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Wages, inflation a Guardian reader’s cup of coffee: a journalist’s confusion

Journalists are notoriously bad at numbers. Writing in the Guardian, Patrick Collinson is talking about how things were better years ago.

The Bank of England governor told us this week there has been a “lost decade” of wage growth. But is the truth really a lot worse than that?

It turns out that the question is rhetorical. Collinson knows. He’s looked at his dad’s old tax returns:

In 1963-64 his pay as an accounts clerk in London was £1,357 a year. In today’s money that equals a little over £25,000 a year once inflation is taken into account.

Is it? Inflation is the percentage change in the value of the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) on a year-on year basis. The Office for National Statistics tells us: “The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) is the price of a representative basket of wholesale goods.”

Changes in the prices of goods bought and sold by UK manufacturers including price indices of materials and fuels purchased (input prices) and factory gate prices (output prices).

And there’s the Retail Price Index, a comprehensive measure covering goods and services bought by most households. And there’s the Consumer Price Index, of which the FT says:

On a particular day every month, thousands of ONS inspectors collect 110,000 prices for more than 650 goods and services in 150 places and over the internet. This basket of goods and services is based on a survey of the spending patterns of 6,000 households and is continually updated.

Since there is no such thing as a typical household – not everyone smokes, drinks, eats out, buys rail tickets or pays school fees or a mortgage – the inflation rate of each household will differ from the average.

People who spend a lot of their money on services – childcare, hairdresser visits and restaurants, for example – will have faced a higher inflation rate in recent years given the much larger rise in services inflation than goods inflation.

Inflation is measured by comparing the price of the same or comparable things over time.

Collinson continues:

In some ways that £25,000 doesn’t look so great. After all, someone working in a similar role with his level of experience at the time might expect £35,000-£40,000 today. But then look at what an income of £25,000 bought in 1963 in London.

And look at what it buys you now. Yeah, it buys you the same stuff. Collinson has compared wages by looking at inflation.

His granddaughter now works in the same city, London, for the same pay, £25,000. But what does an income of £25,000 buy you in 2016?

As Tim Worstall notes: “Well, actually, it buys you a basket of goods worth exactly the same as £1,357 bought you in 1963. Because that’s how we work out what the inflation rate is.”

Quite.

PS: The Guardian is appealing for cash. It wants readers to pay £5 a month to read the paper online. And in the Guardian’s world the desired £5 donation is “the price for a cup of coffee”. The headline of Collinson’s story: “Oh for the 1960s! People earned less but could afford more.”

Life was frothier than your expensive coffee back then.

 

Posted: 10th, December 2016 | In: Money, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Brexit: absurd MPs vote on the vote and Remainers side with rich old elites to fight democracy

How’s the Brexit vote getting along? A few weeks ago (It was June 23rd – ed), the people democratically voted for the country to leave the undemocratic European Union. Today the Daily Express leads with “HOORAY! MP SAY YES TO EU EXIT”. Like you, we’re a little puzzled. Didn’t the demos, the great unwashed, say ‘yes’ to the EU exit with that vote? The MPs had their say in the run up to the referendum. Now they’ve had it again, and the democratically elected members who represent us have voted in the Commons by 461 votes to 89 in favour of democracy.

The Express, which has cheered for Brexit and UKIP, is delighted. By the end of March the Government will finally trigger Article 50, the move needed to get Britain out of the European Union, and the MPs will not attempt to block it.

 

brexit

 

And the country is in favour. A YouGov last week reveals that 68 per cent of people want Britain to get on with Brexit.

On page 4, we read that the 372 majority vote not to block the will of the people “does not have the force of law”. The Express then points the finger at the “89 MPs who lined up to defy the will of the people”. Er, no. They all did. They voted on something they had no right to vote on. We already did the voting. The entire exercise was about them validating themselves not about the referendum.

The Mail is equally chuffed with this absurdity. It was the “DAY MPS SPOKE FOR BRITAIN,” declares the newspaper’s front page. The paper says Labour was “thrown into chaos” when 23 of its MPs refused to commit to the Brexit timetable. Labour is already in chaos. The party lost the plot when it created surveillance Britain, invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, belittled the working class, approved a hierarchy of foreign people and acquiesced to racism.

“We’re the insurgents now,” says former Labour leader and PM Tony Blair. He and the 48% are the rebels? If they are look out for British politicians tuning the other way when Russians bomb them. But they’re nothing of the sort. You can’t spot the 48%. There is no popular movement. As we’ve seen, the vast majority of voters back democracy and just want Brexit done. The people rather like and value democracy; the clubby elected reps less so.

 

brexit daily mail

 

It’s “ARTICLE 50 SHADES of HOORAY,” says the Sun.

On its Page 2, the Mirror spots “lone Tory Ken Clarke” with the 23 Labour “rebels”, the LibDems and the SNP. So much for the 48%.

Meanwhile, over at the Supreme Court, Remainers are hoping rich petitioners backed by a shibboleth of old toffs – Gina Miller, her pals and the judges – render the referendum result useless. Indeed, readers, the people who bemoaned the rich and the old men and women in the street voting Leave now hope the rich and the old men and women wrapped in wigs and dead animals let them stay.

How’s that for elitism?

Posted: 8th, December 2016 | In: News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Aussie kangaroo puncher and Newcastle horse basher slug it out

As the internet watches footage of a man punching a kangaroo in the face (see below), we’ve been looking at the story of the Glasgow Celtic fan who throw a burger at a police horse before the Champions’ League match at Manchester City’s Etihad stadium.

The fan was arrested and fined £90 for a public order offence.

(The horse did not eat the ‘beefburger’. Horses are not cannibals.)

Minds turn to April 2013, when Newcastle United fan Barry Rogerson, 45, threw something else at a police horse working at the match: a punch. He told the tabloids: “I reacted stupidly but I did not go out to attack a horse. I love animals. I’ve got three dogs, a fish pond out the back and I feed foxes across the road.”

 

police horse punch

 

Maybe it’s time police adopted the football clubs’ policy of not using real animals, but mascots? Why should animals be hurt when people are willing to put there beaks and snouts in the firing line.

“We all thought he was having a laugh, but then he called us a bunch of “c****” and after a few words exchanged he waddled off back to the Family Stand,” said one Torquay fan of club mascot Gilbert The Gull. “At the end of the game, Gilbert came over again and in front of us on the pitch, he gave the ‘come on then’ body language towards us and wouldn’t stop until hiding behind the stewards and again waddling off as we moved towards the exits.”

Others have behaved worse, like Chaddy the Owl (Oldham Athletic), who set about the Blackpool mascot.  Blackpool press officer Matthew Williams told us: “I was in the press box and they were play-fighting, when Chaddy waded in and seemed to be kicking 10 bells out of Bloomfield Bear.”

 

 
And now for the kangaroo puncher. He’s Greig Tonkins, 34, an elephant keeper at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, New South Wales. He was out hunting wild pigs when his dog was grabbed in a headlock by a roo.

 

 

Tonkins wins by a technical knock out.

