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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”.
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:
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.
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
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.”
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.
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.
But on the back we get to know that football and all other sports are riddled with paedos – maybe.
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?”
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”.
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.
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.
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.
The Mail leads with the football sex abuse story. “THERE COULD BE THOUSANDS” thunders the paper’s lead sports story.
Be in no doubt it’s getting worse. Earlier in the week it was “hundreds”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.”
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?
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.
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.
Paedo-hunting has been a national obsession. One good thing about it is that with so many of the people accused dead, police, MPs and media need offer no right of reply, proof and cough up for damages when the thing goes tits up. One downside is that people who actually knew some of the shameless dead are upset. The widow of the late Lord Leon Brittan is one of that number. Having seen her husband labelled “as close to evil as any human being could get” in Parliament (Tom Watson MP apologised, albeit after the innocent man had died), it did not escape Lady Brittan’s notice that the Met Police failed to tell Leon he had no case to answer before he died of cancer in January last year.
“I think, particularly for him, he should have known that he was innocent of the charges before he died, but that didn’t happen,” she tells the BBC. “…I think he kept it very much to himself because his major objective during those last few months was to get better, get well, do everything that he could to get well. I went to see him one afternoon and he said: ‘I’ve just been just been rung by the police.’ I said: ‘What’s it about?’ He said: ‘I’m not terribly sure, but I’ve just said to them I’ll ring my lawyers.’ And then the lawyers rang me, and then they said to me this is an old rape allegation, 47 years old, against Leon. And then, about a couple of weeks later, he was interviewed under caution. And at the end of it he felt absolutely assured in his own mind that would be the end of the matter…
“I learnt, it must have been in July of the following year after he died, from the Independent on Sunday that no further action would have been taken. I then got my lawyers to write to the police saying, ‘Was this story true?’, because they hadn’t bothered to inform me, and I suppose about a month later I got a reply.”
Never mind, eh. Maybe the huge Home Office inquiry into paedophiles operating decades ago will have more luck with their admin? Currently under investigation are:
Accountability and Reparations for Victims and Survivors of Abuse
Cambridge House, Knowl View and Rochdale
Children in Custodial Institutions
Children outside the UK
Child Sexual Exploitation by Organised Networks
The Anglican Church
The Roman Catholic Church
Not under investigation – yet – are: the Midland Bank, British Leyland, the RAC, the FA and… No, scratch that. The FA is now in the mire. Following the disturbing stories that former Spurs striker Paul Stewart was sexually assaulted by a youth coach as a child and Andy Woodward was abused by Crew Alexandra coach Barry Burnell, the Daily Mail declares: “The scandal that could be worse than Jimmy Savile: How football has been shaken to its core by tales of sexual abuse by monsters in tracksuits.”
Worse than Jimmy Savile? That would be gibbering disc jockey Jimmy Savile who abused hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people. He did. Be in no doubt about it. In 2013, Met Commander Peter Spindler, the man then leading the Jimmy Savile abuse probe, told the BBC that the celebrity had “groomed a nation”. Now the old bastard is worm food, the nation can heel.
But we can’t move on because although Savile was never arrested, charged let alone tried for his apparent depravity, his name has become the gage by which all perverts are measured. It’s not enough that young footballers were molested. It has to be a national travesty that they were. We should be calling for the forces of law and justice to investigate the accused, weigh the burden of proof and for all evidence to be tested in court. But instead of substance, we get hype.
In 2014, the Metropolitan police said ‘Nick’s’ stories of a cabal of wealthy and powerful perverts raping and killing children for sport were “credible and true”. If you say you were abused, then it is fact. So today British football is full of paedos. It’s no longer an inquiry if guilt is known before the facts have been looked at. It’s an inquisition. Nick’s stories were not credible and true. But instead of learning from ‘Nick’ and treating the next story with circumspection, we get panic.
