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There’s something quite disturbing about our response to the events we’ve witnessed in places like Orlando or Nice. I’m hearing things being said that not that long ago would’ve been unthinkable …
It seems to me that we are going through a period in the west of a moral regression, and because of that I’m wondering whether we as moral agents can still be trusted with the privilege of freedom of speech. I think we’re at the point where we have to re-examine what we mean by that and if there is a deeper moral obligation that puts constraints on what we ought to be able to say in public.
Certain speech and the proliferation of certain speech can have real world harms … it’s part of whipping up a mood that has seen people bashed and may well see more people bashed.
We tend to think of free speech as self expression—it’s just the expression of whatever it is on your mind, it’s the expression of the self whether or not the self is worthy of being expressed. So Donald Trump for example is congratulated for speaking his mind even if he doesn’t necessarily have a mind that’s worth speaking.
Liverpool FC striker Danny Ings writes exclusively for the Liverpool website. In case you missed it, “For the duration of the Reds’ tour of the USA, Danny Ings will be writing an exclusive blog for Liverpoolfc.com.”
Good oh. We like a footballer’s diary. We recall when Finland’s Aki Riihilahti wrote a diary of life with Crystal Palace, which The Times sensibly picked up. It was witty, concise, pithy and engaging
August 26, 2002:
HAVE YOU EVER HEARD A secretary starting to yell and run around the office just because she succeeded to answer the phone? In football this is considered normal. If you score you often just bellow like a horny animal and do these ridiculous madman celebrations that would in the normal life get you hospitalised. And when the ball goes a bit wide from the target everybody raises their hands, throws their neck and sighs ooooh! Can’t really see a barber doing that just because he cut the customer’s mullet a bit too short.
September 9 2002:
So the truth is, Roy Keane is a much better player but also a very different type of person than I am. Well, I prefer it to stay this way. And maybe after this article I have to be careful if I ever play against him. But whatever happens, I am not going to sue him, because I enjoy watching him playing.
October 7 2002:
A FOOTBALLER ATE GREASY fries, coke and a burger and actually played like Ronald McDonald next day.
Highlight October 21, 2002:
“RIIHILAHTI WON THE game for Finland”. “Finnish football is flying high thanks to Riihilahti”. “Riihilahti is leading Finland to his nation’s first European Championship tournament”. These are the headlines I could have made. Instead I just got 5 in the players’ ratings in the local papers and a little mention in the side paragraph: “Riihilahti could have won the game for Finland but finished poorly
Brilliant. So to Danny Ings.
Usually at this level, a lot of players do actually know each other from previous experiences, but of course some don’t. Things like we did today, going to Alcatraz and having a walk around together, means people can get to know each other’s personalities a bit better, find out who can speak which languages and find out who has got banter and who hasn’t.
To be fair, the majority of the new boys have got banter…
Aki wrote in English as his second language. Danny Ings is English.
The Munich massacre is all over the Daily Mirror’s front page. The word is “terror”. But why did the killer do it? Lunacy? Narcissism? Nihilism? Anger? Because he could? Nazism? Islamism? Racism? Brexit? Low blood sugar? The NRA?
The killer is dead. Can we guess, then, why a young man would slaughter so many at a shopping mall?
The Mirror calls the 18-year-0ld Iranian-German the “crazed killer”. He is the “lone gunman”.
When Labour MP Jo Cox was murdered on a street in England, the Mirror knew everything about her alleged killer, Thomas Mair, in an instant. The Mirror was backing the Remain vote in the EU Referendum:
The Star also knew about Mair:
And the Sun knew Mair was a far-right loon:
But now the Star can only muster: “…the shooting may have been carried out by Islamic extremists or far-right sympathisers.”
And the Sun just settles on nationality:
The Press are pussyfooting around.
The Mirror does quote an eyewitness, who spoke with CNN:
The woman named Loretta told CNN: “I come out of the toilet and I hear like an alarm, boom, boom, boom. He’s killing the children. The children were sitting to eat. They can’t run.”
She also said the man yelled: ‘Allahu Akbar!’
She said she recognised this phrase as she herself is Muslim, according to CNN.
Surely people of all religions and races know that phrase by now. The Greater Manchester Police have used it in their terrorist training for attacks on shopping malls.
So. Why did he do it? Discuss. And here’s a clue: it’s never a simple answer (unless myou want it to be).
The Munich massacre, the Press are calling it. A Iranian-German nutter has murdered many a German shopping mall. Who can we blame. They know. We can blame ourselves:
The New York Times blames Europe:
First came Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. Then the horrific attack in Nice, France, which killed 84 people. Then, on Friday, a shooting near a shopping mall in Munich, which the police are treating as a possible terrorist attack.
These events alone would be cause for a continental nervous breakdown. But still unresolved is an even bigger threat to European stability: a failure to develop a coherent, humane plan to deal with the inexorable flow of desperate people fleeing violence and persecution in the Middle East and Africa and seeking a new home in Europe …
The refugee issue continues to stoke fears and xenophobic politics. If Europe fails to face this problem squarely and humanely, more migrants will die, and a union that has kept the peace in Europe for decades could well unravel.
