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News | Anorak - Part 4

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Mahmoud Abbas: Jews to blame for Holocaust

The anti-semitism accepted as normal in the upper echelons of Arab politics is echoed in the anti-Semitism rife in Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. So when Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas told a meeting of the Palestinian National Council in Ramallah that the history of European Jewry was written by “Jewish Zionist authors”, we cock an ear to find out what the Labour leader and some of his more avid supporters might next retweet. Abbas then turned his mind to the Holocaust.

“But why did this used to happen?” he asked. “They say, ‘It is because we are Jews.’ I will bring you three Jews, with three books who say that enmity towards Jews was not because of their religious identity but because of their social function. This is a different issue. So the Jewish question that was widespread throughout Europe was not against their religion but against their social function which relates to usury [money-lending] and banking and such.”  So that’s why the Germans and their allies murdered my family of farmers and bookbinders. Oh, he also said of Ashkenazi Jews – Jews from Germany and north-eastern Europe: “They have no relation to Semitic people.”

Having said that Jews deserved the Holocaust because they are rich, mean, cheating [insert antisemitic tropes here], the the man BBC has called a “moderate” rides high on the news cycle.

Abbas has form. In January the self-styled historian opined: “The Jews did not want to emigrate even with murder and slaughter. Even during the Holocaust, they did not emigrate.” True enough. The cattle trucks never did stop at Jerusalem on their way to death camps. The ghettos never were on the bus route to The Promised Land.

Jonathan Freedland notes:

At a push, you could imagine someone justifying such a view by noting that tension between Jews and their neighbours in Europe was fuelled for centuries by antisemitic laws that banned Jews from owning land, excluded them from key professions and forced them to engage in financial activity religiously forbidden as “usury” to Christians. But Abbas didn’t say any of that.

Mehdi Hasan gets it:

And:

In 1982, he published his doctoral dissertation that claimed the death toll of the Holocaust was exaggerated and alleged that Zionist leaders worked with the Nazis. The dissertation formed the basis for a 1984 book titled, The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism.

Writing in the Times, Ben McIntyre looks at that idea in light of Ken Livingstone’s claim Hitler supported Zionism until he “went mad” and suddenly decided to murder millions of them:

The suggestion that Hitler backed the idea of a Jewish homeland underpins an association between Nazism and Zionism that is fundamentally antisemitic…

…it was a way of expelling Jews. Before settling on the Final Solution, the Nazis attempted various methods of solving the “Jewish problem”, including forced relocation, eviction, “encouraged” emigration and confiscation of possessions. In 1940, the Madagascar Plan envisaged relocating the Jewish population of Europe to the French colony…

Far from nursing any positive feelings towards a Jewish homeland, let alone supporting Zionism, he [Hitler] had made his loathing apparent back in 1925 in Mein Kampf, inveighing against the Jewish “spiritual pestilence”.

Here’s Abbas building bridges and pushing for peace:

 

Posted: 2nd, May 2018 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


John Kelly: Trump’s an idiot (and Moon Jae-in agrees)

All that guff about Donald Trump single-handedly bringing peace to the Koreas via the power of tweeting is cut through by Chief of Staff John Kelly who has, reportedly, referred to his boss as an “idiot”.

The news that North Korea and South Korea are moving towards peace and unification is joyous. But while the selfless Moon Jae-in, the South Korean president, gets on with the hard work, not least of all appealing to a wary electorate at home, Tump thunders: “KOREAN WAR TO END! The United States, and all of its GREAT people, should be very proud of what is now taking place in Korea!”

Moon understands who he’s dealing with, which is why he thinks Trump should get the Nobel Peace Prize: something shiny, lucrative and prestigious is what Trump really craves. Peace in Korea is nice, but you can’t hang it about your throat.

And maybe Kelly knows Trump, too. The NBC News checks eight present or former White House staffers as sources for its scoop. You might laugh. Don’t. Last week, Michelle Wolf’s monologue “called bullshit on the role laughter has been performing in Trump’s America”. ‘

Here’s an excerpt (via):

The officials said Kelly portrays himself to Trump administration aides as the lone bulwark against catastrophe, curbing the erratic urges of a president who has a questionable grasp on policy issues and the functions of government. He has referred to Trump as “an idiot” multiple times to underscore his point, according to four officials who say they’ve witnessed the comments.

Three White House spokespeople said they don’t believe it’s accurate that Kelly called the president an “idiot,” adding that none of them has ever heard him do that or otherwise use that word.

Officials said Kelly’s public image as a retired four-star general instilling discipline on a chaotic White House and an impulsive president belies what they describe as the undisciplined and indiscreet approach he’s employed as chief of staff. The private manner aides describe may shed new light on why Kelly now finds himself — just nine months into the job — grappling with diminished influence and a drumbeat of questions about how long he’ll remain at the White House.

Not long.

Posted: 1st, May 2018 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Age of Abstinence: Tesco makes bottles smaller to charge more for your wine

It’s not exactly a surprise that food portions are getting smaller. Public Health England is insisting that we should all be eating less, drinking less. We should all be having less fat, less sugar, less alcohol. So, what is a supermarket or food producer to do? Some things just cannot be made with less salt – it’s essential to make bread rise for example. And there’s really not that much point in an energy drink like Lucozade if it doesn’t contain any sugar. Nor, obviously, booze if it doesn’t contain any booze.

So, what to do? Why, just make the package size smaller of course! Which is exactly what Tesco is doing with it’s own brand wines:

One of Britain’s biggest supermarkets has announced shock plans to make wine bottles smaller.

A new 50cl bottle contains the equivalent of four or five glasses of wine while a 37.5cl one – half the size of a standard sized bottle – holds three or four.

It means shoppers will be able to crack open their favourite tipple without being tempted to drink a full sized bottle.

