The news as told by the UK’s tabloid press – The Sun, Daily Express, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Daily Star and News of the World.
Fancy a peek inside ‘Jimmy Savile’s sex den’? This is where the ‘shamed star preyed on victims’. The Daily Star’s wrong, of course. Savile wasn’t shamed. Sir Jimmy was buried with full honours. The great and good lined up to praise the “colourful character”, the embodiment of “diligence and decency” who will be “greatly missed“. Savile was not shamed. He was dug up, possibly beaten with sticks and buried a good deal deeper down than the normal six feet, but the Papal knight died a State- approved hero.
Savile’s ‘sex den’ is the abandoned High Royds Hospital in Menston, West Yorkshire. Savile was a depraved, gibbering loon who hid in plain sight. He didn’t need a sex den. He had a caravan, a BBC studio pass and an NHS-issued gown.
Reading on we learn that the sex den featured no actual sex. The Star reports:
It was here sexual predator Savile targeted a number of women during the get-together in 1988. The party was to celebrate the centenary of the hospital, according to a 2014 report.
More of an office party than a sex den, then?
An investigation found that the monster had cupped women’s boobs and put his hand up one victim’s skirt during the event.
All nasty, pervy, leery, criminal and sad. But not what anyone would call a sex den, least of all the Star, whose Television X stablemate broadcasts hardcore pornography with such titles as Sexual Predator 1.
As for Savile, well, the Star continues: ‘But the women didn’t make a formal complaint because sexual assault was considered an “occupational hazard”, the report said.’
Maybe that should be investigated – why nurses were seen as fair game?
Over in the Mirror, the sex den is gone. We are in the former hospital ‘where Jimmy Savile groped nurses and asked for a room in case he “pulled”‘. We see photographs by Kieran Young, 20, who posts as Exploring Lancashire.
“I had been here a few times previous but never found a way in,” he says. “I’ve always love the look of Victorian buildings so this really took my eye so I kept going back to get in. After five or six attempts I finally got in with a friend. My pictures encapsulate the past while also showing the morbid reality of the present.”
They’re good. We like looking over disused building, which given their massive size and emptiness often look haunting and sinister. Was Savile the worst thing to have occurred at West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum, later Menston Mental Hospital and finally High Royds Psychiatric Hospital, where up to the 1960s inmates were buried in unmarked graves? Who listened to the poor and vulnerable back then? Who listens to them now?
A staff member is quoted talking about Savile in 2014: “He was just very free with his hands, so hands going round people, round their waist but then upwards, cupping under breasts, hands up the skirt. We just laughed it off, said ‘Dirty old man’ and didn’t go near him for the rest of the day. I can’t imagine that if we had said anything to anybody, or the police, that anybody would take it seriously, I don’t think, at that time. It was just an occupational hazard of being a woman.”
It sounds like Savile wasn’t the only man free with his hands. But he’s the focus of the Mail’s report, even if the paper does spell his name wrong.
The Mail issues an invitation: ‘Look inside an abandoned psychiatric hospital with a truly dark past: Jimmy Saville [sic] once prowled these corridors to launch sickening attacks on nurses.’
He more walked and jogged than prowled. That was the thing with Jimmy Savile – he was there for all to see, often dressed in a shining gold tracksuit and neon hair. He was hard to miss. But no-one was listening.
Having lost his job at Sutton FC for eating a pie in the dug-out at odds of 8-1, ‘roly-poly goalie’ Wayne Shaw is today pictured eating lots more pies in the Sun. The paper loves Wayne. After all, it was Sun Bets, the paper’s betting wing, which offered odds that seemed so tasty to Shaw’s pals. He didn’t bet. But they did. The game was brought into disrepute. Rules governing betting rules were broken.
Shaw, a man prone to depression, offered his resignation after what predictably became known as pie-gate. Shaw’s former manager told BBC Radio 5 live that Wayne was “crying” on the phone and “very, very sorry about the whole situation”. The Sun talked of ‘fan fury’ of her ‘sacking’.
Good to see, then, that the Sun is sticking by their man and getting him working as a pie taster. It is Wayne Shaw’s ‘new career’. ‘My football career may be on hold, ‘says Wayne optimistically, ‘but I’m not letting it stop me exploring new opportunities.’
It’ll be interesting to see how long the Sun can keep this going until it feels that any debt has been repaid.
Madeleine McCann: what the media says about the missing child.
The Sun (page 4), tells us that the ‘MADDIE HOLS FLAT’ has been sold for ‘half price’. The flat in which Madeleine McCann and her family were staying when she vanished has been bought for ‘just £113,000’ by a ‘British gran’, having been put on the market for £225,000, we read. The new owner has been ‘living in the property after secretly buying it “years ago”‘.
Is she bought it year ago, why is her purchase news now? As the 10th anniversary of the child vanishing looms, is the Sun campaigning for an interview with the parents? And the price seems not far off the going rate.
In 2008, the Mail told us the flat’s owner had been ‘trying to sell the two-bedroom ground-floor apartment since 2007 with an asking price of £255,000 – around £50,000 less than the asking price’.
But the Portugal Resident website told its readers in 2008: ‘THE APARTMENT rented by the McCanns while they were on holiday in Praia da Luz in May 2007 is on the market for 215,000 euros.’
Such are the facts.
When actor Danny Dyer toured the world’s ‘Football Factories’, he hung about with “hard men”. There were hard men all around him. Whether Dyer was a hard man was never made clear, but today the Sun says he might have been when he allegedly ‘sent a picture of his manhood to a starstruck fan’. So routine is the story of famous man sends knob photo to fan we’re surprised signed publicity photos aren’t issued.
The Sun says Danny Dyer ‘sent late-night texts to the young mum’. How young becomes clear in the third paragraph, wherein we learn that the whippersnapper is in her 30s and the alleged todger snapper sent her dirty photos when he was single.
The story continues over two more pages. On page 4 we see Dyer offering us his texting finger, seemingly to pull or sniff. (A kiss ‘n’ smell?) The headline is great: ‘Danny asked for butcher’s at me boat and bottle… then whipped out his Brighton’. It’s fun to play along. A butcher’s is a ‘butcher’s hook’, which is rhyming slang for ‘look’. Her ‘boat’ is her ‘face’ (boat race) and her ‘bottle’ is her ‘arse’ (bottle and glass). News that Dyer has a ‘Brighton sea front’ is worthy of a front-page screamer of its own.
Daily Mail news, now. And a spot of Donald Trump bashing on February 18, 2017. President Trump labelled several media outlets as ‘the “enemy” of the people’.
For readers unsure what that means, the Mail is informative:
Not that the Mail would ever behave like a Red:
Perhaps not everyone at the Mail realises that columnist Craig Brown is a parodist? It was he who wrote on the then Labour Party leader Ed Miliband:
Well, if Stalin was good enough for the Mail…
When the Sun Bets bookmakers sponsored Sutton for their home FA Cup match against Arsenal (final score: – 0- 2), they offered odds of 8-1 that the home side’s home reserve goalkeeper Wayne Shaw would eat a pie during the match.
Given that Shaw’s in the ‘big lad’ territory of players, Sun Bets could have offered a spread of how many pies, tubes of Rolos, lamb bhunas and ‘cheeky’ kebabs he’d eat inside the 90 minutes. As chance had it, Shaw did eat a pie, and because the game was being broadcast live on the BBC, we all got to see him do it. Shaw later admitted that ‘pals’ had placed money on the bet, which, says the Sun, were offered at a £5 maximum stake. The Mail says Sun Bets ‘tweeted that it had paid out a five-figure sum after Shaw finished his pie’.
For his (hunger) pains, Shaw was sacked for breaching FA rules concerned with betting on any “aspect of, or occurrence in” a football match. The Sun says on its front page that Shaw was ‘Hung out To Pie’. Shaw was handed his ‘Pie 45’.
The Sun calls it pathetic. So outraged is the paper that nearly all the media are talking about its Sun Bets (the Mirror doesn’t mention the company by name in any of its reports) – that’s S.U… – it calls on some unlikely comrades. Sun readers hear from Piers Morgan – for whom Shaw’s sacking “sums up the pathetically PC-crazed world” – and the BBC’s Gary Linker – “FFS!”.
Sun Bets says its investigating and working with the Gambling Commission, which is doing the same.
Shaw helps them out by noting his ‘pie’ was a ‘pastry’. Sun Bets says a pie is a “filling totally encased in pastry”. So it paid out. But, then, it’s the big winner in a sad story of greed.
