News Category

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Tories attack disabled Liverpool fan they once praised

john smith disabled


Liverpool fan John Smith has been winning plaudits for his work with the disabled.

The Mirror reported on August 18:

A lifelong Liverpool FC fan who overcame his disabilities to become a club charity coach has been recognised by the Prime Minister. John Smith, from Croxteth, was presented with a Point of Light award at Liverpool FC’s match against Bournemouth for his commitment to teaching wheelchair football to people with severe disabilities.

Prime Minister David Cameron was full of praise for the 39-year-old:

“For many people conquering disability to play wheelchair football would be enough of a challenge, but John has gone so much further. Through his key role in Liverpool’s Respect 4 All programme, he is sharing his wheelchair football skills with others and helping to make football more accessible for disabled people. What John is doing at Liverpool is inspirational and I am delighted to recognise him as the UK’s 317th Point of Light.”

John Smith features on the Number 10 official Facebook page.

On August 21, the Disability News Service had more on John Smith:

A disabled football coach has been recognised by the prime minister with a national volunteering award, even though that work is threatened by a legal battle over the “bedroom tax” with work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith…

Because he lives alone in social housing, in a two-bedroom adapted bungalow, he was forced to find an extra £12 a week towards his housing costs after he was told he was not entitled to a second bedroom because of the government’s “spare room subsidy removal policy”, also known as the bedroom tax.

This meant that Smith had to cut down on his spending on food while fighting the decision through the tribunal process, a battle which he said caused him to feel “very stressed”.

Last September, he won an initial appeal, on the grounds that he needed his spare room to store essential independent living aids, including his second wheelchair and a bath chair, as well as equipment he uses to play and coach wheelchair football, boxes of specialist powdered food, a bag of swimming equipment, and a punch-bag he uses to keep fit.

The room is also used to store a table football game that he plays with friends.

But after his initial victory, the work and pensions secretary appealed against the tribunal’s ruling, putting at risk all of Smith’s volunteering work and social and community links.

Now he is having to await the result of test cases in the Supreme Court, in which the bedroom tax will be challenged on the grounds that it discriminates against disabled adults like him.



Posted: 6th, September 2015 | In: Liverpool, News, Politicians, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Hacking cough: Tottenham and England great Jimmy Greaves needs your help

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Below the photo of the young Syrian would-be refugee and the story of escaping death, The People leads with the news that we have 72 hours to “save” Jimmy Greaves. The first thought is ‘for the nation’?

Inside we learn:

Jimmy Greaves is struggling to raise £30k he needs to walk again – and there’s just 72 hours to get the money

Jimmy Greaves is one of the best footballers ever to have pulled on an England shirt. Famous for scoring 44 goals for England in just 57 appearances, missing the 1966 World Cup final – his place taken by hat-trick hero Geoff Hurst – and fronting the excellent footy telly show Saint & Greavsie, the former Tottenham Hotspur’s star is ill. And the paper knows who to blame for his predicament:

Soccer should hang its head in shame today as the Sunday People urges the moneybags sport: Be a Saint for Greavsie

Should football teams club together to help the former player? Should they help him any more than any other outfit that’s employed Sir James, like ITV  (as well as S&G he captained a team on the broadcaster’s Sporting Triangles) or the Sun, the Mirror’s great tabloid rival, which employed Jimmy as a columnist? Or maybe – get this – the Sunday People should dig deep and help out because Jimmy wrote a column for it, too. The People is published by the Trinity Mirror Group, which when it’s not hacking phones made a profit of  £12.1m during the first six months of 2015.

No word of any of that in Matt Sprake’s article, which thunders:

A record £870million has just been spent by clubs on player transfers – but Jimmy Greaves, one of England’s ­greatest ever players, is struggling to raise £30,000 he needs to walk again.

Trinity Mirror is worth around £386m.

But the paper wants to use Greavsie’s illness to bash football not beat itself up. After all, it helped one other well refreshed former England and Spurs legend – Paul Gascoigne – with a tidy £188,250, albeit a ‘donation‘ enforced by law because Mirror Group journalists hacked his phone.


England international footballer Jimmy Greaves featured on a news poster for 'The People' newspaper advertising an exclusive story about his short and unhappy time with AC Milan in 1961.

England international footballer Jimmy Greaves featured on a news poster for ‘The People’ newspaper advertising an exclusive story about his short and unhappy time with AC Milan in 1961.


Sprake adds:

Greavsie, 75, has just three days left to get the money – less than many Premier League stars earn in a week – to pay for intensive physio following a devastating stroke in May. A fund is due to close in 72 hours and last night was well short of the target reports the Sunday People.

But the fact such a legendary figure should be in such a position at all has sparked anger.

Why doesn’t the NHS step in to help an England sporting great? It turns out that the physio is wanted in addition to NHS care.

George Cohen, one of England’s 1966 World Cup winning side and Jimmy’s close friend, urged football to act: “Someone in football could easily give Jimmy the full £30,000 in one go. I’d do it ­immediately if I had the money.”

George Cohen is well. But should he fall ill, would any club help him?

Greavsie missed out on big money soccer. He played for Chelsea, Tottenham and AC Milan… he was on just £8 a week when he signed for Chelsea in 1957.

Greaves did earn healthy signing-on fees. But compared to today’s massive wages, his pay packet was feathery light.

In 1961, Greaves opined:

“I’ve got to look to the future. I’d be a fool if I didn’t want to make as good money as I can while I can. Football’s all I’m good at. What I want is security for when I retire.”

