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Chinese corruption crackdown screwed Cartier watches

cartier fakes china

 

These aren’t things you’d really think would be connected. How much corruption there is or isn’t in the Chinese economy and the profits of a Swiss watchmaker. But there is indeed a link and it’s worth about £400 million.

The connection is that when people Out East make buckets of cash money from doing something they shouldn’t have done then they’ll invest some of the proceeds in a good looking watch. And the brand matters – because the watch is a signifier of being one of the rich guys. Therefore it has to be one of the brands which is seen as showing that you’re one of the rich guys.

Sure, it’s showing off but with a purpose. It shows you’re a player and if you can show you’re one of those them more games to play in will be offered.

Then what happens with a crackdown upon corruption? Fewer people have the cash to buy them of course. But also, even those who can legitimately buy them from properly earned money won’t – who wants to be market out as a player when there’s a crackdown?

The company took action after stocks of its wristwatches began building up in display cabinets in Asian markets amid a crackdown on corruption in China, where luxury products such as watches and whisky had been dished out as lavish gifts to curry favour with officials, as well as a wider sales slowdown. It was worried that unsold stock would end up being discounted in the so-called “grey market” of unauthorised resellers, damaging the image and pricing power of its brands.

There’s also that point that fewer “presents” were being bought. The effect is rather large:

Shares in Richemont fell sharply on Friday after the Swiss luxury goods group reported annual profits had been hit by more than €200m spent buying back excess stocks of watches to protect its brands from “grey market” discounted sales.

It was a couple of hundred million the year before too.

The real lesson here is that the world economy is a hellishly complex place. Less corruption in China means smaller Swiss watch profits. How can anyone plan something of this complexity? And that really is why planned economies don’t work, it’s just not possible to even know what’s going on let alone predict what will.

Posted: 19th, May 2018 | In: Key Posts, Money, News | Comment


Arsenal balls: Arteta accepts the manager’s job

In the rush to say they got the scoop, the BBC declares: “Ex-Arsenal and Spain midfielder Mikel Arteta has agreed to become the club’s new manager.” He has? Because elsewhere on the BBC we can read: “Should Manchester City assistant Arteta leave Etihad Stadium to move to the Gunners, City boss Pep Guardiola’s preference is to bring in 34-year-old Spain and former Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta as player-coach.” But Arteta to Arsenal is “agreed”. We read it on the BBC.

And as for Iniesta joining Man City, well, Iniesta said in April this year: “I will make a decision to stay at Barcelona or go to China before April 30. I have to assess what is best for me and it will be the most honest for the club.” The BBC reported that.

And then Man City manager Pep Guardiola went on the record: “There is a lot of fake news about the transfers… Andres had to decide his own future and he has decided to go to China to play there. He is going to finish there and after, he has to come back to Barcelona for the next generations, to help us be the club we are. We cannot offer him what he had in Barcelona here. He decided for other reasons, not just football terms.”

On May 9, Iniesta added: “I said that I would not go to Europe and apart from that all possibilities are open. They said I’m not going to China, now they say Japan is an option and I’ve also heard Australia.”

The BBC is wrong. Iniesta is not heading to Man City. So what’s the source of the Arteta to Arsenal story? It’s Goal.com.

 

arteta

 

As soon as someone shouts ‘first’, the rest pile in:

 

arteta arsenal

 

arsenal arteta manager

FIRE!

 

Goal thunders:

The former Gunners midfielder’s return to the club is set to be announced in the coming days as he prepares to replace Arsene Wenger. Mikel Arteta has agreed in principle to replace Arsene Wenger and become the new manager at Arsenal.

In principle? Coming days? Any more facts?

Goal understands that, while no contract has yet been signed, the announcement of Arteta’s return to the Emirates Stadium will be made in the coming days.

Utter guesswork, then. But – yep – Arteta’s looks like the only name on the list (and he’s relatively cheap!).

Posted: 19th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Standing in a betting shop made women want me

They shoot horses and put greyhounds out to graze on the hard shoulder. And now there’s “bloodbath at the bookies” featuring human beings. The Star is labouring under the impression that bookmakers give two hoots about their staff as it leads with how the Government has “slashed maximum stakes at fixed odds betting terminals from £100 to £2”. This will, we’re told, lead to job cuts among the people detailed to scoop up the proceeds of the pitiless gambling industry and deposit the filthy lucre into the burgeoning bank accounts of the big companies running the show.

 

betting adverts tabloids

Betting is sexy!

 

betting adverts tabloids

Who sane dials these lines?

 

The Association of British Bookmakers warns that curbs on “crack cocaine” betting machines will lead to the loss of 21,000 jobs as 4,000 high-street bookies shut. All balls, of course. The big betting companies spend fortunes telling us to bet online, offering inducements for a more fun sporting experience from your smart phone. They don’t do that to improve the lot of their shop workers. Online bookies are often based overseas. They’re happy for British punters to chuck their money to non-British workers.

Switch on pretty much any televised sporting event and someone will tell you how betting is for hard men – men ‘hard’ to argue with, like actor Ray Winstone, or ‘hard’ to touch, like the priapic saddos who think betting on Harry Kane will get them laid, possibly with an actual flesh-and-bone woman.

 

betting adverts tabloids

 

Inside today’s Star there are plenty of adverts for gambling. “Bets plan is a loser,” says the Star’s editorial. The adverts agree – it’s free FUN and you GET YOUR MONEY BACK:

Page 50: topless stunna Michelle Marsh advises readers to “BET HARD & FAST” (see above). Subtle it ain’t.

Pages 46- 48: horse racing times are wrapped round adverts for tipster hotlines (£1.50-a-minute); and more ads for Ladbrokes and Coral – “Bet £5.. .& Get £20 in Free Bets” – “When The Fun Stops Stop – Be Gamble Aware.” Yeah, right.

Pages 27-30:  An entire section advertising Paddy Power bets on the FA Cup final – “The Craziest bets punters have placed this weekend.”

And it’s all done to keep people in work and the high-street bustling. It’s selfless stuff…

Posted: 18th, May 2018 | In: Key Posts, Money, News, Tabloids | Comment


Thomas Markle should profit from Meghan’s wedding like the Royals do

The Daily Mirror picks up the story which first appeared in the Mail on Sunday – the one about Thomas Markle allegedly earning a few quid by posing for photos which can be sold to the Press. Thomas is, of course, Meghan Markle’s father, and when he’s not being door-stepped by Mirror reporters, he’s getting on with his own life. But his alleged staging of a set of photos with British photographers has upset the tabloids, who presumably wanted their men in the bushes to shoot pics of Thomas being a “virtual recluse” for less and syndicate them for more, packaging the album as “The Royals DO Deserve Privacy”, “Has Meghan Inherited Her Dad’s Fat Genes?” and “How Did Thomas Markle Afford A Five-Star Holiday To Thailand?”

 

thomas markle photos newspapers

 

The paper quotes the father-of-the-bride’s son, also called Thomas, who apparently said: “He’ll apologise sincerely to Meg.” Why? The Royal Family are often caught guffing out photos of their lives and their children, including ones taken by Kate. The no-expense spared PR drive that frames Harry, Kate and Wills as a trio of caring, down-with-the-proles workaholics is not just about us loving absurdly entitled, wildlife slaughtering billionaires when they’re between private islands and ski lifts, but the Royals being able to carry on after Her Majesty waves her last and we’re invited to defy gut feelings and nature by looking up at Prince Charles and Camilla. Princess Diana left such a stain on The Munsters that our view is being directed over the crowns of the two people that cheated and lied to the Windsors’ brood mare, falling instead on her children and Kate.

 

thomas markle photos newspapers

 

The Standard updates the story by leading with news that Markle’s half-sister is to “blame” for Thomas’s “fake pictures”. “The bad press over my father doing staged photos is my fault,” says Samantha Grant – who is not invited to the wedding. No. It isn’t. The bad press is over the scurry for post-wedding stories, when the Markles become old hat and we crave scandal and division over “love at first sight” tedium and a marriage”destined” ever since Meghan tried on a Disney Princess outfit when she was five and Charles fancied the Three Degrees. Although the Standard does deliver a two-page feature on the “unlikely love story” of an “ambitious girl from LA” and – get this – “the rebel prince”. Oh, do the other one. The only rebel Prince in recent memory was Edward VIII, formerly a Prince of Wales, who rather than merely pratting around dressed as a recreational Nazi, wore the authentic garb and politics of the Herrenvolk; and married a woman with two living ex-husbands who referred to staff as “lazy, thriving niggers”; and advised Britishers to survive the war on roasted terrapin. Harry’s less rebellious than a weather cock.

 

thomas markle photos newspapers

 

And, reportedly, Grant is here to help stir the pot. She’s rumoured to be penning a rift ‘n’ tell called The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister. “The media can be so cruel,” Grant is quoted by the Daily Star. But at £15 a pop with serialisation rights, a book packs a bigger whack.