Anger and fear drove Brexit just as Donald Trump fans the flames of a disenfranchised America, which as Baton Rouge proves, is as racially and ethnically divided as Europe, which is dealing with mass immigration, an attempted coup in Turkey and seemingly relentless terrorism borne out civil war-torn Syria. Mark MacKinnon reports on the relationship between seemingly unconnected events across the globe..
Our societies are fracturing into tribes. In the U.K., it’s Leavers versus Remainers. In Turkey, the failed coup has cleaved society into Erdoganites and Gulenists (after the movement accused of supporting the failed putsch). Almost everywhere, lines are being drawn between immigrants and the native-born. Black and white. Us and them.
And the tribes are turning on one another.
Leave v Remain is like black v white? What utter balls.
And on NBC:
TODD: Do you draw a straight line? I mean, do you draw a straight line from basically the Syrian refugee crisis to Brexit to what we are seeing in Germany and France?
ENGEL: I think you can draw a straight line.
So. Why did you murder so many people in Germany? Narcissism? Islamism? Poverty? Racism? No. It was Brexit…
A man has murdered 9 people at Munich’s Olympia shopping centre. The killer, an 18-year-old German-Iranian dual national who lived in Munich, took his own life.
Munich police chief Hubertus Andrae says, “The motive or explanation for this crime is completely unclear.”
Completely unclear? No clues?
A witness who will only be identified as Lauretta told CNN her son was in a bathroom with a shooter at the McDonald’s. “That’s where he loaded his weapon,” she said. “I hear like an alarm and boom, boom, boom… And he’s still killing the children. The children were sitting to eat. They can’t run.” Lauretta said she heard the gunman say, “Allahu Akbar,” or God is great. “I know this because I’m Muslim. I hear this and I only cry.”
The BBC: “Police urged the public to avoid speculation on social media and to desist from using photos or video of their deployments online.”
Don’t speculate, says the BBC, which then immediately invites speculation:
German security forces have been on alert since a teenage migrant stabbed and injured five people on a train in Bavaria on Monday, in an attack claimed by so-called Islamic State.
The ghouls are out. Or are they citizen journalists?
The German Press uses language that needs no translation
And all Press have a transcription of this exchange:
Gunman on the roof of a carpark: “”I am a German!”
Onlooker: “You are a wanker”
One site has more:
00:00 A) You … you asshole! B) … I have never made… A) You wanker you! You are an asshole!
00:06 B) And now I have to buy a weapon to (shoot you? — insecure) A) Weapon? You know what you need to have your head chopped, asshole! B) ??
00:12 A) HEY! B) ??? A) ??? Wanker!
00:18 B) Shit Turks! — A) Shit Kanaken man!
00:22 A) HEY! He has got a shooting weapon, he — C) (a woman’s voice) A) … is in there, he has loaded his weapon
00:29 D) (woman filming commenting in probably Russian) A) Get the cops! He is walking there!
00:34 E) (man filming commenting in probably Russian) A) The wanker, bloody! B) I am German!
00:38 A) A wanker you are! B) Stop filming! A) What is this
00:41 shit you are doing? B) (??) was born here! A) So what? What is this shit you are doing?
00:44 B) … in this Hartz IV area, … in the Hasenbergl… A) (??) you asshole down there!
00:50 B) I have been in residential treatment in Giesing. A) Yes treatment you belong into a psychiatric asylum you asshole!
00:55 B) How is that my fault, I haven’t done anything, I (???) . A) (??)
00:58 B) Yeah shut up man. — A) You wanker you!
01:01 A) HEY! On the upper deck he is wandering about, you complete morons! (D and E who are filming commenting in probably Russian)
01:09 2 shots fired, people screaming.
01:14 2 shots fired (and D and E who are filming’s voices)
01:17 D and E who are filming’s voices
01:21 A) You are not right in your head you wanker you!
01:26 D and E who are filming’s voices
01:33 (Cracking sound) F) Go over there!
01:36 A) Asshole you shitty old!
01:39 D and E who are filming’s voices, A ranting A) They shat in your brain! B) No they haven’t! That’s the issue!
01:45 A) They have shat in your brain you complete moron! B) They have not!
Such are the facts.
The qualities Mr. Trump seeks in his romantic partners are remarkably retro. Melania Trump is a former model with her own QVC jewelry line and skin care brand who emphasizes that her role as a mother comes before all else; Mr. Trump… expects women to be more aesthetically appealing than intellectually substantive.
Melania survives on her looks? No. She thrived on them, working as a well-paid model. But the NY Times doesn’t see modelling as a proper job. It sneers at her choice of profession. Women who make a living from their aesthetic appeal are dumb, we’re told. The Times should read the story of the wonderful Lydia Lova and get a grip.
