity. Are we divided? No. ISIS can’t win. We win.

“Practice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you’re already in heaven now,” wrote Jack Kerouac in 1957.

Naomi Shihab Nye put it well in her poem ‘KINDNESS’:

 

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

Nice one, Dave.

 

Posted: 9th, January 2017 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Local News Watch: the greatest two paragraphs of all time

Local News Watch: Adam Hart spots two paragraphs in the Western Gazette which, as he says, show us “journalism at its very best”.

 

local news watch

 

The story is about a car parking matters. Two cars have been spotted parked close together in Frome, Somerset. The local news hound places the happening in context: “They’re not the first two vehicles to have been pictured inches from one another in the town. A yellow Citroen parked inches away from a blue Volkswagen  at Sainsbury’s a few months ago.”

This story might be missing the still bigger scoop: who is going around Frome taking pictures of cars almost touching and are they on a police register?

Spotter: Adam Hart

Posted: 8th, January 2017 | In: Key Posts, Reviews, Strange But True | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Chelsea fans found guilty in the most racist incident of all time

Deep on page 9 of the Daily Mirror is the story of four Chelsea fans found guilty of racist violence and given suspended prisoner sentences by a French judge. The four white men were accused of pushing a back man off a Metro train in Paris ahead of Chelsea’s Champions’ League match with PSG. “We’re racist, we’re racist and that’s the way we like it,” belched fans as the video rolled.

A nasty little event was then amplified beyond all proportion. The Sun led with the news:

 

Paris Metro Chelsea fans racist

 

Readers were ordered to “FIND PIGS OF PARIS”. The Sun said “an international hunt” was under way for the bellends who also chanted the refrain “Where were you in World War 2?”. It was the type of cross-border hunt usually reserved for jihadis and master criminals. It was that serious.

The then Prime Minister, David Cameron, lifted his blinkers away from Syria and the EU Referendum to tell us that the matter was “extremely worrying”. “These are very, very serious matters.” Nick Clegg said, without irony given his career: “‘I was so ashamed.”

The United Nations – no, I’m not making this up – thought it wise to comment. “It is important to build on the outrage created by this snapshot of the ugly face of racism, to re-energize the effort to combat it in all its forms wherever it occurs,” said a spokesman. It was, he said, “cruel”. The United Nations is hot on cruelty, human rights and racism, after all just look at the members who sit on its panel: Bangladesh (“Security forces continue enforced disappearances, killings, and arbitrary arrests with impunity”), China (“Uighur Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists and Falun Gong practitioners have faced particularly severe repression in recent years, including forced conversion, torture and imprisonment”), Qatar (“Discrimination against women remains entrenched in both law and practice) and Saudi Arabia (“Members of other faiths can worship privately, but non-Muslim houses of worship may not be built”).

Across the global feelings were hurt by oafs on a Paris tube train. Idiots had been caught behaving sadly. But the elite in Westminster and what used to be Fleet Street wanted more. They held the video up as being a sign of much greater ills. And once again football – the great meritocratic melting pot watched by slum people – was in the dock.

There are no black faces on the Government’s front benches; no black editors of national newspapers; no black faces on the Metropolitan police leadership team; but get a load of those berks on the Paris Metro. There’s your racism. Happily for the elite who use football as a extension of Moral Health UK, the Chelsea fans were wearing club colours.

The elite like their racists white, preferably working class and always obvious.

The Daily Mail (number of black faces on board: nil), knows racism when it sees it. It delivered the time-honoured “LEAGUE OF SHAME”, a list of football fans arrested for “racist and abusive chanting”. The Daily Star (which once supported the EDL) said the “Hate thugs face 3 years’ jail”. “There is a greater shame here because we foolishly, naively, believed the issue of racism among our football supporters was a thing of the past,” wrote Neil Ashton in the Daily Mail. The Guardian’s Barney Ronay opined in the paper’s 40-odd articles on the incident: “For decades this kind of thing has happened, continues to happen, and most troubling, appears to be happening a little more now.”