Well, OK, those for whom own brand Tesco wine is a favourite tipple – rather than an any port in a storm sup – have their own problems. And the idea that a half bottle holds four glasses is true only of those who serve in sherry glasses. Actually, I’ve found that full bottles of sherry can hold only six glasses but there may be an influence of journalists and booze occurring there.

It is however The Sun which manages to get things entirely wrong here. For it’s not just smaller portions leading to less consumption going on. There’s also the manner in which things become more expensive:

The 50cl bottles are cheaper – the Rioja Reserva is £6.25 and 75cl is £8.50. But it remains to be seen whether shoppers will be tempted by the slimmer containers.

Well, no, the smaller bottles are more expensive. The full bottle size is 1.5 times the 50 cl one. 1.5 times £6.25, some quick mental maths, umm, £9.3750 for the same amount of booze we can get in the 75 cl bottle for £8.50. That’s more expensive, right? 87.5 pence more expensive in fact, and to pull out the calculator, that’s 10.3% more expensive.

Which is why we’re not hearing all that many complaints from the supermarkets about the insistences of PHE. For PHE have indeed said that their demands that we all have access to less sugar, less fat, less booze, can be met by portions becoming smaller. Without the correct reductions in price to take account of how we’re getting less. The supermarkets love this, they get to sell us less food at not a correctly less price, that means profit! And everyone else has to do the same because it’s the public health wallahs insisting upon it.

The worst part about this rip off is that we’re paying for it through our taxes. Yup, you pay taxes, I do, to pay for Public Health England, who then demand that the supermarkets make our booze and sweeties more expensive. Be easier and simpler, surely, to bypass the bureaucracy and w all just eat and drink what we want, no?

Posted: 1st, May 2018 | In: News, The Consumer | Comment


Right-wing tabloids use Piers Morgan’s impotent tool to bash Diane Abbott

As the Government inches towards its removal targets for people unsuited to their environment – farewell, Amber Rudd – the Press look around for the next scalp. They spot Diane Abbott, the Labour shadow home secretary. The Sun thunders “DIANE DISASTER “, zooming in on Abbott’s “car-crash interview” with TV’s Piers Morgan. Lest the paper’s position be unclear, it adds: “The disastrous interview came after the resignation of Amber Rudd as Home Secretary.”

Says the Sun:

Pressed on the [illegal immigration] issue, Ms Abbott refused EIGHT times to lay out exactly what her solution would be if she got into power.

As ever, the non-event on mid-morning telly between Paxman-lite and Blinky hits Twitter:

 

 

The Mail analyses the facts.

Diane Abbott refuses SIX TIMES to say what SHE would do with illegal immigrants in her latest car crash interview

We know journalists are rubbish at sums but surely the Sun and Mail can decide if Morgan repeated himself 6 or 8 times? (The Mirror says it’s 6.) You can watch the video of the chat if you can stand it – but you might wonder if repeating the same line of questioning is more vainglorious balls than an actual attempt to get an answer. But the poor questioning and the non-answer gets the headlines – no fewer than three times on the Daily Express website:

STORY 1: “What is Labour immigration policy? Piers Morgan frustrated as Diane Abbott fails to answer”

STORY 2: “‘You couldn’t give me a straight answer’ Morgan hits back at Abbott after fiery TV clash”

STORY 3: “Piers Morgan Twitter: Good Morning Britain star continues HEATED debate with Diane Abbott”

Good to see the country finally having a sensible debate on immigration – not.

Oh, go on, here it is.

 

Posted: 30th, April 2018 | In: News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


Liverpool: Klopp isolated after his ‘master of training’ leaves

Liverpool will be moving on without Zeljko Buvac, the sallow one with the indy band hair sat next to Jurgen Klopp in the dugout. Liverpool’s 56-year-old assistant manager has left until the end of the season for “personal business” – it’s personal and it’s none of your business.

Although the Daily Record says Buvac (aka ‘The Brain’) and Klopp fell out. The Sun notes: “The relationship had broken down, and the players have been told Buvac is gone.”

Buvac, who became Klopp’s assistant at Mainz in 2001, has made no comment. Liverpool says he’s still employed by the club.

It’s an odd time to change the hierarchy. The pair were so tight having been at three clubs together over 17 years. Buvac once told the Sunday Express: “Both of us were looking to become managers and we promised each other, ‘If I am the first manager, I will take you and if you are the first manager you will take me’.” Klopp called Buvac the “master of every form of training”.

Who next?

Posted: 30th, April 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, News, Sports | Comment


Michelle Wolf didn’t go far enough

Michelle Wolf’s standup gig at the annual White House correspondents’ dinner on Saturday night was joyous. Wolf’s most memorable comments were pointed at press secretary, Sarah Sanders, and Trump’s daughter, Ivanka.

 

michelle wolf

Smoke roasted

 

Not everyone shares Wolf’s sense of humour. White House adviser Mercedes Schlapp and her husband, Matt Schlapp, who chairs the American Conservative Union, left early. The man with the ear of the most powerful man in the free world later tweeted about a stand-up comic: “Enough of elites mocking all of us.”

You set ’em up, Matt and Mercedes. We’ll knock ’em in.

Watching a wife and mother be humiliated on national television for her looks is deplorable,” wrote MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski.

Sanders looked unimpressed. What did she expect? If you can take Wolf’s voice, which should be bottled and sold as a contraceptive device, listen in:

Did Wolf go too far?

 

 

That bit about the “smokey eye” is nasty. But Jean Hannah Edelstein tells Guardian readers that “Wolf was in fact complimenting the appearance of Sanders’ makeup”. Yeah, right… (Rolls eyes.)

Posted: 30th, April 2018 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Amber Rudd quits over Windrush; the front pages

Amber Rudd is no longer the Home Secretary. The newspapers lead with the story of the Windrush scandal. Rudd said she “inadvertently misled” MPs over targets for removing illegal immigrants. “Oh Ruddy Hell,” says the Sun as Remainer Rudd is kicked out. “Good Ruddance,” says the Mirror. The Daily Mail calls it “a huge blow for the prime minister.”

