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On Yahoo! news (via Press release) of student loans and student debt:
Eight in 10 U.S. adults with student loans (81 percent) say they made financial or personal sacrifices because of the amount of their loans. Half (50 percent) say they delayed contributions to retirement accounts, a 22 percent jump from 2013, when 41 percent delayed saving for retirement. An increasing number of Americans are working a second job as a result of their monthly loan payments, with 46 percent in the current survey saying they’re moonlighting, a 48 percent increase from the 31 percent who did so in 2013. These are among the latest findings of a new telephone survey of 1,005 U.S. adults conducted in March by Harris Poll on behalf of the American Institute of CPAs.
As Tim Worstall, often of this site, puts it: “Presumably it would be better if everyone had to struggle with their tax bills to pay for the university educations of other people?”
So, Sky News presenter Eamonn Holmes said an attack by a few West Ham fans on the Manchester United team bus was like the 1989 Hillsborough disaster in which 96 innocent people died.
Said Manchester United fan Holmes: “Now this is going back to the 70s and to the 80s to everything you were seeing that was bad about Hillsborough for instance.”
No, Eamonn. Everything bad about Hillsborough was caused by a corrupt police, media and State treating football as a “slum sport watched by slum people“. The elite then spent 27 years blaming the victims for their own deaths at a football match.
We all know the Truth about Hillsborough. Only a fool or swine would deny it. It took the longest jury case in British legal history to clear supporters of any blame for the tragedy. The 96 had been unlawfully killed due to “a catalogue of failings by the police and ambulance services”.
Hillsborough had nothing to do with hooliganism. Sad, indeed, that police and media lies continue to pervade the Holmes brain matter. Not that he gets it. He tweeted:
“Just being made aware of someone trying to use me to stir up trouble re The Hillsborough disaster. How low, how disgusting. The Hillsborough families have suffered enough without distasteful sniping like this. For the record there is no comparison between events last night at West Ham and Hillsborough. On the programme I was trying to talk about images we never ever want to see again.”
Eamonn, who made the comparison, is outraged that anyone could make so disgusting a comparison. He’s the victim. Got it? He then softened a little, tweeting:
“I apologise unreservedly if anyone thought I was making that connection.”
Spot that “if”. If you twisted his words and thought something disgusting, then he apologises for your wrong thinking. It’s a wonderfully dishonest form of apology, the non-denial denial.
And spare us the outrage from big media. The police and elite hate football fans, the frothing mob they seek to control in ever more insidious ways. From being penned in physically in the 1980s, football fans are now regulated in more conniving ways. Lord Justice Taylor’s report into the Hillsborough tragedy didn’t only order the removal of the metal posts and pens that trapped so many at Hillsborough. He noted: “This inhospitable scene tends to breed bad manners and poor behaviour.” The old fans were to be kicked out with the old concrete grounds. To make football safe for the new, wealthier fans, you can no longer booze and smoke in the stands, swear, sing what you want to, stand or engage in anything another human being – most likely a steward – deems offensive to mind and body. And it’s expensive. The police still treat football fans as criminals-in-waiting, enacting kettling, bubble-match restrictions and Section 27 orders.
After the verdict was delivered and the heroic survivors and the loved ones of the dead who had fought the lies breathed, the Guardian wrote, “The authorities failed the Liverpool fans at Hillsborough. But so did the real hooligans.” No. Fans played no part in the crime, other than to be the victims. Spare us the thought that fans who had a drink and were rowdy, who called the police “murdering bastards” should be stained with such horror. You don’t go out with your mates to the match to be prudes and saintly. You go to let off steam and enjoy yourself.
You want justice for the 96. The media says the bereaved got it. They didn’t. They haven’t. Not yet.
This picture may only be used within the context of the Hillsborough court case. An undated file showing the tunnel at the Leppings Lane end of Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough ground, shown to the jury at Leeds Crown Court. * ...at a private prosecution brought by the Hillsborough Family Support Group. Match commander Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield and Superintendent Bernard Murray deny the manslaughter of two of the victims of the disaster at the FA Cup Semi-Final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday's ground on April 15, 1989.
