We don’t just report off-beat news, breaking news and digest the best and worst of the news media analysis and commentary. We give an original take on what happened and why. We add lols, satire, news photos and original content.
Marry Anne Noland’s obituary was published in Virginia’s The Richmond Times. She’d rather die than vote for Clinton or Trump:
NOLAND, Mary Anne Alfriend. Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Noland of Richmond chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God on Sunday, May 15, 2016, at the age of 68.
Last week in Yellowstone National Park, visitors were cited for placing a newborn bison calf in their vehicle and transporting it to a park facility because of their misplaced concern for the animal’s welfare.
In terms of human safety, this was a dangerous activity because adult animals are very protective of their young and will act aggressively to defend them. In addition, interference by people can cause mothers to reject their offspring.
In this case, park rangers tried repeatedly to reunite the newborn bison calf with the herd. These efforts failed. The bison calf was later euthanized because it was abandoned and causing a dangerous situation by continually approaching people and cars along the roadway.
When you see the police and those pointed helmets does you mind wonder to breasts? A Greater Manchester Police officer has been suspended after an alleged row with another wooden top over whose bosoms were the most attractive.
Assistant Chief Constable Rebekah Sutcliffe and Superintendent Sarah Jackson allegedly debated the issue at a bar in Manchester’s Hilton Hotel. They were attending the three-day Senior Women in Policing Conference when ACC Sutcliffe, 46, a thrice married mother-of-three, allegedly exposed her breasts. Sutcliffe has been suspended for her alleged ‘inappropriate behaviour’. Superintendent Jackson is not facing any sanctions.
Thomas Manning, 64, who lost his penis to cancer has received a penis transplant. If you could get one, would you go larger?
Relatives of the donor involved in the first successful penis transplant in the U.S. say they are opting to remain anonymous. Alexandra Glazier, CEO of the New England Organ Bank, says the family of the donor – who had died – is praying for recipient Thomas Manning’s continued recover. Glazier says the family indicates that Manning’s well-being is helping them cope as they mourn the loss of their loved one.
If you get a new penis, do you go for one larger than the one you had before, or is it just another organ, so you need a familiar fit?
Do you trust machines? Would you buy a driverless car? To Tobermory, Ontario, Canada, where a 23-year-old woman who followed her car’s SatNav instructions ended up in a harbour.
Ontario Provincial Police say the driver “took a wrong turn into Little Tub Harbour… weather conditions and the driver being new to the area, a fully submerged vehicle was the result,” police said. The woman escaped by sliding from the car’s window and swimming 30 metres to the shore in 4°C water.
To a park in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, where a dog walker has found an ear lying on the grass. He calls Warwickshire Police. They explain:
“Police were called to reports of a human ear being found in parkland near Frensham Drive, Nuneaton. The call was made with good intentions but thankfully the ear turned out to be a prosthetic and this incident is now closed.”
A prosthetic human ear? Anyone out there with wonky glasses?
It reminds me of David Lynch’s 1986 film, Blue Velvet. Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle Maclachlan) finds a severed / prosthetic ear in a field. Lynch explained:
“I don’t know why it had to be an ear. Except it needed to be an opening of a part of the body, a hole into something else… The ear sits on the head and goes right into the mind so it felt perfect”.
To Miami International Airport, Florida, where a naked Ricardo Nogales, 47, is being arrested on a breach of security charge after he jumped the perimeter fence and entered the restricted airfield area.
Miami-Dade Police says Nogales is a Cuban national. He’s also unemployed. He said he jumped the fence because he wanted to go back to Cuba.
Manchester United v Bournemouth was called off yesterday. A suspect package was discovered at Old Trafford. The Telegraphtells the sorry tale:
A farcical security blunder led to Manchester United’s final Premier League game of the season being cancelled on Sunday, after a private security firm forgot to remove a fake bomb taped to the back of a toilet door as part of a training exercise at Old Trafford.
The colossal error had sparked fears of another potential terrorist attack and resulted in the match against Bournemouth being called off as tens of thousands of fans were evacuated from one of the world’s most famous sports grounds.