Kangaroos are feisty. In June a roo broke a woman’s breast implants. “Just out of the corner of my eye I’ve seen this kangaroo up on this ledge,” Mrs Heinrich told News Ltd in Australia. “I thought, ‘he’s cute’, and then he jumped on top of me and used me to launch off and on to my girlfriend. [The implants] are silicon and saline, and the saline will just go through your body but the silicon now congeals so it stays within the area but it’s very painful, it’s up there with cracked ribs.”

Greig had best take care. And watch out for those wild pigs. They’re huge.

 

Hogzilla pig puncher kangaroo unch

 

We’re gonna need a bigger fist.

Posted: 7th, December 2016 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Amber Rudd’s ID scheme makes us all suspects

ID cards are back on the agenda. The Sun calls it a “Green Card”, but it sounds a lot like we’ll be asked to carry our papers and show them on demand post Brexit. Home Secretary Amber Rudd says some sort of ID cars “would have to be introduced” to identify the 3 million EU nationals living in the UK. The Sun says the move would “almost certainly mean Brits on the Continent will have to carry ID cards where they go.”

The Guardian quotes Rudd:

“There will be a need to have some sort of documentation. We are not going to set it out yet. We are going to do it in a phased approach to ensure that we use all the technology advantages that we are increasingly able to harness to ensure that all immigration is carefully handled.”

This throws up a number of questions, of which these are just a few. Why do we need new forms of surveillance? Why do millions of law-abiding adults need to be monitored in an effort to prevent a few committing offences? Why do we need to show the authorities an ID card and prove our innocence? Why can’t we be private citizens unwilling to share everything with the State? And how does forcing us to carry ID card enable the government connect with the public?

It’s not about us. It’s about them trying to establish a role and sense of purpose, moving on from Tony Blair’s manta of ‘Join the debate’ and David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ to take on the role of overseers. No longer connected with the people they are supposed to represent, politicians now just want to watch us to learn what we want and thereby how best to control us. You can’t opt out of their Big Conversation’ because you’re being forced to take part. You are British not because you hold British values, rather because you forcibly carry an ID card. You’ve been defined by the Government you take everywhere with you.

It’s less worrying than it is pathetic. They don’t trust us. But they demand that we trust them.

Posted: 6th, December 2016 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Scarlett Moffatt on her way to marriage, a first million and tabloid fame

scarlett moffatt

Ant is delighted

 

“Find out what Scarlett Moffat will not next,” says the Daily Star on its front page. Judging by the picture of the Googlebox star and now I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! winner in her bra and knickers, we’d says ‘put some cloths on’ or ‘catch a cold’. On page 4 and 5, Scarlett is a “Celebridey”. Aha! She’s going to get married!

Scarlett Moffatt is “heading down the aisle”, says the paper in an “exclusive”. Well, it is to anyone not following Luke Crodden, Scarlett’s boyfriend, on twittter, and didn’t see him tweet: “I think I wanna marry you @ScarlettMoffatt.” If that was a proposal, it’s one Scarlett didn’t see on account of her being in a televised jungle clearing with neither phone signal nor phone.

The Mirror, which also leads with Scarlett, says she’s in line for a £1m deal. In an “exclusive” Halina Watts, says Scarlett has “revealed her big plan for the future – to team up with Ant and Dec. Imagine handing out with those  boys all day and having a laugh,”says Scarlett, exclusively in the Mirror. “I’d love it.”

That’s not all that exclusive to Daily Star readers who read the exact same dream on November 22, then billed as her “threesome” with Ant and Dec. Scarlett fans will have read that before when she said it in her book published last April.

 

scarlett moffatt

Exclusive – Daily Mirror December 5 2016

 

 

Scarlett Moffatt threesome I'm A Celebrity

Not exclusive – Daily Star November 22, 2016

 

Over in the Star, we read that Scarlett is due to earn £1m in endorsements and TV deals. As well she might. Last year’s I’m A Celebrity winner Vicky Pattison told the Mirror in March 2016: “I’ve just about hit the 7-figure mark for the first time. But I’m being wise with my money. I’ve been very well advised and I’m turning myself into a bit of a property tycoon.”

Find out what Scarlett does next by visiting her local estate agency.

Posted: 5th, December 2016 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Madeleine McCann: four months to find her, kidnapped to order and important news

Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.

Having led with “important” news on the hunt for the missing child only yesterday, the Sun makes not a single mention of the child. The Express, however, leads with the story on its cover. “NEW TWIST IN POLICE HUNT FOR MADELEINE McCANN,” declares the paper, the words hanging by a familiar picture of the child.

On Page 7, we get to the news. Below stories about Scarlett Moffatt winning I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! and a new treatment for Parkinson’s disease, we read: “Did people-traffickers snatch Maddy?” To which the only sensible answer is: Dunno. Did they?

New funding for the police search for Madeleine McCann will investigate a tip that she could have been kidnapped by people smugglers. The child “may have been  photographed with her parents son the beach by a ‘spotter’ for a gang,” says the paper. Or may not have been. We don’t know. It’s a theory. A “police source” is quoted: “It raises hope that she could still be alive.” After that a “friend” of Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry McCann is quoted: “There is definite hard evidence that this is happening and they have looked into the fact someone was targeting children and may well have been sterling children to order.”

 

mccann madeleine

 

In the Star, on Page 15, readers are told, “MADDIE: 4 MOTHS TO FIND HER.” That’s how long British police have been given to locate the child who vanished in May 2007. The paper says “detectives have changed their minds about what happened “. They no longer believe she was “snatched by burglars during botched raids on the family’s holiday apartment”. They now think child-traffickers may be behind the disappearance. A “source”  unnamed, as ever – says this is the “last roll of the dice”.

It’s the “last chance” to find the child, says the Mail on its page 14. Police want to “work out if she was kidnapped to order”. The paper adds that “no trace of her has ever been found”. Readers are told that the parents “were ultimately forced to raise funds for teams of private detective to chase a barrage of often spurious tip-offs”. And that the the “child trafficking theory was first raised in 2007 by private detectives who believed there could have been gang ‘spotters’ working on the resort.”

Believed. Could. But no facts.

As for four months to find the child, the Mail says when the public funding for the police search ends on April 1 2017, more money will be provided if “investigators have evidence that the few remaining leads are worth pursuing”.

Madeleine McCann went missing in 2007. Such are the facts.

Posted: 5th, December 2016 | In: Madeleine McCann, News, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Daily Mail laments Norbert Hofer’s defeat?

Do you want the good news or the good news? Norbert Hofer, leader of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party, will not be the county’s next president. He polled less votes than Alexander Van der Bellen.

The Mail call it “humiliation” for Hofer, whose party, it reminds readers, was “formed by a former SS commander”. He was Anton Reinthaller, a former SS brigade leader and Nazi Minister of Agriculture, who formed the party in 1956. Lest you think having one old Nazi has leader an accident, Reinthaller was succeeded in 1958 by Friedrich Peter – another former SS member.

Anyhow, the Freedom Party didn’t loose by all that much; as the Mail says, “almost half the electorate, backed him”.