PAPERS! The Guardian has news of a plot to make you a card-carrying Brit, or European Unionist, or African etc.:
Government measures making people prove their nationality or face prosecution risk damaging community relations and are discriminatory, critics have warned. The Conservatives want to give police and immigration officers the power to order people who have been arrested to state their nationality and require those believed to be foreign nationals to produce their nationality documents, such as a passport.
Believed to be foreign? Out there in Government someone thinks this is going to end well.
Failure to do so within 72 hours would become a criminal offence under the policing and crime bill currently going through parliament.
Do you have a passport? How about your birth certificate? And what would either document prove, anyhow?
But who cares for sense? Pull over, son. You been on holiday in the sunshine, sunshine? Papers!
For his first act as the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump strode on stage, extended his arms and conducted the crowd through a chorus of “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”
“We need to put our miners back to work!” he shouted Thursday to the crowd of more than 12,000 in the sunken, cavernous concrete Civic Center here. Hundreds of miners invited by the campaign to sit behind his podium rose in an extended standing ovation.
They love him. He’s local. Hell, he’s local everywhere:
Mr. Trump spent extended riffs going after Hillary Clinton, repeatedly referencing her comments about wanting to put the coal industry out of business (her campaign says she misspoke). He called the Clinton Foundation “disgusting,” referred to the investigation into her emails as secretary of state and Bill Clinton’s role in creating the North American Free Trade Agreement, and made a thinly veiled joke about Mr. Clinton’s infidelities.
“The Clinton administration, of which Hillary was definitely a part,” Mr. Trump said, continuing, “she was a part of almost everything. Almost, I say, not everything. Almost.”
He paused for a beat, as the crowd grew into a mix of laughter and cheers.
“Terrible,” Mr. Trump said, a wry joking tone in his voice. “I didn’t think the people of West Virginia thought about that. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Terrible, terrible people.”
Mr. Trump even donned a hard hat after receiving the endorsement of the West Virginia Coal Association, miming using a pick and shovel, before taking it off and risking his carefully crafted hair.
“You know you’re not allowed to hair spray anymore because it affects the ozone,” he said.
He added, in an allusion perhaps to his campaign’s overall slogan: “Hair spray’s not like it used to be. It used to be real good.”
The so-called rust belt states — in the north-east and midwest — are ripe for the picking. Trump does best in areas where the death rate among white people under 49 is highest — the downtrodden working class. Many of these people traditionally vote Democrat, but they have been voting for Bernie Sanders — Hillary Clinton’s Left-wing rival for the Democrat nomination — rather than Hillary herself. She lost the Michigan contest to Sanders, just as she lost Indiana to him this week.
Yes, Sanders is a socialist and Trump a billionaire plutocrat. But on trade — protection of American jobs — Sanders and Trump are on the same page.
Add a dash of Trump’s xenophobia and he’s in business.
Those who voted for Sanders because he speaks up for the little guy might well feel that Trump is closer to their hearts than Hillary.
Who else shagged the “Roo hooker”? The Sun wants readers to know who allegedly paid for sex with Helen Wood, an adult woman who, allegedly, once had sex-on-the-clock with Manchester United star Wayne Rooney. Wood has appeared in the Big Brother house, not as a late-night sneak-in, prize or perk, but as an actual celeb. Surely she’s no longer the “Roo hooker” or even “Wayne Rooney prostitute”? Can it be right that an entire woman is defined by the little Roo that sought comfort and validation inside her ‘gagging order’?
A well-known actor who won an injunction to hush up claims he slept with a prostitute used by Wayne Rooney is reportedly to be named in the US today. The married father, whose reputation as a family man has boosted his career as a world-renowned star, allegedly paid escort Helen Wood £195 for sex. The millionaire then paid a firm of high-powered lawyers tens of thousands of pounds to stop his fans finding out.
Showbiz man has casual sex! The odd part is that he never boasted of it. But don’t name him here. The law’s the law.
But in the Sun, Helen says, “I’d like to tell my full story.”
She should sue the alleged trick for restraint of trade.
