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Der Spiegel has words for Her Majesty:
Prince Charles is away…
“It’s nothing I ever came across so I didn’t know what to do,” says Burger King employee Ethan Grewe, who works at the eatery in Coon Rapids, Minnesota,. “The caller told my manager the fire department were detecting dangerous levels of gas and if we didn’t break the windows the building would explode. I guess I was a little scared. My other co-workers were doing it so I just followed along.”
Threats to the King must be taken seriously:
“Half of British Muslims want gay sex banned, says poll.” That’s the Daily Telegraph headline. And it’s big news because it shows that half of British Muslims don’t believe in the letter of their religion.
This fact features in the Channel 4 programme, What British Muslims Really Think. It’s an ugly title from a broadcaster that brought us a look at Big Fat Gypsies. What Muslims Really Think starts from a position that they will think alike, and they’re hiding it from the rest of us. How enlightened is that?
The survey for Channel 4 found there was a “chasm” between views among the British Muslim community and mainstream opinion in this country.
Er, isn’t that because the mainstream – i.e. the biggest demographic – isn’t Muslim, let alone religious? And are the Telegraph and Channel 4 really shocked that religious people believe in their religion?
Of more than 1,000 British Muslims polled by ICM, 39 per cent agreed “wives should always obey their husbands”, and 31 per cent said it was acceptable for a man to have more than one wife. The survey also found 23 per cent said they supported the introduction of sharia law in Britain.
Asked their views on stoning those who commit adultery, five per cent said they sympathised with use of the punishment – often meted out under sharia – while 79 per cent condemned it.
You might think, ‘So what?’ But Trevor Phillips, a former head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, says, “The integration of Britain’s Muslims will probably be the hardest task we’ve ever faced. It will require the abandonment of the milk-and-water multiculturalism still so beloved of many, and the adoption of a far more muscular approach to integration.”
Sure, some hardline religionists will demand adherence to the letter of what they see as divine law. But the survey shows that most don’t.
If by integration Trevor means the neutralising of contrary thoughts, the removal of all attitudes viewed as unprogressive, then, yes, it will take time. And we and anyone who values free speech hope it never happens. Challenging the orthodoxy cuts both ways, Trevor. Or is that no longer a mainstream view to be allowed to think what you want to?
“Adieu, Adolf!” salutes the Tegernseers Stimme newspaper. After a mere 83 years, the Tegernsee burghers have stripped Hitler of his “freedom of the city”.
Should the dead controversialist seek to roam the town in the dead of night, riding a goat to Poland and gargling sparrows, or whatever else the title of honorary citizen gives him the right to do, he can’t.
Of course, Hitler might carry on anyhow, murdering anyone who tells him to stop. He was not all that good at obeying orders, which is ironic, of course.
People in Luton voted for Warwick University student Aysegul Gurbuz to be their Labour Party councillor. The 20-year-old student of Politics and Sociology has been suspended “over claims she called Hitler ‘the greatest man in history'”.
Other tweets on her timeline include:
‘The Jews are so powerful in the US it’s disgusting.’
“Ed Miliband is Jewish. He will never become prime minister of Britain.”
The Daily Mail notes:
Miss Gurbuz last night denied she had written the tweets and claimed her sister may have posted them.
In the past weeks, Labour has twice suspended the deputy chairman of its Woking branch, Vicki Byrne, for posting anti-Semitic tweets, and suspended councillor Khadim Hussain, former Lord Mayor of Bradford, for sharing a Facebook post that said: ‘Your school education system only tells you about Anne Frank and the six million Zionists that were killed by Hitler.’
We do hear from Miss Gurbuz, who told the “Campaign Against Anti-Semitism: ‘It was a joint account I had with my sister so I don’t know if she’s gone out and tweeted that, but I’m absolutely appalled right now. Where I live we’ve got very good cohesion with the Jewish community… I’m absolutely shocked.”
PS: Mis Gurbuz stood as the University’s “Candidate for the position of Ethnic Minorities Officer”. Her manifesto:
Yeah, she wants to raise awareness over Holocaust Memorial Day – presumably not to rebrand it as a missed opportunity to get those pesky Jews?