Is the Mail a tad disappointed?

 

Norbert Hofer

 

Hofer wasn’t set to kick out immigrants. He was all set to give the European Union a kicking. Pity the spirit of the SS lost, right?

 

Posted: 5th, December 2016 | In: News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Madeleine McCann: the ‘important lead’, unnamed sources and sexual exploitation

Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.

The Sun (front page): ” MADDIE GANG PROBE Cops given cash to probe ‘important’ new lead that Maddie was snatched by people trafficking gang.”

Important enough for the paper’s front page – but not ‘important’ enough to avoid those inverted commas.

The rest of the Press follow the Sun’s lead.

The Mirror: ‘Madeleine McCann cops chasing ‘important new lead’ as investigation reaches “last roll of the dice”.’

The Indy: “Scotland Yard set to investigate ‘important’ new lead in disappearance of Madeleine McCann.”

Daily Mail: “Scotland Yard given extra funding to probe ‘important’ new lead over theory that Madeleine McCann was kidnapped by trafficking gang.”

It’s important. Maybe.

Over pages 4 and 5, readers are told more.

The development is being taken so seriously that senior Whitehall officials have been briefed by the Met on its progress.

Well, the hunt for the missing child has cost a lot of public money. Maybe the bean counters are worried about a lack of value for their investment?

And what of the breakthrough?

Detectives are following a tip that a gang of European traffickers snatched the tot after taking pictures of her. It could end up proving that she is still alive, nearly ten years after she vanished.

Everyone sane would like this story to have a happy ending. But how can anything prove the child is alive other than her being found?

As with so much to do with this story, an unnamed source is quoted:

A source said: “This is an important new line of inquiry which could provide an explanation on whether Madeleine was abducted and transported away. It raises hope that she could still be alive.”

Surely we only know if the new tip is important if it comes up with evidence that explains what happened to Madeleine McCann.

Retired Yard detective Colin Sutton said the extra money for the last line of inquiry means “there must be something worthwhile”.

Who needs evidence when you’re a retired detective?

The Sun adds: “Reports following Madeleine’s disappearance suggested she could have been taken to Belgium or Morocco in North Africa.”

But we have seen no evidence that she was.

But this is interesting:

The Met’s clubs and vice unit received a tip that the ring had placed an order for a “young girl” just three days before Madeleine went missing. Leicestershire Police, who at that point led the Operation Task effort to help find Madeleine, were also informed.

Is there any evidence to support the story?

In 2011, police in Portugal smashed a trafficking ring snatching young women and underage girls in the Algarve and Aveiro, in the north of the country.

The Portugal Resident has more:

An operation to crack down on human trafficking has led to the arrests of 12 men identified as being part of a criminal network in the Algarve and Aveiro, in the north of Portugal.The ring is believed to be responsible for the sexual exploitation of many young women in the Algarve, some of them underage, who were being coerced into acting as prostitutes in the region

Go on:

During the operation, 30 Romanian women were identified as possible victims of human trafficking.

The SEF, Portugal’s immigration and border service, added:

“The movement of the prostitutes between different networks hindered the police and judicial authorities in being able to conduct a criminal investigation but authorities in Spain, Italy, the UK and Germany cooperated with us with the assistance of Europol in this case.”

Algarve Social Democrat (PSD) MP Mendes Bota was unimpressed with the suspects’ treatment:

Speaking to Lusa News Agency on Monday this week, Mendes Bota claimed that, “a few days after they were arrested”, the majority of the individuals detained by SEF Immigration Officers during the February bust “were released by a judge who decided that they should await their trial, who knows when [the trial will commence], unrestrained.”

We can’t find any news on any trail.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 4th, December 2016 | In: Madeleine McCann, News, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Stinking rich Lady Gaga endorses the ‘Happy To Be Poor’ revolution tour

Stage school kids and pushy parents, listen up. Stop sharpening your elbows and start smiling beatifically.Lady Gaga has arrived in London. And she has a message, as told in the Guardian:

Singer says money and celebrity have been put on a pedestal, and the happiest people are in the poorest parts of the world

And stinking rich, super-celebrated, fame-hungry Lady Gaga, whose every outfit and manifestation seems to be the product of a focus group, should know.

Lady Gaga has denounced the evils of money and fame as she promoted her new album on the roof of one of Britain’s biggest shopping centres.

Lady Gaga looked down on the masses and told them to be as happy as pigs in the brown stuff. She might even envy you. Only recently Lady Gaga was so upset she touched a rubbish truck outside Trump Tower. The Guardian holds its nose and writes:

The singer, who has an estimated net worth of more than $250m (£200m), performed for an audience of competition winners at Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush, west London, on Thursday night.

The revolution will be endorsed.

 

 

Posted: 3rd, December 2016 | In: Celebrities, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


On Daily Mail migrants from Barcelona and Andrew Sachs

In its front-page farewell to Andrew Sachs, known chiefly for his work as Manuel, the well-intentioned and hapless Spanish waiter in Fawlty Towers, the Mail juxtaposes the actor’s portrait by the news “MIGRANT NUMBERS HIT NEW RECORDS”.

 

andrew sachs daily mail

 

The Mail fails to say how many migrants hail from Barcelona.

PS: Andrew Sachs was born in Berlin in 1930.

Posted: 2nd, December 2016 | In: Celebrities, News, Tabloids, TV & Radio | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Tabloid Questions: Daily Mail weather forecasting swans go for third time lucky

Tabloid Questions – a look at headline-making questions in the national Press.

On Tuesday November 29, the Daily Mail asked: “Have swans predicted a mild winter?” The long-necked birds haven’t been presenting the wether on cable telly in Norwegian or otherwise. The Mail says swans have been forecasting the weather by arriving in the UK later than usual, a move “often interpreted as a sign of a mild winter to come”.

Often indeed.

 

swans-daily-mail

 

In 2007, the Mail asked: “Does the swans’ early arrival mean we’re in for an icy winter?” Said the paper:

The migrating Siberian swans have landed early this year, heralding harsh weather ahead.

Was it harsh? The Met Office told us:

December 2007 saw close to average daily mean temperatures over the UK, with January and February 2008 recording well above average temperatures.

In 2015, the Mail reported:

 

daily mail swans weather

 

… while the magnificent bird was probably relieved to reach the warmer climes of the UK, its arrival – the earliest in 50 years – may well usher in a particularly harsh and unforgiving winter.

Was the winter especially harsh? The Met Office tells us:

Winter 2015/16 was third-warmest for the UK in a series from 1910, behind the winters of 1989 and 2007. For England and Wales, it was the warmest winter in the series.

So have swans predicted a mild winter?

Still not sure? Maybe the Mail can help us to answer the question?

 

daily mail weather swan

 

In conclusion: never trust a Russian swan when you’re picking your winter coat.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 2nd, December 2016 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Chelsea embroiled in football abuse story short on facts

The Mirror leads with the “FOOTY Paedophile Scandal”. We hear from former Chelsea player Gary Johnson, who says he was paid £50,000 last year to keep quiet about the abuse he suffered at the hands of a club scout in the 1970s.