Hillsborough. We knew. The police lied and lied and lied. The media fanned the lies. The police monstered the dead. The police made the loved ones and the bereaved wait 27 years to be told the dead were innocent. The survivors were not killers. Right until the end the police lied. Until yesterday when they had to stop lying in public. Now we’ll get talk of justice and see old men and women on the TV screens. The police are corrupt. They still hide. Did the top cops in South Yorkshire police achieve rank by rocking the boat and speaking out? It wasn’t then. It’s now. They want it buried. They want it all in the past, long ago before things got so much better. They want to tell us about lessons have being learnt. Then you think about one life snuffed out. And you demand more.
Madeleine McCann – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann.
Goncalo Amaral is back in the news. The former Portuguese detective has won an appeal against his libel defeat to Madeleine McCann’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann. The court order for him to pay the McCanns £395,000 in damages in April 2015 has been overturned. The Press pick up the story of Amaral and his 2008 book, The Truth of the Lie, in which he accuses the McCanns of “faking Madeleine’s abduction to cover up her accidental death in their apartment” (Star).
Daily Star (front page): “Maddie: Cop Wains Right To Accuse Parents”
“A banned book which accuse Madeleine’s McCanns parents of covering up her death will go on sale across Europe after a shock ruling by three appal court judge in Portugal yesterday,” writes Jerry Lawton. No shock here, at least not to Anorak readers. Back in 2010, AGW told you:
The media awaits the verdict of McCanns Versus Goncalo Amaral. Much depends on it. The McCanns have taken a risk in going against the former police officer in a foreign country. While it can be argued – as they have done – that any publicity for their missing daughter is good because it keeps her name alive in the voracious media.
But it does not keep us looking for the child. It just allows us to gawp at them, the distraught parents of a missing innocent:
YOU know when an accident is going to happen. They even have corporate speak phrases for it these days: “Risk Assessment” is one.
You know when a playing kitten is going to fall from the arm of the chair, you know when the child is going trip and fall, no matter how quick you are to try and get there.
Sometimes you see disasters being created and thundering, in silent-movie slowed down train-wreck style, toward you or others and there’s little you can do other than stand and watch horror-struck by the enormity of it all.
You know the accident’s about to happen and there is nothing you can do but perhaps wonder why you knew?
It has nothing to do with sixth senses, it is because the most powerful computer known to man, your brain, has gathered in all the previous experiences you have weighed in the balance and made a predictive analysis.
That is what is so strange about the current and past behaviour of the parents of the missing child Madeleine McCann.
They have started a court action defending their reputations in Lisbon because the former chief investigating officer Goncalo Amara, is accusing them of being involved in Madeleine’s disappearance. They have also started an action seeking a money settlement for the Portuguese equivalent of libel and in addition are taking on a Lisbon-based documentary production unit for reporting on the detective’s objected to book and the case.
Lisbon was never going to be a perfect spot for the McCann’s to start legal sparring and this week they were dealt what can only be termed a body-blow when the detective’s lawyers produced evidence the UK’s top criminal profiler has said there were “contradictions” in their statements and both should be treated as possible “homicide” suspects.
No arguments, no amount of reshuffling or clarifications can change that and the facts can not be forced back into the can of worms which the McCann parents themselves have allowed to be opened.
The background PR work after the Lisbon shocker has been impressive. The McCann lawyers strode from the courtroom and counter-claimed there were tens, hundreds or more sightings of the missing girl. The UK’s Red Tops dutifully followed the thread and reported the lawyer’s statement. My experience and training gave the brain the predictive text that this looked like a smoke screen, a damage limitation. The missing fact was all these sightings came after the McCann’s themselves had been released from Arguido, suspect, status. The case was archived. It was a cold, leading nowhere, case in the eyes of the top legal and police professionals in Portugal…the responsible authorities have no clues and have suspended work on the case.
It has already been said in these columns, taking on the Portuguese legal system was going to be a minefield but there is one question:
Who is taking the responsibility for the Risk Assessment for this McCann course of action?
Whoever it was needs to be replaced or kept out of the limelight.
Mass public opinion is turning. The McCanns are slipping lower and lower down the celebs’ to be seen with list, certainly no-longer A list and slightly embarrassing to be around according to some whispers.
The McCanns are innocent. No charges have been brought against anyone…except the Chief Investigating Police Officer, Goncalo Amaral.
A second question would have to be: Who on earth took the Risk Assessment decision Amaral was a buffoon an incompetent, bungling, Jacques Clouseau Pink Panther type of police officer?