One by one these wrong ‘uns were lined up to be shot at. Josh Parsons came to epitomise racism. The Sun led with a picture of Parsons. The Times showed us photo of his home in Dorking. He was an ex-public schoolboy. He was a “City high-flyer”. He had studied at “30,000-a-year” Millfield school. He worked for the Business and Commercial Club in Mayfair. And in case you still couldn’t find him, the Sun said his office was on Mayfair, Central London.

Grab your torches! Saddle up! Let’s roll!

And as you journeyed to the lynching, know this –  Star told readers: “Meanwhile, season ticket holder Josh Parsons, 21, one of those filmed, is a UKIP supporter who enjoyed a pint with Nigel Farage”.

Damned in print and monstered by the highest offices in global diplomacy, the men who abused Souleymane Sylla, 34, are now buried deep in the papers. Parsons, billed as a”trainee scaffolder”, Jamie Fairbairn, a civil engineer, Richard Barklie and William Simpson are no longer the apogee of all wrongs. They were ordered to pay about £9,000 to My Sylla.” That’s a pretty steep fine for being a prat, and far less than the lengthy custodial terms some were hoping for.

You might supposed the story is front-page news elsewhere. But you’d be wrong. It does not appear in the Star. It’s on page 8 of the Mail (“Chelsea yobs told to pay £9k for racist Paris attack”). The Sun shows the story on page 8. In its version Barklie is not 50 years old, as the Mirror says he is, but 52 and an “ex-cop”. We also get more details of the punishment:

Barklie: Tried in his absence, the County Antrim man got a suspended year long jail term. He denied racist violence.

Simpson: Tried in his absence, he got a suspended year long jail term.

Parsons: He went to court and got an eight months suspended sentence.

Fairbairn:  He went to court and got a six months suspended sentence.

The Guardian has more. We get to know what happened to Parsons, public enemy Number 1:

Parsons told the court the Métro was packed and the atmosphere was “hot and hostile”. He said Sylla was “bigger than me” and when the commuter tried to get on the carriage “I pushed back”. He said the pushing was not related to the colour of Sylla’s skin. “The only time I knew the skin colour was when I saw the video afterwards,” he said.

Questioned by the state prosecutor, Parsons said that after he pushed Sylla the first time, he chanted “Chelsea, Chelsea, Chelsea,” and after he pushed him a second time, he chanted “Fuck the IRA”. He said the chant “We’re racist, we’re racist and that’s the way we like it” was shouted in another carriage; he did not sing it and he “did not like that chant”.

Parsons said: “I’m very sorry for Mr Sylla but I wasn’t racist in any way.”

Parsons’ lawyer said his life had been affected by the “total hysteria” of the media, members of which had arrived at his home after he was identified as one of the fans in the video. Parsons, who once posed for a photograph with Nigel Farage, said journalists had come on to “my land” and rung his grandmother’s doorbell every half an hour.

He said he had lost his finance job in Mayfair, London, and had briefly moved to Cornwall where he retrained as a scaffolder. His lawyer said Parsons’ entourage described him as a “well-brought-up boy” and two former dormitory friends from his boarding school, who were not white, had testified that he was not racist.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 4th, January 2017 | In: Chelsea, Key Posts, News, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


George Michael’s ‘suicide’ lover seen wearing sandals and socks

The post-mortem on George Michael’s body failed to establish a cause of death. There will be further tests. The police are not treating it as suspicious.

But the tabloids know why George Michael died. “Tragic George ‘Killed Himself’,” states the Star’s cover story. “Singer ‘wanted to die’.”

You might think George Michael’s life anything but tragic. Feted, celebrated, admired and adored by many, the singer was a superstar. The Star writes a narrative allegedly fed by a Twitter account apparently linked to Fadi Fawaz, Michael’s boyfriend, who, as the Times notes, found the singer “lying peacefully” in bed at his 16th-century cottage in Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.

The paper broadcasts the tweets: “the only thing George wanted is to DIE”; “he tried numbers of time to kill himself many times…”; “and finally he managed…” All troubling. And then below a picture of Fadi walking the Star supplies the caption: “Fadi claims he is hacking victim”.

 

george-michael-tweets-death-a

 

The Sun, which also leads with the story of a tweet, says Fadi Fawaz’s profile has been “quickly deleted”.

He says he didn’t send those tweets.