More tax illiteracy in the Guardian, which has seen David Cameron’s tax return:
It’s not all hardship, though. The prime minister’s own party supports him where necessary, the returns reveal. Expenses met by the Conservative party have varied between £5,105 and £13,149, which have been declared as taxable benefits. They cover travel, clothes and other associated expenses for Cameron and his wife.
When the PM next berates Jeremy Corbyn over a shabby suit, the Labour leader will be able to reply that, unlike Cameron, he isn’t receiving a taxpayer subsidy for it.
No. He paid tax on his work clothes. Sheesh!
In other news, his m other didn’t fancy leaving her kids with big inheritance tax bill. Nothing illegal.
“How dare Bill Clinton shout over Black Lives Matter protesters,” writes Steven W Thrasher in the Guardian. Very quickly we realise why:
I’ll admit it: I’m prejudiced.
Whenever I see a conflict between a gutsy protester who is trying to show how black lives matter by interrupting a powerful white politician who has a microphone, I’m always going to be rooting for the protester.
We’d say Bill Clinton shouted to reach the people who had come to hear him talk.
…And on Thursday, I cheered on protesters who interrupted Bill Clinton and exposed how ugly, racist and narcissistic he really is.
Better to hold a debate than to shout a man down.
PS – you can see the video of the shouting and counter-shouting on the Guardian website – right after a message from an advertiser. Somethings you can’t interrupt.
In today’s The New Day newspaper, read the story of a mum who wants to have her son’s baby:
You might have read the same story in the March 31 issues of That’s Life magazine:
How common is your birthday?
Spotter: The Atlantic
Big news in the Guardian on David Cameron’s tax affairs:
David Cameron’s father sought legal advice on best tax havens
Did Ian Cameron, for it is he, seek advice from the same experts who advise the, er, Guardian? And isn’t seeking legal advice entirely sensible? We might not like schemes designed to cut tax bills, see them as “morally wrong” (source: Da. Cameron), but when did trying to stay on the right side of the law become a “revelation”?
In other news: corruption, Russian names, Chinese bigwigs, Middle Eastern despots and nutzoid amounts of cash squirrelled away in moves facilitated by London-based companies.
The Sun, Mail and Mirror show us what Leigh Mackinnon, 26, of Aberdeen, has been up since being released from a nine year prison sentence for the attempted murder of charity worker Laura Milne, 19, who was beaten and stamped on.
The Sun and Mirror call her the “Demon barber of King Street”. Mackinnon’s been working as a hairdresser just a mile from the scene.
A YOB who served time for her part in the brutal cut-throat murder of a young woman is now free and working as a barber just a mile from the scene of the crime. Leigh Mackinnon snips the hair of punters who are unaware she was involved in the savage killing of 19-year-old Laura Milne nine years ago. Mackinnon, now 26, but who was just 18 at the time of the murder, and Debbie Buchan, 19, punched, kicked and stamped on victim Laura before Stuart Jack slit her throat.
From demon to mere yob in a trice. And now to unemployment. The Mirror says the “cut-throat murder girl” has been sacked. Her now ex-boss says he had no idea about Mackinnon’s background “as we got a fake name of Sherylleigh”. The Sun and Mirror call her “brazen”. But she changed her name. She’s hardly glorying in her notoriety. And she was self-employed, renting a chair in the salon.
You might not like a woman with a violent past cutting your hair, but she served her time, learnt an honest trade inside and then re-emerged into society, ready and willing to contribute. She’s been rehabilitated. Isn’t that one purpose of prison? And now she’s been sacked because the tabloids have ‘exposed’ her.
So does she now sign on and become a drain on the State?
Ten faces on the Mirror’s cover. Simon Cowell (telly), Mark Thatcher (lost), El Chapo (pharmaceuticals), the Duchess of Windsor (choppers), Nick Faldo (Sir), Paul Burrell (ma’am), Willian (Chelsea), Jackie Chan (film), Andy Cole (Manchester United) and David Cameron (monster raving looney). All are part of the paper’s story on the Panama Papers, the massive haul of leaked documents that told us – shock of shocks – rich people don’t like paying tax.