 

thomas markle photos newspapers

 

Note: The Daily Mail vowed on 8 September 1997, eight days after the death of Princess Diana:

Mail leads the way in banning paparazzi pictures.

The proprietor of the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Evening Standard announced last night that his papers will not in future purchase pictures taken by paparazzi Viscount Rothermere, chairman of the Daily Mail and General Trust plc said: ‘I am, and always have been, an admirer of Diana, Princess of Wales, and nagged my editors to protect her so far as they could against her powerful enemies. In view of Earl Spencer’s strong words and my own sense of outrage, I have instructed my editors no ‘paparazzi’ pictures are to be purchased without my knowledge and consent.’

Such are the facts.

Posted: 14th, May 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment


Freedom wins as MPs reject Leveson 2

Only two newspaper, The Times and The Sun (prop R. Murdoch), lead with the great news that Ministers have fought off an attempt to trigger a second stage of the Leveson inquiry into Press standards. Why more don’t is a mystery. But, then, a Commons vote on the Data Protection Bill was low on the news cycle. The Government won by just nine votes – 304 votes to 295. It was that close. Five Tories voted with Labour.

We should celebrate this victory for freedom, cheer a vote that thumbs its nose at the sneering drive to diminish the Press, to destroy all that frenetic, thrusting, contrarian, offensive, truth-seeking and enlivening news and opinion, and beat it dull with a legal cosh.

Culture Secretary Matt Hancock said it was a “great day” for a free press. Hacked Off, who want State-backed regulators to oversee what can and cannot be said, warned “the fight goes on in Parliament and the courts”. But yesterday the censors lost. And the public don’t back them. When asked if we supported Section 40 and Leveson 2, 79 per cent of us from a whopping 174,730 responses said ‘No’ and ‘No’.

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband is upset that his bid to shackle free expression, reduce choice, stick it to the gutter press and the slum people who read it, and boot the ‘Press barons’ was defeated. Had it passed publishers not signing up to the state-approved regulator would need to pay their own and their opponents’ legal costs in relation to alleged data breaches and more – win or lose. It would have been another blow to our beleaguered free Press. Had Miliband, Tom Watson, the deputy Labour leader, and their side won the day, it would be heretical and financially ruinous to print something the Government disapproves of. If you can’t be trusted to censor yourself, the Government would enforce your compliance and prevent you from corrupting the slack-jawed masses with your words. Vote ‘yes’ to Ed’s policy and we all move a step closer to speaking with the assuredness of a man who has read one book and agreed with everything in it.

 

ed miliband leverson

“Do as I think”

 

Most newspapers have signed up to Ipso, the Independent Press Standards Organisation, which has no intention of applying for recognition under the royal charter. good, Some control is required. But the State should be kept well out of it.

We should let people decide what they want to read. Don’t smear readers as stupid and incapable of reason. Progress comes through dialogue and challenge. Censorship is for prudes, control freaks, bores, totalitarian regimes, and people who mistook The Young Ones for a documentary and knew Rick was always right. Yesterday’s vote was a victory for trust in humanity. It was that big.

Posted: 10th, May 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


The scandal of Motorway coffee costing more

motorway service station coffee

 

The Daily Mail has noticed that a coffee at a motorway services station costs more from McDonalds, Costa or KFC than it does from the same outlets not at a motorway services station. The explanation for this is really very simple – rent – and it’s the one explanation that we’re not given. Which is a pity because it is a very simple explanation.

Breaking up your journey with a coffee stop at a motorway service station? You may find it breaks the bank too.

An investigation has found that roadside stores charge up to 28 per cent more for a medium latte – costing motorists an extra 74p compared with the high street.

How desperately awful, eh?

Breaking up your journey with a coffee stop at a motorway service station? You may find it breaks the bank too.

An investigation has found that roadside stores charge up to 28 per cent more for a medium latte – costing motorists an extra 74p compared with the high street.

We’re given varied reasons for this, including the station operators claiming that it’s more expensive to operate such stations than general run of the mill services so therefore prices are higher. But it’s why costs are higher than matters and that’s rent.

The basic underlying story here goes all the way back to the very dawn of economics when David Ricardo published his book on rent, in 1817. If you can produce more crop from a piece of land then the rent on it will be higher than land that produces less. We can say the same thing by insisting that the cost of the land will be higher where there’s more money to be made. A third way of saying just that same thing is that the landlord always gets a chunk of whatever can be produced from a piece of land.

This is actually why Starbucks was making no profit – thus paying no tax – a few years back. They had lots of leases on lots of buildings that would be good to sell coffee out of. Because the landlords get a piece of that action places good to sell coffee out of have higher rents. Starbucks wasn’t making a profit selling lots of coffee but the landlords were doing just fine.

But that’s where there are lots of shops around. Starbucks couldn’t raise the price of coffee in those expensive places because if they did then we’d go to the one around the corner. Where prices were lower because they were paying less rent. That landlord’s share was thus coming out of Starbucks profits, not ours, the customers.

Now replay the same game but where there isn’t another shop just around the corner. We all know that lots of money can be made running a services station. Once people have decided to go there they’re a rather captive market though. So rents are high. But instead of those high rents coming out of the profits of the operators, they come out of our pockets in the form of higher prices. Because once we’re there we cannot go to another coffee shop.

There is no solution to this either. Just because there are only so many service stations, and once we stop at one we’re going to be doing our buying there, there’s lots of money to be had from running a service station. That means high rents – and that will, because of the lack of competition, lead to higher prices.

It really is all there in Ricardo’s book from 1817. It’s about time everyone understood it too, isn’t it? Two centuries being long enough?

Image: The Drive of Our Lives – The Heyday of the Motorway Service Station

 

Posted: 8th, May 2018 | In: Key Posts, Money, News, The Consumer | Comment


Racism is only unacceptable if McDonnell and Corbyn notice it in Pendle

The story of the Tory and the racist joke features Pendle Council, Lancashire, and Rosemary Carroll’s return to the Conservative party’s ranks. In July 2017, Carroll was suspended from the Conservative Party for sharing a joke on Facebook. The Lancashire Evening Post added a dash of tautology and called the joke “racist and derogatory”. Council leader Mohammed Iqbal made an official complaint and called for Carroll councillor to be expelled from the Council and the Conservative Party.

Pendle Tory leader Coun. Cooney acknowlegded the “racist post which had been shared on Facebook by one of our councillors” and stated: “We will not tolerate racism of any form.”

By now you want to know two things: what was the joke and what happened next? Well, the Daily Mirror reproduces the joke. Most other newspapers and the BBC do not. Indeed the BBC says: “Tories urged to act in ‘racist joke’ row at Pendle Council,” the broadcaster unsure what is racist. Without the joke, the story is lacking. Here it is:

“I took my dog to the dole office to see what he was entitled to. The bloke behind the counter said ‘you idiot, we don’t give benefits to dogs’. “I argued ‘why not? He’s brown, he stinks, he’s never worked a f***ing day in his life & he can’t speak a f***ing word of English’. “The man replied: ‘His first payment will be Monday’.”

Nasty stuff.

Carroll spoked to LADbible. Her apology contained a blend of sympathetic back story and the caveat now routine in all apologies, the one that places the onus on the recipient and their reaction, ‘if I have caused offence’. She said:

“It was a mistake, obviously, somebody posted it to me and I thought I was deleting it. I don’t use Facebook much. Everything has gone over the top now. It was a genuine mistake. I can only apologise, because I am not racist by any means. All I can say is, if I’ve caused offence, I am truly sorry. I don’t do stuff like this and have closed that Facebook thing.”

In May, Carroll rejoined the Tories.

Tory leader Paul White says Ms Carroll had “learned form her mistake”. Mohammmed Iqbal says:  “They should have done the decent thing and distanced themselves from her. I’m appalled. The suspension was a gimmick.”

Carroll’s return was timely. In the council elections, the Tories won control of Pendle council by a single seat. The Conservatives control Pendle with 25 seats, ahead of Labour’s 15 and the Liberal Democrats’ nine.

And then the story got bigger. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said it was “unacceptable” for Carroll to return. “To have the Conservative Party take control of that council by reinstating a councillor who used the foulest, foulest joke, a racist joke is unacceptable,” he said.

If Carroll’s return is wrong is – and argue amongst yourselves if it is – is it also wrong for Naz Shah, Jeremy Corbyn and others accused of racism to be in the Labour Party?

Shah was John McDonnell’s PPS. Shah is the Bradford West MP – and what if her job gave the Labour Party an overall Commons majority? – who shared on Facebook the idea of “transporting” citizens of the world’s only Jewish state (that’s Israel, not New York) to the middle of the USA. Having called for a country to be obliterated and “foreigner” Jews forcibly relocated away from what many see as their ancient home, she added the comment “problem solved”.