In February, the Met attempted to save face. The Guardian headlined a story: “Met police may end policy of automatic belief of sex abuse complaints – Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe, writing in the Guardian, says police should test evidence ‘with open minds’.” You should no more assume every claim is credible and true than you can take it as read that an IC3 male driving a car is guilty of DWB (Driving Whilst Black).
But gathering evidence and assuming innocence is not as exciting as the police’s propaganda unit nicking celebs for the cameras.
If the past few seasons of paedo hunting have taught us anything it is that we should treat all accusations with a healthy scepticism, be on the look out for the next witch-hunt and wonder if in 30 years time we’ll be looking back and wondering why the police, Parliament and media were so obsessed with the dead and decrepit that they overlooked and were incurious about troubling stories and crimes happening today.
More on the Donald Trump Death Cult – an occasional look at media chatter on Trump’s demise. The Star being news that the US President-elect will “DIE ON THE JOB”. Jeff Farrell hears that that Trump is at “Significant risk” of dying – “if the workload as the next US president does not give him a heart attack, his missus could”.
This news comes from two medics.
First up is Dr Karen Morton, billed as a “cardiologist”. There is no word that she’s ever met Trump let alone treated him. But Dr Karen has seen enough to tells us that Melania Trump will “make certain demands as a young woman in her prime”. Lest you think Dr Karen is a ghoul, she adds, “Let’s hope he doesn’t die on the job.”
The second expert is Dr Patrick Heck. He’s quoted as having told a medial conference: “He [Trump] is surely at a significant risk of a heart attack”.
Over the Express, Dr Karen is no longer a cardiologist, but “Gynaecologist Dr Karen Morton, of Dr Mortons”.
Dr Morton’s is a private medial service. We were quoted a fee of £10 per minute to speak to a doctor, after registering. An email consultation will set us back £25. The receptionist told us that, to the best of her knowledge, Dr Morton has not treated Donald Trump, father to a young child who will be surely delighted to know that such fine minds are discussing his dad’s death in the media.
It’s all done in the best possible taste, of course.
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.
The Mirror (page 21): “‘MADDIE’ LIVING ROUGH IN ITALY IS SWEDISH STUDENT”.
Madeleine McCann was taken to Sweden, enrolled at university there before absconding to live rough in Italy? No. Tracey Kandohla tells us that Embla Jauhojarvi has been “identified” after “claims she could have been Madeleine McCann”. Madeleine McCann vanished in 2007. She was 4. Embla Jauhojarvi is 21.
The Mirror says photos of Embla, who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, look a bit like mock-ups of how Madeleine McCann might look were she 21-years-old and living rough on the streets of Rome.
Who on earth thought Embla could be the missing child? The Mirror notes: ” The Official Find Madeleine Campaign on Facebook, endorsed by parents Kate and Gerry McCann, alerted the Met Police.”
The story goes that Embla told Italian police her name was Maria and she was English. Italian police “said the girl was too old to be Madeleine”. Embla is 21. She is a woman. She is not a “girl”.
Daily Star (Page 6): “Hopes Dashed After Web’s ‘Maddie’ Claim”
Andrew James says Embla was “said to resemble Madeleine McCann”. She doesn’t. But she does have “the same distinctive blemish in her eye as Madeleine”. To recap: Embla is white and one of her eyes looks a bit like of the missing child’s eyes.
Say Rome police: “There has speculation but Madeleine would be 13 now and this is much older. It’s not her.”
As we look up the Italian for ‘No shit, Sherlock”, the Express has more.
Daily Express (Page 21): “Who is the mysterious ‘MARIA'”?
Well, you could find out by reading the Mail’s tory of two days ago: “EXCLUSIVE: ‘That’s my girl!’ Swedish father reveals the mystery English-speaking homeless girl of Rome is his daughter, 21, who suffers from Asperger’s and vanished six months ago.”
Or you could read Dominic Midgley, who pulls on his gumshoes and writes on the woman sleeping rough in Rome:
She could not be fingerprinted because she had committed no crime but she was photographed. She stares out of the pictures with dull blue eyes that betray a resigned acceptance of her plight rather than active unhappiness…
As Midgley reads minds, we learn that Embla is daughter to Tahvo Jauhojärvi, “the owner of a gym equipment company in Stockholm.”