Over pages 4,5,6, and 7, Gary Johnson claims he was sexually assaulted by Chelsea scout Eddie Heath “hundreds of times in three years”.

Eddie Heath is dead.

Says Johnson of Chelsea: “I think that they were paying me to keep a lid on this.” If they did, will Chelsea be asking for their money back? Johnson says Chelsea “asked him to sign a gagging order”. “They may have paid others for their silence,” he adds. We then learn that Chelsea “waived the clause in Gary’s settlement banning him from speaking about abuse after details of his claim were leaked to the media.”

Did Chelsea know Johnson was being abused in 1973 when he was a 13-year-old at the club, continuing until Gary was “around 16 or 17 and happened two or three times a week”, as he says?

Gary Johnson says Heath got him to perform in threesomes with other boys, “so I know there are mother victims out there.” He adds: “it is now up to them if they come forward”.

Do we expect them to?

Brendan O’Neill writes:

In these post-Savile times, we’ve come to think that all former victims of child abuse have some kind of responsibility to parade their wounds. We have come to expect, somewhat greedily, even perversely, that the abuse of decades ago must be relived, as publicly as possibly, in order to ‘raise awareness’. I’m sorry, but I think it’s possible there’s an element of moral titillation to all this. And I think it’s possible that it makes abuse victims even less likely to get over their experiences by making them go through it all again for our viewing or reading pleasure.

We learn that in 2014, Gary Johnson contacted the Met Police’s Operation Yewtree. He says he was “advised to go back to Chelsea with his case”. The police palmed him off to the club? If so, that’s abhorrent. Did they investigate? We’re not told. Mr Johnson says the “Professional Footballers’ Association did not return his calls”. So he contacted lawyers, who asked Chelsea for compensation.

Says Gary Johnson: “What makes me so angry is that I went to them to say I had been abused an they basically said, ‘prove it’,” Was that wrong of them? Chelsea are no longer owned by the Mears family, as they were in the 1970s. Why should the new owners take anything on face value alone when a man is asking for money and claiming to have been the victim of heinous crimes by a former employee? Gary Johnson says Chelsea’s “attitude when I came forward was to sweep it under the carpet”.

His claim was supported by Roger Kennedy, who says: “Mr Johnson has been haunted by the abuse for most of his life, but the intensity of the flashbacks have increased since he has become more aware of the nature of what happened due to the publicity around Jimmy Savile.”

 

chelsea-abuse-football

 

The Mirror is quick to blame the club, saying Chelsea used its “financial might to cover up abuse”. It is the “tip of the iceberg”. Did Chelsea behave badly? All we know of the money and the deal is that Mr Johnson says: “I think that they were paying me to keep a lid on this.”

The Mirror says the story “implies they [Chelsea] cared more about commercial rights and sponsorship deals than helping survivors cope with the torment of abuse”. The paper says Chelsea are “morally questionable”.

What of the police, then, and the PFA, two institutions Mr Johnson says failed him? What of the lawyers who accepted an worked on the deal?

Writing in the Mail, Martin Samuel confronts the matter of a club’s role. He says the current Chelsea owners are part of the club’s heritage.

Yes, the sport is different now. Yes, stricter protocols and procedures are in place, and those in charge of youth development may protest that the past is a foreign country. But it isn’t.

Modern clubs must assume responsibility, be the custodians for all those years. Everything, from the fanbase, to the location, to modern revenue streams, and items in glass cases that directors view with pride, they owe to those ancient dates and what followed. And much of it may have been good.

But what isn’t, what is almost too poisonous to contemplate, cannot be disowned.

When you buy a club, you buy the heritage, the good and the bad.

It’s a shame we don’t know the full terms of Mr Johnson’s deal and how the £50,000 sum was agreed upon. Chelsea are investigating. Hopefully, Chelsea will be transparent and we will know more soon. Dare they be anything but? The Mail leads with the headline: “FA VOW TO HIT CHELSEA HARD.” Any club “who have given a child abuse victim hush money will be punished”. Chelsea are “in the dock”, says the paper. The club may well ask, “On what charge?”

By way of a footnote, the Mirror says Eddie Heath trained Barry Bennell, the convicted paedophile, when he was a 14-year-old at Chelsea. The Mirror says there is “no suggestion” Bennell was a victim of Heath’s.

Heath is dead. Also dead is Frank Roper, a man who former footballer Paul Stewart says abused him “every day for four years”. Gary Johnson says Paul Stewart encouraged him to tell his story.

We can expert to hear others.

Posted: 2nd, December 2016 | In: Chelsea, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Prince Harry’s airbrushed life gets purpose with live HIV tests

prince-harry-hiv-test

 

Prince Harry has taken an HIV test to promote World Aids Day. It works. The papers are all covering the blood letting as Harry tours Barbados. It helps, of course, that Harry was not alone, accompanied as he was by pop star Rihanna.

This was his second public test. In July Harry took an HIV test on Facebook live. The Guardian said Harry “admitted to being nervous before the result came back negative”. The results of yesterday’s test are, as yet, unpublished.

The Telegraph reported that following Harry’s test the Terrence Higgins Trust saw a fivefold increase in orders for testing kits in the days after.

All good, then. A man who seems to live an airbrushed life, Harry has found a use and a use has been found for Harry.

PS: Of course the tabloids need a twist on what was a pretty routine afternoon’s PR work for Harry, so we get the Daily Express saying Rihanna was “flirty” with Harry and talked about not having sex in a barber’s hop; the Sun punning “Wince Harry”; and the Mail asking “Is it really worth testing 11 million Britons for HIV?”

Posted: 2nd, December 2016 | In: News, Royal Family | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Camelot hackers make Daily Star readers worry more than most

The Star once more leads with Lotto news. And as ever it’s bad news. “Lottery site hacked, it could be you,” warns the front-page headline. The story goes that hackers have “stolen” the passwords of 26,000 people registered with the National Lottery’s website – “Dozens had email addresses and passwords stolen”. It looks like they did. But the theft did not occur on the Lotto site.

 

daily-star-lotto-hack

 

‘Experts say it could have “serious consequences” for those who use online bank accounts,” says the paper. Why the Star should lead with this story can have nothing to do with the fact that it’s owned by Richard Desmond – the Press baron who also owns the Health Lottery, a rival to the Lotto.

The Mirror has a slightly different angle on the same story:

Thousands of National Lottery players’ accounts are feared to have been hacked after Camelot confirmed “suspicious activity”. Around 26,500 accounts fear to have been compromised after the log-in details were accessed by a third party. Camelot claims it doesn’t believe it’s own system was hacked, but that the details were taken from elsewhere. It added that no money has been withdrawn or added to any accounts.

 

daily-star-lotto-hack

 

And in the Guardian, we get this:

About 26,500 National Lottery players are facing compulsory password resets on their online accounts after they were apparently accessed by cybercriminals.

Camelot, the firm that operates the game, said it had become aware of “suspicious activity on a very small proportion” of accounts, and it was now taking steps to understand what had happened. Logins may have been stolen from other websites where players use the same details, it said.