But it’s a boon to Labour and anyone seeking a ‘harder Brexit’ – or Brexit, as most voters thought it to be. One of their removal targets has been met.

The Times says Rudd’s “departure robs Mrs May of a key ally before a crucial week in which the prime minister faces a revolt by Brexit-supporting cabinet ministers over her plans for a customs partnership with the European Union.”

Labour senses it can now get at May. It should be wary what it hopes for. May leads an ineffectual government marching in circles. Any PM worth the stripe, one possessed of talent and a human touch, would pose a real threat to slippery Jeremy Corbyn and his flakey shadow Cabinet.

Change at the top is needed. Let it come soon…

 

amber rudd newspapers windrush resigns amber rudd newspapers windrush resigns amber rudd newspapers windrush resigns amber rudd newspapers windrush resigns amber rudd newspapers windrush resigns amber rudd newspapers windrush resigns amber rudd newspapers windrush resigns amber rudd newspapers windrush resigns amber rudd newspapers windrush resigns

What next, then?

 

Posted: 30th, April 2018 | In: News | Comment


Biased Reporting: Jose’s ‘masterstroke’ helps Manchester United block Arsenal

Manchester United’s “never-say-die streak” saw them beat a much-weakened Arsenal side at Old Trafford – it was the Gunners’ youngest Premier League starting XI. The official Manchester United website says Jose Mourinho “outsmarted” Arsene Wenger by bringing on the very tall Marouane Fellaini late on and lobbing the ball towards his bonce. It was Jose’s “masterstroke” that Fellaini scored with his head against two young Arsenal centre backs who’d never played together before, including one making his debut.

The official Manchester United organ’s blinkered match report makes no mention of the fact that Arsenal’s goalscorer, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, used to play for the club – also not noting that Jose Mourinho shunted him out, just as he got shot of the Kevin De Bruyne and Mo Salah, when he thought neither of this season’s star turns for Man City and Liverpool, respectively, was good enough for his Chelsea.

But there is this on the opening goal:

It didn’t take long for United to make Wenger’s last time as Gunners boss initially uncomfortable when taking a 16th-minute lead. Pogba started and finished the move. The France midfielder stroked a pass to Romelu Lukaku and went driving on into the area. Lukaku’s cross was met with a header from Alexis Sanchez. His hopes of a dream goal against his former employers were dashed as his effort hit Hector Bellerin and came off a post, only for Pogba to volley home.

It hit Bellerin?

The Daily Telegraph saw this:

Unmarked, Sanchez’s diving header was diverted onto the post by Hector Bellerin at full-stretch only for the ball to rebound to Pogba who simply volleyed it into the unguarded net.

As for the official Arsenal website, it went like this:

Alexis looked certain to score with his head at the far post, but Hector Bellerin made a superb diving block to divert his effort onto the post. Unfortunately the ball fell straight to the waiting Pogba to tap home.

What say the papers?

The Islington Gazette adds:

…the goal itself was slightly fortuitous as Hector Bellerin’s block from Alexis Sanchez’s header diverted the ball onto David Ospina’s right hand post.

The Ham & High needs a lesson in human anatomy:

Excellent block from Alexis Sanchez’s header deserved better than for it to hit the post and rebound back for Pogba to head home.

And the Manchester Evening News shoves Bellerin down the memory hole:

Great counter attack by United. Pogba out to Sanchez on his right who floats in a great cross, Sanchez header at the far post comes off the post and Pogba’s there to finish it and put United 1-0 up.

They say “volley”. You say “tap”. They say “hit. You say “superb diving block”.

One thing the Arsenal website fails to mention is the dire fact that Arsenal have now lost six successive away fixtures in the league for the first time since Billy Wright was their manager in 1966. But, yep, Jose’s the master.

Wenger OUT!

Posted: 29th, April 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Wenger taught Arsenal the art of losing

Arsene Wenger’s closing days at Arsenal are marked by his admission: “The timing was not really my decision.” That’s the good news for Arsenal fans. It suggests the club’s board has finally risen from its collective torpor and realised that under Wenger’s faded light their investment is devaluing.

What Arsenal had under Wenger vanished years ago, perhaps as far back as a decade. Now they look for hope in an unlikely win over Atletico Madrid in the Europa League next Thursday, and with it a route for the country’s sixth best side to qualify for next season’s Champions League. Arsenal will be back where they belong – also-rans in the top contest. It’ll be like those years when they kept coming fourth and never improved.

Wenger leaves Arsenal fragile and indecisive.

Today Wenger managed Arsenal for the last time at Old Trafford. What a damp squib. United and their fans once feared Wenger and his feisty team. What price Tony Adams, Ian Wright, Sol Campbell, Martin Keown, Ashley Cole, Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit, Nigel Winterburn, David Seaman, Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry? When Sylvain Wiltord’s strike won the title at old Trafford, clinching the double for the Gunners, it was magnificent. Ferguson v Wenger was the league’s top fight. But only one of them had to win. Wenger wanted to make art out of football.

When Shkodran Mustafi slipped on his arse, his mouth gaping as Atletico’s Antoine Griezmann outwitted three hapless Arsenal defenders by the cunning ploy of keeping his eye on the ball, I imagined the speech bubble above the German’s head declaring, “Art.”

The fans want better. They won’t get it quickly because unlike when Wenger arrived, Arsenal don’t have a great back four. They have a squad of lightweight journeymen bereft of leaders.

Wenger blazed a revolution all those years ago. Now Arsenal need a new sea-change: a vocal captain unafraid to dish it out and a defender who knows when to smash the ball and man into the stands. Anyone know what George Graham’s up to?

Arsene Wenger’s first home game 19 October 1996: David Seaman, Lee Dixon, Tony Adams, Steve Bould, Martin Keown, Nigel Winterburn, Paul Merson, David Platt, Patrick Vieira, John Hartson, Ian Wright.