Daily Mail and Sun: nothing.
We all want to see a happy ending to the story of Madeleine McCann’s vanishing. But, as ever, the tabloids are going with sensation over facts. How does this help?
Buckingham Palace is been given a refit. The Mail’s Sebastian Shakespeare is shocked and dismayed that the penny-pinching Queen will not chip in to help with the £370m refurb. So tight is Her Majesty that staff are being short-changed. Below the headline “Gardener at Palace won’t get London Living Wage: Staff member would have cost of living in docked from their salary”, he writes:
The Royal Household is advertising for an experienced, qualified gardener who will be paid £17,000 per year — which works out at £8.72 an hour for a standard 37-and-a-half-hour week.
However, the successful applicant will, in fact, be paid less than £17,000 because they will be obliged to live in, the cost for which will be docked from their salary.
A small studio flat in Mayfair will set you back at least £2,000 a month.
And the job includes perks other than living in the Royal Mews:
You will be rewarded with a comprehensive benefits package, including 33 days holiday (inclusive of Bank Holidays), a 15% employer contribution pension scheme (with the option for flexibility – to increase contributions or draw down as salary), meals provided, training and development, as well as a range of recreational facilities. In addition, as this is a live-in role, you will be provided with single accommodation, and if eligible, be able to apply for self-contained accommodation, for which your salary will be adjusted.
So you don’t get paid less than minimum wage at all.
Hats off to the Daily Star for one of the most absurd and joyous front pages. The paper brings news that Ant and Dec are in a “RACE STORM.
Ant and Dec are the faces of ITV’s I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, a show that’s been running so long the local wildlife has unionised.
The story is that Ant and Dec have insulted “sensitive Australians” by calling them “uncouth layabouts who rarely wash. The paper’s bit about the Poms’ joke upsetting “sensitive” Aussies is brilliant.
Years and years of storied abuse between the English and the Australians and the Star sets new standards. No longer rugged and tough, Aussies are “sensitive”.
It’s all very touchy feely Down Under.
The good new is that the next generation of prudes is on course to graduate from City University just as soon. The college’s student union has furthered democracy by voting to ban the sale of the Sun, Daily Express and Daily Mail from the campus. All papers have been ruled “facist” [sic] and “Islamophobiac” [sic] by the one percent of the student body that voted.
It used to be, of course, that the one percent referred to the gilded elite who exercised control over the proles. Now the 1% are the moral elite who think the 99% are the gilded, ignorant elite. If Labour and Jeremy Corbyn need to know why they won’t win a General Election, they should look at that 1% as their new core vote.
Also, it’s a tad ironic that the vote was more loaded than a Daily Express phone poll. But both newspaper and student union have a little way to go before they can emulate Saddam Hussein who in 2002 famously won 100% support from 11,445,638 eligible Iraqi voters.
In a vote on a motion called – and get this for title Joe Stalin would just love (deep breath) – Opposing Fascism and Social Divisiveness in the UK Media – these anti-fascists agreed that banning newspapers is just, right, progressive and human.
What does it all mean? Well, the “Press Gazette understands there are no retail outlets for newspapers on the campus”.
So you can bring your own to school, like these fine anti-fascists are doing.
Apparently, student fascists are now putting tabloids all over the campus (see photo above). Che Guevara is so out of date. If you students want to a real poster to showcase your rebellious credentials, slap up a picture of Vicky from Hounslow.
Chickens. If you eat them raw, you might get ill. It’s a lucky dip. The Daily Mail leads with news that 2 in 3 chickens sold in “British stores” have a superbug. The small print tells readers that the superbug is E.coli and its resistant to antibiotics.
Readers of the Scottish Daily Mail get a different version. In Scotland “half of fresh chicken sold in Scottish stores” is infected with the “e.coli superbug”.