Heads will roll. No, not at ISIS. It wasn’t a bomb. At the security company that didn’t find all its ‘bombs’, then forgot to collect and count them. But really it’s just pretty funny.
PS: What’s odd is the Guardian’s front page, which leads with a picture of a sobbing child and a morose adult. Manchester United fans, which they surely are, should be delighted. That was the most urgency seen at Old Trafford this season:
Abortion is a serious issue. Pope usually have a view on it. The Mail reports:
Britain’s biggest maternity union has joined forces with abortion providers and radical feminists in an ‘extreme’ campaign to abolish the legal limits on abortion. The Royal College of Midwives, which represents nearly 30,000 midwives and health workers, is calling for women to be allowed to terminate an unborn child at any stage of pregnancy – and face no criminal sanctions.
Abolishing abortion law would do away with the current time limit of 24 weeks of pregnancy, after which a woman can only have a termination for medical reasons.
The legal limits are a shifting sand, changing from 28 weeks to 24 weeks under the terms of The Human Embryology and Human Fertilisation Act 1990. The 28 weeks limit was set under the Abortion Act 1967. Before that abortions were illegal.
It’s not an exact science.
The sensible move it to trust women to decide on their pregnancies, for both moral, social and health issues, and permit doctors to perform safe abortions without fear of criminality. That abortion is a matter of State law is lamentable.
Maybe a museum will buy it. In 2015, the BBC reported:
An assault rifle used in seven unsolved murders has been discovered on public display at the Imperial War Museum. BBC Panorama has learned that investigators re-examining paramilitary murders in Northern Ireland found the gun on display in an exhibit on the Troubles. The families of the murder victims had previously been told by the police that they had disposed of the weapon… Forensic tests conducted in the 1990s showed the rifle was one of two weapons used in an attack on a Belfast betting shop in 1992. Five Catholics, including a 15-year-old boy, were killed in the attack on the Ormeau Road by Protestant paramilitaries. The rifle has also been linked to the unsolved murders of two other men in 1988.
Is the Zimmerman gun an American artefact? He says:
“I am honored and humbled to announce the sale of an American firearm icon. The firearm for sale is the firearm that was used to defend my life and end the brutal attack from Trayvon Martin on 2/26/2012.”
We will know its value by its sale price. Zimmerman can sell it – but let’s see who buys it and for how much.
On Yahoo! news (via Press release) of student loans and student debt:
Eight in 10 U.S. adults with student loans (81 percent) say they made financial or personal sacrifices because of the amount of their loans. Half (50 percent) say they delayed contributions to retirement accounts, a 22 percent jump from 2013, when 41 percent delayed saving for retirement. An increasing number of Americans are working a second job as a result of their monthly loan payments, with 46 percent in the current survey saying they’re moonlighting, a 48 percent increase from the 31 percent who did so in 2013. These are among the latest findings of a new telephone survey of 1,005 U.S. adults conducted in March by Harris Poll on behalf of the American Institute of CPAs.
As Tim Worstall, often of this site, puts it: “Presumably it would be better if everyone had to struggle with their tax bills to pay for the university educations of other people?”
So, Sky News presenter Eamonn Holmes said an attack by a few West Ham fans on the Manchester United team bus was like the 1989 Hillsborough disaster in which 96 innocent people died.
Said Manchester United fan Holmes: “Now this is going back to the 70s and to the 80s to everything you were seeing that was bad about Hillsborough for instance.”
No, Eamonn. Everything bad about Hillsborough was caused by a corrupt police, media and State treating football as a “slum sport watched by slum people“. The elite then spent 27 years blaming the victims for their own deaths at a football match.
We all know the Truth about Hillsborough. Only a fool or swine would deny it. It took the longest jury case in British legal history to clear supporters of any blame for the tragedy. The 96 had been unlawfully killed due to “a catalogue of failings by the police and ambulance services”.