You could add, of course, that poor people don’t much like paying them, either. But the poor don’t have link to off-shore tax havens. So they’re not news. And, indeed, you might wonder why these people are news because as early as paragraph two we’re told, “there is no suggestion of any illegality.”
Is this, then, a moral story? If it is, are we to suppose that these people are not allowed a private life? And if David Cameron is now “Dodgy Dave” because his late father Ian “pumped cash into tax haven” is Ed Miliband still Ed The Red, the son of a dead Marxist who”hated Britain”.”It’s hateful when you have your father targeted in that way, traduced in that way. There is no question about that,” said David Miliband, quoted in the Mirror. The paper called the Mail’s “smearing” of the dead man a “disgrace”. Is that still the case?
No. Because this is about money. We want to bash the rich, blame them for hurting the country. But there’s that pesky thing of nothing being illegal about any of it. It’s all legal. So can it be immoral to invest your money overseas? Labour MP Jess Phillips, quoted in the Express, says “the sins of Daddy Cameron were not illegal but they were utterly disgusting”.
Sins. Who made her a priest? Why bring god into it? She sounds so small-minded and provincial. Isn’t her job to come up with ideas for making an economy the rich would want to invest in? And can we move on about the Panama Papers being about tax avoidance. Too dull. We want to read about corruption. That’s the juicy stuff.
So there it is. France has banned anyone from buying sex. Get caught hiring a prostitute and receive a €1,500 (£1,210). The good news is that the prostitute has been decriminalised, and their actions empowered: should he or she ever want to exact a little revenge on a tight-fisted punter, they need only call in the wooden tops.
Repeat offenders will see their fine lifted to €3,750 (£3,000) and face being forced to learn about the skin trade at sex education school.
Sex sells. But buying it costs.
Why did mental health professionals fail to identify Helen’s abuse?
That question to the, er, scriptwriters.
The headline is depressing: “Jewish Labour MP facing ‘intimidation and hostility’ from party members.”
Nick Cohen reasons: “Not long now before voting Labour becomes the moral equivalent of voting Ukip.”
Anti-semitism is not forbidden upon within the Labour ranks. It’s tolerated. Soon it will be pretty much assumed. Kevin Schofield writes:
A prominent Jewish Labour MP is being targeted by party activists “hell-bent” on attacking her, it has been claimed. Louise Ellman has faced an “orchestrated” campaign by members in her Liverpool Riverside constituency, according to the city’s assistant mayor, Nick Small.
The allegations come just days after Ms Ellman, chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, said Jeremy Corbyn must do more to tackle anti-Semitism in the party... some hard-left activists said the global rise in anti-Semitism was “down to the existence of Israel”.
If in doubt, blame the Jews.
Mr Small tells the Jewish Chronicle:
“I found these comments offensive and believe that they have no place within the broad church of the Labour party [pun intended?]. There are a tiny but vocal group within our CLP who seem hell-bent on attacking our MP in an orchestrated, horrible, personalised way. They are trying to create an atmosphere of intimidation and hostility that is making many members, particularly Jewish members, feel deeply uncomfortable.”
Says Ms Ellman:
“Most members of the Labour party are not anti-Semitic but some are and some are being allowed to get away with posting anti-Semitic comments in tweets and on their websites. The leader has spoken out clearly, he says he is against anti-Semitism. But it’s not just about words – there has got to be some action and we haven’t seen enough of that.”
Over to Twitter, where Jeremy Corbyn’s brother, Piers, offers a loaded retort: “#Zionists cant cope with anyone supporting rights for #Palestine.”
Zionists. Corbyn spits it out like a toxin; a shorthand for all the world’s ills. Naming someone a Zionist is the worst of all insults. It wasn’t always this way. Tony Benn once wrote for the Labour Zionist magazine, Jewish Vanguard. But then the Left changed the terminology. To be a Zionist, a person who believes in Zionism, the Jews return to an ancient Jewish homeland, is to be a threat to everything good and decent. To be an anti-Zionist is not necessarily to be anti-Semitic. Of course not. You don’t have to be a Jew to be hated by the Left, but it makes things a whole lot easier if you are.