Time for another look at Ted Health’s corpse. A high-ranking policeman reportedly said that the former Prime Minister was a paedophile. A ‘source’ told the Mail on Sunday that Wiltshire Chief Constable Mike Veale, for it is he, is “120% certain” the dead man was a child rapist. You can either believe it and think, ‘Yeah, always knew he was a wrong un.’ Or you can wonder about the evidence, the messenger, the timing and if the hunt for the morally reprehensible can ever be satiated?
Pick your prejudice and read on…
In the Salisbury Journal, dead Ted’s local paper, we read Veale’s response to the Mail on Sunday’s story. This is it in full:
“On Friday 2 December 2016, I prepared and distributed an unequivocal open letter outlining the Wiltshire Police position in relation to the ongoing investigation into allegations made against Sir Edward Heath.
“This letter was written as a direct consequence further to unhelpful and inappropriate speculation about this case. However, this speculation continues and is of huge concern to me as I believe it will undermine trust and confidence in the police, have a potential prejudicial impact upon a live ongoing investigation, not to mention an impact upon the confidence of persons who have come forward with information.
“In my letter I made a number of points to provide absolute clarity about why Wiltshire Police is conducting this investigation. To reiterate, there is a clear legal requirement and supporting national policy from the College of Policing that I am required to undertake an investigation where allegations have been made, regardless of whether the alleged offender is living or deceased.
“In relation to the recent unhelpful speculation regarding the veracity of the allegations made, let me once again be clear, it is not the role of the police to judge the guilt or innocence of people in our Criminal Justice System. Our role is to objectively and proportionately go where the evidence takes us. Further, those who choose to continue to make comment on this case whilst not in possession of the facts ultimately may serve to unfairly damage both the reputation of Sir Edward Heath and / or those who have disclosed abuse.
“At the end of my open letter I stated that I would not be making further comment about the investigation unless it was for operational policing purposes. Other than to provide clarity around a number of key points, my position remains unchanged.
“The operational security of this investigation and the anonymity of the people who have come forward remains of paramount importance to Wiltshire Police.”
That’s a very long ‘no comment’. And he doesn’t specifically say if the Mail on Sunday’s story is false or true. Pity.
Mindful of the copper’s words, the Sun dutifully bows its head and reports with circumspection:
HEATH’S SEX CULT LINK Edward Heath ‘linked to a murderous paedophile ring that killed 16 kids’
Ted Heath was in cahoots with serial killers?! The story begins:
BIZARRE claims that former Prime Minister Ted Heath was part of a satanic paedophile ring which murdered 16 children have been dismissed as “wild allegations” by a close family friend.
Sensational claims make for sensational headlines.
Who are making the outlandish claims?
A group of women allege the Tory PM abused them as children as part of a sex cult run by their own parents which burnt babies in satanic orgies.
Wiltshire Police have spent more than a year investigating the allegations as part of an inquiry that has cost taxpayers over £883,431, the Daily Mail reports. But Sir Edward’s godson Lincoln Seligman said: “I understand that these claims from the 1980s were at the time dismissed as complete fantasy by police. It is disappointing that these wild allegations have been reheated and randomly attached to Edward Heath’s name.”
There is reportedly no suggestion that Sir Edward killed any children in the women’s accounts.
Only ‘reportedly’? But gerraload of that headline!
After a few lines on tortured babies, Devil worship and murder, the paper delivers a selection of facts:
Sir Edward, who was Prime Minister from 1970-1974, was never married and died in 2005 aged 89. The lurid claims were dismissed by police in 1989, and Sir Edward’s name was never mentioned to police at the time.
Over in the Mail, the Sun’s source, we read more.
Group of women who say they were abused by Sir Edward Heath also claim their parents ran a satanic sex cult that was involved in SIXTEEN child murders
Like the Sun, the Mail delivers the claim in a big, bold headline before noting at the very start of the story:
The farce came as police probe incredible claims that the former prime minister was linked to a paedophile ring that killed as many as 16 children – which would make them the worst child murderers in British history.
It’s hard not to feel sympathy for Ted Heath, the subject of a ‘bizarre’ ‘farce’. The paper adds:
The seemingly far-fetched allegations have been made by a family who allege that the politician was part of a satanic sex cult run by their own parents.
The paper delivers more on the allegations of terrible acts that only ‘seem’ to be far-fetched:
They say that the cult regularly slaughtered children as ritual sacrifices in churches and forests around southern England and also participated in similar ceremonies in Africa.
They claim their mother and father – who is said to have known the former Conservative leader – were responsible for slaughtering children ranging from babies to teenagers – yet they evaded justice.
The paedophile ring – which they say Sir Edward was part of – stabbed, tortured and maimed youngsters in churches and burnt babies in satanic orgies before men, women and children gorged themselves on blood and body parts, police have been told.
Can we take some small relief that no sex was involved in this alleged orgy of depravity? What we’d like, of course, are some facts. But instead of them we get news that, ‘If the bizarre allegations were to be proved, the parents who allegedly led the killings would be responsible for murdering more children than Fred and Rose West.’
Did Fred and Rose West meet Ted? Sorry, ‘Ed’? If ‘wild claims’ are newsworthy, look out for tales of MPs at the Wests? Reading on, we’re told:
The women’s lurid claims were dismissed by police in 1989 when they came forward. Sir Edward’s name was never mentioned to police at the time. It was only last year that he was named for the first time after one of the claimants said she had ‘remembered’ a man called ‘Ed’ was a prime mover in a network of paedophile abusers.
The story is so weak, a cynic might wonder if it’s put up to create a smokescreen to derail the whole search for so-called VIP paedophiles?
Maybe the Times can be more helpful? Beneath the headline ‘We can link Ted Heath to alleged victims of abuse, police claim’, the paper tells us:
The police investigating claims that Sir Edward Heath was a paedophile believe that they have evidence linking the former prime minister to a series of alleged victims.
More than 30 alleged victims have contacted Wiltshire police with claims of abuse involving Sir Edward from the 1960s to the 1990s. A source close to the investigation said that “strikingly similar” allegations made against Sir Edward include the names used for the former politician, the type of abuse and the locations.
Detectives were reported to be initially sceptical about the allegations but “now believe them”.
Wiltshire police said it did not know if the investigation report would be published. Two men have been arrested on suspicion of child abuse, although not linked directly to Sir Edward. The investigation is also considering claims that the abuse was reported to the police years ago but was covered up.
The paper then mentions Mr Veale’s aforementioned letter, noting:
The chief constable had previously apologised for launching the investigation in 2015 with a public appeal outside Sir Edward’s former home beside Salisbury Cathedral.
And what of the alleged Satanic murders?
An expert called in by the force to assess the claims by three women who alleged that Sir Edward was involved in occult abuse said that the police inquiry was the result of on “an over-active imagination”.
Is any of this going to be tested in court?
The Times revealed last week that three prominent victims of false abuse claims are suing the Metropolitan Police over their treatment in a separate inquiry. The legal actions by the former Tory MP Harvey Proctor, the former chief of the defence staff Lord Bramall and the broadcaster Paul Gambaccini could cost Scotland Yard an estimated £3 million.
The widow of the former home secretary Leon Brittan was reported yesterday to have sent a “letter before action” to the force as a result of raids on their homes in London and North Yorkshire after her husband’s death.
Having read what the police believe and what women imagine, David Mellor, the former Tory minister, takes to his blog on LBC radio, where he hosts a phone-in show:
In an interesting scoop yesterday, the Mail on Sunday claimed that the Chef Constable of Wiltshire, Mike Veale, believes that Ted Heath was a serial paedophile, whose crimes were covered up by the establishment. The MOS report that thirty complainants have allegedly been identified, and “Mr Veale believes them 120%, and thinks they are totally convincing”.
Scoop or utter balls?
He is not directly quoted in the piece, so it could all be made up. But I doubt it.
So much for facts. It’s all about belief.
It’s worth taking a look at the original ‘Statement from Wiltshire Police following the IPCC announcement re. Sir Edward Heath investigation’.
A spokesperson for Wiltshire Police said:
“Following the announcement today regarding an independent investigation by the IPCC into allegations concerning how Wiltshire Police handled an alleged claim of child sex abuse made in the 1990’s, we are carrying out enquiries to identify if there are any witnesses or victims who support the allegations of child sex abuse.