The Mirror wrings more from “the mystery”. In “Final hours of pop legend” the paper thunders : “GEORGE’S LOVER: I SLEPT IN MY CAR AS HE DIED ALONE.” Farwaz tells the paper: “I did not send those tweets.” The Mirror then says, “It is unclear why he spent the night apart from his 53-year-old lover”. Farwz says, “I fell asleep in my car and I never saw him that night.”

 

george-michael-tweets-death-a

 

For those of you seeking more official action, it’s worth noting what else the Mirror reports: “Fadi was pictured buying coffee on Christmas Eve from a shop near George’s home… He was wearing sandals and socks.”

Were his feet hacked? Or is it now fashionable to dress like a summering vicar on a Norfolk beach?

The mystery continues.

Posted: 2nd, January 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Daily Mail champions BBC and Hacked Off hypocrites to defeat Murdoch

Enemies can be useful when they agree with you. In a rant against Rupert Murdoch’s bid to “seize control” of Sky, the Mail calls on the great and good to side with it against one man having “complete control of a media empire spanning TV networks and newspapers”.

If Murdoch does make a bid,  Karen Bradley, the culture secretary, could call on Ofcom to evaluate whether the public will be worse off. Would the media landscape be diverse enough?

In the Guardian, Polly Tonybee in a long moan about Murdoch notes:

Letting Fox own Sky will start the campaign to undermine the very notion of impartiality and accuracy. We should never let our impartiality rules go: they make BBC news the most trusted around the world.

Eh? Why can’t the BBC continue to be impartial [which it isn’t?] whatever happens to Sky?

Predictable stuff from the tabloid hating Guardian. But less so from the Mail, which takes quotes from a bevy of sources it’s usually keen to discredit.

The BBC:

Sir Michael Lyons, who became chairman of the BBC Trust in 2007, said that Murdoch’s proposal should face a ‘fit and proper person’ test.

 

DAily Mail BBC

 

Ed Miliband:

Labour leader Ed Miliband, 46, instantly called on Mrs May to refer the bid to Ofcom and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

 

ed miliband ralph david daily mail

 

Hacked Off:

Hacked Off – who fight for a free and accountable press – have also said the bid needs to be checked by Ofcom.

 

daily mail hacked off

 

Egregious hypocrisy, indeed.

 

Posted: 23rd, December 2016 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


#FreeThePress: reject Section 40, champion gossip and smash the new Star Chamber

Hacked Off can call on Steve Coogan (“Press freedom is a lie peddled by proprietors and editors who only care about profit”) and free speech extremists can summon day time telly’s Judge Rinder (first name on application).

Writing in the Sun, Rinder says the country’s greatest freedom is “to say what you want”. You might suppose this is obvious, that freedom of expression is not under threat in a modern country like the UK. If you think that, you’re wrong.

Just look at the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Elveden, the investigation into tabloid newspapers allegedly paying public employees for information. Mick Hume explains the perversity of how journalists doing their jobs became suspected criminals. Countries where truth dies on the vine might care to make notes:

To pursue Elveden, the UK authorities effectively made up a law specifically aimed at journalists – something the Turkish and Egyptian states might be wary of doing. Prosecutors dusted off a thirteenth-century common law which made ‘misconduct in public office’ a crime. Then they gave it a modern twist by adding on the previously unheard-of offence of ‘conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office’, which allowed them to prosecute journalists who are not public employees at all.

Rinder recalls his grandfather, a survivor of the Nazi death camps. Stood at Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park, Judge’s grandfather heard one speaker giving full throat to his anti-Semitism. “You see,” he says. “In this county, even this man can say whatever he wants and nobody can stop him.”

Free speech is the right to hear what you don’t want to hear. It is the right to offend and to be offended.

And so Rinder turns to Section 40 and the drive for a Press no longer free but regulated under the Government’s Royal Charter. What business is it of the State’s to police anyone says in print or pixels? None. But they want it to be.

Section 40 demands newspapers sign up to a Press watchdog supported by statute. Failure to sign up to the official censor means publications will have to pay the costs of anyone who brings a civil suit, libel or privacy actions against them – even if they win their case. Be targeted by a vexatious campaign and watch your organ die.