He told the Observer:

“There are these reports that Bologna would pay £70,000 to Chelsea for me if the foreign player ban ever came off,” says Jimmy, who is earning £20 a week for his scintillating performances. “One report said that would mean I’d collect a £20,000 signing-on fee. It’s all right playing for Chelsea. But I’d like much better playing for a world-class club that paid real money.

“One thing, I never get butterflies before a match,” Jimmy goes on. “And after, if I’ve done well or badly, I always remember there’s a next time. Smoking helps me relax. About 10 a day, but they don’t affect my fitness. I like the odd drink, too.”




In 1961, Greaves joined AC Milan for £80,000. Later that same year he joined Spurs for £99,999. In 1961, the average house price was £2,770 and a litre of four-star petrol cost 5p. The average price of a home today is £200,280. There was big money. But back then then clubs and not the players got the bulk of it. Today Greaves would earn a fortune.

But would he look after it? The booze caught Greaves, who retired age 30.

“I lost the 70s completely,” he says. “They passed me by. I was drunk from 1972 to 1977. I woke up one morning and realised that it was a different world. I’d been living in it, but I hadn’t been aware of it.”

He adds:

“Let’s make no bones about it. I wish I was playing today. Some of the players get half a dozen goals a year and earn a fortune. I look back at my Chelsea days when you had to fight to get £8 a week in the winter and £7 a week in the summer, and now there are players who haven’t even played in the first team on 40 grand a week.”

Greaves missed the Premier League. But is football really ignoring one of its greats? At the bottom of the People’s article, we learn:

Tottenham Tribute Trust [TTT], a football charity set up to aid ex-players, has been helping Jimmy adapt his home. They have also helped fund some of the early treatment he required.

TTT “was set up in 2002 to help people connected with Spurs who have fallen on difficult times.” On its website, we learn:

TTT is bound by confidentiality and so never comments on the support we have provided (nor who we have provided it to) without the consent of our beneficiaries, for whom our help is often a deeply private matter.

The Mirror adds:

The Professional Footballers Association has also vowed to assist. Football Association chiefs have been in contact with JustGiving, who run Greavsie’s fundraising page, to seek further ways of boosting funds. Chairman Greg Dyke has made a ­donation, understood to be in four-figures. But the rest of the football world seems to have forgotten Jimmy.

It’s clear that the ‘football world’ has not forgotten Jimmy Greaves. And neither has the tabloid media. Maybe together they can dig deep and help him out…?

PS: On Greaves’ website, we learn:

Jimmy needs at least a year of physio and because his income has all but disappeared because of the stroke, we have set up a just giving page to try and raise £30,000 towards the cost. We have already raised around £15k with the people and Freda & my company A1 Sporting Speakers helping out , but this £30k extra could help Jimmy to make more of a recovery. He has a long hard road ahead but we would love to see him back somewhere near his old self. Here’s a link to the donations page. Every little helps. Thanks to everyone who donates a little bit. Every pledge is received with gratefullness and love.

And over there we learn that the 30k has nearly been raised. He’s not “struggled” to raise it at all.


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The Mirror’s story of 72 hours to save Greaves unless £30k is raised is total balls. He needs under £3k. People have been generous. Football has not ignored his plight.

Donate here.

Posted: 6th, September 2015 | In: Key Posts, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

China TV news lolz: mistakes Fleshlight sex toy for rare edible mushroom



News from 2012 with Jeremy Ko:

I translated the video myself and added it in using FCP. It is as accurate as I can understand from it. Besides the obscure name of the villages, it is mostly accurate. Downloaded the video from Tudou. Xi’an Up Close 《西安零距离》, an investigative journalism programme which airs on Xi’an TV, has become a national laughing stock after airing a report on June 17 on a “mystery mushroom” which was discovered by villagers in a rural part of the city…

Why does everything about the last line sound like a euphemism?

Spotter: BB


Posted: 5th, September 2015 | In: News, TV & Radio | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Hurrah for the migrants: Daily Mail cheers for murderous, scrounging asylum-seeking scum

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The Daily Mail is overjoyed that migrants have reached the “promised land”.

Daily Mail readers might be tad confused by this take on the news. For years the Mail has told its readers that migrants, immigrants and asylum-seekers are bad news.

The Scottish Daily Mail corrected an article after a complaint from the Scottish Refugee Council:

In an article headlined: “Crisis as Asylum Seekers target Scotland” we stated that asylum seekers were ‘targeting’ Scotland. We now accept that asylum seekers are dispersed by the UK Border Agency on a ‘no choice’ basis and would not be able to choose to live in Scotland. With the current rate of asylum applicants to the UK well within the average rate of the past ten years, we also accept that it is misleading to categorise this as a ‘crisis’. We are happy to clarify the position and apologise for the error.

There were 4000 foreign-born rapists in the Mail’s Britain:


rapist mail


The scary headline was undone by the facts:

Nearly 4,000 foreign murderers, rapists and other criminals are roaming the streets, free to commit more crimes.

You say shoplifter, banned driver or fare dodger – the Mail says ‘rapist‘.