Whatever the geographic differences in contaminated chickens, the issue is getting worse. In September, the Mail said it was one in four chickens.
Over in today’s Sun, the story is that “most” chickens have the bug. But the paper is not as terrified as the Mail, noting early in the story.
The strain of the infectious bug has developed a resistance to some antibiotics, meaning people who fall ill could be more difficult to treat. It is not the killer O157 food poisoning strain and does not cause the usual diarrhoea and vomiting.
Compare that to the Mail’s opening lines:
Two-thirds of the fresh chicken sold in British stores is contaminated with an E.coli superbug, according to experts. The scale is far higher than previous studies have shown and points to a serious public health threat.
The Mail, as ever, links the bug to cancer:
The alarming effects of the antibiotic-resistant strain of E.coli come when you get ill. Someone infected by chicken a few years earlier, who then ends up having chemotherapy for cancer, or surgery, is vulnerable to infections such as pneumonia, which then cannot be properly fought with antibiotics.
You can avoid illness by washing your hands after handling raw chicken and cooking the meat. The Food Standards Agency tell us:
Don’t wash raw chicken: Cooking will kill any bacteria present, including campylobacter, while washing chicken can spread germs by splashing.
This abusing of whites by whites is pathetic. The knowing used to be content with labelling a whole group of people ‘white trash’, sub-human rubbish identifiable by Londsale logos and slack-jaws. This hideous social racist term dehumanises a whole group of people as human dross – which is what Nazis and jihadis do.
Tired of outing the likes of Coleen Rooney as “a superchav” (Sunday Times) for having ideas above her station and appearing on the Vogue cover, branding Jade Goody “a vile, pig-ignorant, racist, bully consumed by envy of a woman of superior intelligence, beauty and class” (The Sun), belittling “Essex Man“ and giving Stephen Lawrence’s killers an excuse by calling their home town a “White Man’s Gulch”, an “E-reg Escort-land” (Daily Mirror) of uniformly hateful creatures, the new way for the right sort of whites to boost their self-esteem is to call out rich whites.
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn lambasts Donald Trump and Nigel Farage as “rich, white, fake anti-elitists”.
There is no safe space to be white in public unless you are accusing other whites of some collective crime for which they should be ashamed. If you want to assure yourself that you’re the right kind of white, you can wear a safety pin on your clothes. Speaking to the BBC, Allison (she don’t want to give her full name), who seems to come up with the idea, opined: “If people wear the pin and support the campaign they are saying they are prepared to be part of the solution. It could be by confronting racist behaviour, or if that is not possible at least documenting it. More generally it is about reaching out to people and letting them know they are safe and welcome.”
It’s virtue signalling for people who have a pretty low view of humanity, who assume that only mentally negligible dupes and racists voted for Brexit or Trump. It’s long been assumed that you can spot by a bigot by their Klan hood, Nazi walk, raised jihadi finger or far-Left and far-Right politics. But stick on a safety pin and the pin heads position themselves in a moral station above all the non-pin wearers now cast as suspected bigots. Nazis made the Untermensch wear symbols to advertise their wrong-thinking and bad morals so their betters would know them; the new morally elite wear symbols to show their cultural superiority.
It’s weak to attack abuse an entire racial group. Debate and ridicule your enemies by all means. Name call if you like – but do try to be imaginative and gloriously bitchy. Just leave race and colour out of it. It makes you look like a snobby and envious twat.
Sophie Theallet has something to say. Having once provided clothes for Michelle Obama’s wardrobe, Theallet will not allow Melania Trump to fill her massive closets with the same.
Does Melania want to wear Theallet’s clothes? We’ve found no word that she does. But it is a shame one immigrant cannot support another.
Of course, banning people is what any tradesperson can do. It’s their right to be rude. Well, sort of.
One of my favourite rude shopkeepers was Kim Tickell, aka Kim Joseph Hollick de la Taste Tickell, who ran the Tickell Arms outside Cambridge until his death in 1990.