When did it all go wrong for Wenger? When he stopped picking and recruiting tough home-grown players who were happy to do the dirty stuff.

Posted: 29th, April 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


Fury, spin and apathy at a Daventry primary school

The Daventry Express had the news first. Ashby Fields Primary School, in Northamptonshire, is thinking about closing early on Friday afternoons in order to help its teaching staff maintain a “healthy work-life balance”. At 1:15pm, the teachers will clock off.

Headteacher Jacqui Johnson sent a letter out to parents outlining the idea. No all recipients are thrilled. Kelly Holmes, whose daughter attends Ashby Fields, wondered: “What do they intend to do to accommodate working parents?… They’re making working parents pay for extra childcare and we will have to fight it out for places.”

Currently, the teachers work a 27.5 hours a week timetable. The school’s letter told of the teachers’ “huge workload”. The teachers work “60 hours a week during term time and through their holidays to keep up”.

The letter than pitches teachers as warriors in a kind of battle zone, talking of “frontline teaching”.

“They [teachers] have the school holidays and bank holidays,” adds Holmes. “They get more days off than working parents.”

Can teachers not be working parents? And what working parents don’t fancy a longer weekend on the same money?

The school says not teaching on Friday afternoons will allow the school to “access additional staff development time to enhance the quality of teaching and learning”. Less teaching will make for better teaching and pupils will learn more. The pupils aren’t there as often, of course, but the point is that teachers will get more time away from them. Do you see?

The school’s local newspaper makes no mention of any parent being in favour of the scheme. But the Guardian says, “Parents had mixed reactions when the plan was discussed at a public meeting.” The Sun counters that with: “Parents furious as school announces plans to shut at lunchtime every Friday so stressed teachers can ‘chill out’.”

The Indy also spots those “mixed reviews”, but like the Guardian it too fails to cite any parent supportive of the idea.

Over in the Express we’re told: “PARENTS have reacted with fury after a primary school announced plans to end the week at lunchtime on Fridays – to give teachers more time ‘to chill’.”

The story is being spun. It’s not about chilling. It’s not about fury. And it’s not much about meaningful debate. It’s a small story that appeals to your prejudices:

  1. Do you think teachers are selfless workaholics?
  2. Do you think teachers are work-shy and cosseted?

Or 3. Do you wonder how school came to be such a booming industry that keeps children trapped in a corporate system until their early 20s?

Posted: 29th, April 2018 | In: News | Comment


Liverpool to offer Salah double yer money deal

Liverpool are keen to keep Egypt forward Mohamed Salah, 25, at the club. They’re ready to offer him a new deal worth £185,000 a week. That’s double his current wage on a contract that has four years to run.

It’s not enough. Not when you realises what Salah could earn elsewhere given his sensational form. Of course, the gamble for Liverpool and other clubs is in working out if Salah’s season is something of a freak. Can he do it again and again?

The numbers will fluctuate in the Press, of course. The Sun also notes the £185,000 weekly pay packet, but in other stories it pitches the offer to Salah at £200,000. Spanish website Don Balon says Salah is interested in playing for Real Madrid. The Sun – again – says Salah can go to Real for £166m, where only Cristiano Ronaldo will earn more.

The money is huge. But Salah is grounded. He’s just donated $450k for a water treatment plant in his home town. Sometimes you can forget that beneath all the hype, lawyers, marketeers, opportunists and greed, there’s a bloke who loves playing football and for whom money is far from being everything.

Posted: 29th, April 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, News, Sports | Comment


Daily Mail: not knowing what gives you cancer gives you cancer

daily-mail-cancer

 

Lots of people wrongly believe things like stress, electromagnetic frequencies, microwave ovens, GM foods and drinking from plastic bottles cause cancer. A study in the European Journal of Cancer, by a team from University College London (UCL) and the University of Leeds surveyed 1,330 people in England. Lion Shahab, from UCL, tells media: “People’s beliefs are so important because they have an impact on the lifestyle choices they make.”

Where do people get the idea that all manner of stuff gives you cancer – that disease the slack-jawed and mentally negligible tell us people “battle” (BBC)  and “Stand up to” (Channel 4)?

 

daily mail cancer

 

The Daily Mail has seen the research and tells its readers:

Do YOU know what increases your cancer risk? An alarming number of people believe in fake causes – and don’t know about the real dangers…

What are the real dangers?

…many people are still confused about risk factors, despite vast sums being spent on public health education campaigns.

A sizeable minority of the public either fail to appreciate the significance of known risk factors or hold unfounded beliefs about possible causes, such as using mobile phones or being near overhead power lines.

 

daily mail cancer

 

daily mail cancer

 

Who to blame for what the lack of knowledge? The Mail warns, “people increasingly getting their news from social media – sometimes from unreliable sources (so-called ‘fake news’).”

Some read the Daily Mail.

Like this – The Daily Mail’s A-Z of Things That Give you Cancer.

Posted: 28th, April 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


The Fight To Own Alfie Evans

Alfie Evans ( May 9 2016 – April 28 2018) has died at Liverpool’s Alder Hey Hospital, where he has been since his parents took him there in December 2016. He succombed to a degenerative neurological condition.

But… Who had control over Alfie Evans’ life? Who owned him? That was the news story. It wasn’t his parents, Tom Evans and Kate James. It wasn’t the Pope. And it certainly wasn’t Alfie Evans, not since a judge said his brain had “been wiped out… [it] is almost entirely water”.

On 1 February 2018 lawyers for the hospital told a court that it would be “unkind and inhumane” to continue treating Alfie. But – yep – his brain was “wiped out”, so what harm in trying – further treatment could cause him no physical pain? The law said Alfie was effectively no longer a person but also said that he was one and that he should be allowed to die. Confused?

On 20 February, Justice Hayden, who we just heard from, said there was no hope for Alfie and sided with the hospital. His treatment would stop. Alfie’s parents appealed. And lost. The Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights rejected their right to appeal.