Allan Mallinson asked Mail readers a question more loaded than George Bush at a frat house:




Jeremy Swain, chief executive of the homelessness charity Thames Reach, wrote to the PCC about the Mail’s news of wandering foreigners getting a free wash at the expense of our ‘heroes’:

…the article suggests ‘the civilian shelters were full of Somalis and Poles’. This is inaccurate as whilst many people from overseas end up sleeping rough, they cannot access homeless hostel bed spaces as they have no rights to the benefits which would pay their rent. Quite simply, unless someone has paid national insurance contributions for over a year, they won’t be found accommodation in hostels and other ways of helping them are being sought within the homelessness sector. Hostels are not ‘full of Somalis and Poles’ as the article’s author states. Indeed they make up a very tiny minority of the hostel population.

There’s been apologising from the Scottish Daily Mail:

In December the Mail reported that over £5 million was being spent on last-ditch legal bids – judicial reviews – by asylum seekers to remain in Scotland. We are happy to make clear that this figure reflects the combined sums spent on advice and assistance (£3.5 million), assistance by way of representation (£1 million), and legal aid (£0.6 million) to asylum seekers and immigrants. The cost of legal aid work on judicial reviews falls within the latter figure. We apologise if readers were misled by our original story.

The Mail’s Richard Littlejohn said illegal immigrants and asylum seekers were the same thing:

From time to time I may have written about both asylum seekers and wheelie bins. But never before in the same sentence. Until now… Six illegal immigrants have been detained by a border patrol in Calais. The four men and two women, all from Vietnam, were discovered hiding in a consignment of wheelie bins bound for Britain…


Maybe Richard Littlejohn made handwritten notes he couldn’t read? He once opined:

Gloucester City Council is sending out census forms in no fewer than 56 different languages …why waste time and public money printing leaflets in 56 ­different languages, many of them scribble?

Richard Littlejohn again::

…any Afghan climbing off the back of a lorry in Dover goes automatically to the top of the housing list.

Really? No. Of course not.

And the Mail’s star columnist again:

A couple of months ago, after a Mayfair jewellery heist, I joked that it was heartening to see good old British blaggers making a comeback. For too long, they had been beaten at their own game by Eastern European gangs who I suggested carried out ‘most of the robberies in this country’. It seems I did the chaps a disservice. While Eastern European gangs have been responsible for many high-end jewel robberies across the Continent, our home grown villains are holding their own over here. If I have inadvertently offended any Balkan gangster, or local blagger come to that, as well as the vigilant reader who complained, I apologise unreservedly for any confusion which may have been caused.

To counter the dire reporting the Mail emplyed its own in-house immigrant in the shape of Australian-born Amanda Platell. She would champion the new arrivals seeking a better life in the UK. Or not:

Sadly, though, it is not the indigenous middle-class, hard-working, tax-paying population that’s exploding… it’s not so much a baby boom we’re experiencing as a benefits boom. Middle Britain, stand ready to empty your wallets.

More Mail errors followed:

This article has been amended. It previously contained a graphic that correctly listed the latest annual number of non-EU nationals admitted to each of ten European countries. However, a second table was wrongly headed “Non EU citizens to each square kilometre” instead of “Number of people to each square kilometre”. We are happy to correct this point.

So many errors being made about foreigners living in the UK. Cynics would argue that it indicates an agenda.

But surely the Mail is just sticking to the facts:

For at this time when our public services are strained beyond endurance, it means Britain must now, in a dramatic reversal of policy, give a home to all gay asylum-seekers who are prevented from displaying their sexuality openly in their home countries.

Where are we to draw the line? This is all about numbers and a small island’s ability to absorb an ever-increasing population.

At least the Mail knows its readers. At the end of the story Migrant found dead in the back of a lorry as it prepares to enter Channel Tunnel”, the Mail approved such a comments as these:

one down, millions to go
– crackers, yorkshire, 31/10/2009 2:42

Good news. One less to worry about!
– keith jones, porthcawl, south wales, 30/10/2009 22:13

Shame but I would be a hypocrit if I said I was sorry!
– Nanny B, West Sussex, 30/10/2009 17:42

And you migrants who do make it here alive should know that it will take generations before the Mail considers you British. Steve Doughty and James Slacker wrote:

However although the figures from the Government’s Office for National Statistics show an increase in numbers of foreign-born people they still fail to record the true impact of immigration because they record their children as British rather than second- or third-generation immigrants.

Bit never mind all that because a couple of dead Syrian children had their photos taken on a Turkish beach and the Mail came to realise that only utter bastards would laugh, mock and monster the desperate.


Posted: 5th, September 2015 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

X Factor: you don’t have to be stoned like Wiz Khalifa to watch it but it helps



The X Factor is back. Simon Cowell is one step closer to becoming his own waxwork. Cheryl Cole remains the nation’s sweetheart (that nation being Assad’s Syria). Nick Grimshaw brings all the cool of a BBC DJ (nice!). And Rita Ora’s rapper lover Wiz Khalifa “developed a $10,000-a-month cannabis habit — after his mum got him hooked on the drug.”

Well, so says the Sun of the singer who opines: “There’s nothing you can do wrong when it comes to smoking weed.”

You sit on the sofa better. You watch telly better. You skin up better. And above all you negotiate better – we don’t get to know how much weed $10,000 gets Khalifa every month but his dealer assures us it’s a very, very good deal and the unique best quality stuff he supplies is harder to find than a story on Louis Walsh’s private life.

The Sun can reveal his mum started him on the drug when Wiz — real name Cameron Thomaz — was a teenager.

Just as he revealed the same thing in 2011.

Katie “Peachie” Wimbush-Polk, 51, tells media:

“Before I went to work, before he went to school, it was our way of bonding. We would smoke together. He got his habit from his mother. He would smell it coming from my room with me and my girlfriends. He always knew there was a good time going on because there would be laughter and a pungent smell.