The JC added: “Shah also posted a tweet with a link to a blog which claimed Zionism had been used to ‘groom’ Jews to ‘exert political influence at the highest levels of public office’.”  The BBC adds: “A number of other posts emerged, with her comparing Israel to the Nazis and saying ‘the Jews are rallying’.”

Nasty. Labour suspended Shah. But she apologised, kept her job and her salary. After a brief suspension (a little over 3 months), Shah was back.

Former Labour major of London Ken Livingstone is still suspended by Labour. He said Shah’s comments were “rude and over-the-top” but not anti-Semitic – even though Shah accepted it was and apologised. And then he doubled down, opining: “When Hitler won his election in 1932 his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.”

John Rentoul noted:

Livingstone’s refusal to accept that he had ever come across anti-Semitism in his 47 years in the Labour Party. And hence his refusal when pressed on the BBC’s Daily Politics today to accept that Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, whom he invited to London and who wrote that “every Jew in the world” should be fought by “every Muslim”, was anti-Semitic because he had never said anything anti-Semitic to him.

Back to Jeremy Corbyn, then, of whom Nick Cohen writes:

Corbyn invited Hamas and Hizbollah to Parliament and called them his ‘friends’. Bear in mind that Hamas’s Charter is explicitly genocidal – it makes it clear its supporters want to kill Jews and repeats Nazi conspiracy theories. Their founding Charter also rules out any peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestine problem. It says:

Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement… There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through jihad.

See a pattern?

Ben McIntrye has a good article in the Times on why Livingstone is no historian:

The suggestion that Hitler backed the idea of a Jewish homeland underpins an association between Nazism and Zionism that is fundamentally antisemitic. It is also wrong. “You can’t expel someone for stating historical fact,” Livingstone insists. But his claim is not a fact: it is a distortion of history, a defence of the indefensible that has undoubtedly emboldened antisemites within his party, leading to the current meltdown…

The Haavara Agreement was really just one more way of ethnically cleansing the Jews from Germany and taking their wealth. The idea that it represented any kind of support for a Jewish homeland, a central tenet of Zionism, is ludicrous and a deliberate perversion of its real import…

The idea that the Holocaust was due to the onset of “madness” on Hitler’s part is also wrong, reducing a programme of collective evil to an act of insanity on the part of one man. Hitler’s genocide was not the unexpected policy of a lone madman but premeditated, rational by Nazi logic, and purely wicked.

The oldest trick in the book of cornered politicians is to claim to have been accused of something they have not been accused of, and deny it. “I did not say Hitler was a Zionist,” the former London mayor said. “And that was why I was suspended.” Again, not true: he was punished because he claimed Nazi “support” for Zionism, a more subtle insinuation and a misreading of historical fact.

After Livingstone’s comments, things escalated. The Times again:

John Mann, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group against antisemitism, branded Mr Livingstone a “Nazi apologist” in a confrontation outside a TV studio that was captured live on camera. Mr Mann is reported to have called him a “f***ing disgrace”.

When the party released a statement early in the afternoon to announce Mr Livingstone’s suspension, a spokesman added that Mr Mann had been summoned to see the chief whip about his conduct.

Michael Dugher, Labour MP for Barnsley East and a former frontbencher, said that announcing the actions at the same time represented “drawing some kind of moral equivalence between John Mann and Ken Livingstone”.

“Yet again they’ve prevaricated because it was another of their close allies up to their necks in antisemitism again,” Mr Dugher said.

Is any of that “unacceptable” to John McDonnell?

In January, we got more:

On Saturday, International Holocaust Memorial Day, Mr Livingstone, 72, a former mayor of London, appeared in a programme called Has the Holocaust been exploited to oppress others? on the Iranian state-owned channel Press TV.

He said that Hitler had worked with the Zionist movement to move Jewish people to Israel: “He worked with the Zionist movement to move . . . to get 60,000 to go, but it was about half a million — and then he changed his policy and went for genocide.”

The presenter, Roshan Muhammed Salih, told viewers that Mr Livingstone, who has been suspended from Labour since April 2016, had been “targeted by the Zionist lobby here in the UK”.

You know who else used to appear on Press TV? Yeah: Jeremy Corbyn who used to present a show on the channel – although since Labour was exposed as haven for anti-Semites, traces of Corbyn’s journalism seem to have vanished from YouTube.

 

Corbyn mural east london

Corbyn and ‘Yvonne Ridley’ – someone of that name also used to present a show on Press TV  – both voice their support for an anti-Semitic mural in East London.

 

If Rosemary Carroll’s return to the Tories is “unacceptable” to Labour – she underwent diversity training and apologised;  Shah went on a “journey” of self-discovery and apologised fully; Corbyn says of supporting a huge painting of Jewish bankers sat on the backs of naked workers, something the Guardian says “resembled a homage to the Nazi newspaper Der Stürmer”, “I sincerely regret that I did not look more closely at the image I was commenting on.”

Labour only notices racism when it’s not about them and everyone else is pointing at it.

Posted: 7th, May 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Only bigots and fools think Jews lost Barnet for Labour

According to the Indy, the Conservatives won control of Barnet Council in north London because “Labour was punished by voters for the antisemitism controversy”. Er, no.

Also wrong is Owen Jones, who writing beneath the hopeful headline “The biggest election threat facing Labour is complacency”, tells Guardian readers:

“Westminster, Barnet and Kensington and Chelsea are all Tory citadels in the capital that have never surrendered to the wooing of Labour.”

Jones’s long and monocular story tells of Tory “chaos” over Windrush and makes a single mention of all that anti-Jew hatred in the heart of Labour’s ranks:

Barnet, in north London, is home to Britain’s biggest Jewish population, many of whom feel angry about, and fearful of, the left’s antisemitic fringe.

Fringe? Is Jeremy Corbyn now on the fringe of the party he leads?

Jones might also like to read this letter in the Guardian:

Labour took control of the council in 1994 with the support of the Lib Dems, remaining in power until the election of 2002. From 1997 until 2010, it returned two Labour MPs: Rudi Vis (Finchley and Golders Green) and Andrew Dismore (Hendon). Not so “otherworldy” then.

Having reduced Jews from individuals with their own likes, dislikes, needs, contradictions and prejudices to a group who vote en masse – what racism? – the Indy adds:

Labour was widely expected to win the borough for the first time since the local authority was created in 1964. London Mayor Sadiq Khan had predicted the party would “probably” claim victory but admitted fears about left-wing antisemitism could damage their campaign.

Depressing stuff, no, not least of all because the narrative goes that only Jews give a toss about anti-semitism at voting time. Is Barnet the only borough where race hate is punished by voters? Can it be that everywhere Labour won is a haven for anti-Semites?

Barnet’s Labour group leader Barry Rawlings tells us:

“…to be honest most of the conversations have been about potholes rather than antisemitism. That said, we want people to know it is an issue we take very seriously in the Labour Party.”

No. You don’t. Anti-semitism is not something Labour takes seriously. Of course, if the Guardian and Indy are correct, only lots more Jews in lots more wards would force Labour to censure Jew baiting and Jew hatred in its ranks. But thinking that way is to fall into the trap of Jews losing Barnet for Labour.

Council leader Richard Cornelius, a Conservative councillor, also said voters were generally more concerned about “local issues” rather than accusations of antisemitism within Labour.

“It’s things like potholes, the collection of their rubbish bins and keeping the council tax low,” he said.

Most people didn’t bother to vote at all. Voter turnout in Barnet 43.7% – an increase from 41.1% four years ago. Sod the Jews – it’s apathy that prevented a bigger Tory win.

 

2011 – census

 

And how many Jews are there in Barnet? The census tells us:

Garden Suburb in Barnet was the most populous Jewish ward in 2001, even though it has grown since, it has been overtaken by Golders Green, which has increased by a third in a decade.

JPR [ Jewish Policy Research] now puts the number of Jews in Golders Green at 7,661 – which is considerably higher than the 6,795 people in the ward who identified themselves as Jews by answering the religion question in the census.

Not all that many, then. Although many don’t want their thoughts and aspirations to be calculated and sieved through race:

JPR has adjusted the total by adding the estimated number of Jews from among people in the ward who did not answer the religion question. In fact, JPR demographer David Graham has found that in wards with large Jewish populations, the number of residents overall who omitted the religion question was 9.3 per cent — more than the 7.2 per cent who left it blank across the country as a whole.

 

Total Barnet population*, 2001–2016

Total Barnet population, 2001–2016 – Via

 

What about non-Jews?

According to the 2011 census, by religion, Christianity is the largest faith in Barnet accounting for 41.2% of the total population. The next most common religions are Judaism (15.2%) and Islam (10.3%).

Drop those flaming torches and stand down the hunt, Corbynists. It wasn’t the Jews wot wunnit for the Tories in Barnet. It’s doubtless comforting for Corbyn and his supporters with their adherence to the reductive and patronising power of identity politics to view Jewish voters as a ‘community’ best managed through lunch with a ‘community leader’, but people are individuals. Labour lost and the Tories won for as many reasons as there are voters.