After parking carefully you approached the front door, on which was posted a long handwritten list of house rules – No Long-Haired Lefties, No Tee Shirts, No Trainers, No CND-ers and so on. The Squire himself usually presided over his empire in 18th century style attire including knee breeches and an eye glass. He was spectacularly rude, usually for no good reason, and was prone to outrageous behaviour. He once poured the ice bucket down a customer’s trousers because his shirt had come untucked and he was therefore “undressed”. A large pair of scissors was kept behind the bar so he could snip off any ties which offended him. Should a customer not have parked sufficiently neatly, he would call out their number plates through a megaphone, demanding they adjust the vehicle now. The walls were adorned with large weapons which he sometimes used for chasing people out of the building.
Londoners will recall Soho’s Wong Kei, a restaurant famed for its surly staff. When the new owner promised to offer a more genteel dining experience, patrons complained. Andrew Lebentz wrote: “Please don’t make Wong Kei a polite place to eat – the best thing about it is the rude staff.” James Bollen added: “RIP London’s most masochistic dining experience in Chinatown.“ Even Daniel Luc, who too over the place in 2014, said: “Maybe there was an issue with rude staff 20 to 30 years ago, but I don’t think so any more. I don’t know whether that’s a good thing or not.”
So more power to Sophie Theallet, whose snootiness should have them flocking. She is now The Rudest Designer in the USA. She should put that on a T-shirt.
At the Spiked talk on free speech, freedom of worship and repression, the conversation turned to the Ashers cake story. In 2015, a judge ruled that a Christian-run bakery in Northern Ireland discriminated against a gay customer by refusing to make a cake carrying a pro-gay marriage slogan.
That was then, of course, We’ve moved on. A hijab-wearing Muslim woman’s victory in BBC TV’s Great British Bake Off showed us that 2016 is a post-identity haven for bakers, where non-whites can make biscuits, scones and even quiche. As one Guardian writer noted, “Nadiya managed to defuse the negative, politicised and stereotypical discourse surrounding Muslims in one beat of a whisk.”
Making cakes is no longer a burning issue. Buying and selling them, however, remains a hot topic.
And there must be a myriad industries where prejudice festers. If you look very closely, sometimes in the dust on the factory floor, you can find something to feel upset about.
The sensible thing is to evoke the Rooney Rule for not just football but for all businesses.
The FA are considering introducing the Rooney Rule to the UK. The Rule states that league teams must interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs. For every vacancy, the club must interview a BAME candidate. There are no guarantees the ethnic minority candidate will get the job because the rule will not be extended to club owners and heads of HR, who must be viewed as suspected racists. (Encouragingly, however, 14 of the 20 Premier League clubs have foreign ownership.) Their roles must also be opened to scrutiny. We propose that one in six persons applying for any job at or in the vicinity of a football club must be from an ethnic minority – this includes referees and other officials, TV crew, newspaper reporters, their editors, cleaning staff, security and the people who appear at half time to make holes in the turf with pitchforks. Companies often recruit from within, so the revolution must be throughout an organisation.
And where football leads, the rest follow. The State has a rich history of using football as a testing ground for new types of control – see Hillsborough, censorship of fans like Celtic’s Green Brigade and Tottenham’s Yid Army, and the Football (Disorder) Act 2000. If the Rooney Rule is to be fair and progressive, let’s introduce it to the bakery, the building trade, the Commons, the Royal Family, the BBC and elsewhere?
Every time you want, say, a cake made you must first interview 6 bakers, one of whom should be BAME*, one a religionist, one a homosexual and so on. The same for when you hire a carpenter, plumber, hairdresser, lawyer, gardener, head of MI6, astronaut or estate agent. Data will be added to your Race Card and stored at headquarters. Anyone at the bottom will be re-educated. Those at the top will get to wear a badge proving their rank as a State-approved non-racist and national treasure.
PS: BAME stands for Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic. Good news for Muslims, Jews and Mormons – you’re now all lumped in one all-embracing, special acronym. It makes things easier to control. How’s that for progress?