Questions abounded. Who gets to decide the fate of children? What is in Alfie’s best interests? Is a judge best placed to empathise with Alfie? Medical opinion and parental rights were being weighed by the law. The legal assumption is not one of parental autonomy. That should change. The other legal assumption is not that life is always preferable.

 

 

The story went global. And it got nasty. On 6 April, Tom Evans voiced his intention to remove his son from the hospital. Police arrived to stop him. Hospital staff were abused by Alfie’s supporters. That was disgraceful. Pro-life Christians saw a cause to get stuck in to. American Evangelists tweeted furiously. The Pope wanted to help. Italy offered Alfie Italian citizenship, allowing him to be moved to the specialist private Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome.

But he never went. In the High Court, Hayden said that sending Alfie to Italy would be wrong and pointless. The Court of Appeal judges upheld his decision. The Supreme Court said “every legal issue in this case is governed by Alfie’s best interests… There is also no reason for further delay. The hospital must be free to do what has been determined to be in Alfie’s best interests. That is the law in this country.”

But surely once the medics had debated and decided that they could do not more for Alfie, he should have been free to leave their care. His release should have been a viable option for the parents. But the hospital kept hold of him, turning a patient into a virtual prisoner. They and the courts placed themselves above the child’s parents, the people who really did love and cherish him. The parents should have been allowed to decide what was best for their son. They did not ask the NHS to continue to fund their son’s care. They wanted to know that they had tried everything.

To be denied that is cruel.

Posted: 28th, April 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Arsenal offload Wenger to China; Manchester United want 9

With all the shock value of a baby with a full nappy, news is that departing Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will become the highest-paid manager in the world should he move to the Chinese Super League. The BBC says so.

He won’t go, of course. It was only a day or two ago that the tabloids were telling us of Wenger’s “hint” at continuing to coach in European football. China might well own vast chunks of European real estate and capital, but we’re not yet an enclave.

The BBC and Mirror mention not a single club by name to have offered Wenger anything in mangement, only that he has been “inundated” with offers and it is “understood” the deal is worth even more than “Marcello Lippi receives on his £24m-a-year deal as boss of the China national team”. (Lippi’s alive?!)

And then this guff:

But Wenger, who has been earning £8m-a-year, can get even more after being sounded out with a serious offer from China for when he steps down at Arsenal this summer.

Oh, and the Mirror “understands” Wenger would prefer to manager in Europe. The paper “believes” Wenger wants to continue in management. Mirror and BBC readers might well understand that this story has more holes than the Arsenal defence, which is lots.

 

wenger manchester united

Via (The Times)

 

8-2 arsenal

 

As for the actual football, Arsenal travel to Manchester United on Sunday. The game falls between their Europa League clashes with Atletico Madrid. Arsenal fans have no need to wonder what team Wenger will send out at United – it’s not the one that used to fight and scrap and win. It’s the one that follows an 8-2 drubbing; the team of journeymen you get when a palsied board stick with a faded talent in exchange for regular dividend cheques that come with being also-rans.

Arsenal are slipping. Last summer was dominated by the mess over Alexis Sanchez (now at Man United, of course, and playing well) and Mesut Ozil’s contracts. This one will be about a new manager, and Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck when the pair enter the final 12 months of their existing deals in June – when Jack Wilshere will be a free agent. No planning. No vision.

“I always got a great reception at Old Trafford,” says Wenger. “I don’t know what kind of reception I will get but we will be focused on winning the game. We always had some great battles in 22 years.” When was the last one, Arsene?

Manchester United 8, Arsenal 2 (2011). He should have gone years ago.

Posted: 28th, April 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Labour kick out an alleged antisemite; Corbyn stays

A mere 22 months after the incident, Marc Wadsworth has been expelled from the Labour Party. The Momentum activist made comments at an antisemitism event – no, not a rally for Labour anti-semites, although Corbyn’s Labour could fill a large venue for that do; Wadsworth clashed with Jewish MP Ruth Smeeth at the launch of Labour’s inquiry into antisemitism. You’ll recall that Labour invited Shami Chakrabarti to investigate the rampant Jew hatred in its ranks. She joined Labour, discovered a “minority hateful or ignorant attitudes and behaviours” and was made a Labour peer and shadow attorney general. What looked like a duck, walked like a duck and quacked like a duck was a dead ermine, said Shami admiring her new robes.

But the Labour Party’s Jew haters kept popping up. Being antisemitic in Labour was not rare at all. Things came to a bit of a head when something finally stuck to nuanced and slippery Jeremy Corbyn, who admired a massive public artwork, an artwork Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson called “a horrible anti-Semitic mural”. Corbyn wanted it kept on display. The local Labour mayor thought it revolting and ordered it to be painted over.

Corbyn, who was at the launch of the party’s antisemitism drive, was filmed on camera talking with Wadsworth at the event. Both deny being antisemitic.

One paper stirred the pot, reporting:

A video has since emerged showing the Labour leader laughing along with Mr Wadsworth as they exit the launch. Mr Wadsworth can be heard saying: ‘You saw what happened.’ Mr Corbyn replies: ‘Yeah, I did.’

It’s here – but there’s very little to it. Leader meets fan might be the better description of the happening:

 

 

Wadsworth denies any wrongdoing. He says today:

“I deplore anti-Semitism, anti-black racism, Islamophobia and all forms of prejudice, bigotry and discrimination that I have campaigned against all my political life and will continue to do so.

“With my brilliant legal team, who won the arguments hands down, I will be looking at all my options to legally challenge the decision.”

The Guardian outlines the case:

Wadsworth came to prominence after he challenged Smeeth at the launch of Shami Chakrabati’s inquiry into antisemitism in 2016, accusing her of working “hand in hand” with a Telegraph journalist.

Smeeth has said she was reduced to tears by his remarks. Wadsworth, who was distributing flyers at the event, has said he did not know Smeeth was Jewish.