Is that an incentive to sign up to the Royal Charter-backed press regulator? No. It’s a threat. Join Impress, the Max Mosley-funded press regulator, or else they’ll cut your tongue out and chop your fingers off. Whatever the jury decides, you will be found guilty.

How can a journalist function in such a climate?

The Mirror takes up the cry. Jason Beattie looks at the “Attack On Press Freedom”. He says a free press is the “rampart between the defenceless and the bullies, the bad and the powerful”. If the State gets its way you paper will become “no better than a council free-sheet”. You will only read what the rich and powerful want you to read. He reminds readers that the State’s pet press watchdog, Impress, is “ultimately governed by Royal Charter, which in turn is overseen by politicians on the Privy Council”.

The Privy Council’s oath contains one line all members must utter: “You will keep secret all Matters committed unto you.” There are about 600 privy counsellors, including all former prime ministers, cabinet ministers,  leaders of the opposition, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, the current and former Speakers of the House of Commons, Archbishops, senior Bishops, senior courtiers, senior backbenchers and senior judges. Here is a full list of people that if the censorious win will rule on what you can and cannot say.

Of course, it won’t matter who sits in this reworked Star Chamber if Section 40 is passed – you’ll be mute and impoverished before the throttlers sit down for lunch at Buckingham Palace.

The Right To Gossip

Both Beattie and Rinder cite high examples of how a free Press have caused upset, exposing paedophiles, Lance Armstrong’s cheating and politicians fiddling on their expenses. All wonderful and worthy work. But I’d go for something else that epitomises free speech: tittle-tattle. If you like poking fun, lampooning and gossip and all that stuff that entertains, you enjoy free speech.

The censors dismiss it as the stuff of the ‘gutter press’. Well, to muck rake you need to look in the ugly places. But if the censors have their way, you’ll only ever see shiny, clean things covered in a fresh layer of paint – you won’t get close enough to pick up the stink and scratch off the veneer to see what lurks beneath.

Sign here and support free speech.

 

Posted: 23rd, December 2016 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Ore Oduba black story: from the slums of Canford to Strictly Come Dancing blondes

Strictly Come Dancing winner Ore Oduba is flanked by two blondes on the Mail’s cover. To his right is wife Portia. To his left is dance partner Joanne Clifton. “Strictly champ: I’ve neglected my wife,” declares the headline. Readers begin to wonder if the show was a mating ritual. Is sexual intrigue in the air?

 

Ore Oduba

 

Over pages 12 and 13 we get more. “Now I’ve got time for my wife!” thunders the headline.

“Oduba and his wife Portia – he’s identified by surname; she, who never competed but remained blonde throughout the pro-celebrity dance show, we meet on first-name terms – “have been married for less than a year”.  The paper quickly picks up on the moment of Ore’s triumph, when he “looked straight into dance partner Joanne Clifton’s eyes and said, ‘I love you with all my heart’ as he held up the glitterball trophy.”

This was, says Laura Lambert. just another example of the 30-year-old BBC sports presenter’s “emotional side”. No kidding. But “once the cameras stopped rolling he was virtually inseparable from his wife.” But, boy, how he tried to shake her. No, only joking.

As for that suggestive front-page headline. when asked what he’d be up to over Christmas, Ora replied, “I’ve neglected my family. Same for Jo, we’ve been working so hard.”

 

Ore Oduba

 

In the Mirror, Ore reveals his “extraordinary journey”. We learn that Portia, a TV researcher, is based in Manchester, keeping her away from Ore as he trained for the show in London. They met at University. They were married in a “lavish” bash in Kent. Very soon they hope to start a family. Ore’s dad is a leading lawyer in Nigeria. Ore went to the very expensive Dumpton school in Dorset, a prep school for the even more pricey Canford public school.  And that’s it. The extraordinary story is anything but. Public school boys meets Portia from Tunbridge Wells and gets a job at the BBC.

There will be movies.

Unless it’s all remarkable because Ore is black? Is that the key part of Ore’s “incredible life story” the Mirror trails on its cover? The Sun says it might be. A “source” says “because he’s a black presenter, the BBC has another incentive to  given him more prominence within the channel.”

One minute you’re presenting daytime insurance programme Claimed and Shamed, the next you’re a symbol, an inspiration for the ‘black community’ and an ambulatory swivel-hipped message. It’s less a back story than it is a black story. And it’s pathetic.