“When he got older, he would steal the marijuana butts I would leave, and smoke them.”


Peachie added:

“He was always really mature. Hence Wiz Khalifa. Wiz is short for Wisdom. Wisdom because he’s mature and Khalifa because it’s the name my father gave him. It’s Arabic for the leader or the keeper of the light.”

Which is useful. Because when you’re goofed and the bongs gone out, it’s good to know whose got  the light.


Posted: 5th, September 2015 | In: Celebrities, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Video: man with the 19-inch penis goes the way of the three-breasted woman

huge knob


When we heard that Roberto Esquivel Cabrera, a 52-year-old Mexican, sported a 19-inch penis, we marvelled. And then we wondered if anyone had a photo of the massive member.

Cabrera says his penis is go gargantuan that he “can not go to church because I can not kneel … Wherever I go, [they] all stare.”

And now you too can stare because the fine minds at TMZ have filmed Cabrera and what appears to be the stuffed tail of a toy lion rooting from his knickers.

Unable to put the huge knob in a neckbrace, Cabrera has taken to swaddling it in bandages. The result is that you can’t see his penis at all. This looks a lot like the end of the legend.

And therefore never send to know for whom the bellend tolls; It tolls for thee.




Posted: 4th, September 2015 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Woman has large horn growing out of her head (video)

Woman horn on head


To China, where Liang Xiuzhen of Sichuan sports a 13-centimeter by 6-centimeter horn. It’s not stuck on. It’s part of her.



The 87-year-old’s growth is known as a cutaneous horn. Made of keratin, the horn grew over a period of just two years from a small mole.

It might be an idea to get your new ‘beauty spot’ checked out…

Spotter: Zaeega

Posted: 4th, September 2015 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Watch: murderer told on TV that victim’s body has been found

 Stephen McDaniel


In 2011 Lauren Giddings had been reported missing. The TV news crew interviewed her classmate and neighbour, Stephen McDaniel.

He was keen to talk.

Look out for the part when he’s told the body has been found:




Stephen McDaniel confessed to killing Lauren Giddings.

He is serving a life sentence for her murder.

Posted: 4th, September 2015 | In: News, TV & Radio | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Torquay woman ‘robbed’ of money from her ‘private parts’

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Questions aplenty in light of the Torquay Herald’s story of Paul Clint Wells, 38, who stood before the Beak at Torquay Magistrates’ Court for the alleged offence of “attempting to rob a woman of money of a value unknown from her private parts”.

Wells will appear in court on October 10.

File under: money box.

Posted: 4th, September 2015 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

French farmers kidnap Alps park boss as wolves attack

wolves french farmers

‘We strike at noon’

Wolves v French farmers.

French farmers kidnap Alps park chiefs, demanding protection from wolf attacks. “French farmers have kidnapped the head of a national park in the Alps, demanding stronger measures against wolves that are attacking their flocks. France’s rising wolf population is causing concern for many sheep farmers, mainly from Provence to the Hautes Alpes area. The number of wolf attacks nationwide has doubled in the past five years and the population – now at around 300 – has tripled since 2005.”

Which side are the Brtish holidaymakers on?

Posted: 4th, September 2015 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Manchester United balls: Anthony Martial and Louis Van Gaal’s missing warning

The transfer season might be over, but the Daily Mail is still talking balls. The paper leads with the shouty headline that Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal is a displinarian nutter whose already baring his fans at new £58m teenage sensation Anthony Martial:

Van Gaal’s warning for £36m Martial… You’ll play where I tell you



DAily Mail Anthony Martial


As we look for signs that nutty Van Gaal plans to play Martial in goal, we get to the actual quote that drives the backpage screamer:

‘He (Van Gaal) asked me my preferred position,’ said Martial, who has been given the No 9 shirt. ‘I prefer to play in the centre but he told me I could play in a number of positions — it is the coach who decides but whatever position I play, I will do the best I can.’

What says Van Gaal, man behind that “warning“? Nothing. The story contains not a single quote from the Dutchman.



Posted: 3rd, September 2015 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

North Shields mum finds human poo at bottom of log flume, Bill Murray is away

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 20.30.02Justine Bell was at the Wet ‘n’ Wild in North Shields with 10-year-old daughter Millie Doughty.  She tells us:

“It was just so dirty. I went to pick my daughter up and there at the bottom of the flume was faeces. She nearly stepped in it. It was horrendous. We told a lifeguard and he just stood there grinning.”

It’s a good ride. Scary. But good.

The venue counters:

“We can confirm a customer reported to lifeguards that there was faeces on the floor next to the bottom of one of our flumes. The incident was reported to the supervisor and the faeces promptly cleaned up and the floor area disinfected. There was no indication that this had originated from inside the flume, and faeces was not found in the pool itself.”

The Bells have been offered a refund and family free entry on their next visit.

They’ll have to bring their own snacks.

Posted: 3rd, September 2015 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Here’s why you should never step on a cricket


Never step on a cricket. That’s a nematomorpha.

Posted: 3rd, September 2015 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Move over Cecil the lion the dead Syrian children need the limelight

Galip Kurdi, five, and his three-year-old brother AylanYou’ve most likely seen the photos of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi and his older brother Galip, 5, both drowned fleeing Syria for better lives in the West, their bodies washed up on Turkish shores.

Their faces are all over the papers, images ostensibly intended to shock us from apathy into action but working only to exploit one family’s personal tragedy as mourn porn.