Hillsborough had nothing to do with hooliganism. Sad, indeed, that police and media lies continue to pervade the Holmes brain matter. Not that he gets it. He tweeted:
“Just being made aware of someone trying to use me to stir up trouble re The Hillsborough disaster. How low, how disgusting. The Hillsborough families have suffered enough without distasteful sniping like this. For the record there is no comparison between events last night at West Ham and Hillsborough. On the programme I was trying to talk about images we never ever want to see again.”
Eamonn, who made the comparison, is outraged that anyone could make so disgusting a comparison. He’s the victim. Got it? He then softened a little, tweeting:
“I apologise unreservedly if anyone thought I was making that connection.”
Spot that “if”. If you twisted his words and thought something disgusting, then he apologises for your wrong thinking. It’s a wonderfully dishonest form of apology, the non-denial denial.
And spare us the outrage from big media. The police and elite hate football fans, the frothing mob they seek to control in ever more insidious ways. From being penned in physically in the 1980s, football fans are now regulated in more conniving ways. Lord Justice Taylor’s report into the Hillsborough tragedy didn’t only order the removal of the metal posts and pens that trapped so many at Hillsborough. He noted: “This inhospitable scene tends to breed bad manners and poor behaviour.” The old fans were to be kicked out with the old concrete grounds. To make football safe for the new, wealthier fans, you can no longer booze and smoke in the stands, swear, sing what you want to, stand or engage in anything another human being – most likely a steward – deems offensive to mind and body. And it’s expensive. The police still treat football fans as criminals-in-waiting, enacting kettling, bubble-match restrictions and Section 27 orders.
After the verdict was delivered and the heroic survivors and the loved ones of the dead who had fought the lies breathed, the Guardian wrote, “The authorities failed the Liverpool fans at Hillsborough. But so did the real hooligans.” No. Fans played no part in the crime, other than to be the victims. Spare us the thought that fans who had a drink and were rowdy, who called the police “murdering bastards” should be stained with such horror. You don’t go out with your mates to the match to be prudes and saintly. You go to let off steam and enjoy yourself.
You want justice for the 96. The media says the bereaved got it. They didn’t. They haven’t. Not yet.
This picture may only be used within the context of the Hillsborough court case. An undated file showing the tunnel at the Leppings Lane end of Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough ground, shown to the jury at Leeds Crown Court. * ...at a private prosecution brought by the Hillsborough Family Support Group. Match commander Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield and Superintendent Bernard Murray deny the manslaughter of two of the victims of the disaster at the FA Cup Semi-Final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday's ground on April 15, 1989.
PAPERS! The Guardian has news of a plot to make you a card-carrying Brit, or European Unionist, or African etc.:
Government measures making people prove their nationality or face prosecution risk damaging community relations and are discriminatory, critics have warned. The Conservatives want to give police and immigration officers the power to order people who have been arrested to state their nationality and require those believed to be foreign nationals to produce their nationality documents, such as a passport.
Believed to be foreign? Out there in Government someone thinks this is going to end well.
Failure to do so within 72 hours would become a criminal offence under the policing and crime bill currently going through parliament.
Do you have a passport? How about your birth certificate? And what would either document prove, anyhow?
But who cares for sense? Pull over, son. You been on holiday in the sunshine, sunshine? Papers!
For his first act as the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump strode on stage, extended his arms and conducted the crowd through a chorus of “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”
“We need to put our miners back to work!” he shouted Thursday to the crowd of more than 12,000 in the sunken, cavernous concrete Civic Center here. Hundreds of miners invited by the campaign to sit behind his podium rose in an extended standing ovation.
They love him. He’s local. Hell, he’s local everywhere:
Mr. Trump spent extended riffs going after Hillary Clinton, repeatedly referencing her comments about wanting to put the coal industry out of business (her campaign says she misspoke). He called the Clinton Foundation “disgusting,” referred to the investigation into her emails as secretary of state and Bill Clinton’s role in creating the North American Free Trade Agreement, and made a thinly veiled joke about Mr. Clinton’s infidelities.