 

Posted: 4th, May 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Transfers: Arsenal, Soyuncu and the truth about Turkish football

Arsenal have seen off a bid from Bayern Munich to sign 21-year-old Turkish defender Caglar Soyuncu, says the BBC. Not that it requires much thought for a hungry defender to pick the Gunners – any defender with even a modicum of pace, power, poise and positional awareness will walk into the current Arsenal team.

But the Beeb is wrong. Soyuncu hasn’t signed. He remains on the books of Bundesliga club Freiburg. News of his arrival at Arsenal is fanned by Altinordu president Seyit Mehmet Ozkan.

Who?

Well, Soyuncu used to play at Turkish club Altinordu. “Caglar Soyuncu is set to join Arsenal,” Ozkan is reported to have told the “International Football Economic Forum”.

The what?

“Arsenal demanded his youth information from us,” says Ozkan. “We’ll earn from him, if he joins Arsenal. Bayern Munich wants him too, but he’s on the way to the Premier League.”

 

 

 Turkish defender Caglar Soyuncu

 

Back to the International Football Economic Forum, something introduced to readers by the Standard, which is the source for the Beeb’s ‘fake’ news on Soyuncu signing for Arsenal. Not much information on this body appears on the web.

But a bit of digging reveals that it was held at the Grand Tarabya Hotel, Istanbul. Sabah newspaper, which hosted the event, lists the international names on the rostrum:

Youth Sports Minister Osman Aşkın Bak, TFF President Yıldırım Demirören , TFF 1st Vice President and Member of UEFA Board of Directors Servet Yardımcı, G.Saray President Mustafa Cengiz , Beşiktaş President Fikret Forest , Başakşehir President Göksel Gümüşdağ,  Altınordu President Mehmet Ozkan, former director of Manchester United and Chelsea Peter Kenyon, star players Gomis, Adebayor, Babel, Rodallega, SABAH Sports Manager Murat Özbostan, Fotomaç Newspaper Editor-in-Chief Zeki Uzundurukan, İnteltek AŞ. General Manager Ahmet Sezer, Passolig General Manager Ceyhun Kazancı, Aktif Bank General Manager Assist. Ahmet Erdal Güncan, Director of Türk Telekom Services Özlem Kalkan Karabulut, G. Saray Commercial Operations Director Kerem Ertan, F. General Manager of Communication Services Hakan Demir, writer Levent Tuzemen, Bülent Timurlenk and Spanish journalist J. Castro Nogale.

The only non-Turks on the panels appear to be: 4 “star players”, Peter Kenyon and a Spanish journalist.

It’s aims:

The International Football Economy Forum… aims to increase knowledge and awareness by creating rational, visionary, creative, sustainable and qualified targets and to increase the brand value of Turkish football by creating public opinion…

Fikret Orman tells the lads:

“Taking a glance at the star players’ perceptions about Turkey; It seems to be a stop before going to the Middle East. If we increase the brand value of the Super League, we can transfer the appropriate players to more economic conditions…

“If we increase the traceability, as in the case of Cenk Tosun [now at Everton], soccer player sales will come at a high price, all of them related with traceability and if we can increase this, the revenue rights of broadcasting rights will increase too. The majority of the sponsors in the league are doing it to become a world brand ..

In light of this marketing drive, are Arsenal really looking to sign Soyuncu for a fee as high as £40m? Ozkan’s words to the Forum are sieved through the wonders of Google Translate:

Speaking at the International Football Economy Forum… Özkan stated that they will continue to trust and provide young players with “We have won Çağlar Söyüncü and Cengiz Ünder for Turkish and European football. I will go to Germany for Sunday and to follow Chelsea to England on Sunday, and I’m going to sell football to both of them.”

And on Arsenal:

Of Turkey in the world take place in the football market, emphasizing that it is linked to the universal Seyit Mehmet Ozkan, “beginning of last season we sold Freiburg Ages Söyünc is to be transferred to Arsenal.”

Well, maybe… Only to the trusty BBC is Soynucu to Arsenal a done deal. And look out for the BBC’s scoop that Roma’s Cengiz Ünder has joined Chelsea. He hasn’t.

Posted: 4th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Key Posts, News, Sports | Comment


Government championing free speech at Universities is beyond irony

Sam Gyimah, the universities minister, presents himself as a champion of free speech. He says prudes, activists’ and censors attempting to silence voices not like their own are “chilling” in a democracy. Those “safe spaces” on British campuses are for fools. “No platforming” is for losers. (No platforming was adopted by the National Union of Students in 1974.) Banning things from campus, like the Sun newspaper, the Christian Union and Nietzsche, is for prigs.

 

free speech boston

 

Mr Gyimah says:

“A society in which people feel they have a legitimate right to stop someone expressing their views on campus simply because they are unfashionable or unpopular is rather chilling. There is a risk that overzealous interpretation of a dizzying variety of rules is acting as a brake on legal free speech on campus. That is why I am bringing together leaders from across the higher education sector to clarify the rules and regulations around speakers and events to prevent bureaucrats or wreckers on campus from exploiting gaps for their own ends.”

Writing in the Times, he adds:

The current landscape around free speech on campus is murky at best with a dizzying array of disjointed guidelines for universities, student unions and associations to follow. When there are so many different interpretations of the rules, there is the risk that legal free speech will be stifled, either by well-intentioned but jittery managers, or by ill-intentioned wreckers.

The office for students, which came into force on 1st April, will play a key role in this area and can use its powers to name, shame or even fine institutions for not upholding the principle of free speech. But for them to be effective, we need all our institutions to work together to make sure free speech is upheld.

But safe spaces and trammels on free speech do not grow in a vacuum. The Government has banned people from entering the UK and speaking at universities. In 2017, Julien Blanc, aka ‘the pick-up artist’ was banned from entering Britain on the reasoning that he promotes sexual assault. Just as we are to suppose that sane and intelligent students – adults – hearing a different view will turn into gibbering wrecks or else jihadis, one word from Blanc and a bloke will ignore the law, the love and respect for his mother, values strong and vibrant women in his life have instilled in him, and commit a heinous crime.

The troubling thing is that Government, politicians of all stripes and students are on the same page; they are all in favour of censorship. Both view their fellow humans as suggestible and vulnerable, mentally-negligible weaklings in need of protection from things (see the bans on advertising gambling, ciggies and sugar) and individuals holding dangerous ideas. A strident view can be cast out as ‘hate speech’. To the censors it’s morally brave to protect lesser minds from other ideas, which are, of course, wrong. Intolerance must be tolerated, say these saviours, lest correct and virtuous ideas be undermined.

The result of all this banning and censorship on society – both official and creeping self-censorship – is malign. It’s either free speech or it isn’t. No buts.

 

Posted: 3rd, May 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Staffordshire ‘pigs’ tell butcher to remove smutty signs

Butcher Pete Lymer no longer sells ‘big breasted birds’, ‘big cocks’ and ‘horny sausages’ at J W Ash & Son, in Ball Haye Street, Leek. “We’ve put the signs out for years and it’s always been a bit of a laugh,” he tells his local paper. “Just after Christmas apparently somebody complained to the police, saying it was offensive.”

Horny sausages? What’s in them – bone and rhino?

But here’s the thing: no shopper complained to the police about the smutty language on the butcher’s signs, the kind of puns former Great British Bake Off presenters Mel and Sue have built a BBC career on.

“Last month a lady from the police came in and asked if we could pull our sign in,” adds Mr Lymer. “And a bobby came in last Thursday. They’re just doing their job so I’m not annoyed with the individuals.”

What is the job of the police? When did Saudi Arabia open an office of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice in England? Because Staffordshire Police have gone on the record to say it all them. “We’ve received no complaints about signage outside J W Ash and Son butchers in Leek,” says a police spokesman. “However, the local Chief Inspector for the Moorlands did advise the owner to give careful consideration to what was written on the boards in case anyone took offence. No other action has been taken.”

Pigs! No, not the unformed men and women going about the place preventing non-crimes and thought crimes before they’ve happened. Not the police’s top brass cleaning the streets of things that don’t comply with their narrow world view. Actual pigs diced and slid onto skewers – you know, ‘meaty pork swords’.

Posted: 3rd, May 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


AS Roma president Jim Palottta on Sean Cox and Liverpool is powerful stuff

AS Roma president Jim Pallotta has a few words to say on Sean Cox, the Liverpool fans left for dead by violent criminals – “fucking morons” – when the sides met in the Champions League, his club and more:

I don’t want to talk about the game at all at Liverpool. What I want to talk about is how these games are great but they’re not life and death. What’s going on right now with Sean Cox in Liverpool, that’s life and death and that affects his family. I don’t really give a shit about the score of the game. It’s disappointing to me that Rome and AS Roma get blamed for a few individuals who do stupid things.