What did the editors of our caring national newspapers think a dead body looked like? And why is it that a dead child should matter more than a dead anyone or someone escaping a living Hell?

Aylan and Galip are being used to bolster our own morals, a fact no more evidenced than in the Sun, which has spent years mocking and demonising migrants of all ages but now champions the dead.



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The pictures of dead children infantalise any debate, reducing it to a posing contest between people outraged at the sight of dead kids on a European beach and those who are not (which is to say nobody sane).



lion killer


A few weeks ago, the internet seethed at the picture of a dead lion named Cecil. The dead beast gave us all a chance to declare how much we hated his killer, an American dentist named… Can you remember it? Oh, come on. We all hated him. He was World Enemy Number One, real scum. He was on the national news in the UK. Mia Farrow tweeted his home address so we could all go round and throw things at him. The man was a demon.

Cecil, a big-fanged lion who it might have been acceptable to shoot dead 100 years ago, was our hero and our means to look good, go ahead and morally spot on. Tweeting your love for Cecil was as self-aggrandising and needy as wearing a T-shirt declaring your dislike of nuclear war and Pershing missiles. Cecil was PR for the PC. Not long after, wildlife killer and Royal family marketing gonk Prince Harry popped up on the news cycle to show his love for lions.



prince harry lion


(Although most other animals think Harry’s a c***)
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Now, about those children. Who can we blame to make ourselves feel good, pure of mind and sound of heart?

After all, it’s not about Cecil or Aylan Kurdi or Galip. It’s about us.

Posted: 3rd, September 2015 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The Sun’s proud history in demonising migrants

Migrants, don’t panic. We British have a proud history in letting you in. Sure, we’re not letting you in now, but look at our proud history, you swarming filth. The Sun swells with pride:


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In other Sun news:

2013: The Sun buried a small correction:




2012: “Greedy Bulgars – Family of nine Bulgarian gypsies who targeted  UK to scrounge benefits are housed in just three weeks — at the taxpayers’ expense”

2011: “160,000 Brits lose jobs to migrants”

April 2010: “Many asylum-seekers are no more than dole-scroungers”

2009: “NHS to be swamped by 1m illegals”

And not forgetting earlier this year the call to ‘Show Me The Bodies!”


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the sun migrants


Buy the Sun and stop the migrants!


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The bodies are all over the beach – and the migrant-hating Sun’s front page.

Posted: 3rd, September 2015 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Galip and Aylan: two dead Syrian boys on the beach become the faces of the migratian crisis

All newspapers lad with the photograph of the dead boy washed up on a Turkish beach.


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The dead boys on the beach were two Syrian refugees. Galip and Aylan, who died on a boat with their mother, Rehan. Their father, Abdullah, survived. The family hoped to join Abdullah’s sister Teema, a Vancouver hairdresser, in Canada.


Galip Kurdi, five, and his three-year-old brother Aylan


David Aaronovitch:

Why can we not do it now? Why cannot the countries of Europe, possibly supplemented by our allies in the US, Canada and elsewhere, get together our most practical minds, our most experienced administrators, and create an agency for the resettlement of migrants and refugees? Such an agency would be responsible for devising workable and humane solutions on the scale that is needed, and be funded accordingly. I hear the obvious objection, but we’ll spend more in the longer term and in much worse circumstances otherwise.
Or do we lack something that our fathers and mothers had? Do our leaders lack the moral courage to lead and do we lack the moral courage to recognise the need to be led? If so, the outlook is dreadful.


Galip Kurdi, five, and his three-year-old brother Aylan.




Posted: 3rd, September 2015 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Madeleine McCann: £11m ‘wasted’ and counting

mccann foundMadeleine McCann: a look at the missing child in the news.

The Sun: “Maddie cops in 5-star hotelsEXCLUSIVE: £11m hunt waste”

Waste? How can the search for the child be wasteful?

Tom Wells continues:

COPS heading the hunt for Madeleine McCann stayed in five-star hotels with rooms costing up to £200 a night. They included five luxury resorts where cheaper hotels were available nearer investigation scenes.

Did they really spend £200 a night on rooms, or is that just the peak-season headline price?

The officers were with Operation Grange, which The Sun revealed yesterday has cost £11million, without any arrests. 

And, boy, does the Sun wants arrests. Last year it announced:

First new arrests over Maddie abduction…

Maddie swoop Arrests ‘days away’ in huge cop search…

The Sun now thinks the money spent raking over every detail of the case and the land around Praia Da Luz not well spent.

Last year they took 67 flights to Portugal, costing £16,000.

That just over £238 each. It’s unlikely the cops travelled first class.

In July officers stayed at the £180 a night Ria Park as they quizzed suspects at Faro police station a 20-minute drive away. There are two cheaper four-star hotels five minutes away.



The Sun is clearly upset at what it says is a “waste” of money.

In a The Sun Says addendum it asks:

WHY are cops living in luxury as they hunt for Madeleine?

Because she went missing in a resort town, where people go to get a little spot of glamour? Or is it because the police are feckless pigs who squander tax payer’s money on looking for Our Maddie on the 19th hole of a sun-dappled golf hotel, just as they spent millions hounding Sun journalists over the hacking scandal and subsequent tabloid journalist witch-hunt?

The Sun concludes:

It is no wonder the bill has soared beyond £11million when they are blowing £200 a night on hotels. The Government injected those millions to give police the best chance of finding out what happened to the girl. Not to pay their bills at fancy golf resorts.

What should it cost to solve the mystery?