“On becoming aware of the information, Wiltshire Police informed the IPCC and later made a mandatory referral. The IPCC investigation will specifically consider how the Force responded to allegations when they were received in the 1990’s. [sic]
“Sir Edward Heath has been named in relation to offences concerning children. He lived in Salisbury for many years and we would like to hear from anyone who has any relevant information that may assist us in our enquiries or anyone who believes they may have been a victim.”
Sir Edward Heath has been named. By whom? Dunno. What’s the dead man been accused of? Dunno. The statement kickstarts the hunt. We don’t know what Sir Ted’s been accused of but we know any ‘victims’ will be believed. They are not ‘alleged victims of…’ They police are at pains to paint them as victims:
“We are working closely with the NSPCC to ensure that any victims are appropriately supported. They provide trained helpline counsellors to listen and provide assistance… Victims will receive support throughout any investigation and associated judicial process…
“Please call the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org as they have dedicated staff in place to deal with victims or if you have information that may help police please call us via 101.” Ends
But it’s not all bad for Ted Heath. In the Telegraph, an article on a hot London property spot name-checks Ted as a stalwart of good taste:
Jermyn Street’s distinctive shops, some of which are still owned by the descendants of the original families that established them, have been frequented by Diana, Princess of Wales, Ted Heath and Joanna Lumley.
And you know who Diana was mates with, don’t you.
Such are the facts.
Was Ted Heath a paedophile? The Mail says it’s been told that Wiltshire Chief Constable Mike Veale ‘regards the allegations as “totally convincing”‘. An unnamed ‘source‘ tells the paper:
“Mr Veale believes in them 120 per cent and thinks they are totally convincing.”
What Mr Veale believes is now fact? Not too long ago police on Operation Midland said the words of a man known only as ‘Nick’ were “credible and true”. They weren’t. Whereas once the police response was to undermine the alleged victim’s credibility they now accept claims at face value. So much for evidence-based police work. The police arrested known faces at the airport as the cameras clicked and the BBC televised police raids on empty homes. The hunt for child abusers began to look like a PR drive to support the police and media, two pillars of society that had let down victims.
While we’re on the matter of moving your organisation to the right side of history, the police once supported laws that made homosexuality a criminal offence. That’s relevant because at the time of his alleged offending, Heath was a ‘confirmed bachelor, a euphemism for what TV light entertainers, the Press and the police in the 1970s termed ‘poofs’. Heath was not out and proud. He was very much in, giving organ recitals to his enthusiastic mates.
Back then to the source who knows Mr Veale’s opinions:
“There are very close similarities in the accounts given by those who have come forward. The same names used for him, the same places and same type of incidents keep coming up. What stands out is that the people giving these accounts are not connected but the stories and the details dovetail. It contains disturbing stuff. Investigators have been shocked by what they have learned.”
With the copper’s thought aired, the media pile in. The Sun (Page 14), thunders: ‘PM TED HEATH “WAS A PAEDO”.’ The ‘Cop is 120% certain’. Who needs all those barriers to justice, like evidence, proof, courts, charges and lawyers. The copper is more certain than certain can be. The trouble is that the man he knows to have been a paedophile is stubbornly dead.
The Sun says Heath’s supporters view the police investigation as a ‘witch hunt’. Seventeen police work on the matter. We’re told that the ex-PM’s supporters ‘say he did not have a car. Cops are thought to have proof that he did.’ This is relevant because one claim is that he picked up a 12-year-old boy and took him to his Mayfair flat.
Back in the Mail, we see Heath ‘standing by the driver’s door of the Rover 2000 he bought after Margaret Thatcher ousted him as Tory leader in February that year… The Mail on Sunday has learned that Wiltshire Police has also obtained photographic evidence of him driving.’
The Mirror, which featured Nick on its front page, covers the story on Page 4. The report is short. The final line says the police reports, ‘may reignite the case against Sir Edward’. Consider the flames lit and the smoke fanned.
The Express features the story on Page 2. ‘Tory outrage as police chief claims that Edward Heath was paedophile,’ runs the headline. ‘Tory grandee’ Malcolm Rifkind calls the new “despicable gossip”. He adds: “Until you know the facts you no in a position to judge.”
You can’t judge it in a court of law, but you can make a judgement in the court of public opinion. We are free to wonder why 12 years after he played his last note, Heath is in the frame? Are accusations easy when the target is dead? Or is 12 years the time it takes for coppers, editors and politicos who were around at the time of the PM’s alleged crimes to retire, succumb to failing memory syndrome and die? Of course, as the adults accused of heinous act wither, their alleged victims mature into adulthood. One argument is that they’re speaking out now because they can. If they’re dismissed because their alleged abusers are dead, the message to deviants is that so long as your victim is much younger than you are by the time they get the confidence to point the finger, you’ll be polluting the water supply and out of harm’s way.
Which leaves only prejudices and gut feelings. Ted Heath, eh. Always thought he was a wrong ‘un.
So let’s end with this short extract from the Michael Cockerell documentary Westminster’s Secret Service broadcast by the BBC in 1995. Tim Fortescue, a Whip under Edward Heath between 1970 and 1973, told the cameras:
“Anyone with any sense who was in trouble would come to the Whips and tell them the truth, and say now, “I’m in a jam, can you help?” It might be debt, it might be a scandal involving small boys, or any kind of scandal which a member seemed likely to be mixed up in, they’d come and ask if we could help. And if we could, we did. We would do everything we can because we would store up brownie points. That sounds a pretty nasty reason but one of the reasons is, if we can get a chap out of trouble, he’ll do as we ask forever more.”
And Ted? In Churchill to Major: The British Prime Ministership Since 1945, Donald Shell writes:
The most significant changes in the role of the whips appear to have taken place during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Heath as chief whip from 1956 to 1959 brought a new professionalism to the job; he was the first holder of that position to routinely attend cabinet meetings,although neither he nor his successors have been full cabinet members. More significant was the way he systematically gathered information about every member of the party, and developed the art of using this to maximum advantage. He was after all responsible for piloting the Conservative party through the Suez crisis and its turbulent aftermath. When Edward Short became Wilson’s chief whip in 1964 he found that it ‘had been the practice to keep a “dirt book” in which unsavoury personal items about members were recorded’, and he immediately ordered this to be discontinued. It is probable that such stories arose simply out of the thoroughness with which Heath and his successors had gathered information. Heath himself explained his professionalism: ‘I acted on the principle that the more you know about the people you are speaking for, and the more they know about you and what you are being asked to do, the better.
Helping us know why an 18-year-old set light to a £20 note in the streets of Cambridge is a delighted Press. Above a picture of a £20 note – so helping Guardian readers know one should they encounter it lit or otherwise – the paper explains from the off that the berk ‘burning cash’ was a member of ‘Cambridge University Conservative Association’, an organisation the paper calls ‘prestigious’ but which I’d brand ‘ghastly’, in keeping with all student politics.
The Mail tells its readers the money burner was ‘drunk‘. No blood test needed. The paper knows a drunk when it sees one on a Snapchat video. The Mail soon names the wally as one Ronald Coyne, who now only ‘tried to set fire to a £20 note in front of a homeless man’.
Like the Guardian, the Mail politicises the pillock’s antics by telling its readers in the third paragraph that Coyne is a ‘relative of Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’. Brother? Son? In the 30th paragraph, readers learn: ‘He is believed to be the nephew of the First Minster’s sister-in-law’s ex-husband.’
As you work out if that makes Master Coyne closer in blood to Sturgeon than Kevin Bacon or a bacon bap, the Telegraph tells its readers in a shouty headline: ‘Cambridge University student who boasted of being related to Nicola Sturgeon filmed burning £20 note in front of homeless person.’ So keen is the Tele to work the Sturgeon angle into its story that whilst her name features in the opening line – ‘Cambridge University student who claims he is a direct relative of Nicola Sturgeon…’ – you have to wait until paragraph two to hear of Coyne. Sturgeon is name-checked five times in the article.
There’s no mention of Sturgeon in the Tab’s report, although it does note: ‘It has been rumoured that burning a £50 note in front of a homeless person is one of the initiation ceremonies of Oxford’s notorious Bullingdon club.’ Whether that’s before of after they defile a dead pig and toss a pot through a restaurant window is left un-investigated.
Having gone off on a fact-free tangent, the Tab notes that the ‘motivations of the student, other than odiousness, are unclear’. Helpfully an unnamed source is on hand to call Coyne an ‘arsehole’.