“The Clinton administration, of which Hillary was definitely a part,” Mr. Trump said, continuing, “she was a part of almost everything. Almost, I say, not everything. Almost.”
He paused for a beat, as the crowd grew into a mix of laughter and cheers.
“Terrible,” Mr. Trump said, a wry joking tone in his voice. “I didn’t think the people of West Virginia thought about that. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Terrible, terrible people.”
Mr. Trump even donned a hard hat after receiving the endorsement of the West Virginia Coal Association, miming using a pick and shovel, before taking it off and risking his carefully crafted hair.
“You know you’re not allowed to hair spray anymore because it affects the ozone,” he said.
He added, in an allusion perhaps to his campaign’s overall slogan: “Hair spray’s not like it used to be. It used to be real good.”
The so-called rust belt states — in the north-east and midwest — are ripe for the picking. Trump does best in areas where the death rate among white people under 49 is highest — the downtrodden working class. Many of these people traditionally vote Democrat, but they have been voting for Bernie Sanders — Hillary Clinton’s Left-wing rival for the Democrat nomination — rather than Hillary herself. She lost the Michigan contest to Sanders, just as she lost Indiana to him this week.
Yes, Sanders is a socialist and Trump a billionaire plutocrat. But on trade — protection of American jobs — Sanders and Trump are on the same page.
Add a dash of Trump’s xenophobia and he’s in business.
Those who voted for Sanders because he speaks up for the little guy might well feel that Trump is closer to their hearts than Hillary.
Who else shagged the “Roo hooker”? The Sun wants readers to know who allegedly paid for sex with Helen Wood, an adult woman who, allegedly, once had sex-on-the-clock with Manchester United star Wayne Rooney. Wood has appeared in the Big Brother house, not as a late-night sneak-in, prize or perk, but as an actual celeb. Surely she’s no longer the “Roo hooker” or even “Wayne Rooney prostitute”? Can it be right that an entire woman is defined by the little Roo that sought comfort and validation inside her ‘gagging order’?
A well-known actor who won an injunction to hush up claims he slept with a prostitute used by Wayne Rooney is reportedly to be named in the US today. The married father, whose reputation as a family man has boosted his career as a world-renowned star, allegedly paid escort Helen Wood £195 for sex. The millionaire then paid a firm of high-powered lawyers tens of thousands of pounds to stop his fans finding out.
Showbiz man has casual sex! The odd part is that he never boasted of it. But don’t name him here. The law’s the law.
But in the Sun, Helen says, “I’d like to tell my full story.”
She should sue the alleged trick for restraint of trade.
Hillsborough. We knew. The police lied and lied and lied. The media fanned the lies. The police monstered the dead. The police made the loved ones and the bereaved wait 27 years to be told the dead were innocent. The survivors were not killers. Right until the end the police lied. Until yesterday when they had to stop lying in public. Now we’ll get talk of justice and see old men and women on the TV screens. The police are corrupt. They still hide. Did the top cops in South Yorkshire police achieve rank by rocking the boat and speaking out? It wasn’t then. It’s now. They want it buried. They want it all in the past, long ago before things got so much better. They want to tell us about lessons have being learnt. Then you think about one life snuffed out. And you demand more.
Madeleine McCann – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann.
Goncalo Amaral is back in the news. The former Portuguese detective has won an appeal against his libel defeat to Madeleine McCann’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann. The court order for him to pay the McCanns £395,000 in damages in April 2015 has been overturned. The Press pick up the story of Amaral and his 2008 book, The Truth of the Lie, in which he accuses the McCanns of “faking Madeleine’s abduction to cover up her accidental death in their apartment” (Star).
Daily Star (front page): “Maddie: Cop Wains Right To Accuse Parents”
“A banned book which accuse Madeleine’s McCanns parents of covering up her death will go on sale across Europe after a shock ruling by three appal court judge in Portugal yesterday,” writes Jerry Lawton. No shock here, at least not to Anorak readers. Back in 2010, AGW told you:
The media awaits the verdict of McCanns Versus Goncalo Amaral. Much depends on it. The McCanns have taken a risk in going against the former police officer in a foreign country. While it can be argued – as they have done – that any publicity for their missing daughter is good because it keeps her name alive in the voracious media.