The problem with Melania, of course, is that she is no Hillary Clinton:
The distinctions between the Clinton marriage and the Trumps’ reflect an uncomfortable evolution also happening in homes across the United States.
The Clintons’ marriage is the model. His alleged cheating and lying, and her alleged bullying of his mistresses is the model, the American ideal? A woman who get to the top by using her husband’s name and contacts is the model?
In the past half-century, American women have undergone a transformation in roles, and married couples now look a lot more like the Clintons than whatever traditional view of women and home life that Mr. Trump holds: Most women work outside the home full time, and men increasingly marry women who are their educational and professional equals.
Melania speaks 6 languages. Hillary misspeaks one.
So Melania Trump, wife of could-be US President Donald Trump, plagiarised words used by Michelle Obama, wife to current US President Barack Obama, in a speech to believers. Salon is outraged:
Yes, plagiarism is a big deal: Melania Trump’s stolen words show how cynical Trump’s campaign is. The would-be First Lady and her husband’s campaign is counting on America not caring about her speech and ethics
Words on that in Salon come there none.
Animals right activists say the “polar bear” living at the Grandview aquarium at the Grandview shopping centre in the Chinese city of Guangzhou is the “saddest polar bear in the world”. Every newspaper in the world agrees.
Animals Asia want punters to boycott the zoo. The group has posted photos of the animals looking lacklustre and trapped:
Neale, welfare director at Animals Asia, says, “This bear has no peace and nothing natural to take comfort in. What’s more, information on how best to try to meet the complex physical and behavioural needs of captive polar bears is freely available, and yet this animal has been wilfully incarcerated in this way.”
And that’s not all. The mall, which Animals Asia calls a “prison”, is home to two more bears (although this site says the bears are not polar bears but “hybrid” polar-brown bears), six beluga whales, five walrus calves, arctic foxes and a wolf. The group says all animals are housed poorly.
The South China Morning Post takes measurements:
An Arctic wolf, about 1 metre long, was seen pacing back and forth in its pen, which measured about 130 square feet. The wolf scratched at the glass and the walls of its enclosure, causing the paint – which depicts the bluish hues of the Arctic – to fall off…
Six beluga whales, each about 2 meters long, were swimming in a glass tank about four metres deep, six metres wide and 15 metres long.
Countering this is the website www.lifeofguangzhou.com, ” he leading English-language city portal of Guangzhou”. It says:
A giant aquatic corridor stretches before you, blazed with bright light and color. Various tropical fish are sliding freely upon the colorful corals. Big sea turtles, kite-like ray fish, small sharks and many other beautiful fish are accessible now in the big and fancy emporium of Grandview.
On the site’s ‘About’ section we learn that it is “sponsored and supervised by the News Office of the Guangzhou Municipal Government” – where lunch is always exotic.
More than three weeks ago, the British electorate voted to Leave the European Union. But Article 50, that part in the Lisbon Treaty dealing with Brexit, has not been invoked. Article 50 gives Britain a maximum two-year deadline to leave the EU.
Theresa May, the new prime minister, says she won’t invoke the mechanism before the end of the 2016.
Today legal outfit Mishcon De Reya made progress in its bid to thwart the will of the people. Mischons wants Brexit be put to a vote in parliament. The courts will hear their bid in October.
…judges ruled that the lead case in the action should be that of Mishcon client Gina Miller, 51, an investment manager and philanthropist living in London who voted Remain in the EU referendum. Other applicants include London hairdresser Deir Dos Santos, 37, as well as Britons living in France campaigning as Fair Deal for Expats.
They should be laughed out of court. They won’t be. The powers that be are scared. They don’t want change. They want to kick it into the long grass.
Brexit Balls aplenty in the Guardian, where Rachel Cooke is remembering past holidays in those halcyon days of the 1970s, when Europe was still called ‘The Continent’:
In France she eats a croissant:
Even as I finished it, licking my finger to gather every last flake, I worried that such an ambrosial delight might never pass my lips again. If this turned out to be so, I wasn’t sure life was going to be worth living.
She would go on to drink fizzy water, eat white yoghurt, “sticky cheese that was stinky”, snails and enjoy the “superiority of French food”. She was a “miniature gastronomic zealot” high on French supermarket fodder. And then it all ended:
You know where this is going. Brexit feels to me like grief, and, deep in mourning, I can’t stop thinking of the loved one, and all that she brought me. Of course, it’s possible to exaggerate the effect the EU has had on our eating habits.
Possible. And here it is. The European Union makes the apricot jam thicker and the butter more creamy. The EU allowed you to travel to France and eat food. The EU gave you bottled water. The EU did it all.
Things would have changed anyway, in the end; British supermarkets, for better or worse, sell sushi now.
Sushi is from Japan – a country NOT in the EU (yet). We eat sushi and more expensive foods because we are richer than before, and many of us spend large chunks of our considerable down time watching cheap-to-make cooking shows and celebrity travelogues on the telly.
In the 1970s, British foodies could watch Graham Kerr on telly, The Galloping Gourmet, a celebrity chef the Guardian calls “The Roger Moore of the mandolin, the Nigel Havers of the hob, the David Niven of the knife block”.