Hey, holidaymakers. Next time you think of taking the sun in Dubai, try to remember that the place is run by lunatics. A British woman who told Dubai police she’d been raped by two men has been arrested for having extra-marital sex.
The Foreign Office says: “We are supporting a British woman in relation to this case and will remain in contact with her family.”
You can support her, too, by not going on holiday to Dubai.
Human Rights Watch tells us of the family winter sun spot:
The government arbitrarily detains, and in some cases forcibly disappears, individuals who criticized the authorities, and its security forces face allegations of torturing detainees.
That’s just the first line.
Big notes attract big criminals. The Indian government plans to thwart villains by doing away with larger bills. Politicians are upset:
The prime minister last week outlawed 500- and 1,000-rupee notes in a drive to rein in corruption and a shadow economy that accounts for a fifth of India’s $2.1tn gross domestic product.
In southern Spain I met a woman whose estranged husband funded her and their young son’s lifestyle with wads of 500 euro notes. I know this because when the lad flushed a clutch of them down the toilet, she wailed, “Those were for my new t***. ” Could she get more cash? Not easily. The husband, an ex-pat, earned his wedge doing a bit of this and bit of that. She’d have to wait and see.
In India another sort of t** gets the big notes:
With no state election funding, illicit cash is the lifeblood for political parties that collect money from candidates and businessmen, and then spend it on staging rallies, hiring helicopters and on “gifts” to win votes.
Spending on the Uttar Pradesh election is forecast to hit a record 40bn rupees ($590m), despite the cancellation of big denominations.
“We will have to plan the entire election strategy all over again,” said Pradeep Mathur, a senior Uttar Pradesh leader of the Congress opposition party that was trounced by the BJP in national elections in 2014.
Big notes are gong out of fashiin,
In 2000, Canada got rid of its $1,000 bills and Singapore called time in its $10,000 bills.
In April 2016, the BBC reported: “The European Central Bank (ECB) says it will no longer produce the €500 (£400; $575) note because of concerns it could facilitate illegal activities.”
Why? In 2010, we read:
After eight months of rigorous analysis of currency trading in the UK, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) has established that the 500 euro note is at the heart of money laundering. The reason is simple: it’s easier to shift.
Our proposal is to eliminate high denomination, high value currency notes, such as the €500 note, the $100 bill, the CHF1,000 note and the £50 note. Such notes are the preferred payment mechanism of those pursuing illicit activities, given the anonymity and lack of transaction record they offer, and the relative ease with which they can be transported and moved. By eliminating high denomination, high value notes we would make life harder for those pursuing tax evasion, financial crime, terrorist finance and corruption. Without being able to use high denomination notes, those engaged in illicit activities – the “bad guys” of our title – would face higher costs and greater risks of detection. Eliminating high denomination notes would disrupt their “business models”.
Are you old enough at 15 to to go into the world and forge a life on our own? Two months ago, on September 6, Arthur Heeler-Frood, 15, declared himself “bored with life” and left his family home in Axminster, Devon. Clutching a raft of top GCSE grades and £350 the young scholar struck out.
He’s a thoughtful young chap, writing a note to his parents, assuring them that he’d back within a year.
To Mum and Dad,
I have run away because I am bored of my life. Please don’t try to find me or make me come home.
I don’t know how long I will be away for but it won’t be longer than a year. You will find my school uniform in a bin bag in a small barn in the field on the green, down the road near Membury Church.
My bike is chained to the fence and there is a spare key to the lock on the window. Please apologise to the restaurant and tell them that I will no longer be able to work there.
I know you will be upset but understand that I have to do this,
After two months on the lam, Arthur is now back home. Someone spotted him ten miles (Times) / nine miles (Guardian) from the family residence, told police and they picked him up at Honiton railway station in Devon at about 4.30pm.
Mrs Heeler-Frood tells the Guardian of her son: “We’ve just got home with him and want a little bit of time to talk to him. He was coming home. He is fine and well.”