Now, I don’t know the whole story. All I’ve seen is what I saw on the video, like most others, and at least that part of the video with Sean is just the most disgusting stupidity and my prayers are for him and his family.

It’s depressing though that all of the other fans at Roma get blamed for something that, going back to that saying that I had about a year and a half ago… a few people wrecking things for everyone else. I don’t blame our fans. We have unbelievably great fans across the board. The Curva Sud… the only reason we come back and win games like we did against Barcelona is because of the 99.9% of the fans in the Curva Sud who are great. Then, occasionally, you get a few, normally outside of the game, more than anything else… it’s just absolutely ridiculous.

But it’s time now for things to change in Italy and in Rome, because it is just happening too much. I’ll go back to something that happened in 1993. I was in Florence in 1993 and I was in a museum that all of us know. At the end of the day, when the museum closed, I was going to have dinner in a restaurant right next to the museum and I ended up getting into a better restaurant about a mile away. The next morning I got up and I drove at six in the morning to Paris. Most of the night, all I’d heard was sirens. I got to Paris and I pulled up to the hotel and the doorman asked me where I was coming from. I said I was coming from Florence and the doorman turned to me and said, ‘Ooh, big bomb!’ I couldn’t understand what he was saying and I went inside and checked in and was having a beer with a friend of mine and CNN was on and it turned out they’d blown up 20% of the museum. All I remember after that night was Italians got together and said, ‘Enough is enough of this shit!’ I remember millions of Italians, or it looked like millions of Italians, all over the country started marching against the criminal elements and saying, ‘You are destroying our history’.

We have a long history at Roma and what’s going on when you have a few stupid people is that they destroy our history and they attack our legacy and I’m tired of it. It’s not just an issue for Rome. It’s an issue for Italy and it’s an issue for the authorities and it’s an issue for all of to band together and to finally wake up so that we don’t have a reputation – that’s not deserved around the rest of the world – that our fans are not good fans because our fans are the best fans in the world – it’s just a couple of fucking morons that take the rest of us down.

Much better than the usual corporate guff.

Posted: 29th, April 2018 | In: Key Posts, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Daily Mail: not knowing what gives you cancer gives you cancer

daily-mail-cancer

 

Lots of people wrongly believe things like stress, electromagnetic frequencies, microwave ovens, GM foods and drinking from plastic bottles cause cancer. A study in the European Journal of Cancer, by a team from University College London (UCL) and the University of Leeds surveyed 1,330 people in England. Lion Shahab, from UCL, tells media: “People’s beliefs are so important because they have an impact on the lifestyle choices they make.”

Where do people get the idea that all manner of stuff gives you cancer – that disease the slack-jawed and mentally negligible tell us people “battle” (BBC)  and “Stand up to” (Channel 4)?

 

daily mail cancer

 

The Daily Mail has seen the research and tells its readers:

Do YOU know what increases your cancer risk? An alarming number of people believe in fake causes – and don’t know about the real dangers…

What are the real dangers?

…many people are still confused about risk factors, despite vast sums being spent on public health education campaigns.

A sizeable minority of the public either fail to appreciate the significance of known risk factors or hold unfounded beliefs about possible causes, such as using mobile phones or being near overhead power lines.

 

daily mail cancer

 

daily mail cancer

 

Who to blame for what the lack of knowledge? The Mail warns, “people increasingly getting their news from social media – sometimes from unreliable sources (so-called ‘fake news’).”

Some read the Daily Mail.

Like this – The Daily Mail’s A-Z of Things That Give you Cancer.

Posted: 28th, April 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


The Fight To Own Alfie Evans

Alfie Evans ( May 9 2016 – April 28 2018) has died at Liverpool’s Alder Hey Hospital, where he has been since his parents took him there in December 2016. He succombed to a degenerative neurological condition.

But… Who had control over Alfie Evans’ life? Who owned him? That was the news story. It wasn’t his parents, Tom Evans and Kate James. It wasn’t the Pope. And it certainly wasn’t Alfie Evans, not since a judge said his brain had “been wiped out… [it] is almost entirely water”.

On 1 February 2018 lawyers for the hospital told a court that it would be “unkind and inhumane” to continue treating Alfie. But – yep – his brain was “wiped out”, so what harm in trying – further treatment could cause him no physical pain? The law said Alfie was effectively no longer a person but also said that he was one and that he should be allowed to die. Confused?

On 20 February, Justice Hayden, who we just heard from, said there was no hope for Alfie and sided with the hospital. His treatment would stop. Alfie’s parents appealed. And lost. The Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights rejected their right to appeal.

Questions abounded. Who gets to decide the fate of children? What is in Alfie’s best interests? Is a judge best placed to empathise with Alfie? Medical opinion and parental rights were being weighed by the law. The legal assumption is not one of parental autonomy. That should change. The other legal assumption is not that life is always preferable.

 

 

The story went global. And it got nasty. On 6 April, Tom Evans voiced his intention to remove his son from the hospital. Police arrived to stop him. Hospital staff were abused by Alfie’s supporters. That was disgraceful. Pro-life Christians saw a cause to get stuck in to. American Evangelists tweeted furiously. The Pope wanted to help. Italy offered Alfie Italian citizenship, allowing him to be moved to the specialist private Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome.

But he never went. In the High Court, Hayden said that sending Alfie to Italy would be wrong and pointless. The Court of Appeal judges upheld his decision. The Supreme Court said “every legal issue in this case is governed by Alfie’s best interests… There is also no reason for further delay. The hospital must be free to do what has been determined to be in Alfie’s best interests. That is the law in this country.”

But surely once the medics had debated and decided that they could do not more for Alfie, he should have been free to leave their care. His release should have been a viable option for the parents. But the hospital kept hold of him, turning a patient into a virtual prisoner. They and the courts placed themselves above the child’s parents, the people who really did love and cherish him. The parents should have been allowed to decide what was best for their son. They did not ask the NHS to continue to fund their son’s care. They wanted to know that they had tried everything.

To be denied that is cruel.

Posted: 28th, April 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Spurs Harry Kane goes full Atletico Mince over being ‘bullied’

Spurs striker Harry Kane thinks he’s being bullied. Kane is said to be upset over a joke made by PFA chairman Ben Purkiss (Swindon Town FC) at the recent awards do. Purkiss told the room: “Harry Kane is so prolific that he is able to score without touching the ball.”

And…? And nothing. The reference being, of course, Kane’s sad and desperate – and oddly successful – mission to claim Spurs’ winning goal against Stoke City a few weeks ago. The ball appeared to go directly in from a Christian Eriksen freekick. But Kane felt a draft on his shirt and claimed it;  taking home, presumably, any goal bonus and edging closer to the Golden Boot for the Premier League’s top scorer.

The Daily Mirror notes:

It is understood Kane and his family are furious and see the jokes being made at the striker’s expense as a form of bullying.

Bullying? He’s a grown man, hymned by the masses and reared in a bubble of sycophants and lackays. Suck it up, Harry. You’re looking like a fool.

 

 

Posted: 27th, April 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Martin Lewis Is Suing Facebook – Good Luck With That

Martin Lewis we all know as the money saving expert who set up – and made a fortune from – MoneySavingExpert. Which is why various people trying to flog scam cryptocurrencies have been using him to push their wares in Facebook ads. We know of Lewis as being pretty savvy about money so why not try to co-opt his image?

Well, one reason why not is that it will obviously piss him off:

The founder of MoneySavingExpert and well known money saving expert Martin Lewis is to began a lawsuit against Facebook in London’s High Court on Monday.

Lewis said he had taken the decision “to try and stop all the disgusting repeated fake adverts from scammers it refuses to stop publishing with my picture, name and reputation.”

There’s a problem here of course. One such being that people who saw the ads might well have been mislead into investing into entire and complete duds:

He claims Facebook has published more than 50 fake posts bearing his name in the last year, causing vulnerable people to hand over thousands of pounds to criminals.

Mr Lewis told the Press Association the legal action was the result of months of frustration with scammers piggybacking on his reputation and preying on Facebook users with outlandish get-rich-quick scams.

He said people have handed over money in good faith, only to find the advert has nothing to do with Mr Lewis or his company.

That’s a significant problem, of course it is. But there’s another one here as well:

Today (Monday 23 April), I will issue High Court proceedings against Facebook, to try and stop all the disgusting repeated fake adverts from scammers it refuses to stop publishing with my picture, name and reputation. To explain it, below is the official press release announcing the action.

You see, in law, Facebook isn’t the publisher. Therefore a claim of defamation doesn’t work. The actual publisher, the person responsible in law, is the person who wrote the post, or made the ad. Not Facebook itself. The situation here is akin to the telephone company or Royal Mail. Sure, both systems of communication can be used to do illegal things. And the people who do so are guilty of using them to do illegal things. But the systems themselves aren’t guilty. They have a legal status called “common carrier.” They’re responsible for what they do themselves which is illegal but not for what other people use the system to do.