Far be it for us to stick up for the greedy, kak-handed so-and-sos at Camelot, but it’s useful to have all the facts.

Says Camelot:

We would like to make clear that there has been no unauthorised access to core National Lottery systems or any of our databases, which would affect National Lottery draws or payment of prizes. In addition, no money has been deposited or withdrawn from affected player accounts.We do not hold full debit card or bank account details in National Lottery players’ online accounts and no money has been taken or deposited. However, we do believe that this attack may have resulted in some of the personal information that the affected players hold in their online account being accessed.

The advice is to change your passwords and use different passwords for different products. And if you read the Star, look at least one other news source for the full story.

Posted: 1st, December 2016 | In: Money, News, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Kids find something funny about Miss Butt in London school

We are at a loss. Cultural imperialism is rife. The Sun reports on “mum” Priscilla Terumalai, who was “hauled” into Mayville Primary School in Leytonstone, East London, to  explain why her 5-year-old daughter and her classmates had been giggling at their teacher: Miss Butt. For some reason, the figurative blighters found the name funny.

Indeed, dear reader, this is grim news. Miss Bottom, Miss Gluteus Maximus or Miss Arse would all be more suited to triggering laughter at a traditional British school. Miss Butt is so Americanised. It can’t be long before the kids are finding Miss Booty-Call hilarious.

Anyhow, Priscilla says the school is unhappy that Miss Butt was the butt of the kids’ laughter and may now move her children Annalise and Destiny to… Yes, Destiny.

Stop that! Stop that laughing. Stop it now!

PS: the local newspaper began its report: “A MOTHER says she feels ‘intimidated’ by a school after a teacher became the butt of her daughter’s humour.”

Free speech. No butts.

Posted: 1st, December 2016 | In: News, Strange But True, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


No, the football sex abuse scandal is not bigger than Hillsborough

IT’S “FOOTBALL’s BIGGEST EVER CRISIS,” says the Daily Mirror as it continues to lead with the sex abuse story. Is it? Is it bigger than the Hillsborough disaster that saw 96 people lose their lives and be branded criminals by the State’s lying police force? Barry Bennell, the awful man at the epicentre of the story, is a convicted paedophile. He’s now been charged with eight sexual assaults involving a boy under 14 dating between 1981 and 1985.

 

football-abuse-barry-bennell

 

Bennell has been living as a free man in Milton Keynes. Is that justice? Eric Bristow thought it not. He said he’d have smashed the “poof” Bennell’s face in, as “real men” should. The men who did not confront their abuser are “wimps”. For expressing his crass opinion on twitter, Bristow has been sacked as a pundit on Sky Sports and paraded throughout the media as a pariah, an enemy of any right-minded human being.

You could compare Bristow to Eamonn Holmes, the Sky News presenter who earlier this year said an attack by West Ham fans on the Manchester United team bus was like Hillsborough.  “Now this is going back to the 70s and to the 80s to everything you were seeing that was bad about Hillsborough for instance,” opined Holmes on the TV. Unlike Bristow, he wasn’t shunned, and sacked.

Does the media operate a hierarchy of outrage, with being ‘unlawfully killed’ and branded a killer – and do consider 10-year-old Jon-Paul Gilhooley, the youngest to die in the horror (the coroner ordered a sample of his blood to be checked for signs of alcohol), Phillip Hammond (14), Victoria Jane Hicks (15), Peter Andrew Harrison (15), Lee Nicol (14), Philip John Steele (15) and Kevin Tyrrell (15) – lower in the table than child abuse, the horror that can be a useful way to showcase your own sound morals?

Holmes apologised and kept his job. Bristow deleted his tweets, apologised and lost his.

 

 hillsborough the sun the truth

Hillsborough-daily-star

 

When 96 people died at the football in 1989, the media blamed the victims, the State stomped on their relatives and presented all football fans as suspects. It took an arduous 26 year fight for the Hillsborough campaigners to be told the blameless dead had been unlawfully killed.

The story of sexual abuse in football is grim. Child sex abuse is an evil. But to say it is a worse football scandal than the horrors of Hillsborough is a cop out. Bennell is alive. Bennell’s victims are speaking out and being heard. They could have spoken out earlier. They might be heard in court yet. Bennell appears to have attempted suicide. He’s thought to be in the Lister Hospital, Stevenage.

The story of sex abuse in football has faces to attack, blame and shun.

The victims of Hillsborough could not speak. The coppers who lied to make killers of the victims all escaped court. They still await justice. Maybe the bereaved and abused should do as Bristow advises, take the law into their own hands and crack skulls. But that’s not easy when the weight of the State is against you. Where do you begin?

 

Posted: 30th, November 2016 | In: Key Posts, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Eric Bristow is a willing wally in the football sex abuse panic

eric bristowThe hideous story of sexual abuse in football rides high on the news cycle. The grim testimony from victims of an evil has taken on a life of its own. It’s become a good way to prove the country’s morals. In directionless times it’s useful to have a cause to rally round. We don’t know what we are but we know what we’re not: paedophiles.

Barry Bennell, a convicted paedophile, has been billed as football’s Jimmy Savile. He’s not. Bennell has been tried and found guilty. Sir Jimmy Savile died a national treasure, feted by the great and good. What both men do share is an eagerness to portray them as part of institutional failure. For Savile it’s the BBC, the NHS and children’s homes (but not the police, the Royal family and politicians); for Bennell it’s the FA and the nation’s favourite sport.

Everyone involved in football is now a suspect. If you are not suspicious of adults you are a fool or worse. Trust is for victims.

So the NSPCC opens a hotline, the police trawl for corruption and Karen Bradley, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, says people “must come forward… Come and give your story, you will be listened to, you will be believed”. The media plays along, looking for someone on the wrong side of the panic to update the story. And today it finds Eric Bristow, aka ‘The Crafty Cockney’, five times World darts Champion in the 1980s, an MBE holder and last seen eating kangaroo gonads on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! with Limahl from Kajagoogoo.

As such his views are, er, entirely relevant to the horrific crime child sex abuse. And – irony of ironies for a man who walks to the oche to Rabbit by Chas and Dave (“With your incessant talkin’, You’re becoming a pest”) – Bristow’s chat has attracted ire.

The BBC says Bristow has been “condemned on social media” for suggesting football abuse victims are not “proper men” – and asking why they did not “sort out” their abusers “when they got older and fitter”. Not only on social media (see BBC). The Mail sees fit to repeat Bristow’s tweets for those readers not following the man: “Might be a looney but if some football coach was touching me when i was a kid as i (sic) got older i would have went back and sorted that poof out. Dart players tough guys footballers wimps. Bet the rugby boys are ok ha ha.”

He went on: “U got to sought him out when u get older or dont look in the mirror glad i am a dart player proper men. Trouble is nowadays u cant tell the truth what do u feel out there tweet me. Everybody that works on tv is frightened to say the truth because they are frightened to lose their job, life shouldnt be like that.”