Oddly the Guardian begins its story by stating, “A grammar school boy missing for two months…” Does his passing entrance exams to a selective school make him seem more or less capable of surviving and thriving on his own? Are we to read that grammar school pupils can be just as selfish and thick as their comprehensive school educated peers?
The paper then adds:
Arthur’s frantic parents, Caroline and Jeremy Heeler-Frood, had wondered if he had sneaked abroad, possibly inspired by George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London, which he had just been reading.
You see where reading gets you? Yeah, Honiton. (And isn’t it good data-led academics to escape university safe spaces and get out more. Brexit and Trump taught us they should, right.)
Of course, there are other books to inspire travel. Jim Hawkins was 12 or 13 when he was inspired to board a boat:
I remember him as if it were yesterday, as he came plodding to the inn door, his sea-chest following behind him in a hand-barrow—a tall, strong, heavy, nut-brown man, his tarry pigtail falling over the shoulder of his soiled blue coat, his hands ragged and scarred, with black, broken nails, and the sabre cut across one cheek, a dirty, livid white. I remember him looking round the cover and whistling to himself as he did so, and then breaking out in that old sea-song that he sang so often afterwards:
“Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest—
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!”
You make your own stories.
So, is 15 too young to leave school and kick out for adventure and work? On 1 September 1972, the school leaving age was raised from 15 to 16. It was all right for many then, but now they want you in full-time study til your 18 at least.
The Education and Skills Act 2008 increased the minimum age at which young people in England can leave learning. This requires them to continue in education or training to the age of 17 from 2013 and to 18 from 2015. Young people will be able to choose whether to stay in full-time education, undertake work-based learning such as an Apprenticeship, or part-time education or training if they are employed, self-employed or volunteering for more than 20 hours per week.
Is that an improvement or a constraint? Is all this education creating a bubble?
Over to you, Jim Lad:
What a supper I had of it that night, with all my friends around me; and what a meal it was, with Ben Gunn’s salted goat and some delicacies and a bottle of old wine from the Hispaniola. Never, I am sure, were people gayer or happier. And there was Silver, sitting back almost out of the firelight, but eating heartily, prompt to spring forward when anything was wanted, even joining quietly in our laughter—the same bland, polite, obsequious seaman of the voyage out.
Meghan Markle is to play Jamie Vardy’s wife in a film. Well, so says the Daily Star. And who better than Prince Harry’s latest flame to pump the air as her man scores for Leicester City.
In scene 1, the actress is speaking to the News of the World. It’s 2001. “He had great muscles and I thought he’d be a great lover,” she says. “He was the worst lover I have ever had. He didn’t even attempt to satisfy me.” Whoah. Stop nodding Chelsy Davy. Meghan is reading the script from Rebekah Vardy’s insight into her time with sentimental pop acorn Peter Andre.
Of course it’s utter tosh. Markle has not been given the role. The Star only “reckons” Meghan would make a good Rebekah. After all both are dark hairs divorcees with a random ‘h’ in their names.
But being light on facts fails to stop the story gaining momentum. “Prince Harry’s girl Meghan Markle will play Jamie Vardy’s wife in new movie,” thunders the Mirror. “Meghan Markle being lined up to play Jamie Vardy’s wife in Hollywood flick,” cries the Sun.
The Mirror nails how Hollywood casting work when it says, “with Meghan being 35-years-old, she’s just one year older thank Rebekah so would be well suited to playing the Leicester City hero’s missus.” The Sun’s story is based on the Mirror’s story, which is based on the Star’s story – which is based on not a single attributable quote or fact.
Rebekah Vardy is 34.
The Sun spots Karen Danczuk kissing her new flame, David, 26. Karen, once billed as the ‘selfie Queen’ in all media and estranged from Labour MP Simon Danczuk, is spotted by Rochdale’s busy paparazzi stood by a doorway with her new “Spanish waiter lover”.