If Ore is on a “journey” he might want to check if he’s allowed to sit at the front of the bus.

Posted: 19th, December 2016 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, TV & Radio | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Reject section 40 and support ‘British values’

Communities secretary Sajid Javid says – irony of ironies – we should all pledge an oath to uphold “British values”. As one tweeter puts it, “Since when was an oath of allegiance a #British value?”

Javid says the oath could include phrases such as “tolerating the views of others even if you disagree with them”, as well as “believing in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from abuse … a belief in equality, democracy, and the democratic process” and “respect for the law, even if you think the law is an ass”.

The Government doesn’t much like those ‘British” freedoms. They want to limit free speech and throttle the Press. If you believe in free speech, tell them. And tell these enemies of “British values” where to stick it.

The British government has opened up a public consultation on the next stage of the Leveson Inquiry. It is asking us two questions. Should the government implement Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013? And should the government go ahead with Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry?

Section 40 incentivises newspapers to sign up to State-approved bodies. Failure to sign up to the official censors means those publications will have to pay the costs of anyone who brings a civil suit, libel or privacy actions against them – even if they win their case.

Is that an incentive to sign up top the Royal Charter-backed press regulator? No. It’s blackmail. Join Impress, the Max Mosley-funded press regulator backed by the censorious Hacked Off, or else they’ll cut your legs off. Write anything unpleasant against the rich and powerful, and watch your organ whipped like a prostitute and most likely killed off.

You can sign here and tell the Government that guffing on about freedoms of speech means nothing if you don’t believe in it.

To Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP,

Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport,

My answers to your consultation questions are as follows:

Question 1: Which of the following statements do you agree with?

Answer: Option (c) Government should ask Parliament to repeal all of section 40 now

Section 40 would stifle freedom of the press in the United Kingdom. It would put an undue burden on publications which wish to remain entirely independent. They would be forced to shoulder legal costs of complainants whether or not they are found to be at fault.

This would have dire consequences for publications both large and small; making independent publications reticent about reporting important stories for fear of crippling legal costs and bankruptcy.

If the press is to be free, the state has no role in regulating what is published. While signing up to a regulatory body is allegedly voluntary the sanctions contained in Section 40 would constitute state coercion of the press.

Question 2: Do you have evidence in support of your view, particularly in terms of the impacts on the press industry and claimants?

Answer:

* Repealing all of section 40 now is a vital and necessary step to protect the freedom of our press and the democracy it safeguards.

* With nothing to lose, complainants are more likely to launch legal cases against publications (both large and small) based on the smallest of disagreements. These are issues that can be easily resolved by letters to the editor and/or editor corrections; timely and expensive legal procedure is not necessary.

* Increased levels of legal action that will be enabled by section 40 is far more likely to stifle debate in the United Kingdom. It will have drastic effects on the financial situations of small publications, forcing them – and the wider discourse they offer – to close.

* Newspapers are public institutions. They hold historic reputations and an ongoing source of political and social engagement. The more we have, the better.

* John Whittingdale, the former culture secretary, said imposing the cost penalties outlined in section 40 would result in further losses of jobs and titles in the newspaper industry.

Question 3: To what extent will full commencement incentivise publishers to join a recognised self-regulator? Please supply evidence.

Answer: Commencement of section 40 would amount to strong arming independent publishers into signing up for outside regulation by threatening them with financial ruin from complainants even if complaints are found to be spurious.

Question 4: Do you believe that the terms of reference of Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry have already been covered by Part 1 and the criminal investigations?

Answer: Yes, the scope of Leveson Part 1 has already had a chilling effect on the British press, a further inquiry would compound this. Putting the entire British press on trial for the wrongdoing of a small number of journalists is unjust. Where the law has been broken by journalists, criminal investigation into the individuals involved should suffice.