The Zionist plan for Israel – a place promised to Jews in a Covenant with God (discuss) – is now apart from all other peoples’ rights to their own place on the planet. Last month the University of New South Wales guidelines, which are not mandatory, says Australia was “invaded, occupied and colonised”. It was not “discovered”. The Zionists would argue their lands were “invaded, occupied and colonised”. Palestinians would argue the same. It’s complicated. Israel is no romantic idyll flowing with milk and honey. But why should it attract so much more ire when many other places are settled and colonised? Why does Israel always top the BBC’s news cycle? Why does Israel get the Left so outraged when other countries at war and divided by sectarianism do not?
Answer: because you can pour all the world’s ills into it. Cure Israel and make the world a better place. Israel is not all about Jews, just as anti-Semitism isn’t. Israel, like the Jews, fits a bill and fills a vacuum. When you’re devoid of ideas, have no direction of travel for your weak projects, you need to find something to bind, define and epitomise what you stand for. We don’t know what Labour is any more but they can show us what it is not: Israel.
And then things soon get ugly. Just as anti-Semites say Jews are behind all the world’s ills, puppet-masters in a shadowy cabal, anti-Zionists say all problems in the Middle East are down to Israel. Defeat the Jews / Israel and all things in your life will be made better.
Sweden’s foreign minister, Margaret Wallstrom, said Islamists blow people up because of – yep – Israel: “To counteract the radicalization, we must go back to the situation, such as the one in the Middle East of which not the least the Palestinians see that there is not future. We must either accept a desperate situation or resort to violence.”
Hamas can be Jeremy Cornyn’s “friends” (his word) because as Zionist haters they are on the side of the good and the decent. But Corbyn’s “friends” don’t believe in sexual equality, women’s rights, gay rights, democracy, freedom of expression, a free press and human rights. To overlook all that anti-freedom – to blame all those Islamist and anti-progressive policies on Israel – is to side with the anti-Semites. Anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism become indistinguishable
Having heard what Piers thinks of Zionistssssss, Jeremy Corbyn tells the Sun: “My brother isn’t wrong… My brother has his point of view, I have mine and we actually fundamentally agree. We are a family that were brought up fighting racism from the day we were born.”
Smell that? It’s in the wind. It’s acidic, infectious and seductive to a Left wing shorn of ideas and progress. And it’s back…
The Daily Mail and Sun want to tell you about Michelle Pavey, the victim of a sickening crime. Pavey, of Radstock, Bath, was raped in Bristol’s Eastville Park in November 2008. At 4:15pm. She is willing now to share the story of her ordeal
The Mail: ‘They were like a pack of wolves’: Woman relives the moment she was gang raped by five ‘foreign’ men as she went to pick up a KFC takeaway for her boyfriend”
The Sun: ‘They were like a pack of wolves’: Woman who was gang-raped by five ‘foreign’ men when she popped out for a KFC speaks about her horrific ordeal”
The headlines are almost identical. And the story is the same twice over: Michelle Pavey was raped by five man who dragged her into their car. Only one of the rapists was caught and tried. He’s Afghan asylum seeker Ahadullah Khughiani. In 2009 he was jailed for eight years for rape and stealing the victim’s mobile phone (he was cleared of kidnapping), and was recently deported.
The Bristol Post says police caught him because, “Evidence was found to match the DNA taken from Khughiani when he arrived in Britain in 2008 seeking asylum.”
Both national tabloids then add: “The other attackers are believed to have fled the country.”
Believed to have fled? They don’t know?