Katie Hopkins, that jobbing to-deadline Aunt Sally, must be gutted. Used to seeing unattractive people from the 1980s telly unearthed to help police with their enquiries, it’s a novelty to see one helping the media in its narrative.

Having seen and very possibly enjoyed the shitstorm, Bristow backtracks a little on twitter:

 

eric bristow poofs twitter

 

Britsow’s language update shows he’s a man can move with the times. If he carries on like this, there’s a job as a tabloid columnist heading his way.

Update: Sky have sacked him as a darts pundit.

Posted: 29th, November 2016 | In: Key Posts, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Barry Bennell: Horrific abuse and the Dominoes effect but no Gary Speed

The paedophiles in football story continues unabated in the Mirror, which leads with the front-page headline “10 questions the FA must answer”. It must? No. This is the newspaper making a story that first appeared in the Guardian into its own campaign. On November 16, former footballer Andy Woodward told the Guardian’s Daniel Taylor about the “horrific abuse he suffered from the age of 11 by one of his coaches, in the hope that others will come forward too”.

 

barry bennell abuse

 

Taylor noted on November 26 in a story headlined “When I started talking to Barry Bennell’s victims, I had no idea how deep abuse ran in football” that the story throws up questions.

Some of those questions may never be addressed properly and, all the time, there is that nagging sense that, when it really mattered, the sport of Andy Woodward, Steve Walters, Paul Stewart, David White, Chris Unsworth, Jason Dunford and Ian Ackley – and I dread to think how many others – looked the other way.

So to the Mirror today and its 10 questions, which can be summed up as, ‘Who knew what and why wasn’t Barry Bennell exposed sooner?’ We’d add: “Why didn’t newspaper get hold of this story before Andy Woodward felt brave enough to tell all?

“Only now, at the age of 43, I feel I can actually live without that secret and that massive, horrible burden,” Woodward told Taylor. “I want to get it out and give other people an opportunity to do the same. I want to give people strength. I survived it. I lost my career, which was a massive thing for me, but I’m still here. I came through the other side. Other people can have that strength.”

Bennell began his football career coaching juniors in 1970, when he was 16. On a 1994 tour with the Stone Dominoes, a 13-year-old club player claimed that Bennell had sexually abused him.

The Dominoes’ website has a note:

1992-1994
Lichfield League.

A professional coach joined from Crewe Alex and ex Manchester City, and accelerated development. Tours to the USA took place in 1993 and 1994 with great success.

5 Wedgwood Keele Classics were collected with several Championships and Cups as well.

Unfortunately the coach was dismissed by the Club in 1994 for gross misconduct and a review of the club’s situation undertaken.

 

Stones Dominoes Bennell Barry

 

The Mail notes:

The founder of the Stone Dominoes football club, where Bennell was working in the early 1990s when first arrested and convicted of sex offences against boys, has told this newspaper that a lawyer connected to the League Managers’ Association did ‘due diligence’ on Bennell before they hired him, and after consulting previous employers, including Manchester City and Crewe, ‘cleared’ Bennell as a suitable man to hire.

Bennell’s convictions can be listed (via the Mail):

1994: Barry Bennell is sentenced to four years in prison in the United States after pleading guilty to six counts of sexual assault, including the rape of a boy, while coaching Staffordshire side Stone Dominoes during their youth tour of Florida.

1998: Bennell was found guilty at Chester Crown Court in 1998 of 23 offences against six boys, aged from nine to 15, and was sentenced to nine years in jail.

2015: Bennell was given a further sentence in 2015 when he pleaded guilty to sexually abusing another boy at a camp in Macclesfield in 1980.

The 1997, the Independent warned readers: “Football-mad boys are being put in “potentially dangerous situations” where they could be abused by the people who train them, according to a Channel 4 programme to be screened tonight.”

The show was Dispatches, a documentary series on Channel 4.

An investigation by Dispatches says that the hold coaches have over their school-age proteges – the chance of a career in professional football – can give them the opportunity to abuse boys for years with little fear of discovery.

One former coach, Barry Bennell, who worked at Manchester City, Stoke City and Crewe Alexandra is currently serving four years in a United States prison after admitting buggery and assault on a boy.

Another amateur club, Ipswich Saracens, found that their coach Keith Ketley was a convicted sex offender. Despite this he had been able to set up another team with Football Association affiliation. He is now serving five years in jail after being found guilty on four counts of indecent assault…

One of the boys was Ian Ackley, who played for a Derbyshire side coached by Bennell. “Looking back on the things that have happened [I have] lots of regrets really,” he said. “It reminds me very much of the control he had basically over people. And how he very much had people in his grip.”…

It was not until 1994 when Bennell took youth teams from Staffordshire on tour to Florida that a 13-year-old boy spoke out about the abuse he suffered and Bennell was arrested. He could only be charged with offences committed in the US.

Ketley had run a team in Southend-on-Sea, but after pleading guilty to indecently assaulting boys he was sentenced to 18 months. He moved to Ipswich, changed his name and started up another club.

Around 43,000 clubs are currently affiliated to the Football Association (FA). The chairman of Suffolk FA told the programme: “No checks would necessarily be made on their background unless we were particularly suspicious.”

 

 

In 2005, the Observer reported: “Child abusers who shame British football.”

The mother’s voice trembles as she describes the night her 14-year-old son was sexually assaulted at the home of a referee he had befriended on a FA course.

‘He fled from the house at 4am wearing just his trainers, a fleece and his boxer shorts because the man had hidden his clothes. He called 999. It was terrible,’ she says. ‘It’s a parent’s worst nightmare and for my son it’s a life sentence.’

Over pages 4 and 5 in the Mirror, we learn that more than 20 players have now made accusations they were abused. The paper lists clubs implicated: Leeds United, Blackpool, Manchester City, Stoke City, Newcastle United and Crewe Alexandra.

In the Mail, on page 10, we learn that the FA is to launch an independent inquiry into the abuse scandal. On page 75, Martin Samuel writes:

“It is false to speak of past crimes or misdemeanours as historic. Football clubs mine those centuries, milk them for all they are worth, certainly in commercial terms. They are not directly responsible for events that happened decades ago; but are not separate to them, either. The duty of care extends way beyond the present day.”

Some victims will come forward. Not all will. In 2012, we read in the Telegraph of the late Gary Speed:

As a junior player, the Wales football manager, who committed suicide last November, was considered “special” by Barry Bennell and stayed at his house as a child.

Can we make a link between Gary Speed and Bennell on anything but speculation?

The coroner returned a narrative verdict after deciding it was impossible to determine whether the 42-year-old had intended to end his life. Mrs Speed’s lawyers, Harbottle & Lewis, denied that his death was linked to Bennell.

The lawyers issued a statement to The Sunday Times Magazine: “Whilst Gary Speed knew Mr Bennell through football connections, he was not a ‘victim’ and thus played no part in the investigation. The Speed family have been assured that the police investigation at the time was exceptionally thorough and there is no legitimate reason to link Mr Bennell to Mr Speed.”