Posted: 3rd, September 2015 | In: Madeleine McCann, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Medics stitch man’s injured hand inside his abdomen (photo)

hand stomach


To save 87-year-old Frank Reyes’s left hand – damaged when it was trapped under a sun-heated car bumper as he was changing a tyre – medics stitched it to his abdomen.

Surgeons at Houston Methodist Hospital left Frank’s hand inside his abdomen for three weeks to reduce risk of infection and save his fingers.


Posted: 3rd, September 2015 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The Times advertises Jimmy Savile’s Scottish home as ‘good for the soul’

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 22.13.25


The Times invites readers to be the laid of their own Scottish glen. The story goes:

The Highlands offer quality of life, low prices and high happiness ratings. Take a tour of the hills, lochs and moors

You might spot some celebs:

Its lochs and glens have inspired songs, films and poems. The scenery of Skye formed the background to Virginia Woolf’s novel To the Lighthouse, which continues to win accolades nearly 100 years after its creation. Even the most unlikely of celebrities want to call it home — Bob Dylan purchased Aultmore House in Strathspey in 2007.


You won’t see Jimmy Savile but you might spot his old house Allt Na Reigh in the “bewitching” Highlands:


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Let’s zoom in:



GLEN COE, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 29:  Slogans painted on Alt-na-reigh, the cottage owned by Jimmy Savile, which police searched last week as investigations continue on October 29, 2012 in Glen Coe, Scotland. The cottage is situated next to the A82 road that runs from Fort William to Glasgow and was vandalised over the weekend after police searched it last week as part of the UK wide investigation into alleged child abuse by the former television presenter.  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)





GLEN COE, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 29:  Slogans painted on Alt-na-reigh, the cottage owned by Jimmy Savile, which police searched last week as investigations continue on October 29, 2012 in Glen Coe, Scotland. The cottage is situated next to the A82 road that runs from Fort William to Glasgow and was vandalised over the weekend after police searched it last week as part of the UK wide investigation into alleged child abuse by the former television presenter.  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)


Looks like a nice spot. As the Times says:

Recently released surveys confirm what Highlanders already know: that living there is good for the soul.

Which might or might be residing in Hell.


Posted: 2nd, September 2015 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Migrant boat sinks off Turkey – the swarthy expat dead speak loudy

What to do about migrants? What yo do about people searching for better lives? It should not be a hard question. But it is for the adults who make the decisions. There is only one thing to do: let them in.




Does langauge matter? Does it matter that we call the migrants as “swarm” or “flood”? No. It does not. These people can deal with the words. It’s the sticks and stones they fear.

Mehran Khalili on the terms for people from other places:

Immigration, a lexicon: You’re a ‘migrant’ when you’re very poor; ‘immigrant’ when you’re not so poor; and ‘expat’ when you’re rich.

Semantics matter: the images evoked by the words used to refer to a group of people will, over time, help to define what we think about that group and how we act towards it. And in the case of people migrating to Greece who have in recent years been badly mishandled by the state, the use of neutral language in reporting by international media and NGOs is vital.

Literally speaking, ‘migrants’ and ‘expats’ do indeed have the same meaning. But since practical usage can be something else entirely, feed both terms into Google Images to see how they’re illustrated. ‘Expats’ in Greece are depicted as white; ‘migrants’ as darker-skinned.

Who decides what ethnicity a person should have to be called a migrant? Who decides what socio-economic background, or legal status, qualifies someone for the ‘expat’ label?

Let’s scrap the ‘migrant’ label and call everyone living outside their native country an expat.



Posted: 2nd, September 2015 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Anorak Spots: Steinbeck on love, hairy Victorian women, kinky Medievil books, Russian criminal tattoos



On Flashbak this week we covered:

Fifteen Beautiful French Art-Deco Travel Posters by Roger BrodersRoger Broders was born in Paris in 1883. A brilliant illustrator he is best known for his travel posters, many of them commissioned by the French railway company Paris, Lyon, Mediteranée (PLM). From 1922 to 1932 he dedicated himself to poster art, although producing fewer than 100 posters in that time.

John Steinbeck: A 1958 Letter To His Son On Falling in Love: John Steinbeck was a Nobel laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner. In addition to his great work – an oeuvre taking in Mice and Men, East of Eden (a book orginally addressed to his two young sons) and The Grapes of Wrath – he wrote letters.

The Horror of Guy N Smith: Guy N Smith was not considered suitable reading for English class when I was a kid, his gory tales of horror were the kind of frowned-upon fictions lumped beside such other verboten authors as Sven Hassel or Dennis Wheatley or Timothy Lea and his smutty Confessions of a… series.

Russian Criminal Tattoo Police Files: Decoding The Mark Of Cain 1960-1989: From the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s, Arkady Bronnikov, a senior expert in criminalistics at the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs, checked on prisoners in the correctional institutions of the Ural and Siberia regions, a beat that included St. Petersburg’s notorious Kresty Prison. As he did his rounds Bronnikov took photographs of convicts and their tattoos.

Watch A Bleak Film Of Every Atomic Explosion Since 1945:  Walt Disney taught us to love the atom and its wondrous power to create. Ed Sullivan showed us a hellish vision of face-melting nuclear terror. We could learn how to survive the nuclear Armageddon with books made on paper, which might not endure the explosion but would give hours of fun for all what remained of your family. You kids could build your own bomb and dream of becoming Miss Atomic Bomb as you relaxed in a bath of life restoring radium, browsing the catalog full of things to help you thrive in the nuclear winter.