Come on, wake up! Police officers do not rise through the ranks to positions of authority without being good thief-takers and being very good at spotting the wrongness of something.
Amaral is tougher than the baying section of Britain’s media has portrayed.
The McCanns are becoming battered and worn by this. Just look at their recent photographs. The child is still missing, lost, gone. Arguments still rage over the rightness or wrongness of it all.
Something is judgementally wrong in the Risk Assessments taken here. This week has been hugely damaging to the McCann’s and their cause. The information given this week in the Lisbon court can no longer be ignored or forgotten. It will have a high cost and one of the costs are potential new helpers and donations to the campaign of finding the child.
Daily Star Page 7: “Maddie SHOCK”
The Portuguese appeal court judges “ordered” the McCanns to pay “full legal fees of the three-year hearing”. The McCanns have “instructed lawyers to appeal against the new ruling”. But the judges call Amaral’s book a “legitimate exercise in the right to express an opinion”. Portugal was once a police state. Free speech is enshrined. The lawyers’ appeal looked doomed.
We then get a rapid-fire vox pop. The McCanns deny Amaral’s claims. A “pal” says they are “seething”. Their spokesman Clarence Mitchell says, “It is a matter for Kate and Gerry’s lawyers to deal with .”
The Sun (front page): “MADDIE: Agony for McCanns as cop wins libel case”
Page 4: “Hunt Hit By Cash Crisis – Maddie £430k Libel Loss Blow – Tec wins against McCanns”
Daily Mirror (Page 7): “Bungling cop in libel triumph over the McCanns”
Is every policeman who fails to solve a case a bungler?
And then we get to the money. The cash Amaral was ordered to pay the McCanns never left his account. All payments – £360,000 and £76,000 in interest – was held until the appeal judges had ruled. The money never came out of the Maddie Fund, did it? It was never in the Fund.
Daily Express (Page 8): “McCanns ‘seething’ as Maddy detective overturns book ruling”
We finally hear from the McCanns’ legal aide. Their Portuguese lawyer, Isable Duarte, “said she was ‘disappointed’ but not surprised” at the ruling.
Daily Mail (Page 30): “McCanns suffer £395k libel loss”
Page 30. The story continues – but less and less people are listening to it.
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.
Daily Mirror (front page): “Maddie Police: We Hope to Find Her Alive”
Well, yes. Of course they do. They’re not ghouls.
Mick Duthie, the police chief leading the “hunt” for the missing child, says, “We hope that we will fine her alive.”
Page 5: “There is always a possibility that we’ll find her…work still needs to be done.”
Got that about the possibility of news? It’s PR-speak for, “We haven’t found her.” With, as the Mirror states, £12m spent on the search so far, police are keen to show they’ve made progress. If Duthie does know what happened to the child, he’s not letting on. He says, “We want to find her alive” but “If she’s been murdered…” She might be alive. She might be dead. Maybes.
Daily Star (front page): “Maddie Search Sensation”
Oh, go on. We’ll play along. What is the sensational news?
It is news that cops “hope to find her alive”. Read. All. About. It.
Page 7: “Top Maddie Cop: New Maddie Clues”
Joe Kasper writes: “Detective Chief Superintendent Mick Duthie says detectives are still pursuing “justifiable and reasonable” leads. No. What he said was that if the police needed more money to find Madeleine McCann, they would ask for it: “There is a missing girl and is she has been murdered and if we think we have got reasonable and justifiable lines of inquiry to pursue then they should be dealt with.”
The Sun (Page 6): “Cops ‘ no closer’ to locating Maddie.”
So much for the Star’s new leads sensation.
Duthie says cops “do not have a ‘full understanding’ what happened to her or why she was taken”.
Mentions of murder: nil.
Daily Express (front page): “Police: Maddy could Still Be Alive”
No body. No proof of anything.
Page 7: “Madeleine police follow up new leads”
Number of new leads mentioned by police: nil.
As another anniversary of Madeleine McCann’s vanishing looms into view, and the news cycle picks up the PR, we learn that nothing has change. Child disappears. And that’s the sum of all the facts.
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.