All that talk of the Panama Papers and big money in murky offshore accounts has made the Times think about David Cameron and another offshore business off the coast of Italy:
You’ve heard news of the Panama Papers. The Guardian is hot for them:
In the files we have found evidence of Russian banks providing slush funds for President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle; assets belonging to 12 country leaders, including the leaders of Iceland, Pakistan and Ukraine; companies connected to more than 140 senior politicians, their friends and relatives, and to some 22 people subject to sanctions for supporting regimes in North Korea, Syria, Russia and Zimbabwe; the proceeds of crimes, including Britain’s infamous Brink’s-Mat gold robbery; and enough art hidden in private collections to fill a public gallery.
Can it be that the corrupt are corrupt? As the Guardian studiously ignores its own off-shore tax arrangements, the Mirror leads with David’s Cameron’s link to the Panama Papers. It asks: “So, do you STILL have family money stashed in a secret offshore tax haven, Prime Minister?” To which you might asks, “Does the Mirror have any investigative journalists or is it all clickbait?”
Before more on Cameron, a few words on the source. The 11.5 million documents were leaked by someone at Panama-based law company Mossack Fonseca, and shared with more than 370 journalists affiliated with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
The ICIJ is the watchdog journalism branch of the Center for Public Integrity, a Washington nonprofit, nonpartisan investigative group.
Founded in 1977, Mossack Fonseca is headquartered in Panama but has a presence in dozens of countries including known tax havens such as Switzerland, the British Virgin Islands and Seychelles. It specializes in helping companies and individuals set up offshore, tax exempt entities, according to its website, and is reportedly the world’s fourth largest provider of such services. According to the Guardian, one of the two U.K. publications that partnered with the ICIJ in the investigation, one of the firm’s partners said in a leaked memorandum that “ninety-five per cent of our work coincidentally consists in selling vehicles to avoid taxes.”
Mossack Fonseca has strongly denied any wrongdoing, saying in an initial statement to ICIJ that it conducts “a thorough due-diligence process” before helping to incorporate companies. The company also provided a more detailed response, which can be read in full here.
The leak is the biggest in history, greater than the cache of documents released by Wikileaks, and contains information from 1977 to December 2015, including the details of 214,000 entities, such as trusts, foundations and shell companies that can be used to hide the true ownership of assets.
Back to Cameron. The Times also leads with the Cameron link. And it’s a good read:
Blairmore Holdings, set up by Ian Cameron [Dave’s dad] in 1982, held board meetings abroad and allegedly placed up to 50 Caribbean officers including a lay bishop in executive positions to legally avoid being taxed as a British company.
The Bahamas-based investment fund, which managed tens of millions of pounds on behalf of wealthy families, used anonymous “bearer shares” to shield its clients from public view, according to a data leak that has implicated world leaders, celebrities and businessmen in offshore tax avoidance.
Bearer shares can be used to facilitate money laundering and tax evasion as they enable investors to hide ownership and transfer assets without a paper trail. The prime minister banned them last year and has called for an international crackdown on aggressive tax avoidance and evasion. Last night Mr Cameron said that his family’s tax affairs were a private matter. Downing Street would not be drawn on whether the Cameron family still had a stake in the fund.
The Mirror says they are not a private matter. Of course, what is and what is not private is far from being the Mirror’s special area of expertise, what with it being embroiled in phone hacking payouts for invading people’s privacy.
The row came after an unprecedented leak of 11.3 million documents from Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm. Jurisdictions such as Panama offer companies and individuals the chance to legally mitigate tax bills and maintain anonymity, but failure to declare assets to the taxman in their own country can be illegal.
The Mail leads with much the same, although early on it points out that Bearer shares are now banned in the UK. Over on Page 9, the Mail looks Putin’s “£1.4bn if shady deals”. To which cynics might say, ‘and the rest of them aren’t?’
It’s all murky stuff. But given the levels of secrecy and massive wealth, the cast of billionaires, celebrities and global leaders, what do we expect to be the result of it all?
Meet Dave Bry. Dave has a question for Guardian readers: “Does climate change make it immoral to have kids?” As the rule dictates, any headline posed as a question must be answered ‘No’. But Dave will not be sterilised so easily. He has a column to fill.