The Sun says David has “started moving his things in” to Karen’s place. What things the Sun enlarged on. Readers are told, Karen “helped her new man carry in chairs, boxes, suitcases and a leg of pork“.
Who says romance is dead?
When Andrzej Galbarczyk, a researcher at Jagiellonian University’s Institute of Public Health, and Anna Ziomkiewicz, a Fulbright Scholar and Assistant Professor at Polish Academy of Sciences
Wrocław, studied the effects of tattoos on human thinking, the Times saw the results and declared:
Tattoos do make men more attractive to women, scientists have discovered.
The Daily Star added one day later
Calling all men: Tattoos will land you the girl of your dreams
This is the missive about that research:
We photographed nine shirtless men without tattoos from the waist up. We digitally modified these pictures by adding a black arm tattoo with an abstract, neutral design. We asked heterosexual women and men to rate a randomly selected version of each photo in several categories. Data were collected from 2463 women and 234 men from Poland by an online survey.
Women rated modified versions of the pictures as healthier but not more or less attractive than the original. Inversely, men rated modified version of pictures as more attractive but not more or less healthy than the original. Both men and women rated pictures of men with a tattoo as more masculine, dominant and aggressive.
Women are not more attracted to men with tattoos. But can we agree that men are?
And now the part the newspapers republished:
Our results identify two important sexual selection mechanisms that may support tattooing in humans. First, women perceive tattoos as a signal of good health, masculinity, and dominance. They may thus favour tattooed men as more valuable partners with potentially better health and higher social rank.
Second, men perceive tattoos as a signal of attractiveness, masculinity and dominance. Therefore, they may assess those traits as qualities of stronger and more successful same-sex rival.
In short: tattooed men fancy themselves
Donald Trump continues to set the tabloid news agenda. (Well, that and the I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!).
The Mirror leads with Donal Trump’s “TV PLEDGE”. Ha, indeed. Everything we’ve seen of Trump has been a TV pledge. Even the people watching the live show should admit Trump’s words carry the legend “as seen on TV”.
“I Will Kick Out 3 Million Migrants,” runs the Trump telly pledge. The US President-elect will “deport or jail up to three million illegal immigrants”. Well, as soon as he gets a handle on the numbers, he can start building the prisons and fuelling the planes. Trump says it’s “probably two million, it could even be three million”. Why stop at three million? The answer could be because Trump understands media and that sound-bites are all. Save four million for a slow news day.
The Express hears the headline figure and muses on its front page: “Trump to kick out 3million migrants…Now Britons asks: can we do the same?” By Page 4 readers have an answer: “UK backing for Trump to deport migrants.”
The Express then produces a phone poll: “Should Britain now send home all illegal migrants?” Ah, not all migrants, as the front-page said. All illegal migrants. Having delivered a poll more loaded than Trump’s can of hair lacquer, heard from three UKIP voices and one Tory, we leave the Express and look at the Sun’s front page. We see Nigel Farage, retired and re-instated UKIP leader ad nauseam. Farage “humiliated” the Government by saying it was in the “national interest” for him to broker any post-Brexit trade deal with the US, says the Sun.
Which nation is unspecified, but given the calibre of Farage’s dream team – the “Brex Pistols” – we can’t rule out France.
On Page 4, the Sun reminds reader that Farage is not the country’s popularly elected leader. It says Theresa May – who isn’t either – is Primer Minister. May will deliver a speech in which she “promises to clamp down on rampant immigration”. She will do this by:
a) Building a wall.
b) Surrounding the country with water (see Ice Age-induced Brexit)
c) Saying it clearly.
d) See what Trump does.
It’s Trump and Farage on the Mail’s cover. It’s a terrific photo of the two men stood before Trump’s gold and diamond-encrusted front door. Over two pages, Andrew Pierce has the “riotous inside story” behind it. Farage and his four cohorts were “mesmerised” by Trump’s flat. One of them called a Renoir on a wall “magnificent”. Another called an Eros statue “striking”.
And, er, that’s it.
They were outside.