The wealthy British imported coffee and tea and spices long before the EU existed.
Buy Cooke says “it’s difficult not to see this as a door closing – a refrigerator door, behind which there sits, in my dreams, an oozing brie de Meaux, a blushing hunk of culatello, and a small bowl of salty Nardin boquerones. How much more expensive are such treats likely soon to be?”
Well, that would depend on demand for already pricey foodstuffs. There’s a reason they don’t sell frozen snails at Tesco and they do sell sushi – “for better or worse.” They also sell Thai food (again, not from the EU) and lots of things from Australia, Canada and America.
She then accuses the people who voted for Brexit of being culturally backward, tasteless to the core, a slack-jawed, reactionary majority of bad-food lovers.
The celebrating Brexiteers are in a frenzy of nationalistic pride right now… Do they think freedom lies in grey meat and flaccid pastry?
No. See The Great British Bake Off.
Is it a case, for them, of better-the-cheap-British-cheese-you-know-than-the-dubious-foreign-stuff-you-don’t?
No. It’s a case of wine, a box of curry, a few spring rolls, kebabs, nachos, burgers and reruns of Fanny Cradock’s Fanny’s Kitchen on the magic box.
To Holland, where a Dutchman has been locked up for 30 days for insulting King Willem-Alexander. Did he mention the ears? The chin? That gap-year incident with the chicken? No. The criminal insulted the king on a Facebook post, accusing the regent of being a murderer, thief and rapist.
The 44-year-old idiot also stuck the king’s face on images of peoples being executed.
Said the Dutch courts “This behaviour is unacceptable in our society and demands that a penalty be imposed on the suspect.”
Amsterdam is now twinned with Riyadh.
What a sad and twisted little story on the BBC. In “Attack on Nice brings danger to France closer to home”, Hugh Schofield follows up the story of how Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel murdered scores of people at a Bastille Day celebration by noting:
Through the last 18 months of jihadist terror in France, a simple pattern is emerging: it keeps getting worse.
Worse than mass murder?
If the January 2015 attacks were aimed at specific groups – Jews and blasphemers – the November follow-up was more indiscriminate.
Murdering Jews and blasphemers is not worse – is it better, then? – than killing anyone else.
Is it time to update Pastor Martin Niemöller’s poem:
First they came for the Satirists, and I did not speak out—
Because I agreed that ‘You can’t say that!’, words are criminal and US Secretary of State John Kerry saw a “rationale” in the slaughter at Charlie Hebdo.
Then they came for the rock fans, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a rock fan and they are “hedonists”.
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.
So goes the evolution of a death cult.
At the Bataclan Massacre, the scene was gruesome. HeatStreet says:
A French government committee has heard testimony, suppressed by the French government at the time and not published online until this week, that the killers in the Bataclan appear to have tortured their victims on the second floor of the club…
Or as Schofield puts it:
At the Bataclan and at the cafes the Islamists killed young adults, out being European hedonists. This time, it’s gone a step further.
In Nice, it is the people at large – families and groups of friends – doing nothing more provocative than attending a national celebration. Ten children were among the dead.
People at large are not Jews and “hedonists” at a pop concert. Jews shopping for Shabbat dinner were being more provocative than non-Jews walking about in Nice?
Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, we learn, is a victim, who “fell prey to the torrent of jihadist propaganda emanating from so-called Islamic State (IS), and elevated his personal grievances into matters of cosmic importance.” He had a “weakness for Islamist ideology”.
And then comes the inevitable story that it’s not them, it’s us.
This is the moment when the attacks become so outrageous they provoke a backlash. A mosque is burned to the ground. Some white youths go on a rampage through a banlieue (suburb).
Don’t react. Don’t be furious. Fear yourselves. Fear the masses – irony of ironies – the very people who stormed the Bastille and gave rise to democracy and human rights founded on universalism and enlightenment values. Treat people as suspects.
There will be no debate about why and who? Why is Islam a lightning rod for these horrors? Why are young, third generation Muslims radicalised? Why has identity-based politics come to the fore? Why France? Why now?
This is what IS desperately wants to happen, of course, because France could then be on course for a truly bloody civil conflict.
What were the murders of 84 people in Nice; the murders of Charlie Hebdo journalists; the murders of 89 freedom lovers at the Bataclan theatre; mass murder on the Rue de Charonne, Rue de la Fontaine-au-Roi and Rues Bichat and Alibert if not truly bloody?
Stand up for freedom. Don’t be scared to uphold the values France epitomises.
Vive La France!
Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel murdered 84 people when he drove a lorry into crowds marking Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais, Nice, France. The massacre was “cowardly and barbaric”. We know this because the UN tells us so. It’s been telling us so for quite some time.
NICE: UN Security Council: “[A] barbaric and cowardly attack … the perpetrators of these acts [need to be brought] to justice”.
Always cowardly and barbaric. And always nothing is done.