Daily Mail: “Detectives believe the missing youngster could still be found alive”
Progress: nil. We are still in the lyrical land of “could” and “believe”. Time moves on but the single thread story of the child who vanished in 2007 is snared. The Mail notes the words of Detective Chief Superintendent Mick Duthie. He’s been speaking with theLondon Evening Standard. We read:
Detective Chief Superintendent Mick Duthie, the head of the Yard’s homicide squad…
Homicide? Is that significant? We are clutching at straws. No evidence whatsoever any harm befell Madeleine McCann, let alone murder.
…said officers were pursuing “justifiable and reasonable” leads in the investigation into the missing three year-old.
Good. Get on with it. Best of luck.
He was speaking weeks after the Home Secretary Theresa May granted police £95,000 to extend the five year old inquiry for a further six months.
This is about money, then, and value in how it’s spent.
Mr Duthie, who is in overall charge of the investigation Operation Grange, said: “There is ongoing work. There is always a possibility that we will find Madeleine and we hope that we will find her alive. That’s what we want and that’s what the family and the public want and that is why the Home Office continue to fund it. There is work that needs to be done still. “
The police chief admitted detectives did not have a “full understanding” of what happened to Madeleine or why she was taken but added: “That is why the work continues. “
Full understanding? Is that another way of saying they don’t know what happened to her?
He told the Standard: “There is a missing girl and if she has been murdered and if we think we have got justifiable and reasonable lines of inquiry to pursue then they should be dealt with.”
Murder. He said it. That’s grim. He added:
“The investigation continues. We go to the Home Office every six months. We have a smaller team dealing with it because we have less inquiries to deal with but we still have a job to do. I imagine that if we have not completed our inquiries within six months we will go back to the Home Office and ask for more money.”
We told you that.
He refused to give further details about the inquiry but confirmed that detectives were still examining possible links to a series of burglaries in the Algrarve area at the time Madeleine went missing.
If. Could. Possible. A child vanished. And that’s what we know.
What’s John Whittingdale been up to? The Star says the Tory MP, currently working as the culture and media secretary (GSOH, WLTM 4 MTV) “had a two-year fling with a Daily Star Page 3 girl”. Will he be involving himself with other mainstays of tabloid news, buying a lawnmower from the classified section, perhaps, or appearing in the TV pages as a Britain’s Got Talent wannabe?
Whatever’s next for Whittingdale, we are more interested in his past, chiefly his five-month romance with Olivier King, a dominatrix he met on Match.com, when he was single man and before he became a government minister, though he was chair of the Commons’ Culture, Media and Sport select committee. When Whittingdale discovered the single woman’s job he called off the affair. You might have read about his squeamishness in the tabloids, but when the story was hawked around Fleet Street, no-one bought it.
Anti-free Press, pro-privacy outfit Hacked Off and the BBC thought that a shame. Andrew Gilligan writes that Hacked Off worked with the BBC to produce their story of Whittingdale and the sex worker for Newsnight – that’s the show that opted to keep Jimmy Savile’s crimes private, spiking a story on the paedophile. These champions of privacy who bemoan press invasion into private lives wanted us to know about John’s sex life.
One theory is that tabloid newspapers passed on the story to keep Whittingdale in his job? He’s not all that in favour of Leveson and plans to clamp-down on the free press. If the Press expose John as – shock of shocks – a single man who likes women, he might be replaced by someone keen on an increasingly State-regulated Press. Or maybe he was being blackmailed? Or maybe that’s all nuts because if a free press is free the politicians have no say over what goes in it. So much for the conspiracies – which rather undermine the other story about tabloids being peopled by unscrupulous bastards who name and shame before fabricating facts to support their salacious gossip. It turns out they are edited and considered publications. Who knew?
And now about that Page 3 girl. Stephanie Hutton, for it is she, “said the Culture Secretary cheated on her with a dungeon-dwelling dominatrix known as Mistress Kate.” On pages 6 and 7 – after we’ve seen Page 3 girl Brook tell us about a love of topless ice-skating – we get to Stephanie, one half of the Boobie Twins. Stephanie say she met John on a dating site in 2013. “He told me he was a Russian arms dealer,” says Stephanie. “I don’t know if he was just being careful or trying to make himself more attractive, but it wasn’t necessary. I liked him.” She says at the Commons, he “always turned the lights out so we wouldn’t be recorded on CCTV”.