Bringing children into a disintegrating environment used to be a theoretical fear. Now it’s a very real one
Dave is scared of disintegration. He also tell us he has children. This being the Guardian, chances are they will soon be introduced in Dave’s column or one of their own, little Bry-lined specimens, keepers of the Bry hard stare.
…the world is a wonderful place, one we humans have made nicer for ourselves with wonderful inventions like books and record players, penicillin and pizza, it’s also a really awful place, one we’ve ravaged with deforestation and smog, nuclear weapons and mountains of pizza delivery boxes and other garbage.
Which one of those awful things do you suppose Dave and the Bry-lines rub up against on a given day? Nuclear weapons? (Isn’t Islington a nuclear free zone?) Deforestation by the Guardian’s new Kings X offices? Pizza? The Internet?
The awfulness seems to be getting worse, especially now that climate change has sped up – sea level rise that was supposed to take centuries has recently been projected as taking just decades. This complicates the already difficult decision of whether to have a kid.
It’s too late for Dave. But if he can put you off breeding, he’ll have made his contribution to Gaia’s health. And he will do it with science:
We’re living through what scientists call the “Sixth Extinction”, an era of precipitous decline in the number of species able to live on the planet. The last mass extinction, the fifth, happened 66 million years ago, when a giant asteroid crashed into Earth and 76% of all the species on the planet perished.
He sees “global economic collapse, famine, border disputes, wars.”
Thinking about the horrific future scientists predict hurts a very specific part of me, a part of me that I only first learned was there when I met my newborn son, 11 years ago, as he lay on the tray of the scale where the doctors had just weighed him and counted his fingers and toes.
The moment is wordless, and as mind-blowing as any drug trip I ever took.
Trust me. I’m a stoner. And Dave is re-evaluating:
Was I complicit in the damage? I remember every extra paper towel I’ve ever unspooled from the roll, and think about a tree falling in the Amazon, and then think about my son growing up in a gray, dying world – walking towards Kansas on potholed highways. Maybe while trying to protect his own son, like the father in The Road. Will he decide to have a kid? I have foisted upon him a decision even more difficult than my own. It’s all very depressing.
No. It’s hilarious. And curse those mahogany paper towels!
What if, and this is obviously a huge “if”, some young person, perhaps a certain 11-year-old in a Black Sabbath T-shirt (I highly doubt it, he can rarely remember to take his lunchbox out of his knapsack at the end of the day), perhaps someone who is not yet born, perhaps not yet conceived, is the one super-genius to figure out the invention that could save the planet?
For anyone not laughing themselves silly at Dave, the story ends with a line about his science:
This article was amended on Saturday 2 April 2016, to correctly identify the timing of the last mass extinction.
Spotter: Brendan O’Neill.
The Sun (Page 15): “Maddie haunt get another 6 months”
News that £95,000 in “extra funding” has been earmarked to find the missing child “brings fresh hope to parents Kate and Gerry McCann”. We hear from “gran Susan Healy”, who says the police “must think it is worth continuing. We are very grateful.”
We also hear from the McCanns’ PR Clarence Mitchell, who says the family “have enough money left in the Madeleine Fund” to pay for private detectives.
The Mirror (Page 7): “Maddie hunt can carry on”
The money has comes from Home Secretary Theresa May, we’re told.
Daily Star (Page 14): “Six Months to Find Maddie”
Really? No. There is extra money for six months more police work. Then… Well, why with £12m invested in the investigation would police and the holders of the public purse baulk at another £100,000? This one will carry on.
Such are the facts…
The paper says “the Home Office has set a budget for this year of just under £95,000, which will pay for only half a year of investigations by the team of four working on the case.” So, not six months to find the Madeleine McCann, then. Six months until the latest tranche of cash runs out. And then..?
Once the money runs out in the autumn, Scotland Yard will almost certainly shelve Operation Grange, their five-year review and investigation, which has cost close to £12million but has failed to bring anyone to justice or discover what happened to Madeleine.
The paper had us right up to “almost”. “Almost certainly” is another way of saying “definitely uncertainly”. We then get to the missing child’s parents:
Soon the child’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, face the emotionally daunting prospect of paying for a new private investigation with a war chest of some £750,000, raised largely through sales of Kate’s widely praised book on the enduring mystery.