And at least as far as we know the internet giants like Facebook are given this common carrier status.

A suit against those posting or making ads would almost certainly succeed. One against Facebook not so much. And you shouldn’t be buying cryptocurrencies because of Facebook ads anyway, no matter whose face appears in them.

Posted: 23rd, April 2018 | In: Key Posts, Money, News, Technology | Comment


Martin Lewis sues Facebook over scam ads; but who watches MoneySupermarket?

The added benefits of ‘money saving expert’ Martin Lewis suing Facebook for allowing fraudsters to use his name to trick money from people who trust him is that Facebook gets another kicking – good news for publishers jealous and wary of its power – and media-savy Lewis gets to be relevant. Lewis has built a very lucrative career advising people how to save cash. In 2012, he sold MoneySavingExert.com for £87m to MoneySupermarket.com, which runs an online price comparison service.

As the BBC reported at the time:

In the 12 months to the end of last October, MoneySavingExpert generated revenues of nearly £16m from 39 million users. Of this income, about 59% was earned from referral fees paid by MoneySupermarket.

It’s no mere tip-sheet.

In 2017, MoneySavingExpert reported:

Comparison site MoneySupermarket has been fined £80,000 after it sent an email to millions of customers who had opted out of marketing messages.

The story on MoneySavingExpert.com makes no mention of the site’s relationship to MoneySupermarket. Is that fair?

 

martin lewis

Martin Lewis at the top of a story that makes no reference to the fact MoneySavingExpert is owned by MoneySupermarket.

 

moneysavingexpert martin lewis

No mention of the sites’ relationship in the story

 

Promoting financial products is a lucrative business.

Lewis says Facebook earns money from the fake ads, making it is responsible for them. What’s odd and troubling is that Facebook, having taken the villains’ money, seems less bothered about punishing the crooks. How many of them just book another ad?

“It’s so distressing, when all my life I have campaigned against this kind of thing,” says Mr Lewis, whose face has appeared on over 50 different ads on Facebook, reports the Times. The social network does take them down – but as Lewis says: “It can take a couple of weeks and another one just pops up again. Why should I have to police this? Enough is enough. I’ve been fighting for over a year to stop Facebook letting scammers use my name and face to rip off vulnerable people – yet it continues. I feel sick each time I hear of another victim being conned because of trust they wrongly thought they were placing in me. One lady had over £100,000 taken from her.”

Someone invested £100,000 in a financial product they first saw on Facebook because it featured a photo of a bloke from the telly? What madness. No wonder conmen feel it’s worth having a go.

 

matin lewis fake ads facebook

An example of a Facebook ad using Lewis’s face – and his response

 

“I’ve told Facebook that,” adds Lewis. “Any ad with my picture or name in is without my permission. I’ve asked it not to publish them, or at least to check their legitimacy with me before publishing. This shouldn’t be difficult – after all, it’s a leader in face and text recognition. Yet it simply continues to repeatedly publish these adverts and then relies on me to report them, once the damage has been done.”

That seems fair. Why should the victim have to report the crime to the company promoting the scam and earning money from it? And what does Facebook do with money earned from these ads?

“It’s time Facebook was made to take responsibility,”Lewis continues. “It claims to be a platform, not a publisher, yet this isn’t just a post on a web forum, it is being paid to publish, promote what are often fraudulent enterprises. My hope is this lawsuit will force it to change its system. Nothing else has worked. People need protection. And of course, on a personal note, as well as the huge amount of time, stress and effort it takes to continually combat these scams, this whole episode has been extremely depressing – to see my reputation besmirched by such a big company, out of an unending greed to keep raking in its ad cash.”

Mark Lewis, a solicitor with Seddons law firm who is bringing the case, outlines the case:

“Facebook is not above the law – it cannot hide outside the UK and think that it is untouchable. Exemplary damages are being sought. This means we will ask the court to ensure they are substantial enough that Facebook can’t simply see paying out damages as just the ‘cost of business’ and carry on regardless. It needs to be shown that the price of causing misery is very high.”

A Facebook spokesman replies:

“We do not allow adverts which are misleading or false on Facebook and have explained to Martin Lewis that he should report any adverts that infringe his rights and they will be removed. We are in direct contact with his team, offering to help and promptly investigating their requests, and only last week confirmed that several adverts and accounts that violated our advertising policies had been taken down.”

Buyer beware.

Posted: 23rd, April 2018 | In: Key Posts, Money, News | Comment


When Joe Strummer ran the London Marathon?

Did Joe Strummer run the London Marathon in 1983 and the Paris Marathon a year earlier?

 

trummerParisMarathonrace1982theclash

 

As a boarding school lad, The Clash front man was a talented and enthusiastic runner. So maybe he did…

In the documentary Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten, we get to see and hear Joe talking about athletic pursuits in Paris before the release of The Clash’s Combat Rock (1982). Legend has it that Bernie Rhodes, the band’s manager, wanted to create intrigue to boost interest and thus ticket sales by having Strummer vanish for a while. The plan was for Strummer to get lost in Austin, Texas. Strummer was warm to the idea but instead of Austin went to Paris, without telling anyone. And whilst there he ran the Paris Marathon in just under three and a half hours. His keep-fit regime for success: “Drink 10 pints of beer the night before the race. Ya got that? And don’t run a single step at least four weeks before the race.”

 

 

The Paris story remains unsubstantiated. But Strummer did run the London Marathon, completing the course in 4hours 13minutes.

 

Joe strummer London marathon

 

 

Chris Salewicz (Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer) quotes Gaby Salter revealing: “He hadn’t trained. He just bought some shorts and said, ‘Let’s run a marathon.”‘.Antony Genn, who worked with Strummer in the Mescaleros, recalls the runner telling him: “I didn’t fuckin’ train. Not once. Just turned up and did it.”

Spotter: Reddit, Flashbak, OpenCulture

Posted: 22nd, April 2018 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Music, Sports, Strange But True | Comment


Corbyn exposed and isolated by Labour’s anti-Semitism problem

David Lammy told us that “when you lie down with dogs, you get fleas”. The Labour MP was talking about the ordeal faced by the Windrush children, transformed from British citizens into criminals by a lazy and callous immigration policy. Lammy was linking that story to what he sees as Tories pandering to racist right-wingers and Brexit. What, then, does he think of his own party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who has called Jew-haters his “friends” and presided over a Labour Party rife with anti-Semitism? Ever the nuanced and slippery figure, nothing really stuck to Corbyn, not even the fleas. Until something did.

When Corbyn made a Facebook comment about a hideous mural in East London, the story shifted from being about his Jew-hating “friends” to his own prejudices. Corbyn offered his support to the mural’s artist, which many of us consider to be anti-Semitic in tone and subject. The then Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfar Rahman, ordered council officials to “do everything possible” to remove the mural, arguing that “the images of the bankers perpetuate anti-Semitic propaganda about conspiratorial Jewish domination of financial institutions”. But Corbyn liked it and wanted it to remain on view.

That was 2012.

 

Corbyn mural east london

Corbyn and who could be his fellow former Press TV presenter Yvonne Ridley both like the mural.

 

In 2018, Corbyn said he should have looked “more closely” at the massive mural that covered the entire end of a building – the mural he now finds to be “deeply disturbing and anti-Semitic”. Corbyn said “sorry” for not having studied the content of the mural more closely”. Tom Watson, Corbyn’s deputy, called the artwork a “horrible anti-Semitic mural”.

 

 

Hugo Rifkind adds:

Corbyn is also reported to have been a member of two Facebook groups, and perhaps a third, where such things were widespread. Did he never look closely? Above his comment is one by Yvonne Ridley. This, presumably, would be the journalist Yvonne Ridley, who once wrote that David Miliband was “a gutless little weasel who lost more than his foreskin when he was circumcised”. She also used to host a show on the Iranian PressTV on which Corbyn was a guest. Did they never speak? When Corbyn speaks of the “pockets within the Labour Party” in which antisemitism has occurred, what he leaves out is that, for the first 30 years of his career, these were the pockets he was in.

Yesterday, Labour’s antisemitism problem was debated in the Commons. Dame Margaret Hodge, 73, the Labour MP for Barking and the daughter of Jewish refugees, told her peers that she felt like “an outsider in the party I have been a member of for 50 years… I have never felt as nervous and frightened as I feel today at being a Jew. It feels that my party has given permission for antisemitism to go unchallenged.”

 

 

Luciana Berger, Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree, said: “I have no words for the people who purport to be both members and supporters of our party, who use that hashtag JC4PM [Jeremy Corbyn for prime minister], who attacked me in recent weeks for my comments; they attacked me for speaking at the rally against antisemitism… who say I should be deselected.”