The matter was heard by the National Constitutional Committee (NCC), Labour’s top disciplinary body. Says Labour:

“The NCC has found that two charges of a breach of the Labour party’s rule 2.1.8 by Marc Wadsworth have been proven. The NCC consequently determined that the sanction for this breach of Labour party rules will be expulsion from membership.”

The rule states that “no member of the Party shall engage in conduct which in the opinion of the NEC is prejudicial, or in any act which in the opinion of the NEC is grossly detrimental to the Party [including actions] might reasonably be seen to demonstrate hostility or prejudice based on age; disability; gender reassignment or identity; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; or sexual orientation… racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia or otherwise racist language, sentiments, stereotypes or actions, sexual harassment, bullying or any form of intimidation towards another person on the basis of a protected characteristic”.

Labour MPs, Chris Williamson and Clive Lewis gave character references for Wadsworth. Lewis said people “do not get to be judge, jury and executioner when it comes to who’s expelled or not. Go read a history book about what happens when an accusation equals evidence.”

Smeeth is pleased – but makes no specific mention of antisemism:

 

But is it over? Is it there? Ken Livingstone, currently suspended from Labour over remarks linking Adolf Hitler and Zionism, tells LBC today:

“I’m not discussing anti-Semitism until after the election is all out the way because it is a complete diversion. We had this last year in the run-up to the local elections then. We had it two years ago in the run-up to the election of Sadiq Khan. It didn’t damage us at the last two local elections but it is a complete diversion.”

 


 

 

And on it goes in Corbyn’s Labour…

Posted: 27th, April 2018 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Arsenal: Wenger hints at something but not that

What next for Arsene Wenger when he finally closes the door on Arsenal and we can all forget about the nine years without a trophy, signing Marouane Chamakh and watching a side with all aggression of a newborn lamb? Unless, of course, the masterful manager steers Arsenal to the Europa League title and with it Champions League qualification, and we call agree that it’d be right and proper for Wenger to remain at the club for another season. Or longer. Don’t toss way those “Wenger Out’ banners yet, Gooners.

 

arsenal wenger express

 

The Express, though, is a practical organ. Everything it publishes is printed in trusty black and white. Wenger is going. End of. And today the paper delivers the news: “Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger drops big hint over next job: This is where I want to manage.”

 

arsenal wenger express

 

In case you missed it there, the Express’s sister paper, the Star, also thunders: “Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger drops huge hint over where he’ll manage next.”

Where? Bayern Munich? Spurs? England? Says Wenger: “I hope these are not my last European cup games – my target is to play in Europe again.” The hint is that he cole mange for any club in Europe. In yer face, Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao.

Posted: 26th, April 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Ed Miliband’s speech writer says Jews have no place in Corbyn’s Labour Party

Is being a Labour Party member compatible with being a Jew? That’s a rhetorical question. It isn’t. At least it isn’t for the wrong kind of Jews. Jamie Susskind, the lawyer son of futurologist Richard Susskind (The End of Lawyers?) who has written speeches for former Labour leader Ed Miliband and is a former chairman of the Oxford University Labour Club, has resigned from the party. Membership to Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour is an “insult” to his heritage. He accuses Corbyn of “erecting a bureaucratic shield for anti-Semites in Labour”. It’s all about deference to Party process with slippery and nuanced Corbyn.

Susskind has posted his resignation letter on twitter:

 

 

I’m amazed more have done the same.

Posted: 26th, April 2018 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


These standing seats are the plane travel of the grim future

Aviointeriors

 

No worries if you didn’t book a seat on your budget airline and don’t fancy the scramble to get one. This is the Skyrider 2.0 saddle seat, positioned by Italy’s Aviointeriors at “the new frontier of low-cost tickets”. The new frontier looks a lot like standing.

On the plus side, travellers sat on something that looks like those plastic mantlepieces you get to ‘rest’ on at bus stops need not worry about deep-vein thrombosis, biting their knees and asking other people to move. The Boston Globe says the Skyrider 2.0 (an upgrade on the Skyrider 0.0 (cross-legged on the floor) and the Skyrider 1.0 (tied by the wrists to the roof)) “makes perfect sense… the design allows a 20 percent increase in passengers per flight. It also weighs 50 percent less than a standard economy seat, lowering the fuel cost per passenger.”

Seats are now just 23 inches away from the row in front. More people can get on the same-sized plane.Smell that? That’s progress – and you stuck in an overstuffed flying tube like a flaying carcass.

Posted: 26th, April 2018 | In: News, Strange But True, Technology, The Consumer | Comment


Facebook Must Change Data Access Rules – But Wait, Not For Us, Not For Us!

None of us can fail to have seen all that screaming about how Facebook really must change the way that it handles data. Who gets to see it, how they get to see it, what they can do with it and all that. For the allegation is that it was Facebook data which swung Brexit and elected Donald Trump, wasn’t it? Two things so heinous, so massively against all good thinking, that we must change the world to make sure they don’t ever happen again.

So, Facebook changes what it does with data, who gets to see it and how they see it. At which point screaming again. From those who rather assumed that they would still be able to see it all, it would only be the bad thinking people who would be restricted:

A group of the world’s leading internet academics say Facebook’s decision to tighten access to user data in reaction to will actually hamper genuine research and oversight of the platform.

An open letter, signed by 27 researchers and published on Wednesday, said while the privacy changes might generate positive publicity for Facebook and its chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, they were “likely to compound the real problem, further diminishing transparency and opportunities for independent oversight”.

On 4 April, Facebook announced it would make changes to protect the privacy of users, including restricting access to application program interfaces used by third parties to access data.

What you’re seeing there is the end stage of Kip Esquire’s Law. Which states in its original form that people arguing for planning always, but always, assume that they’ll be the people doing the planning. This has wider application of course. Those arguing for more data secrecy always, but always, assume that they’ll still have access because they’re the good guys. It’s only those baddies over there who will actually be restricted, right?