To America, where Maximo Cortez has been working part-time in Starbucks in Houston, Texas “on and off over the last eight years, first while in school and now to save up some money.”
Cortez, a transgender man, is trying to accumulate enough to afford top surgery, something that will cost him $10,000. Meanwhile, he also needs to pay back student loans, pay his car expenses, and try to afford his apartment.
“Giving everyone a 5 percent wage increase, from barista to management, that’s a great step forward,” he said. But for him, currently making $8 an hour, that increase won’t mean much. “It won’t even be a dollar,” he noted.
Mr Cortez has a degree he paid for. He works in Starbucks part-time. Join the dots.
So how did CNN illustrate the story of the Islamist maniac who murdered scores of people on Bastille Day in Nice, France? With an advert for Falken tires [sic] that grip:
Native advertising is a horror, Whoever invented it should be taken from this place and forced to live in an echo chamber.
Nice, France. Many words will be said about the barbaric horror that has left so many dead. An Islamist in a lorry mowed them down at Bastille Day celebrations along the Promenade des Anglais. The victims are being mourned by those who knew them and loved them.
Others want to wallow and retreat. Where there might be fury and outrage at the hideous actions of one Islamist in a truck, there is this:
Can we get angry that people are being slaughtered? No, said one writer in the Huffington Post, “ISIS counts on anger… to advance its cause.” We are told to conform, not to speak out and speak freely. We are only in the Safe Space if we all agree to say little and do nothing. The masses must not be heard.
What if cowardice and candles are not enough? One Washington Post writer said changing our Facebook status to feature the Tricolor could be interpreted as “an endorsement of the far right”.
What about singing the stirring anthem of France? No way. One Guardian writer tells us La Marseillaise is “not a million miles from the ISIS anthem”.
Maybe we should sing this instead:
I went to the place where every white face is an
invitation to robbery
an’ sitting here in my safe European home
I don’t wanna go back there again
– The Clash
Is it an isolated view that the West and ISIS are natural bedfellows? No. As President Barak Obama, champion of free speech and liberty told one and all:
“Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history. And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.
“In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”
Don’t get angry. Don’t fight. Get retrospective. Seek therapy. Heal thyself.
US Secretary of State John Kerry saw the murders of Charlie Hebdo staff in Paris and opined:
“There’s something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that. There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of – not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, okay, they’re really angry because of this and that.”
Hebdo staffers, those free speech extremists, were asking for it, said the gilded elite, those champions of free speech and free expression.
And when once again the nihilists struck Paris, Kerry had more to say:
“This Friday was absolutely indiscriminate. It wasn’t to aggrieve one particular sense of wrong. It was to terrorize people. It was to attack everything that we do stand for. That’s not an exaggeration. It was to assault all sense of nationhood and nation-state and rule of law and decency, dignity, and just put fear into the community and say, “Here we are.” And for what? What’s the platform? What’s the grievance? That we’re not who they are? They kill people because of who they are and they kill people because of what they believe. And it’s indiscriminate.”
Having heard a leading figure in the so-called Free West provide ISIS with a list of legitimate targets, there was the Guardian writer who told us all beneath the headline, “The Isis women’s manifesto is grotesque – but some in the west would agree with every word” that an alleged rapist employed as a footballer is like women who think a man marrying a nine-year-old girl is fine:
Ched Evans, in believing that it’s fine for him to have sex with a woman without her consent – if she is drunk and already having sex with a stranger anyway – probably has a good deal of common cause with the ideas of these women of the Islamic State.
As the bodies pile up in Nice, just as they did in Paris, the intelligent and knowing warn the thick and reactionary not to be angry that our hard-won values and freedoms are being attacked. Don’t summon the sprit of Bastille Day, and take on the bigots in the name of liberté, égalité, fraternité. All we need do is light a candle and huddle round in the dim light. This introspection serves no useful purpose other than to allow the enemy a better shot at us in the dark.
Allons, enfants de la Patrie
Le jour de gloire est arrivé!
Contre nous, de la tyrannie
L’étendard sanglant est levé
Vive La France!
When not leaving for her place in Tuscany, Polly Tonybee remains at his keyboard talking to Guardian readers about Brexit and all that inconvenient democracy.
Having called David Cameron “the man who sauntered effortlessly along a privileged path”*, Polly Toynbee – old school: Badminton (day pupil fees £5,650 per term); daughter of the literary critic Philip Toynbee (school: Rugby; friend of the Mitford sisters); granddaughter of the historian Arnold J. Toynbee (Winchester College), and great-great niece of philanthropist and economic historian Arnold Toynbee (after whom Toynbee Hall in London is named); dated the man who would become Boris Johnson’s uncle – adds:
What is to become of us? Cameron has led us into a state of paralysing uncertainty, at the mercy of erratic negotiations with 27 countries over which we have no say. Take back control?
Those are 27 countries over which the UK has no control.