38 Photos That Prove Victorian Women Never Cut Their Hair: Women in the Victorian era competed to see who has the strongest next muscles. To prove their strength, these sporting types would grow a ton of hair on this heads. Last one to topple over or develop a fractured spine won. Top prize prize was a pair of shears and freedom.

Weird Trippy Sex Pictures From Illuminated Medieval Manuscripts: The Illuminated Medievil manuscripts contained asides, jokes, barbs and revelations as to what a monk was thinking as he sat, head bowed over a book, his being, soul and genitals lashed with dread warnings about sex, demons and the the hellish hereafter.

Posted: 2nd, September 2015 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Boarding School Survivors: turning students into victims

21st September 1959:  A view of a boarding school boy on his way back to school.  (Photo by John Pratt & Chris Ware/Keystone Features/Getty Images)

21st September 1959: A view of a boarding school boy on his way back to school. (Photo by John Pratt & Chris Ware/Keystone Features/Getty Images)


Joy Schaverien has a theory that boarding schools damage lives. She set up a group called Boarding School Survivors. This year she wrote a paper called caled Boarding School Syndrome. And now Schaverien has book out.

The book is part of a trend in education that focuses on the perceived emotional vulnerability of children, in which what’s impotant at school is to be emotionally competent and literate. School exist not to promote acemedic excellence, but to offer a holistic solution to human frailty in which everything gone before is part of your current existential crisis.

She tells the Times:

“I felt it was very risky, like going up against the establishment, but these were the stories and experiences I was hearing about. There is huge social pressure not to complain about what is generally seen as a benefit of privilege.”

If there is an establishment it is in supporting the therapeutic response to everything.

She speaks of her patients:

“They may never have been permitted to be angry. Someone who went to boarding school feels the whole world is coming to an end if they’re angry. That’s where a depression can start.”


“Is it a privilege to be sent away from your parents? I don’t think so.”

This isn’t science, is it. This is finding proof for your own prejudice.

Stefanie Marsh says the work is popular:

Hers is a very serious book aimed at clinicians and therapists. It is informed also by people who have contacted her since the publication of that first paper, including a number of boarding school counsellors who Schaverien supervises in her capacity as a psychotherapist. She also quotes Andrew Motion, Roald Dahl and George Orwell: all have written eloquently about their devastating boarding-school experiences.

The author adds:

“When children go to school when they’re very young it causes a psychological rupture. You’re on the steps, you’re introduced to the headmaster, then there’s the sudden realisation that your parents are in the car and the wheels are turning. I’ve heard of children running after the car.

Very young. Not teenaged. A very young child sent away from home is bound to be affected – using that event to explain problems in later life is neat and tidy. But her point is about boarding schools. Does the same ring true or orphanages, say, or when a child is sent to live with foster carers or the extended family when a parent is too ill to cope? Can every problem in adulthood be linked to school?

“In this country, there are children who go into care because their families break down and there is no other option, but these parents are actually paying for their children to go into care, basically. Or into prison. You’re watched all the time. Everything is regimented. It’s the abandonment of the very young.”

And we’re back to the prejudice and the anecdotal-based science.

“People grow up not having the language for their emotions. It causes a split between what you’re told you’re supposed to experience and what you’re actually experiencing. You’re actually very sad when you lose your family, your home, your pets, your nanny — everything you’ve ever had for those eight years of your life is suddenly gone. You’re told that it’s called homesickness and ‘you’ll get over it soon’. Actually, this is a major bereavement.”

One day we’ll look back at the therapy business and marvel.

Schaverien finds it troubling that “so many people who govern this country went to boarding school. What you learn in boarding school is fair play. It’s great, but the intimacy thing and understanding of the vulnerable, that’s what’s missing.”


“The polish is actually very good for socially oiling the wheels but in intimate relationships it’s also what keeps people at a distance.”


“First, they’re abandoned by their mother, the first love of their life. Then they are cut off from women in a society where women are joked about and belittled a lot.”


“I don’t see how you can protect children in boarding school from being bullied. If you go to a day school you can go home to your parents and talk about it. And don’t tell me weekly boarding is better if you’re having a bad time in a dormitory.”

And what of the older children who go?

“My feeling, is that to go to boarding school at eight is too young.”

Feelings. So much for the scientific syndrome.

There are children who choose to go at 13 and who have a really good time — ‘My parents were splitting up and it was the better option for me’ — but there are people who go at 13 and they get the same kind of shock.”

Of all the examples and reasons for going to boarding school, the author cites one: a broken home.

“The wealthiest, they’re the ones who have the most deprivation. Because boarding school has gone through the generations. So parenting skills are at a minimum really.”

What’s good about this, of course, is that selling therapy to the wealthy is easy – you can achieve wellbeing through therapy. The middle-classes will enjoy it becauae it will assure them that all that hot-house tutoring for grammer schools was much better for junior than spending a fortune on boarding school. And the poor won’t give a toss because for them it’s all about hard work and results. You can’t afford to be infantalised when you just need to get on with living…



Posted: 2nd, September 2015 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

NHS nurses ordered to wear the right socks or else

socksWhat colour are the wrong socks? That question to readers of the  BExhill-ion-Sea Observer, which reports on East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust’s decree that staff could face disciplinary action because of the colour of their socks.

The Trust’s uniform policy says sock must be plain and muted in colour. But staff at Eastbourne DGH and Conquest Hospital in Hastings are ordered to wear matching black socks.