Nonetheless the Mail makes a link to Bennell and suicide:

At least one of the agencies working on the fallout from the scandal is examining the possibility that there may have been multiple suicides among players who were coached by Bennell.

And then there is this:

Former Wales manager Gary Speed took his own life five years ago this week. Speed’s family have said he was ‘not a victim’ of Bennell, as far as they are aware

 

bennell gary speeed

 

The Mail seems to be ignoring the word of the family to make a link where no proof of one exists.

The Mirror adds: “Tragic Gary Speed stayed at paedophile coach Barry Bennell’s home but was ‘too clever’ to be victim, says dad.”

Gary speed’s father, Roger Speed, had been talking to the Telegraph. It headlined the story “Was Gary Speed a victim of sex abuser Barry Bennell?”

It’s an unpleasant story. Roger Speed lost his son and is now being asked to speculate. The Mirror notes: ” During his interview with The Telegraph, Roger also said he does not believe his family will ever get the answers they want over his son’s passing.”

 

Posted: 28th, November 2016 | In: News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Cardiff’s plastic Christmas tree is cheaper than a white elephant

Cardiff council has invested £30,000 renting the biggest Christmas tree in the country.

At 40 metres the fake tree made of metal, plastic and more plastic would have been the envy of every municipal council in the land. But something went wrong and the tree if only 40ft high.

The tree, made in China, was hired for £10,000 a year on a three-year contract.

The council has yet to put an ‘angel’ on the tree but the city’s head of parks and gardens is being lubed up as we write.

Posted: 28th, November 2016 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Top politicians cleared of sex abuse but showbiz and sport is full of paedos

Are you confused by all the story of paedophiles in every walk of life? Hopefully by around 2099, the Government’s nationwide trawl of historic sex crimes will be completed. Of course, by then most famous faces will be long dead. The sane move is to forcibly freeze anyone of note and then when they get accused of an awful crime defrost them over burning torches and then beat them with sticks. Sure their brains might be mush but don’t let Lord Janner’s story put you off.

So weird has the story gotten that the Mail is not alone in realising that the story of the systematic sexual abuse of minors has taken on a life of its own.

On the front we get to know that former prime minister and Tory MP Ted Heath (dead) was not a nonce.

 

daily mail ted heath

 

But on the back we get to know that football and all other sports are riddled with paedos – maybe.

 

sport daily mail sex crimes

 

Look down not up, says the class-conscious peado hunter.

As Andy Dawson puts it: “Showbiz, sport, this stuff is/was rife. BUT NOT IN TOP-LEVEL POLITICS, OKAY?”

Posted: 27th, November 2016 | In: Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Pedlars of fake news and plastic turkeys are championing democracy

Do you recall those halcyon days when truth ran through the media as blood flows through a virgin’s veins? No, me neither. In recent times, the media has become open. Great. The old media refer to the most vibrant parts of new media as ‘social media’, which is not like the, well, unsociable media, whose job was to tell not listen. Those “gatekeepers” of truth have seen the doors to the temple blown open.

The Guardian is aghast. Andrew Smith says the “pedlars of fake news are corroding democracy”. Lots of voices being heard is the enemy of democracy, whereby lots of voices get heard. Got it? No, me neither. To put the tin lid on the snottiness, Smith writes in a section called – irony of ironies – “Comment Is Free”.

He notes:

In the past week, however, the collective postmortem – on the left and right of politics – has focused on a concern with far greater long-term impact: the accidental or deliberate propagation of misinformation via social media.

Not media. Social media, something to be viewed with circumspection and the kind of disdain a Guardian writer usual reserves for tabloids. So nothing like the other sorts of fact-pure media, then.

Many millions of people saw and believed fake reports that the pope had endorsed Trump; Democrats had paid and bussed anti-Trump protesters; Hillary Clinton was under criminal investigation for sexually assaulting a minor.

Millions saw. Agreed. Millions believed? How do we know that? Where did we read that? Or do we just assume that Trump voters are all too thick to seek out objectivity and go and find the real story? You know, like proper journalists do – or don’t do, given that so much news is shaped by the journalism of attachment, exposing the dead and churning stories leaked in reams of data. Sod all that searching for truth and just cop a load of subjective facts and knowing angles.

Smith adds:

About the only accusation not levelled at Clinton was implication in the murder of JFK, and that was because Trump had already used it against his Republican primary rival Ted Cruz. If democracy is predicated on reliable information, it’s in serious trouble right now.

Democracy is predicated on nothing other than one adult getting one vote. How you chose to be informed it up to you. There are lots of voices. Pick your poison. It might even be the case – get this – that media of all strains – social, anti-social, unsociable and that media that gets off on being tied to a radiator and forced to drink its own urine –  presents a version of events of most appeal to its readership and their prejudices.

Social media is no enemy to democracy. On the contrary. The more voices we can tune into, the better for free thought and free speech.

PS: If you want to read some trusty news about US politicians, you can always turn to the Guardian and learn about George W. Bush’s fake turkey. That balls has been up on the paper’s site since 2003.

 

bush plastic turkey
bush fake turkey

PPS: A fake news story about George W. Bush – a politician the Guardian campaigned against – and a monocular news story about Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn being forced to sit on a train might lead you to think the Guardian is, like “corrosive” social media, a tad biased.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 27th, November 2016 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Football paedophile panic: Hundreds becomes thousands as Barry Bennell grows ever more prolific

The Mail leads with the football sex abuse story. “THERE COULD BE THOUSANDS” thunders the paper’s lead sports story.

 

sex abuse football

 

Be in no doubt it’s getting worse. Earlier in the week it was “hundreds”.

 

sex abuse football

 

The hundreds and thousands are not the paedophiles working as football coaches who abused young players – although given the nature of the reporting, they might be – but the victims.

The Mirror’s front-page story was based on words by their columnist Robbie Savage, who was a youngster at Crewe Alexandra, where convicted paedophile Barry Bennell coached. Bennell has served three prison sentences, amounting to 15 years, since 1994 for many offences committed against boys.

Says Savage: “Sometimes I’d go into training on a Monday and hear some of the lads say, ‘I stayed at Barry’s at the weekend.’ And I’d be thinking, ‘Why not me? Why didn’t he ask me? Am I not a good enough player? Have I done something wrong?’ Of course, I now know what happened to some of those boys and I know I’m one of the lucky ones but, at the time, that’s what went through my mind.”

He then speculates: “We need to know how many more Barry Bennells are out there. And how many victims are still suffering because of what happened to them.”

And from Savage’s guesstimate of hundreds, we turn to the Mail’s “thousands”. “Thousands of young footballers could have been abused by a nationwide paedophile ring,” says the Mail today.

The number is provided by former Manchester City youth player Jason Dunford, “who says he was targeted” by Barry Bennell:

‘There could be thousands of boys abused and I’m not exaggerating,’ said Dunford, who had fought off Bennell as a 13-year-old schoolboy at a Butlin’s camp.

Dunford came forward after Andy Woodward, a former Crewe player who was abused by Bennell, gave an account of his own experiences… triggering an earthquake within the game.