Are you paralysed with uncertainty? Are you unable to find your own arse without a politician taking your hand and showing you the way? Are you wailing and weeping about the future? Get this in the Mirror:
A Labour official who voted on Jeremy Corbyn’s future wept today as she claimed colleagues were “bullied and intimidated” ahead of the crunch ruling.
Johanna Baxter was one of the 32 National Executive Committee (NEC) members who voted 18-14 to put Mr Corbyn on the ballot paper in the Labour leadership election – without MPs’ backing.
— The World at One (@BBCWorldatOne) July 13, 2016
Or are you just getting on with things, like a grown-up should?
Let’s end the uncertainty just Trigger Article 50. Get on with it. The working-classes have spoken. Join here.
*No problem with Tonybee’s good fortune, but why use another’s good fortune as a stick to beat them with?
To Australia, where a wedge-tailed eagle is wowing the crowds at the Alice Springs Desert Park. Witnesses says the bird swopped for a young onlooker and tried to make off with him “like a small animal”.
The boy, aged around 7, was running his zipper up and down just before the bird made its play. Keenan Lucas was there:
“We’re at the bird show in the afternoon, having a great time and looking forward to seeing the wedge-tailed eagle come out for the finale.
“The bird then flew over the crowd and tried to grab on to a young boy’s head. He screamed, the mother was distraught and the presenters wrapped up the show very quickly.”
The brochure promises: “Get up close with Australia’s largest bird of Prey, the Wedge-tailed Eagle. Discover the interesting lives these magnificent birds live!”
The Guardian’s Hugh Muir talks of “black flight”. The teaser explains the phrase: “Black flight: how England’s suburbs are changing colour.”
What is remarkable in our national story is the extent to which thousands of… black and Asian Brits have followed that trajectory [from the city centre to the suburbs].
It isn’t the least bit remarkable, is it. The Jews moved to London’s East End because they were poor, housing there was cheap and you could get manual work in the big city. As they set up their own companies and got more money they sought more space and moved out, first along the Tube lines, then further from city. As for Jews, so too for Irish, Huguenots, Asians and, well, every immigrant group to have settled in England.
Muir says that “less talked about” than “white flight” is the “growing movement of visible minorities into the heartlands of Englishness”. What’s Englishness, then? We’re not told. But he suggests it means not being a victim, but a member the white, working-class public who voted Leave in the EU Referendum. Remainers narrate that the EU stopped the UK from being a racist country. Voting for Brexit was not a vote for self-determination, an end to independent states being trampled on, democracy, risk, change and an enlarged world view. It was a vote for bigotry, so the losers say.
In post-referendum Britain we have seen sudden waves of intolerance.
Eastern Europeans told to go home. A BBC reporter branded a “Paki” in the English town where she was born. An African-American on a bus told by fellow passengers to go back to Africa. This is distressing.
Racial abuse is abhorrent. Thankfully, the shock value to the rest of us is in the rarity of such attacks. And before we go on, what of the “surge”? The Indy reported:
Reports of hate crime have risen 57 per cent in the aftermath of the EU referendum vote, according to the National Police Chiefs’ Council. There were 85 reports of hate crimes to True Vision, a police-funded reporting website, between Thursday and Sunday compared with 54 reports over the same period four weeks ago.
True Vision was launched by the Association of Chief Police Officers in 2011. On 18 May 2011, it was announced that Gary Dobson and David Norris would face trial over the murder of Stephen Lawrence following a review of forensic evidence that the “institutionally racist” police force missed. Valuable or not, True Vision is foremost an exercise in police PR.
Mark Hamilton, Assistant Chief Constable for the National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Hate Crime, was quoted in the Indy:
“At the national level, the vast majority of people are continuing to go about their lives in safety and security and there have been no major spikes in tensions reported.
“However, we are seeing an increase in reports of hate crime incidents to True Vision, the police online hate crime reporting site. This is similar to the trends following other major national or international events. In previous instances, crime levels returned to normal relatively quickly but we are monitoring the situation closely.”
John Betjeman would have spotted it immediately, for it is via the former poet laureate and his celebrated 1973 BBC documentary Metroland that the traditional perception of the English suburbs has been formed. On a gentle jaunt, in his gentle way, he described communities stretching from Neasden in north-west London all the way to the Chiltern Hills, along the path of the Metropolitan underground line. Betjeman’s suburbia spoke of cricket pitches, golf clubs, women’s institutes and verdant farmland: a new life for indigenous Britons at arm’s length from the bustle and smoke of London.
Indigenous Britons who were living in Neasden, north-west London, in the 1970s took flight? I know Neasden well, very well. It was there and in nearby Hendon my immigrant family settled after moving from Stepney Green and Old Ford in London’s East End, and inner-city Leeds. They sold their Neasden home to an Irish family and went down The Bakerloo line (now the Jubilee Line) to Stanmore.
Muir says black flight “tells us that minorities themselves feel psychologically able to move to new areas.” No. It tells us they got enough money to buy a home with a garden and garage. It tells us also that rising housing costs and declining school quality encourage human beings to move.