Question 5: Provide evidence

Answer:

* The Press Gazette counts 67 journalists as having been arrested from 2011-2015, more than any country in the Western world in that period. The investigations costing the taxpayer £43.7 million resulted in just 8 convictions for phone hacking (Operation Weeting) and 2 convictions for paying public officials (Operation Elveden). Operation Tuleta into computer hacking returned no convictions. As such the terms of reference of Part 2 have been covered by the criminal investigations which did not find any extensive wrongdoing, despite the vast public resources devoted to them. http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/the-67-uk-journalists-arrested-andor-charged-in-the-course-of-their-jobs-since-2011/

* According to a City partner involved in Leveson Part 1, Part 2 would be “ludicrous” as re-treading the same ground as the criminal cases would undermine the verdicts.

* In the wake of Leveson Part 1 the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) wrote a report expressing concern at the state of UK media freedom. They criticised the conflation of the hacking scandal investigated by Leveson Part 1 with debate over regulation, stressing that “British law provides appropriate remedy for illegal activity in proven cases of wrongdoing.” Launching Part 2 of the Leveson Enquiry is an unnecessary infringement on the independent role of the law in convicting those – in this particular case, journalist’s – of any wrongdoing they are accused of committing.

Question 6: Which of the two options set out below best represents your views?

Answer: • Terminate the Inquiry

The Leveson Inquiry has already damaged the freedom of the press in Britain. In the Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index, the United Kingdom has fallen 19 places since 2010 – we are now ranked below Tonga, Belize and Lithuania.

Postscript:

The Government should not need a consultation if it is serious about upholding the freedom of the press. For centuries Britain has had a free press, unregulated and unstifled by legislation or Royal Charter. Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 presents a serious threat to that proud record.

The impact section 40 could have on smaller publications could be particularly dire. The financial pressure that could be placed on local newspapers would lead to them being strong armed into joining the government selected regulator, or impose a chilling effect on their journalism. That would not be healthy for democracy, and a huge back step for Britain.

Going through with Leveson Part 2 would be a waste of taxpayer’s money, and present barriers to investigative journalism. If the Government is interested in what is best for its citizens, not just itself, it will ignore calls for obstructions to public service journalism.

The Government should not commence with section 40 or consider starting Leveson Part 2 if it is on the side of freedom. The only sensible response to this consultation, would be to bin Leveson and scrap section 40.

If you believe in free speech, you don’t need to take a poxy oath. You can just sign here.

Posted: 18th, December 2016 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Brexit: Theresa May clears the room at the Brussels divorce summit

How’s Brexit going? Well, it’s not, of course. The Government has yet to trigger Article 50. But be in no doubt Theresa May is “playing a masterful hand”.  Andrew Lilico tells Sun readers May has been “crystal clear” in her plans fro Brexit. He says we need no “additional clarity”. Things are “clear” – a word he mentioned sevens times in the article. The only “unclear” thing is what Theresa May will get.

Clear?

Theresa May Brexit

Daily Mirror – May no mates!

 

The Mirror says the country will he handed a £50bn bill to leave the EU. The money is made up of  the “UK’s final two years of EU budget payments plus pensions liabilities  and other commitments we have previously agreed to”. This bill has been “confirmed” by EU negotiators. The Mirror adds that EU Ambassador… anyone? Anyone? Yes, it’s Sir Ivan Rogers. Well, he says leaving the EU could take ten years.

That May has been in Brussels with the other EU country leaders has not escaped the Mirror’s eye. It says May lacks authority and presence in meetings. Her “inexperience” is a “major handicap for Britain”. Her rivals see “victim” stamped on her forehead. She was awkward when filmed standing alone as “Europe’s power players  hug and greet one another at the Brussels’ summit”. It was “excruciating”. May was “desolate”. The other leader then told her to go while they all went to dinner together.

 

Theresa May Brexit

The Sun – no Mates May

 

The Sun agrees. “”NO MAYTES,” it puns. May was “frozen out”.

Over Pages 10 and 11, the Daily Mail sees “KNIVES OUT FOR OUR MAN IN BRUSSELS”. Sir Ivan is being attacked over his “gloomy pessimism”. Sir Ivan, notes the paper, was “top mandarin to Tony Blair”, a man whose mentioning necessitates all Mail readers spinning round three times and spitting. It adds that the aforementioned £50bn bill is a “threat”. It is a”gross upper estimate”.

 

theresa may brexit

No mates May – Daily Mail

 

As in the Mirror, the Mail shows May “friendless” at the summit. Dignitaries “turn their backs” on the Prime Minister.