‘Andy has not even touched the surface with telling his own stories,’ added Dunford. ‘He told how he had been on a camp to Gran Canaria and Bennell had a different boy every night. So take the school holidays, training nights, tournaments. Over 30 years, it absolutely could be thousands.’

The story of depraved criminality has taken on a life of its own.

What of the police? Four police forces are not involved in the investigation.

The Metropolitan Police, Britain’s biggest force, said it “has received information relating to non-recent sexual abuse in football clubs in London”…

Hampshire Police said its detectives are investigating non-recent child abuse “within the football community”.

Cheshire Police said it had received ”a growing number of disclosures” and that allegations have been “made against more than one individual”…

Northumbria Police said it was investigating an allegation by an unnamed former Newcastle United player that he was abused in the club’s youth system.

The Guardian also leads with the story.

 

sex abuse football

The story runs:

Crewe Alexandra, the club most heavily implicated in the Barry Bennell case, were warned he had sexually abused one of his junior footballers but allowed the man who turned out to be a serial paedophile to stay at the club for a number of years, the Guardian has been told…

Hamilton Smith, who was on the board from 1986 to early 1990, has told this newspaper he was so concerned at the time he asked for specially convened talks about concerns over Bennell’s relationship with young boys at the club and, specifically, to inform his colleagues that someone had marched over to him at a junior football match to allege that a friend’s son had been abused.

Crewe, we learn, “have declined to comment.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 26th, November 2016 | In: Back pages, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Punters suspicious of Daily Star fixed Lotto story

Is the Lotto fixed? We never thought it was. But the Star leads with news of a “new ‘FIX’ FURY”. The BBC has called time on the live Lotto draw broadcast on BBC1. From January, the falling balls will appear on the Beeb’s steaming iPlayer and not on TV channels. This has left “punters fuming” says the Star.

 

lotto-daily-star

 

On Page 9, we read that Lottery “bosses are facing new fix claims”. The thinking is that if the draw is not live on the telly, gamblers will “have to log on to the BBC iPlayer to watch the draw – meaning many are unlikely to see the balls coming out of the machine”. The many are “elderly people unable to use the internet”.  The Star says the draw will be live on Facebook, but because that is on the elderly-proof Internet, it’s useless, too.

A “regular player” tells the paper: “Far fewer people will see the live draw, and they’ll be suspicious of the numbers as a result.”

What the Star doesn’t tell you is what the Radio Times does tell you – “the winning numbers will be announced after news bulletins at intervals during the week.”

The Star also forgets to tell readers that its owned by Richard Desmond – the Press baron who also owns the Health Lottery, a rival to the Lotto.

Posted: 25th, November 2016 | In: News, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Hatcham College and Deptford Green School fight and the knife that came and went

In “KIDS V COPS”, the Sun leads with an ugly incident in London’s New Cross. Around 30 schoolchildren attacked two police officers (one male, one female) in a “picture to shock even lawless Britain”. Bit overdoing it?

The images and footage are bad. The male police officer is dragged away from restraining a suspect on a car bonnet and floored by a gang of scrotes. But it’s not lawless. More police arrive and take the youth to the station. The officer’s head is “repeatedly stamped on”.

 

new-cross-fight-hatham-college-deptford-green

 

The story goes that two girls – one from Hatcham College and another from Deptford Green School – has arranged a fight. “A man believed to be a teacher intervened and there was a tense stand off before police reinforcements arrived and the male victim could be taken to hospital with severe bruising,” says the Sun. The paper calls the man a “brave teacher”.

Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation branch, says the officers did not pull their batons because “they could have been accused of going over the top with school children and subjected to complaints”.

Were any weapons involved?

The Sun says: “One member of the crowd was said to have been spotted with a knife.”

The Star adds a bit more: “One boy was thought to be carrying a large knife but when the two officers confronted him, they were turned upon.”

The Mail: “They were on a routine patrol of the area when they noticed a large knife being concealed by a young male.”

The BBC: “The pair had approached the group after noticing one of the youths was trying to conceal a large knife.”

How old was the youth taken away?

The Star: “A 15-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm and was bailed to a dad.”

The Sun: “A 15-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm and was bailed.”

Russia investigates.

A dad. But no knife. Well, not unless you get your news from overseas.

Russia Today picks up the story: “…this latest incident is an indication of increasingly fraught relations between London’s police force and its youth.”

And the knife? “Two police officers on patrol in the area intervened when they noticed a large knife being concealed by a young male.

Anyone else see the knife?

 

Posted: 25th, November 2016 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Barry Bennell: Manchester City implicated and Jimmy Savile exhumed in football’s peado scandal

The peado-hunt has reached football. Following the grim news that young players were molested by coaches, the Mail leads its sports coverage with a story that Manchester City are in a “sex abuse probe”. Is the entire club is in some way linked to paedophilia? Surely not. It makes you hanker for those wholesome days of randy footballers, glamour models, spit roasts at the Grosvenor hotel and super-injunctions. Seedy stuff it was was, but always between consenting adults.

The Mail’s story is overblown. City are looking at the club’s links with convicted paedophile Barry Bennell, who “coached junior teams connected to City”. The club is doing the sensible thing and looking into if Bennell ever represented City. We don’t know if he did, let alone if he abused any youngsters on City’s books.

The Mail seems to be linking a Premier League club with a lower-league scandal – Bennell was employed by Crewe Alexandra.

Over in the Mirror, which has twice this week led with the story on its front page, page 9 features a remarkable headline: “Rooney tells footy sex victims: Don’t suffer in silence.” That’s Manchester United and England’s Wayne Rooney. He wants anyone who has suffered to contact the new NSPCC hotline. ‘NSPCC chief Peter Wanless hoped Rooney would “give courage to those who may be afraid of coming forward’,” says the paper. How? Rooney was not molested. How does Rooney’s endorsement help middle-aged men confront their past? It all carries a faint whiff of PR, a chance for leading figures to be on the side of the right against a wrong anyone sane should know is criminal and revolting. Creating a sense of moral purpose from the pursuit of child-abusers is crass. But that’s how the peado-panic has been manifest for years. Child abuse stopped being about the victims and listening to someone regardless of age and social rank with respect when they make an allegation and into the nation’s defining characteristic.

 

Barry Bennell

 

And so the Sun. Over two page it invites readers to work out an answer to the headline poser: “Is beast Bennell the Jimmy Savile of football world?” The helpful bit about getting to any answer is that Bennell is alive and we know where he is: (Milton Keynes, says the Mirror; he’s in “hiding”, says the Sun). That makes him only half like Savile, who is decomposing, having died a blameless national treasure. The unhelpful bit is that the Sun’s story contains not a single fact linking Bennell to Savile. Other than in the headline, the Sun’s story on a convicted paedophile contains only one mention of the gibbering Yorkshire DJ – “the scandal now described as “potentially worse than Savile“.’

It’s lamentable that something as abhorrent as child abuse should be sensationalised. When being against child abuse is your media’s campaign, the bar has been set lower than Savile’s upturned toes.

Posted: 25th, November 2016 | In: Key Posts, Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0