The Mirror says this caution approach to dating means Whittingdale is “addicted to danger”. The paper says Whittingdale has “been spotted with East European women at public events in the UK”. Scurrying about for anything to spank Whittingdale with that doesn’t make the phone-hacking Mirror look opportunistic and crass, we learn via a Labour MP of concerns about “powerful, middle-aged men being targeted by young women from the old Soviet Union and left open to blackmail”.
You see, it’s not about sex and privacy – it’s about State secrets and, er, sex and secrecy. Much better and in the public interest.
Front-page news in the Sun: “Britain’s Got Talent ballet sensation is Beau’s cousin.” The “sensation” is Jack Higgins, 14, a young stage school ballerina who “wowed” the TV show’s judges with his dancing, causing Amanda holden to gape and stop blinking, Simon Cowell to use up the expression he was saving for when he sees the face of Mamon, David Walliams to swoon and Alesha Dixon to hail it as the best thing ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever.
The best bit, of course, was that Jack cried. Tears are the cynical BGT’s pop shot, the moment of release. (Remember Hollie Steel who sobbed half-way through Edelweiss and triggered a race to see which celeb could reach her with the comfort hug? Hollie… Oh, never mind.)
Jack said he’d been “bullied for ballet since five”. He’s been at stage school for nine years, so you wonder who had been bullying him for that long – the smart money is on the tap dancing mob or the country dancing toughs?
Today the Sun tells us that Jack is related to Beau Dermott, the stage school singer who belted out a show tune one week earlier. Their mothers are twin sisters. To help us tell them apart. Jack’s mum Debbie is the one in the T-shirt yelling “GO JACK – BGT 2016”.
Jack says, “It would be amazing to both get to the final. We are completely different acts, so it wouldn’t feel like we were competing against each other.”
Not for you, maybe. But for your mums it could be. There will be T-shirts…
Danny Cohen, the former director of BBC television, says no Jew can vote for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, an outfit embroiled in accusations of anti-Semitism. He tells the Times:
“If you are Jewish how can you vote for them? How could you? For me it would be like being a Muslim and voting for Donald Trump, how could you do it? You have to feel absolutely confident that it is totally unacceptable and it won’t be tolerated and I personally haven’t felt comfortable that it is happening yet in the Labour party.”
Do we really believe Corbyn’s Labour if full of anti-Semites? Surely not. Anti-Semitism is rife, but to lay the root of it at Corbyn’s door is wrong. The issue is that the Labour Party appears to acquiesce to anti-Semitism and anti-Semites.
“For too many on the Left, Jewish suffering does not touch them the way Muslim suffering or gay suffering or black suffering touches them,” writes Stephen Daisley on STV News. “Scrutiny of Corbyn’s associations elicits cries of ‘smear’ or just a collective shrug of the shoulders. It was always going to. We lack a language to talk about anti-Semitism because too many on the Left don’t consider it a serious problem and couldn’t recognise it as readily as racism, misogyny or homophobia anyway.”
Cranmer adds: “Jeremy Corbyn is not only a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign: he supports the BDS agenda. What manner of peace-making diplomat supports sanctions against one party after hearing the grievances only of the other? Why invite Islamists to tea on the House of Commons terrace, but not extremist Zionists?”
Corbyn is a politician. His business is winning votes and gaining power. If anti-Semitism is ok on the Left, well, why rock the boat? After all, there aren’t that many Jewish voters. In 2010, Jonathan Freedland wrote in the Guardian:
I can no longer do what I and others did in 2008, putting to one side the statements, insults and gestures that had offended me, my fellow Jews and – one hopes – every Londoner who abhors prejudice. Back then I tried to shrug off Livingstone’s quip to property developers the Reuben brothers that they could “go back to Iran and see if they can do better under the ayatollahs”, even though telling immigrants to go back to where they came from is the language of a pub racist from the 1950s. (The Reubens are in fact an Iraqi-Jewish family and the brothers were born in India.)