Muir then adds:
One can’t be Pollyannaish about this, as alongside black flight, demographers detect an extension of white flight. Minorities move out; many white Britons move out even further. But perhaps there is a natural filtering system at play, and perhaps that’s for the best. Those who can be comfortable with a changing Britain embrace it or make the best of it. Those who can’t just pack up and leave.
Before long the only people living in London’s village will be Guardian writers basking in self-affirmation, fretting over the falling FTSE and using their London borough’s diverse population and ‘filtering system’ as a signal of their virtue – unless they’re staying at their holiday homes in Italy, France and Cornwall.
Good news. Leave voters can be cured of mental disorders through therapy, wonder of the age and booming business sector to boot.
Ewan Cameron, “a psychologist who provides assessment and treatment of forensic and clinical clients”, writes on Politics. co.uk:
So your mother voted Leave: How to fix a family broken by Brexit
It’s a new version of David Cameron’s “broken Britain”, the former Prime Minister’s view of the working class and other Untermensch. It’s no longer the much-derided, dystopian Tory vision, what the Guardian called “glib jargon” that “feeds off popular anxieties”, a “popular, ill-defined sense that somehow things are going wrong in society”, adding that “there is real hostility to being tarred as a broken society”. That broken Britain was “offensive”. This broken Britain is all about helping. It is, of course, entirely offensive, bigoted, condescending, ageist, and dismissive of the working class and the right of one person one vote.
Says E. Cameron:
It’s not just political parties that are being torn apart by the Brexit vote. Across the country, families have been pitted against each other, usually on generational lines, as the emotional fallout continues. Millions of older voters feel they’ve taken back control of their country. But for many of their sons and daughters, it’s like someone just stole their future. The political has never felt more personal.
Never felt more personal? It’s history day one all over again. What about when being gay was a crime? What about when women were banned from voting? What about abortion law? What about 1780, when less than 3% of the total population of England had the right to vote? Democracy won the day in the EU Referendum. The people voted in large numbers. The Leave vote won. The therapy should be short and succinct: suck it up and crack on.
But Cameron E has tips on what you should do if you can’t grasp the concept of democracy and are slamming bedrooms doors and shouting “I never asked to be born”:
1. Seek to understand before being understood
Try to understand not just your mother’s political arguments, but the personal reasons and emotions that contribute to them. Maybe her fears are both political and personal, reflecting a general fear of change or a core belief that unknown others can never be trusted.
A fear of change for the woman who, er, voted for change, who embraced the new and the risky.
Personality factors are also relevant – are your mother’s view sustained by a sense of entitlement? Do her political views conform to a broader sense of personal alienation, or vulnerability? Seek to understand not just ‘what’ but ‘why’ she has the views she does.
In a word: experience.
2. Communicate in neutral, non-judgemental language
What an utter kno..
Simple techniques like avoiding the pronoun ‘you’ and instead structuring sentences around ‘I’ can reduce the potential for the other person feeling blamed, and keeps the focus on your needs.
Why not go the full superior and opt for “one”.
Examples might include “I have noticed that when I express those thoughts, I am often not heard”, as opposed to “you’re ignoring everything I say”.
3. Specify the problem, even if it seems obvious
…Maybe it’s that your mother deliberately ignores certain widely known facts in order to sustain a distorted worldview.
You: you need to look at the facts.
Mum: I do. You lost.
4. Express the emotion you are feeling
Tell your mother what emotion you feel when you bring up this problem. Telling someone how you actually feel makes an issue harder to ignore. Examples might include “I feel hurt that you voted in a way that I believe damages the future of my children”, or “I actually feel quite alone and sad when I think about the political distance between us”. Be honest when you do this.
Mum to child: “I feel hurt that you voted in a way that I believe damages the future of my children.”
5. Specify what you want – and be realistic
…Maybe you need to tone down the moral certainty.
But without moral certainty you’re left with nothing apart from the T-shirt that orders ‘Hug An Immigrant’.
6. Practice Acceptance
If you are troubled by any of the above or see assurance and direction, seek help immediately. No, not therapy. That clinic has a revolving door. Ask your mum what you should do.
Remember: mother knows best.
Former England footballer Paul Gascoigne has triggered “fears”. The Sun shows a picture of Gazza and says, “There were new fears for Paul Gascoigne last night after he accidentally exposed himself in the street.”
What street? Who was watching or, rather, being exposed to? What did he expose, accidentally?
All will be revealed soon enough.
For now, we’re grateful the Sun is here to help Gascoigne and relay news of his latest humiliation, sorry, suffering to us. To recap: Gazza, as he is known, is not dead. In 2008 the no less caring Daily Star reported beneath the headline “Gazza dead and gone for good”: “FUN-LOVING football legend Paul Gascoigne is ‘dead’, his TV star stepdaughter Bianca revealed last night.”
They were wrong. “The former England star is seriously ill with depression, and Bianca admits his family is powerless to help him,” the Star continued. Gascoigne was not dead then. He remains not dead now.