That’s not quite how it all works out of course. And thus this end stage – sheer incomprehension at the thought that what they themselves were arguing for, greater privacy protections, might actually apply to themselves. I mean, how could it, they’re the good guys, right?

Snigger.

Posted: 25th, April 2018 | In: News, Technology | Comment


Hank Azaria says sorry The Simpsons Abu is upsetting

Hank Azaria says he’s “willing to step aside” from voicing the character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon in TV’s The Simpsons.  Azaria is pressured by a Indian-American comic Hari Kondabolu (The Problem with Apu), who claims the Indian character who knows more about the USA than Homer Simpson (fat, yellow ignorant, child-throttling and lazy) is founded on racial stereotypes. Azaria says his “eyes have been opened” by the debate. No offence was intended. He thought it was a jokey show about a 2D family of yellow-faces and blue hair. But he now knows that The Simpsons is slice-of-life stuff.

 

azaria apu

Not a real Indian

 

Azaria, who also voices porcine Chief Wiggum (a snout-face, slow-witted copper), Comic Book Guy (a fat pedantic slob) and bartender Moe Szyslak (a cranky, wire-haired batchelor) could soon be out of work unless the show’s writers can shoehorn a part for a slim actor who wants to write his own lines.

Azaria goes on the record: “The idea that anyone young or old, past or present, being bullied based on Apu really makes me sad. It certainly was not my intention. I wanted to bring joy and laughter to people.”

He did. He has. He’s not the writer, though. And Azaria’s reaction to criticism explains why actors should be wary of rewriting their own parts. “I’ve given this a lot of thought, and as I say my eyes have been opened,” he continues. “I think the most important thing is to listen to Indian people and their experience with it. I really want to see Indian, South Asian writers in the writers room… including how [Apu] is voiced or not voiced. I’m perfectly willing and happy to step aside, or help transition it into something new. It not only makes sense, it just feels like the right thing to do to me.”

Hear that, Indians. Form a queue.

The Simpsons has been dying on its feet for years.  As Lisa Simpson puts it in reply to this pathetic furore: “Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?” The camera then pans to a photo of Apu.

(Bart Simpson has been 8 for years – which is both weird and perverted!)

Posted: 25th, April 2018 | In: Celebrities, News, TV & Radio | Comment


Liverpool’s injured Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain must learn from Spurs Harry Kane

oxlade-chamberlain injury

 

When Liverpool signed midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Arsenal, many wondered how long a player with such a long history of injuries would last before he was crocked again, especially playing for Jurgen Klopp’s pell-mell team. At last night’s throbbing Champions’ League 5-2 victory over Roma, Oxlade-Chamberlain was stretchered off in the 15th minute with the scores tied at 0-0.

After the match, Klopp went on the record to say: “”It’s probably a really bad injury. If you can say that already before the scan then it’s never good news.”

The Ox has made an impressive 41 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool, scoring five goals. But there was an inkling that injury would always come. According to the TransferMarket site, Oxlade-Chamberlain has now injured his knee four times. In 2013-2014, a knee injury caused him to miss half the season:

 

Alex Oxlade-chamberlain injuries

 

 

He’s been unlucky. But to what extend are players invited to suck it up and play though the pain, pushing themselves too far before their body has fully healed?

Top athletes are primed like race horses. They are highly strung, fitter than amateur sportsmen and women. Their bodies are pushed to the limit. Recovery time is vital.

Tennis player Raphael Nadal talks of his own injuries in his autobiography:

“Playing sports is a good thing for ordinary people; sport played at the professional level is not good for your health. It pushes your body to limits that human beings are not naturally equipped to handle. That’s why just about every top professional athlete has been laid low by injury…I’ve had to push and mould my body to adapt it to cope with the repetitive muscular stress that tennis forces on you . . . [We] have to learn to live with pain.”

To what extent does an injury play around with an athlete’s mind? Oxlade-Chamberlain is acutely aware of his medical history and the state of his knees. But it’s a fair bet he’ll be wishing to get well enough fast so that he can play in the World Cup finals, pain or no pain – maybe the rush of playing can mask the niggles and the agony. Drive and adrenalin will pull him through.

But taking it slower is wise. When Spurs’ star striker Harry Kane damaged his ankle on March 11 in their 4-1 win at Bournemouth, he returned just three weeks later for his side’s 3-1 win over Chelsea. “The swelling went down quickly,” said Kane “and whenever I get injured I prepare right and make sure I do everything I can to get the swelling down and get back on the pitch. Hopefully this time it was quicker than last time… The injury was pretty much exactly the same time as last year, funnily enough. I was feeling strong last year and that’s what I’ll try to do this year.”

Since then Kane has been more miss than hit. He’s scored twice since his return but was largely anonymous when Spurs lost to Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-finals. The FA apologised for posting a message asking United defender Chris Smalling “What’s in your pocket?” and including a short clip of him saying, “Harry Kane”.

Kane, England’s best striker, has returned from injury a figure of derision, not all of it underserved.

In Spurs victory over Stoke, Kane claimed a goal initially awarded to team-mate Christian Eriksen. Kane said Eriksen’s free-kick grazed his shoulder on the way in. The Premier League goals accreditation panel awarded him the goal “after taking the player’s testimony into account and reviewing the match footage”. Jokes followed. When Liverpool’s mighty Mohamed Salah was named PFA Player of the Year for 2017-18, his teammate Simon Mignolet told him to “take care” as “someone else might claim it”.

 

 

Kane was desperate to matter again. He wanted to get well fast and score. It’s debatable how much that desire to succeed clouded his judgement, causing him not to consider the long-term implications of playing too soon after injury.

So get well soon, Oxlade-Chamberlain. But don’t rush.