But it does not keep us looking for the child. It just allows us to gawp at them, the distraught parents of a missing innocent:
YOU know when an accident is going to happen. They even have corporate speak phrases for it these days: “Risk Assessment” is one.
You know when a playing kitten is going to fall from the arm of the chair, you know when the child is going trip and fall, no matter how quick you are to try and get there.
Sometimes you see disasters being created and thundering, in silent-movie slowed down train-wreck style, toward you or others and there’s little you can do other than stand and watch horror-struck by the enormity of it all.
You know the accident’s about to happen and there is nothing you can do but perhaps wonder why you knew?
It has nothing to do with sixth senses, it is because the most powerful computer known to man, your brain, has gathered in all the previous experiences you have weighed in the balance and made a predictive analysis.
That is what is so strange about the current and past behaviour of the parents of the missing child Madeleine McCann.
They have started a court action defending their reputations in Lisbon because the former chief investigating officer Goncalo Amara, is accusing them of being involved in Madeleine’s disappearance. They have also started an action seeking a money settlement for the Portuguese equivalent of libel and in addition are taking on a Lisbon-based documentary production unit for reporting on the detective’s objected to book and the case.
Lisbon was never going to be a perfect spot for the McCann’s to start legal sparring and this week they were dealt what can only be termed a body-blow when the detective’s lawyers produced evidence the UK’s top criminal profiler has said there were “contradictions” in their statements and both should be treated as possible “homicide” suspects.
No arguments, no amount of reshuffling or clarifications can change that and the facts can not be forced back into the can of worms which the McCann parents themselves have allowed to be opened.
The background PR work after the Lisbon shocker has been impressive. The McCann lawyers strode from the courtroom and counter-claimed there were tens, hundreds or more sightings of the missing girl. The UK’s Red Tops dutifully followed the thread and reported the lawyer’s statement. My experience and training gave the brain the predictive text that this looked like a smoke screen, a damage limitation. The missing fact was all these sightings came after the McCann’s themselves had been released from Arguido, suspect, status. The case was archived. It was a cold, leading nowhere, case in the eyes of the top legal and police professionals in Portugal…the responsible authorities have no clues and have suspended work on the case.
It has already been said in these columns, taking on the Portuguese legal system was going to be a minefield but there is one question:
Who is taking the responsibility for the Risk Assessment for this McCann course of action?
Whoever it was needs to be replaced or kept out of the limelight.
Mass public opinion is turning. The McCanns are slipping lower and lower down the celebs’ to be seen with list, certainly no-longer A list and slightly embarrassing to be around according to some whispers.
The McCanns are innocent. No charges have been brought against anyone…except the Chief Investigating Police Officer, Goncalo Amaral.
A second question would have to be: Who on earth took the Risk Assessment decision Amaral was a buffoon an incompetent, bungling, Jacques Clouseau Pink Panther type of police officer?
Come on, wake up! Police officers do not rise through the ranks to positions of authority without being good thief-takers and being very good at spotting the wrongness of something.
Amaral is tougher than the baying section of Britain’s media has portrayed.
The McCanns are becoming battered and worn by this. Just look at their recent photographs. The child is still missing, lost, gone. Arguments still rage over the rightness or wrongness of it all.
Something is judgementally wrong in the Risk Assessments taken here. This week has been hugely damaging to the McCann’s and their cause. The information given this week in the Lisbon court can no longer be ignored or forgotten. It will have a high cost and one of the costs are potential new helpers and donations to the campaign of finding the child.
Daily Star Page 7: “Maddie SHOCK”
The Portuguese appeal court judges “ordered” the McCanns to pay “full legal fees of the three-year hearing”. The McCanns have “instructed lawyers to appeal against the new ruling”. But the judges call Amaral’s book a “legitimate exercise in the right to express an opinion”. Portugal was once a police state. Free speech is enshrined. The lawyers’ appeal looked doomed.