Ruth Smeeth, the Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, read out a message she’d received:”First job for Jeremy Corbyn tomorrow, expel the Zionist hag bitch Ruth Smeeth.”

Tom Watson was not sat by Corbyn at the front – he moved from his usual spot in the Commons to sit between Berger and Smeeth. He sees the problem. Do you?

Here’s Labour MP John Mann. He gets it. People are scared. Anti-semitism is rife. If you acquiesce to it, if you make anti-Jewish comments, if you don’t speak out when you hear it, if you turn a deaf ear to it, if you don’t think it’s worth bothering about, you’re wrong. It’s dangerous:

 

Posted: 18th, April 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Windrush children only became visible when they became criminals

At what point do you realise that the country thinks you’re worthless? Asking for a friend who came over to the UK on the Windrush on June 22 1948. The British government of the day invited her family to work in the country. They accepted the invite, and came across the Atlantic Ocean in search of better lives. In 1971, Commonwealth migrants were given indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

 

windrush rudd may

 

My friend and many like her are now being offered the chance to return from whence they came decades ago and have never returned to since – or else. The British government has been rounding up these workers from the Commonwealth.

Michael Braithwaite is 66. He’s lived in the UK since he was nine. If time spent in the country is a measure of citizenship, Mr Braithwaite is more British than Prince Harry and Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary. Last year. Mr Braithwaite, who worked as a special needs teaching assistant, lost his job. He was branded an illegal immigrant. ‘Albert Thompson’ (not his real name; he wants no publicity) has lived in Britain for 44 years. He was offered the chance to produce a British passport or pay £54,000 for his cancer treatment. He didn’t have the money nor the passport. So he went without. He was evicted from his home and spent three weeks homeless. Paulette Wilson left Jamaica when she was 10. She’s lived in the UK for more than 50 years. She was employed at the House of Commons, where she served food to MPs. Aged 61, the State threw her into Yarl’s Wood detention centre for a week and told she’d be deported. At the last moment, someone finally listened to her and she won a reprieve.

These people’s crime was to have never applied for a British passport. In its haste to clamp down on immigration, the Government decreed that all  migrants in search of work, housing or benefit must provide documents. But the Windrush children who arrived here on their parents’ passport and never applied for their own. This presented them with a hideous problem. From being British citizens they were are the stroke of a pen turned into criminals. Guilt is assumed. They have to prove their innocence. They must do this by showing official documents for each year of their stay in the UK.

Amber Rudd has now apologised for this horror. After much asking, Theresa May has finally has only just agreed to meet with Commonwealth leaders to discuss the matter. Until last Friday, the Government’s advice was for anyone worried about deportation to speak with a lawyer, placing the onus on the innocent to find the time and money to make right the Home Office’s egregious error and demeaning oversight. Hiring lawyers is often stressful and expensive – the cost becomes prohibitive when you can’t earn money.

But now Amber Rudd says she’s sorry. She says her department “sometimes loses sight of the individual”. Nonsense. They only do that when the individual doesn’t matter. They didn’t lose sight. They never saw them to begin with.

Rudd’s set up a task force of 20 Home Office wonks to help her notice people who have lived and worked in the UK for decades. That’s how valued my friend is  – Rudd needs 20 people to notice her contribution to the country. She only became visible when the State wanted to make an example of her and send her ‘home’.

Posted: 17th, April 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


How Bon Jovi created that Slippery When Wet album cover

Mark Weiss was Bon Jovi’s tour photographer during their 1980s pomp.  “I was 13 years old when he got my first camera. I was a kid growing up in Matawan, New Jersey, a suburb an hour outside of New York City,” he tells me. “We were a middle-class family – my mother worked in public relations and my father was a door-to-door salesman selling aluminum siding. It was my dad’s experience that helped me in my lawn-mowing business. He taught me: ‘Make them like you. If they open the door you have a chance. Connect with their eyes, then introduce yourself and be sincere. Always let them think you’re there to help make their lives better.’ And that’s just what I did.”

 

Jon Bon Jovi and Mark Weiss, July 1986 in Red Bank New Jersey

Jon Bon Jovi and Mark Weiss, July 1986 in Red Bank New Jersey

 

It gave him an introduction to photography:

“Soon I had a steady list of five customers a week. Still, I was always looking for more. One day I knocked on the door of a neighbor with a seriously unkempt lawn: ‘Hi, my name is Mark. I live down the street. I noticed your lawn is a bit long, can I help you by cutting it?’ The man told me that he cut his own lawn. I quickly responded, with a smirk, “It doesn’t look like it. Is your mower not working?” He gave me a smirk back and told me if I mowed his yard for the whole season, he’d give me a camera. Then he went back inside and came out holding a Bell & Howell Canon FP. It looked to me like it was worth a million bucks. I said, ‘Sure,’ and after a few cuts, he gave me the camera.

Now that I had it, I wanted to learn as much as I could about how to use it. My 8th grade year was ending. There was a photography class with a darkroom at my school and I asked the teacher if he could give me a crash course in developing and printing film. Everything looked so cool to me in that darkroom—entering through the magical, cylinder-like door, it felt like I was being transported into another dimension amid red lights, trays filled with chemicals and glow-in-the-dark timers. I watched in disbelief as a piece of blank paper transformed into an image before my eyes. The whole process was magical.

“Once the school year ended I was bummed that I wouldn’t have a place to develop and print photos anymore. Then on my 14th birthday – June 15, 1973 – my dad took me to Fishkin Bros. in Perth Amboy, the coolest photo store in the area. It was half hobby shop and half camera store—I used to go there to buy model cars and rocket ships. This time I was looking at studio strobe lights and cameras displayed in the glass cabinets. It felt like Fort Knox to me. My dad bought me an enlarger, and with the money I saved from cutting lawns I bought the trays, chemicals and paper. At home I used the bathroom as a darkroom. I had a new hobby!”

 

 

Fast forward to the 1980s. Mark is with Bon Jovi. The band’s album Slippery When Wet needed a cover:

“The album was done. Three-hundred-thousand copies, with Angela in her provocatively cut wet t-shirt clinging to her 34DD breasts, had already been released in Japan. Everything was ready to go in the US. But this was 1986, and the PMRC was in full swing. Record stores were telling the labels to ease up on the explicit content and imagery or they wouldn’t sell the products. Polygram knew they had a smash album on their hands, and they didn’t want to jeopardize that success. They also knew the music stood on its own, so we went back to the drawing board to come up with another cover. Mercury destroyed nearly 500,000 copies before they ever left the warehouse to be distributed in the U.S.

“Jon Bon Jovi had issues with the Angela cover as well. Only in his mind, it was more about the color of the border around the photo than the actual photo itself.

“Recently he told Howard Stern that his thinking was, ‘My career is over if we put out a hot pink album cover.’ But if the pink border was the problem, why not just take it out?

“I asked him what we were going to do and he replied: ‘I don’t know, but this is our last chance or the album gets held up.’ Jon arrived at my studio, walked inside and didn’t even say hello. ‘Garbage bag. Spray bottle,’ was all he said. I followed orders. I propped up the black bag and sprayed it with an oil and water mixture. Then Jon wrote the words SLIPPERY WHEN WET. As he was leaving he said, ‘That’s it. That’s their cover.’ He didn’t even wait to see the Polaroid. The next day I delivered the photo, and the rest is history.”

.

 

Posted: 15th, April 2018 | In: Key Posts, Music, News | Comment


Jeremy Corbyn’s free bus pass takes youth for a ride

If Jeremy Corbyn is to be the country’s Donald Trump – and by that I mean win the popular vote – he needs to work on that message of democratic aspiration. Trump turned desire for success into a cult. Corbyn promises us free bus travel for everyone under the age of 25. Trump gave us The Art of the Deal, his 11-step formula for business success and riches. Corbyn’s handing us a bus timetable, a little yellow book detailing how to get around for no money, featuring lots of waiting and scheduled stops. And someone else is driving.

In Corbyn’s world people over 60 – i.e. people like him – will be joined on public transport by the under-25s on free bus rides. Everyone in the middle will be made to pay to make the same journeys. Let’s call that group ‘the workers’. The 54-year-old office cleaner will pay to get to and from work by bus. The 52-year-old supermarket butcher with two children will pay to ride the bus. But the young, able-bodied man goes free.

Corbyn’s free rides will have the added bonuses of turning bus journeys into extensions of Labour Party clinics. It’s Glastonbury on wheels, where the old get to mingle with the youth. They can chat about stuff. The elderly man can tell the kidults about when he left school at 16, went to work and saved hard to buy his first house and car; the 23-year-old can show him their new iPhone and that meme about Corbyn sticking it to the – irony of ironies – privately-educated, well-paid, pale, stale and male home owner.

And what of cars, once the surest symbols of independence for the young and thrusting? Under Corbyn, the future is about bus travel. But he quite likes cars. After all, drivers will fund his £1.4 billion project. Sod the drivers, then. Those planet-mashers in their hatch-backs, vans and trucks aren’t worth the bother of trying to persuade to vote Labour. Tory scum.