Today we see a photo of Gascoigne in a dressing gown. A generous black triangle hangs over his crotch. The paper reports:
The football icon heading to buy booze in only a dressing gown stumbled barefooted from his flat with a bent cigarette hanging from his lips. Slurring his words, Gazza, 49, climbed into a taxi before returning with a bottle of gin, cigs and painkillers. As he stepped out of the cab his gown fell open revealing he was naked underneath.
Again, let’s recap: man comes out of his home; a passing photographer takes the trouble to take pictures of him and alert the Sun newspaper; the Sun publishes the pictures in the hope Gascoigne can be helped.
The paper says a photo it published in March of Gazza’s bruised face “made him realise how low he had sunk”. Gascoigne “admitted” this when he appeared on Good Morning Britain (see below). It’s not about gawping at a man with issues and exploiting him to sell pictures and papers. It’s about caring.
Here’s Gascoigne thanking the press on GMB after the Sun published that photo of his face after a “drunken fall”:
Right. OK. Andrea Leadsom has gone. Theresa May is now the only candidate in the ‘race’ to become the next British Prime Minister.
Angela Eagle wants to be the next leader of the Labour Party. First she has to defenestrate Jeremy Corbyn, who says he will stand against her and sue the party if they don’t let him.
Could May call an election before Labour can dump Corbyn?
It’s all nothing short of brilliant.
Highlights so far:
Angela Eagle gets her big announcement gazumped by Andrea Leadsom quitting:
— Livvy Bolton (@livvybolton) July 11, 2016
David Cameron calls it a day. Right. Good. He did not says right-ho. But he might have done. As @SimonNRicketts puts its: “I could watch it over and over. Your last moments as Prime Minister. Wandering off like Bertie Wooster going to get a sandwich…When British people realise things have gone a bit rubbish, they say “Right” very meaningfully.”
A slightly longer version of Cameron’s exit. There’s not only a ‘right’ but the classic follow-up ‘good.’ I adore it pic.twitter.com/w311FNKabL
— SimonNRicketts (@SimonNRicketts) July 11, 2016
It’s not over yet. Former Tory MP Louise Mensch thinks May could quit / implode / defect to Labour / tie herself to an radiator and drink her own urine / insert option here:
It's not going to be Theresa May, there is no chance.
— Louise Mensch (@LouiseMensch) June 30, 2016
“If your loved ones were in this situation, what would they like you to do? ” asks Venerable Dan of the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society. As you look at Aunt Maud and wonder how chewy she might be after she’s been boiled alive, know that Venerable Dan and his fellow monks bought 600lbs of lobster from a fisherman, said Buddhist prayers over the creatures and returned them to the seas off the coast of Prince Edward Island, Canada.
“Hopefully, we can find a spot where there are no cages waiting for them,” said Dan. And maybe they’ll be lots of crabs for the lobsters to eat. (Who will think of the crabs?!)
“We respect everyone’s dietary choice, so we’re not doing this to convert everybody to be vegetarians or vegans. This whole purpose for us is to cultivate this compassion toward others,” he adds.
“It doesn’t have to be lobsters, it can be worms, flies, any animals, drive slower so we don’t run over little critters on the street.”
Fly farmers, to Prince Edward Island. The market is booming.
PS: Says Dan: “Fishermen actually found us a better place to release the lobster so they won’t be captured again.”
Hey, if you can’t trust a lobster fisherman to recycle lobsters, who can you trust? (You people are such cynics.)
Your writer spots the Bahamas’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement on black men heading to the USA. Following the assassination of five white police officers in Dallas by black Micah Johnson, and the police killings of black males Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Louisiana, the ministry warns against tourism while black:
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration has taken a note of the recent tensions in some American cities over shootings of young black males by police officers…
We wish to advise all Bahamians traveling to the US but especially to the affected cities to exercise appropriate caution generally. In particular young males are asked to exercise extreme caution in affected cities in their interactions with the police. Do not be confrontational and cooperate.
US police officers are aggressive and menacing to pretty much everyone. They are the rudest, most offensive police force I have ever encountered. They are also heavily armed. Marjorie Cohn, of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, adds:
“I don’t think it’s victim blaming, but it’s advising them [black men] to the extent that they could become paranoid. A lot of the black men stopped by the police or who are racially profiled are doing nothing wrong, illegal or out of the ordinary.
“They are ‘driving while black’ and ‘walking while black’ and nothing they do can prevent that, unless there are structural changes to policing.”
It’s not paranoia. It’s self-preservation and common sense.
Today anti-Brexit campaigners held a picnic in Green Park, London, to display solidarity with the European Union. The Standard said it was “aiming to be the biggest picnic London has ever seen”. Anorak was there. We spotted a few hundred people (and this might have been the whitest protest ever) sat on the grass talking and eating. And we noticed that what many were eating was…hummus, stable diet of the bien pensant.
It’s the Hummus Revolution!
Hummus is Greece’s lasting gift to the European Union.
Next week: Onwards with chia seeds!