Likewise, I accepted that when the mayor repeatedly likened a reporter to a concentration camp guard – even after he knew the reporter was both Jewish and offended – he was merely being irritable, his tongue loosened by a glass or two. I condemned his hugging embrace of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the scholar who supports female genital mutilation, the murder of homosexual people, and suicide bombing so long as the victims are Israeli civilians…
This week he made the news again, as a group of Jewish activists, all lifelong Labour supporters, wrote to Ed Miliband describing a closed-door meeting they had had with Livingstone that had left them “despondent”. The letter was leaked, with most attention focusing on its account of Livingstone’s suggestion that “as the Jewish community is rich, [it] simply wouldn’t vote for him”.
Jews are privileged – the wealthy one, the poor ones, the disabled ones, the ones who might ever vote Labour or become a Labour MP. Under the terms of identity politics, where you’re defined by what you are and, more vitally, what you are not, being a Jew is a bad thing to be. Jews should check their privilege. There are anti-Semites in Labour, of course – there are bigots on all sides – but the Left’s little problem isn’t really with Jews, their customs and beliefs; it’s with what they symbolise.
When you’re devoid of ideas, have no direction of travel for your weak projects, you need to find something to bind, define and epitomise what you stand for. We don’t know what Labour is any more but the loyalists can show us what it is not: Israel.
Things soon get ugly. Just as anti-Semites say Jews are behind all the world’s ills, puppet-masters in a shadowy cabal, anti-Zionists say all problems in the Middle East are down to Israel. Defeat the Jews / Israel and all things in your life will be made better.
Hamas can be Jeremy Cornyn’s “friends” (his word) because as Zionist haters they are on the side of the good and the decent. But Corbyn’s “friends” don’t believe in sexual equality, women’s rights, gay rights, democracy, freedom of expression, a free press and human rights. To overlook all that anti-freedom – to blame all those Islamist and anti-progressive policies on Israel – is to side with the anti-Semites. Anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism become indistinguishable.
Jamie Palmer has written a terrific essay on the history of Jews, Israel and the West. He notes:
…the Left is unconcerned with Jewish interests and unwilling to take the matter of rising anti-Semitism seriously, preferring instead to dismiss it as a consequence of Israeli policies or a censorious attempt to close down discussion of the same. The horror with which many Jews greeted the election of Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership of the Labour Party was outstripped only by the realization that his supporters felt that his fondness for the company of anti-Semites was unworthy of their concern…
So why can’t the European Left change in such a way that European Jewish socialists and social democratic Zionists are made to feel welcome again? A number of recommendations suggest themselves:
1. Stop seeing the partition of Mandatory Palestine as some kind of act of paternalistic expiation for European sins rather than the realization of a persecuted people’s legitimate quest for self-determination.
2. Banish the term “anti-Zionism” from the realm of permissible discourse and reframe criticism of Israel—no matter how vehement—in political and not existential terms.
3. Respect the fact that for the vast majority of Jews, Israel represents an expression and final guarantor of Jewish security and identity.
4. Stigmatize anti-Semitism in the same way as any other kind of racism, including when it issues from the mouths and pens of other minority groups.
5. Stop treating Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular like children whose pathologies are to be patiently indulged.
6. Reject moral and cultural relativism, and hold all people to the same moral standards you would expect of yourself in the same circumstances.
7. Understand that differences of opinion with most democrats, of whatever political persuasion, ought to fall within the boundaries of respectable disagreement.
8. Appreciate the value of liberal democracy and learn to take seriously the threats of those who declare their intention to destroy it.
But the reality is that the Left is in no mood to do much, if any, of the above. On the contrary, it is moving in exactly the opposite direction. In Britain, the Labour Party has elected Jeremy Corbyn as its leader—an unrepentant hard-Left anti-Zionist who has shared platforms with genocidal terrorists, blood libelers, and Holocaust deniers in order to supposedly demonstrate his solidarity with the oppressed denizens of Palestine, even as he signed petitions calling upon a centrist Israeli MK to be arrested on arrival in the UK.
Brendan O’Neill and Tom Slater have been discussing Labour’s little problem. You can hear it below:
“ROCCO and Roll Up!” invites the Star’s front-page headline. “Madge fury at teen son’s booze and cigs.”
We hear you, Madonna, aka Madge the Vadge. What self-respecting cool kid drinks and smokes when they could be experimenting with smarts drugs and pour grade-A medications?