But the Express has a different view.  Its readers see May in conversation with Germany leader Angela Merkel and European Parliament President Martin Schulz.

 

Theresa May Brexit

May the popular – Daily Express

 

On the matter of that £50bn, a number the Mirror says Number 10 “did not confirm or deny”, we hear from a “Downing Street source”, who says: “Once we have left the EU, the UK government will make decision on how taxpayers’ money is spent.”

Clear?

Posted: 17th, December 2016 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews, Tabloids | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Manchester United cheat Zlatan Ibrahimovich adopts the classic non-denial denial

More on cheating footballers in the form of Zlatan Ibramovich, who in Manchester United’s Premier League match at Crystal Palace handled the ball in the build up to the visitors’ first goal. Having pushed the ball towards Paul Pogba in the Palace box, who duly scored with the next touch, the Swede said post-match: “I think it touched my hand a little bit, then my stomach.”

As with Robert Snodgrass, the Hull City player who dived to win a penalty against the luckless Palace, Zlatan is at pains to construct a sympathetic back story for his offence. We see his hand move towards the ball, but Zlatan presents his body as the benign victim of a molesting force, which only touched his hand a little.

“The situation went fast,” he continues. “I tried to forward the ball to Paul because I saw he was free.”

This plea for understanding can make you hanker for the days of the straightforward denial. But Zlatan’s use of the dramatic-reconstruction-admission is very much in vogue. As Chis Ayres notes, “This uses Hollywood plotting techniques to combine a low-level acceptance of guilt with a backstory and a motive — thus making the acceptance of guilt look unnecessary, and therefore needlessly gracious.”

And just like in Hollywood, Zlatan has his people to protect him. Compare and contrast these match reports.

Crystal Palace FC official website :

Matta clipped it into the area where Ibrahimovic, with a hint of handball, used his torso to nudge the ball onto Pogba, who despite being slightly offside was allowed to continue his celebrations after he poked it past Hennessey from close-range.

Manchester United FC official website:

With just seconds remaining before the break, the Reds’ patience finally paid off, as Ibrahimovic chested Mata’s free-kick into Pogba’s path, allowing the Frenchman the easiest of finishes from six yards.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 16th, December 2016 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Jew hating is ok if the voters want it (and the politicians need it)

The Mail brings news of a “new drive to wipe-out anti-Semitism”. That the story is illustrated by a picture of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn gives readers a clue that the focus of this drive to wipe out hatred of Jews are not aristocrats, dinner-party guests or jihadis, rather the MP for Islington North with friends in murky places. That anti-Semitism is being used to score points is apparent when the Mirror reports on the same story with a picture of Labour MP Luciana Berger, who was subjected to horrendous anti-Semitic abuse. The Mail makes no mention of Berger, whose abuser has been jailed, but does spot the “more than 50 Labour members…suspended for anti-Semitic comments”. The Mirror leaves that bit out.

 

anti-Semitic new statesman kosher conspiracy

The Labour Party supporting New Statesman had a question that might have been rhetorical.

 

The drive is piloted by Teresa May, who says there “will be one definition of anti-Semitism – in essence language or behaviour that displays hatred towards Jews because they are Jews.” It’s odd that a definition is required, and that May should feel a need to spell it out. Anti-Semitism is racism. Simple. In defining what every Jew and sensitive soul can spot a mile away, May is politicising Jew hating and pandering to the kind of balls whereby people can say the most racist things and then plead for dispensation through ignorance.

When accused of anti-Semitism, Naz Shah, a Labour MP, and thus one would hope an intelligent and empathetic human being, explained it away by saying, “The truth is that some of the stuff I have since looked at and understood, I didn’t know at the time. I didn’t get anti-Semitism as racism.” Ms Shah, who following exposure embarked on a self-styled “journey”, added: “I had never come across it. I think what I had was an ignorance.”

After talking to a few people, perhaps about what universal human rights really means, Naz reached a shocking conclusion. She tweeted: “I understand that referring to Israel and Hitler as I did is deeply offensive to Jewish people.” Who knew?