By now you’re wondering about the video. Here it is.
Over in the Sun, we get to hear about the other man in the frame, Ryan Davies. The rough sleeper says Coyne first offered him the note.
Ryan, an unemployed crane operator who has been homeless for three months, thought his luck was in – until the Pembroke College student, who has distant links to SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, set the money alight.
He said: “There were some people going past and I was asking them for spare change. I’m homeless. I asked one man for spare change. I was polite about it as I always am. I couldn’t believe my luck. But then he pulled it back and lit it and said ‘I’ll give you some change, I’ve changed it into fire.””He says let’s see what I’ve got and pulls out a £20 note and went to pass it to me.”
Is the Sun on the side of beggars? In 2016, the paper told its readers:
Revealed: Just one in 5 beggars are homeless… as one boasts she’s using cash for new kitchen
SUN INVESTIGATION: Just 1 in 5 on our streets are homeless and one office worker even admitted to begging after work … to buy a new kitchen
Can bad press turn people against a certain type of person? The Sun says it can:
A CAMBRIDGE student was attacked on his bike in suspected retribution for Nicola Sturgeon’s relative goading a homeless man. One college has even warned students against wearing gowns in public – in case they inflame further violence.
And what of the argument that says it’s wrong to give beggars money? The Sun reported in 2016:
Charities last night urged people NOT to hand out money in the street.
Jeremy Swain, chief executive of London-based homelessness charity Thames Reach, said: “The evidence is indisputable that the overwhelming majority of people begging on the streets spend their begging money on crack cocaine, heroin and super-strength booze.
Nottingham Council advised:
The Mail reported:
Thames Reach, a large-scale organisation with more than 350 staff, said that most people who beg on the street have some form of accommodation to go to.
Its spokesman Mike Nicholas said: ‘Giving to people who beg is not a benign act. It can have fatal consequences.
‘Many people asking for your money are caught up in a desperate cycle of begging from the public, buying drugs from a dealer and then taking these drugs.’ He added: ‘There are many services seeking to help people sleeping rough. Please work with them, not against them.’
Can we sympathise with Coyne? After all, it’s not as if beggars, people more likely to sleep on a newspaper than buy one, enjoy a favourable Press. No, say bleeding hearts. As the Standard reports:
Calls to have him kicked out of the university have quickly gathered momentum with more than 19,000 people signing a change.org petition by 5pm on Sunday.
Students always did have too much time on their hands.
It’s the ‘Chuff of dreams’ in the Daily Mail.
For those readers not au fait with a chuff, the Urban Dictionary defines it yhus:
anglo-slang for snatch, vagina.
“How’s the weather in Phoenix?”
“Dryer than a nun’s chuff.”
Steamy stuff in the Mail.
PS: good to see old Viz writers getting wok in the mainstream press.
Twenty years ago today the Daily Mail published one of the most eye-grabbing front-pages in recent history. It accused five men of murdering Stephen Lawrence, the black youth killed in a racist crime covered up by an incompetent and racist police force.
In February 1997, one day after an inquest jury ruled that Stephen Lawrence was unlawfully killed “in a completely unprovoked racist attack by five white youths”, the Mail produced its front page.
The Mail challenged Neil Acourt, his brother Jamie Acourt, David Norris, Gary Dobson and Luke Knight, to sue for libel. They didn’t.
Today the paper revisits its sensational front-page headline.
The paper accuses Luke Knight of being ‘The Murderer Who Got Away’. Wow!
The Mail’s allegation is undermined by its own teaser, which says of the self-styled “loveable rogues”: ‘Two have been convicted, one’s in jail on a drugs charge and a 4th is on the run.’ If the Mail claims the five are murderers and only two have been convicted, how can there be only one who got away?
In 1999, the accused men spoke with ITV news. It was compelling television. And a word before you watch: I was in the crowd when they swaggered from court. One thing struck me as remarkable: the restraint shown by all those who saw them.
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child. News is that her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, are ‘not in the clear’.
The Mirror (front page): ‘McCanns’ agony at Maddie ruling by court.’
Page 9: ‘Judge: McCanns are not formally in clear’
Are they formally not in the clear? It’s a tad confusing.
Reading on we’re told that Portugal’s Supreme Court has ‘failed to put them in the clear’ over their daughter’ disappearance. Although the McCanns are no longer arguidos – what the Mirror calls the a Portuguese legal term for ‘formal suspects’ – judges says ‘this does not equate to a ruling of innocence’.
Isn’t innocence presumed?
In 2007, the Guardian told us what an arguido is:
An “arguido” – normally translated as “named suspect” or “formal suspect” – is someone who is treated by Portuguese police as more than a witness, but has not been arrested or charged. Under Portuguese law, a person declared an arguido – “arguida” in the case of a woman – has legal protection that is not extended to a witness, including the right to remain silent during questioning and the right to legal representation.
Detectives invoke arguido status on someone as a preliminary to an arrest being made or charges brought, a Portuguese law expert, Lita Gale, told Guardian Unlimited today. “If you are an arguido they have to have suspicion that a crime has been committed by that person,” she said.
The BBC said:
How is arguido status given and what does it mean?
Under Portuguese law either the police or a person being questioned can request that they be formally named as a suspect, a process called arguido. Artur Rego, a Portuguese lawyer, told BBC News: “Arguido is the person who has been accused of being the perpetrator. This is just an accusation made exactly at the end of the investigation.”
A person can ask for arguido status if they feel the line of questioning is implying that they are a suspect. This gives them more rights than a witness would have.
Back to the Mirror, which has been looking at the report into the McCanns’ failed libel case against Goncalo Amaral, the ex-copper who who wrote a book ‘claiming they were responsible for Madeleine’s “death” in 2007’. In the ruling on that case, the judges wrote, “It should not be said that the appellant were cleared via the ruling announcing the archiving of the criminal case” in July 2008.
The Mirror says the judges note that ‘the case was not shelved because prosecutors believed Kate and Gerry… were innocent – but due to lack to evidence.” Said the Portuguese Supreme Court: “It doesn’t therefore seem acceptable that the ruling, based on the insufficiency of evidence, should be equated to proof of innocence.”
The Mirror calls the ruling ‘painful’ for the McCanns.
The Mail has more. The story does not feature in today’s newspaper, only online.
Highlighting the McCanns’ Tapas Nine friend Jane Tanner’s much-questioned sighting of the suspected ‘abductor’, they added: ‘It’s true that the aforementioned criminal inquiry ended up being archived, namely because none of the apparent evidence that led to the appellants being made ‘arguidos’ was subsequently confirmed or consolidated.
‘However even the archive ruling raises serious concerns relating to the truth of the allegation that Madeleine was kidnapped.’
Facts. There was only ever one: child vanishes.
The Sun (page 1): ‘FRESH TORMENT – McCanns ‘Are NOT IN CLEAR'”
This is ‘fresh anguish’ for the McCanns, says the Sun. The judges ‘said there were “serious concerns” over the theory that Madeleine had been abducted’.
The Sun says that Amaral plans to write a second book about the case and the McCanns will ‘sue again if it it is published on Britain’.
The paper also notes that the judges said ‘It would be wrong to draw any inference about the couple’s guilt or innocence from the ruling’.
As the papers look at the parents and the courts, offering no word on any hunt for the missing child, the Sun adds a dig at the BBC. “Kate and Gerry McCann have slammed BBC show The Moorside as “appalling and insensitive”. They told pals the drama based on the 2008 search for Shannon Matthews was in “poor taste and bad timing”.
What did that case have to do with the McCanns?
Says the Sun: ‘The McCanns were mentioned in Tuesday’s drama, with one resident claiming their case received more publicity and reward money as they were “posher”.’
Tsk! Overlooking how the ‘pals’ have the Sun’s ear, you might wonder how the Sun approached the stories of the girl it called ‘Maddie’ and Shannon?
In 2008, the Sun offered a £20,000 reward to find missing “little princess” Shannon Matthews. The Indy wrote:
Even The Sun’s support yesterday caused disappointment. “I’m devastated, to be honest,” said a coach driver, as others around him agreed. “That poster should have been on the front page.” It was on page 17.
You might also wonder why the Sun dresses controversy over the Shannon Matthews TV show as a McCann issue and not one for Shannon’s family?
Daily Star (Page 7): ‘Links to Maddie “awful”‘.
The paper says Gerry and Kate McCann are ‘said to be furious at multiple references to Maddie’s disappearance in the Moorside”. But surely mentioning Madeleine McCann keeps her name in the news. That’s good, no? Maybe that’s why a ‘source’ is talking to the media?
Sad news that Tara Palmer-Tomkinson has died at just 45 years of age. Anyone able to make a living form having fun must have something about her. Today the tabloids are full of kind words about the ‘tragic’ (Sun) socialite and Prince Charles’s goddaughter. News is that T P-T had been suffering from a brain tumour. Since January 2016, T P-T had been receiving treatment for a non-malignant growth in her pituitary gland.
So how did the Press focus on the seriously ill woman? Well, aside from the BBC featuring her in a list of ‘Who is the most pointless celebrity?’, the Press saw her as fair game – ever when she was ill. In March 2016, she told the Telegraph: “I’ve been destroyed by the things people have said.”
DISHEVELLED Tara Palmer-Tomkinson stepped out in London wearing torn clothes and clutching a wad of cash. The socialite looked like she was wearing torn clothes as she struggled to carry her shopping bag.
‘Spotted’ is tabloidese for being photographed by a paparazzo. She was seen lifting a large, heavy bag. In her hand was a small ‘wad’ of notes, as many as two or three. Her torn clothes were nothing of the sort (see below). She looked both clean and smartly attired.
The former IT girl’s top appeared to be ripped and it’s unknown why she was holding so much money in her hand. She was snapped trying to carry a heavy bag of what looked like magazines.
Again. Her clothes were not ripped. And taking photos of an ill woman trying to lift a heavy bag when you could be helping her is not what one might call gallant.
Over in the Mail, which dedicates 3 pages including its front page to the ‘fun-loving IT Girl’, the coverage was no less harsh.
Could Tara, who wore a pink Chanel playsuit that drew attention to her toothpick legs, be taking her fitness regime too far?
Reclusive Tara Palmer Tomkinson looks gaunt in a hoodie and low-slung joggers as she steps out with sister
Becky Freeth used insight to tell readers T P-T was wearing ‘a designer hoodie to keep her warm’.
The Mail also got hold of the same photos as the Sun. Unlike the Sun, which featured 6 photos of T P-T minding her own business in a London street, the Mail went with eight:
PICTURE EXCLUSIVE: Dishevelled Tara Palmer-Tomkinson struggles with a heavy shopping bag as she steps out clutching a wad of cash
The Sun continues to work as an extension of Jose Mourinho Inc., telling readers: ‘Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is bringing back the glory days after matching a record last achieved by Sir Alex Ferguson.’
Still in his first season at Man United, Jose’s yet to win anything. United are sixth in the Premier League. Given the vast sums lashed out on ‘the brand’ which now values stars over continuity, you wonder what the Sun are driving at. And then it comes: the glory days amount to Manchester United going more than ten league games unbeaten, something David Moyes and Louis van Gaal failed to achieve in the post-Ferguson era.
Under the peerless Ferguson, Manchester United twice managed to go 29 league games without defeat. That was a record. Mourinho’s recent run isn’t.
The Sun then adds a dig at Van Gaal:
…the Dutch legend could do nothing to stem the tide, with United consistently churning out a display or dreary performances across his two terms, finishing well adrift of the leading pack in both.
Van Gaal was no great success, but in two seasons at the club his Manchester sides qualified for the Champions League once and missed out on goal difference once. Under Van Gaal, United finished 17 points and 15 points behind the PL champions, respectively. Under Mourinho, United are 14 points behind the current leaders.
The glory days are back, indeed.
Is it a crime to be famous? This week, two stories about blackmail have occupied the Sun’s front page.
The first is the matter of messages hacked from a server that handles David Beckham’s emails. The hackers wanted money to make the ‘leaks’ go away. The company being targeted complained and the emails were delivered to a site that specialises in ‘leaked’ material.
In a few emails, David Beckham allegedly uses industrial language to complain about his lack of a knighthood. He comes out of it badly. But he’s the victim, right? We love the chatter and the details, but surely we can agree that he’s a victim of an apparent crime?
We love to learn that Beckham obtained a high court injunction in December 2016 blocking the emails’ publication in the Sunday Times – a waste of money and effort given that overseas organs published the stuff online. One Romanian outlet detailed Beckham’s ‘angry pursuit of a knighthood’, which included, as the Guardian notes, the former footballer allegedly calling the gong-givers “a bunch of cunts” after he was overlooked for the honour.
It’s all a good read. We can an insight into Beckham’s non-choreographed activities. But he’s the victim.
The second story is on Danny Cipriani, a rugby player. He was blackmailed by a stripper he impregnated. The story goes that he agreed to give her some money for a termination but then failed to cough up. Lisa Murphy, for it is she, had the abortion. When she was forced to miss work, due to health complications, she asked him for money, which again he did not pay. Murphy and her colleague, Violet Smith, 29, then threatened to go to the papers with the story, namely to The Sun on Sunday. Cipriani called the police.
And how does the Sun cover the story?
Is the law different if you’re famous?
Zakaria Bulhan, 19, stood in the dock at the Old Bailey and admitted killing US tourist Darlene Horton and wounding five others – Lillie Selletin, David Imber, Martin Hoenisch, Bernard Hepplewhite and Yovel Lewronski – (all strangers to him) on 3 August 2016. Yesterday Bulhan pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and charges of wounding. Bulhan has been handed an unlimited hospital order.
Mr Justice Spencer told Bulhan:
“It is quite clear that when you committed these dreadful crimes you were not in your right mind. You were in the grip of mental illness. These were crimes which caused enormous public concern because, from their timing, it was feared initially that they might be the work of a terrorist fanatic. As it turned out they were not, although that is no consolation to your victims.”
So how does the media report an unusual crime that was front-page news? Is it a tale of knife crime, ‘broken Britain’ or mental health care? No. Parts of the media make Islam and otherness central to the story.
The Star (page 5) says Bulhan ‘mumbled “Allah, Allah, Allah“‘ after he was Tasered by police and bundled to the ground.
The Mail doesn’t mention the story at all.
The Sun doesn’t report on Bulhan.
The Mirror mentions the story on page 10. ‘Crazed killer is locked up,’ runs the headline in the fourth story down in a sidebar. Bulhan is ‘a teenager who killed a US tourist’. It does not mention what the man of ‘Somali origin’ with paranoid schizophrenia ‘mumbled’.
The Express covers the story on page 10. Bulhan is the “knife rampage killer’. The story begins: ‘A paranoid schizophrenic stabbed an American tourist to death…’ In the third paragraph, the paper says Bulhan is a ‘Norwegian-born Somali Muslim‘. You might say he’s a Norwegian. But his nationality had nothing to do with his crime. So why mention his religion, which also had nothing to do with the case?
Whereas the Star heard Bulhan ‘mumbling’ the Arabic word for ‘God’, the Express says, ‘They [Armed police] heard him chanting Allah! Allah!” as they Tasered him and found an Islamic leaflet in one of his pockets.’
Mumbling or chanting? And what was on the leaflet? We’re not told.
The tabloids got it wrong with Bulhan. Islamic terrorism played no part in his crime. His religion, place of birth and roots all played no part in his crime. A cynic might think the Press is disappointed by this. But surely papers will get face the problem that writing about mental health lacks the punch and pull of Islamic terrorism, stick to the facts and correct any mistakes made? Surely papers won’t manipulate the story to fit an agenda?
But they do. And it’s ugly.
On August 9, the Mail reported:
Was ‘devout Muslim’ Russell Square knifeman radicalised? Police to trawl ‘impressionable’ attacker’s PC for links to ISIS as neighbour claims mental illness is a ‘scapegoat’
Answer: no. He was not radicalised. He was not in ISIS. He was not a devout Muslim.
The Mail continued:
Counter-terror police will today forensically study computers belonging to the Russell Square knifeman as a neighbour claimed the ‘impressionable’ teenager could have been inspired by ISIS.
The Mail called him a ‘migrant‘ on its front page.
The Sun called him a ‘Somali’. He isn’t. He’s Norwegian.
The Sun wondered if Bulhan was a jihadi who had read books.
He wasn’t. He isn’t.
It’s worth looking at Justice Spencer’s sentencing statement in full, lest we missed the Muslim angle. Express readers get an insight into why Bulhan had ‘Islamic literature’ in his pocket.
4. You are 19 years of age, with no previous convictions. Your parents emigrated from Somalia to Norway in 1994, and that is where you were born. In 2003, when you were 5 years old, your mother came to the United Kingdom and you have been living in this country with her ever since, with your brother and sister.
Bulhan was five years old when he arrived in the UK. His family entered the country legally.
Although your mother and father had separated you saw him regularly too. You left school at 16 but retook your GCSE examinations at college and did well in your studies. You became concerned yourself about your mental health and consulted your general practitioner from 2015 onwards. You were referred for assessment by psychiatric services and you were seen by your local early intervention service on 20th April 2016. You were diagnosed with an anxiety and depressive disorder but it was not thought at that time that you were presenting with any psychotic symptoms.
Can we have a discussion abut mental health services?
5. Sadly your mental state deteriorated sharply over the next few months. You started hearing voices frequently and became convinced that you were possessed by devils, that people were conspiring against you, and that that your life was in danger.
At the end of July 2016 your mother and younger brother went to Holland to visit family members which meant that you were living alone at the family home in Tooting. You became convinced that your neighbours wanted to kill you. You went to stay with your father and he tried to look after you. He took you to the mosque on successive days up to the evening of 3rd August, hoping you might receive some form of counselling.
Did Bulhan pick up that aforesaid leaflet at the mosque, the one the Express delivered fully loaded?
When you were at evening prayers that day and a phone rang you got up and ran out of the mosque. Your father waited for you to come back and tried to find you, and tried to contact your mother in Holland for help, but all
to no avail.
6. Your movements thereafter that evening have been traced to a degree. It is clear from the CCTV clips that you were moving around the streets in a distracted and bizarre way. At some stage you acquired a large kitchen knife. You probably took it from a shop counter. At about 10.20pm you entered Russell Square. It was busy with pedestrians heading home after an evening in London’s West End. Among them were many visitors to London from overseas.
13. You were chased by members of the public. When you stopped in Bedford Place one witness described you as standing aggressively, holding the knife, uttering sounds in what appeared to be a form of incantation, although your voice and expression were not aggressive. An armed response unit attended very soon afterwards. You were told to stand still but instead you screamed and ran away. Eventually you were tasered and brought to the floor.
Such are the facts.
A small word of thanks to Alicia Douvall, the pneumatic ‘cosmetic surgery addict’ giving full throat to the Daily Star’s front-page screamer, yeller and ‘oh-my-god-yes’ about ‘MY ELEVEN TIMES A NIGHT WITH SIMON COWELL’. Eleven times a night doing what? you ask. Botox injections? Colonic irrigation? No. Sex.
On page 5, Douvall says Simon Cowell is ‘sensitive and domineering’ in the sack. He ‘ would analyse my performance like a judge on a TV show’. He is also unforgettable because Douvall claims she shagged the old eyeball licker in 2001. Like a try-hard X-Factor contestant , Douvall can’t move on.
Says Douvall, Simon Cowell “knows how to get inside a woman’s head”. Penis first? Or is there some other method?
Whatever the technique, we should thank Douvall for restoring the once tabloid mainstay of celebrity shags to the front pages. We’ve missed it.
Is House of Commons Speaker John Bercow an apostate or a jumped-up pillock who overstepped his brief when he declared that Donald Trump should be banned from addressing Parliament? Maybe he’s both.
The Mail (front page) says Bercow ‘sparked fury’ when he told MPs of his opposition to “sexist and racist” Trump sullying the hallowed halls of Parliament with his presence. The paper quotes a ‘Whitehall source’ who calls Bercow “insulting” and in danger of damaging the so-called Special relationship between the UK and USA. Although the same source adds that Trump doesn’t “even know who Bercow is”.
A Mail writer says Bercow ‘let loose a volley of self-important rudeness’.
The Mail quotes another source mocking Bercow’s ability to straddle a high horse with such short legs. The paper shows Bercow welcoming such embodiments of enlightenment and protectors of the democratic flame as the emir of Kuwait and the president of China.
The Express (front page) calls it ‘Outrageous’.
The Sun (buried on page 5) says Bercow ‘was cheered by Labour and SNP MPs’.
And the Mirror (front pages) thunders: “Racist Trump banned from speaking in Parliament.’ On Page 2, the Mirror says, ‘Bercow was praised for standing up to Donald Trumps’s questionable values and blocking him from Parliament’. Whereas the Mail can find only people to belittle Bercow, the Mirror finds only voices to exalt him. ‘Tory MPs sat in stoney silence as their former colleague tore into Mr Trump,’ says the paper.
The trouble is that Bercow doesn’t have the right to peak for the nation. His grandstanding was just that. If the Commons values democracy, as surely it must, the man 62 millions American chose for their leader should be respected. Bercow is the Speaker. He is not The Guard. His role is to be versed in the Commons’ rules and officiate during bouts.
Of course, Trump a useful fool. Being anti-Trump means that you stand for something. He defines you by what you are not. But what are you? Being anti-Trump is not enough. It’s easy and it’s lazy. Its invites bigger questions: why don’t you trust the electorate? Who do you represent if not the voters? If you prefer bans over debate, why do you sit in debating chamber?
It’s easy to take issue with Trump. It’s less simple to explain what you would do instead.
In what the Sun calls ‘leaked emails’ David Beckham allegedly wrote about his disappointment at receiving an OBE and not a knighthood in the kind of language you’d expect from a footballer. He allegedly called the Honours Committee “unappreciative c***s”. The stars are the Sun’s work and without a ‘t’ or ‘ck’ we cannot be certain as to the degree of Becks’ upset. He also allegedly wrote, “Unless it’s a knighthood f*** off.” That’s an easier puzzler.
Beckham also allegedly queried the value of an OBE, given that one was awarded to Katherine Jenkins, the photogenic singer. ‘Katherine Jenkins OBE for what?’ mused Beckham allegedly. ‘Singing at the rugby and going to see the troops plus taking coke. F***ing joke.’ Her manager says Katherine OBE does lots of charity work and is deserving of her gong. Her manager is ‘Professor Jonathan Shalit’. According to Wikipedia, Shalit was awarded an Honorary Professorship in 2012 by Henley Business School and Reading University in recognition of his contribution to the arts, music and broadcasting.’
Gongs and titles, eh?
The Mail says Beckham was all set to get his knighthood from those “c***s” in 2014. He didn’t because of ‘warnings from HM Revenue and Customs’ to ‘sort out his finances’. No, not warned to relocate to France or Luxembourg and keep away from the taxman’s reach. The Mail says it was down to Beckham’s ‘involvement in an alleged tax avoidance scheme’. The Mail also notes that the emails were not ‘leaked’ from the servers of Doyen Global, a company run by Beckham’s PR chief Simon Oliviera, but ‘hacked’.
So Beckham’s the victim,then.
The Mirror says he is. It leads with news that Becks is the victim of a ‘Blackmail plot’. The emails were made public only after Doyen Global ‘ignored demands for cash’. The Mirror pits itself as Beckham’s champion – and thus against its rival the Sun – highlighting his ‘Good work’, role as his daughter’s’ HERO’ and dedicates a column to the subject ‘Lunacy he’s not already Sir David’.
He’s no victim, says Jan Moir. The Mail writer dips her quill in vinegar and says, ‘Now we know the reality behind the facade’. Isn’t it a tad harsh to judge a man’s life on the value of a few emails? No, says Moir. “We know now the real Beckham is foul-mouth, determined egotist who uses his work for charities as part of an increasingly desperate campaign to win a knighthood.’
He’d make a good editor.
And so what if grandstanding over charity work is based on self-promotion? If people get help, do we care that he gets a knighthood, a gong so precious they gave one to avid charity worker Jimmy Savile?
Last night Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was ‘furious’, says the Daily Mail. His side had drawn 0-0 with Hull City. Mourinho ‘blows his top on TV’, says the paper. The ‘irate’ Manchester United boss ‘stormed out of a TV interview’.
How does the Sun cover the Manchester United boss’s latest hissy fit? It doesn’t. Nowhere in its reports on the match does the Sun mention Mourinho’s moodiness and ‘his hasty exit at the first opportunity just 90 seconds into his post-match interview’ (BBC).
Is the Sun a tad biased in Jose’s favour? After all, on January 26, the paper was sure Jose was on the up. His hair spoke volumes:
NEIL ASHTON – Jose Mourinho is back: Back to his old self. Back in the hunt for trophies. Back to his devilish, mischievous best
And on it went:
Jose Mourinho, what with his latest grade-one haircut from the Lowry Hotel barber, is looking razor sharp again. The good behaviour bond is almost into a third month, trouble-free after serving a one-match ban for booting a water bottle when he had a wobbly against West Ham.
Focused, and firmly in control again, Mourinho is on to something good.
Such are the facts.
Beyonce and Jay Z are getting a divorce, announces the National Enquirer on its front page. What are the details? Well, it’s worth $1bn and it ‘EXPLODES!’. A clue as to why the showbiz stars are apparently splitting is hinted at in the teaser: ‘Love child sparks vicious court fight.’
Odd, then, that the Sun leads with news that Beyonce is expecting. Is she the one with the love child? No. This pregnancy is heralded not only by a veiled Beyonce cradling her stomach, her face serene, her buttocks clad in knickers the colour of the Virgin Mary’s shawl, but also by Jay Z, who points to yonder star and says he and she are “blessed”.
‘Sun Doctor’ Carol Cooper, who hasn’t treated the happy couple, sees fit to opine that at 35 years old Beyonce faces “a few extra risks” – but overlooks the effects of any stress triggered by the NE’s news that ‘aspiring rapper Rymir Satterthwaite, 23’ thinks Jay Z’s his dad. Rymir’s demanding Jay X takes a DNA test
But before the test is taken and the results are known, judgement has been passed. “Beyonce’s turned a blind eye to Jay Z’s past affairs,” says an unnamed source, “but this is the straw that broke the camel’s back. She’s ready to slap him with divorce papers!”
Is Jay Z Rymir’s mother? Did Jay Z impregnate Rymir’s mother, Wander? Is Beyonce’s womb just one more arena on the couple’s global stadium tour?
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child. Today Madeleine McCann is on the front pages of the Mirror and Express.
As ever we are looking at the missing child’s parents in the papers, Kate and Gerry McCann. They’ve lost their libel case against former detective Goncarlo Amaral, who in a book and documentary implicated them in their daughter’s disappearance. In 2015, a Lisbon court sided with the McCanns, ordering Amaral to pay €500,000 (£429,000) in compensation to the parents.
Last year that ruling was overturned. The McCanns took the case to Portugal’s supreme court. And lost.
The McCanns have issued a statement:
“What we have been told by our lawyers is obviously extremely disappointing. It is eight years since we brought the action and in that time the landscape has dramatically changed, namely there is now a joint Metropolitan police-Policia Judiciaria investigation which is what we’ve always wanted.
“The police in both countries continue to work on the basis that there is no evidence that Madeleine has come to physical harm. We will, of course, be discussing the implications of the supreme court ruling with our lawyers in due course.”
The Express tells of the McCanns’ “new agony”.
The Mirror tells of the McCanns’ devastating defeat.
The Daily Record sums up in a headline:
Kate and Gerry McCann facing financial ruin after losing libel case against cop who said they faked daughter’s abduction.
Kate and Gerry McCann could be left penniless… Kate and Gerry will also have to pay his legal fees – believed to be a six-figure sum – as well as their own lawyers’ bills.
What about the fighting fund to find the child? Martin Fricker writes:
The result could empty Madeleine’s Fund – a company set up days after Madeleine vanished – and leave the McCanns broke.
Madeleine’s Fund has about £700,000 in the coffers. But accounts filed last month say nearly £500,000 of that was invested last year in an unknown venture.
So around £200,000 remains?
More than £4.2million has been donated to the fund since three-year-old Madeleine vanished from the apartment in Praia da Luz.
The Sun has a slightly different figure:
If they are ordered to pay Mr Amaral’s legal costs, the money may have to come from the Find Madeleine fund – which has dwindled to around £480,000.
The Telegraph wonders what will happen next:
Madeleine McCann’s parents could be sued by police chief who falsely accused them of covering up death
‘Could’ is not news.
Over in the Mail there is news of a sort:
Madeleine McCann’s mother Kate and her choir made up of families of missing people hope to win Britain’s Got Talent after reducing judges to tears with a heartbreaking performance in secret auditions
Reducing the BGT judges to tears is a task akin to differentiating between your arse and your elbow. But the Mail’s story is weaker than Amanda Holden’s tear ducts .
Madeleine McCann’s mother Kate, 48, is an ambassador for the The Missing People’s Choir, which is expected to appear on the talent show in May, ten years after her daughter’s disappearance from Praia Da Luz in Portugal.
Although she has not been singing in the choir during the auditions, Mrs McCann may become more involved if they progress to the televised stages.
The Mail has used Kate McCann to flog a story that doesn’t feature her.
There is no word on the investigation into what happned to Madeleine McCann.
Such are the facts.
Donald Trump continues to set the news agenda, his presidency a political take on ‘Stay Tuned’ TV cliffhangers. President Trump’s ill-conceived travel ban dominates the news. But the Daily Mirror has a new angle. It books itself into one of The Donald’s five-star hotels – the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC – and sets about looking at the labels on the luxuries therein.
Full disclosure: I’ve stayed in a Trump hotel, his tower in Toronto. And, aside from my iPhone getting nicked from the room, found it pretty good, from the linen to the pink ‘Trump’ baseball hats left for each guest. And, no, hair was not attached to the complimentary lids.
The Mirror’s Christopher Bucktin got the tough job of stock taking at Trump Inns. He found lots of ‘imports but few US goods’ at ‘Hotel Hypocrite’. He found Samsung TVs (made in Mexico), shower caps (made in China), cups (Germany) and a fridge (Switzerland).
Having quoted one hotel guest who lambasts Trump for picking the cheapest goods, Bucktin makes a false step. ‘We also fund him cashing in in his most hated religions – Islam,’ he writes.
Cashing in? How so?
In the bedside drawer ‘I came across a Gideon Bible’, a move akin to finding your own arse with your own hand. By the Bible is a note: ‘If you would like to continue your spiritual journey, we also offer the following: Talmud, Quran, Gita, Avesta, Tripitaka, Shri Guru, Grantha Sahib and Book of Mormon.” A call to housekeeping confirmed guests were able to have the holy book of Islam brought to their room in Arabic and English, with a prayer rug and a compass pointing to Mecca.’
So how was he cashing in? There is no word that the mat, book and compass incur a surcharge. Bucktin explains: ‘Trump the hotelier welcomes Muslims – if they are loaded with dollars.’ He treats all customers the same. He does not discriminate. Just like Hitler, then.
And what if they’re workers? We don’t know if any staff at the hotel are Muslim. Maybe Trump welcomes Muslims so he can pay them, too?
Attacking Trump, the accidental president whose bad for liberty, is not too hard a task so why make a bad job of the facts? The Mirror says rooms ‘start at an average of £500 per night’. A quick look at the hotel’s website tells us a room can be had for $400 a night all in. Not cheap. But not £500.
Over pages 6 and 7, the Mirror looks at the protest’s against Trump’s executive order banning travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries. It notes the on-line petition calling for Parliament to cancel Trump’s State visit lest it “embarrass” the Queen. Over 1.5m people support feudalism and the monarchy. Who knew?
‘Prevent Donald Trump’, runs the petition text, ‘from making a state visit to the United Kingdom. Donald Trump should be allowed to enter the UK in his capacity as head of the US government, but he should not be invited to make an official state visit because it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen.’
Can Trump achieve what Prince Andrew, Prince Charles, the Duke of Edinburgh, Fergie, a grandson dressed as Nazi, an uncle who was a Nazi, walking about with a crown on your noggin’ and riding in a gold coach failed to do? Can Her Majesty feel embarrassed? “[Trump’s] misogyny and vulgarity disqualifies him from being received by the queen,” says the petition’s writer. Over one million people think Trump is too common for Her Majesty. What a snooty view. Look how superior we are to Trump and his supporters. No red carpet for him. He has hotels; she has palaces. He has Bibles; she is Defender of the Faith. He has voters; she has subjects. He has borders; she has Empire. He has Tiffany; she has diamonds as big as your face.
The paper notes that outside Whitehall, protestors demanded Theresa May condemn Trump.
And then come the inevitable celebrity endorsement. ‘Bianca Jagger, Lily Allen and Gary Lineker, who was with two of his sons’, were all there. ‘America united to condemn Donald Trump,’ says the paper. All of it? Odd not to hear one word in support of Trump’s ban. ‘Hollywood stars’ spoke out against Trump.
It’s all pretty much what Trump wants, no? The media present one side of the debate. Check. The celebrities vent forth. Check. People who don’t like the fact he was democratically elected in a legal vote use polls and numbers to try and derail him. Check.
More Trump on the Sun’s cover. ‘PM: No Trump U-turn.’ Over pages 8 and 9, the Sun spots Gary Lineker and Lily Allen in the 10,000 people outside Downing Street.
The paper quotes MPs likening Trump to Hitler. “The Holocaust didn’t start with the gas chambers,” says SNP Carol Monaghan, one of many keen to use the murders of 6 million Jews to score a political point. Boris Johnson told the Commons the comparison “demeans the horror of the 1930s”. It does. Trump is not plotting and fomenting genocide. He’s not that organised.
‘Protest march? It’s a waste of time,’ writes the Sun’s Clare Foges. Maybe. Maybe not. It; good for filling pages and spotting famous faces. Foges adds: ‘Strangely there was not the same outcry when Obama banned refugees from Iraq for six months in 2011.’ She spots hypocrisy and ‘anguished luvvies’ in a ‘pitch of hysteria’. Protest is for losers. “Save your breath,’ says the Star, which one sided with the protesting EDL.
Does this ‘hysteria’ over Trump whitewash crimes of other politicians, like Tony Blair, Hillary Clinton and Obama?
One of those ‘luvvies’ occupies the Mail’s front page. It’s Gary Lineker and a son. The Mail says May is ‘right to ignore the hysteria’ and the ‘twitter-obsessed, virtue-signalling student union politicians running today’s Labour Party’. The matter of US security, says the paper, is ‘a question for US politicians’.
And a question for Daily Express readers, too. An impressive 99% of them ‘agree with Trump’s tough migrant stance’. Well, those who voted in one of the paper’s polls do, which has still to bring in that 100% result. Of course, 100% could be achieved by there being just one caller keen to spend 50p on a premium-rate phone line – that’s 5p less than the paper costs. But at 99% the poll looks busy and representative.
And the Express has another. Today it asks readers: ‘Is Donald Trump right to bring in the travel ban?’ Anyone in doubt as to how to vote can see the headline hanging above the question: ‘Trump fury is just liberal left hysteria.’
The vote is open to liberal left hysterics with 50p to burn. Like everything about Trump, it’s fair and fair can be.
Does the Press have an issue with Muslims? Or do sections of it pick news stories that appeal to its readers’ prejudices? Or is debate on all religions so stymied by fear of causing offence and the speaker being labelled a bigot that free speech is on the rack? These questions and others are triggered by a story in the Express of a jogger who having been knocked into a canal only escaped his attackers by speaking Arabic.
The story, culled from the Birmingham Mail where it first appeared, tells of Lee Skinner, 38, who was “punched and knocked into the freezing water as he ran past five hooded youths in Acocks Green, Birmingham.”
The Express‘s writer is – get this – ‘Rob Virtue’. The Birmingham Post’s reporter is Jeanette Oldham. The reports are identical.
Badly bruised, Mr Skinner managed to clamber out.
As he struggled to get out of the cold, slippery canal the thug who punched him was waiting – until the former language teacher started speaking Arabic. The shame-faced gang, all aged around 17, then fled the scene and the attacker is now being hunted by police.
Mr Skinner told the Birmingham Mail:
“The police praised me and said my speaking in Arabic showed quick-thinking. They said my actions could have stopped the situation from being a lot worse.”
He went on:
“There were five in total, all wearing grey and black, casual clothing, puffy coats, caps and hoods. The guy who punched me was rounded in the face and had neat, tidy stubble. The other four were quite slim.. As I jogged past, the one with a rounded face punched me full force with his left hand, into my right cheek. I went up into the air and into the water.
“The one who punched me was waiting at the side of the canal with an incredible look of pleasure on his face. He was waiting to watch me suffer or to come back so he could hit me again.
“I was able to identify them as Pakistani as I’ve worked in Muslim communities and have a detailed knowledge of Islam and speak Arabic to a certain level. I also used to teach asylum seekers for a while.
“So in that moment I said something in Arabic – a Muslim declaration of faith. As soon as I said it, a look of panic spread across their faces. I then shouted in Arabic, ‘May God forgive you’.
“At that moment they looked like a bunch of terrified schoolchildren. That’s what ended it…
“They said they were very sorry this had happened. They then walked off and I walked home… The four boys admitted that the attack happened because I was white and I explained that in the current political climate, such actions could have a negative effect on the Muslim Pakistani community which they are supposed to be representing.”
It could be argued that the thugs were stopped from doing worse damage and perhaps repeating their alleged crime by their faith and Mr Skinner’s intelligence. Does religion make you less violent?
No-one on the Express got to debate that or more because comments below the paper‘s article are closed. The Birmingham Mail left them open. Here are a few of them:
My initial comment on this has been deleted. This I feel is unfair.
I only suggested that those who commit a crime be deported along with their families. This may deter those who are willing to carry out attacks such as these. Surely being passionate about the country you live in cannot make me racist.
Congratulations to Lee Skinner for his quick thinking and courage. Nevertheless he is sadly deluded. Firstly there are no genuine positive aspects of Islam and Mohammed for the non-Muslim…
Secondly, this is an illustration of the difference between “radical” and “moderate” Muslims. The attacker was following the cruel, violent example of Mohammed and the other four gave him passive support and didn’t help the nearly murdered kaffir.
What a surprise. More proof that integration does not work. These people do not live by our standards and do not have the same morals. Just look at the areas they live in, Rubbish piled high, dirty and dangerous. Some of you may not like it but its true.
Islam a religion of peace my a##e.
You what? Absolutely disgusting behaviour, I’ve always thought whites were overly paranoid about being in majority asian areas but I might have to revise my position
Many of the comments claim the gang attacked Mr Skinner because they were Muslims and thereby inherently violent. One commenter notes:
EVERY TIME there is a news story to do with a Muslim or Islam,
MOST of the comments are full of HATE or BIGOTRY,
So how does the Birmingham Mail follow up its story? Like this: “Jogger who escaped canal thug by speaking Arabic hailed a ‘hero’ by readers.” Thugs is right. And which readers praised Mr Skinner? Five are name-checked:
Adam Lii Khan said: “Absolutely disgusting behaviour. A human is a human regardless of his nationality, colour or language. You did an amazing job by schooling them though! Hope you get better soon.”
Raziq Rashid wrote: “Lee Skinner I wish a speedy recovery and hope they catch the criminals. It was brave what you did and hope it shows the racist people our there that someone of a diffrent colour is still human and should be treat with the same respect we expect for ourselves.”
“Once again fair play on confronting the individuals with dignity which they probably didn’t deserve.”
Nad Arabian wrote: “This is ridiculous, I am Arabic and against what these guys did. Language is not the protection they should know their religion properly. Unfortunately it is individuals behaviour. Hope they get what they deserve and well done to this Man.”
Bob Khan said: “It doesn’t matter what race or colour people are, we are all human beings and we should respect everyone religion and race.
“I personally condemn this action against a respected person who was jogging on his way home.
“Get well soon my brother and hope police can catch those idiots soon”
The Mail must haver picked through its readers carefully to get that report out.
The only other readers name-checked are Dee Webb, who says:
Dee Webb said all five of the gang should be prosecuted by police. She said: “How can he shake their hands, the hands that could have killed him? It wasn’t just the one that hit him…they all took part and watched and did nothing..they are all responsible. .and should all be charged the same. Scum.”
And Jackie Playdon:
“Brave man. I hope his attackers are caught and punished. It could have been so much worse had he not been able to speak a bit of Arabic. I doubt I could have offered them my hand….but kudos to him.”
To call the assault on Mr Skinner a crime typical of Muslims is absurd and monocular. You can follow these links and discover that not all thugs, thieves, alleged rapists, muggers, robbers, would-be killers, rapists, bastards who shove joggers into the canal and criminals on Birmingham’s many towpaths are Muslim. Being a criminal is not the preserve of any one religion or race. To say the hateful acts of a few epitomise the many is as stilted and absurd as the Birmingham Mail’s vox pop.
When Donald Trump was voted in, the Daily Mirror was aghast that he’d called Theresa May after dialling so many other leaders. It was a”poor start to the Special Relationship”. May was “at the back of the queue of world leaders”. The President-elect had issued a snub.
So how did the Mirror report the news that May is the first world leader to meet President Trump?
Was it front-page news?
And every other paper?
Such are the facts.