We then get a rapid-fire vox pop. The McCanns deny Amaral’s claims. A “pal” says they are “seething”. Their spokesman Clarence Mitchell says, “It is a matter for Kate and Gerry’s lawyers to deal with .”
The Sun (front page): “MADDIE: Agony for McCanns as cop wins libel case”
Page 4: “Hunt Hit By Cash Crisis – Maddie £430k Libel Loss Blow – Tec wins against McCanns”
Daily Mirror (Page 7): “Bungling cop in libel triumph over the McCanns”
Is every policeman who fails to solve a case a bungler?
And then we get to the money. The cash Amaral was ordered to pay the McCanns never left his account. All payments – £360,000 and £76,000 in interest – was held until the appeal judges had ruled. The money never came out of the Maddie Fund, did it? It was never in the Fund.
Daily Express (Page 8): “McCanns ‘seething’ as Maddy detective overturns book ruling”
We finally hear from the McCanns’ legal aide. Their Portuguese lawyer, Isable Duarte, “said she was ‘disappointed’ but not surprised” at the ruling.
Daily Mail (Page 30): “McCanns suffer £395k libel loss”
Page 30. The story continues – but less and less people are listening to it.
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.
Daily Mirror (front page): “Maddie Police: We Hope to Find Her Alive”
Well, yes. Of course they do. They’re not ghouls.
Mick Duthie, the police chief leading the “hunt” for the missing child, says, “We hope that we will fine her alive.”
Page 5: “There is always a possibility that we’ll find her…work still needs to be done.”
Got that about the possibility of news? It’s PR-speak for, “We haven’t found her.” With, as the Mirror states, £12m spent on the search so far, police are keen to show they’ve made progress. If Duthie does know what happened to the child, he’s not letting on. He says, “We want to find her alive” but “If she’s been murdered…” She might be alive. She might be dead. Maybes.
Daily Star (front page): “Maddie Search Sensation”
Oh, go on. We’ll play along. What is the sensational news?
It is news that cops “hope to find her alive”. Read. All. About. It.
Page 7: “Top Maddie Cop: New Maddie Clues”
Joe Kasper writes: “Detective Chief Superintendent Mick Duthie says detectives are still pursuing “justifiable and reasonable” leads. No. What he said was that if the police needed more money to find Madeleine McCann, they would ask for it: “There is a missing girl and is she has been murdered and if we think we have got reasonable and justifiable lines of inquiry to pursue then they should be dealt with.”
The Sun (Page 6): “Cops ‘ no closer’ to locating Maddie.”
So much for the Star’s new leads sensation.
Duthie says cops “do not have a ‘full understanding’ what happened to her or why she was taken”.
Mentions of murder: nil.
Daily Express (front page): “Police: Maddy could Still Be Alive”
No body. No proof of anything.
Page 7: “Madeleine police follow up new leads”
Number of new leads mentioned by police: nil.
As another anniversary of Madeleine McCann’s vanishing looms into view, and the news cycle picks up the PR, we learn that nothing has change. Child disappears. And that’s the sum of all the facts.
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.
Daily Mail: “Detectives believe the missing youngster could still be found alive”
Progress: nil. We are still in the lyrical land of “could” and “believe”. Time moves on but the single thread story of the child who vanished in 2007 is snared. The Mail notes the words of Detective Chief Superintendent Mick Duthie. He’s been speaking with theLondon Evening Standard. We read:
Detective Chief Superintendent Mick Duthie, the head of the Yard’s homicide squad…
Homicide? Is that significant? We are clutching at straws. No evidence whatsoever any harm befell Madeleine McCann, let alone murder.
…said officers were pursuing “justifiable and reasonable” leads in the investigation into the missing three year-old.
Good. Get on with it. Best of luck.
He was speaking weeks after the Home Secretary Theresa May granted police £95,000 to extend the five year old inquiry for a further six months.
This is about money, then, and value in how it’s spent.