Madonna, we learn, is “fuming” 15-year-old son Rocco has been “snapped under a bridge in London swigging from a bottle and puffing on a suspicious-looking cigarette.” A suspicious looking cigarette is, of course, a cigarette, a Government-taxed cancer stick. A proper roll-up contains pure marijuana, a healthy substance (see Colorado State medical advice).
Glastonbury Festival supporting British steel with 250,000 reusable stainless steel cups for 2016
How is that supporting British steel, then? The Tata-owned steel works at Port Talbot in south Wales is in trouble. It produces slab, hot rolled, cold rolled and galvanised coil. That’s new steel – virgin steel.
Festival organiser Michael Eavis pulls on a thick glove, holds aloft a steel cup for your red-hot coffee (ouch!) and tells the Somerset paper: “..the single most important thing was being able to source British stainless steel for the cups from the place where it was invented – Sheffield, and then to take it on to the home of manufacture – Birmingham.”
But how does this help British steel?
Teaming up with APS Metal Pressing Ltd, the cups are made from recycled steel which is smelted in Sheffield… “Week after week, there’s a story in the national press about jobs in the UK steel industry being put at risk. There’s seemingly no end to the negative slide of this critical industry and with it the jobs, skills and infrastructure are lost and won’t be replaced.”
Big rat news in the unofficial big rat news newspaper, the Daily Star, which leads with “New Plague of Giant Rats – Nest of 2ft beasts found on housing estate.” We meet “shocked rat-catcher” – get this – Lord Dean Burr, who “snared” a family of “monster rats” on a housing estate in Tooting, south London.
Lord Burr, “who inherited his title after the death of his uncle”, says the big rats are too big for the traps. To paraphrase Jaws, we’re gonna need a bigger trap.
Of course, all this works on the assumption that people don’t much like rats. We can sympathise with gassed badgers and foxes being chased by deranged red-trousered toffs on sweating horses before being barbarically ripped apart, but we all want rats dead. And these hideous rats are getting larger, which means only one thing: they’ve escaped from a Tory breeding farm. The pro-hunt lobby plans to inflict upon the bien pensant metropolitan elite a swarm of fox-sized rats so terrifying that very soon wholly liberals will understand the need to control vermin.
Bans on hunting with dogs will be repealed, allowing the aristocrats to continue their bloody sport in farm, field and the underground carpark on an inner city estate.
Every Push for Pizza “comes with a “Pizza Pipe”. Well, this is still a concept, but the idea is sound. You rip off a section of the cardboard box, pop out the ceramic stand that stops the box from crushing the pizza and assemble the thing ready for your post-prandial puff.
“No longer will one have to search for a pipe before or struggle to remember the telephone number of the pizza parlor after its use,” says Push for Pizza. “Equally important, the pizza is in hand before the munchies set in, leading to a more relaxed and enjoyable experience without the interminable delay of its delivery or the pain of gnawing hunger.”
Let’s bemoan the state of education that allows the Daily Mail’s Julian Robinson to miss up his seas:
A luxury Mediterranean winery that produces Sir Cliff Richard’s own brand of plonk has been put on the market – for more than £7.5million. Quinta do Miradouro and neighbouring winery Adega do Cantor in Albufeira in Portugal’s Algarve are up for grabs after 15 years of producing the singer’s wine, Vida and Onda Nova.
Anyone keen on inspecting the place should now that The Algarve is on the Atlantic Ocean.
Paris Lees is talking about free speech in the Guardian. Stephen Fry has something so say about therapy and victims being defined by their ordeal:
“It’s a great shame and we’re all very sorry that your uncle touched you in that nasty place – you get some of my sympathy – but your self-pity gets none of my sympathy…. Self-pity is the ugliest emotion in humanity. Get rid of it, because no one’s going to like you if you feel sorry for yourself. The irony is, we’ll feel sorry for you if you stop feeling sorry for yourself. Grow up.”
He is allowed to, of course, because of free speech: for in 2016, an absolutist interpretation of free speech has become popular among the chattering classes. If only the overwhelmingly white, middle-class, Oxbridge-educated, male-dominated commentariat would take “freedom from prejudice” as seriously as it takes “freedom of expression”.