This is, of course, Corbyn’s latest attempt to seduce the youth he wants to coset through life, or at least until the next General Election when they will all vote for him. Free university education and now free buses for them. But what of the elderly woman who’s paid into the system her whole life and is only using her bus pass because she no longer feels safe to drive? Why is something she earned through hard work and longevity given for free to a healthy 24-year-old who’s never worked? Why must a hard-working driver on their way to the building site be made to pay for other forms of travel that won’t help them in their working day?

Why does Corbyn view younger voters as more desirable than older ones? And why does he seek to get them through handing out freebies?

This is about trust. Corbyn doesn’t trust the young to see the bigger picture, consider the family unit and make reasoned choices. He views them with suspicion and derision – a feckless group of persistently needy juveniles who can be wooed to vote for him with free stuff. Sod opportunity, the economy, war, pensions, society, autonomy and all that aspiration. Just slide a voting slip in amongst the freebies. Corbyn’s economics is the stuff of hucksters, marketeers and looters. And he’s banking on an infantilised youth voting for it.

Posted: 13th, April 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Facebook data harveting is no worse than the Guardian’s

Anyone who has ever written an email to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg should check their inbox. A report on  Techcrunch claims Zuckenburg’s messages have vanished. Their own replies and missives were intact – but all of his words had gone. Erased down the memory hole?

Did it happen? It seems so. Reports says Facebook has been secretly deleting Zuckenberg’s personal messages since 2014, at around the time Sony Pictures was hacked.

So will Facebook extend the same courtesy to you? Don’t bet on it. Apparently, when Facebook claimed any private videos uploaded by users would vanish on the users’ request, instead Facebook “permanently retained these videos”. Who owns your photos and videos?

Is it all matter of, if you think Big Tech is taking you for  fool, it’s taking you for  fool? Facebook is a bit of fun, a distraction from the stress and joys of real like.  You can tun it off of ignore it. Many are.

Techcrunch reports:

Facebook now says that it plans to launch an “unsend” feature for Facebook messages to all users in the next several months, and won’t let Mark Zuckerberg use that feature any more until it launches for everyone. One option Facebook is considering for the Unsend feature is an expiration timer users could set. But it’s alarming that Facebook didn’t disclose the retractions or plans for a Unsend button until forced, and scrambling to give everyone the feature seems like an effort to quiet users’ anger over the situation

Facebook is mired. But let’s not be hypocritical.

Around its story “‘Utterly horrifying’: ex-Facebook insider says covert data harvesting as routine”, the Guardian is operating not one but three trackers, including Doubleclick (it gathers data for Google ads to target you with stuff), Scorecard Research Beacon. What it does you can read about on the Guardian:

…it has “approximately two million worldwide consumers under continuous measurement”…

the cookie may be used to observe certain types of browsing behaviours, which are then combined with other browser data to give a picture of what people are likely to do when they surf the web. The data obtained through ScorecardResearch cookies is kept for up to 90 days. When it is aggregated to observe trends, it may be used for analytical purposes indefinitely.

And – get this – the Guardian story also uses Facebook Custom Audience, which once all the user data has been harvested and stored can:

  1. Create an ad using the ads create tool. You can set it to show in News Feed or the right-hand column and on any device.
  2. Choose your Custom Audience and select targeting options like location, age, gender and interests
  3. Set a budget and place your order. Your ad will be served to the audience you’ve chosen to target.

Do all Guardian readers know?

Spotter: Techcrunch

Posted: 8th, April 2018 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, News, Technology | Comment


Transfer balls: Liverpool and the Moses Simon rumour

The BBC gossip page continues to be a haven for fake news and transfer balls. Today the BBC tells us: “Liverpool are considering a move for Gent’s £13m-rated Moses Simon, 22, with Newcastle and Brighton also interested in the Nigeria winger.” Who is Mosses Simon? And why would Liverpool want him?

The source for the Beeb’s story is “HLN – in Dutch”.  I don’t speak Dutch – not even as badly as him – so this is the story put though the Google Translate mincer:

 

moses simon liverpool ball

 

 

Newcastle is interested in Simon

Newcastle has Moses Simon on his wish list. The ‘Magpies’ sent scouts to Nigeria-Serbia, but in that game Simon only started after 77 minutes. On Sunday, Newcastle was present at the Astridpark, where Simon impressed for the rest. Newcastle seems to be cut to size for the 22-year-old Nigerian winger, who last week in an interview with this newspaper said he wants to go to a Premier League club where he is more or less certain that he will play. Simon is aware of the interest. AA Gent is prepared to work on a transfer this summer “at the right price”. (RN / NP)

Mentions of Liverpool: none.

 

liverpool balls

 

Undeterred by the nonsense, the Mirror repeats the story:

Liverpool are said to be considering a move for Nigerian star Moses Simon.

Who says?

Simon is thought to be on the radar of Newcastle and Brighton but Liverpool have now entered the running. Belgian outlet Het Laatste Nieuws claim the Premier League trio are all monitoring the winger, who could make Nigeria’s World Cup squad.

Simon is likely to cost around £13million, should he move on.

Nope. The Mirror links to the story on HLN – the same story we can see above. HLN makes no such claim.

Total balls, then.

 

Moses Simon balls

 

But here it is again in the Sun. The paper’s source? The same HLN article that makes no mention of Liverpool.

And the nonsense spins and spins. Website HITC notes:

Why Moses Simon would benefit from choosing Newcastle over Liverpool

He’s wanted by Liverpool? Says who?

Although, after claims made by the Sun, this could happen anyway. Because it is understood that Liverpool are also very interested in a player who could provide a test of Mike Ashley’s ambition due to his £13 million price-tag.

A link directs readers to the Sun’s article – the one based on the non-existent story on HLN.

And here’s the same balls on ESPN:

 

Moses SImon transfer liverpool

On ESPN

 

 

And apart from the bit about the report on Het Laatste Niews linking Moses to Liverpool, it’s all true.

And here’s the same balls on teamTalk:

 

liverpool trasnfers

 

And website The Sport Review adds:

Belgian outfit Het Laatste Nieuws, as quoted by the Daily Mirror, is reporting that Liverpool FC are one of a number of Premier League clubs interested in Simon.

But HLN never said anything about Moses Simon joining Liverpool. The Mirror’s story is bogus.

But never minds the facts – get a load of the clicks.

Posted: 5th, April 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Raheem Sterling v The Sun: Manchester City and England star attacked

Manchester City and England forward Raheem Sterling is “obscene”. Well, so the Sun told us. The same paper wants us to know: “RAHEEM STERLING has urged England fans to ‘give love’ and cut out the negativity.” England fans, like, the Sun?

The plea for unity continues: “The Manchester City star was battered by Three Lions fans at Euro 2016 – there was even an internet hate campaign to bring him home early from the tournament.” And it wasn’t just on the Internet where the former Liverpool player was getting attacked.

 

obscene-raheem-the-sun sterling

 

To the Sun, Raheem Sterling was a”hate figure”. The paper went studs up on the young athlete. “England failure steps off plane and insults fans by showing off blinging house,” thundered the paper.” Leave House & Garden and Hello! stuff for the newspaper editors end media barons, Sterling. Know thy place! And unnamed “source” opined: “Any normal person would hang their heads in shame after how they performed in France but these guys come home and show off about how rich they are.” He’s abnormal.

A “friend of Sterling” told the MEN newspaper:

“Raheem and his family are really upset that the fact he’s bought a nice house for his mum is being used to hammer him by the media and make him the scapegoat for England’s failure… He bought her the house as a thank you for all her support and help. Now to have his mum’s private life and house being mocked and thrown into the public spotlight has left him furious and frustrated.”

Law-abiding, tough, resilient, hard-working, talented athlete buys mum hard times who knew house. The basta…

And it got worse. Much worse. In 2016, the Sun – yep – told readers:

FOOTIE DRUG DEALER Semi-professional footballer turned to drug dealing so he could match the salaries of Prem stars

Which Premier League star do you think the Sun used to illustrate the story of an idiot, who lives in Bristol? We’ll give you a clue: the player is not mentioned once in the story. Yep, it’s Raheem Sterling.

 

Sterling-Social-Media-drugs

Spot the obscenity

 

What is it about Raheem Sterling that annoys them so?

Here’s what Sterling told BBC Radio 5 Live:

“I feel sometimes there is too much negativity. I’d love to hear some positive notes coming in, just to let the boys know everyone is behind them. Make the boys go off to the World Cup with a clear head knowing everyone is behind them and, trust me, you would see a better England. If we get behind those players, give them love, you wouldn’t know how much that would boost their confidence. It’s disappointing when you put on a shirt and get negative feedback but it’s what the fans want — to see you perform well.”

He’s right.

Posted: 3rd, April 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment