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The Sunday Express has set a deadline: “Six Months To Find Maddie.” And then..?
The paper says “the Home Office has set a budget for this year of just under £95,000, which will pay for only half a year of investigations by the team of four working on the case.” So, not six months to find the Madeleine McCann, then. Six months until the latest tranche of cash runs out. And then..?
Once the money runs out in the autumn, Scotland Yard will almost certainly shelve Operation Grange, their five-year review and investigation, which has cost close to £12million but has failed to bring anyone to justice or discover what happened to Madeleine.
The paper had us right up to “almost”. “Almost certainly” is another way of saying “definitely uncertainly”. We then get to the missing child’s parents:
Soon the child’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, face the emotionally daunting prospect of paying for a new private investigation with a war chest of some £750,000, raised largely through sales of Kate’s widely praised book on the enduring mystery.
They have paid for private detectives before. Having speculated on the money, the police hunt and the McCann’s state of mind, the Express has a few facts:
At the height of the Yard’s inquiries more than 30 detectives and support staff were working on Operation Grange, based at Belgravia police station in central London. When the inquiry was in full swing a team of specially trained officers carried out detailed searches of carefully chosen scrubland near where Madeleine was taken at Praia da Luz on the Algarve on May 3, 2007.
And that is it. Although we do get to hear from the Home Office:
A Home Office spokeswoman said: “Following a request from the Metropolitan Police Service, we have agreed to provide nearly £95,000 of further funding. The funding reflects the reduced scale of the investigation, which was announced by the force last year.”
Northern supermarket chain Morrisons thinks the Scouse accent is not good at selling its quality groceries. Casting Networks Inc was looking to recruit actors for a new Morrisons advert. They wanted “proper working class people”. They said Scousers need not apply. The ad went:
They should be proper working class people but not at all like the people from ‘Benefits Street’. They should NOT sound or look posh and we should skew towards northern accents. And nobody from Liverpool please.”
The ad also called for “quirks“, such as “bushy eyebrows and freckles“. So, no black faces, then?
But no matter for the race issue. A sharp-browed black actor can always go ‘Ginger Face’ and stick on some felt. It’s the ban on Liverpudlians that hurt. OneGuardian writer was outraged that la-di-da-lar Scouse actors were not good / too good for Morrisons.
The deplorable language used to stereotype different types of ‘working class’ people is pure class-based discrimination. The crass, gratuitous nature of the words jump out. Like being stopped in the street and hit with a tirade of puerile, outdated incoherence. Growing up against a backdrop of the Thatcherite “managed decline” of the city of Liverpool, I have plenty of personal experience of such nonsense. In my quest for a first job as a reporter, I ended up being interviewed for a news agency role. It went OK until the interviewer, as if struck by a paroxysm of offensiveness, blurted out: “Just one final thing … you don’t write the way you speak, do you?”
But surely the casting agency and Morrisons were not exercising their own prejudices, rather working under the market-research-backed premise their shoppers do not like the Scouse accent. And no lesser mind than Craig Brown has passed comment on Liverpool:
The city’s favourite dish is the so-called “Sarnie Sarnie” – two slices of bread placed between two further slices of bread… Sophisticated Liverpudlians order their “Sarnie Sarnies” deep-fried.
He advises honing the Liverpudlian accent by “gargling with raw potato skins three times a week”.
You can get those sarnies and spuds mentioned above in Morrisons. Although, the supermarket advises Liverpudlians to pay for them before leaving any of their stores…
Former BBC staffer and Newsnight journalist Paul Mason and Tory MP Ken Clarke are talking about the steel industry on BBC Newsnight. The one thing you can’t escape noticing is how often Mason gurns and interrupts. The other thing is that not so long ago Mason was presented to viewers as a unpartisan expert, Newsnight’sEconomics Editor giving it to us straight:
Glasgow police have issued a threat to everyone on twitter. If your tweet or Facebook post or online comment falls short of their guide, they will knock on your door and menace you. If they think your comment is “unnecessary”, unkind, anything less than utterly true, illegal – illegal words? – or hurtful – and they and the ‘victim’ will be the judge of what is and is not hurtful – they will visit you.
The ban on legal highs might be impossible. The Guardian says “the government’s blanket ban on legal highs that was due to come into effect on 6 April has been postponed for at least a month… The Psychoactive Substances Act, which has reached the statute book, has been delayed following claims that its current definition of a psychoactive substance is not enforceable by the police.”
The story goes that it’s tricky telling which substance is psychoactive. It’s not. It’s all of them. The WHO defines:
Psychoactive substances are substances that, when taken in or administered into one’s system, affect mental processes, e.g. cognition or affect. This term and its equivalent, psychotropic drug, are the most neutral and descriptive term for the whole class of substances, licit and illicit, of interest to drug policy. ‘Psychoactive’ does not necessarily imply dependence-producing, and in common parlance, the term is often left unstated, as in ‘drug use’ or ‘substance abuse’.
The paper adds:
The legislation aims to ban any substance intended for human consumption that is capable of producing a psychoactive effect, with a list of exemptions of substances in everyday use such as alcohol, nicotine and caffeine.
The exemptions might be termed as: stuff the legislators like to take.
Poppers, also known as alkyl nitrite, were excluded entirely from the legislation after the government’s advisory committee on the misuse of drugs ruled that it did not have a direct effect on the brain.
A Home Office spokesperson adds:
“The landmark Psychoactive Substances Act will fundamentally change the way we tackle these drugs and put an end to unscrupulous suppliers profiting from their trade. Our message is clear: offenders will face up to seven years in prison.”
Is the profit the thing they don’t like, or is it the drugs?
Local News of the Day deals with a social media nasty. The Mid Devon Gazette tells us:
Twitter profile slates BBC Radio Devon presenter and Butterleigh resident Simon Bates
A TWITTER account calling for BBC Radio Devon’s Simon Bates to stay on holiday for good has been set up by a passionate listener. The campaign started Tweeting on Monday, March 21 and has so far attracted 11 followers…
Eleven people read the “quite scathing” tweets of the sort you can see above. What proportion of Bates’ listeners that constitutes, we ‘re not told – but let’s assume it’s all of them. After all, it’s in the papers…
The Mail says Soo Kyung Bae has created “shocking THIGH GAP jewellery to highlight women’s ‘unhealthy obsession’ with super-skinny legs”.
Er, no, Daily Mail. Hanging a long pendant between a woman’s legs make her and you look a like a dick.
Looking like a dick is what happens when you get your news from the Metro. The jewellery is not real. It’s just a campaign to get people talking about ‘thigh gap’ and how bad it is to crave a different body not suited to your build. In other news, you can read in the Mail:
Click! Aberdeen man Ben Innes, 26, poses for a photo with a hijacker who used a fake suicide belt to take control of an Egyptian plane and hold him hostage.
An Egyptian hijacker who forced a domestic flight to land in Cyprus used a fake suicide belt, officials said. His motives remain unclear but the Cypriot president said the incident was not terrorism-related.
Can we rejoice in the news that “Footie paedo Adam Johnson ‘faces bloody razor torture’ in prison showers”? The Sun has heard that prisoners want to scar Johnson, the former Sunderland and England footballer jailed for sexually abusing an underage girl .
LAGS have warned shamed footie ace Adam Johnson faces being tortured with razors in the prison showers following his child sex conviction. The paedophile, 28, is reportedly on suicide watch at HM Prison Leeds as he begins a six-year sentence for grooming and sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl.
Torture and suicide are too good for him, eh. Of course, new prisoners are routinely place on suicide watch. As for the talk of Johnson being tortured inside a British prison, well, the source is unimpeachable:
One convicted killer warned the former England star against pulling any “millionaire strops” and urged him to get out of the sex offenders’ wing as quickly as possible if he wanted to avoid serious injury.
And, presumably, seek comfort in the company of murderers, thieves and budding jihadis?
Charles — who is nearing the end of a manslaughter sentence served in some of Britain’s toughest jails — …said: “They held him down, cut him across the nips, his face, his c**k and then one of the lads stuck a blade in his a**e.”
Nothing says you’re right-minded like sticking a knife in a man’s bum. But Charles has some better news for Johnson, who, given his interest in less usual sex acts, might consider such treatment tame, on a par with the stuff meted out to new recruits by Wimbledon FC’s self-styled ‘Crazy Gang’ or enduring an hour of Jimmy Bullard-style ‘banter’. Says Charles:
“He ain’t touched a baby or a ten-year-old but the longer he stays tucked up with that kind of scum the more suspicious other prisoners will get. Get on a normal wing, talk to a couple of the faces there and show them his papers and then just get on with it.
A shocking story on the Sun’s cover about a plot to steal a baby. Shantel Ullah, 20, says a teenager knocked on her front door posing as a social worker and tried to abduct son Dontae. Over pages 4 and 5 we read that Shantel handed the two-week-old child over but “snatched” him back when the smartly dressed teen began to act oddly.
The teenager then walked away.
We learn that the would-be kidnappers obtained Shantel’s details through a Facebook page offering new mums free baby clothes. And that the two girls age 17 and 18 have admitted “conspiring to kidnap Dontae and two other babies”. One, we learn, wanted a mixed-race bay to convince her Jamaican lover she had given birth to his son.
The pair pleaded guilty to conspiring to kidnap at Derby youth court. And they can’t be named because they are under age.
Let us pray for Acomb Parish Church, in York, where “Chris is Risen”.
Says Assistant Curate Ned Lunn: “The pastor at the Baptist Church is actually called Chris. He’s got to get up for a sunrise service at 6.30am on Easter Sunday. His predecessor didn’t manage to get up for the service last year.”
Big news. The Indy says “Jeremy Corbyn overtakes David Cameron in leadership satisfaction ratings”.
The Ipsos MORI poll showed Mr Corbyn up ten points and David Cameron down ten points after last week’s Budget
Corbyn is popular?
Mr Corbyn is now on net -11 while Mr Cameron is on net -25 with the pollster.
Phew! No, he’s not. Unpack your bag, Jews of Britain. Things will be ok for a while yet.
There has been speculation that Mr Corbyn’s satisfaction rating with the pollster – his highest with any firm – may also be exaggerated by Conservatives saying they are satisfied with what they perceive as his poor performance.
Who was polled?
Other pollsters ask different question formulations – including whether a leader is “doing a good job” – which would likely shed light on whether the shift represents a real move in support.
The boost for Mr Corbyn however comes amid a number of pollsters showing Labour drawing nearly level, level, or slightly above the Tories in voting intention.
A -11 rating for an Opposition leader after a divisive budget is a ‘boost’?
The Indy does not mention that George Osborne’s satisfaction ratings equal his worst ever following the budget. And the paper completely fails to mention that Nigel Farage is the real winner:
According to radical feminist theory, pornography serves to further the subordination of women by training its users, males and females alike, to view women as little more than sex objects over whom men should have complete control. Composite variables from the General Social Survey were used to test the hypothesis that pornography users would hold attitudes that were more supportive of gender nonegalitarianism than nonusers of pornography. Results did not support hypotheses derived from radical feminist theory.
Pornography users held more egalitarian attitudes—toward women in positions of power, toward women working outside the home, and toward abortion—than nonusers of pornography. Further, pornography users and pornography nonusers did not differ significantly in their attitudes toward the traditional family and in their self-identification as feminist. The results of this study suggest that pornography use may not be associated with gender nonegalitarian attitudes in a manner that is consistent with radical feminist theory.
So toxic is Donald Trump that even seeing his name reduces students to jellies. To Georgia, USA:
Emory University students say they are “in pain” and “afraid” after someone left pro-Donald Trump chalk messages on their Atlanta campus, according to the student newspaper. “I’m supposed to feel comfortable and safe” here,” The Emory Wheel quoted one unnamed student as saying. “But this man is being supported by students on our campus and our administration shows that they, by their silence, support it as well. … I don’t deserve to feel afraid at my school.”
The chalkings appeared overnight, saying “Trump 2016,” according to the newspaper. About 40 students held a protest demanding action from the administration, chanting “You are not listening! Come speak to us, we are in pain!”
That Emory comedy club. What a hoot. It is a parody, right? Wrong:
“I legitimately feared for my life,” Paula Camila Alarcon, a freshman at Emory who identifies as Latino, told The Daily Beast. “I thought we were having a KKK rally on campus. It was deliberate intimidation. Some of us were expecting shootings. We feared walking alone,” freshman Jonathan Peraza added.
College president Jim Wagner met with the students, who expressed anxiety that the writings were threats to their safety rather than political speech, considering Georgia’s Republican primary was held earlier this month.
“The students shared with me their concern that these messages were meant to intimidate rather than merely to advocate for a particular candidate, having appeared outside of the context of a Georgia election or campus campaign activity,” Wagner wrote in a university-wide email Tuesday. “During our conversation, they voiced their genuine concern and pain in the face of this perceived intimidation.”
Jim Wagner might be beyond parody. How the hell did he get a job in education?
You might see Adam Johnson, the footballer, as a deeply unpleasant oddity. Jailed for six years for sexual activity with an underage girl, Johnson represents nobody but himself. But his job sets an agenda in motion. The Mail leads with news that Johnson has “damaged the reputation of football”. Well, so says Players’ Union supremo Gordon Taylor. He says the football authorities have to ensure a player grooming underage girls for sex “doesn’t happen again”, as if some kind of vetting process can be enforced to ensure anyone who thinks of kicking a ball for a living doesn’t think it ok to wilfully break the law. You might suppose the law was equally applied to the mundane and the celebrated, pointing to Johnson’s incarceration as evidence of just that. But footballs’ leading lights have bought into the top-down bilge that footballers are societal role models whose actions are aped by their fans.
Sticking with the Mail, Jeff Powell says the FA should “take back his caps”. Powell reasons that if a priest can be de-frocked, then a footballer can be un-capped. In Powell’s head a man who gives moral and divine guidance is on a par with a man who can pass a ball in a straight line. Wow, indeed. And then marvel at how Johnson’s name can be erased by taking away evidence that he ever played for England. The record books will show that when England defeated Switzerland 3-1 in 2010, the Three Lions fielded just 10 players and one goal was scored by a ghost, a non-person. Spooky stuff.
Over paged 4 and 5, we learn of things Johnson was not jailed for: looking at porn on a site called ‘Nice Young Teens’; having an STD; engaging in a number of “seedy trysts”; looking at animal porn; and liking sex on the bonnet of his Range Rover. The Express has more, telling readers how Johnson “scoured the internet for twisted animal porn” – is any animal porn non-twisted, of the straight-up sort? – and engaged in “vile discussions branding women ‘slags'”.
That’s the Express, which also owns the Daily Star. In today’s paper, readers are invited to dial a number to chat with “HORNY TEEN GIRLS”.
Adam Johnson is a depraved criminal who knowingly broke the law then lied and lied and lied, forcing his young victim to endure prolonged pain and humiliation. He is not a role model. He is not a typical footballer, any more than he is typical Sunderland-born male, father, porn watcher or tabloid reader. In labelling Johnson a “stain on the game” – typical of “an ugly side of the game rapidly losing its beautiful image” – the Mirror gives Johnson an excuse. ‘It’s not me, guv. It’s football wot made me do it.’
There is no hard evidence to support the idea that football culture makes individuals more likely to commit crime, sexually abuse minors and rape. Johnson’s crimes were not understandable responses to the prevailing culture around him, to his life at the office. He can’t get off that lightly. Framing his crimes as part of some perceived wider sickness in football gives him an excuse. He has none.