Mr Duthie, who is in overall charge of the investigation Operation Grange, said: “There is ongoing work. There is always a possibility that we will find Madeleine and we hope that we will find her alive. That’s what we want and that’s what the family and the public want and that is why the Home Office continue to fund it. There is work that needs to be done still. “
The police chief admitted detectives did not have a “full understanding” of what happened to Madeleine or why she was taken but added: “That is why the work continues. “
Full understanding? Is that another way of saying they don’t know what happened to her?
He told the Standard: “There is a missing girl and if she has been murdered and if we think we have got justifiable and reasonable lines of inquiry to pursue then they should be dealt with.”
Murder. He said it. That’s grim. He added:
“The investigation continues. We go to the Home Office every six months. We have a smaller team dealing with it because we have less inquiries to deal with but we still have a job to do. I imagine that if we have not completed our inquiries within six months we will go back to the Home Office and ask for more money.”
We told you that.
He refused to give further details about the inquiry but confirmed that detectives were still examining possible links to a series of burglaries in the Algrarve area at the time Madeleine went missing.
If. Could. Possible. A child vanished. And that’s what we know.
What’s John Whittingdale been up to? The Star says the Tory MP, currently working as the culture and media secretary (GSOH, WLTM 4 MTV) “had a two-year fling with a Daily Star Page 3 girl”. Will he be involving himself with other mainstays of tabloid news, buying a lawnmower from the classified section, perhaps, or appearing in the TV pages as a Britain’s Got Talent wannabe?
Whatever’s next for Whittingdale, we are more interested in his past, chiefly his five-month romance with Olivier King, a dominatrix he met on Match.com, when he was single man and before he became a government minister, though he was chair of the Commons’ Culture, Media and Sport select committee. When Whittingdale discovered the single woman’s job he called off the affair. You might have read about his squeamishness in the tabloids, but when the story was hawked around Fleet Street, no-one bought it.
Anti-free Press, pro-privacy outfit Hacked Off and the BBC thought that a shame. Andrew Gilligan writes that Hacked Off worked with the BBC to produce their story of Whittingdale and the sex worker for Newsnight – that’s the show that opted to keep Jimmy Savile’s crimes private, spiking a story on the paedophile. These champions of privacy who bemoan press invasion into private lives wanted us to know about John’s sex life.
One theory is that tabloid newspapers passed on the story to keep Whittingdale in his job? He’s not all that in favour of Leveson and plans to clamp-down on the free press. If the Press expose John as – shock of shocks – a single man who likes women, he might be replaced by someone keen on an increasingly State-regulated Press. Or maybe he was being blackmailed? Or maybe that’s all nuts because if a free press is free the politicians have no say over what goes in it. So much for the conspiracies – which rather undermine the other story about tabloids being peopled by unscrupulous bastards who name and shame before fabricating facts to support their salacious gossip. It turns out they are edited and considered publications. Who knew?
And now about that Page 3 girl. Stephanie Hutton, for it is she, “said the Culture Secretary cheated on her with a dungeon-dwelling dominatrix known as Mistress Kate.” On pages 6 and 7 – after we’ve seen Page 3 girl Brook tell us about a love of topless ice-skating – we get to Stephanie, one half of the Boobie Twins. Stephanie say she met John on a dating site in 2013. “He told me he was a Russian arms dealer,” says Stephanie. “I don’t know if he was just being careful or trying to make himself more attractive, but it wasn’t necessary. I liked him.” She says at the Commons, he “always turned the lights out so we wouldn’t be recorded on CCTV”.
The Mirror says this caution approach to dating means Whittingdale is “addicted to danger”. The paper says Whittingdale has “been spotted with East European women at public events in the UK”. Scurrying about for anything to spank Whittingdale with that doesn’t make the phone-hacking Mirror look opportunistic and crass, we learn via a Labour MP of concerns about “powerful, middle-aged men being targeted by young women from the old Soviet Union and left open to blackmail”.
You see, it’s not about sex and privacy – it’s about State secrets and, er, sex and secrecy. Much better and in the public interest.