Is black muted? Black is the colour of death and misery. Why not brightly coloured socks? What does the Trust have against them?

And why can’t female nurses wear black seamed stockings, like in the the Carry On films?

A staff member wonders:

“Coloured socks don’t affect how efficient we work. Most of us wear trousers that mean you can’t even see the socks – has there actually been any complaints from patients or relatives about our socks if they are visible? What happens if we refuse to lift up our trouser leg? They’ll be asking to check the colour of our underwear next. We’re not stupid – we won’t come into work wearing a dress with bright coloured socks pulled up to our knees. When we wear dresses, we wear tights and look professional and approachable to those who come first – our patients.”

Alice Webster, Director of Nursing, responds: “No member of staff has been disciplined for the colour of their socks.”

But if they do wear red ones, well, they’re asking for it.

Posted: 2nd, September 2015 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Primark shorts made in Chinese prison contained worker’s anti-depressants

Visiting hours

Visiting hours

In the Sun we meet “HORRIFIED Adam Travers” who found drugs in the pocket of his new Primark swimming shorts.

Adam’s girlfriend Hannah Youell found nine white pills in an envelope in the buttoned back pocket of the Chinese-made clothes as she prepared to wash them before a holiday.


Adam paid just £5 for the trunks at Primark in Portsmouth.

This was not an marketing scam to get adolescents into the store, but something else.

Their tests revealed the pills, marked with the letters MDZ, are a prescription anti-depressant.

Why-oh-why would a worker making dirt-cheap clothing for Primark need anti-depressants?

Primark said an investigation had shown the pills were put in the shorts at the time of manufacture after being sent to an unapproved sub-contractor in China. It added: “As a result, we have terminated our relationship with the supplier.”

A source said: “The shorts were supposed to be made in a factory but it appears they were secretly being made by prisoners in a jail.”

Chinese factory making cheap schmutters versus prison. It can be hard to spot the difference.


Posted: 2nd, September 2015 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Madeleine McCann: chasing shadows and guilty foreigners

mccann found


Madeleine McCann is back. The Sun highlights the £11 millions and rising spent looking for the missing child.

In “We can’t keep on chasing shadows”, the paper hears from a former Flying Squad chief. He urges Scotland Yard to “consider winding down its hunt for Madeleine McCann — adding: ‘You can’t keep chasing shadows.’

The voice of reason is John O’Connor, who pops on the media treadmill and opines:

“If there are no firm leads, and by that I mean no substantial operational things like active surveillance on suspects, then I’d have thought they should be considering winding it down now.”

There never have been any firm leads.

At the current rate it will top £12million by April — more than double the £5million promised by David Cameron when Operation Grange was launched in May 2011.

Does Dave dare to shut the investigation? We’d say ‘yes’. Once upon a time, Madeleine McCann was the mawkish ‘Our Maddie’, but time hardens opinions. Reality bites.

The task force, which at its height was 37 strong, has yet to make a single arrest.

O’Connor says:

“You can’t keep chasing shadows. Chasing sightings all over the world. It depends on whether the detectives are making any real progress. For me it needs to be reviewed by a senior officer. The Met’s rank and file would be thinking, ‘Are there more recent cases that could be progressed with the right resources?’ It’s about priorities.”

What the Met’s rank and file think about the case is not something we know. It’s not worth the effort to wonder at. The Met are there to find facts. And, as yet, we have but one: child vanishes.

O’Connor had much to say on the case in 2013:


The Sun, however, wants to apportion blame.

The initial Portuguese investigation into three-year-old Madeleine’s abduction was marred by blunders. Officers made the catastrophic mistake of deciding parents Kate and Gerry were the key suspects — and so failed to take elementary steps to secure evidence that might have caught the real abductors.

We have made not a jot of progress. The only angle is to bash the foreigners. Those blunders could include large chunks of the British media which libelled the McCanns and Robert Murat, the poor sod who went to help and was ‘grassed up’ to police and public by the Daily Mirror’s gossipy reporting.

They failed to seal off the family’s apartment, allowing the crime scene to become hopelessly contaminated. They also failed to put out a global missing persons report for five days and did not bother to set up checkpoints in and around the Algarve. In July 2008 the Portuguese authorities admitted there was no evidence against Kate and Gerry and said the unsolved case was to be closed.

There is no evidence against anyone.

Then in May 2011, following a campaign by Kate and Gerry that was backed by The Sun, the PM told Scotland Yard to launch its own investigation, called Operation Grange.

The PM was playing to the crowd. Politicians can only ever play politics. Would Dave dare say no to the Sun? But the Met are the best we have. And they’re very good. If they cannot find anything, we should suppose they have to yet to look beneath the right stone.

As ever we get a word form the child’s parents. We hear from a “source close to the McCanns”, who told us yesterday:

“Kate and Gerry are eternally grateful to the Metropolitan Police for making Operation Grange possible. They are pleased so many officers are still looking for Madeleine.”

The Sun then turns to the crowd and offers an aside:

There are currently 155 children on the Missing Kids UK website, including Madeleine. Research shows an average of £2,415 is spent investigating a missing child.

That’s because many are quickly found. The story of Madeleine McCann is so rare. It’s not often a child vanishes on holiday. What we are told and told is “every parent’s worst nightmate” – a syrupy tagline of a phrase that seeks to evoke empathy and sympathy and fear in equal parts – is not an every day event.

The child went missing. And that is all we know.

Posted: 2nd, September 2015 | In: Madeleine McCann, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0