They have paid for private detectives before. Having speculated on the money, the police hunt and the McCann’s state of mind, the Express has a few facts:
At the height of the Yard’s inquiries more than 30 detectives and support staff were working on Operation Grange, based at Belgravia police station in central London. When the inquiry was in full swing a team of specially trained officers carried out detailed searches of carefully chosen scrubland near where Madeleine was taken at Praia da Luz on the Algarve on May 3, 2007.
And that is it. Although we do get to hear from the Home Office:
A Home Office spokeswoman said: “Following a request from the Metropolitan Police Service, we have agreed to provide nearly £95,000 of further funding. The funding reflects the reduced scale of the investigation, which was announced by the force last year.”
Such are the facts.
Northern supermarket chain Morrisons thinks the Scouse accent is not good at selling its quality groceries. Casting Networks Inc was looking to recruit actors for a new Morrisons advert. They wanted “proper working class people”. They said Scousers need not apply. The ad went:
They should be proper working class people but not at all like the people from ‘Benefits Street’. They should NOT sound or look posh and we should skew towards northern accents. And nobody from Liverpool please.”
The ad also called for “quirks“, such as “bushy eyebrows and freckles“. So, no black faces, then?
But no matter for the race issue. A sharp-browed black actor can always go ‘Ginger Face’ and stick on some felt. It’s the ban on Liverpudlians that hurt. One Guardian writer was outraged that la-di-da-lar Scouse actors were not good / too good for Morrisons.
The deplorable language used to stereotype different types of ‘working class’ people is pure class-based discrimination. The crass, gratuitous nature of the words jump out. Like being stopped in the street and hit with a tirade of puerile, outdated incoherence. Growing up against a backdrop of the Thatcherite “managed decline” of the city of Liverpool, I have plenty of personal experience of such nonsense. In my quest for a first job as a reporter, I ended up being interviewed for a news agency role. It went OK until the interviewer, as if struck by a paroxysm of offensiveness, blurted out: “Just one final thing … you don’t write the way you speak, do you?”
But surely the casting agency and Morrisons were not exercising their own prejudices, rather working under the market-research-backed premise their shoppers do not like the Scouse accent. And no lesser mind than Craig Brown has passed comment on Liverpool:
The city’s favourite dish is the so-called “Sarnie Sarnie” – two slices of bread placed between two further slices of bread… Sophisticated Liverpudlians order their “Sarnie Sarnies” deep-fried.
He advises honing the Liverpudlian accent by “gargling with raw potato skins three times a week”.
You can get those sarnies and spuds mentioned above in Morrisons. Although, the supermarket advises Liverpudlians to pay for them before leaving any of their stores…
Siofra Brennan has news for Daily Mail readers: “Revealed: How ‘healthy’ high street breakfasts that contain MORE sugar than a can of cola – and as much fat as a McDonald’s bacon butty.”
What! An entire meal has more sugar than a drink of fizzy pop?
Siofra goes on to make the stunning discovery that a muffin bought from Nero, the coffee shops chain, contains… Well, can you guess what might be in a cake?
Congratulations to those of you who answered: sugar. To the rest of you, the Mail has “REVEALED” that a cake bought in contains sugar.
Ban it. Ban it now!
Former BBC staffer and Newsnight journalist Paul Mason and Tory MP Ken Clarke are talking about the steel industry on BBC Newsnight. The one thing you can’t escape noticing is how often Mason gurns and interrupts. The other thing is that not so long ago Mason was presented to viewers as a unpartisan expert, Newsnight’s Economics Editor giving it to us straight:
Glasgow police have issued a threat to everyone on twitter. If your tweet or Facebook post or online comment falls short of their guide, they will knock on your door and menace you. If they think your comment is “unnecessary”, unkind, anything less than utterly true, illegal – illegal words? – or hurtful – and they and the ‘victim’ will be the judge of what is and is not hurtful – they will visit you.
Can U Not Think, Sir?