Posted: 25th, April 2018 | In: Arsenal, Liverpool, News, Sports | Comment


Liverpool striker rewrites history for Mo Salah; Manchester City star never stood a chance

Mohamed Salah is the Liverpool tyro scoring goals with great awareness, no little skill and finishing with elegant panache. He’s been terrific for Liverpool all season. And he’s won an prize, taking away the PFA player of the year award. It was pretty much a toss-up between Salah and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne, like Salah also flogged for not being good enough by monocular Jose Mourinho’s winning-is-all Chelsea. De Bruyne has been sublime, an imaginative driving force for City’s title victory. I’d have voted for him to win the award. But goal scorers get the headlines – their attributes are measurable in the baldest terms: Salah has an impressive 31 PL goals.

Choosing between the pair is hard. But not for former Liverpool player Stan Collymore, who told his Daily Mirror readers: “Mo Salah was the outstanding choice for the PFA Player of the year award. The sheer variety of goals he has scored in his debut season playing for a club where expectation levels are huge has been phenomenal.”

But were expectations all that high about a player who’d left Chelsea for Roma – a player who in the era of absurd fees came in for £36.9m – just £4m more than Liverpool paid Arsenal for the overrated Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain?

No.

 

Stan Collymore Mirror

 

On February 12, Collymore told his readers: “Harry Kane and Mo Salah have their merits as potential Player of the Year award winners. But that honour has to go to Kevin De Bruyne. He has been weighing in with goals and important assists at important times in games all season. His level of consistency has been outstanding. I saw one article saying they feel up at Manchester City that he should be in the reckoning for a Ballon d’Or shout, and I wouldn’t disagree with that.”

A short while on and Salah is the only choice.

Vote now and vote often!

Posted: 24th, April 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Windrush kickback destroys myth of Brexit fuelled by racism

How are the tabloids covering the Windrush scandal, in which British citizens who have lived in the country for decades were invited to apply for the citizenship already theirs or face deportation?

 

Windrush Rudd newspapers

 

The Sun covers the story on page 16. In “WINDS OF CHANGE”, readers see “under-fire” Home Secretary Amber Rudd promising to “fast-track” citizenship for the children of people who were invited to live and work in the Britain – and who were granted citizenship in 1971.

These British subjects will not need to sit a “knowledge test” on things about the country – pop quiz: Who is the Home Secretary? Who will be the Home Secretary tomorrow? Have you ever been black?

Moreover, some people who lost benefits – housing, medical and more – will be compensated. The talk is of a new”culture” of harmony in which everyone unable to point to their name in the Doomsday Book is not treated as an illegal parasite first and made to prove they are otherwise.

The Mail covers the story over pages 24 and 25. It’s the “GRE|AT WINDRUSH CLIMBDOWN”, a headline that evokes Mary Berry clacking her falsies over scones and something essentially noble and British about telling people they are neither. Rudd has unveiled a “sweeping package of measures” to cure the scandal. The Mail’s sketch writer puns about sailing on “The Good Ship Rudd”.

 

22nd June 1948- Newly arrived Jamaican immigrants on board the ‘Empire Windrush’

22nd June 1948- Newly arrived Jamaican immigrants on board the ‘Empire Windrush’

 

The Mirror makes the Windrush front-page stuff. Rudd is “RUDDY AWFUL”. Theresa May pauses from marching round in circles and “hides” behind her Home Secretary. On page 7, Rudd says each case is “painful to hear… the State has let these people down”.

On page 8, the Mirror uses its editorial to speak of Rudd’s “humiliation”. The Windrush scandal is “utterly unforgivable”. “The public backlash is evident that migrants are welcome”. Well, quite. All that guff about Brexit being a vote for racism was just that – guff that monstered the 17.4 million of us who voted to leave the moribund EU.

Meanwhile, have you seen that baby of Greek, German and Jewish heritage? Hmmm….

London is the Place For Me’ – Pictures of the Original Windrush Generation

Posted: 24th, April 2018 | In: News, Tabloids | Comment


France is ethnically cleansing Jews

In France, Nicolas Sarkozy, the country’s former president, Manuel Valls, the former prime minister, Charles Aznavour, the entertainer, and Gérard Depardieu, the actor, have all added their names to a document calling on the State to tackle murderous anti-Semitism. The document signed by around 300 notables says France has mutated into “the theatre of murderous antisemitism”. Since 2006, 11 Jews having been “assassinated” because of they were Jews.

 

jews nazis

Hideous

 

“French Jews are 25 times more at risk of being attacked than their Muslim counterparts. Ten per cent of the Jewish citizens of the Paris region… have recently been forced to move because they were no longer secure in certain council estates. This is a quiet ethnic cleansing.”

The document says France’s long and repugnant history of far-right French antisemitism is now joined by  “a part of the radical left which has found in anti-Zionism an alibi for transforming the executioners of the Jews into the victims of society”.

Sound familiar, Jeremy Corbyn and his fellow Labour apologists?

It also accuses politicians of having made the “lowly electoral calculation that the Muslim vote is ten times bigger than the Jewish vote” – there are around 500,000 Jews in France, the biggest Jewish population in any Western European country.

It’s serious. Last month, an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor was stabbed to death in her Paris flat. Her crime? Being a Jew.

Posted: 24th, April 2018 | In: News | Comment


Musical David Bowie MetroCards Go On Sale In New York City

David-Bowie-MetroCard-Spotify-NYC

 

There are no photos of David Bowie riding the New York City subway to and from his home near to SoHo’s Broadway/Lafayette, not far from CBGB. Undeterred by evidence – the lack of it – the city’s Metropolitan Transit Authority is selling a David Bowie-themed MetroCard for $1 a pop. It’s part of a deal Spotify to create 5 limited edition MetroCards, most with a scannable Spotify code which triggers a sound file.

 

David-Bowie-MetroCard-Spotify-NYC

David-Bowie-MetroCard-Spotify-NYC

bowie-subway ticket

 

Finally, here’s Bow in the Tube in…Japan:

 

David-Bowie-MetroCard-Spotify-NYC
Close enough…

Spotter: Open Culture, Flashbak

Posted: 23rd, April 2018 | In: Celebrities, Money, News | Comment