For her accidental racism, Shah, MP for Bradford West, was suspended from the Labour Party and let back in when her journey into what does and what does not constitute racism ended – a trip that lasted a full 11 weeks.

It is intensely troubling that someone able to give free reign to anti-Semitic views should be an elected member of her community. Did Shah acquiesce to anti-Semitism on the hustings as she tried to win the seat from George Galloway’s Respect Party, despite having voted for him in 2012?  That was Galloway who said, “We have declared Bradford an Israel-free zone.”

Julie Burchill wondered:

Of course, it’s possible to criticise Israel without being anti-Semitic – Israelis do it all the time, in perfect freedom, uniquely among Middle Eastern countries.

But it is anti-Semitic to say that the Jews, uniquely, do not deserve their own country – especially when Muslims have so many.

And the enemies of Israel wish there to be yet another Muslim state – Palestine, in which gay men are already exiled and women have been arrested for laughing in public.

There are 230,000 Jews in this country and two million Muslims. If the Labour party was currently committing self-immolation for purely ideological reasons, it would be tragic enough.

But the fact that they are doing it cynically, as well – to win the biggest group of voters – compounds their catastrophe.

The Guardian reported:

Guido Fawkes reports that Shah had employed a Labour councillor, Mohammed Shabbir, who is also alleged to have made antisemitic remarks, claiming Russian Orthodox Jews were involved in “the sex trafficking trade – demand is particularly high among Charedim, the conservative Orthodox Jews, many of whom are regular clients of brothels”.

The Jewish Chronicle also runs a piece on Shabbir’s comments about the decision to fly the Palestinian flag – but not Israel’s flag – at Bradford town hall.

It reports that when some councillors questioned why the Israeli flag could not be flown, Shabbir wrote: “Many here in Bradford would be nauseated at seeing the Nazi flag or some other fascist with their Nazi salutes and chants.”

Writing in the Indy, Ben Judah noted that Naz’s journey could have started closer to home:

Across town, in the constituency of Bradford East, the Liberal Democrat MP David Ward was using Twitter to question how long the “apartheid state of Israel” could last, and tweeting that he too would probably “fire a rocket” if he lived in Gaza. Later, he declared himself “#JeSuis #Palestinian” in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks on a kosher supermarket, after the Charlie Hebdo massacre…

Having been suspended for his comments and reinstated, Ward was selected to represent the LibDems at the 2015 election. He lost. In 2016, Ward was voted onto Bradford Council as a councillor for Bolton and Undercliffe. LibDem leader Tim Farron told the Commons Home Affairs Committee’s anti-Semitism inquiry:

“Once his (Mr Ward’s) time of suspension had completed then he retained all rights as a party member, including being able to put himself forward for reselection and approval and so on. And likewise, in the time since he ceased to be a member of Parliament, to have an involvement at local government level.

“If you’re saying should we look at processes to ensure that our selection is done appropriately and that the disciplinary processes inform that, then that would be something that would come under (Lord) Ken Macdonald’s review.”

“I think that when you look at an individual’s actions, you then have to make sure that justice is done.

“And if a disciplinary process has been gone through, either the person has not been convicted of an offence, for want of a better phrase, or indeed that they have but they have served their time, then it’s appropriate that that person would continue in any other free organisation as they would do otherwise. But it doesn’t mean I associate myself in any way with some of the comments he has made, some of which I would deem to be anti-Semitic.”

Back in the Indy, Judah adds:

The former Lord Mayor of Bradford Khadim Hussain commented on Facebook that Israel was “no doubt” arming Isis, and shared another Facebook post that complained that the deaths of millions of Africans are not taught in schools but “your school education system only tells you about Anne Frank and the six million Zionists that were killed by Hitler”…

And when I visited Bradford, a group of passionate Galloway supporters pinned me to a wall, throttled me and punched me in the head, shouting “Get out you f***ing Jew.”

If you still find it deeply confusing to spot what is is and what is not anti-Semitism, the now educated Naz Shah is here to help. She told the Commons: “Anti-Semitism is racism, full stop.”

There you go, Theresa May. No need for clarification.

The oldest prejudice is back with vigour. Bertolt Brecht’s words ring true: “Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again.” Yeah, he’s been readmitted to the Party.

Posted: 14th, December 2016 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0