Johnson made a conscious choice to have sexual contact with a girl below the age of consent. His job did not force him into it. His professional peers did not present sexual abuse as an initiation. He represents no-one but himself. Football is innocent.
This week the Metropolitan Police arrested Matthew Doyle for tweeting: “I confronted a Muslim woman yesterday in Croydon. I asked her to explain Brussels. She said ‘Nothing to do with me’. A mealy mouthed reply.”
When I read that I saw irony, a lampooning of the berks who seek to blame an entire race or religion for the actions of a few. Did the confrontation actually happen? If it did, it would take an utter pillock to then boast about it on twitter? It must be a parody, a neat skewering of fools?
The police saw the tweet as an example of alleged hate speech, nicking Doyle on suspicion of “inciting racial hatred”. The police then locked him up, removing the tweeter from his keyboard for the good of society.
Good? Surely not.
Doyle deleted his comment, but not before it had been retweeted, held aloft by the right-reminded as an example of Islamophobia and used to advertise the Met’s anti-racism credentials.
As his name rode high on the news cycle, we got to know more about Mr Doyle. He works in PR – something that recalls the joke about Max Clifford: “If he’s so good at PR, why does everyone think he’s a cunt?” Other comments on his twitter feed have been broadcast in the media. He appears to very much an irony-free idiot, a pillock’s pillock. The HuffPost featured more from his social media feeds:
Doyle was ridiculed:
Isn’t it enough that we know of Matthew Doyle and his talents in PR? He might win the EDL contract, but it’s unlikely any other outfit will be hiring him. But to make his stupidity a crime is bizarre. Are we so divided, fearful and weak that an idiot’s idiotic tweet constitutes a criminal offence? The answer is yes. And that’s depressing.
PC Chocolate makers ban ’Easter’ from eggs. CHOCOLATE firms have banned the word “Easter” from their eggs to avoid offending non-Christians…
Really? Are Rastafarians that upset by ‘Easter’?
Cadbury is now selling a Dairy Milk “Egg Hunt Pack” while Nestlé advertises Aero’s “chocolate egg with bubbly bars”.
No mention of the word Easter on either of those treats.
Sainsbury’s has also joined the political correctness trend by selling its own brand “milk chocolate egg”. The E-word is apparently so offensive…
The E-word. We get the F-word, the N-word and the C-word, but the E-word is a new one. One day ever letter will get its own taboo word.
This prompted “angry and frustrated” campaigner David Marshall to set up the Meaningful Chocolate Company, in which his Fairtrade charity “Real Easter Egg” puts the religious message on to the packaging.
As epithets go “angry and frustrated” is pretty good. But does the anger create good eggs? Is anger and frustration what Jesus would have wanted? Says Mr Marshall:
“It’s deeply disappointing and shameful that some of the biggest companies in the country are censoring the centuries’ old tradition. It shows they’re insensitive and uncomfortable with the Christian faith.”
Deep into the story we hear from Nestlé, whose spokeswoman “argued”:
“There has been no deliberate decision to drop the word Easter from our products.”
A Cadbury spokeswoman “stressed”:
“We do not have a policy to drop Easter from our eggs.”
So, no policy to remove the word Easter from eggs, then.
On the Sainsbury’s website, the products desription for the Cadbury’s eggs tells us:
Easter egg trail pack. This fun Easter egg hunt pack contains 10 Cadbury milk chocolate hollow eggs and a bag of treatsize Mini Eggs as the main prize
Rob Ford, the former mayor of Toronto, has died. He was just 46. In his obituary, CBC includes this:
Ford staunchly denied that he smoked crack and questioned the existence of the footage, which prompted Gawker to begin a crowd-funding campaign to buy the video. The story not only made Ford an international celebrity and the object of mockery on late-night talk shows, but it also triggered a criminal investigation, which eventually led police to acquire a copy of the video. After months of denying he was in the video, Ford confessed in November 2013 to having smoked crack, adding that it had likely occurred during one of his “drunken stupors.”
He wasn’t wrong. It’s just that he couldn’t remember taking drugs because he was drunk.